There Is No Cat

As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

Monday, May 13, 2002

How do you stop the presses when the press is a web site?

Steve Outing's Stop The Presses column took Knight-Ridder to task for their homogenization of their web sites on May 8th, a day before I posted my take on the subject (hey, really, I didn't see it until today!) He blames content management systems. But a content management system is only a tool, not the problem. The real problem is that Knight-Ridder created an inflexible design with no room for local customization. That's not inherent to content management; it's just plain horrible design and stupid management. I've written a number of content management systems over the years, including the one that manages this very blog, and it's not impossible to make it easy to customize. There's just no room for it in K-R's world.

As I said the other day, I don't buy a paper because it comes from a particular national publishing company; I buy it because it's my local paper. Take that away, and the paper and its web site have no reason to exist. K-R has forgotten the most basic rule of the news business. Amazing. I'm not interested in RealCities; I have some real cities nearby, and I'd like to read about them. Anyway, it's nice to see in Steve's column that the rank-and-file (as usual) understand that management screwed up big time. In my experience, if you want to know exactly what's wrong with a web site, the second best group to ask is the people who work on it day after day. (The first best group, of course, is the people who use it day after day....) (I found the column through Scripting News.)

Posted at 11:14 PM

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What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio


There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

Sylvester (the Dorito Fiend), who died at Thanksgiving, 2000.


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