Tuesday, February 08, 2005


Sailing the Caribbean has been good for us this year ... three Winter trips, with various destinations and activities at each. Since we're in the businesses of travel (and videography), each trip adds to our level of experience and knowledge, and friends from port to port. One thing we've learned along the way is that for each traveler, there is a separate set of R&R preferences and expectations. (ie, "We never thought the art tour would be so much fun!") But what's common to most is their level of satisfaction. Excluding the rare occurrence of weather and travel interruptions, most people seem to find cruising a very positive experience, and a high value for the dollar. whether it's the popular Caribbean, Panama Canal, Hawaii, Alaska, Baltic or Mediterranean. It's hard to say which is the BEST, but for my money and time it's probably the Italy / Greece cruises, only because of the cultural, historic and gastronomic delights on that itinerary. But I would return to ANY of the others in a second ... in fact, I am writing this in the midst of the Caribbean Sea. I would add a few "must haves" for any cruise. 1) First, pick a first class cruise line that offers the right amenities for you ... ship size, meals, excursions and entertainment; 2) we like a balcony. It opens your eyes to the sea; 3) go with family, friends, office group, or focus on making new acquaintances while on tour. It's more fun traveling together, and months and years later they will help you share in the memories and extend the joys of your trip. 4) Finally, try something totally NEW while cruising that might carry over to your life at home ... ie a dance class, health spa workouts, art auction or wine tasting, cooking class, kayaking or scuba, etc. It might extend that vacation for months to come. Bon Voyage.


Some trends in technology worth watching include: by 2006 cable subscribers with digital service will outnumber those with traditional service (Veronis Suhler Stevenson); consumers already buy more DVD players than VCRs by 25 vs 7 million units (Consumer Elec. Assn); by 2007 more people will be watching digital TVs than analog ones (Forrester); sales of home theater in a box (surround sound) systems will grow 41% over the next 4 years (Consumer Elec Assn) -- nt net, the wired home is emerging in many ways, leveraging the power of the net.


As a former journalist, I couldn't help but get dragged into this debate that apparently has found its way into the courts. The topic was raised in a recent article of USA: Today at: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/techpolicy/2005-02-02-about-a-blog_x.htm . As tempting as it may be to agree with my conservative Minnesota neighbor who publishes the immensely popular Power Line Blog, I have to draw the line when it comes to labeling bloggers as true "journalists." For my 2 cents, sending email just ain't journalism. But, let's start with the definition ... which would include the notion that a journalistic person keeps a 'journal' -- and importantly uses that journal to pursue an occupation. This occupation therein implies a certain (but arguable) level of responsibility, trust and accountability to either an employer and/or an audience. Well, OK -- I may be on thin ice here as definitions have no end of exceptions, so let's try to keep this simple. A 'journalist' in my book has answered a vocational interest to report on life's activities as a career, AND is accountable to an employer and audience with clear professional standards and ethics, plus considerable training and skill -- therein defining it as a profession. From a purely professional perspective, the skills of such a calling are most often learned, while advancement is earned. As in any profession, achieving such attributes will normally gain peer recognition, respect and levels of reward. While a seriously committed blogger might indeed satisfy some aspect of a journalist's attributes, the reality is -- most don't. Most couldn't cut it in a newsroom. Most appear to simply be thinking out loud, rambling with very little linguistic discipline, and less training or accountability to anyone for responsible reportage. This would lessen the chance that a professional journalist or the general public would equate the casual blogger with the virtues they EXPECT of a journalist, in terms of trust and reliability, accuracy and relevance. But of course the opposing argument has some merit too ... that well-paid and trained journalists have been disloyal to the profession through irresponsible reporting -- but that's another story.