The Solomon Scandals
The D.C. newspaper novel, the media,the Washington area, tech and other surrealism: David Rothman at large

In character, one of Rob Pegoraro’s last “Faster Forward” columns for the Washington Post is on Digital Rights Management, aka “copy protection,” the scourge of e-book lovers for many reasons. DRMed books in the ePub format for iBooks—the Apple-created reading app for the iPad and related gizmos—are not readable on the Nook or on Sony […]

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Imagine working for a newspaper and vigorously knocking its iPhone app as a waste of money, even at $2 a year. That’s exactly what Rob Pegoraro, the Faster Forward columnist at the Washington Post, did without consequences—a good reflection on both him and his bosses. But it turns out that Rob is leaving the Post […]

For years, as founder and editor of TeleRead, I complained of e-book gouges by big publishers eager to protect their trade in paper books. My little publisher, Twilight Times Books, owned by the author-friendly Lida Quillen, listened. Last week with my blessing, Lida dropped the price of The Solomon Scandals on Amazon to 99 cents, […]

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New iPad paper has wow factor Rupert Murdoch’se iPad newspaper launched Wednesday, and judging from a YouTube, it has its share of knock-your-socks-off features—it can even read news to you. But for now at least, you won’t find me among the subscribers. I sold my iPad before prices dropped too much more as owners unloaded […]

So how does it feel, Sarah Palin? You put gun sights on a map showing the congressional districts of Gabrielle Giffords and some others voting for the Obama healthcare legislation. And how about you, Sharon Angle? Didn’t you talk of “domestic enemies in Congress” and “Second Amendment remedies” against politicians like Harry Reid, your foe […]

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Revenge of the copy editors? Laid off from the Winston-Salem Journal, which sent their jobs out of town, 18 copy editors bemoaned their plight. Poignant videos reminded us of the victims’ familiarity with their community—of their awareness that “Robinhood” rather than “Robin Hood” is the correct name of a road there.  So here’s a modest […]

Something bizarre is happening at Politics and Prose, and perhaps a few other bookstores in the Washington area—and therein may lie a lesson for the Washington Post. These booksellers are prospering, even as many others across the nation are closing or cutting back. Sales at Politics and Prose have zoomed from $3 million two years […]

Does the Washington Post want to be an opinion rag for the rich or serve Washingtonians and Americans as a whole? Never mind the old adage that newspapers should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Here’s one indication that the Post is already a right-wing house organ on certain occasions. The Post published wacky […]

Do Ben Bradlee and other Washington Post luminaries actually use the iPad app they touted in one hoot of a promo video? I suspect so.  What’s more, since my mostly favorable review of November 9, I’ve usually read the Post via the app. I have even accustomed myself to the vertical swiping needed to see […]

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Update: Patrick Quere and his publisher parted ways in August 2011. – D.R. Nancy Bruneau’s killer cracked open her skull, sliced her up, and scattered brain and liver fragments in her front yard in Hollywood, Florida. Her wacko son, Beau, 29, now faces first-degree murder charges. Was the killing of Ms. Bruneau, a popular bartender […]

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DRMed library e-books—at least ePub and PDF ones from the OverDrive service for public libraries—are now readable on the iPad, iPod and iPhone via the free Bluefire app. Psst! The secret is here, shared by Mobiputing. Screen shot, from Mobiputing, is of Bluefire on an iPod.

The Washington Post’s iPad app is finally out. No, The Product isn’t quite the equal of the rival New York Time app unveiled in the spring and refined since then. But the Post’s video promo leaves the Times’s marketing in the dust. I test-drove the iPad app today and suspect that Ben Bradlee, Bob Woodward […]

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Roy Tennant, a digital library maven, Library Journal columnist and OCLC program officer, has just posted Dueling National Digital Library Visions on the LJ site. It’s my plan on the Atlantic site vs. Harvard Library Director Robert Darnton’s proposal  in the New York Review of Books. If this is new to you, go to the […]

On the Atlantic site this morning, you’ll see my call for a well-stocked national digital library system, along with comments from James Fallows, once a speechwriter for Jimmy Carter. But who says the proposal is just for Democrats and liberals? In fact, my own interest in such a system arose originally from a comment by […]

So what’s “close”—the word that a TBD headline used in describing the Washington Post’s hyperlocal launch”? Psst! A Post source tells me he expects the launch to happen in the “late spring.” No, we’re not talking about a janitor in the newsroom. Ideally the Post can go public with a few more details to get […]

Update, 7 p.m.: Looks as if "close" is late spring 2011. – D.R. I hated the Washington Post’s hyperlocal edition for Loudoun County, Virginia. From multimillionaire horse-breeders to soccer moms, Loudoun is a whole series of communities—a point lost on the edition’s creators. Lumping the county’s hamlets and subdivisions into a single mishmash without decent […]

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If you love video games—fine. But will the Washington Post, New York Times and a good part of the rest of the media please stop forcing me to play them? If I don’t move my cursor just so, I end up seeing an overgrown ad rather than an article. That’s good for a newspaper’s exposure […]

Might American newspapers and journalistic Web sites be too quiet these days? Here I’m not talking about silence on Afghanistan or the budget deficit. I mean the rooms—the amount of noise or lack of it.

The Charles E. Smith family built the giant Crystal City complex near Ronald Reagan National Airport and donated hundreds of millions to good causes, most of them probably in and near Washington. Names from the family went on the Charles E. Smith Athletic Center at George Washington University, the Robert H. Smith School of Business […]

If I ruled the world and the Washington Post, you would have been able to read the paper on a genuine iPad app months ago. But fear not—either about my ruling the world or about the lack of a Post iPad app. The paper will release an iPad edition “before the end of the year,” […]

Congratulations to TBD.com and sex-and-gender blogger Amanda Hess, who owned up to the goof of the century or at least of the year. In sharing an HIV-related statistic, Ms. Hess meant to write about men having sex with men. She dropped the “n” in the last word. You can read more details via TBD, MediaGazer, […]

How much coverage of Quinn Bradlee’s wedding is enough in the Washington Post, where his father was the Watergate-era editor and his mother’s picture still graces the On Faith Web page? I’ve noted that the actual wedding, as opposed to the fuss over the dueling weddings, received just three sentences originally and then just three […]

Well, the Washington Post has now published more than three sentences about the Quinn Bradlee-Pary Anbaz Williamson wedding festivities this week. The police showed up at 12:30 a.m. Monday in response to a Georgetown neighbor’s noise complaint about D.C.’s wedding reception of the year. So the Post’s Reliable Source gossip column generously doubled the total […]

I’ve poked at the TBD hyperlocal site for not having enough civic-oriented blogs in its network—the Washington area is heavier on hobby-focused sites. As a citizen-reader, I suggested to contacts at TBD and the Washington Post that they take a good look at the Lincolnia Hills & Heywood Glen blog in the Alexandria-Fairfax County area […]