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dria
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I've often said I would pay for nytimes.com if they asked me to...and I will. I think it's a completely valid model for supporting that sort of high quality site.
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Happy New Year, Wil. I read these (and a bunch of stuff they linked to) today, and I'm glad you're out there telling stories about (and for) our generation of nerds. Thanks for being awesome.
Toggle Commented Dec 31, 2009 on the 2009 year in review, part six at WWdN: In Exile
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Not very long ago I had people telling me I should take out two or three mortgages to buy a place in a big city (and I know people who did). I'm really glad we went the other way, moved back out East two years ago, and spent less than half what the banks pre-approved us for.
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Cooking is a skill that fewer people learn and fewer people are interested in. The Food Network and the food industry don't help -- most of the shows are centred around chefs who spent years in school, training, and apprenticeships to do what they do. The Food Network just makes cooking look like an intimidating, finicky, time-consuming process. The age of "celebrity chefs" is a disaster -- Julia certainly meant well when she started this ball rolling, but the end result is pretty much the opposite of what she wanted. These food porn shows are also training people to believe that a properly equipped kitchen includes a massive pantry stocked with exotic fiddly-bits in addition to the old staples. And then there's the All-Clad pans, Calphalon bakeware, Kitchen-Aid stand mixers, Sub-Zero refrigerators, Wolf gas ranges -- top of the line name-brand everything that is donated to these shows and is a living advertisement for overpriced and unnecessary gear that only the very rich (or those willing to go $60,000 into debt for a kitchen reno) can afford. I don't have any statistics, but it doesn't seem like a stretch to assume that cooking is not taught in the majority of (North American? First world?) homes anymore. "Home economics" classes died off long ago. These have been replaced by an industry hell bent on selling cookbooks and commercials and appliances. And the commercials teach us that cooking is difficult and time consuming and takes us away from our families and other things that are truly more important. Of course, these commercials are selling us convenience foods or fast food or restaurants. And so on. There are a multitude of reasons (mostly associated with people trying to sell us stuff, really). There are a few people trying to turn this particular tide. Mark Bittman, of the NYT, and his "Minimalist" cooking column teaches people how to make great food with minimal ingredients and time. Jamie Oliver -- while a multimillion dollar industry unto himself now -- does the same. But reading about this stuff and watching it on TV isn't going to help the majority of people. It's entertainment, not education. People need to learn and be taught basic cooking skills by actually cooking things. And at first it can be incredibly frustrating and difficult -- very few people have that innate understanding of how heat affects food and the other instincts that veteran cooks develop over time. It's simply something you learn by doing -- a lot -- over and over, day after day. You have to start simply -- scramble some eggs, bake some potatoes, incinerate a steak or two -- and improve over time. But getting started can be intimidating, and the "food industry" isn't helping at all.
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Yes, exactly. Editors for the info-glut. It's a unique combination of skills that makes someone good at that -- you have to be able to handle a massive influx of information, know enough about the general topic or topics at hand to make the right editorial decisions, write/communicate very well, and earn and keep the trust of their audience -- if your audience can't trust you, you're just adding to the noise, not reducing it. There are lots of people who believe this sort of thing can be automated, but it can't. There's just no way a computer will be able to do the judgment, selection, and summarization effectively and reliably.
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Aggregation is one way of adding value there, but I think curation will prove to be increasingly valuable over time. Part of my job is actually consuming as much of the firehouse of information that comes out of the Mozilla project and curating it -- filtering, prioritizing, summarizing, and republishing -- into a single newsletter that covers the 12-15 major news items from the previous week. People love it. The sheer volume of information the project generates can be very overwhelming, so having a curated guide to the most important bits is very valuable to many people. The rest of the internet is no different -- there's no shortage of information, it's figuring out what the important and useful bits are that's hard. Aggregation is relatively easy, so adds relatively little value -- in many cases aggregation services simply create *more* streams of information that you have to try to pay attention to. Curation, on the other hand, is hard, skilled, and time consuming work that adds real value by saving other people time and stress. A new sort of job that is a mash-up of researcher, librarian, and journalist perhaps?
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I grew up watching Julia Child, and I actually read Julie's blog while she was working her way through the book. Very much looking forward to this movie :) Julia's "My Life in France" is wonderful, if you haven't read it yet.
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Just a quick note to say how much I'm enjoying this series. Principles 11 and 12 really, really resonate with me -- 12 in particular. I'm very much looking forward to the rest of the series and will revisit the whole when it's complete. Are planning to expand this series into a book?
For what it's worth, I don't find it annoying at all. I firmly believe that too many people are just shrugging this off too easily, and I would much rather be aware of the gloomy possibilities than have them sneak up on me unprepared. I also believe that your message about local resiliency is a powerful one that is important regardless of the current economic situation. Supporting and growing local networks of service and supply is the right thing to do, if not out of necessity then simply because it's more efficient and more humane.
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> light lantern
Toggle Commented Sep 10, 2008 on it is pitch dark at WWdN: In Exile
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> light lantern
Toggle Commented Sep 10, 2008 on it is pitch dark at WWdN: In Exile
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