safari

Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters mertz at gnosis.cx
Fri Sep 12 20:08:26 CEST 2003


bokr at oz.net (Bengt Richter) wrote previously:
|[OT] So instead of a distributed implementation of business, with no
|individual way of making billion dollar mistakes, the consolidation
|centralizes control and makes billion dollar mistakes both possible
|and survivable, and therefore more probable.

I don't have an airtight explanation for why it "has to be so", but
empirically[*], media consolidation almost always leads to a narrowing of
ideological diversity.  Fewer and fewer different opinions get
expressed, and everything gets mushed together into an "offend no one"
middle.

The trend is perhaps more obvious with political news, movies, music,
etc., but I fear for the same thing in computer books.  Rather than
publish occassional books on oddball technologies by authors with their
own take on programming matters, the danger is that every book becomes
"VB.NET for Dummies", or something like that.

It may seem like a silly fear.  But back when I was shopping my book (a
couple years back now), one of the publishers I approached was New
Riders.  They had published Beazley's excellent _Python Essential
Reference_, as well as quite a number of good programmer-oriented
titles.  But the stated "new" focus of New Riders was "graphics design
applications" (I think one of the first steps in mergers was
PeachPit+New Riders).  While there is certainly nothing wrong with that
type of book, it really seems to throw away the hard-earned reputation
of New Riders for a certain kind of high-quality programming text--in
favor of something which seems a lot more "middle of the road."

AW still seems to do a lot of good books (not just mine), and maintains
that nice computer-science-ish focus.  But I wonder whether a
cookie-cutter pressure will force their titles into narrower molds, over
time.

[*] Maybe Alex will pipe in with a "rational actor" explation of why
what I claim either must be, or cannot be, true. :-)

|[really OT]
|Factoids: Iraq 2002 per capita GDP: ~$2,400. Iraq population: ~24.7 million.
|$87bn if distributed to all Iraquis: ~$3,500. per capita.

Brilliant observations, Bengt!

Yours, Lulu...

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