Clay Shirky’s predictions about the future of Mass Media

Just found this article on The Guardian site. Clay Shirky’s a professor at NYU and a scholar of Mass Media and the effect internet trends would have on them. Worth a read — I agree with some of his predictions (and presumptuously adding some of my own):

  1. Newspaper’s will diverge into 2 classes – magazines such as Economist which will exist for the people willing to pay for high quality coverage, and mass coverage of all possible news on the internet that will be available free and paid for by advertising dollars. Communities such as Twitter might help surfacing the right news.
  2. Niche newspapers and magazines will only exist online — the distribution costs for anything that doesn’t have economies of scale are not justified.
  3. TV will also change dramatically – The current state of the industry is that content is tightly controlled by the Channels, and hence to maintain quality, studios invest a lot of money (at least in India). We will see a lot of rise of amateur content, but only so much, since professionals will soon (and have, if I am not wrong) start publishing on YouTube and the like. However, the sudden loosening of the grip on distribution (since there are no longer any channels), will mean the quality of the content will change. Video distribution will be controlled far more by social networking sites (a la Facebook) than are blog posts.
  4. Books will be relatively less affected, at least until we hit a e-book reader that really rocks! My guess, though is devices like Kindle will improve a lot in the next decade or so, and might affect book sales greatly. Print-on-Demand will grow, but I am still not aware of how much it costs to print just one copy, so I am not in a position to comment. A large part of the cost if the cost of distribution, PoD will really succeed if the following equation is satisfied (since you will still pick up books at a store):

cost_of_traditional_book + cost_of_distribution_to_store > cost_of_printing_just_one_copy

The full article can be found here.


Getting Flash Audio to work in Intrepid

I had a lot of problem to get this working, and for a while I was missing all the audio action on Youtube (too bad!) — so, here’s the solution that worked for me – Install “flashplugin-nonfree-extrasound”. It could be as easy as typing the following in a terminal and hitting ENTER:

sudo apt-get install flashplugin-nonfree-extrasound

UPDATE: To get Skype to work, verify that sound is working, and then open Skype / Options / Sound Devices, and update the settings as follows:

* Sound in – HDA intel
* Sound out – Pulse
* Ringing – Default device.
Any other settings caused Skype to fail when trying to make a call. ( [Found this info here]


[This worked for me. Might not for you. Use Google to find more references]

Interactive Game on Youtube

I found this game on youtube where you have to drive a car to safety by clicking on annotations they present at seemingly random places during the video’s playback. While a little lame to call it a game, it sure is a way to make youtube interactive and a little more engaging, and perhaps something YouTube team itself might like to experiment with [via]

This has been made by Hexolabs, an IIT Kanpur startup.

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