It's Not a 'Paywall' When It's 'Freemium'

Steve • June 8, 2012

Member drive. Journalist Steve Outing points out that using the term "paywall" to describe The New York Times' policy of charging users for accessing more than 10 articles a month is misleading. After enumerating all the ways the Times' restrictions can be circumvented, Outing says the paywall's porosity renders its policy something closer to a voluntary membership, which ultimately could prove a friendlier model for funding serious news efforts.

He argues for a distinction that makes a substantial difference and I agree. I certainly feel much more like a "member" than a subscriber. The Times has done a very good job packaging extras and surprises for this group of readers. E-mails arrive with links to back stories on important features or with a package of links to videos or other innovative reporting like this graphical analysis of a great orchestra conductor. ( Michalko)

Lessons from the Music Industry: Should We Put Our Faith in Technology Companies?

The Scholarly Kitchen • June 5, 2012

Retro alert. Oxford University Press Senior Editor David Crotty recounts musician David Lowery's memories of the Bad Old Days when record labels actually shared risk and revenue with talent. Lowery's lament over the current plight of content creators signals a potential reassessment of the role of media firms in the creative process.

This is a credible comparison and signals the right kind of caution around transferring the interests in scholarship and research from one bad boss to an equally bad boss who is also amorphous and unresponsive. Click the links in this article. David Lowery and Camper van Beethoven were all around Northern California when I first arrived here and I have fond memories. Take the Skinheads Bowling . . .
 ( Michalko)


The Curious Case of Internet Privacy

Technology Review • June 6, 2012

The best things in life may not be entirely free. Techno-pundit Cory Doctorow says today's "privacy bargain"—in which web surfers trade their personal data for free content—is way too one-sided. Read on for Doctorow's suggestions on how browser vendors and cookie managers could step up to the plate with a new solution.

Another poorly-examined trade in which we constantly and usually unconsciously engage. If you'd like your consciousness raised on this account download the Collusion add-on to Firefox and discover who's tracking you. ( Michalko)

If You've Ever Sold a Used iPod, You May Have Violated Copyright Law

The Atlantic • June 8, 2012

It's complicated. Check out this explanation of how an upcoming Supreme Court case over textbooks will affect whether it's okay to sell used possessions containing foreign components without first obtaining permission from those companies. The case follows a string of decisions on copyright's "first-sale doctrine" and could have far-reaching implications in this age of rampant off-shoring.

Remarkable. I'm embarrassed that I did not know about the suit or the incredible impact it might have. ( Michalko)

How to End the Age of Inattention

The Wall Street Journal • June 1, 2012

The slow care movement. A pioneering program at Yale School of Medicine requires all first-year students to participate in a "museum intervention" course officially dubbed Enhancing Observation Skills. Each student is assigned a painting to examine and the resulting observations are then shared with the group. The goal is to "slow down the students," says program co-founder Linda Friedlaender, curator of education at the Yale Center for British Art. "They have an urge to come up with a diagnosis immediately and get the right answer." Read on to find out more about this innovative partnership, which has been replicated in more than 20 medical schools.

An intriguing approach that seems to make a difference. However, this kind of attention is hard. I recently had the good fortune to visit the Barnes Foundation in its wonderful new building. I challenged myself to sit in one of those rooms surrounded by an eclectic set of oddly-hung paintings and try to figure out what aesthetic Barnes had in mind when he created the grouping. Line? Color? Space? Depth? It was very hard and exhausting to give that kind of concentrated attention. I quit and bought the book. ( Michalko)

Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what institution, named for a Greek mythological tree nymph, is an international repository of data underlying peer-reviewed articles in the basic and applied biosciences that enables scientists to validate published findings?

Get the answer.