aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Monday, September 17, 2007
The NYTimes is freed!
A friend writes - all too generously - “as you predicted.” Expect lots of crowing from the blogosphere. And lots of bloggers quoting the Times’ columnists.
The story is timestamped in my reader at 9:38. And again as most emailed at 10:22.
The New York Times will stop charging for access to parts of its Web site, effective at midnight tonight.
The move comes two years to the day after The Times began the subscription program, TimesSelect, which has charged $49.95 a year, or $7.95 a month, for online access to the work of its columnists and to the newspaper’s archives. TimesSelect has been free to print subscribers to The Times and to some students and educators.
In addition to opening the entire site to all readers, The Times will also make available its archives from 1987 to the present without charge, as well as those from 1851 to 1922, which are in the public domain. There will be charges for some material from the period 1923 to 1986, and some will be free. [...]
What changed, The Times said, was that many more readers started coming to the site from search engines and links on other sites instead of coming directly to NYtimes.com. These indirect readers, unable to get access to articles behind the pay wall and less likely to pay subscription fees than the more loyal direct users, were seen as opportunities for more page views and increased advertising revenue.
Now what about the crosswords?
LATER - Jeff Jarvis weighs in:
It was a cynical act doomed from the start. With it goes any hope of charging for content online. Content is now and forever free. [...]
The bottom line is that the staff of the Times online did the best it could with TimesSelect, creating the richest service they could and probably garnering the largest paying clientÃƒÂ¨le possible - but still, it was a bad idea from the start. It turned out to be one expensive experiment, one bad investment.
But now everyone else in the content business can learn from the Times’ mistake. Rupert Murdoch has publicly toyed with the idea of taking down the pay wall around the Wall Street Journal online; I’d bet the odds of that just increased.
Zimbra is so damn cool
On my day without email (don’t ask) Yahoo! buys Zimbra:
If you’re a student at Georgia Tech or an employee at Digg or Mozilla.org, you know just how excellent your email and group calendaring experience is. That’s because it’s powered by Zimbra, creator of an innovative Ajax-based mail client that integrates email, contacts, shared calendar, search and VoIP into an incredibly cool browser-based interface. So cool that we’ve just entered an agreement to acquire Zimbra for $350 million. [...]
A global leader in email and collaboration software and its services are aimed at universities, businesses, and ISPs worldwide...Zimbra, named after a nonsensical Talking Heads song, made its debut at the 2005 Web 2.0 conference, leaving TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington saying: “Zimbra is so damn cool and full of Ajax awesomeness…” Here’s what Zimbra co-founder and CEO Satish Dharmaraj had to say about Zimbra’s raison d’etre in their October 2005 launch press release:
“Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ e-mail is brokenÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ From overflowing inboxes to the nuisance of organizing correspondence, to the cost of managing storage, viruses, availability, retention and legal discovery and compliance, dealing with corporate e-mail has become a nightmare. Zimbra’s server and application innovations solve these problems for both end-users and administrators.”
Zimbra offers incredible technology.
Om says it’s email done right:
I would go out on a limb and say that it combines the best of both Microsoft Outlook and Google’s GMail! Plus, Zimbra has this “search and save search feature” that is very much like Apple Mail’s smart mailboxes. (This save search feature also helps the company over come the inherent problem of filing everything away in folders. The conversation view of Zimbra is what really really rocks: it puts everything in context, I can tag it accordingly, for my own use later.
If Outlook is a NFL linebacker, then Zimbra is almost like a quarterback, thinking, and always wondering about the next play.
Kara Swisher, left “cranky and bored” after not being briefed, broke the acquisition story based on leaks. TechCrunch broke the price of $350 million and Liz Gannes confirmed it. It looks like a 10X exit on VC investment of $30m and is being widely regarded as a bold, smart move by Yahoo! This acquisition tops the $300 million price Yahoo! paid for ad network BlueLithium earlier this month. Yahoo! is in the midst of a 100 day reorganizing campaign, what better way to do it than drop a few hundred million dollars? You have to wonder if there will be mass layoffs at the end of 100 days of news like this. [...]
Yahoo! already offers a variety of enterprise services, including enterprise IM and search, but has deemphasized enterprise offerings for the past several years in favor of online media and to some degree, advertising. It will be very interesting to see what the company does with Zimbra. I say better late than never when it comes to hip new software. If staff from the excellent Yahoo! Mail team gets moved over to work on Zimbra, things could really heat up.
The Clinton plan opens the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program to everybody, ensuring that anyone can access the same menu of regulated private options that federal employees get.
The plan also creates a new public option, modeled off (but distinct from) Medicare. That’s a big deal: The public insurer offers full coverage and is open to all Americans without restriction. Public insurance is what I feared her plan would avoid, and instead, she embraced it wholeheartedly.
[Various other good points, including an individual mandate, community rating for insurance companies, subsidies for low-income consumers, and limitations on employer tax deductions for healthcare.]
So the policy is very, very sound. The rhetoric is interesting too, being entirely about “choice.” It’s called the “American Health Choices Plan.” The first section, on the opening of FEHBP and the creation of a new public insurer, is titled, “Providing a Choice of Insurance Plans.” The first bullet point assures readers that every American will be able to keep their current coverage if they so desire. Etc, etc.
I agree with Ezra: although the three leading Democratic presidential candidates have proposed healthcare plans that are similar in a lot of ways, Hillary’s strikes me as not just substantively as good as any of them (and better in some ways), but also the politically savviest and most practical of the lot. Given her experience in 1994 (she knows what won’t work) combined with the legislative canniness she seems to have developed in the Senate (she know what will work), that’s not too surprising.
In any case, it’s a good plan. Edwards and Obama are going to have a very hard time making criticisms that stick. Obama, in particular, suffers because his plan is, if anything, a bit less ambitious than Hillary’s even though he’s supposed to be the candidate with fresh new ideas. For now, anyway, I think Hillary has outflanked him.
A Purple South reminder
Note in particular the battleground of the South. There are the strong “red” or Republican patches running through such areas as northern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia; the Georgia and north Florida coast; and southeast Kentucky.
But even more striking are the deep shades of blue, such as most of Arkansas and Tennessee; a belt slashing through the piedmont of Georgia, South Carolin and North Carolina (the South’s fastest-growing area); and Appalachian counties in the Virginias.
The concentrations of red in the South are on par with the swaths of scarlet one sees in the Midwest/Plains (Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma) and the upper West.
It’s amazing to see so many blogs in the Democratic Party camp writing off the South in an attempt to position themselves as “realistic,” when the reality of fierce party competition in the South couldn’t be more clear.
A year ago I read Mo Fiorina’s Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America. He’s still speaking to me when he observes that “The simple truth is that there is no Culture War in the United States.”
As a nation we remain closely divided, not deeply divided. Schaller notwithstanding, that observation most emphatically includes the South.
Black and White and Dems all over
Tom Schaller, of Whistling Past Dixie fame, says the Dems should not bother with white male voters, and with that says the Dems should ignore the South, win with the West and the East and then ultimately the South will see the error of its ways and come around to the Democratic position.
The thing I just don’t get about that abandon the South philosophy is that the South has seen an influx of African Americans and has some of the wealthiest, healthiest black communities in the country. So, if the Dems ignore the South, aren’t they ignoring that key constituency?
Democrats are able to neutralize their white male voter problem with votes from African-Americans—even though the latter group is only about one-third the size of the former. While Galston was right in 2000 about the “more than offsets” effect of white male votes relative to black votes, by 2004 the share of all votes cast by white men had shrunk by 3 percent while the share cast by African-American voters has increased by 2 percent; today, the black vote fully compensates for the Democrats’ deficit among white men.
So how about this Tom Schaller, rather than writing off the Southern White Male why not focus on empowering African American people in the South and moving their issues front and center nationwide?
Dreaming of a Marshall Plan for Georgia transportation
Jim Maran, president of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce writing in the AJC, says that with road use in Georgia up more than 40 percent while road capacity has increased less than 2 percent it’s time for a Marshall Plan for the state’s outmoded transportation infrastructure:
No more of this “either/or” mind-set. Let’s think “both/and” when discussing urban vs. rural needs as well as roads vs. transit.
Well, that’s swell. But the reality he sees is that we have the fourth-lowest infrastructure investment in the country and that the transportation improvement plan was cut $7.7 billion (510 projects) and the Atlanta Regional Commission long-term plan was cut $5.5 billion. Still, in true Chamber of Commerce fashion, he has the gall to say that “our state elected officials take this crisis seriously.”
What planet is he living on?
The state’s joint study committee on transportation funding and the Get Georgia Moving Coalition are the beginnings, he says, of a “perfect storm” that will draw the billions of new dollars we need towards new transportation infrastructure.
He’s dreaming! Yes, that storm’s coming. And we’re sunk.