INDenver Times Fails To Reach Goal

INDenver Times  

 

 

INDenver Times

 

Today, the founders of the online newspaper INDenver Times announced that they failed to meet their subscriber goal of 50,000. I believe that they successfully signed up 3,000 paying subscribers.

My questions are numerous here. First of all, I hadn’t even heard of this newspaper — did they advertise? Secondly, they started the company on March 16th of this year. How could they possibly have convinced 50,000 people to subscribe to an online newspaper?

From their site, they explain the subscriber only benefits:

  • Perspective and insight pieces
  • Real time conversation with the editors and journalists
  • Ability to comment on stories
  • Daily emails, alerts, customizable home page

Seriously? I don’t see the value here. These are all “services” that you get for free from the other Colorado online news agencies.

What exactly are “perspective and insight pieces?” How about “unbiased news?” That’s something I’d consider paying for. And real time communication? I subscribe via Twitter to all the news agencies in Denver for free. You can’t get any more real time than that.

Profit from Google Adwords

Profit from Google Adwords

Having been layed off myself in the past (the founders are from the Rocky Mountain News), I sympathize with these writers. However, there are much better ways to monetize their web venture and I won’t just say there are better ways — I’ll give a couple of examples.

  • Real time news. For example have a staff writer monitor the scanners and post the interesting things (minus personal details in some instances) that they hear. Even though they might think we don’t want to hear about the burrito being used as a missle in a Taco Bell parking lot — we do.
  • Sell advertising, display it everywhere and subscribers are spared from viewing them. Yes I know there are plugins for your browser that can do this, but the average internet user has no idea.

There are also many ways to monetize a news website without having to charge the visitor a dime. Remember, that your viewers are your lifeblood. Welcome them into your house and provide them with a better service.

The backers of INDenver Times do intend to adapt to a new business model. What that model is at this point is anyone’s guess. I wish them luck and I hope they succeed.

A Blue Cow and Some Blown Fish

Blue Cow

Blue Cow

 

One of the most vivid memories of my childhood is of a long road trip I did with my family when I was around 9 or 10 years old. Our car was a very hip station wagon with a rear seat that faced backwards, and my twin brother and I were given the “reward” of sitting in the back during the long journey. Unfortunately, I don’t remember where we were going on this trip. This probably has something to do with only seeing the backs of the road signs.

At dinnertime on the 2nd day of driving, I was anxious to get some good grub into my tiny little body. My dad pulled into a Long John Silvers after being persuaded by everyone in the car. You see, we had never been to been to a fast food fish chain before, and the outside advertising lured us in with menu items like the “Kid’s Treasure Meal”. Oh yeah, this was a place that dreams were made of. We all got out of the car and stumbled inside and were pleased by this fast fish food freakish fantasy. My sister, brother and I all ordered the kid’s treasure meal. I don’t recall what my parents ordered because we were all very excited about the bountiful fare before us. When the counter person gave us our meals, she also gave us 3 gold coins to put into Long John’s treasure chest. Oh glory be mateys! We scurried over to the chest to see what surprises were in store for us. I was the tallest of the three, so I was the last. I’m not sure how that was fair, but that’s how it was. My sister plunked in her coin and received a small perfume bottle. I can’t begin to describe the grin on her face. My brother was next, and pulled out a replica of the liberty bell…crack and all. Now it was my turn. The treasure waiting for me happened to be a tiny plastic blue cow. Utter sadness (I could have used a pun there, but that would have been too easy).

A blue cow? How is that representing? How is that keepin’ it real? Damn those fishermen!

We all hopped back into the station wagon to enjoy our dinners at 55mph. My dinner consisted of 4 or 5 fish sticks and a hush puppy. While my brother and sister were reenacting the cracking of the bell and a perfume parlor, I was busy burying my cow inside the hard casing of the hush puppy. I did eat the fish though. Mmmm good. I was doing fine for about the first 40 miles or so. But it was that incessant chant of “perfume bottle, liberty bell, and a blue cow!” that turned the tables and my stomach on that wonderful trip. I remember getting really dizzy and sweaty right before I lurched forward to expel my bits-o-fish. The spew spuds filled the entire back seat and were flowing like a waterfall down the window handle. Drip, drip, drip. That car stank for the rest of our trip. I think my dad sold that car soon after.

After all these years (I’m 39 now), I remember the ultimate suffering, I remember humiliation, and I remember that damn blue cow. I’ve never been back to Long John Silver’s since that fateful trip…most likely never will.

Denver Ski Train Sold To Canadian Company

Denver Ski Train

Denver Ski Train

The historic ski train that has transported passengers from Union Station in Denver to within 100 yards of the base lift in Winter Park and back has been sold to a Canadian company after 69 years of service.

 

Visiting the website skitrain.com takes you to a single page that has a picture of the train and a scrolling message that thanks Denver for its 69 years. There are no links to any internal pages, but if you’d like to reminisce, you can get into the site by visiting their winter page.

Grab an archive of their photos and videos while the website is still up and running. This is a sad day for many Coloradoans.

How Tweetdeck Saved Twitter

TweetDeck

TweetDeck

I signed up for Twitter about a year ago and I’m not really sure why. I’m guessing it happened the same way I find most things on the internet. I search for something like clown tattoos, find an advertisement for colon cleansing and then finally land on something interesting. Unfortunately, Twitter wasn’t interesting.

I gave it a shot though and found that nobody I knew used the site. I decided that it would just be about me posting random thoughts to myself in 140 characters or less — so I left.

Over the past few months, the media has started mentioning Twitter in just about every newscast so I came back to see what all of the fuss was about. And just like last year, I was underwhelmed. I hated the idea of having to visit Twitter every day to see what was going on in the world. I wanted the tweets to come to me — and that’s where TweetDeck comes in.

Not only does TweetDeck bring people’s tweets to me, it also updates me with my friends’ status on Facebook. I can leave the application minimized in my task tray and when a person updates their twitter account or their facebook status, a visual indicator pops up and I’m also notified with a sound. Everything is organized. It is all on one page. It is beautiful.

TweetDeck is in beta right now, but it runs like a well oiled machine in my opinion and I can’t wait to see other ideas from them.

If you’d like to follow me on Twitter, you can do so by visiting my profile page and clicking on the follow button. The news agencies in Denver are really latching onto the service and I now follow realtime traffic (from scanners) and news throughout the day. I love it.

Turbo Watering in Animal Crossing City Folk

I used to spend around 45 minutes every day watering the flowers in my animal crossing city folk town (for the Wii). I think my town has around 400 flowers at this point and although it is relaxing, I’m tired of passing out while holding a watering can. So I set out to find a way to water my flowers faster — and I’ve found the answer!

You’ll need a golden watering can for this method to work. To get a golden watering can, your town must have achieved perfect town status for 15 days. This isn’t as hard as it may seem and I recently wrote a web application to help people create a perfect town map. Once you have the golden can, you can be a turbo waterer just like me.

The golden can has a very nice watering radius. It will water the space that the water actually touches and the 8 surrounding grid spaces. Try to think of  it as a 3 by 3 grid of squares. The benefit of this radius is that you don’t actually ever have to water a flower directly — indirect watering is so much quicker and easier on your grass.

In my town, I’ve layed down paths to walk on and I rarely leave them. On the side of the paths I place flowers. A lot of them. Because there are flowers on both sides of my paths, it is much faster to water the path instead of the flowers. This will also keep your grass in better condition because you won’t be constantly stepping off of the path to get to a flower. The key to turbo watering is that you don’t need to water every space on the path. In my town, I hold down the Wii nunchuck in the direction of travel and press the “C” button when I want to water a space. I listen for my footsteps to sound twice (which works out to about every other flower space) and then press the “C” button while still holding the directional stick. It takes a little bit of getting used to, but the results are worth it.

My watering time for all 400 flowers is now down to 12 minutes thanks to my new turbo method! Good luck in your town!