another small change.

I've changed my twitter account from @brokengentleman to @joncrowley.

Just a quick FYI.  Back to your regularly scheduled programming.


housekeeping note.

brokengentleman has been stagnating somewhat, and I've decided a bit of a change of pace is necessary to keep it interesting and relevant.

I'm keeping the site (and the name), but I'm going to do my best to restrict it to longform, more considered content.  The shift of the last year, though rewarding intellectually, wasn't particularly consistent with what had been here previously.  As well, the platform has been far from encouraging when it comes to posting snippets, images, etc.

I have nothing but respect for Blogger, and for the things I've posted here, comments they've garnered, and things that will continue to be posted here.

For sporadic, theory-laden, longform content, this is still my home.

For something shorter, punchier, and (I sincerely hope) more regularly updated, you can visit attentionindustry.com.  I'm going to be doing my best to 'live' my ideas over there, while making sure the root theories get the attention and consideration they deserve from me over here.  It's still very much a work in progress, but I thought I should explain the silence at brokengentleman.  I know there isn't a comment structure (and I'm still not sure I won't change that) but feel free to contact me through the twitter / email information posted there, or the information posted here, and I will respond and/or address the point/concern publicly.

Exciting times ahead.


don't look crazy.

The New York Times launched v2.0 of the TimesReader app today, and it's pretty but useless unless you plan on paying in the neighbourhood of $180 a year to have the website in an app, with better formatting.

This reminds me, as most things do, of advice my mother once gave me.  If you endure something intolerable for as long as possible, and then finally speak out and take action, no one understands that you have been heroically enduring the situation, and are only taking a stand now, out of necessity.

People just assume you've gone crazy.

Because the people haven't changed.  If people see you tolerating a situation wordlessly for years, and then suddenly railing against it, the only thing that has changed is you.  Seemingly out of nowhere, you've changed the rules.

People might not want to pay for content, but they will pay for formatting, delivery and convenience.  But your price has to take into account that the content is already considered free.  $180 a year for formatting and an app that runs on Adobe AIR doesn't feel all that reasonable, especially if it comes with no extra goodies beyond that.

I want to use the TimesReader app.  It looks great, and I would probably be more than happy to pay for it.  Just not at anywhere near the current price, when the total displaced revenue is from online ads I wouldn't have clicked, and the cost of developing the application.


another correct prediction.

Back in 2007 (in a less focused time for this blog), I predicted that someone would make a sci-fi product based on the Svalbard Seed Vault.

And now, due to being followed by the creators on Twitter, I have stumbled on to this comic, the Two Percent solution.

My future-predicting cred is getting pretty solid, these days.

the internet is made of context.

I found the ad to the right looking at the latest iteration of This Magazine's website.  It looks great, and I like the magazine, so I have less than no problem using my blog as ad space for them.

Especially considering I plan on tearing the ad a new one.

This is the kind of argument that can only come from the devastatingly out of touch.  That This.org would use this specific quote to highlight the value of the magazine is painful.  It perfectly encapsulates the failure of traditional print publications to understand how information works today.

Not how information works online.  How information works TODAY, period.

Everything is, and has, context.  A link and a search box is access to unlimited context, if people are interested in finding it.  I'm not arguing that presenting an idea or opinion shouldn't have clear contextual information, but pretending that online is somehow predisposed against context ignores how information is sorted.

Even in the best print publication, there is limited space allotted for dissenting viewpoints.  Very often, they are presented only long enough to be dismissed, straw men to further emphasize the chosen perspective.  Similarly, the single, inane quote from a dissenter provides litter context or balance.

Online publishing is not "factoids of information devoid of context".  Nothing published online is devoid of context.  The internet is MADE of context.  Which is why it enforces transparency, updating, editing, and acknowledging other sources via linking.

I often think this is the real problem that many traditional media outlets have with online information - it's nearly impossible to do it right without drawing attention to, and acknowledging the validity of, competing sources of information and insight.