In case you have not read my previous post, this is all about making your Flash movies work normally (again) in IE.
For visitors to your Web site who use IE, as of now (or very soon), your Flash content will not work properly for them. Your users with Firefox, Safari, Opera, etc., will not be affected. But all those average joes using IE are … well, screwed.
Some of my students today had difficulty getting the new SWFObject to work. I’m really bummed out about that, because it really worked GREAT before. But I feel very sure that the bugs will be ironed out very soon, because the author, Geoff Stearns, is one of those great open-source guys who give us useful tools for free. I’m confident he’s going to get SWFObject (back) to 100 percent reliability within a day or two!
Read all about the crazy Microsoft IE thing here and here and here.
If newspaper companies withhold their content from the Internet, or fail to create content for it, it does not follow that people will come back to the printed newspaper — there is plenty of citizen-generated content online. In other words, there is no dearth of content, so taking your marbles and leaving the game does not mean the game shuts down.
You can’t think of yourself as a once-a-day medium. I see a big cultural divide here…. I would argue it’s yours to lose because you should be doing it and doing it better than anyone else.
I think this goes to the same idea — lots of people have their own marbles now. If I come to your Web site and the latest update is not there, then I will go to some other Web site and find it. And the next time I want an update, where will I go first?
I see a little disconnect between that and this, however:
… what they want is more context, analysis and the fascinating stories they can’t get anywhere else because no one else has the resources to cover them … (Doug paraphrasing from Fine)
Again I’m struck by how the whole idea of multimedia and storytelling — narrative as opposed to reporting — often gets lost in these discussions.
The updates and current news are important. But news organizations have to be more pragmatic about a balance of resources. If you put your whole staff on updating and breaking news, you will NEVER have any context, or analysis, or fascinating stories!
Doug, paraphrasing again: The money will be made by what you surround the ads with.
Beginning Flash 8: Basics of handling photos well in Flash and controlling the presentation with buttons.
Intermediate Flash 8: Making multi-part presentations that work well and load quickly. Also: Including sound files (MP3s) in Flash.
NOTE: Making and scripting control buttons will NOT be covered in detail in the second workshop.
Each workshop will last 3 hours, with a 15-minute break.
If you download a free trial version of Flash 8 from Macromedia, do not even think about the “basic” version. All the video goodies are in the version called “professional,” so GET THAT ONE. Also, the trial version really expires after 30 days, and you can’t re-install it, according to my students (who have tried).
And finally, if you’re not upgrading, compare the price for Flash 8 with the price of the bundle, Studio 8. You may decide it makes sense to spend the extra and get Studio 8.
The announcement of a new worldwide news service on Monday set the gears of my brain turning. As I read Al-Jazeera’s report today about Bill Gates’s welcome in Vietnam, I realized that the churn in my head is about bias in the news.
the transformation of the now-defunct NANAP or Non-Aligned News Agencies Pool. … the NNN is Malaysia’s gift to NAM but it is only workable if like-minded fellow NAM members subscribe to the continuing relevance of a revitalised NAM through increased flows of news and information.
I was ignorant of NAM until November 2005. At that time, I was in Malaysia, and the Ministers of Information of Non-Aligned Countries (NAM) held their annual conference there. NAM, I learned then, is basically all of the non-NATO countries (for comparison, see list of NATO countries).
The interesting question, I think, is why information from NNN would be trusted. The new news service is managed by Bernama, the state-controlled news service of Malaysia.
The NNN sees itself as an alternative source of information rather than being in competition with other major news services. Essentially it would serve as a conduit for NAM member countries to tell their story and use it as a yet another tool of communication for them.
Western news agencies such as the Associated Press and Reuters have their own biases regarding the importance of the news of the day. Non-Western countries have legitimate complaints about priorities skewed toward the richer and more powerful nations. But is a state-controlled news outlet any kind of an answer?
I really like checking the English-language home page at Al-Jazeera. Sure, Western people complain about Al-Jazeera’s slant on the news, but I prefer to compare versions. This week, Al-Jazeera really has been covering the waterfront on events in Nepal. Nepal’s been in The New York Times and on NPR too, of course, but the coverage is never exactly the same.
Check your own biases regarding Al-Jazeera: Nepal has a smaller Muslim population (percentage) than France, and the Nepalese are not Arabs.
Stop the presses! A newspaper company conducted useful research! Yes, it’s true, and the smart company was E.W. Scripps, which owns the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, the Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tenn.) and the Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel, among others.
If you like to surf around and check out what different news sites are doing with a story — or like me, what they are doing with multimedia — you have run into the dead-stop wall of a registration form. “Please answer these 15 (or 50) horribly personal questions before we’ll let you see that content you came here to see.” Sometimes I go ahead and do it (because I just HAVE TO SEE that latest interactive package). But most of the time, I leave the site rather than suffer through the form.
So Scripps decided to covertly (in a nice way) test how people react to hitting the wall. Jay Small tells us all about it on his blog.
We softened the wall so that a user (client, technically) that was not logged in could view up to a set number of articles in a 30-day period before being intercepted by the registration form…. We tested a range of different thresholds on Scripps sites, from no change in current protocols all the way to completely open access, and including thresholds of three, four, five, six and seven “free” article views per 30-day period.
The basic idea is that you want to know who your regular site visitors are, so you want them to register. But for a visitor who’s coming because of a link on a blog, or from Google, etc., you have a person who may never visit again — so why ask that one to register?
The percentage of users who abandon at the wall remains constant, regardless of threshold. But far fewer users ever see the registration screen when thresholds are used. As such, the real numbers of abandoning users go way down, to in some cases 10 to 20 percent of former levels. That is an expected and desired effect of the threshold model.
Of course, you don’t want to make the threshold so lax that your regular visitors get to skip out of registration.
New opt-ins declined substantially — more than half or worse — with any softening of the wall. This is logical. The less often new site visitors are shown the registration screen, the less opportunity they have to opt in. We found that thresholds of three or four “free” views per 30 days tended to preserve more acceptable opt-in growth rates.
I used to learn a lot from the Listservs I belonged to. There were about five lists from which I gained a lot of information about both the news business and online journalism. But now the list traffic is way, way down. I’m not sure whether e-mail lists are the victim of too much spam or whether blogs have replaced Listservs — but for me, the blogs certainly are more useful now than any lists I still belong to.
The question of how to cope with information overload lies at the root of this. One way to ask the question is, “How do you find the stuff you put on your blog?” Another is, “How do find TIME to read all that stuff?”
Different people take different approaches, naturally enough, but it seems that using Bloglines is one of the most common. That way you can manage all the blogs you like to check by stuffing them into folders (which you create). You’re able to see at a glance whether there are any new posts on any blog, so you don’t waste time going to the blog when there’s nothing new there.
It’s much easier to go to Bloglines once a day than to check a long list of bookmarks!