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PR That Doesn’t Bark, Or Barks Too Much

This is my weekly Loose Wire Service column, an edited version of which was recorded for my BBC World Service slot. Audio to follow. There’s a moment in All The President’s Men that nails it. Bob Woodward is telling his editors about when he’d called up the White House to confirm that Howard Hunt, one of the Watergate burglars, worked there as a consultant for Charles Colson, special counsel to President Nixon. “Then,” Woodward tells his editors, “the P.R. guy said the weirdest thing to me. (reading) ‘I am convinced that neither Mr. Colson nor anyone else at the White House had any knowledge of,Continue readingPR That Doesn’t Bark, Or Barks Too Much

2011: Year of The Media App

This is my weekly Loose Wire Service column. By Jeremy Wagstaff I predict this year that we’ll settle on a way to make people pay for stuff they so far have proven reluctant to pay for—namely information. This won’t be done by pay walls, exactly, but by what we’re now calling apps. Apps are applications that people seem very willing to pay for when they’re doing it from a device that isn’t a desktop computer. So people are buying these things because what’s a buck when you know you can get to hurl Angry Birds onto flimsy structures sheltering evil pigs on your device inContinue reading2011: Year of The Media App

Stuck on Stuxnet

By Jeremy Wagstaff (this is my weekly Loose Wire Service column for newspaper syndication) We’ve reached one of those moments that I like: When we’ll look back at the time before and wonder how we were so naive about everything. In this case, we’ll think about when we thought computer viruses were just things that messed up, well, computers. Henceforward, with every mechanical screw-up, every piston that fails, every pump that gives out, any sign of smoke, we’ll be asking ourselves: was that a virus? I’m talking, of course, about the Stuxnet worm. It’s a piece of computer code–about the size of half an averageContinue readingStuck on Stuxnet

Lost in the Flow of The Digital Word

my weekly column as part of the Loose Wire Service, hence the lack of links. By Jeremy Wagstaff A few weeks ago I wrote about the emergence of the digital book, and how, basically, we should get over our love affair with its physical ancestor and realize that, as with newspapers, rotary dial phones and reel-to-reel tape decks, the world has moved on. Digital rules, and ebooks now make more sense than papyrus. Not everyone was happy. My bookseller friends won’t talk to me anymore, and don’t even mention my author ex-buddies. One person told me I was “brave” (I think he meant foolhardy) inContinue readingLost in the Flow of The Digital Word

The Phantom Threats We Face

This is a copy of my weekly Loose Wire Service column. By Jeremy Wagstaff We fear what we don’t know, even if it’s a guy in Shenzhen trying to make an honest living developing software that changes the background color of your mobile phone display. Here’s what happened. I’ll save the lessons for the end of this piece. A guy who prefers to go by the name Jackeey found a  niche for himself developing programs—usually called apps—for the Android cellphone operating system. They were wallpaper applications—basically changing the background to the display. That was until an online news site, VentureBeat, reported on July 28 thatContinue readingThe Phantom Threats We Face

A pale white man shows us what journalism is

My weekly Loose Wire Service column. Is the Internet replacing journalism? It’s a question that popped up as I gazed at the blurred, distorted web-stream of a press conference from London by the founder of WikiLeaks, a website designed to “protect whistleblowers, journalists and activists who have sensitive materials to communicate to the public”. On the podium there’s Julian Assange. You can’t make a guy like this up. White haired, articulate and defensive, aloof and grungy, specific and then sweepingly angry. Fascinating. In a world of people obsessed by the shininess of their iPhones, Assange is either a throwback to the past or a gulfContinue readingA pale white man shows us what journalism is

Media’s Future: Retail

(This is a copy of my weekly newspaper column, distributed by Loose Wire Service) By Jeremy Wagstaff As you no doubt know, Rupert Murdoch has decided to put up a front door on the The Times’ website, demanding a modest toll for reading the online content. Needless to say this has prompted laughter among those who think that content should be free. This is silly: Someone needs to pay for this stuff at some point. And no one else has any better ideas right now, so good luck to them, I say. Though I would counsel them to be smarter about the way they makeContinue readingMedia’s Future: Retail

AboutFacebook

This is a copy of my weekly Loose Wire Service column for newspapers, hence the lack of links. By Jeremy Wagstaff A few weeks ago I talked about Facebook’s brave new world of connecting your profile to all the other bits and pieces you leave on websites. I erred, and I apologize. I thought that people wouldn’t mind the reduction in privacy that this would involve. At least I didn’t think they’d mind as much as a couple of years ago, when Facebook tried something similar. But people did. And Facebook has been forced to respond, simplifying the procedures that allow users to control whoContinue readingAboutFacebook

Presentation Blues

This is a copy of my weekly column for the Loose Wire Service, hence the lack of links. By Jeremy Wagstaff I attended a conference the other day. I’m amazed, frankly, that we still do conferences. Weren’t we supposed to have stopped this already? But, upon closer inspection, conferences are, if we’d let them, a reaffirmation that technology cannot penetrate our souls and we should give up trying. Think about it. Everyone in a room, looking at one person on a podium saying “lend me your ears.” It’s so old wave. The medium is so antiquated. We’ve tried to jazz it up over the yearsContinue readingPresentation Blues

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