Thursday, July 22, 2010

Idealab idea IN YOUR FACE!

Although the project hasn't started yet, we've been kicking ideas around pretty mercilessly at the Freeman's parent company IdeaLab Facebook page, one of the Journal Register Company's new initiatives.

(As mentioned on July 12, 17 lucky people and myself will be experimenting with the latest technology and tools. We're getting gadgets - an iPad, and smartphone of our choice and a netbook - 10 hours of paid free time per week and $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$500 per month on top. There are no rules. You can even write "$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.")

One suggestion by Viktoria Sundqvist, editor of the Middletown Press in Connecticut, got me going. What if you were to put Quick Response coding on the paper to unlock features on your smartphone? "This will allow readers to snap a picture of the code with their cell phones and immediately get access to our online edition as the phone will translate the QR code," she wrote.

I gave it a shot.

Sweet. Can't wait to get started.

UPDATE: I'm informed by a party-pooping publisher from Torrington, Conn., that it's probably faster to type the web address (I'm assuming it's a shortened version like and not something like

It is.

But what if the code was used for something like this?

In a more theoretical and utilitarian way (and I'm not even claiming to know how to do this), what if you use your lap top's camera on a Quick Response code over a story about Kingston crime and a 3-D map of Kingston with stats (ala popped up on your screen?

What do you think?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Idea time!

Good news!
I've been selected! - along with 14 colleagues out of a pool of hundreds! - by Journal Register Company, the parent company of the Freeman - for the IdeaLab! And also to horribly misuse exclamation marks!

From the blog of JRC CEO John Paton:

For the next 12 months these colleagues will be charged with experimenting with the latest technology and tools to help our Company think differently about what we do and how we do it. To do that, we are equipping them with the latest tools – iPhones, iPads and Netbooks (or they can substitute that list with Droids or other non-Apple products).

We are also providing them with 10 hours of paid free time per week to experiment and because we know they will do many more hours than that we are also providing a $500 per month stipend.

In short, we want to transform the way we do news - for the better - and we want you to be a part of it. One of the ideas is to open a two-way street for tips and concerns and allowed you to tell us what are the uncovered stories that are on your minds. And we intend to follow up.

But that's just one idea that we're kicking around. And I'd like to hear from you.

You can do it here (the blog is open for unmoderated comments) on Twitter at, on Facebook at, via e-mail at or by this thing I found called a telephone, (845) 331-5000, extension 502.

I've got some more ideas, and in the coming days I'll be bouncing some of those with you, at which point you can remind me that I'm crazy and suggest better ones.

Let's do this.