Get Off the NYT’s Lawn

We’re going to presume that Arthur S. Brisbane is 60. We’re presuming that Arthur S. Brisbane is 60 because Arthur S. Brisbane was 59 when Arthur S. Brisbane was announced as the new “Public Editor” of the New York Times last June. If you’re not familiar with a Public Editor, his job is to write letters to the editors of the New York Times. Only unlike yours, his get published.

Like this one, published Sunday:

A Cocktail Party With Readers

A cocktail party! How very New York Times of Arthur S. Brisbane! Not a beer, mind you. Nor a bong hit, for that matter. No, a cocktail party. Something we haven’t seen since Woody Allen’s early, funny films.

Only it’s not a real cocktail party. Arthur S. Brisbane is being fanciful. Arthur S. Brisbane is being fanciful because Arthur S. Brisbane is searching for words to describe a novel experience in Arthur S. Brisbane’s rarefied life. For you see, Arthur S. Brisbane has discovered Twitter:

Early adopters at The Times boldly went there four years ago. I made the move only in the last few weeks — to Twitter, that is, that curiously named domain where Middle Eastern revolutions erupt and Charlie Sheen, too.

What a curiously named domain, says the curiously named Arthur S. Brisbane! Perhaps you’ve heard of it? No? Maybe the child of our cocktail party’s host has a Personal Computer, and I’ll show it to you!

Is this a good thing, I wondered, or an epic waste of time? After all, if you aren’t one of Twitter’s 200 million account holders worldwide, you don’t see any of this material; it’s certainly not doing you any good.

The same might be said if you aren’t one of the New York Times’ 877,000 weekday readers, but you won’t hear Arthur S. Brisbane saying it. Did you know that the New York Times is where false pretenses for Iraq invasions erupt? You won’t hear Arthur S. Brisbane saying that, either. Because Judith Miller’s stories went through proper channels.

There are risks, though. An obvious one is that tweets are free to go forth unedited, in the same way that Times staffers are unedited when they appear on television or radio. Times policy simply cautions them to follow the basic rules of common journalistic sense.

Unless you’re describing the 11-year-old victim of a gang rape as asking for it, of course.

Oh, we’re sorry. That wasn’t on Twitter. This was:

Perhaps the most remembered misstep came a year ago when a reporter covering Toyota, in a fit of frustration with the company’s handling of a press conference, tweeted, “Toyota sucks.”

Yes, it must be really embarrassing when a reporter accurately describes a poorly managed corporate presentation in public. We don’t know whether we can ever trust the New York Times after that.

But perhaps we’re being unfair. Surely Arthur S. Brisbane knows New York Times readers better than we do, and if Arthur S. Brisbane needs to describe a curiously named domain to New York Times readers as a cocktail party, surely we should trust Arthur S. Brisbane’s judgment.

Only if Arthur S. Brisbane is right, we strongly doubt that the 877,000 weekday readers of the New York Times include the hip young professionals depicted in New York Times commercials.

A Cocktail Party With Readers [NYT]

Since we’re (sort-of) talking tech, let me throw this out there:

Yesterday after dropping the kids off at church (wife=religious, me=not so much) I swung by the Apple Store and held, with mine own two hands, an iPad 2… did I say held? Fondled might be a better term to use here. Because that thing is the sexiest thing to come out of California since Cameron Diaz. Sleek, incredibly thin, very light, minimalist in design… just gorgeous. It’s also fast… blazingly, awesomely, stupefyingly fast. To be any faster the dang thing would have to anticipate your inputs.

Just a couple of weeks ago I bought a Nook Color. Mainly because it is super cheap and amazingly capable, also because it sports a 7″ screen, which makes for a nice, trim package that’s easy to toss into a small bag, or carry around like a little journal (something my Nook resembles in its faux leather case). I did this largely because I want something to hold me over until there’s real competition between full featured Apple tablets and those running the Android OS (real, honest to God, full throated competition is still 6 months, to a year away, I’d wager).

All I can say, after seeing the iPad II is this: Apple has set the bar astonishingly high, and if the company does eventually reverse itself and release a version sporting a smaller screen (7″ or thereabouts) it’s going to massacre the competition (at the moment –and now that iPad II includes a camera– the availablilty of a 7″ form factor is one of the few features that competitors like Samsung can point to, when trying to convince consumers to buy their wares instead of an iPad).

@Nojo: I recommend that we take this up to the roof of the Puck Building for a Board Meeting (great post).

@Serolf Divad: My Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of the US Gubmint, has decided to gradually roll out the use of iPads to help our Very Important Work. At first I thought, “great, I already dropped my own coin on one”, then I thought ‘but wait, we don’t even have wi fi‘, without which I can’t even read the latest version of Rolling Stone on Zinio because, well, the copies reside in the “cloud”.

Then today, two of our IT guys showed up in my office, sporting one of the new(ish) iPads that will be field tested here in NotTibet. There’s a new marriage between Our Company and the Citrix app for the iPad, and I already knew that I could log into my home office, corporate account on my iPad – I just hadn’t done it more than once because, well, I spend plenty of time on email at work and with my blackberry afterwards. But when I showed them how I could pull up my entire desktop which sits somewhere on the server back on the US mainland, they nearly squealed with delight. Mind you, they’re running 3G in a developing country that is currently up to 168 hours of power cuts daily, and the damn thing was screaming fast.

Trust me, both you and your wife went to church yesterday. You just read from different books of Job(s).


I have no doubt that the iPad represents a huge stake, driven right through the heart of the Personal Computer. 10 years from now, it will be a rare exception to find a traditional PC in someone’s home. Games will be played on a gaming console hooked up to the TV, and everything else will be done on tablets (only occasionally hooked up to a keyboard for extensive text entry tasks). A “computer” will be something you use at work.

Microsoft must be shaking in their boots right now. I’d short the company, quite honestly, if I were an investor. Until Microsoft overcomes its own miopia and realizes that it needs a real tablet OS to compete with the iPad, the company is looking downright pre-historic.

@Serolf Divad: Did you lick it? It sounds like you wanted to.

@Nabisco: If only I could figure something I could do with it. I’ve been reading that they sold out within a few hours of going on sale with most of them going to first-time buyers. I don’t know why this makes me proud.

Oh and the NYTimes. Did you know they have a new ethicist? They fired the old one. Ethically.

@Benedick AEA, AFTRA, SAG, DG.: I’d read that Randy Cohen was retiring, and had hoped that the column was retiring with him. Perhaps the reboot will inspire Gawker to find a new Unethicist?

@Serolf Divad:
It’s amuses me in a way because I was at a conference once where MS discussed what it wants to do (circa 1995/6)

I seem to remember the following
1) They pooh poohed security on the internet, said their security was good enough
2) They showed off a clunky large resource sucking small system OS that was no good for anyone aka Windowz CE
3) Only foresaw a wired not wireless future

As far as I know, not much has changed attitude wise since then.

I never thought this would be what would kill the monolith of MS, but here we are.

@mellbell: I read Roger Cohen’s parting shot whimper. Something about how he totes loved the Gray Lady and her readers, but that in the age of micro-blogging, he felt like he just had more to say than an Op Ed allowed him. Oh, and something about Sondheim.

@ManchuCandidate: If I only had had money to purchase Apple stock (or anything, for that matter) back in the days of the PC wars, I’d be rolling in it right now. All I have left is “early adopter” status. Mac SE in the house, y’all!

@Nabisco: Would that we were all as prescient as Forrest Gump. It’s not quite apples to apples (heh), but I have a great-aunt in Burlington who did okay with Ben & Jerry’s stock.

@mellbell: You’re right. Randy wasn’t fired. I was making an unethical joke. I think he also writes for something like the Daily Show. He’s an interesting and amusing man.

@Nabisco: It is Randy. And aapl is doing very nicely.

@mellbell: I’ve done OK with their ice cream. I also visited the mothership in Vermont.

@Benedick AEA, AFTRA, SAG, DG.:

Did you lick it? It sounds like you wanted to.

Good God, of course not, Benedick!!!! (People were watching.)

@Dodgerblue: But did you visit the Cabot factory on the same day? That takes dedication (and high lactose tolerance).

@Serolf Divad: I would lick it. Luckily the nearest store is over an hour away.

@Nabisco: Roger Cohen is still there. You read Frank Rich’s whimpering “they didn’t shove me out the door” piece yesterday. Randy Cohen, who wrote The Ethicist, was kicked out the door of the Magazine, along with the On Language column, Virginia Hefferman’s column explaining the tubez, and the “Cooking with Dexter” food column. I was happy to see Deborah Solomon go, but they’ve replaced the full photos of the person being interviewed with these close-up head shots that show every pore on the person’s face. And now they have oh-so-hipply nicknamed the Magazine to be “6th Floor” because that’s what floor they’re on at the Times.

@mellbell: I’ve done the B&J/Cabot back-to-back on the same day. Wow. On an unrelated note, can you set up the Stinque March Madness pool again for this year?

@mellbell: In fact, I did. I preferred the Shelburne Farms cheddar over Cabot though — their 3 year old farmhouse cheddar is the best I’ve ever tasted and I’m spent a bit of coin on it since that trip. And I am somewhat lactose intolerant; I had to bring a 55 gallon drum of Lactaid pills or the trip would have been very distressing to myself and those downwind of me.

@SanFranLefty: /We are so alike. Let’s get married. Oh, wait.

All right, people. Enough with the goddam Times and such as. Haven’t we been through enough? Click the link for lolcat goodness plus crazy preacher signage. You need it and you deserve it. (and noje seems to be asleep and someone’s got to do something.)

@Benedick AEA, AFTRA, SAG, DG.:

Bonus points for this wingnut for putting “Racists” on the list, then smearing Jews right next to it. Has somebody told him that the book he seems so obsessed with was primarily *written by* and *starring* Jews? Also, WTF does “Ankle Biters” mean?

In similar news of teh crazee vs. ladybits, Iowa woman jailed for thinking about abortion. The second story in that article is also beyond creepy…

@al2o3cr: I know, I thought the same. Enter google. Seems that Ankle biters are children.

Thanks for sharing those dreadful stories. My day just got a little bit darker.

@Serolf Divad: Whatever comes along, I’m still gonna need a full size keyboard to write brief and stuff with.

@Benedick AEA, AFTRA, SAG, DG.:

Re: “ankle biters” – certainly, that’s what it means in common parlance, but I’m unclear why kids would be on the list given that he’s clearly pretty pro-forced-pregnancy. What does he expect the kids to do, stay in the uterus until they’re old enough to vote?

@Benedick AEA, AFTRA, SAG, DG.: That photo is ringing a bell for me. Because back me up here, Chicago Bureau and JNOV, but I’m almost certain that that photo of the crazy dude was taken on the Farm at White Plaza, with Braun Music Center as the building behind him, and the photographer with his/her back to the Post Office and bookstore. Any doubt of the location is satisfied by the red golf cart with the S on the front bumper that’s behind him.

@SanFranLefty: “Jews That are From the Synagogue of Satan.”

/adds “Synagogue of Satan” to list of future album titles

I see that he left Pagans off the list. I have no dog in this fight.

@SanFranLefty: Is he in the Farm Band? Is this a prank?

@SanFranLefty: Done. Will pass along the info to nojo for the newbies.

Those belugas are a good “eating” whale, tender, delicate meat. . .

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