General Chaos

Mammas, don’t let your babies grow up to be tech journalists…

It may soon be time for a whole generation of tech-inclined journalists to find better things to do with their time.

Tomorrow's the deadline for creditors to accept Ziff Davis' restructuring plan, and the word is that salespeople are preparing advertisers for the possibility of bankruptcy under Chapter 11. The filing, according to reports and Ziff press releases, is a “prepackaged” one–the reorganization plan that Ziff has been shopping around would be filed, with the approval of the majority of bondholders and debtors.

But there's a certain amount of uncertainty, still. You can dress up a pig in bows and makeup, and call it “prepackaged”, but it's still a pig.

Regardless of how you look at it, the reorg of Ziff, which has changed hands twice in the last decade and became a tech publishing giant after a long history of publishing more traditional trades and special interest publications, is representative of the death of technology publishing as a growth category. Our future , it seems, is gaming and skateboards.

I figured this out three years ago, when I saw the writing on the wall at InformationWeek. Business IT product reviews were going the way of the dodo, along with the rest of the deep technical content there; the time had come to say goodbye to all of CMP (M-I-C-H-A-E-L L-E-E-D-S).

Since I've been at Ziff (one year, as of Wednesday), the company has cut half its staff. Six Ziff magazines have been consigned to the dustbin of history. As the sole breadwinner supporting a family of five, you can imagine that I've watched this play out with more than a little interest and concern.

I started in the tech publishing business 12 years ago, as I left the Navy and was looking to break into the publishing business. I've ridden this bull loger than some; there are a couple thousand fewer people employed full-time in tech publishing today than there were three years ago. But I think the last big ride has come and gone; I've got no choice but to ride whatever comes along next. Right now, that ride is Baseline; I've just got to hope it doesn't throw me before the bell.

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General Chaos

Mammas, don't let your babies grow up to be tech journalists…

It may soon be time for a whole generation of tech-inclined journalists to find better things to do with their time.

Tomorrow's the deadline for creditors to accept Ziff Davis' restructuring plan, and the word is that salespeople are preparing advertisers for the possibility of bankruptcy under Chapter 11. The filing, according to reports and Ziff press releases, is a “prepackaged” one–the reorganization plan that Ziff has been shopping around would be filed, with the approval of the majority of bondholders and debtors.

But there's a certain amount of uncertainty, still. You can dress up a pig in bows and makeup, and call it “prepackaged”, but it's still a pig.

Regardless of how you look at it, the reorg of Ziff, which has changed hands twice in the last decade and became a tech publishing giant after a long history of publishing more traditional trades and special interest publications, is representative of the death of technology publishing as a growth category. Our future , it seems, is gaming and skateboards.

I figured this out three years ago, when I saw the writing on the wall at InformationWeek. Business IT product reviews were going the way of the dodo, along with the rest of the deep technical content there; the time had come to say goodbye to all of CMP (M-I-C-H-A-E-L L-E-E-D-S).

Since I've been at Ziff (one year, as of Wednesday), the company has cut half its staff. Six Ziff magazines have been consigned to the dustbin of history. As the sole breadwinner supporting a family of five, you can imagine that I've watched this play out with more than a little interest and concern.

I started in the tech publishing business 12 years ago, as I left the Navy and was looking to break into the publishing business. I've ridden this bull loger than some; there are a couple thousand fewer people employed full-time in tech publishing today than there were three years ago. But I think the last big ride has come and gone; I've got no choice but to ride whatever comes along next. Right now, that ride is

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Administrivia, General Chaos

Howard Berman is a toad-licking weasel

Rep. Howard Berman introduced the Peer to Peer (P2P) Prevention Act in Congress yesterday (after receiving, no doubt, a promise of immense campaign contributions from the RIAA).

Hey, Howie, how's about we make remembering songs illegal, too, and let the RIAA administer forced lobotomies to consumers so they can sell them the SAME CRAP OVER AND OVER EVERY DAY without them realizing it? Maybe if we were all like goldfish, then you life-sucking monopolists would be happy then, am I right?

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General Chaos

Future headline: Princeton to offer online ethics course next semester

Princeton admissions officers broke into Yale's admissions system using prospective students' birth dates and Social Security numbers. They “viewed Yale admissions decisions” of 11 students; Princeton's dean of admissions says “[i]t was really an innocent way for us to check out the security.” The FBI is “assessing the information to see if there is a federal violation.” [MetaFilter]

Way to go, Ivy League! It's good to see the same strong ethical fabric that trained our nation's elite is still intact.

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General Chaos

Time Capsule

Today was a big housekeeping day–literally. I spent a couple hours attending to some, er, janitorial details that had gone overlooked for a while (one of the downsides of working at home is nobody vacuums your office or empties your trash for you).

I had done a big purge last year of things I had held onto while running a review lab that no longer made sense to keep. But I wasn't agressive enough, I fear. I can't figure out what made me hang onto the 1998 Microsoft Developer Network library, or all those still-shrinkwrapped, unsolicted software packages for NT 4.0 I had on the bottom shelf of my bookcase. Then there were the two years' worth of Red Herrings, Fast Companys, and Upsides–you know, from back when they looked like phone books?–not to mention all the now-obsolete books I had been sent for review.

When my younger son was in Kindergarten, he needed to bring in 100 of something for a math lesson they were doing on how much 100 was. I gave him 100 Microsoft beta CD-Rs. I could have given him another hundred.

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