Friday, May 31, 2013

Building up not out

My final article from the May 2013 issue of the Marina Times:
The way forward is up. Photo by John Zipperer
Everybody Can Win the LotteryBy John Zipperer 
One of the laziest and most clich├ęd phrases in business is when something is called a “win-win solution.” With that caveat, we have a problem in this town that can be solved by investment in lots of new multifamily housing units and produce (ugh) a win-win for everyone.  
Anyone who has ever been stuck in a tenants-in-common (TIC) housing arrangement, forced to wait a decade before converting to a condominium, knows the havoc that can ...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Magazines Digital and Print, Latest News

Two reports worth thinking about, if you're at all interested in media in digital and print forms.

First, there's news in Folio: of a survey of users of tablet computers that finds that about 25 percent of them prefer to read magazines in digital format on their tablets rather than in print form. This is being reported as a large number for digital, but frankly my response is: Isn't a quarter kind of a low amount? We're not talking about the public at large, just tablet computer users. And at this late date, when more than a third of American book-buying is for e-books, only a quarter of tablet owners would prefer a mag on their tablet? I seriously would have expected that number to be well over 50 percent. Huh.

In other news (also from Folio:), there's a report on print magazine readerships largely being either flat or up.

Now, as I've noted here on this blog (and here) before, I'm a fan, producer, and user of both digital and print. Love 'em both. But I always love counter-intuitive data like these two reports, especially when it can be used to argue against the people who swallow the hype kool-aid without contemplation.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Paul Krugman vs. Michael Kinsley

I won't claim to be half as smart about economics as is Paul Krugman, but I'm pleased to see his slap-down of Michael Kinsley.

Read Krugman's blog post below for his economy- and austerity-specific comments. But what really caught my attention was his dead-on remarks about Kinsley and New Republic weaknesses, which I've been saying for years (to nobody who cares, naturally).

Krugman on the attacks on his writings: "... I suspect it has a lot to do with the famed TNR/Slate premium on being 'counterintuitive,' which in practice meant skewering supposed liberal pieties."

And: "[T]his is not a game. We’re having a discussion about policies that affect tens of millions of people. And you have no business participating in this discussion if you’re so busy trying to sound clever that you can’t be bothered to do your homework." Echoes there of Harlan Ellison's famed comment that you're not entitled to your opinion; you're entitled to your informed opinion.

Most of you won't understand how dead-on his criticisms are of Kinsley and TNR, but for those of us who have read a lot of both, we can appreciate having a Nobel laureate in our corner.

Read Krugmans New York Times blog post.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The History Behind Mother's Day

The home of Mother’s Day founder Anna Jarvis is now listed
on the National Register of Historic Places photo: Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD
Happy Mother's Day — my latest from the current edition of the Marina Times:

The Meaning Behind Mother's Day Cards and Flowers
Mother’s Day is a rare holiday that is celebrated worldwide but was begun here in the United States. Almost uniquely, it is a major American holiday creation that does not involve overeating or exploding things. 
How did that happen? Its roots are intertwined with the women’s peace movement and the growing political role of women in the late 19th century. 
The holiday as we know it today started ...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

When Parking Spaces Become Currency

My latest cover article in the Marina Times:
Signs of dissent on Polk Street; photo by Earl Adkins

Polk Street back-and-forth intensifies
By John Zipperer 
Concern over plans by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) to make major changes to Polk Street has stepped up, with more meetings, petitions, and community organizing taking place to sway opinions in the neighborhood and among city leadership.  
SFMTA is planning to remove potentially hundreds of parking spaces along Polk Street and replace them with ...

The Boba Fett Factor

Digital Life and Design finds the one positive from the Star Wars Christmas Special:
Boba Fett Is Born: How a Star Wars Special Reshaped TV from DLD on