The Economist explains: What is ASCII? | The Economist: " . . . . ASCII, too, has its flaws. In particular it does not support the various characters required in non-English languages. As a result, several variations of ASCII emerged to support accents and non-Roman characters. To address these problems an entirely new standard, Unicode, was devised starting in the late 1980s. It uses between 8 and 32 bits to represent each character, theoretically providing support for 4.3 billion unique characters, symbols or glyphs—though in practice it is limited to 1.1m symbols, of which more than 100,000 have so far been defined, including the cuneiform characters of Sargon's time. In 2007 the dominant form of Unicode (called UTF-8) surpassed American ASCII and a Western European variant as the most widely used encoding on the web, and UTF-8 is now used on more than 75% of web pages. As it celebrates its 50th birthday, then, ASCII is in decline, as it is gradually replaced by Unicode. But in a sense it lives on: the first 128 characters of Unicode precisely match those of ASCII, providing backwards compatibility, while also preserving aspects of even older codes in digital amber."
Herald dedicates its new Doral headquarters - Business - MiamiHerald.com: " . . .The newspaper industry has suffered significant disruption during the past decade, including bankruptcies, ownership changes, layoffs and furloughs. In response, some news organizations have introduced paid online subscriptions, cut back on print delivery and introduced alternative publications. Meanwhile, daily print newspaper readership has declined nationwide by nearly 20 percent since 2001, Scarborough Research’s figures show. Yet in the past five years, the Herald has seen an 80 percent increase in monthly unique visitors to its four websites, from an average of 4.5 million unique monthly visitors in 2008 to an average of 8.1 million this year, said Alex Fuentes, general manager of Miami Herald Interactive. . . ."
All journalism is advocacy (or it isn't) — BuzzMachine: " when a whistleblower knocks on your door, you must decide not whose side you’re on but whom and what principles you serve. This is a way to recast the specific argument journalists are having now about whether Snowden is a hero or a traitor. Wrong question. As a journalistic organization, the Guardian had to ask whether the public had a right to the information Snowden carried, no matter which side it benefitted (so long as the public’s interests — in terms of security — were not harmed)." (read more at link above)
Oh, and by the way, if Snowden were a "traitor"--he wouldn't be in Hong Kong, he would be in Beijing (or Moscow or Tehran or Havana or Pyongyang)--we know where traitors go.
Amazon Publishing: How it controls whole book supply chain - Sep. 27, 2011: " . . . . Amazon quietly launched its own book imprint in 2009. The effort expanded the next year into a line of foreign translations and another of "manifestos" from thought leaders, but it stayed fairly under-the-radar until this May, when Amazon brought in famed New York editor Larry Kirshbaum to head up its Amazon Publishing unit. Kirshbaum quickly dumped gasoline on Amazon's publishing sparks: Last month, he signed uber-popular self-help author Timothy Ferriss, whose book The 4-Hour Workweek (published by Crown, a division of Random House) remains a perennial bestseller. Amazon plans to publish Ferriss's next book, The 4-Hour Chef, in April 2012, in all formats: digital, audio, and old-fashioned ink on paper. Ferriss is the highest-profile author yet to jump ship from the traditional publishing houses, and his defection has rivals spooked. "Amazon is holding the entire book industry hostage," says Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association. "First they disintermediated retailers, and now it's publishers and authors.". . ."
For the mainstream media, it has been a hard spring--the scales have dropped from their eyes--they now see their worst nightmares in the form of Barack Obama and Eric Holder and this administration's abuse of first amendment freedoms--
It has been apparent for several years that the Obama Administration has departed from the First Amendment norms established during the seven Presidencies since Branzburg. Holder has overseen six prosecutions of government officials for aiding the press, more than were brought by all previous Administrations combined. (source infra)
Steve Coll: Why Journalists Deserve Better Protections : The New Yorker: " . . . Obama inherited a bloated national-security state. It contains far too many official secrets and far too many secret-keepers—more than a million people now hold top-secret clearances. Under a thirty-year-old executive order issued by the White House, the intelligence agencies must inform the Justice Department whenever they believe that classified information has been disclosed illegally to the press. These referrals operate on a kind of automatic pilot, and the system is unbalanced. Prosecutors in Justice’s national-security division initially decide on whether to make a criminal case or to defer to the First Amendment. The record shows that in recent years the division has been bent on action. . . ."
IRS Addresses Whether Publisher Is “Producer” Under §199 | McDermott Will & Emery - JDSupra: "The IRS National Office concluded that the taxpayer’s activities produce only electronic, intangible copies of the books, and therefore the taxpayer does not qualify under §199 because §199 applies, with exceptions not relevant, only to taxpayers that produce tangible property. Under §199, however, taxpayers and the IRS are required to determine whether the taxpayer produces the property that the taxpayer regularly sells. Treas. Reg. §1.199-3(d)(1)(i). The taxpayer at issue in the CCA does not sell electronic copies of its books; it sells tangible copies of its books, which it contends it produces in significant part, even if it doesn’t apply ink to paper."
The Slow Death of the American Author - NYTimes.com: "An even more nightmarish version of the same problem emerged last month with the news that Amazon had a patent to resell e-books. Such a scheme will likely be ruled illegal. But if it is not, sales of new e-books will nose-dive, because an e-book, unlike a paper book, suffers no wear with each reading. Why would anyone ever buy a new book again? Consumers might save a dollar or two, but the big winner, as usual, would be Amazon. It would literally own the resale market and would shift enormous profits to itself from publishers as well as authors, who would lose the already meager share of the proceeds they receive on the sale of new e-books."
John White on Sun-Times layoffs: ‘It was as if they pushed a button and deleted a whole culture’ | Poynter.: "He and his Sun-Times colleagues are just the latest professional photographers to face a daunting revelation: Their employers know their work is at the highest level of excellence, but aren’t willing to pay for it. White said he was most concerned about his colleagues — the former students, young families and folks who came in while on medical leave. He also worries about readers, who will no longer be able to experience “the most important ingredient of communication and understanding” in quite the same way. “Humanity is being robbed,” he said, “by people with money on their minds.” While by the lake, White turned to a reading from Psalm 20:4: “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” He reiterated: “My assignment comes from God.”"
John White on Sun-Times layoffs: ‘It was as if they pushed a button and deleted a whole culture’ | Poynter.: " . . . The Sun-Times plans to rely on reporters to take photos and videos and has begun mandatory “iPhone photography basics.” Its decision is just the latest example of a disconcerting trend in American media: professional photojournalism is being downsized and devalued, with news organizations increasingly turning to wire services, citizen-submitted content and independent/freelance contributions. The elimination of an entire photography staff is fairly uncommon among daily larger newspapers, but it’s not unprecedented. In 2008, Newsday terminated its 20-person photography staff and then allowed them to reapply for new multimedia jobs. It comes as no coincidence that Tim Knight, who’s now the publisher of the Sun-Times, was the publisher at Newsday when that transition was implemented. . . ."
Obama vs. the Press: Will the A.P. Scandal Yield Reforms? : The New Yorker: " I know it’s true that no matter what a reporter is willing to do, if a government is willing to subpoena her phone records, then sources are going to be less willing to talk—it’s the chilling effect, a cliché but a truth, too. And it’s an effect that can take hold deeply and perniciously in an atmosphere of national threat. We can’t let it, because this particular threat—terrorism—and the war on it are open-ended. We could be suspending our civil liberties forever."