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Tech and Behind The Scenes

Three Apps to Expand Your Network & Rock Your World

Ah, apps. We live in a day and age were we certainly can’t live without ‘em once we discover good ones. The following list is no exception.

According to our friends at Brazen Careerist, there are a few apps that can expand your network, help host effective calls and manage post-meeting work.

1. Rapportive. Google schmoogle. Seriously. This app helps you learn about someone from the comfort of your Gmail inbox. Instead of searching on Google, when you hover over an email and the contact’s photo, all sorts of goodness emerges. That is, the person’s most recent tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles and more appears in the sidebar. As for the details, Rapportive is free! It’s an add-on perk available for Chrome, Firefox as well as Safari.  Read more

How to Handle a Technologically Challenged Boss

Ever have a boss who’s a little slow on the technology uptake?

Maybe he or she can’t exactly draft an email without taking half an hour or perhaps he or she’s always the slowest to learn the new voicemail system that’s being implemented.

Well, you’re not alone if this has happened to you and according to today’s New York Post, there are ways to tactfully help without being disrespectful.  Read more

Newspaper Seeks Geek For Long-Term Relationship; No Free Soda

American soda

News organizations that are finally realizing how important it is to have talented developers to build cool things for their websites are suddenly all participating in a “talent grab,” reports Betabeat. Among those hiring hackers are the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, the NYT, AP, WSJ, Newsweek and the New York Observer.

Yeah.

Oh, and every job on this spreadsheet. Bear in mind that these are highly technical positions and that the newsrooms are likely going to find a hacker who can learn journalism rather than a journalist who can be taught how to hack.

So some of the listings, meant to entice these folks away from fast-paced startups or prestigious web operations like Google, are kind of funny.

Betabeat notes that the Chicago Tribune’s ad admits: “There is no free pop, pinball or posh cafeteria.” But, you’ll get: “One shiny, new MacBook Pro (or an iMac, if you’d prefer)… One CDM (Cheap Dell Monitor)… One comfy Aeron chair …all at a desk somewhere in the Tribune newsroom, where you’ll be surrounded by reporters arguing with the cops, yelling about the ball game, telling crazy stories, and otherwise practicing their trade….Beat that, Google.”

Er.

The NYT’s ad, probably riffing off the heatocalypse, says “We offer competitive pay, air-conditioning and lots of fun work.”

The Post’s ad for a news app designer (now expired) lists “the ability to high five” as one of the qualifications.

Free soda and all the other perks that come with a tech job, or none of those perks at a possibly bankrupt company in a dying industry? It’s gonna be a tough sell.

Streamlining Job Searches Using Semantic Web

At mediabistro.com’s upcoming Semantic Web Summit, experts will explore the many ways in which this blossoming technology will alter the way we share information and utilize data online. One application is the job search. Writer Katie Bunker asked Martin Hepp, professor of general management and e-business at Universität der Bundeswehr München in Germany, and chief executive officer of Hepp Research GmbH, to explain further: How does this technology apply to a job search, and change the user experience both from an employer’s standpoint as well as from a job seeker’s?

“Job posts and resumes are usually available in a structured form already, but when we use the current Web for matching open positions and candidates, the Web acts as a giant shredder for data structure and data semantics: My own resume on a Web page only contains text about my qualifications, and a company’s ‘open positions’ page contains only weakly structured data about the job. This means that computers cannot help a great deal in suggesting matches.”

“With [semantic technology], anybody can expose his or her skills and expertise as structured data, either on a personal Web page, a social Web application for business connectivity (e.g. LinkedIn), or a dedicated ‘Semantic Web’ job site. Companies can publish their demand for labor the very same way. Then, novel matchmaking engines can suggest high-quality matches.”

Martin Hepp digs into how to create a strategy around linked data, e-commerce, marketing and brand positioning at the upcoming Semantic Web Summit East Nov. 16-17 in Boston.

Besides Spielberg, Nobody Has As Much Power As The TV Writer

The WSJ looks today at the world of TV writers, who have–it would seem from this article–the greatest job in the world. (The article downplays the low pay, long hours, and hard work.)

See, if you’re a TV writer and somebody ticks you off, you just give their name to an expendable extra and then bump them off. Ha! It’s like you’re actually murdering that guy who annoys you except not really because that would be awkward.

The writers of “Psych” named a crazy serial killer after a TV critic who wasn’t a fan. “Will & Grace” co-creator Max Mutchnick was sued by an interior designer who claiming that Jack McFarland looked a little too similar, and not in a good way. And the “Seinfeld” writers “regularly” put TV execs into episodes, says the WSJ, including an NBC chief who got food poisoned after Elaine sneezed into his pasta.

And then there was the other Seinfeld character, “Crazy” Joe Davola, who stalked Elaine while dressed as a clown. “He was based on an executive of the same name at competitor Fox, but only because show runner Larry David liked the sound of his name, and would repeat it again and again. The real Mr. Davola says he gave Mr. David permission to use his name, and has been receiving special treatment at hotels and restaurants ever since. ”

So much power! Is it worth it?

Based on some discussion from back in 2007 when the WGA was striking, TV writers make very, very little. Each writer earns a minimum of $30,823 per episode on a prime-time series (these are 2007 numbers), but nearly half of WGA members are technically unemployed and relying on residuals—it’s not steady work.

Georgia Station Is A Walking IPad Advertisement

ipad.jpg
A Georgia TV station says it will save nearly ten grand a year by replacing paper with iPads, TVNewsCheck reported.

WFXL Albany is no longer using paper scripts, opting instead for six iPads with scripts displayed on-screen as PDFs.

That replaces “hundreds of thousands” of sheets of paper, says news director Terry Graham.

Good for the environment, good for saving a little bit of money, okay.

But the greater benefit is probably that now WFXL is going to be known as “the iPad station.”

We also wonder if WXFL is angling for a sponsorship of some sort, because this story, lovely as it is, sounds just like an advertisement for Apple.

What’s Short, Salacious, And Is Killing Journalism?

Is it Twitter or some other T-word?

I do not know whether the great commercial and social advantages of the telegraph are not counterbalanced by its political evils. No one can judge of this so well as myself. The public mind throughout the interior is kept in a constant state of excitement by what are called “telegrams.” They are short and spicy and can easily be inserted in the country newspapers. In the city journals they can be contradicted the next day.. —President James Buchanan, December 1860*

The more things change, the more things stay the same, eh?

*Found in Blue & Gray In Black & White: Newspapers In The Civil War, by Brayton Harris.

How Google Wave May Transform Journalism, And How Your Job Might Be Affected

google_wave_logo.jpgActually, if Google Wave is as great as it’s cracked up to be, LA Times writer Mark Milian predicts that reporter’s jobs will become easier.

It may be a little premature—Google’s only giving out 100,000 invites so far, and while that seems like a lot, those invites are going to developers, beta testers, and some paying customers of Apps—but Milian’s got some ideas about how journalists could use Google’s new collaborative tool.

You may notice that double bylines aren’t very common. That’s because trying to co-author a news story stinks.
…We’re not going to e-mail our co-writers with every new lead and minute detail we dig up. But if we’re sharing a virtual notebook, we can scan through … or search the newest findings as they’re logged, make comments and highlight our favorite bits.

Then, when it comes time to write, we can rearrange and discuss the story’s flow in the same software. Thanks to the openness of Wave, collaborative pieces between bloggers could become more common.

We also thought Milian’s idea about story updates would make online producers very happy: currently on the web, when updating a breaking news story, either the news org replaces the old version with the updated version, or appends “UPDATE” at the end, or sprinkles updates throughout the text.

He suggests using Google Wave’s revision timeline feature (which sounds like a smarter version of what already exists in Google Docs) on a blog so that readers can see what was changed and when, without some poor producer (our words) having to manually flag the changes.

What else would you use Google Wave for?

Attention Techies: NYT and Chicago Tribune Want You

Office Worker Walks Past Parking Meter
flickr: mugley share alike.

Overheard: “I started looking for journalists with computer science backgrounds. There aren’t many. [Now we are searching for] people with tech backgrounds who are coming to journalism. You should know at least one programming language. On the front end, HTML, CSS. On the backend, Ruby, python, Perl. Beyond that, the key concept is that they have to have that journalistic sense. Those are the folks I’m looking for, and not in a hypothetical sense. We are actually hiring.” Aron Pilhofer, editor of Newsroom Interactive Technologies, New York Times

“We are also actively hiring. You must have a love for the news, a friendly disposition—I don’t want jerks working for me. (Laughs) And tech generalists. I’d say, our team, we all have various tech superpowers. We’d like someone whose superpower is a background in data science. I’d also love someone who has server management skills.” Brian Boyer, news applications editor, Chicago Tribune

‘Architechies’ Still In Demand

Like that? Like that? We just coined that. We’re so proud.

One bright spot in the media/design/every industry that’s imploding freefall is that highly-skilled workers are still in demand, no matter the industry. So architecture firms, which on the whole are hiring less than they were, are still competing for top talent—which in this case means specific computer programs or engineering knowledge.

And personality still means a lot, too.

LPA Inc. looks for architects who can interact with engineers.

“The whole idea is to have these people sitting next to each other and talking,” Dan Heinfeld, LPA president, told the Orange County Business Journal.

Maybe brush up on your Klingon, too? (Ooh, sorry, low blow.)

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