Monday, January 30, 2006

Good news and bad news

The good news first: Nearmiss reports that our outline has been accepted for production: "We're in. No contracts yet, but I did bug him about it today."

She's going to take first whack at the script this week while I figure out how to teach Javascript, CSS, and syndication to a class of tech semi-literates. I think I'll start by not teaching how to code Javascript. It should be adequate to show them only what it is, to make them familiar with the code through some simple examples. They're training to be journalists, not Web designers.

Now the bad news.... Quite a few Netsurfer Digest subscribers have written to me since the last issue in November. They want to know what's been going on. I've posted in blog posts all that I know, so I furnish them with the relevant links.

Today, a subscriber wrote in with the first legal threat. Whether or not a lawsuit, even a class action suit, is worth pursuing for a $20 subscription is beside the point. One thing I did learn from the threatening e-mail was that Arthur had put a line of red text on the site that reads "Since some of you are wondering, yes we'll have our first issue of the 2006 year out shortly (roughly by Jan 23/24 or so). Patience, patience!" You'd think he'd tell me about that.

The letter reads (with an edit, by permission):
Your last issue was in November, 2005. The links to all services such as back issues etc. don't work; they are locked.

I have been a subscriber since 1998. You have thrown out all pretext to professional journalism and the public should know about it. There is always an attorney out there willing to take a class-action suit against your publisher. I have copied those Internet news services that may bring the story to the public.

It's not the cost of a subscription that matters but the principal. You have not lived up to your subscription contract. How many $20 subscribers have you cheated this year? It's not the editor or writers that I point the finger at (I wonder whether they were cheated on paychecks) but the publisher. This is worse than any security problems we face.

Bonus atmosphere:

I write this post on my laptop, seated in the downstairs bathroom as chinchillas run free across my feet, legs, shoulders, and head. One just scampered across the top edge of the laptop screen.


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