November 8th, 1994
The Future of Publishing & Newspapers

11/08/94 RMIUG Meeting Minutes - The Future of Publishing & Newspapers

The tenth meeting of the Rocky Mountain Internet User's Group was held November 8, 1994. 80+ people were in attendance, and Alek Komarnitsky MC'ed the meeting. General administrivia issues and announcements of interest were presented. Dan awarded Alek (who has been to every meeting - even the first organizational meeting!) a "Roadkill on the information super-highway" button along with a box of Chips Ahoy cookies (Alek is a big munchie fan) After the award ceremony, Dan went on to discuss the future of RMIUG. In general:

  • RMIUG is currently working quite well.
  • We're a "Readers Digest" user group - a general, broad wide-interest user group, trying to touch on things that are interesting. Not every meeting may be interesting to you, but 1 out of 3 should be.
  • Keep members informed with mailing lists and online presence. We would like to get more feedback from members. We will be posting a new feedback/survey form on our Web site soon. People can also send mail to rmiug-comm@rmiug.org with comments.
  • We should have a "User-fest" every 6 to 12 months to let our users talk about things they're interested in.
  • The NCAR location - we may lose this room, but we'll find something else if that happens (or we may have to pay for the room). If you know of a nice meeting location for 200-300 people, please let us know. The meetings will stay in Boulder.
  • We are going to maintain a list of Internet User Groups worldwide.
  • There may be some changes to the Home Page in the new future, possible changes and additions to the library, and we plan on giving users a broad agenda of possible upcoming topics.
  • Next, Will Clurman talked about the Logo contest. RMIUG is trying to get a logo for press releases and other stuff. There are several entries. We'll vote on the best logo at our next meeting, so get your entries in before then. Fax entries to 440-3677 (or call 440-0402 to talk to Will).
  • A review of the Aspen Internet Festival was given by Dan Pacheco (pachecod@csn.org) of the Denver Post with comments from other members of the audience:

    The Festival was held in Aspen from October 14-16. There was not a lot of technical knowledge given there. It was more of an effort to "get Aspen online". Several Web servers were demoed (demoing Mosaic got old rather quickly). Guy Cook had a few interesting things to say: "The Denver/Boulder area has more connections per capita than Silicon Valley". He also claimed Colorado as the "cyber-capital of the world". In general, it was a meeting of the minds between different entities on the net. Not a lot was said, but a lot was asked. Everyone wants to know how to manipulate the Internet pie to get a piece for themselves. Too many people attended, and some were unfortunately turned away.

    Several members of the audience thought that it was billed as something that it wasn't. There was way too much emphasis on the beginners, and not much content. Some of the more "advanced" programs contained technical inaccuracies. It was worth the $20, but not more. Aspen was nice to visit though, making the $20 spent more palatable.

  • CU will host the Colorado N.I.I. Summit which will take place on Dec 5, 1994. Featured speakers include U.S. Senators Hank Brown and Ben Nighthorse Campbell, John Malone, TCI, Richard McCormick, US West, and John Barlow, Electronic Frontier Foundation. There is complete information online at the URL http://www.cs.colorado.edu/home/mcbryan/cnii/brochure.html. You can register online from that location.
  • There's a 14-part educational, business series on the Internet being produced for cable-TV's Mind Extension University. We are interested in highlighting 6-10 businesses located anywhere from Fort Collins to Castle Rock that are using the Internet for business purposes. This can include anything from doing research on the 'Net to having an electronic storefront. Please contact Scott Schumaker (schumake@ucsub.colorado.edu).
  • lbrodsky@rocksilid.com announced an Internet Chamber of Commerce meeting to be held on Tuesday, 12/6 at 7pm at the Westminster Ramada.
Our feature talk was presented by Curt Stevens and Mark Timpe of Knight Ridder Information Labs. The talk was entitled "The Future of Publishing & Newspapers in an Increasingly Electronic Age".

Everyone thinks that newspapers are dying, including some publishers. Many think/thought that "no one needs to read anymore, because they can get it on the TV." Many view it as inevitable that papers will disappear. People want a personal newspaper - dealing with subjects that you're interested in.

But.. research shows that reality is much different. We don't have the time to take on the roll of our own personal editor, and we don't want to read our papers on monitors. Most people are hungry for more news, but when they get it, there's too much. A paper that gives you only what you want won't provide you with outside information that may also be affecting you.

There are three models for information dissemination:

Very passive and linear. Interactive TV so far has not been successful.
Everyone thought that we'd have the paperless office. Why haven't we seen it? People need to scribble, make it portable, and are comfortable reading in that format. Also, you don't need a manual to read your newspaper.
Portable and shaped in the way we're used to reading things.

So, let's use flat panel with ink on paper resolution (150dpi); wireless; portable. Curt says "If you can't take it to the can, it ain't gonna work." There are lots of different ideas about mechanisms to get the information. One would be to a local paper from a vending machine via a PCMCIA type card. Slides were shown with pages demoing what a flat panel newspaper might look like. It has a sidebar navigator and is touch sensitive with a stylus. There is value added to the newspaper - you're able to give additional background information on stories that you wouldn't normally get. It has index pages, with articles that you've read checked off. There's a personal summary page which filters from the newspaper the things that you are personally interested in.

Ads become dimensional with possible interaction. Some people envision no ads, but that's really part of the information supplied in the paper (classifieds, coupons, new product announcements).

Knight Ridder is doing software, not hardware. They will conform to whatever communications/hardware ends up being the de-facto standard. They plan on encompassing not only newspapers, but all document-type media. However, the navigational system will stay the same to avoid confusion.

All in all, it was a very interesting and well-presented presentation about the possible future of our newspaper industry! This was definitely one of the best presentations that we've had.

There are, as of yet, no papers about Curt and Mark's current research. However, Curt's other research papers are available from his WWW home page: http://www.cs.colorado.edu/homes/stevens/public_html/Home.html. Curt's thesis work can be ftp'ed from ftp.cs.colorado.edu:pub/misc/stevens/*.ps .

RMIUG wishes to thank Internet One of Boulder for sponsoring the refreshments, NCAR for the use of their meeting room, and XOR Network Engineering for electronic "stuff".

Suggestions/comments/feedback are always welcome - please email these to rmiug-comm@rmiug.org, or call Dan Murray at 447-3475.

Contact Information:

RMIUG "Executive" Committee, rmiug-comm@rmiug.org
RMIUG Librarians (Joe Betts & Bo the Bohemian), rmiug-books@rmiug.org
RMIUG has an Email list for its members. Send an Email to rmiug@rmiug.org for more information.

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