Lynne d Johnson



« November 2007 | Diary | January 2008 »

12.30.07 03:53 PM

All I Wanted for Christmas: Gap Vespa

gap_vespa.gif Ever since I first saw this 2007 Limited Edition Vespa LX 50 in a Custom 'Crazy Stripe' Design by Gap in a Gap catalog, I was drawn to it. Then when I was in San Francisco a month ago and actually saw it in a Gap store, I was drawn to it even more. But, I wasn't paying $5,999 for a scooter, though there was another way I could have gotten one -- all I had to do was enter the GapTIDINGS video contest. Sounds easier than it actually is of course. I'm sure my lack of video content on this site reveals that I don't have the patience to not less film video, but to actually edit it.

Anyway, the winners of the contest were recently announced. Either there weren't a lot of entries or really good entries couldn't get any votes, because other than the "Stopmotion Holiday Greeting," the others were simply ok. Damn, I guess that's a lesson learned for me. I should have taken the time to create on after all. I expected stiffer competition.

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12.27.07 03:57 AM

Best of 2007 And Predictions For 2008 From Ars Technica

So much happened in tech this year that we can't sum up the year with a single label. So we asked the Ars staff to reflect on the event, product, or trend that defined 2007, a year that saw both the announcement and introduction of the iPhone, the growth of 700MHz "spectrum fever," and the Jammie Thomas trial.

read more | digg story

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12.20.07 01:32 PM

Demographics of American Newspapers

I copied this from a friend I went to high school with. I usually ignore this stuff, it's often spam email, but it's just so damn classic.

  1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.
  2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.
  3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country and who are very good at crossword puzzles.
  4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don't really understand The New York Times. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts.
  5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country -- if they could find the time -- and if they didn't have to leave Southern California to do it.
  6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a poor job of it, thank you very much.
  7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who's running the country and don't really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.
  8. The New York Post is read by people who don't care who's running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.
  9. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country but need the baseball scores.
  10. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure there is a country . . or that anyone is running it; but if so, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are handicapped minority feminist atheist dwarfs who also happen to be illegal aliens from any other country or galaxy, provided of course, that they are not Republicans.
  11. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.
  12. The Salt Lake Tribune is read by people who have recently caught a fish and need something in which to wrap it.
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12.13.07 12:08 PM

Print Is Dead: Is BusinessWeek?

In Jeff Gomez's Print Is Dead: Books In Our Digital Age he writes in the introduction:

"While print is not yet dead, it is undoubtedly sickening. Newspaper readership has been in decline for years, magazines are also in trouble, and trade publishing (the selling of novels and non-fiction books to adults primarily for entertainment), has not seen any substantial growth in years. More and more, people are turning away from traditional methods of reading, turning instead to their computers and the Internet for information and entertainment. Whether this comes in the form of getting news online, reading a blog, or contributing to a wiki, the general population is shifting away from print consumption, heading instead to increasingly digital lives."

While I generally agree there is a shift, because of technological disruption, I'm not quite sure that print's troubles are as huge as say the future of terrestrial radio or the future of the music industry (though neither of them are completely doomed if they can figure out the right digital play and a better approach to true convergence).

And while I don't totally agree with the one quote I lifted from Gomez's book (though he makes a lot of other valid points in it), I have to say that it came as no surprise to me this morning when someone sent me the link: "BusinessWeek reorganizes, confirms dozen layoffs". The magazine is going in the one newsroom direction -- contributors to print are also contributors to the Web. And there are other efforts on BusinessWeek's part to firm up it's digital play, as in "BusinessWeek Joins LinkedIn," with BusinessWeek getting some LinkedIn functionality and LinkedIn getting some BusinessWeek content.

While the BusinessWeek case seems to prove Gomez's statement, I read some news in the print edition of The New York Times this morning on my commute to the office that completely refutes the statement. In fact it points to the possibility of the Internet reviving the life of print. In Crossover Dreams: Turning Free Web Work Into Real Book Sales, Motoko Rich writes:

"Three years ago “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” a children’s novel illustrated with cartoons, was published online, where anyone could read it free. To this day anyone still can, at, an educational Web site.

"Despite laments about youngsters spending too much time surfing the Web and not enough time reading, it turns out that many of them still want the format of old-fashioned paper stuck between two covers. Since an edited form of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” was published as a traditional book in April by Amulet, an imprint of Harry N. Abrams, it has sold 147,000 copies, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks 50 percent to 70 percent of retail sales. The book, written and drawn by Jeff Kinney, has spent 33 weeks on The New York Times best-seller list. This Sunday, it will be No. 1 on the Children’s Chapter Books list."

So maybe there's hope for the print medium after all, even for BusinessWeek.

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12.12.07 05:37 PM

Where Are The Black Tech Bloggers? (Final Panelist List)

What does race have to do with blogging you may ask. To some everything, and to others absolutely nothing at all. Does race frame the way you blog or the topics you blog about -- specifically in the tech space? For some yes, and for some no. And which comes first, tech blogger or black blogger, or is there some amalgam of both? Is there such a thing as black technology? And no, I'm not talking about Black Secret Technology.

I'm sure we'll discuss these issues and a whole lot more (with a focus on identity, bloggging, and technology) at SXSW Interactive in March '08 on the Where Are The Black Tech Bloggers? panel.

Here's the final roundup of participants, as they've been confirmed.

Angela Benton - BlackWeb2.0
N'Gai Croal - Level Up
Darla Mack - Darla Mack: Days In The Life of a Mobile Diva
Ronald Lewis - 24/7 with Ronald Lewis
Lena West - Social Media 360 and TechForward
Craig Nulan - Subrealism: Liminal Perspectives on Consensus Reality

A graduate student wrote me and suggested that he'd never heard of a black tech blogger. But what constitutes a tech blogger in the first place? (Yes, I heard you jbrotherlove.)

It doesn't necessarily mean that the entire blog is dedicated to technology or gadgets in the style of a mashable, scobelizer, lifehacker, engadget, or the like, but it does mean that the blogger/writer/pdocaster/vlogger brings a thoughtful voice and analysis to the ways in which technology is affecting and redefining our lives. As I tweeted the other day, it's not I just got this hot phone, but it's a review of said phone or a cultural analysis of said phone. Whether writing about code, gadgets, tech culture, or the Web (and maybe even design's affect on technology and vice versa) -- the blogger/writer/pdocaster/vlogger offers a unique opinion and insight to its readers. Technology isn't just a tangential subject for this type of blogger, but technology (as a topic) somehow weaves its way into everything they write and talk about. Examples: music and technology, entertainment and technology, marketing and technology, fashion and technology, etc.

And while the panel's list is just a small portion of the representatives I came across in my research. More names were sent to my inbox, as well with assistance from Karsh of the The Black Weblog Awards and Darla Mack.

A list of tech blogs (and blogs that have a sometimes tech bent) written by people identified to be black (it's not always easy to tell because not every blog has a face and not everyone who appears to be black either is or wants to be identified as such) :

Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life
jeepbastard: Entertainment Technology
MARS Magazine
Media Mafia Think Tank
The Meshverse Journal
The Michael Hurdle Show
Nigga Know Technology
Rochelle Robinson
Roney Smith
Terry White's Tech Blog
tiffany b. brown
w4 network

Other black bloggers who blog about tech, but may not necessarily consider themselves a tech blogger (these were suggestions from the public, though suggestions from the public also appear in my original list above as well):


Anyone else? Drop me a line to add more names.

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12.11.07 08:42 AM

Black Nerds: Missed Marketing Opportunity?

I ran across this post Black Nerds: The Revolution No One Could Have Predicted, written by Raafi Rivero on the Desedo Films website. The piece discusses how the gangsta image of the black male is most used for hawking products, such as your favorite rapper, as opposed to the black nerd. Rivero writes:

"The most consistently perpetuated image of black males continues to descend from the penny short and hyper-masculine Tupac - DMX - 49 Cent strain that rather like influenza adapts to and attacks the public consciousness. That hip-hop, and its most commercially manifest “gangsta” contingent has been both a boon and an anchor to the media presence of black males is typified by Snoop Dogg’s career. Despite recent stints as a pitchman for AOL and Orbit gum, the D-O-double-G’s gravy train has been permanently barred from entering certain countries."

And then he elaborates on the missed opportunity, as evidenced by Kanye West's Graduation upending 50 Cent's Curtis Jackson.

Raafi goes on to say:

"It is no stretch to say that the internet is alive with various honey pots of black nerdery. Andre Meadows vlogs from his gremlin-infested bedroom in Los Angeles, while the Black Nerds Network holds forth across the pond. And if dorks are allowed to join the fray, then then the online culture magazine, um, dork magazine, might also serve compelling notice that the trend itself enjoys a cresting momentum."

This is just the kind of stuff that afrofuturism was made of. It's not new. It's just that the media is just catching onto it and just figuring it out. Can we get an amen for John Lee here?

I realized I'm a little late to the party on discovering this post. Of course the fam -- jbrotherlove and cobb discovered the post ages ago.

If marketers started to target the black nerd, then wouldn't the black nerd simply become another commodity?

Reminds me of the blipster article, "Truly Indie Fans," that ran in The New York Times earlier this year.

"The Internet has made it easier for black fans to find one another, some are adopting rock clothing styles, and a handful of bands with black members have growing followings in colleges and on the alternative or indie radio station circuit. It is not the first time there has been a black presence in modern rock. But some fans and musicians say they feel that a multiethnic rock scene is gathering momentum."

None of this is new. And does all of this really need a marketing term, or to be sliced up into a demographic?

Have you ever read Nelson George's classic Buppies, B-Boys, Baps, and Bohos: Notes on Post-Soul Black Culture? The intro reads:

"It might have been when mobile DJs began rocking Kraftwerk's "Trans-Europe Express" in 1977 or when WBLS's slogan shifted from "the total black experience in sound" to "the total experience in sound" to "the world's best-looking sound." Or when dressing down to dress up became the new Saturday-night aesthetic of high school teens. Another clue was when Richard Pryor's blues-based life experience humor gave way to Eddie Murphy's telegenic pop-culture oriented joking. Neither you nor I know exactly when it happened. But we know what happened. Over the last 20 or so years, the tenor of African American culture has changed. I came up on the we-shall overcome tradition of noble struggle, soul and gospel music, positive images, and the conventional wisdom that civil rights would translate into racial salvation. Today I live in a time of goin'-for-mine materialism, secular beat consciousness, and a more diverse, fragmented, even postmodern black community. The change was subtle, yet inexorable."

It's the same thing that Trey Ellis was talking about in the mid-late 80s when he wrote about cultural mulattoism and the NBA (New Black Aesthetic).

The thing is this so-called shift that the media is discovering in black nerds and blipsters, has been going on for the past 20 years or so, if not muuuch longer. It's just that the mainstream has never quite figured out how to market to the black consumer in general, and so it's always rested on the stereotype. Now that the stereotype appears to no longer work, all of this analyzing is coming about. It's like, "We've discovered black people, and they really aren't all the same."

Bonus - Video: Buy Mii a Wii - Black Nerd Music Video

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12.08.07 04:53 PM

Brooklyn Projects X Supra Skytops Released


These new Brooklyn Projects Supra Skytops just went on sale on Thursday. It's a collab between Supra and LA board shop Brooklyn Projects. They look really really fly, that is until you see them close up. Still, I don't see anyone skateboarding in these. At least I wouldn't. Not that I even should be.

Regardless of the fact that they have the word Brooklyn in the name, which I thought would have been a really big superficial sell for me -- it's not. I'm still sticking with my winner -- Supra Muska Skytop Floral and the limited edition gold pair runs a healthy second.

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12.07.07 08:00 PM

Titans of Tech - The 60 Minutes Video Collection

Meet the titans of tech. Here are some of the extraordinary individuals who have changed the world through the power of the computer. From Bill Gates to Steve Jobs to the Google Guys and the founders of Napster and eBay, "60 Minutes" has covered the high-tech revolution from DOS to the iPhone.

read more | digg story

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12.07.07 12:55 PM

Open Call: 2008 SXSW Interactive: Where Are The Black Tech Bloggers?

As some of you may have already heard, a panel I proposed to SXSW Interactive has been accepted. I have a great roster of names already, but I want to make sure I get a very good and balanced mix of the types of people who are on the panel.

Here's the gist of the proposal I submitted:

"In August 2007, Podtech Vlogger Loren Feldman got dressed up in black face (a tech nigga nonetheless) and asked the question, "Where Are The Black Tech Bloggers?" While Feldman's video drummed up controversy and was labeled as racist, it got the blogosphere thinking and talking. Especially the black tech bloggers. Here's your chance to discover that they really exist, and to learn how they think about technology, and well, people like Feldman."

If you or someone you know might be interested in participating on this panel, please drop me a line in my contact form. I'm rounding out the list ASAP.

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