Tech vs. Trees: Digital news pioneer prefers print, iPad users also like ink, boomers become more tech-savvy

LOS ANGELES , June 8, 2012 () – A roundup of recent trends pitting technology against the printed word.

Trees: Digital news pioneer prefers printed word

He founded a digital news network that has arguably done more to wean people off newspapers than any other, yet Michael Bloomberg remains strangely attached to the printed word. VentureBeat reported this week that Bloomberg would rather read his news from a newspaper — and not just one paper, but eight every day. Apparently the pile of inky publications next to his bed forces him to catch up on his reading rather than let weeks’ worth of material pile up unobtrusively on an iPad. Printed news, especially the broadsheet form, also allows the digital news pioneer to visually scan various stories in one place, opening the possibility of discovering something new. The “fallacy” with Internet news sources, according to Bloomberg, is “I don’t know what I want to read. I want someone to tell me what to read.”

Tech + Trees: Early adopters still holding on to paper

Even early adopters aren’t too willing to give up the ink stains of their favorite newspapers. Almost 50% of iPad owners in the U.S. also subscribe to print publications, according to the 2012 Reynolds Journalism Institute Mobile Media News Consumption Survey. Of all tablet and smartphone owners, those with the Blackberry Smartphone top the list of print subscribers at 49.3% closely followed by iPad owners (48.1%) and iPhone owners (43.2%). Major publishers have certainly paid attention. Just in the last month, Bonnier has integrated Aurasma technology with its Popular Science magazine that allows readers to activate and watch overlaid videos through their smartphone; Men’s Health will be the first iPhone application to launch on the Adobe platform in the U.S.; and Hearst’s House Beautiful becomes the first print magazine to use Digimarc’s Print-to-Pin technology so readers can pin images directly from the magazine to their Pinterest boards.

Tech: Online activity booming among older boomers

American’s seniors are still less likely than younger age groups to use the Internet but they’re catching up fast according to a recent Pew Research survey. Results of the April survey were released this week and reveal that 53% of over 65s use the Internet at least occasionally, which is far behind the 97% figure for those aged 18 to 29 but it’s the first time since the survey began in 2000 that Internet-savvy seniors have outnumbered their technophobic peers. Once online, seniors are almost as Internet-addicted as other demographics, which doesn’t bode well for the printed word. The Pew survey found that 70% of Internet-connected seniors typically go online daily, not far behind the 76% of 50-64 year olds and the 87% of under-29s. And ownership of e-readers among seniors has grown almost fourfold in the past few years, from just 3% in 2010 to 11% today.

Trees: Legislators rally to save daily paper from online fate

Legislators and the press may have long butted heads, but in the age of diminishing newspapers a new alliance has formed between the two in Louisiana. State Rep. Walt Leger III and State Sen. J.P. Morrell have introduced identical resolutions calling on the Newhouse family to keep the Times-Picayune in New Orleans a daily publication after the publisher announced it would print the paper just three days a week starting this fall. The move is also significant because it marks the first time that a major U.S. city will be left without at least one daily print newspaper. According to the resolutions, many readers who rely on the paper version don’t have online access and will miss “critical news and information four days a week.”

Tech + Trees: YouTube becomes battleground for tech vs. trees

In declaring Oct. 23 National No-Print Day, Toshiba released a YouTube video that gives a fellow co-worker Tree a break. Tree fantasizes about skateboarding at the park, strumming a guitar by the pool and chugging a lot of water on his day off—all part of Toshiba’s campaign to raise awareness that “approximately 336,000,000 sheets of paper are wasted daily” in America. In January, Domtar launched its own series of videos aimed at showing “why paper is so vital today.” In the paperless world depicted by Domtar, office workers must take notes on each other’s faces and white button-downs and paper rationing spurs survival-mode pandemonium. Then there’s Sappi Fine Paper’s absurdist video released earlier this year that is hard to place in either camp. It showcases a fax machine spitting out endless sheets of paper and a gentleman wooing a giant piece of paper with a cellophane-wrapped teddy bear, all in an apparent attempt by Sappi to sell more printing paper.

Tech: Is the Internet now bigger than the universe?

Those not plugged in to the rarefied world of Internet engineering might not have followed the doomsayers predicting for the last few years that the world would soon run out of Internet protocol (IP) addresses, the unique numerical tags that enable gadgets to connect to the Internet and other gadgets. With the 4.29 billion unique IP addresses almost exhausted, the gatekeepers of the Internet this week flipped the switch on a new system of assigning IP addresses called IPv6, which is being hailed as the biggest upgrade in the Internet’s history. Now there are 340 undecillion unique IP addresses, a mind-boggling number said to be potentially greater than the number of stars in the universe. The average person in the street will be oblivious to this change, but virtually everyone would have noticed if IP addresses had run out and they could no longer access their favorite online newspaper. As if to underline the urgency of the IP address change Cisco last month predicted that by 2016 there will be almost three times more Internet-connected devices than people on the planet, compared to about one device per person in 2011.

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