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This morning I attended the NY Times TimesOpen API day. I will have a post later today with my recap but I wanted to share my keynote presentation notes from Tim O’Reilly now. Tim presented on the topic of, "Technology and the Future of the Newspaper." While the presentation was a bit on the long side, it was a very good discussion. Unfortunately I was not allowed to videotape the session but the Times did and they will let me know when the recording is available.
Here are my notes from Tim’s speech:
- Hackers help push things forward
- Google is the best example of Web 2.0 because of their pagerank technology – made it social by looking at linking patterns
- his most important point of the discussion "what are you throwing away" – google thought about links while no one else did – what about other pieces of data are we throwing away that a business can be built around?
- "extract meaning from data"
- "Don’t show it to me again" – what he means here is that when he visits the NY Times home page, he wants to say to a story "i saw this already dont show it to me again"
- With regards to social networks – think about when you should lead and when you should follow
- Self-interest of bloggers is what made and continues to build Techmeme
- News will be located based on the devices we use (shows example of pizza in the exact spot he was at)
- Google Maps API – most successful API
- Don’t wait for some company to do it, just hack it – this is in regards to having an idea and not waiting for it to be done for you
- Tim sees many business models coming for journalism – he didn’t share any specifics
I was able to capture the slides from his discussion – click any of them to view the larger version:
A few months ago, a friend of mine told me about Safari bookshelf. Safari is a really cool service. They have a lot of books, about things than many things computer related, that many people are always looking to learn.
They have books ranging from web design, to very in depth computer science books. I really like the way it works, and when you really look at it, it's cheaper to buy a subscription, than to go out and buy the books themselves.
A while back, I was on a 14 day trial account and had to cancel it, because I couldn't pay for the upcoming month. Recently, I was looking into buying some books, but figured it would be a bit cheaper to just go and read them on Safari. So I decided to email the customer service, and see what they could do.
So I sent them an email, basically saying, that I'm a student, and that I don't have a lot of money. My thought behind this was, "Sure they'll give me a month free, or discounted, I'm only one person, no biggie." So here's what I sent to them.
My name is Jake Dahn, and I've been wanting to subscribe to Safari for a while now, but I really haven't had the money to do so. Seeing as I am a student, I'm dead broke :-\
Is there any way that I could get a month or two free, or maybe a discount?
Anything is greatly appreciated! Thanks!
But I got a pretty disappointing response, from Nandagopal. He/she emailed me back, saying that I needed to get a valid credit card. Saying that they don't give discounts, or freebees, and then saying that I should buy their corporate plan, which is twice as expensive, as the subscription that I can't afford.
Here's what they wrote:
Thank you for taking the time to write to us and for your interest in Safari.
As per Safari terms of services, a valid credit card (VISA, AMEX, Euro/Master Card) is a must for subscribing to Safari. Also we are not offering any discounts.
One thing I suggest you is about the corporate subscription. We do have corporate subscription for 10 or more users with more flexible payment options and pricing. We do not have any of the corporate information here at customer service as it is based on the agreement between the company and Safari.
If you wish to have corporate subscription, reply back to this mail with the following details and I will forward the same to the marketing team.
E – Mail ID:
Number of users:
Let me know if you have any questions.
Safari Customer Service
I really thought this was ridiculous, and I really think that they need to hire a new support team. Not only did they completely disregard the question, they offered me a more expensive subscription, than the one I can't afford!
Though this is a really nice service, when you can pay for it, I doubt I'll ever subscribe. After having their support tell me that I should buy something more expensive than the thing I can't afford, I'm just going to go ahead and dismiss the chance of me ever subscribing to Safari.
I guess this is just another example of bad customer service, and how it can affect the company's reputation.