Sunday, June 02, 2013

MediaWeek (V7, N22): Bloomberg Chat, Coursea Expands, Literary Criticism, Bridget Jones +More

Bloomberg terminals benefit from Chat solution making them hard to give up (FT):
In a world where many market infrastructure operators provide a cheap, often free messaging tool, Bloomberg reigns supreme. Each day, its 315,000 subscribers exchange 200m messages and have 15m to 20m chats. Rivals have tried for years to break its dominance in messaging, with little success.

Financial groups with security and compliance concerns about Facebook or Twitter like Instant Bloomberg for its security, including biometric identification, and the fact messages are archived and auditable. Users like functions allowing them to share complex data sets, integrate with Yahoo or AOL chat services, or simply see whether someone has received a message. Others have to have it simply because their customers use it.

However its customers are facing intense pressure to cut costs and comply with a raft of tougher banking legislations. The fallout from how Bloomberg’s reporters monitored data used in the terminals has created a chink in the armour some customers are hoping to exploit.
Long article in Inside Higher Education about the annoucement that Coursera will expand to support a much broader base of schools. Here's what they may help SUNY with (IHEd):
The State University of New York, whose 64 campuses make it one of the largest systems in the world, is in the midst of an ambitious effort to enroll 100,000 new students over the next several years. as part of its Open SUNY effort. It plans to use Coursera to help reach that goal, said SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. "This is not a random act of subscription," she said. "This is an intentional relationship with a provider fitted within our SUNY portfolio of online degree programs." Those efforts include plans to reduce the time students are enrolled by offering credit for certain MOOCs. SUNY's associate provost, Carey Hatch, said the system also plans to offer incentives to campuses to develop and consume online courses that meet general education requirements. Some courses could be “guided MOOCs” where a SUNY instructor helps SUNY students work their way through a course that was created by another institution.
“We hope to reach more students with the existing faculty that we have,” Hatch said. The partnerships announced this week also represent a break from Coursera’s plans to work only with elite institutions. Koller said she realized that state systems educate about 70 percent of the students in the country. So, Koller said, her desire to improve education in the United States needs to involve state systems.
In an age of eBooks collecting print editions to make money (BBC):
So if you have a small budget, where should you start?
"The most important thing in books is to get the first of anything," says Adam Douglas, senior specialist in literature at Peter Harrington.
"That's what collectors are interested in. They want the first printing, the first publication, the first impression of any given book."
Potential investors should also look for the best possible copy they can find.
"You can always tell when you're looking at a collection if somebody has always gone for the slightly poorer copy because it was a little bit cheaper," says Tim Bryars, of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association.
"In the long term, buying the best will pay off."
Much like the advice on building art collections, book experts recommend investors avoid buying for the sake of buying.
"It's very difficult to start looking at it in a speculative way and say, 'I'm going to start collecting in that area because I think it's going to increase in value," says Mr Douglas.
"The only way you're going to get excitement and enjoyment out of it is to follow your passion."
Clive James suggests in the NYTimes that it is almost impossible to write a negative book review in contrast to the UK (NYT)
America does polite literary criticism well enough. And how: there is a new Lionel Trilling on every campus. But America can’t do the bitchery of British book reviewing and literary commentary. In Britain, the realm of book reviewing is still known as Grub Street though the actual Grub Street vanished long ago. But its occasionally vicious spirit lives on; one of the marks of Grub Street is that the spleen gets a voice. Ripping somebody’s reputation is recognized blood sport. Shredding a new book is a kind of fox hunting that is still legal today. Such critical violence is far less frequent in America. Any even remotely derogatory article in an American journal is called “negative,” and hardly any American publication wants to be negative.
In her centenary year, Philip Hensher celebrates the uniquely English comedies of novelist Barbara Pym (Telegraph):
Barbara Pym’s unique and unmistakable comedies of English life had an uncertain status during her lifetime, but since her death in 1980 her reputation has grown steadily. They occupy a very specific corner of existence, and her concerns remain much the same from book to book. Though her tone darkens as her work goes on, and her manner diverts from the flippant and artificial comedy of manners to a more natural, disillusioned, uncertain world of provisional unhappiness, her interests remain fairly constant. There is the world of the church and its dowdy social life; there are anthropologists and other intellectuals; there are some selfish men, aware of their power over others, whether homosexual or straight; there is English literature and its dreams of romance; and there are single women dining alone, their minds running on the possibility of happiness.
It is a small world, but acutely observed. Its opportunities are circumscribed, but genuine; and the reader puts her books down smiling, wondering in what ways he has allowed his life to be circumscribed, without meaning it.
Bridget Jones: The third date (Observer)
Would Bridget still be counting calories and units in her 40s? (In theory, she should be at least 50. In the novel, she is likely to be quite a bit younger.) And does that make her out of step with her contemporaries? Her fans' reactions were mixed on Mumsnet: "Will be Zimmer fighting and creaking bones during the sex scenes"; "Bridget should be left in the 1990s"; "The first book captured a particular time for a particular group of women … the second book/film was just terrible"; "I would like some trash like this … bring it on."

In 2007, Bridget Jones's Diary was named as one of the 10 novels that best defined the 20th century. But does Bridget Jones still speak for a generation, especially when her multimillionaire creator mostly lives in LA? In the London Evening Standard, Melanie McDonagh argued yes, she does: "Someone to represent the fag end of the babyboomers is no bad thing."

Fielding's publisher at Jonathan Cape, Dan Franklin, said: "As a comic writer, Helen is without equal. Over 15 years ago, she gave a voice to a generation of young women with the original Bridget book. Now they've grown up and she's doing it again, this time with all the joys and complications of social media."
From Twitter this week:
CourseSmart Partners with Metrodigi to Create Interactive eTextbooks

Timur Vermes’ Hitler novel: Can the F├╝hrer be funny?
Google to bring net access to Africa using blimps, masts and satellites  
Lynda La Plante, screenwriter and novelist – portrait of the artist  
Clash city rockers – Mick Jones and Paul Simonon recall the glory days  

No comments: