The dark side of digitization

Ananova: Ancient Domesday Book outlives electronic version. It was only a matter of time before the other shoe dropped about digital content, as it usually does. While human languages change very slowly, digital languages, formats, and fashions age at an incredible rate. This is one thing that most tech people, especially, don’t think of as a hazard of junking paper in favor of bits, but it’s something to be aware of. For existing works, digitization is not a replacement for conservation, just a way to extend the effectiveness of the conservation by providing alternative means of access. For digital works that start out as digital, picking the right format is critical.

News is free…

Well, as a Radio user I have no more gripes about dearths of news feeds, having just found NewsIsFree. The only question remaining is, why don’t the newspapers go out and build their own RSS feeds to share–why do sites like NewsIsFree and Moreover have to do it for them? Seems to me they could disintermediate these guys in a heartbeat. And I would think that newspapers, above all, would understand the importance of syndication.

Shadow government

The New York Times: 60 Feet Under. Maureen Dowd makes some good points here and gets some great zingers:

“Mr. Cheney is Lord of the Rings, ruling over his very own Moria, an underground kingdom of bureaucratic hobbits and orcs….

Without Democrats or journalists, the underground executive branch can operate the way the real executive branch would like to, and frequently does — without a lot of second-guessing, Freedom of Information Act requests, complaints from civil libertarians and attention to the rights of Marin County hot-tubbers.

Nothing will be transcribed. So there will be no reason to clean up the language in President Bush’s transcripts, as the White House has done routinely since 9/11.”

Interesting question. We’ve always assumed that we get full access to the running of our government, with the exception of stuff that we really don’t want to know about (national security). There’s the rub–this administration thinks everything it does is “national security.” And it doesn’t want to share anything with the people’s representatives in the Congress, either.

Maybe Tom Daschle should talk to Bill Clinton, who came back from being made almost irrelevant by Newt Gingrich. He might have some advice on how to restore checks and balances on a political power hellbent on eliminating them.

Hooked on Radio

So I have to confess. I’m not using it for weblogging, but I’m finding Radio to be invaluable in feeding my news addiction. I love getting my favorite blogs plus headlines from CNET, Wired, Slashdot, and others all on one page. There are some really cool people out there building RSS feeds.

My question is, why don’t the major news sources (WSJ, NYT (yes I know there’s a scraped feed available), Washington Post) hop on the bandwagon? It would be fairly trivial, and I would think good business, to set up an XML headline link listing that would bring people to your site.

Good morning!

It’s a beautiful gray day in Boston this morning. I’m feeling on top of the world for no apparent reason.

Lisa is out of town, having taken her mom to London for a shopping trip. (!) I spoke with her yesterday briefly just before my cell phone ran out of battery. They got upgraded to Business Elite class on their flight to London on Thursday. I didn’t hear many details; apparently Business Elite is a mythical place with champagne, good food, and cheese plates. If the rest of their trip is a tenth as good she’ll be on cloud 9 when she gets home.