👓 The Future of Publishing | LitFest Pasadena

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The Future of Publishing
May 19 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Six small presses with a wide range of specialties—fiction, children’s books, literature in translation, poetry, cookbooks—talk about the challenges and opportunities in book publishing in the near future, and how they’re looking to innovate and look beyond the corporate Big Five publishing model.

Featured Guests: Neela Banerjee, Kaya Press; Ariana Stein, Lil Libros; Ross Ufberg, New Vessel; Tobi Harper, Red Hen Press; Julia Callahan, Rare Bird Books; Colleen Dunn Bates, Prospect Park – Moderator

Wishing I hadn’t gotten myself committed on Saturday to go to Knott’s Berry Farm so I could attend this in the afternoon.

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👓 After 5 years and $3M, here’s everything we’ve learned from building Ghost | Ghost

Read After 5 years and $3M, here's everything we've learned from building Ghost by John O'Nolan, Hannah Wolfe (Ghost)
It's always fun to use these milestones to take a step back and reflect on the journey so far. On previous birthdays I've talked about revenue milestones and product updates, but this year I'm going to focus more on all the things we've learned since we started.

In reading this, I took a look at downloading and self-hosting a copy of Ghost for myself, but the barrier and work involved was beyond my patience to bother with. For an open source project that prides itself on user experience, this seemed at odds. Perhaps this is playing itself out better for the paid monthly customers? But in this case, it doesn’t support many of the pieces of infrastructure I find de rigueur now: Webmention support and microformats which I understand they have no plans to support anytime soon.

Looking at their project pages and site though it does seem like they’ve got a reasonable layout and sales pitch for a CMS project, though it’s probably a bit too much overkill on selling when it could be simpler. Perhaps it might be a model for creating a stronger community facing page for the WithKnown open source project, presuming the education-focused corporate side continues as a status quo?

They did seem to be relatively straightforward in selling themselves against WordPress and what they were able to do and not do. I’m curious what specifically they’re doing to attract journalists? I couldn’t find anything specifically better than anything else on the market that would set it apart other than their promise on ease-of-use.

There were some interesting insights for those working within the IndieWeb community as well as businesses which might build themselves upon it.

Highlights:

Decentralised platforms fundamentally cannot compete on ease of setup. Nothing beats the UX of signing up for a centralised application.

We spent a very long time trying to compete on convenience and simplicity. This was our biggest mistake and the hardest lesson to learn.

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: Sexual Harassment’s Toll on Careers | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: Sexual Harassment’s Toll on Careers by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

In a case that highlights the economic consequences of sexual harassment and retaliation, Ashley Judd is suing Harvey Weinstein for the damage he did to her career after she rebuffed his advances.

And in the second part of the episode, three women who pioneered the language of consent reflect on being far ahead of their time on the politics of sex.

On today’s episode:

• Jodi Kantor, one of the investigative reporters at The New York Times who broke the story about the raft of sexual harassment accusations against Mr. Weinstein, discusses the implications of a new lawsuit.

• We hear from Juliet Brown, Christelle Evans and Bethany Saltman, who helped to establish an affirmative consent policy for sex at Antioch College in 1990.

Background reading:

• Ms. Judd filed a lawsuit on Monday accusing Mr. Weinstein of harming her career by spreading lies about her after she rejected his sexual requests. Her claim is corroborated by the director Peter Jackson, who revealed last year that Mr. Weinstein had warned him not to hire the actress for his “Lord of the Rings” franchise.

• Antioch College students developed a sexual consent policy in the 1990s. It was mocked by much of the rest of the world. Since then, campuses across the country have caught up, and a new generation of Antioch students is pushing the conversation further.

• A Times video journalist recalls being asked to sign a verbal consent form during a visit to Antioch College in 2004, long before the language of sexual consent had entered the mainstream.

It’s long been an open secret in casting related discussions that people’s character and habits are maligned to push decisions in one direction or another, and often in ways that harm not only the person’s career, but their future potential for hiring. In most other industries, this would be easily litigated or at least brought up. I’m glad to see it may be banned outright as a result of cases like these.

Having gone to college in the 90’s myself I also remember the Antioch College agreements. Though they may have gone a bit too far, it’s obvious they were generally right in re-balancing the power in relationships as well as being well ahead of their times.

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👓 This Is How a Newspaper Dies | Politico

Read This Is How a Newspaper Dies by Jack Shafer (POLITICO Magazine)
It’s with a spasm of profits.

This article outlines an intriguing method for plundering the carcass of a dying business to reap as much profit from it as it dies as one can. I suppose that if one is sure a segment is on its way out, one may as well exploit its customers to turn a profit.

I wonder how long it will take for traditional television and cable related businesses to begin using this model as more and more people cut the cord.

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I just submitted a workshop/presentation proposal to WordCamp for Publishers: Chicago (Aug 8-10) on the topic of applying IndieWeb principles and new W3C recommended open web standards to publishing. I’m particularly excited because their theme is “Taking Back The Open Web”!

Fingers crossed!

Call for Speakers

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👓 Save Barnes & Noble! | New York Times

Read Opinion | Save Barnes & Noble! by David LeonhardtDavid Leonhardt (nytimes.com)
It’s in trouble. And Washington’s flawed antitrust policy is a big reason.

There are some squirrel-ly things that Amazon is managing to get away with, and they’re not all necessarily good.

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❤️ aschweig tweet about WordCamp for Publishers

Liked a tweet by Adam SchweigertAdam Schweigert (Twitter)
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👓 MoviePass is no longer too good to be true | The Verge

Read MoviePass is no longer too good to be true by Nick Statt (The Verge)
Restrictions and no longer selling its one-movie-per-day plan, are bad signs

Sad to hear this is happening. Hopefully they can hang along to get the expected economies of scale they were aiming to get before they go under. Of course, somehow the market is going to equilibrate on them.

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On the topic of RSS audio feeds for The Gillmor Gang

Some suggestions for extracting audio only podcast-friendly feeds for one of my favorite shows.

I’ll start off with the fact that I’m a big fan of The Gillmore Gang and recommend it to anyone who is interested in the very bleeding edge of the overlap of technology and media. I’ve been listening almost since the beginning, and feel that digging back into their archives is a fantastic learning experience even for the well-informed. Most older episodes stand up well to the test of time.

The Problem

In the Doc Soup episode of The Gillmor Gang on 5/13/17–right at the very end–Steve Gillmor reiterated, “This isn’t a podcast. This was a podcast. It will always be a podcast, but streaming is where it’s at, and that’s what we’re doing right now.” As such, apparently Tech Crunch (or Steve for that matter) doesn’t think it’s worthwhile to have any sort of subscribe-able feed for those who prefer to listen to a time shifted version of the show. (Ironically in nearly every other episode they talk about the brilliance of the Apple TV, which is–guess what?–a highly dedicated time shifting viewing/listening device.) I suppose that their use of an old, but modified TV test pattern hiding in the og:image metadata on their webpages is all-too-apropos.

It’s been several years (around the time of the Leo Incident?) since The Gillmor Gang has reliably published an audio version, a fact I find painful and frustrating as I’m sure many others do as well. At least once or twice a year, I spend an hour or so searching around to find one, generally to no avail. While watching it live and participating in the live chat may be nice, I typically can’t manage the time slot, so I’m stuck trying to find time to watch the video versions on Tech Crunch. Sadly, looking at four or more old, wrinkly, white men (Steve himself has cautioned, “cover your eyes, it’ll be okay…” without admitting it could certainly use some diversity) for an hour or more isn’t my bailiwick. Having video as the primary modality for this show is rarely useful. To me, it’s the ideas within the discussion which are worthwhile, so I only need a much lower bandwidth .mp3 audio file to be able to listen. And so sadly, the one thing this over-technologized show (thanks again TriCaster!) actually needs from a production perspective is a simple .mp3 (RSS, Atom, JSON feed, or h-feed) podcast feed!

Solutions

In recent batches of searching, I have come across a few useful resources for those who want simple, sweet audio out of the show, so I’m going to document them here.

First, some benevolent soul has been archiving audio copies of the show to The Internet Archive for a while. They can be found here (sorted by upload date): https://archive.org/search.php?query=subject%3A%22Gillmor+Gang%22&sort=-publicdate

In addition to this, one might also use other search methods, but this should give one most of the needed weekly content. Sadly IA doesn’t provide a useful feed out…

To create a feed quickly, one can create a free Huffduffer account. (This is one of my favorite tools in the world by the way.) They’ve got a useful bookmarklet tool that allows you to visit pages and save audio files and metadata about them to your account. Further, they provide multiple immediate means of subscribing to your saves as feeds! Thus you can pick and choose which Gillmor Gang episodes (or any other audio files on the web for that matter) you’d like to put into your feed. Then subscribe in your favorite podcatcher and go.

For those who’d like to skip a step, Huffduffer also provides iTunes and a variety of other podcatcher specific feeds for content aggregated in other people’s accounts or even via tags on the service. (You can subscribe to what your friends are listening to!) Thus you can search for Gillmor Gang and BOOM! There are quick and easy links right there in the sidebar for you to subscribe to your heart’s content! (Caveat: you might have to filter out a few duplicates or some unrelated content, but this is the small price you’ll pay for huge convenience.)

My last potential suggestion might be useful to some, but is (currently) so time-delayed it’s likely not as useful. For a while, I’ve been making “Listen” posts to my website of things I listen to around the web. I’ve discovered that the way I do it, which involves transcluding the original audio files so the original host sees and gets the traffic, provides a subscribe-able faux-cast of content. You can use this RSS feed to capture the episodes I’ve been listening to lately. Note that I’m way behind right now and don’t always listen to episodes in chronological order, so it’s not as reliable a method for the more avid fan. Of course now that I’ve got some reasonable solutions… I’ll likely catch up quickly and we’re off to the races again.

Naturally none of this chicanery would be necessary if the group of producers and editors of the show would take five minutes to create and host their own version. Apparently they have the freedom and flexibility to not have to worry about clicks and advertising (which I completely appreciate, by the way) to need to capture the other half of the audience they’re surely missing by not offering an easy-to-find audio feed. But I’m dead certain they’ve got the time, ability, and resources to easily do this, which makes it painful to see that they don’t. Perhaps one day they will, but I wouldn’t bet the house on it.

I’ve made requests and been holding my breath for years, but the best I’ve done so far is to turn blue and fall off my chair.

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👓 The Scientific Paper Is Obsolete | The Atlantic

Read The Scientific Paper Is Obsolete by James Somers (The Atlantic)
The scientific paper—the actual form of it—was one of the enabling inventions of modernity. Before it was developed in the 1600s, results were communicated privately in letters, ephemerally in lectures, or all at once in books. There was no public forum for incremental advances. By making room for reports of single experiments or minor technical advances, journals made the chaos of science accretive. Scientists from that point forward became like the social insects: They made their progress steadily, as a buzzing mass.

The earliest papers were in some ways more readable than papers are today. They were less specialized, more direct, shorter, and far less formal. Calculus had only just been invented. Entire data sets could fit in a table on a single page. What little “computation” contributed to the results was done by hand and could be verified in the same way.

Not quite the cutting edge stuff I would have liked, but generally an interesting overview of relatively new technology and UI set ups like Mathematica and Jupyter.

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🔖 PaperBadger

Bookmarked PaperBadger by Mozilla Science (GitHub)
Issuing badges to credit authors for their work on academic papers https://badges.mozillascience.org/

Exploring the use of digital badges for crediting contributors to scholarly papers for their work

As the research environment becomes more digital, we want to test how we can use this medium to help bring transparency and credit for individuals in the publication process.

This work is a collaboration with publishers BioMed Central (BMC), Ubiquity Press (UP) and the Public Library of Science (PLoS); the biomedical research foundation, The Wellcome Trust; the software and technology firm Digital Science; the registry of unique researcher identifiers, ORCID; and the Mozilla Science Lab.

h/t to Greg McVerry via https://chat.indieweb.org/dev/2018-04-04#t1522869725219200

👓 Steven Bochco Dead: ‘NYPD Blue’ Creator, Dies at 74 | Variety

Read Steven Bochco, Innovative Co-Creator of ‘NYPD Blue,’ ‘Hill Street Blues,’ Dies at 74 by Brian Lowry (Variety)
Steven Bochco, a producer whose boundary-pushing series such as “Hill Street Blues” and “NYPD Blue” helped define the modern TV drama, has died. He was 74.

Bochco was a television genius. I really enjoyed the depth and breadth of so much of his work over the years. This is a real loss to the narrative thread of all of our lives.

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👓 Introducing Subscribe with Google | Google

Read Introducing Subscribe with Google by Jim Albrecht (www.blog.google)
Making digital subscriptions simple by making it easier to subscribe and enjoy premium content

Interesting to see this roll out as Facebook is having some serious data collection problems. This looks a bit like a means for Google to directly link users with content they’re consuming online and then leveraging it much the same way that Facebook was with apps and companies like Cambridge Analytica.

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

Paying for a subscription is a clear indication that you value and trust your subscribed publication as a source. So we’ll also highlight those sources across Google surfaces


So Subscribe with Google will also allow you to link subscriptions purchased directly from publishers to your Google account—with the same benefits of easier and more persistent access.


you can then use “Sign In with Google” to access the publisher’s products, but Google does the billing, keeps your payment method secure, and makes it easy for you to manage your subscriptions all in one place.

I immediately wonder who owns my related subscription data? Is the publisher only seeing me as a lumped Google proxy or do they get may name, email address, credit card information, and other details?

How will publishers be able (or not) to contact me? What effect will this have on potential customer retention?

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Exactly five years ago to the day I was excited about the possibilities of Digg Reader:

Now they’ve announced they’re shutting down. It seems to me that from a UI perspective, they only put in a bare minimal amount of effort to build out their reader and ceased iterating it on the day it it opened.

This is the second reader shut down recently, but I’m more excited about the idea of Microsub and what it may mean to the future of feed readers.

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👓 Open web annotation of audio and video | Jon Udell

Read Open web annotation of audio and video by Jon UdellJon Udell (Jon Udell)
Text, as the Hypothesis annotation client understands it, is HTML, or PDF transformed to HTML. In either case, it’s what you read in a browser, and what you select when you make an annotation. What’s the equivalent for audio and video? It’s complicated because although browsers enable us to select passages of text, the standard media players built into browsers don’t enable us to select segments of audio and video. It’s trivial to isolate a quote in a written document. Click to set your cursor to the beginning, then sweep to the end. Now annotation can happen. The browser fires a selection event; the annotation client springs into action; the user attaches stuff to the selection; the annotation server saves that stuff; the annotation client later recalls it and anchors it to the selection. But selection in audio and video isn’t like selection in text. Nor is it like selection in images, which we easily and naturally crop. Selection of audio and video happens in the temporal domain. If you’ve ever edited audio or video you’ll appreciate what that means. Setting a cursor and sweeping a selection isn’t enough. You can’t know that you got the right intro and outro by looking at the selection. You have to play the selection to make sure it captures what you intended. And since it probably isn’t exactly right, you’ll need to make adjustments that you’ll then want to check, ideally without replaying the whole clip.

Jon Udell has been playing around with media fragments to create some new functionality in Hypothes.is. The nice part is that he’s created an awesome little web service for quickly and easily editing media fragments online for audio and video (including YouTube videos) which he’s also open sourced on GitHub.

I suspect that media fragments experimenters like Aaron Parecki, Marty McGuire, Kevin Marks, and Tantek Çelik will appreciate what he’s doing and will want to play as well as possibly extend it. I’ve already added some of the outline to the IndieWeb wiki page for media fragments (and a link to fragmentions) which has some of their prior work.

I too look forward to a day where web browsers have some of this standardized and built in as core functionality.

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

Open web annotation of audio and video

This selection tool has nothing intrinsically to do with annotation. It’s job is to make your job easier when you are constructing a link to an audio or video segment.

I’m reminded of a JavaScript tool written by Aaron Parecki that automatically adds a start fragment to the URL of his page when the audio on the page is paused. He’s documented it here: https://indieweb.org/media_fragment


(If I were Virginia Eubanks I might want to capture the pull quote myself, and display it on my book page for visitors who aren’t seeing it through the Hypothesis lens.)

Of course, how would she know that the annotation exists? Here’s another example of where adding webmentions to Hypothesis for notifications could be useful, particularly when they’re more widely supported. I’ve outlined some of the details here in the past: http://boffosocko.com/2016/04/07/webmentions-for-improving-annotation-and-preventing-bullying-on-the-web/

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