It’s not a mistake to change your mind

We started Timbits back in the very early days of Node.js, when it was being released in the v0.3.x series.  (It’s now at v0.10.x)  and a lot has changed during that time.  Not only has Node.js become much more mature, but of some of the decisions on the technologies and libraries we used were based on very infant projects, some of which have panned out, some of which have been abandoned, and for some we’ve simply changed our minds based on new knowledge and experience.

And that’s ok!  As I see it, there are three ways of approaching new technologies and innovation.  There may likely be more, but I’ve come across these three in particular over the years, and have seen many examples of each.

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Re-introducing the Postmedia Digital Innovation Team

It’s been over a year since the Postmedia Digital Innovation Team was formed.  It’s no secret that I’ve been very negligent with this blog, so I have a lot of catching up to do, reporting on such things as our work with The Windsor Star, some really cool updates to our Timbits framework, and our new project code-named Polyjuice.  First and foremost however, I need to say goodbye to yet another team member and introduce some new faces.

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Web vs Native – Choosing your mobile app strategy

Since the introduction of the Apple App Store in 2008,  there has been a huge boom in native mobile application development, and with the rise of Android, Apple is no longer alone.    The numbers are staggering.  18 billion downloads from the iOS store, 10 billion for Android.  Over this past holiday season alone, in one week the two big players saw a total of 1.2 billion downloads combined.   As far as revenue numbers are concerned, it’s a gold rush out there!

Are native applications, as the numbers suggest, truly the way to go?  Or should we be taking another look at browser-based applications?  With new devices continually being introduced, competing platforms, and a shortage of available skill-sets, what really is the best strategy for getting your message across to the mobile consumer?   Continue reading

The great fall: The real reason behind the decline of newspapers

Recently, a number of people have written about the decline of the newspaper industry that has occurred over the past decade.  This great fall, sometimes referred to by others as “the original sin” has been debated at great lengths.  Although a somewhat crowded arena, I too want to throw my two cents into the mix. While others discuss the limitations of print and their inability to change or still others lament over needlessly giving away all their content online, I would argue that the real fall happened much earlier.  The real fall didn’t take place within the editorial side of the business, but rather within advertising.

First of all, let’s point out the obvious.  The dawn of the internet age is at the heart of it all.  On that point, i don’t believe you’ll find any disagreement.  The internet presented a disruptive change to how readers consume information.  However any disruption within the news side of the business was preluded far in advance by changes in another: classifieds.

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Turning the tide: An insider’s take on the future of newspapers

In 1995, I became an employee of Southam Inc, Canada’s largest publisher of daily newspapers.  At the time, newspapers were at the peak of their performance.  Having a printing press was a license to print money.  The internet was far from mainstream.  In fact, it was mostly the past time of scientists, researchers, and geeks like myself.  Sixteen years later, everything has changed.  The internet is now the defacto source for information of all sorts, including news.  Meanwhile, newspaper readership and revenue is continually on a steep decline.  What the hell happened? Continue reading

Proteus mocks are ready! Come have a look.

While Steve has been finishing up development on Agora, Kevin has been busy completing the mocks for Proteus.  If you have some time, we’d love some feedback on these designs.

Next step is to create the HTML mocks while we develop the backend components in parallel.  A big thanks to Andrew for his valuable feedback so far. Continue reading

Agora Story Page

Introducing Project Agora

I want to take a quick minute to introduce another prototype we’ve been working on, Project Agora.  We’ve taken a small break from Proteus to put together a quick proof of concept Facebook application for  Agora, which in Greek literally means “the gathering place” is meant to promote the sharing of content and ideas.

The application itself is fairly basic to start, and will seem somewhat familiar to those who have seen similar apps from The Washington Post or The Guardian.  We do hope to try out some additional and radically unique features down the road once we get the initial prototype up and running.  In particular, we’d like to see this live up to its name and really become a central point for the discussion of important topics as they relate to today’s important news events.

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It’s official! I’ll be speaking at the Mobile Marketing Summit in January on browser vs. native apps.

I’ve been on a personal mission of late to stretch myself, contribute back to the community and perhaps raise the profile of me, my team, and Postmedia in the process.  To date, that has involved things such as: more frequent blog posts, a more concentrated effort within social media sites such as Twitter, and our team’s recent open source contributions.

Today marks another big step for me personally.  I’m now officially a speaker at the Mobile Marketing Summit coming this January to Toronto. Continue reading

Can the iPad save newspapers? Yes! But not for the reasons most (news) people think.

When Apple first introduced the iPad, or more accurately once the iPad phenomenon really started to take off, I listened to many of my colleagues within the newspaper industry rave about how this device would save us.  Finally, a mobile device had arrived which would allow us to more accurately duplicate the print experience in digital form, and charge for it too!

While I do agree that the iPad will transform and perhaps even save (some of) the newspaper industry, I tend to disagree with many on why.  The blessing of the iPad is not in how it will save us from the free web, but rather in how it can save us from ourselves.  Continue reading