Cool links

This stuff is compiled by Prof. Bruce Garrison. Suggestions for new content are always welcome…

  • Museum staff in England have restored and re-booted, yes, re-booted a computer placed into service in 1951. It is now the world’s oldest original computer that continues to work. You can see the story and a video, complete with clicking and other sounds of it “doing math” at Check it out.
  • The November 2012 revelations about former CIA Director David Petraeus have raised questions about e-mail security and privacy. After all, if the director of the CIA, our top spy organization with the most sophisticated encryption and security for communication, cannot keep his e-mail private, who can? Think about it the next time you send a message to someone…. There’s a very thought-provoking piece on CNN’s Web site, written by John D. Sutter, about these issues at
  • Princeton University’s Jane Vertesi, who teaches a sociology of technology and human-computer interaction course, has written a short opinion piece for CNN that explains why she no longer uses Google’s vast online resources. Her reason for the “break-up”? Privacy and personal information. Check it out at
  • The non-profit organization Committee to Protect Journalists has prepared a Journalist Security Guide that is now available online at the group’s site ( Students and professionals will find the guide helpful with advice and guidelines for assessing threats on assignments, ways to avoid hazards, and how to respond to danger in a responsible manner. It is an excellent resource for any journalist traveling abroad either on assignment or vacation. The guide can be downloaded as a pdf for your laptop, an iBook for your iPad, or in other electronic reader formats for Kindles and Nooks.
  • The Internet Archive news video section has arrived. Beginning today, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012, the video news archive is online and allows researchers to check a wide range of content, including television news broadcast during the last three years by 20 different news channels. This includes about 350,000 news programs. The archive already contains books, live and recorded music, and Web content. It is a resource with great potential for journalists. Best of all, it is free, so check it out.
  • Author Maggie Jackson, writing for CNN, has prepared a strong essay about the perils of the digital and mobile age. The technologies allow blurring of the line between work and home life, something that should resonate with any journalist or journalism student. And with this, of course, comes risk. How much should work be allowed into the home? For some, a lot, but for others, maybe less is best. The smart phone, she argues, is helping work win and work is rapidly creeping into our lives away from the newsroom and office. Check out her essay at
  • The Nieman Journalism Lab is a pretty cool site for any journalism students as well as veteran journalists to check out. This site, managed and supported by the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University, is devoted to the future of our business. “The Nieman Journalism Lab is an attempt to help journalism figure out its future in an Internet age,” site managers tell us on the About the Lab page. There are discussions about online news and where the news business could be heading in the next decade and beyond. Among the neat sections are an Encyclopedia on the future of news and the Nieman Lab Wire containing latest blog entries by the Nieman lab experts. In a recent piece, former Miami Herald journalist (he’s now a dean at Columbia University)  Bill Grueskin writes that newsrooms need graduates who are great a few things rather than being good at many.
  • An article this week (Aug. 29, 2012) in The New York Times makes some very interesting observations about news coverage of the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay. News media are seeking new roles to engage respective audiences…. “So far, it seems, the new media has decided that it wants to be the old media, and the old media has decided that it wants to be the new media,” writes Times reporter Jeremy W. Peters. The story can be read at
  • We have discussed numerous excellent resources for journalists that can be found online. That is one of the goals of the course. The Harvard University’s Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy offers a highly useful site called “Journalist’s Resource.” The site is a project of the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education. The site offers a large amount of issue-based scholarly resources for reporters and editors working on specific issues and topics. Mostly, it provides an overview on the topic and links users to journal articles and papers on topics of current interest. You can find the site at
  • Google is altering its formula for ranking sites. According to blogger Claire Cain Miller at The New York Times, the change will de-emphasize poor quality sites in search results rankings: “Google said late Thursday [Feb. 24, 2011] that it had made a major change to its algorithm in an effort to improve the rankings of high-quality Web sites in its search results — and to reduce the visibility of low-quality sites. While the company did not say so explicitly, the change appears to be directed in part at so-called content farms like eHow and Answerbag, which generate articles based on popular search queries so they will rise to the top of the rankings and attract clicks.”Google has been facing criticism from some users for allowing articles that aren’t useful to appear prominently in search results. That has now changed, according to the company”
  • The New York Times has an interactive time line tracing the history of Apple and its products. It covers the era from 1976 to present. Good images of old computers and the people who created them. Very interesting, even if you don’t have a MacBook or iPhone. Check it out at
  • Ever wonder what it would be like to go cold turkey with your digital world? To forget Facebook or online news for seven days? Well, New York Times culture reporter and “Media Equation” writer David Carr went off the digital grid for a full week. He went to a mostly undeveloped remote island in the Bahamas. Read about his experience off the grid at
  • We have been discussing Twitter and its use as a news tool recently. There is a list of the leading newspapers on Twitter, ranked by followers, for those curious about it. The leader? The New York Times is tops by a large amount. Second is the Wall Street Journal, then The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today. You can see the whole list at
  • Are you a Mozilla Firefox fan? Also an iPhone owner? Well, Mozilla says it is not going to be releasing a standalone version of Firefox for the iPhone any time soon. Read about it on CNET… Guess we will be using Safari a bit longer.
  • Interested in learning about the state of the newspaper industry? Two veteran journalists, Paul Steinle and Sara Brown, have started a project called “Who Needs Newspapers?” They are spending one year on the road, visiting one newspaper in each of the 50 states. Their in-depth statistics gathered are enhanced with video interviews with editors and publishers is posted on a growing, but relatively new, Web site. It will tell you much about what is going on in the newspaper business. Check it out at The companion blog is at
  • Google Maps lost Sunrise, Fla. for about a month in  summer 2010. Yes, lost it on the Florida map. It was found on the Gulf Coast near Sarasota. And yes, it is the same Sunrise we know in the Fort Lauderdale area, the location of the Ikea store and the BankAtlantic Center among other places. Home of 90,000 people. Read about it on at
  • PC or Mac? The old rivalry surfaces again. Recent research shows that Americans are liking their computers more and more. During the past decade, their overall satisfaction levels have been increasing. But which type of computer — PC or Mac — is liked the most? To get the answer, read a story about the recent American Customer Satisfaction Index report, complete with a cool graph that tracks the satisfaction levels since 1994:
  • Radio commentator Rush Limbaugh used fake content from a Wikipedia entry about a federal judge on his talk show. False information was added to the entry about a Florida jurist and Limbaugh summarized some of the content of the entry, including the fictitious portions, to his audience, according to the Huffington Post on Sept. 16. The false content was later removed. For more, the article is at Check your sources, Mr. Limbaugh!
  • The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press measures the moods and behaviors of the American people on a wide range of topics. One recent reported national survey (interviews completed in June 2010) focused on news consumption. Americans are spending more time reading and following news. This may seem surprising to some journalists. Check out the study summary released on Sept. 12, 2010, at
  • The Poynter Institute is a professionally focused organization headquartered down the street from the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Fla. It functions as a continuing education center for journalists of all types who seek to stay on top of things in a changing business. The institute, among its many programs and activities, runs Poynter’s News University (  The site offers on-going tips on all aspects of journalism, Webinars and self-directed courses on many current topics (such as multimedia techniques, reporting, and writing). Check it out!
  • What is the future of social media in journalism? Mashable offers one view at Writer Vadim Lavrusik says there will be changes in social media as we know it today. Social media will eventually disappear and all media will become social. And there will be more collaboration between journalists and their sources. Take a sec and read this piece for more of his views….
  • The international news service Reuters has an online handbook that includes a section about news reporting using the Internet. There’s some excellent advice there, not to mention useful policy statements about legal and illegal and ethical and unethical online newsgathering. The section about “reporting from the Internet and using social media” is at The Reuters “Handbook of Journalism” home page is at
  • The future of social media? What will it be like in five years? If you are curious, read more at Mashable/Social Media at
  • Be safe. We hear this all the time when traveling or going to new places. But do we think about it with our computers and online life? Probably not too often. There is a piece in The New York Times Technology section that discusses ways to be safe and secure with passwords and other critical content on your personal computer.  Sometimes, the story argues, strong passwords are not enough. Check out the Digital Domain story by Randall Stross at
  • Some of us, such as your course professor, don’t use Twitter very much. Nor do we understand Twitter-speak. There’s a 140-character limit to what you can say in a Tweet, of course, and that make abbreviations, codes, and symbols useful but hard for many of us to translate. For some help with that, check out this helpful article by writer Lesley Lambert at
  • Do you like to look at Google’s logo doodles? These are the artsy Google logos used on the Google home pages around the world on certain special days. If you want to see some of these doodle logos used for Google sites in the U.S. and in other countries, go to
  • New Gmail phone call feature catching on: “Google: 1 million Gmail calls on first day,” by Stephen Shankland, CNET,
  • “The Web is Dead: Long Live the Internet,” by Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff, Wired, September 2010, online at
  • Facebook and privacy… As you may know, the recent release of Facebook Places raised serious privacy concerns for users of the social network. Check out this infographic that traces the history of Facebook’s privacy snafus:

Rush Limbaugh Falls For Wikipedia Hoax About Judge Roger Vinson

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