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Digital Newspapers:
A few rays of hope

Posted by on February 22, 2017 at 4:06 pm

Perhaps you heard: Newspapers have had a tough time making the transition from print to digital. The good news is that for some papers that’s starting to turn around. When digital publishing first became a thing, most papers made content available online for free. The idea was to supplement printed editions, the industry’s mainstay. What [...]

Pushing back against
harmful headlines

Posted by on February 16, 2017 at 4:42 pm

DON’T GET me wrong. I like competition. Honest I do. But that’s not to say that it doesn’t have its occasional downside. In the news media in particular, competition for audience share inevitably makes a priority of pressing hot buttons, often at the expense of putting things in perspective. Take this recent CBS DFW headline: [...]

Gambling and Bitcoin
(by way of Super Bowl 51)

Posted by on February 8, 2017 at 10:45 pm

A NUMBER OF notable companies now accept Bitcoin, albeit usually via an intermediary like Coinbase or BitPay. Yet one Bitcoin use in particular seems to be catching on in a big way. “By most estimates,” PBS Newshour reported in 2014, “more than half of global Bitcoin transactions are wagers on gambling sites.” To explain the [...]

The password and
the pendulum

Posted by on February 1, 2017 at 2:54 pm

In Umberto Eco’s 1988 novel Foucault’s Pendulum, the protagonist tries to access a friend’s computer only to come up against the prompt, “Do you know the password?” After umpteen unsuccessful attempts, the exasperated protagonist types, “No.” Which unlocks the computer. You might think, Get real, Umberto, what kind of nitwit uses an easily-guessed password like [...]

Coming this summer:
Digital food stamps

Posted by on January 26, 2017 at 4:17 pm

DESPITE THE DAWN of the 21st century in most places, it’s not unusual for government offices to require documents by fax, as if anyone besides government offices has fax machines any more. Ask if a PDF will do only if you’re prepared to explain what a PDF is. So, when the United States Department of Agriculture goes digital [...]