Showing posts with label media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label media. Show all posts

Saturday, September 04, 2010

A conversation with Stephen Hawking, aged five years old

| Mark Vernon | Comment is free |


Imagine Stephen Hawking is reincarnated, and this time round his father is a philosopher. One day, when little Stephen is about five years old, they're sitting in the summer house with Fido, their pet dog. And Stephen asks one of those questions children love to repeat.


Daddy. Yes Stephen? Why is Fido? Well, Stephen, Fido had a mummy and daddy like you.


Yeah but, why is Fido? Err, you mean why is he a dog? That's because his parents were dogs, and his parent's parents were dogs too. They belong to what we call the same species. (Stephen is precocious in this life too.)


But why is Fido? Well, we know that Fido's parent's parent's parent's parents – a long way back – were not dogs, but were wolves. That was before human beings made them pets.


Oh. Why is Fido? Before there were wolves there was another species out of which wolves grow. We call it evolution, Stephen, and it's a very important process in the natural world.


Ev-o-lu-tion. (Stephen likes the feel of that word.) But why is Fido? Before that species, there was another, and another, and another, all the way back to tiny animals we call cells.


Why IS Fido? You're asking about biochemistry now. Err, roughly you can say that when the stuff of which everything is made is put together in a very complicated way – like a fantastic lego puzzle – then it takes on this very special property we call life.


WHY IS FIDO? Before life, there was just stuff – matter. It hung around for many billions of years on planet earth.


But why is FIDO? Before the earth, there were stars, and galaxies, subatomic particles and strange things like black holes. (Stephen has the very strange feeling that he knows all about black holes, even though he's only five.)


Yeah but, why is Fido? Scientists think it all started with a big bang, Stephen, a kind of spontaneous eruption out of which everything came.


Wow! Why is Fido? The big bang must have happened because of the laws of physics.




(At this point Stephen's father pauses. Being a philosopher, he realises that Stephen is now asking a very different question to all the ones he's asked before. You see, before, his questions could be answered with reference to some preceding state of affairs, out of which Fido can be said to have come. Now, though, he is asking about where everything came from, and being everything, there is no antecedent reality to refer to. To start to talk of nothing, not even abstract laws of nature, let alone wildly compressed energy, is to try to put everything in the context of nothing. But nothing is precisely that: not a quantum field fluctuating in the vacuum, not one universe springing out of a multiverse. Nothing is more radical than that. It is nothing. It's impossible to conceive of, in fact. It's no wonder Stephen's father pauses.)


I'm not sure we can ask that question, Stephen. It makes no sense.


But I want to know: why is Fido?


Well, some say the universe just is. There's a famous philosopher from about 100 years ago, Bertrand Russell, and he thought that.


(Stephen harrumphs.) But why is Fido?


There is another answer.


Yes? (Stephen sits up.)


Well, it's not exactly an answer.




More like a mystery.


I like mysteries.


But I'm not sure you're going to like this one.


Tell me!


Well, there was another philosopher who was a friend of Bertrand Russell, in fact. He was called Ludwig Wittgenstein, and he said, "Not how the world is, but that it is, is the mystery."




And the mystery is sometimes given a name.


What's the name?


It's called God.


(With thanks to Herbert McCabe)


Hacking at the truth: The New York Times v the News of the World

 | Editorial | Comment is free | The Guardian


A long, detailed article in the New York Times this weekend effectively questions whether the prime minister's press secretary is a liar. Three veteran reporters (with four Pulitzer prizes between them) spent many weeks in London crawling over the evidence relating to Andy Coulson's time as editor of the News of the World. It was on his watch that a reporter, Clive Goodman, went to jail after admitting conspiring with a private detective, Glenn Mulcaire, to hack into the mobile phone messages of the royal family. Mr Coulson has always insisted that Mr Goodman was a solitary rotten apple and that he knew nothing of such practices. The NYT reporters interviewed a dozen former reporters and executives at the NoW who tell a different story.

All interviewees told the NYT that phone hacking was pervasive at the NoW at the time that Mr Coulson was editor. In the words of one reporter: "Everyone knew. The office cat knew." Two people interviewed by the paper say that Mr Coulson was present during discussions about phone hacking. One former editor said he had been to "dozens, if not hundreds" of meetings with Mr Coulson when the "dark arts" of tabloid reporting – including hacking – came up. A named former colleague of Mr Coulson claimed to have personally played him tapes of hacked messages. All this appears to contradict the evidence Mr Coulson gave to the Commons select committee, where he was asked: "Just to be clear, under your tenure as editor and deputy editor, as far as you were aware at the time, the News of the World did not pay people to obtain information illegally?" Mr Coulson replied: "Yes, that is right." He added: "I am absolutely sure that Clive's case was a very unfortunate rogue case."

Now the News of the World is a newspaper which, at its muck-raking best, performs a public service in exposing crooks, cheats, hypocrites and liars. The reason why this particular episode in its history is disturbing – and won't go away – has three root causes. The first is Mr Coulson's position as press secretary to the prime minister, a position of great sensitivity and trust. If the NYT's sources are right, then Mr Coulson has misled both his immediate boss and parliament itself. Nobody could continue to occupy the position he holds if it were proved he had lied to Mr Cameron and to parliament. Mr Coulson cannot be surprised that MPs will fiercely pursue this matter, not least since a fair number of politicians' names and phone numbers appeared on Mr Mulcaire's "target" list.

The second factor concerns the viability of press self-regulation. A regulator must be told the truth and must show its independence from the industry it regulates. The NYT article – based on first-hand research – convincingly demonstrates that the September 2009 Press Complaints Commission report into phone hacking was both feeble and wrong. The PCC must find a way of clarifying and correcting the record if it is to command respect.

The third factor is the increasingly dominant position of Rupert Murdoch's media companies in this country. This is not simply a point about share of media – though that is concern enough – but about the power one organisation can exert over the state. The NYT's piece includes claims that the police felt internal pressure not to investigate the hacking case too thoroughly and did not share all their material with the prosecutors. Among Mr Mulcaire's "targets" were senior policemen. There is no suggestion of direct influence by News International. But there is overwhelming evidence that the company paid large amounts of money to get the dirt on people in public life – including in the police, the military and politics – and that it has paid huge sums (£2m and counting) to suppress the truth from coming out. That makes it a very unusual company indeed.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

mempercepat akses internet

Mempercepat Akses Internet
Saat anda browsing atau membuka suatu website di internet entah dari warung internet ataupun dari rumah, mungkin anda sering mengeluh akan lambatnya akses untuk menampilkan website tersebut. Padahal akses internet di Indonesia sekarang ini masih terhitung mahal.

Sebenarnya ada cara-cara mudah untuk meningkatkan kecepatan akses internat anda tanpa harus membayar biaya lebih mahal. Beberapa diantaranya adalah dengan menyetting browser kita, menggunakan openDNS, dan menggunakan Google Web Accelerator.Untuk menerapkan trik-trik tersebut sangat mudah.

Cara pertama yaitu menyetting browser dapat dilakukan oleh pengguna Internet Explorer dan Mozilla Firefox. Bagi pengguna Internet Explorer klik menu [Tools] [Internet Option], klik tab [General]. Pada opsi “Temperory Internet files”, klik [Settings] lalu Geser slider-nya. Hal itu untuk membuat cache (lokasi penyimpanan sementara) untuk web yang anda buka, sebaliknya disediakan sekitar 5% dari Hard disk.

Bagi pengguna Mozilla Firefox anda dapat mengetikkan “about:config” pada address bar,. setelah itu ubah “network.http.pipelining” dan “network.http.proxy pipelining” menjadi “true”, serta isi “network.http.pipelining.maxrequests” antara 30 –100 ( semakin besar semakin cepat ). Yang terakhir klik kanan dimana saja dan pilih New->Integer , tuliskan “nglayout.initialpaint.delay” lalu isi dengan 0.

Untuk trik kedua, pertama anda harus mendaftar di . Setelah itu masuk ke Control Panel dari start menu, pilih network connections lalu pilih koneksi anda dan klik tombol properties. Pada bagian Internet protokol anda bisa pilih TCP/IP dan klik properties. Masukkan angka dan pada opsi DNS dan restart komputer anda.

Setelah melakukan 2 tips di atas sekarang anda pasti akan mendapat kecepatan akses yang lebih kencang. Bagi yang masih belum puas dengan kecepatan aksesnya sekarang dapat menggunakan trik yang ke tiga yaitu Google Web Accelerator. Google Web Accelerator di desain khusus untuk mempercepat akses internet anda, khususnya anda yang menggunakan koneksi broadband (pita lebar) seperti Cable dan DSL. Untuk anda yang menggunakan koneksi lain seperti Dial-up (Telkomnet Instant atau Speedy) maupun satelit atau wave, Google Web Accelerator juga dapat mempercepat aksesnya.

Untuk memakai Google Web Accelerator anda harus memenuhi kriteria antara lain Operating System anda harus Windows XP atau Windows 2000 dan browser anda harus Internet Explorer 5.5+ atau Mozilla Firefox 1.0+. Kalau untuk browser lainnya sebenarnya juga bisa, tetapi anda harus meng-konfigurasi proxy settings dari browser anda dengan menambah pada HTTP. Setelah anda melakukan instalasi, Google Web Accelerator akan menampilkan icon kecil di atas browser anda dan icon tray di pojok bawah layar komputer.

Anda dapat mengunduh Google Web Accelerator di

Sumber :

Friday, August 07, 2009

News Corporation will charge for online news

So, we are starting to pay every content of online news?  that is bad idea. Information should be free.
 NEWS Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch has given his strongest indication yet that the company's newspapers will charge for their online content within a year.

Mr Murdoch said during the announcement of News Corp’s full-year earnings that newspapers could no longer afford to simply give away information on the Internet.

“Quality journalism is not cheap, and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalising its ability to produce good reporting," he said.

Mr Murdoch added that that if News Corp were successful with plans to charge for online journalism, “we will be followed by other media," adding that in terms of timing, News Corp was “thinking in terms of this fiscal year”.

He noted that the success of The Wall Street Journal's online subscription offering has convinced him that consumers will pay for news online that differentiates itself from the mass of information available free on the web.

While Mr Murdoch has indicated before that News Corp would look to charge consumers for online access to news content, his comments today suggested a broad attempt to charge for online news across the company's many media outlets.

Mr Murdoch said News Corp was working with hardware and software developers, as well as fellow publishers, to find the most effective way to charge consumers online for news content.

He said it was "highly unlikely" that News Corp would develop its own mobile device for reading news, but he also said he was dissatisfied with a deal the company reached with Amazon to offer The Wall Street Journal on its Kindle device.

"We'll get a better share of the revenue, but it's not a big number, and we're not encouraging it at all," he said, noting that Amazon would keep information about subscribers to itself. "It will eventually cause a break between us."

Mr Murdoch’s comments came as News Corp reported US$680 million in writedowns and other one-off charges largely related to the company’s social networking site, MySpace.

The writedowns helped to drag News Corp down to a US$203 million loss for the three months to June 30. But the company believes the worst is over, predicting its adjusted operating profit for the 2009/10 financial year will increase by a “high single-digit” percentage.

News Corp’s full-year results were roughly in line with its forecast, which the company had lowered twice as the financial crisis engulfed Wall Street and the global recession hit around the world. The company posted a 32.5 per cent drop in fiscal-year adjusted operating income after telling investors in May that it expected a decline of around 30 per cent.

Like other media giants, News Corp is struggling to find growth sources while the rise of digital communications wreaks havoc on the industry's traditional business models.

Its shares have lost more than a quarter of their value over the last 12 months, although the stock has rallied by nearly 16 per cent in 2009 on hopes that an economic recovery is near.

"I am certain that News Corp is poised to profit, and deliver strong returns, as the economy rebounds," said Mr Murdoch.

In after-hours trading in New York, News Corp's class A shares were flat at $US10.58.

The publisher of The Wall Street Journal, The Australian and Dow Jones Newswires posted a loss of $US203 million ($241m), or US8 cents a share, for the quarter, compared with earnings of $US1.1 billion, or US43c a share, a year ago.

Excluding impairment and other operating charges, the company earned US19c a share, beating the average analyst estimate by a penny, according to a poll conducted by Thomson Reuters.

Group sales fell 11 per cent to $US7.67 billion, slightly ahead of the average analyst estimate of $US7.63 billion.

Chief financial officer David DeVoe later told analysts that the company expected its fiscal 2010 adjusted operating income to increase by a high single-digit percentage rate.

Mr DeVoe said the increase would be based upon the company's fiscal 2009 operating income of $US3.44 billion, which excludes $US121 million in profits from NDS, a business News Corp sold.

He also said the company expected its overall revenue to grow by 4 per cent in fiscal 2010, while ad revenue would be flat.

He said the company expected growth for News Corp's cable networks, its film division, and its satellite TV business in Europe, Sky Italia. But he also said that "visibility" remained limited due to the continuing economic downturn.

Mr Murdoch said he was "confident" the company could meet its forecast.

"I think the worst may be behind us," Mr Murdoch said, "but there are no clear signs yet of a fast economic recovery."

News Corp's television segment posted a 66 per cent drop in operating profits, weighed down by weak advertising trends at its local TV stations and the Fox Broadcasting network. Ad revenue at its stations group fell 27 per cent, because of weak auto, finance and entertainment spending.

Its cable networks -- a bright spot for the industry -- picked up the slack, with a 39 per cent increase in operating profits led by the Fox News Channel, a 24-hour news network and ratings powerhouse.

News Corp's film segment, feeling the effects of a slowdown in DVD sales -- Hollywood's largest profit engine -- logged a 7.7 per cent decline in operating profits. Its results were driven by home entertainment sales of Marley & Me and Slumdog Millionaire, while marketing costs for the theatrical releases of X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian were drags.

News Corp's division that includes Fox Interactive Media, which includes the social networking site MySpace, posted a $US136m operating loss due to ad declines and the cost of launching MySpace Music. The unit suffered turmoil during the quarter as it lost ground to rival Facebook and slashed its work force by nearly a third.

In March, News Corp installed Jonathan Miller, formerly chief executive of internet company AOL, to oversee MySpace and News Corp's other digital properties. Soon after, the company hired Facebook veteran Owen Van Natta as chief executive of MySpace.

The company's publishing businesses also slumped, amid the continuing decline of the newspaper, magazine and book publishing businesses. Newspaper and information services profits were down 63 per cent, while book publishing swung to a loss of $US1m. The company's magazine and inserts business grew profits by 7.4 per cent, to $US102m.

Mr Murdoch said closing newspapers was "not a prospect at the moment" for newspapers, though he said the company could do more cost-cutting at business like The Times of London.

But he said News Corp would continue to invest in producing high-quality journalism.

"We want to come out of this with much stronger franchises than we started with," said Mr Murdoch, noting that some of the company's competitors were facing closures. "Our policy is to win."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Australian newspapers sales remained robust

Newspapers stand solid in global crisis | The Australian
AUSTRALIAN newspaper sales remained robust in the December quarter.

The Australian led the way with stronger circulation for both weekday and weekend editions.

Audit Bureau of Circulation figures for the three months to December showed The Australian increased weekday sales 1.5 per cent to 137,000 from the same time a year ago, while sales of The Weekend Australian were 3 per cent higher at 309,000.

Both editions of the newspaper have increased sales every quarter on the prior year's result since the audit bureau's reporting rules changed in July 2006.

In contrast, weekday sales of The Australian Financial Review fell 2.4 per cent this quarter to 86,158 and sales of its weekend edition fell 2.5 per cent to 93,800.

Industry group The Newspaper Works said total Australian newspaper sales dipped 2.1 per cent in December compared to the same time last year, while the combined sales of metropolitan Saturday papers was only 1.2 per cent lower.

"The results are far stronger than many industry commentators have predicted and demonstrate that newspapers continue to prove incredibly resilient," Newspaper Works chief Tony Hale said.

He said the sales results were better than expected, given the economic crisis. "The figures reinforce the important ongoing and dynamic role newspapers continue to play in the lives of Australians, who collectively buy over 20 million newspapers a week."

Sales of most state-based papers declined again in this circulation audit, although the Northern Territory News lifted weekday sales 3.6 per cent to 21,244, and the Saturday edition of Sydney's The Daily Telegraph increased sales 1.9 per cent to 325,000.

But weekday sales of Melbourne's Herald Sun fell 2.7 per cent to 515,500 and weekday sales of The Courier-Mail in Brisbane were 2.5 per cent lower at 215,383.

Similarly, weekday sales of Adelaide's The Advertiser were 4.3 per cent lower at 182,055 and weekday sales of Perth's The West Australian fell 2.7 per cent to 192,964.

Sunday newspapers also suffered, with sales of Sydney's The Sunday Telegraph and The Sun-Herald falling 2.5 per cent and 5.3 per cent respectively.

Sales of Adelaide's Sunday Mail were 5.1 per cent lower at 304,096 and sales at Brisbane's Sunday Mail were down 5.2 per cent to 551,271.

The only Sunday papers to lift sales in the December audit were The Sunday Age (up 0.5 per cent to 227,100) and The Sunday Territorian (up 3.2 per cent to 22,287).

Mr Hale said economic conditions hurt regional newspapers, where total weekday sales fell 2.4 per cent to 3.2 million.
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From here you can use the Social Web links to save Newspapers stand solid in global crisis to a social bookmarking site.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

poor journalism

Fairfax's problem is poor journalism, not recession | The Australian
In The Age, Max Suich, former editor-in-chief of Fairfax's Sydney and national papers, details the publisher's decline

IF readers of The Age or other Australian newspapers detect a decline in quality, intelligence and scepticism, address the blame to the editors and journalists in the newspaper press. It's true that management will be bearing down on costs but the style and content of the papers is a direct result of editorial desires not boardroom decisions. Editorial numbers at the Fairfax papers are back to levels of the early 2000s, a time when better papers were produced. While every editor would enjoy more staff and The Australian is surprisingly well, though not lavishly, staffed (which allows it to provide a benchmark for serious reporting of national affairs), there are enough journalists on the major papers to maintain quality news reporting, inquiry and explanation. The quality of the Fairfax metropolitan papers in Sydney and Melbourne is widely perceived to have declined. Generally, however, (journalists) suggest it's not their fault, whereas I consider that it is. Talented senior writers who once produced well-written, accounts of major events, have retreated to the lazy comfort of an opinion column, unconfined by the reporter's need to confirm facts. The opinion pages routinely make room for lobbyists and "opinion" that is banal, and asserted rather than persuading with facts. The Age opinion pages of the past provided a platform for the better of its writers to tell you what was going on - not what should be going on in an ideologically perfect world. The ignorance of the club of journalists, who do not read papers, who take their opinions and obsessions with celebrity from their web browsing, is affecting the papers' reputation for intelligence. If the (next generation of editorial) appointments are made by people who know little about competitive metropolitan journalism - as in the Hilmer and Kirk eras - the company will survive but Fairfax journalism will continue to decline.

Eric Beecher, the publisher of Crikey, last Friday outlines his plan to fix The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age by copying The Australian:

THE business model for newspapers, we are told, is collapsing. But in the minds of some people who understand and care deeply about the future funding of good journalism, a more thoughtful response to the demise of the 150-year-old broadsheet newspaper business model is emerging: the idea of reinventing so-called "broadsheet" newspapers as high-quality niche products targeted at narrower audiences who are attractive to advertisers and fundamentally committed to the idea of reading a newspaper. With smaller circulations and higher cover prices. Operating on a much lower revenue base, with far less dependence on classified advertising. At Fairfax Media, this approach would clearly require a new management and editorial mindset.

A leaner, bespoke newspaper that bristled with ideas and curiosity because it no longer had the requirement to appeal to a broad market. A newspaper that treated news as the commodity it now is and built on the news with backgrounding, probing and analysis. A newspaper with fewer pages, vastly less lifestyle and advertorial journalism, and much more certainty about its place in the life of its (smaller) audience. A newspaper that connected with the issues that mattered to its more defined universe of readers.

Emphatically not an elite newspaper but an intelligent newspaper.

And - crucially for the business model - a newspaper with half the staff and cost base of today's Sydney Morning Herald or Age. Fewer journalists (but still the best journalists), fewer executives on high salaries, an entrepreneurial energy and structure, . A sleek pocket battleship, not a rusting Queen Mary.

Alan Ramsey in The Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday:

ADELAIDE'S Penny Wong, Rudd's disappointing Water and Climate Change Minister, announces the details of the Government's proposed scheme in a National Press Club speech on Monday. And we know hers is a real sewage sandwich because the PM, ignoring togetherness, has opted out, leaving it to his female colleague. Usually the women get all the shit jobs, if you'll excuse me. And what the Government calls its white paper on its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme - to be announced by Wong at Monday lunchtime, after a 2 1/2-hour media lockup in the parliament, God forbid - bids fair to be one of those truly unpleasant episodes for which Our Kevin will find more pressing business keeps him elsewhere. Such as Brisbane, or Alice Springs, or the South Pole. Wong will be on her own.