In Wired, my friend Paul Boutin makes an obviously true point which I’m sure some folks will reflexively dispute: You should pay for your music, and there’s no reason not to do so.
Tag Archives | Wired
Windows Phone 7 phones hit the US today. (Like many reviewers, I found lots to like about the new OS but think Microsoft remains in catch-up mode.) To mark the launch, Wired’s Brian X. Chen has a fascinating story on how Microsoft scrapped its initial plans for Windows Phone 7 in December of 2008 and started over again. Amazing to think that it took almost two years after Apple announced the iPhone for Microsoft to find its way–I wonder what shape WP7 would be in today if it had come together more quickly?
When Wired hyperbolically declared that “The Web is Dead,” it didn’t challenge my worldview but rather surfaced what I knew subconsciously. The browser is not always (and increasingly less so) the best window to the Internet — especially on mobile gadgets. For years on my iPhone — and now on my Droid – I’ve foregone digging around in a tiny browser in favor of burrowing straight to what I want through an app – the New York Times, Facebook, The Weather Channel…
I don’t think that Wired and Scientific American coordinated their issue planning this month–they’re competitors, at least sort of–but the two covers sure make for a cool matched set.
From the magazine rack at my local Lucky supermarket:
Wired Editor in Chief Chris Anderson is catching flak for the magazine’s current cover story, which declares that the Web is dead. I’m not sure what the controversy is. For years, once-vibrant technologies, products, and companies have been dropping like teenagers in a Freddy Krueger movie. Thank heavens that tech journalists have done such a good job of documenting the carnage as it happened. Without their diligent reporting, we might not be aware that the industry is pretty much an unrelenting bloodbath.
After the jump, a moving recap of some of the stuff that predeceased the Web–you may want to bring a handkerchief.
For months, Wired has been showing off a splashy prototype tablet edition of its magazine at industry confabs:
It’s a knockout of a demo–but I keep saying that it’s time for fewer digital magazine prototypes and more ones that real people can buy. And Wired’s magazine app is now a reality, in the form of a $4.99 iPad app you can buy from the App Store. It was created in collaboration with Adobe, and apparently sidesteps any development techniques which Apple would have problems with.
This first iPad issue is a partial implementation of the dazzler from the video. It’s got the rich-media elements: The cover story on Pixar includes a clip from the movie and a video tour of the studio, for instance. The app does a remarkably good job of reformatting pages to look good in either portrait or landscape mode–an origami-like challenge that makes my head hurt just thinking about it. The fancy thumbnail-based navigation is there. And the whole thing has the visual splendor which print Wired has always had and Wired’s (excellent) Web site does not.
On Monday, I was at South by Southwest in Austin, where I attended a panel in which representatives from Wired magazine and Adobe discussed their prototype of a digital-magazine version of Wired. Then on Tuesday, I attended the Future of Publishing Summit in New York, where the Wired prototype was once again the subject of a session.
Apple has a history of hypersensitivity toward the media. It once sued Think Secret, a now defunct Apple rumor Web site, because Think Secret published information about upcoming hardware and software products (for the record, that hardly counted as trade secrets). Now, Apple’s lawyers have sent Wired a cease and desist order for posting a video tutorial on hacking netbooks to run Mac OS X. In response, Wired has pulled the video.
I’m all for the freedom to tinker, and my first inclination was to think “Apple’s off attacking the press again.” However, after watching the Wired video–which is still available at Gizmodo as I write this–I have to take Apple’s side on this one, for one specific reason. The video tells viewers, in detail, where they can download illegal copies of OS X (while recommending that they purchase OS X legally) to be installed on non-Apple netbooks. The piracy advice was a big no-no; otherwise, it was a very interesting video.
If a journalist published the source code to Mac OS X, that would be a clear violation of trade secrets. Fiddling with hardware? Not so much. Apple has the right to void warranties, and to sue clone makers that violate its software license agreements and profit from it, but stopping the press from reporting on geeky projects is a bridge too far.
I’d like to see the video re-posted with the piracy bit removed, and would hope that Apple would then back off.
While a lot of the talk about job losses have centered around jobs within the IT sector itself, us technology journalists aren’t immune to the pain. You could call it collateral damage of sorts, where the problems trickle down into the media.
Companies make less money, which in turn means less in the advertising budget. That in turn means many media outlets (even Technologizer) see less income in terms of advertising dollars spent. What happens when this occurs? Layoffs of course.
This week’s highest profile job cut comes from Conde Nast, who operates several tech news properties. It’s largest is Wired, but it also includes Ars Technica, which it acquired in May for $25 million.
According to Conde Nast spokespeople, the layoffs are coming across all divisions of its web publication arm, including non-tech sites such as Epicurious and Style.com. No details have been given on just how big these cuts will be, as discussions on whats going to go are still ongoing.
News sources indicate as many as 30 percent of the total CondeNet workforce may have been let go, but that is not confirmed by the company. It’s not only freelancers which are seeing the cuts, it looks like its salaried writers and editors as well.
While I am not a big fan of Ars Technica and Wired for several reasons, I can’t help but feel bad for these folks. I am somewhat in the same boat too at this moment, trying to find regular full-time work. I can tell you for as bad as it is in the regular economy, it’s much worse in the media.
Nobody’s hiring, and if they are, you better be prepared to take a substantial paycut. Plus, freelance work is also drying up, as publications leave go their full-time writers and those folks flood the freelance market in an attempt to make ends meet.
It’s tough out there.
Update: News.com reports that 3 of the 28 Wired.com writers have been laid off, although it apparently was not any of the staff writers. PaidContent followed later indicating the entire Ars Technica staff would keep their jobs, and that Conde Nast may be looking for new acquisitions “if the price is right.”