Speaking of SouthCoastToday, check out these Caspio-powered treats

Fred Harwood tells me that the former was seeded by the Web department, which went on an excursion to check out some displays: "It was either a fun way to be productive or a productive way to have some fun."

Amen! And happy holidays to all!

Pimp the good stuff!

Back in my projo.com days, Managing Editor for New Media Tom Heslin coined a phrase for on-site promotion that became our mantra in the last year of working together.

"Pimp that sh*t!"

We quickly shortened it to PTS, to make it a bit more professional in mixed company, and said it to each other with a wink and a nod during almost every meeting in which we were discussing what of our new efforts should get home-page promotion.

I was reminded of PTS as I was conversing with Yoni Greenbaum via IM today. One conversation was about Year in Review features I was encountering, both on Ottaway sites and elsewhere. In particular, I was touting an effort by our SouthCoastToday crew.

Straight from Google Talk:

Yoni: I don't see the year in review package on their homepage...
Sean: Under their special reports menu? (It was in the lead position yesterday afternoon)
Yoni: nah, all I see if their men and women of the year package.
Sean: Oy. I'll dig the link out of my history....
Yoni: found it through their search
A little later, I was checking out a Google Maps mashup done by TheLedger.com in Florida, showing where to find holiday light displays. Dutifully impressed by the effort, I decided to check how they had integrated it into their site. Another exercise in frustration ensued.

Again, straight from Google Talk:
Sean: OK, that Ledger holiday lights mashup? Am I missing something, or is not linked from anywhere on their main site?
Yoni: nope
Sean: By searching Google, I found this: http://whatsnewonline.theledger.com/default.asp?item=717201
I feel a blog post coming on....

What the Google Talk thread doesn't tell you is that I hunted -- I mean, really hunted -- through TheLedger's local news, community, multimedia, interactives and other pages to find how the map was presented or linked. I couldn't even surface via their internal site search. I had to go outside to Google, and come back in, and I still am unclear on exactly how they integrated it on their site, or even promoted it, when the feature was launched.

No user is going to go through the lengths I did to find your cool stuff. It's a disservice to your staff not to showcase their hard work. It's a disservice to the reader to have that kind of utility or interesting content, and hide it under a bushel.

PTS, baby. PTS!


Breaking news alerts: What NOT to do

Check out the washingtonpost.com e-mail I just received, appended below. I am mystified at how even major news organizations don't seem to get breaking news e-mail alerts right.
What's the news conference about? Why should I care? More importantly, why should I drop everything I am trying to get done before my holiday vacation to pay attention to what is happening on washingtonpost.com? Is it breaking news simply because Bush IS holding a press conference? Maybe so, but how am I supposed to know that from what I've been sent? If that's the news hook, tell me! Give me something more than the president is going to hold a news conference. So what?
I am not clicking through to find out more. I have not been made to care enough to pay attention. I am almost tempted to unsubscribe....

From: washingtonpost.com [mailto:newsletter@letters.washingtonpost.com]
Sent: Thursday, December 20, 2007 9:46 AM
To: Polay, Sean
Subject: News Alert: VIDEO: President Bush to Hold News Conference

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News Alert 8:20 a.m. ET Thursday, December 20, 2007
VIDEO: President Bush to Hold News Conference
President Bush plans to hold a White House news conference at 10:00 a.m. ET. To view live streaming video of this event on the Web, go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/postlive1.

For more information, visit washingtonpost.com

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Winter mapping idea: Best Places for Sledding

Check out: NJ Real Estate Wire » Best Places for Sledding in Essex County NJ.

Add a mashup map, some UGC to solicit user favorites and comments on already mapped ones, and you've got something more interactive that will last you all winter long!



An update from Gizmodo for those who are hoping the YouTube video quality might improve: What YouTubeHD Might Look Like.

As indicated in the post, the stream is choppy (understatement), but it's nice to see that there's work afoot and potential quality improvement on the horizon.