Mechanical Turk »

  • ‘It’s been over a month since you asked for reader input. What have you done?’

    November 30, 2009 @ 8:16 pm | by Hugh Linehan

    …asks Michael Egan, rather peevishly. Well, as you’ve probably noticed, we haven’t shut down the Saturday magazine/moved to a tabloid format/given up writing about religion, all of which were suggested. (more…)

  • You make life a fairy tale… Grimm

    November 23, 2009 @ 7:14 pm | by Hugh Linehan

    ‘I don’t know about you but whenever I read a blog I do not let my eye drop below half the screen in case I accidentally hit the bit where the comments reside. Of all the stinking, sliding, scuttling, weird, entomological creatures that inhabit the floor of the internet those comments on blogs are the most unbearable, almost beyond imagining.’ (more…)

  • Free is, like. so over… apparently

    November 18, 2009 @ 5:58 pm | by Hugh Linehan

    A bit more light has been shed on News International’s plans to charge for online content. James Harding, editor of the London Times, disclosed yesterday that his newspaper plans to charge for 24-hour access alongside a subscription model. Will it work? (more…)

  • There’s a chill in the air…

    November 16, 2009 @ 6:54 pm | by Hugh Linehan

    Back in dark, drizzly Ireland after a week in dark, drizzly Denmark, where I had many dark, drizzly conversations with media types from around Europe about the future of newspapers. It’s not bright, apparently.

    One speaker talked about the ice-cutting industry in 19th century America. Back then, ice-cutting was big business. Thousands of mutton-whiskered men worked at cutting blocks of ice from wintry shorelines, and shipping those blocks in container ships to the UK and the West Indies, where ice was a highly prized luxury.

    Then, someone invented the ice factory. Now ice could be made in London or anywhere else. But it was a complicated process, involving dangerous chemicals. The ice-cutters reckoned they could stay in the game by wrapping their ice better and building bigger ships. They had the market share and the business relationships to beat these upstarts, didn’t they?

     10 years later, they were gone.

    Flash forward another few decades, and the rich and happy ice factory owners heard about the invention of something called the ‘refrigerator’, which would allow anyone make their own ice. No problem, reasoned the factory owners. We have the proven technology, the established network for delivering ice around the country. We know our customers, we’ll just make our ice delivery service even better.

    Well, you know the rest…

    The question troubling my European confreres last week was: ‘are we the ice-cutters or the ice factories? And how the hell do we get into the fridge business?’

  • Why can’t I comment on John Waters’s article about how horrible comments are?

    November 5, 2009 @ 10:54 pm | by Hugh Linehan

    Technology can be deeply irritating. On the day before John Waters writes a stinging critique of user generated comments in general and a thread on the Observer’s site in illustrative particular, our own comments technology, Have Your Say, crashes and burns horribly. We are working very hard to fix it as quickly as possible, but it means a potentially interesting debate on the subject is stifled. (more…)

  • What are ‘Life’, Society’ and ‘Culture’?

    @ 10:19 am | by Hugh Linehan

    No, it’s not a philosophical question. Starting today, we’ve reorganised the way we present some of the content on the site. Up to now, the Life and Culture section contained all the articles from the daily Arts and Features pages of the newspaper, along with weekly supplements including HealthPLUS, Motors, Property, The Ticket, WeekendReview, the Saturday Magazine and Go. (more…)


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