Back from Russia

I flew back from St. Petersburg, Russia, yesterday -- a long day that began at 5 a.m. Russian time and ended around 5 p.m. EDT.

In my absence my ISP had broken my Internet setup -- Murphy dictates that technology will go haywire when you have no access to fix it. The first order of business today was to get things untangled so that I can resume getting my daily dose of drug, stock and mortgage spam.

It was surprising how few Internet access cafes I found in Moscow and St. Petersburg. By contrast, mobile phone usage (especially SMS text) is extremely high.

Pulitzers still stuck in a bygone era

E&P's Joe Strupp has a wrapup of how online components figured in the Pulitzer Prizes announced yesterday. While online elements were included in many of the winning entries, they were limited to text and still photographs -- no audio, no video, no interaction.

Strupp quoted Sig Gissler, prize administrator: "There are others to consider down the road," Gissler noted. "We will be making other change as circumstances change."

Circumstances changed last century.

Is print dying? Now that we have your attention ....

It's a provocative introduction to the "State of the Media 2006" report from the Project for Excellence in Journalism: "Will we recall this as the year when journalism in print began to die?"

It's not that bad, the report says: "We believe some fears are overheated. For now, the evidence does not support the notion that newspapers have begun a sudden death spiral. The circulation declines and job cuts will probably tally at only about 3% for the year. The industry still posted profit margins of 20%."

The costs and benefits of interaction

There's a temptation to look at the Washington Post blog blowup and perform a cost-benefit analysis on interactivity. Clearly you can't just toss interactivity technology -- comment systems, forums, chat rooms, whatever -- onto a website and get nothing but happy flowers and joy blossoms. User comments alone aren't interaction. Staff needs to be involved -- responding, leading, and occasionally mopping up spills. Human resources aren't free.

Are your Internet search records public?

Big Brother wants to know what you've been searching for on the Internet, and has asked Google for the records. Google, to its credit, isn't handing them over without a fight.

As for those search records ... everybody knows (thanks to the Avenue Q Broadway musical) "the Internet is for porn." Go ahead and click, it won't bite.