Friday, March 2, 2012

Sent from my iPhone

Or not, as the case may be: the Financial Times reports that:
On Taobao, China’s largest consumer-to-consumer online marketplace, merchants are offering users of QQ, the world’s largest instant messaging tool, a service to hack into their accounts and make it appear as if they were sending their posts from an iPhone.
“The iPhone is too expensive. If you don’t want to spend that money, then fake it!” says the advert of one Shanghai-based vendor. The service is Rmb6 to Rmb8 a month (around $1), and all you have to do is submit your QQ username and password. [… That] consumers would be willing to give their QQ passwords away just to help them pretend they are using an iPhone says a lot about the pent-up demand out there.
The Atlantic has a story about the collapse of advertising in US newspapers:
Print newspaper ads have fallen by two-thirds from $60 billion in the late-1990s to $20 billion in 2011. […] For decades, newspapers relied on a simple cross-subsidy to pay for their coverage. You can't make much money advertising against A1 stories like bombings in Afghanistan and school shootings and deficit reduction. Those stories are the door through which readers walk to find stories that can take the ads: the car section, the style section, the travel section, and the classifieds. But ad dollars started flowing to websites that gave people their car, style, travel, or classifieds directly. So did the readers. And down went print.
There are two graphs. The first, which Whale Oil has posted nice and big, shows “Print Advertising Revenue Adjusted for Inflation, 1950 to 2011”: falling off a cliff. The second, too big to show here but fascinating, simply shows Weekday Newspaper Circulation 1990 to 2010 for the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, Washington Post, Daily News and New York Post. It’s amazing. The WSJ is almost off the scale with more than two million paid copies a day – eat your heart out, Grannie – well above the second-placed NYT which has crashed to about 900,000. The WSJ figures include paid online subscribers. The LAT has about half the paid sales it had 20 years ago. Two possible, not incompatible, conclusions: print news is a sunset industry; and a paywall works. (The original research by Mark Perry of the University of Michigan is here.)

George Clooney isn’t gay. It’s official. He has come out and said so in the Daily Mail so it must be true.

New research from Czech evolutionary biologist Jaroslav Flegr to show that your cat may really be driving you crazy.

Steve Braunias selected me as a finalist for the Alcohol Sponsorship Press Award but I was pipped by Abbie Jury. Steve calls me a “New Zealand gossip legend”. I shall take that as a compliment but can’t be sure.

This may be the best photo of Nick Cave ever. Not the sharpest or most artfully composed, just the best. It is from the Watford Observer and was taken to mark the occasion of Julie Howell, who has multiple sclerosis and runs a social media company  that helps people with disabilities, being recognised as “Alumnus of the Year 2012” by the Brighton Graduate Association. Mr Cave, a Brighton resident (Hove, to be precise), received an honorary degree, his third, and isn’t mentioned until the seventh paragraph.

Tim Worstall has strong views on the economics of wind farms, expressed in NSFW strong language. Money quote:
Seriously, people who don’t understand the concept of opportunity costs just shouldn’t be allowed to go outside unaccompanied.
Carole at Carole’s Chatter posts her favourite Flanders & Swann songs. Many  of us of a certain age love Flanders & Swann – “I’m a Gnu”, “A Song of Reproduction”, “The Reluctant Cannibal”, “The Hippopotamus Song” (“Mud, mud, glorious mud”) and the rest. All their stuff is available on CD but for some reason the one video of them in performance, in April l967 after their last show on Broadway performing what must have been “At the Drop of Another Hat”, has never made it to DVD. Amazon has three copies of the VHS tape for sale, starting at £58. Baffling that it hasn’t been digitised. I’d buy it.

So here are Michael Flanders and Donald Swann in a clip from that lost show performing “Madeira M’Dear”. The lyrics are here, not that you need them  because Flanders’ enunciation is so clear. Truly, he was the Neil Hannon of his day.


Sp8y said...

Oh, this brings back memories! Your Papa-in-law had them on vinyl (of course). As a result I have At The Drop of a Hat on a scratchy cassette, and regularly horrify the small people by warbling the Hippopotamus song when mud is underfoot as we're stomping up hills. Possibly time to upgrade to the digital version.

Stephanie said...

Apropos the iPhone story - you just use "Sent from my iPhone" as your signature and bob's your uncle!