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What is this “broadcasting” of which you speak?

What is this “broadcasting” of which you speak? published on No Comments on What is this “broadcasting” of which you speak?

My kids do not understand the idea of broadcast TV. The idea that you’d let someone else choose when your favourite shows will be on is utterly alien to them (to the point that when one of them saw it in a department store a few years ago, they gushed to their mom about this amazing new feature. Shows that change by themselves at the top of the hour without you having to pick a new one? What will they think of next?)

Years from now, as I enter my doddering years, I plan to go on at length about how you used to have to wait a week to find out what happened next, and what reruns were, and how you if you missed an episode of something with a long arc, boy, were you screwed. And how we couldn’t rewind or fast-forward. And how we all basically lived like bonobos, flinging feces at each other and picking fleas out of our fur while we watched Barney Miller. (Which is still one of the best effing sitcoms in history, kid — here, let me see if I can find an episode on YouFlix or whatever they’re calling it these days. Maybe the one with Dietrich and the conspiracy guy.)

Aside: If YouTube acquired Hulu, could they please call it YouHooLu?

Room wanted

Room wanted published on 2 Comments on Room wanted

Know an online publication or news site
where Noise to Signal would fit in perfectly?
Let me know!

Here at Noise to Signal, we’re looking for a home. We’re scouring Craigslist for something like this:

500 x 600 px. Nice up-and-coming neighbourhood. Convenient to web traffic. Bright, open standards.

For several years, Noise to Signal ran weekly at ReadWriteWeb (thanks to Marshall Kirkpatrick‘s kind introduction to Richard MacManus, for which I’ll be forever grateful). It was a terrific experience: I got to reach a wide, diverse audience who shared my interest in the social web, not to mention a great community of fellow contributors.

Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to contribute to some wonderful projects (Measuring the Networked Nonprofit and Open Community, to name just two). And I’ll keep looking for new collaborations, because damn, they make me happy.

But there’s still something I’ve missed since the RWW days. And that’s the chance to be part of an ongoing project aligned with my belief in the open web.

So I’m looking for a venue for a regular Noise to Signal cartoon. I’ll be knocking on a few doors in the coming weeks, but I’d also love your suggestions.

If you know the perfect socket for this particular chip, please let me know. It could be a tech news site, a web advocacy campaign, or something else entirely. (For example, if The Guardian, O’Reilly Media and the Mozilla Foundation are launching a new online magazine curated by danah boyd, Sir Tim Berners Lee and Baratunde Thurston, I would like very much to know about this.)

Let me know in the comments, tweet me (robcottingham) or drop me a line at Many thanks!

(TV news anchor) I've just been handed some breaking news... or to those of you on Twitter, 'that thing we've already been talking about for days.'

Broken news

Broken news published on No Comments on Broken news

So, a cartoon about how digital technology is disrupting an older, established medium… drawn on my iPad.

I just got the iPad 3 (yes, I know, we don’t call it that… I do) with a much higher resolution, and drawing on it is everything I’d hoped for. It’s finally precise enough that I don’t feel I’m giving folks my second-best work when I’m using it.

But the thing I really liked is I could do this all as quickly as I did… right after seeing this tweet:

(I was going to point Katie to this cartoon, but it’s not quite what she’s looking for.)


The director’s cut runs 3 hours, 47 minutes

The director’s cut runs 3 hours, 47 minutes published on 1 Comment on The director’s cut runs 3 hours, 47 minutes

Most TV news credit sequences I’m seeing these days rival Avatar for sheer sensation. “Dude, it’s like I’m totally flying. Through. The news!

The only problem is, the net effect becomes “Holy crap! HOLY CRAP!!… HOOOOLLLLYYYY CRAAAAAP!!! Good evening. Wheat futures dropped half a percentage point today in light trading…” They raise the dramatic stakes so high that, unless the lead story is “Monster robot army rampages through Oslo,” the actual news is bound to be a disappointment.

(Then again, if your news network’s dominant narrative is that the President is actually an alien bent on the destruction of the United States of America, you can probably meet that standard without breaking a sweat.)