Friday, December 4, 2009

There goes another one

Happy Friday.

First the ad. Unpaid, of course. If you like the Three Stooges, nyuk nyuk yourself over to the Jewish Community Center at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 6. Prof. Faye Ringel, who is an expert on the Stooges, will hold forth about them. There's a Klezmer musical program as well.

The best part is the cost: FREE. It's sponsored by the Jewish Historical Society (I'm a vice president). Come. Laugh. You'll enjoy. It's not fingers in your eyes. Yes, of course, it is. Nyuk, nyuk.

There goes another one

I heard from a former colleague at The Journal News, Gannett's daily in Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Duchess and Orange counties -- basically everything from New York City north to Catskill the mountains. The news was not good.

Those who have been faithful readers know I toiled there for the better (or worse) part of 15 years through blizzards, September 11, war, more war. You get the idea. Most of the time, I had a lot to say about what went into the paper and where it went.

Then, about eight or nine years ago, a new group was sent by the geniuses at Gannett, you know the company whose stock went from $100 a share to single digits. That group. They did such a good job and TJN that circulation was nearly halved under their stewardship.

In 2005, they offered early retirement to, if I remember, 27 people. 25 took it. As for me, you can still see the scorch marks on the carpet.

In August, this group made everybody apply for their jobs. Out of, I think, 150 people or so in the newsroom, 25 didn't even bother applying. Another 75 were shown the door.

So, now they have decided to sell the building, print the paper in New Jersey, and fire just about everybody in production and circulation -- more than 160 people. This after closing down its production operation in Rockland County, selling its building there and moving the few editorial and sales people left into other offices.

They probably will do the same thing in Westchester, my source says. Either they will lease back some space in the building or move the once proud operation with five bureaus and 12 editions to a little office somewhere.

I guess maybe the new regime isn't so smart after all.

Disconnect by Ma Bell

There's a war going on between AT&T (Ma Bell for those too young to remember one huge telephone company connecting the entire nation, seamlessly, and conducting wonderful research projects) and Verizon, which started out life as New York Telephone.

The third part of this mess is Apple, makers of Mac computers (used to call them Macintosh, for from whence the apple reference comes). Apple put out the iPhone, a wonderful instrument whose Achilles' heel is that it operates on 3G. For those who don't know, 3G is Third Generation. The folks at Apple partnered with AT&T, probably because they had the biggest network of coverage.

Now the folks at Apple are pretty smart, but they apparently didn't read the fine print in AT&T ads, which says 3G not available everywhere, or weasel words meaning that. It turns out that 3G isn't available nearly anywhere.

A few weeks ago, a federal group -- i don't remember if was a judge or a commission, turned away a suit by AT&T against Verizon for a chart in Verizon's ad showing Verizon's 3G (read fiber optic) coverage as being in most of the nation, where AT&T's was pretty sparse in comparison.

To be fair, the judge or whoever told Verizon it had to explain that the sparsity was in AT&T 3G coverage, not total coverage, which is pretty near everywhere. In its latest ads, AT&T fails to come clean about that -- it just says coverage, not 3G coverage.

So, that leaves people like me, who would love to have an iPhone, in a quandary. I don't want to spend $400 or so for a phone that only works to its full potential in a small percentage of places . Now, I guess I have to wait to see if Google's Droid phone is as good as Verizon says it is.

Apple: You screwed up. Admit it. Say it...say it.

You still make one hell of a computer. These words are being written on one. Now if I can only find a wire to connect my beloved Mac Book to the monitor I just bought.

Snow joke

It looks as if we may get our first snow this weekend. Had to get the headline pun out of the way. Please, please television folk: Don't say it's winter's first snow. Winter is still more than a fortnight away. What's a fortnight? Look it up.

Have a great weekend and, for those in the Tribe, a wonderful Shabbos.

Until next time...