The recently released Pew Research Center’s Annual Report on American Journalism, “The State of the News Media 2013”, finds that the power of journalism continues to shrink as the news industry continues to cut jobs and news coverage. In fact, estimates for the decline in newsroom employment – at newspapers – in 2012 is down 30 percent since its peak in 2000. » Continue Reading.
Posts Tagged ‘Online Resources’
The encroachment of cellphones, the Internet and Wi-Fi into the backcountry was the impetus of my last Adirondack Almanack article. Before long, this encroachment shall transform into the inevitability of an all-out invasion, barring any lethal worldwide epidemic, nuclear winter, asteroid collision or zombie apocalypse. Since it would be imprudent to rely on such unlikely occurrences happening in the near future, guidelines governing the use of these digital gadgets appear sorely needed.
Rules and regulations abound for electronic gadgets in the frontcountry, so why not in the backcountry? Driving while texting or talking on a cellphone is illegal on our roads, despite the flagrant disregard for this law surpassed only by that of the stated speed limits, so why not institute similar policies for the Adirondack trails?
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Occasionally escaping technology is essential for maintaining one’s peace of mind, especially as high tech gadgets increasingly invade every facet of modern life. From incessantly checking email, the ever-present Internet surfing temptation and the constant threat of an irritating cellphone ringtone disturbing every moment, it is important to find a refuge before becoming mental roadkill on the information superhighway.
The Adirondack backcountry used to be such a refuge, but it may not remain so for much longer.
Recently, the Washington Post, among others, reported about a Federal Communication Commission (FCC) plan to create a super Wi-Fi network, so powerful it could “penetrate thick concrete walls and travel over hills and around trees.” And presumably, into the interior of the Adirondack backcountry. Worse yet, it would be free for public use.
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As the days grow shorter and the evening temperatures cool, hobos of the insect community begin making their way to our doorstep. Reduced light and temperature act as a switch to halt their feeding frenzy, turning now to find shelter for the winter months that lay ahead. Having stocked up on food reserves, they intend to use our homes as over wintering sites, guest cottages if you will, to increase their chance of survival.
Two invasive insects making their way into our homes include the newly invasive brown marmorated stink bug and the multicolored Asian ladybird beetle. Both are exotic species that hail from regions of China, Korea, and Japan yet readily adapted to climates and habitats in the U.S. They are most commonly found this time of year gathering on the sun-facing exposure of structures, restlessly making their way into the upper rooms and attic of your home. In the spring, they will all leave. » Continue Reading.
I have been traveling for most of the summer and fall, hiking and painting in Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks and visiting family in Atlanta, so have not written much for the Almanack. I have literally taken thousands of digital photographs. Dealing with all those photos has prompted me to think about how our use of images and technology is evolving.
First, all of us with digital cameras have learned that we can now take unlimited numbers of photos. Up close, far away, every possible angle, multiple views – only then we end up with huge numbers of images, like I did, and it becomes an immense task to do something with them. » Continue Reading.
Hurricane Sandy is heading our way and is forecast to bring high wind and some heavy rain, especially to the southern half of the Adirondacks beginning this afternoon. Although summer camps are mostly buttoned-up and boats hauled for storage, year-round Adirondackers are preparing for power outages and the possibility for high water.
If history serves as a guide, this storm may change our landscape with downed trees, and maybe some new channels for rivers and streams, and a few landslides. Much of what happens depends on where the storm tracks and how long it remains overhead. Here are a some of the best links to follow the storm as it rolls over the Adirondacks: » Continue Reading.
The 26th season of Project FeederWatch begins November 10, and participants are needed more than ever. By watching their feeders from November through April and submitting their observations to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, bird watchers make it possible for scientists to keep track of changing bird populations across the continent. New or returning participants can sign up anytime at www.FeederWatch.org.
After unusual winter weather in some parts of the country last season, many participants found themselves asking, “Where are the birds?”
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Remember Napster and the legal cases against individuals who used it to obtain copies of songs without paying for them? Citizens were pursued relentlessly by huge companies and eventually made an example of in court, getting hit by fines in the thousands of dollars. I’m not defending what those individuals did, but when the shoe is on the other foot, it’s an entirely different story. A large company has been brazenly stealing from thousands of citizens, and they may well get away with it.
In this case, instead of music, it’s books, and instead of citizens, it’s a gigantic company, Google, that has completely ignored longstanding law and violated the rights of thousands. On their own, they redefined US copyright law in order to suit their business plan, copying millions of books without bothering to seek authors’ permission.
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Regional booksellers and other North Country retailers who began selling e-books to earn profits and stay afloat will soon be faced with a big challenge in the online arena (as will stores across the country). The battle of the e-readers will soon break out once again in grand form, just as it did last year in the months prior to the holidays. It led to fantastic profits for Amazon in 2011: they pushed hard to sell Kindles, knowing that the real money was in e-books. Once a customer bought (or was gifted with) an e-reader, they were sure to make use of it―and the strategy worked. E-book sales went through the roof.
Due to a recent court decision, the company will once again bombard us with fantastic deals on readers and e-books. They were going to do that anyway, but the situation has taken a sudden, dramatic change in Amazon’s favor (and perhaps other large online retailers, like Barnes & Noble). I mention Amazon because they once controlled 90 percent of the e-book market. While that number has dropped to about 60 percent, it is likely to rise again with the recent court ruling. » Continue Reading.