Category Archives: internet

Sun TV is dead

Word arrives of Sun TV’s demise.

I don’t watch TV so this is an abstract blow. I watched enough of Sun to know that I didn’t like it any more than I liked the Sun newspapers. It was certainly a dissident voice in the wasteland of Canadian television. But it missed Marshall Mcluhan’s point about television being a cool media. Worse, it lacked the vision which has driven Fox to the top of the cable heap.

Television is dying. Viewership is dropping, ad revenues are down. It’s dying because no one has time and no one wants to be talked at. Talked with, perhaps. My phone offers me a thousand and eleven news sources, raw video of events:the opinions I can develop myself.

Sun’s critical mistake – other than having the production values of community TV, was to miss how mainstream, lefty, media works. The opinion is embedded not overt.

I love Ezra and Brian Lilley. For five minutes at a time max. Which leaves 23 hours and change to do serious reporting, regional coverage, round tables, celebrity bs, culture, media, books and call ins. Plus serious business reporting when the market is open.

None of that happened. Or,if it did, no one knew about it.

Taking several million dollars and running a conservative flag up a pole is a worthy endeavour. Everyone at Sun deserves a heartfelt pat on the back. But the reality is that marketplaces decide what works and Sun TV never did.

It is encouraging that BCF noted that Ezra was sitting with Moses Znaimer at the Mark Steyn event. Znaimer is the smartest guy in Canadian television bar none.

Sun TV was an attempt to change the channel. It failed. The need remains but it has to be smart, slickly produced and Internet aware. Sun TV, whatever its ideological virtue, was ham handed, as slick as Brian’s do, and Internet poison. These are people from the dying newspaper business trying to revive the dying television business and it showed.

The market is never wrong… On to the next thing.

UPDATE:Lots of smart commentary floating around the Canadian net. Thanks to Blazingcatfur, Five Feet and Mark Steyn for linking.

Creating conservative media one needs to keep a couple of things in mind. Toronto is not Canada. No, really. The Internet is here to stay and it has changed everything. Real news leads, opinion follows. Conservatives are busy people. They will watch smartly packaged news and business reporting. The success of BNN demonstrates this. Television is dying so don’t be television…look to VICE as a model. Fixed costs are your enemy, freelancers your friend. There is a lot of underutilised studio space all over Canada. Slick production is about style, the 70’s are over. Technology let’s you shoot studio quality on a DSLR and edit on your phone. Use it or find someone who can.

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Smart Healthcare Delivery

Rather than hitting the walk-in clinic to see a doctor or a counsellor, Victoria Counsellor Dawn Cox.

The system is called and it’s as easy as a few clicks to get started. You simply log in as a patient and fill in what your concern or problem is and you will be set up with an appointment on the spot or for a time that suits you. They can evaluate your problem, write you a prescription or set up a referral all online.

This makes total sense to me. Especially on routine things like prescription refills. At the same time online consultations could, potentially, eliminate unnecessary office visit for the description of symptoms which will have to have tests run before the doctor has any real way of dealing with a problem.

Finally, an online system would let nurse practitioners take on a bit of the screening and refilling load. And, in some cases, could lead to timely referrals to people like Dawn who might be able head off psychological issues before they escalated to a level needing medical intervention.


Er, American Spring II

As Sir Nigel Sheinwald, our former ambassador to the US, told me: “Globalisation makes governments look small because they are incapable of controlling huge global processes. And the vast amounts of online information mean that people are sceptical of what governments tell them and check up on it instantly. Social media allows campaigns to be mounted at the drop of a hat. Traditional means of political organisation and mobilisation of opinion have been overtaken.” telegraph

If this blog has a theme it is a profound scepticism about government and politicians. At the moment, the Big Zero is being embarrassed at the G-20. Soon he will fly back to the US and, apparently, address a sceptical nation on why they should follow him into a “not a war” about “not a red line” for which neither he nor the dimwits in his administration can make a convincing case. His leadership is of so little consequence that there is a good chance a Syria resolution will not be brought in the House of Representatives because it would almost certainly lose.

And that is because Congressmen are hearing from their electors and those electors are not in favour of this “not a war” over this “not a red line” lead by this dismal failure of a President.

While this is being spun as a repudiation of Bush, the fact is he was able to gain the support of Congress for both Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama can’t.

This inability to lead now matters. Massive, instant, electronic response from individual citizens changes how politicians can do business. Gone are the days where agreements could be stitched up before the citizens had time to find out what was going on.

If Obama is defeated on his bully little war there is every chance that an empowered citizenry will begin to look sceptically at the other cozy deals the “leadership” in Washington is hatching.

The political class (in every country) should be afraid, very afraid.

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The Days Between

From about December 22 to January 3 we have Christmas and Boxing Day and then New Years which, when you add them all up mean that there are two weeks where not a lot gets done in business. It is a good time to clear off old hard drives, walk the dog and the kids, read and count blessings.

Coming back to blogging after a year’s hiatus has been fun and quite interesting. How I use the internet has changed a lot and, I suspect, my usage is pretty common. A few years ago there was a lively blogging community in Canada and there was a fair bit of cross the aisle chatter. That has pretty much ended. People have moved on. Twitter is perfect for snark, Facebook seems to have captured the imagination of people with time on their hands, the Left’s readiness to go to law for the most trivial reasons, the overall reluctance of people to allow people they disagree with to comment on their blogs have all had the effect of shrinking audience.

Combine that with the sheer bulk of information coming at us and even the most dedicated web user is reluctant to travel too far afield. People develop favorite sites and they go there day after day. I know I do.

The internet itself has shifted in the sense that the sheer mass of information is mediated by assorted aggregators, feeds, spinners and a few commentators. Really fast connections mean that it is painless to move on to “the next thing”. And one of the obvious effects of this is that the walls of the various bubbles are becoming thicker.

And there are vast bubbles which exist out on the net but which almost never impinge on any sort of mainstream discourse. The 9/11 truthers and the really out there economic doomsters (and, no, I am not talking about which appears moderate by comparison to people who have big traffic but are too crazy to link) have all found each other. Hell, there is even a bubble for the Liberal Party of Canada…though not so very vast.

Fragmentation and the gathering of like with like was a predictable outcome of better search and the link rolling common in groups. But it has not particularly improved the conversation.

What I am going to be interested in seeing is if, after the radical splintering of the web there is any re-integration. Or even initial moves towards such re-integration. I am not optimistic.

Cyberwar…box smart

suspicious of the regime’s motives. Young, Kurdish, and recently finished with his mandatory military service, Othman opposed President Bashar al-Assad. Working for an Internet service provider, he knew that Syria—like many other countries, including China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain—controlled its citizens’ access to the Web. The same technology the government used to censor websites allowed it to monitor Internet traffic and intercept communications. Popular services such as Facebook, Skype, Google Maps, and YouTube gave Syria’s revolutionaries capabilities that until a couple of decades ago would have been available only to the world’s most sophisticated militaries. But as long as Damascus controlled the Internet, they’d be using these tools under the eye of the government. businessweek

Grownups know that what they put on the net can be traced back to their IP and, more to the point, often to their home.

Grownups either do as I do and post under my own name or get slightly clever and use proxies or, more clever still, use encryption and IP spoofing browsers. Were I in Syria, I fear, I would be using every trick I know not to be identified.

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