Four years ago, I was editor at my small college newspaper, and we were experimenting with new (for us) forms of online publishing — we’d launched a new site based on Django, after experimenting on WordPress, and I was desperate to find other tech-minded journalists.
Somehow, I got introduced to people like Daniel Bachhuber, Greg Linch, Adam Hemphill, and a few others. Together, we went launched CoPress, where we encouraged college media to become more innovative.
At the time it was an organization seriously at odds with college media. Most major papers were published using College Publisher, a locked-down platform which also severely misaligned incentives for college papers by taking most/all of their online advertising revenue.
Within a year, though, we managed to launch a half-dozen newspapers on WordPress, and I think a critical turning point was when five of our partners won Pacemaker awards for their web presences.
CoPress only lasted two years, but its had an impressive legacy. One of our former advisor, Bryan Murley, just analyzed the results of the 2012 Pacemaker awards, and found that more than half are on WordPress … and only 4% are hosted on College Publisher.
I’m in a great conversation on the value of data. Major issue that is raised is anonymity — it is really hard to anonymize big data:
Seems like one solution might be creating a new, regulated, profession, like doctors or lawyers. Not exactly the crowd-source and internet-loved solution, but I’m not sure we can trust society with utterly open information … while there clearly is enormous potential value to analyzing this information.
Yesterday, I attended MacWorld with Ryo Akasaka & others from Stanford’s human-computer interaction program. It was an interesting show–more like a focused street fair than a true convention, but two pieces of software caught my eye.
CoBook is (yet another) app which tries to tackle the address book space–something that’s really necessary, once you get beyond managing a few friends and family members in Address Book.
It clearly is a piece of beta software–it crashed quickly while indexing my contacts, and doesn’t have a tear-away option, so you can’t see contacts while in another program–but it does a lot of things right, starting with baked-in Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter integration to match what’s done on iOS devices, really easy note-taking to remember context, and syncing with most of OSX’s default software. Which, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to include Exchange. Still, they’re planning to launch a full version soon (~$25), and I’m looking forward to it.
Soonr is a cloud document sharing service, which is interesting … but I was particularly excited by Soonr Scribble, an app they apparently just released at MacWorld (now on iOS). It lets people write on a wide range of documents–not just PDFs, which seems to be industry standard.
I’m a little concerned that it requires a Soonr account, which starts at $99/year, but I could still imagine it as a boon to college students and consultants, for mark-ups and note taking on the fly. It also makes a stylus a much better option, though I’d recommend avoiding the Griffin.