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NYT Article: “‘Hyperlocal’ Web Sites Deliver News Without Newspapers “
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April 13, 2009
‘Hyperlocal’ Web Sites Deliver News Without Newspapers
By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER and BRAD STONE
If your local newspaper shuts down, what will take the place of its coverage? Perhaps a package of information about your neighborhood, or even your block, assembled by a computer.
A number of Web start-up companies are creating so-called hyperlocal news sites that let people zoom in on what is happening closest to them, often without involving traditional journalists.
The sites, like EveryBlock, Outside.in, Placeblogger and Patch, collect links to articles and blogs and often supplement them with data from local governments and other sources. They might let a visitor know about an arrest a block away, the sale of a home down the street and reviews of nearby restaurants.
Internet companies have been trying to develop such sites for more than a decade, in part as a way to lure local advertisers to the Web. But the notion of customized news has taken on greater urgency as some newspapers, like The Rocky Mountain News and The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, have stopped printing.
The news business “is in a difficult time period right now, between what was and what will be,” said Gary Kebbel, the journalism program director for the Knight Foundation, which has backed 35 local Web experiments. “Our democracy is based upon geography, and we believe local information is such a core need for our democracy to survive.”
Of course, like traditional media, the hyperlocal sites have to find a way to bring in sufficient revenue to support their business. And so far, they have had only limited success selling ads. Some have shouldered the cost of fielding a sales force to reach mom-and-pop businesses that may know nothing about online advertising.
One problem is that the number of readers for each neighborhood-focused news page is inherently small. “When you slice further and further down, you get smaller and smaller audiences,” said Greg Sterling, an analyst who has followed the hyperlocal market for a decade. “Advertisers want that kind of targeting, but they also want to reach more people, so there’s a paradox.”
Still, said Peter Krasilovsky, a program director at the Kelsey Group, which studies local media, many small businesses have never advertised outside the local Yellow Pages and are an untapped online ad market whose worth his firm expects to double to billion by 2013.
One of the most ambitious hyperlocal sites is EveryBlock, a six-person start-up in an office building in Chicago overlooking noisy El tracks, which is stitching together this hyperlocal future one city at a time. Backed by a .1 million grant from the Knight Foundation, it has created sites for 11 American cities, including New York, Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco.
It fills those sites with links to news articles and posts from local bloggers, along with data feeds from city governments, with crime reports, restaurant inspections, and notices of road construction and film shoots. (The New York Times has a partnership with EveryBlock to help New York City readers find news about their elected officials.)
One day last week, the EveryBlock page for Adrian Holovaty, the company’s founder, showed that the police had answered a domestic battery call two blocks from his home and that a gourmet sandwich shop four blocks away had failed a city health inspection.
“We have a very liberal definition of what is news. We think it’s something that happens in your neighborhood,” said Mr. Holovaty, 28, who worked at The Washington Post before creating EveryBlock two years ago.
In some ways the environment is right for these start-ups. In the last several years, neighborhood blogs have sprouted across the country, providing the sites with free, ready-made content they can link to. And new tools, like advanced search techniques and cellphones with GPS capability, help the sites figure out which articles to show to which readers in which neighborhoods.
Unlike most hyperlocal start-ups, Patch, based in New York, hires reporters. It was conceived of and bankrolled by Tim Armstrong, the new chief of AOL, after he found a dearth of information online about Riverside, Conn., where he lives. Patch has created sites for three towns in New Jersey and plans to be in dozens by the end of the year.
One journalist in each town travels to school board meetings and coffee shops with a laptop and camera. Patch also solicits content from readers, pulls in articles from other sites and augments it all with event listings, volunteer opportunities, business directories and lists of local information like recycling laws.
“We believe there’s currently a void in the amount, quality and access to information at the community level, a function, unfortunately, of all the major metros suffering and pulling back daily coverage of a lot of communities,” said Jon Brod, co-founder and chief executive of Patch. This month, the home page of The Star-Ledger’s Web site, based in Newark, twice referred to articles first reported by Patch.
Outside.in publishes no original content. The company gathers articles and blog posts and scans them for geographical cues like the name of a restaurant or indicative words like “at” or “near.” An iPhone application lets users read articles about events within a thousand of feet of where they are standing. Outside.in, which is based in Brooklyn, licenses feeds of links to big news sites that want to deepen their local coverage, like that of NBC’s Chicago affiliate.
Venture capital firms have invested .5 million in the company, partly on the bet that it can cut deals with newspapers to have their sales forces sell neighborhood-focused ads for print and the Web.
One hurdle is the need for reliable, quality content. The information on many of these sites can still appear woefully incomplete. Crime reports on EveryBlock, for example, are short on details of what happened. Links to professionally written news articles on Outside.in are mixed with trivial and sometimes irrelevant blog posts.
That raises the question of what these hyperlocal sites will do if newspapers, a main source of credible information, go out of business. “They rely on pulling data from other sources, so they really can’t function if news organizations disappear,” said Steve Outing, who writes about online media for Editor & Publisher Online.
But many hyperlocal entrepreneurs say they are counting on a proliferation of blogs and small local journalism start-ups to keep providing content.
“In many cities, the local blog scene is so rich and deep that even if a newspaper goes away, there would be still be plenty of stuff for us to publish,” said Mr. Holovaty of EveryBlock.
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Laptop Batteries- Alternative Way to Use the Laptop Without Having Power
Computers are the essential part of every industry as well as personal uses. Lots of files and data can be saved in a computer easily. Previously, computers were very big machines but the development of technologies has changed everything and computers have already changed in small machines, now known as Laptop. The laptop is the most wonderful creation of science. It is also known as notebook computer. It is a small mobile computer. Laptops usually run on a single main battery or from an external AC/DC adapter that charges the battery while it also supplies power to the computer itself. Laptops are famous for power consuming capacity. This happens because these batteries must be small and light weight so that they can be use easily flitted in the laptop. Laptop batteries are to be considered a vital organ of the laptop.
At present there are three kinds of laptop batteries in the market. These are Nickel Cadmium batteries, Nickel Metal Hydride batteries and Lithium Ion batteries. All of these are rechargeable. In the midst of these batteries, Lithium Ion (LiON) is the one used in the latest laptop models. Although the most expensive, it is the most efficient and reliable too. A nickel metal hydride battery will have a shorter lifespan compared to a lithium ion battery. Laptop batteries are exclusively designed for every laptop model. The life of such batteries depends on the type of battery. In other words, the laptop has revolutionized the conventional office theory into what is known today as the essential for office. The battery is what gives your laptop the convenience of being moveable. These batteries can be recharged over and over again. The use of laptop batteries can be optimized by handling them carefully with caution.
These batteries should be accustomed on a usual basis. And that should be at least once a month. The presentation of a battery is determined by its weight, sequence era and rate of discharge. Finding the laptop batteries is not a big work, for this search over the internet and there are numerous websites that are not only providing laptop components but they also providing detail information about laptops. Select any one and fill up inquiry form and you will get details easily. Purchase any component online related to laptop is the right option because online sellers provide attractive offers and reasonable prices. There are few things that can increase the life of battery such as leaving a laptop in car that is parked in the sun will result in battery damage. You are supposed to use the laptop in a cool room because it will increase the lifespan of the battery.
by Tom Morris
Charge A Laptop Battery Without A Charger
Without your AC charger/adapter, you may feel like your laptop is next to worthless. After all, not only do you not have a way to charge the battery in your laptop, you don’t even have a way to run your computer via a wall outlet. While new technologies are being developed every day in the area of mobile power solutions (including Intel’s research into wireless electrical transmissions), there aren’t many current alternatives to charging your laptop battery without a charger. If your problem is that you are without your original charger (which is what normally comes with a new laptop), here are some workarounds you can try that will keep your laptop humming. Keep in mind, though, that they cost money and require an advanced purchase, in which case it may be just as economical and convenient to buy a new charger from your laptop’s manufacturer.
Use a universal power adapter. This is perhaps the most obvious solution to your battery woes. Readily found at most retail outlets that carry electronics, a universal power adapter can range anywhere in price from to 0 (or more, depending on how fancy you get). The adapter comes with multiple tips, one of which will likely fit your laptop’s charging port. When plugged in, the adapter will not only power your laptop, but will charge its battery as well.
Use a universal auto/air adapter. If you’re the road-warrior type who spends more time in your car than at a desk, this might be the sensible solution for you. An auto adapter is similar to a regular power adapter, except it has a modified end that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter. The adapter will keep you powered while in your car (or inflight if it’s a combination adapter), and will simultaneously charge your laptop so you’re ready for those occasions when you do have to leave your car or plane for the real world.
Buy an external laptop battery charger. These are standalone devices that do not plug into your laptop. Rather, you take the battery out of your laptop, attach it to the charger, plug the charger into an electrical outlet, and rejuice your battery that way. When fully charged, you reinsert the battery back into your laptop. External chargers are usually brand and model specific, so make sure you get one that matches your laptop’s specs. One advantage to an external battery charger is that you can charge spare batteries without tying up your laptop.