Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Here I am, home for the weekend in scenic Twinsburg, Ohio, trying to relax and enjoy myself. So I do what I usually do before I go to bed: I listen to a nice smoothing podcast on my Macbook Pro and look up information on baseball players via Wikipedia (yes, I am that big of a nerd). Problem is, my Macbook is getting antsy becaue it hasn't updated itself in quite some time. So the annoying little system update screen pops up and begins yelling "Update me!!! Please udate me!!!"
"Fair enough, Macbook," I say, "I rarely update you and you seemed to have earned it." So I click the little update button and go on my merry baseball-researching way. Of course, merely pressing the button is not enough for Macbook. I forgot that Macbook always wants to restart in order to update. So I mournfully close out my iTunes and my Safari browser and let Macbook do its thing.
But I am not a patient man. And as I watch the progress monitor slowly crawl to 10% after about 10 minutes, I decide to abort this tedious process. So, like the idiot I am, I turn the laptop off, assuming that I can just resume the update process when I am ready to go to bed. I then turn on the Macbook.
And my heart breaks.
I have been Colonel Panicked. The correct term for what is actually happening to my precious laptop is technically Kernel Panic Mode, but I prefer the phoenetic pronunciation of "Colonel Panic". To me it suggests that there is an angry Army Official inside of my computer named "Colonel Panic" that is wreaking havoc with the machine's guts. After about 57,290 attempts to reboot my Mac, only to see the same damn Colonel Panic message every time, I called my girlfriend to ask fo help. She did some research on her own "Panic" free laptop and found out that Kernel Panic Mode is essentially a cancer that inflicts Mac operating systems from time to time. I knew I was in trouble when I looked at the "Kernel Panic" Wikipedia entry this morning and Wikipedia obliged me to see its "Screens of Death" page as well. There is nothing that I can do to fix my poor little Macbook Pro, I have to take it to the nearest Apple store and beg Steve Jobs's slaves for some help.
Why, Colonel Panic, did you have to come in the night for my Mac's soul? I needed that freaking computer! Everything I have written for the past year is in that hard-drive and all the websites I need for my Sunday Morning Links is in there as well. Take my eyes, my hands and my feet but don't take my laptop away from me!
I would drive the 20 to 30 minutes to the Apple store in my area and find some help, but in two hours I get to head up to C-Town (that's Cleveland, to you out-of-towners) and watch my little brother's band play at the House of Blues for Battle of the Bands. They are called Saints and Poets (a name developed by yours truly) and they will own your soul if you ever cross their path. It is a small concession that I will be able to eat and enjoy good live music a few hours from but I have to take what I can get when Colonel Panic systematically tries to destroy my life.
Thankfully, my family someone has a total of 4 computers in this house (counting my laptop). I have no idea why we need 4 computers fo 3 people,, but I think it shows you where our priority lies...especially when you consider we only have two working TVs. I would actually say that for every hour of TV I watch in my life, I spend another three hours on a computer.
So Colonel Panic definitely hit me where it hurts. Hopefully, next time you hear from me I will be typing from my Mac. If not, may God have mercy on my soul.
Actually, may Colonel Panic have mercy on my soul.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Friday, January 2, 2009
And finally, I have one bonus entry for you. If you can find MTV's reality show The Paper online, I highly urge you to watch it. It is clearly heavily edited, alterred and ingenuine but it is also absolutely riveting. Anyone who has ever worked on a High School paper will see more of themself in this show than they are willing to admit.
Thus concludes Journalism Week. Next week I will be writing from the jungle known as Athens, Ohio. Until then...
Good Night and Good Luck.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
To a Journalist, more Democracy just means there are hunters out there in the news jungle with guns that are just as good as theirs. Democracy means that someone can use new technologies to produce a quick catchy story and produce it for free. Democracy means that instead of whispering stories for the public to hear, you will have to shout them over the cacophony of the millions of other voices yelling for attention. To the 21st Century Journalist, Democracy sucks.
The Internet has revolutionized the way we communicate (duh.) No longer do citizens have to sit idly by and wait for the fedora wearing men with 5 o'clock shadows and press passes to break stories. Any citizen with an Internet provider and a dream can log onto the World Wide Web and broke any story they'd like themselves. I primarily maintain this little blog of mine for analysis of media coverage, world events and Western culture but if I looked out my window and saw metal tyrannosaurus rexes with lasers for eyes terrorizing my neighborhood then you should damn well know that the headline of The Collective(ly) Unconscious would read "Metal Tyrannosaurus Rexes with Lasers for Eyes Terrorize Northeast Ohio Neighborhood" that day.
The point is: I would not call The Plain Dealer, The Akron Beacon Journal, CNN, or Barack Obama (I have homeboy on speed-dial). I would simply publish my own story thanks to this magical tool known as the Internet. The information is free and it is there for the taking and there for the publishing. I have been born into an entire generation of human beings who are not only accustomed to fast, cheap and nearly unlimited information but are also accustomed to the idea that they OWN the information. We are Generation Wiki: the generation does not let any good information go to waste.
So how does the crucial American institution of Journalism combat and keep up with with Generation Wiki. This is usually the part where the Journalism "expert" tosses out powerful phrases like "innovation" or "stream-lining" or "market researching." But those phrases bore me and are a wildly inaccurate solution to the problem. The only solution to the Generation Wiki menace from a Journalistic standpoint is: quality.
Just be better.
Democracy is a pain for Journalism right now because the model has been so skewed in the favor of the printing press for so long. Now it is time to show why Journalists collect paychecks and hack bloggers such as myself work for wage labor at an indoor baseball facility. Journalists (hopefully) represent the ultimate in training, experience and natural talent in their field. They are the best researchers, writers and investigators that money can buy. As I've said before, the information is out there for the taking and if a professional wit ha considerable grasp of the English language gets a hold of that information, then that information can be refined into something more than the some of its parts, it can be crafted into a story.
Compiling and reporting is fun and dandy for us lay-people on the ground. But at a certain point that information must be compiled into a readable and perhaps even entertaining medium for mass consumption. Plus, that whole business with the grammar and the style guides and the rules of rhetoric is just a plain ol' pain in the butt. If we can pay a professional to polish off the information out there with words and present us a viewpoint of the world through fair, yet stylistic lenses, then why the produce the news ourselves? People have paid for the news for centuries and now even as the news becomes cheaper and free, people will still pay for news...as long as it is presented in good fashion.
Don't believe me? Check out the interesting little social experiment going on over at Spot.us. Spot.us is a website that is engineering the idea of Community Funded Reporting. It puts the Journalist and the Reader into direct contact with each other so that their communication can yield the result of a news story. Reporters pitch story ideas to readers, who then decide whether they would like to make a donation for that story to be researched and written, then the Journalist uses those funds to write that story. It is an ingeiously simple concept and it answers the question: "will readers pay to read news stories?" The answer is a resounding "yes", as long as the story is of consequence and well-written.
I know my answer of "be better" is frustrating and overly simplified. And the message is probably hypocritical from a teenager who has never worked in a newsroom and therefore does not know how hard reporters are working. But unfortunately, I believe that "better quality" is the only solution any one can offer now. The mass media business is the Wild West right now and if you want to survive you simply have to be the best. If you are the best at what you do then the competition just doesn't stand a chance, regardless of whether they see metal tyrannosaurus rexes with lasers for eyes or not.
Take that, Generation Wiki.