Web Developers: Infrastructure is part of your Application!

Web Developers: Infrastructure is part of your Application!

One of the most difficult realities for web developers to face is that their application code, elegant and beautiful as it may (or may not) be, does not run in the ivory tower of Code Perfection. It runs on a real machine (or several) in a real data center, competing for resources to serve real clients, and tripping over all-too-real limitations of the environment. Operations people, those shadowy, pager-carrying folks that developers call “sysadmins”, know that there is so much…

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Web Analytics for Operations

Web Analytics for Operations

Web analytics packages, from free to exorbitant, have grown in complexity over the life of the web. That’s great news for marketers using the web as a tool to deliver a message to an audience. These tools allow them to measure audience reach, time spent viewing a page, return visits, session length, and other useful customer engagement factors that helps shape the business strategy. Unfortunately, while the marketers have won some great tools, where does that leave the techies who…

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Occam’s Moving Parts

Occam’s Moving Parts

As an architect of complex applications, I spend my day aggressively applying Occam’s Razor, attempting to simplify large systems by removing as much as possible. But the nature of the work is such that the system can never be truly simple. No matter how much I try to simplify, I am left with that feeling that there are too many moving parts. As a geek, I apply a systems approach to almost everything in my life. I have a system…

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Journalism is too important to be locked behind a paywall

Journalism is too important to be locked behind a paywall

When I hear newspaper industry veterans talk about getting paid for content, it makes me want to cry. Case in point, this speech from Bill Monroe to the Midwest Newspaper Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, given Feb. 4, 2010. What’s missing in today’s marketplace is a way to enable newspapers to protect that content and to profit when others reuse it. – Bill Monroe I’m sorry Mr. Monroe, but I must disagree quite strongly. The reason journalism should be free…

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Content Is Not Your Product: Why Newspapers Fail

Content Is Not Your Product: Why Newspapers Fail

Your newspaper is Seth Godin’s Meatball Sundae — full of valuable stuff, but not a product anyone wants to buy. I hear the same sentiment from executives all over the media industry, and especially from newspapers. “We deserve to get paid for our content.” Dear Media Executives: You’re doing it wrong! The reason so many newspapers are sinking, shrinking, or stinking is that they have totally forgotten what the source of value for their business really is. Somehow they got…

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NYT’s Freemium Paywall Plan is (maybe) Good Business

NYT’s Freemium Paywall Plan is (maybe) Good Business

Last week, the New York Times announced plans to start charging certain readers for access to their web site. Reaction was predictable: Jeff Jarvis complained, TechCrunch ran some numbers, and Mashable used it as an excuse to talk about a rumored but still unannounced Apple product (seriously Mashable? come on). The first thing to understand about the announced pay model is that it is misnamed. The NYT press release refers to it as a “metered model” and most reporters are…

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Why News Archived Behind Paywall Fails

Why News Archived Behind Paywall Fails

One business model for online news that has been suggested, tried, and failed, is to make the news free for some short time, and then archive it behind a pay-wall. There is more than one reason why this doesn’t work as a business model, but the most obvious one is an old adage that should have been well known in the newspaper industry: yesterday’s news wraps today’s fish. It should not come as a surprise that it is hard to…

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The Tablet Fallacy (or, Old Media is Screwed)

The Tablet Fallacy (or, Old Media is Screwed)

“Help me, Obi-wan Tablet. You’re my only hope!” says old media. But these are not the droids they are looking for. There has been so much hand waving in the last month about 2010 being “the year of the tablet”, it boggles the mind. Much of the buzz has centered around the anticipated announcement of a tablet device by Apple, makers of the much-admired iPhone. However, media industry wonks are all abuzz about how the new platform will redefine newspapers,…

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The Three C’s of New Media: Creation, Curation, and Compilation

The Three C’s of New Media: Creation, Curation, and Compilation

Every media business is built around at least one of three key content activities: creation of content, curation of content, and compilation of data into content. Many media businesses, especially the large ones, make all three of these activities core competencies. Which sounds most like your business? Creation of Content This is what most people think of when they think about media: writing articles or features, shooting video, recording audio. In the Internet world it also includes blogging, micro-blogging, and…

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The Real Value of Social Media is its Weakness

The Real Value of Social Media is its Weakness

Many still doubt the utility of social media. I myself was among the doubters until I was forced onto Twitter and Facebook to test the social media integration for a web site I was developing. That’s when I discovered that, although Sturgeon’s Law applies to social media as much as anything else, the small percentage of “good stuff” is exceedingly valuable. Case in point is this article: In a pinch, Twitter found a long shot source | By Daniel Victor….

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