Goodbye NY Times mobile edition, I will miss you

The New York Times wrestles with a New Media business model.  I have been reading the NY times on line edition for years. I find their articles interesting and often more comprehensive than other media counterparts, even if I don’t necessarily agree with the point of view.  When I got my Android phone, I downloaded the NYT mobile application and enjoyed reading up on the latest news as time permitted.  It became part of my morning routine.

On March 28th, all of that will change. The NYT will put up a paywall, charging $15 to $35 per month for anyone going past a twenty article threshold.

I have no plans to subscribe to any of these plans.  I will limit my NYT reading to the twenty articles per month and then get my news elsewhere.   This goes to show, once something is given away for free, it becomes very hard to charge for it later on.

This is a problem that new media types, myself included,  have yet to figure out; how to make money with it.  This blog is a good example; I work away, trying to come up with original material or expound on other’s work from an in the trenches point of view.   I have a core group of regular readers (thank you!) and quite a bit of search engine traffic just passing through.  Every once in a while, I get a good link in from slash/dot, boing boing, or dig, but those are rare.  Some small amounts of money are made here and there, but could I live off of this? No.  It is a labor of love more than anything else.  Something to keep my mind occupied while in between my children’s pickups and drop offs.  This is good because otherwise a fair amount of trouble could ensue.

While I empathize with the New York Times, those rates seem a bit exorbitant for an online distribution system.

Merry Christmas, et. al.

I have looked at my personal schedule, it is likely to be very light blog posting over the holidays as I am booked, booked solid I tell you.  So, if I don’t get to say it, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Festivus, Happy Saturn Festival, Happy Druid dirt munching dancing naked under a full moon, or whatever it is you celebrate.

For my part, it has been an interesting year.  It started out a little trepidus, what with my full time job being eliminated in January.  I was fortunate to be re-employed part-time right away, many don’t get that luxury.  Then, my wife returned to teaching full time, which made me, by necessity, a stay at home dad four days a week.  There have been many changes, but in the end, everything has worked out rather well.

While at home, I have worked on the blog and other ways to earn a little extra money.  I can say that I am genuinely surprised by the reception this blog gets, both in the comments and off line e-mails and phone calls.  I have enjoyed interacting with other industry professionals and bystanders, and although I might not agree with everyone on every point, I respect you all and value your input.  I have found that while my engineering work hours are reduced, the amount of raw material for blogging is also reduced.  I have also found that 14-15 posts per month is the right balance between quantity and quality, with the later being foremost importance.  For as long as I have quality raw material to work with, I will endeavor to write about, take pictures of, and research issues that involve radio broadcasting.

Next year will undoubtedly bring about more changes.  I look forward to hearing from you and I wish you all well over the holidays and on into the New Year.


Where the rubber meets the road

This is the quandary that I have been in these last few months:  Time, as they say, is money.  The end product might not seem like it, however, this blog takes up a goodly amount of time.  There is the writing, research, taking pictures, editing, and what not.  Then there is back end stuff, updating software, plugins, etc.

Then there is actual money expended: domain registration and web site hosting.

In short, it is not free, at least not for me anyway.

I did place a few Google Ads in line with some of the content to offset the money part, which they have met that goal, but not much else.

While it is nice to have a hobby, and fun to tell stories about radio engineering, in the end, it really does not help me earn more money, support my family, advance my carrier or my standing in the community.  The children are young, but that will not stay that way for long.  Before I know it there will be braces to pay for, a car or two, college education and whatever comes after that.  Not to mention my own superannuation to look forward to, with such considerations as adding to the retirement account.

There is another shift in my status coming up, with my wife off to work again as a school teacher.  I find there are not enough hours in the day to work the part time radio engineering gig and meet the school bus to off load the children.  Therefore, something has to give, that being the part time radio engineering gig.

I am, therefore, looking for ways to make money at home.  Developing this blog or turning it into a full fledged radio engineering news website might fun, but it would be much more work, and there is the rub.  I can’t do more work on this site without seeing some return.  I don’t mind working, in fact, I enjoy working, but I can’t do it for free.

So, I am open to ideas on how to monitize this blog or develop it into something else that will make some money.  The third option is to let it go…  I’d rather not do that.