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Feb 27, 2009

CLIP Broadcast TV Faces Struggle to Stay Viable

Published: February 27, 2009

CBS, home to “60 Minutes,” the “CSI” franchise, “Two and a Half Men” and the new hit crime drama “The Mentalist,” is having a better year in prime time than any other network.

And yet, as at the other networks, profits have declined sharply at CBS.

For decades, the big three, now big four, networks all had the same game plan: spend many millions to develop and produce scripted shows aimed at a mass audience and national advertisers, with a shelf life of years or decades as reruns in syndication.

But that model, based on attracting enough ad dollars to cover the costs of shows like “Lost” and “ER,” no longer appears viable. Network dramas now cost about $3 million an hour.

The future for the networks, it seems, is more low-cost reality shows, more news and talk, and a greater effort to find new revenue streams, whether they be from receiving subscriber fees as cable channels do, or becoming cable networks themselves, an idea that has gained currency.

The last bastion of the big network audience is the Super Bowl and other live events like the Grammy Awards and the Academy Awards. The rub is that those have traditionally been viewed as promotional outlets for a network’s other shows, and rarely make money themselves.

Ratings over all for broadcast networks continue to decline, making it harder for them to justify their high prices for advertising. Cable channels are spending more on original shows, which bring in new viewers and dampen their appetites for buying repeats of broadcast shows.

For the networks, the crisis is twofold: cultural and financial. For viewers, the result is more low-cost reality shows, prime-time talk and news programs and sports from the institutions that once made “Hill Street Blues,” “All in the Family” and “Cheers.”

NBC’s decision to move Jay Leno to a Monday-through-Friday slot at 10 p.m. eliminates the chance of the network developing another “ER” for that hour, but it will save the network tens of millions of dollars.

The network television landscape is scattered with other examples that speak to a broken business model.

The CW, a lower-profile network owned by CBS and Time Warner, contracted out part of its prime-time schedule to an outside supplier, but shut down the deal after just three months because of low ratings and production problems. MyNetworkTV, a unit of theNews Corporation, said it would essentially stop being a broadcast network and instead be a “program service,” supplying shows, some of them reruns of series like “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” to affiliates. The networks have already lost much of their cultural cachet to cable, which is spending more to develop original programs. For the first time, the winning drama at last year’s Emmy Awards was on basic cable: “Mad Men,” which is on AMC. (“The Sopranos” was the first cable show to receive an Emmy for best drama series, but it was shown on HBO, a premium cable channel).

Financially, the networks are on shaky ground, partly because they rely almost solely on advertising. CBS reported that for the fourth quarter of last year, as the recession deepened, operating income in its television segment declined 40 percent, even though it was by far the most-watched network. In the second week of February, CBS had 12 of the top 20 shows, according to Nielsen Media Research.

News Corporation, which owns Fox, reported operating income of $18 million in broadcast television, compared with $245 million a year ago. And Disney’s broadcasting business had a 60 percent drop in operating income.

For years the major networks raised their ad rates, despite the shrinking audience, because they still offered advertisers a larger audience than anyone else.

“More dollars are chasing fewer eyeballs,” said Gary Carr, director of broadcast services at TargetCast tcm, a media and marketing company.

Lately, the recession has forced down the cost of prime-time commercials on network television, TargetCast said. In the fourth quarter, the average cost for a 30-second prime-time spot declined 15 percent, to about $122,000, the company said.

But advertisers will still pay large premiums for a big audience, particularly for live events like Fox’s “American Idol,” which can command $700,000 for a 30-second spot, according to Adweek. A top network hit of several years ago, NBC’s “Friends,” brought in an estimated $450,000 per 30-second spot.

These circumstances upend the traditional business model of developing comedies and dramas that can live, quite lucratively, for years in syndication.

“Prime-time television has been so expensive,” said Tim Spengler, president of Initiative U.S.A., an agency that is part of Interpublic. “The price premium is getting out of whack, and I think you’ll see some pullback.”

Within the industry, the identity crisis is evident in the debate about the future of the business among network executives.

Jeff Zucker, the chief of NBC Universal, has been more pessimistic, saying, “broadcast television is in a time of tremendous transition, and if we don’t attempt to change the model now, we could be in danger of becoming the automobile industry or the newspaper industry.”

Recently, Robert A. Iger, the chief of the Walt Disney Company, surprised Wall Street when he acknowledged in a conference call with analysts and reporters that some of the company’s businesses were experiencing profound change as competition for people’s time increased and consumers were confronted with an abundance of choices. “This clearly has had an impact on broadcast television,” he said.

One dissenter is Leslie Moonves, the chief of CBS, who defended network television at a media conference in December, saying, “I’m here to tell you — the model ain’t broken.”

ABC had a bit of a resurgence with “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost,” but their ratings are not what they once were. And in the case of “Lost,” it is doubtful that the show would be scheduled today, because of its high cost — its two-episode pilot was said to cost more than $10 million — and its format as a serial, which does not do as well in reruns as self-contained shows.

Broadcast television, for decades an oligarchy of three networks, was once the locus for most of the nation’s shared cultural moments — almost 83 percent of households in the United States watched Elvis Presley’s appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in September 1956, which is said to be the largest audience when measured by that metric. In terms of number of viewers, the final episode of “M*A*S*H,” in 1983, set the record with about 106 million viewers.

The networks have also had deep ties to local communities through affiliate and owned-and-operated stations. Along the way, they minted money.

“It was a license to steal,” said Fred Silverman, the former president and chief executive of NBC who as a programmer was behind the hit shows “The Waltons” and “All in the Family.”

In the last three months of 2008, broadcast networks lost nearly three million viewers, or about 7 percent of their total audience. Overall television viewing is up, however, and some big cable networks, like USA and TNT, are attracting new viewers.

Broadcast networks still bring in the largest audiences, but now they are facing a deep advertising recession that is hitting both the networks and their local stations. Cable networks have also been affected by the ad slump, but those businesses are propped up by subscriber fees.

“That’s why the architecture needs to change,” said Michael Nathanson, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company.

Facebook gets it. Bummer newspapers didn't

Ed: The recession accelerated the end of newspapers. Paper eats more expenses than revenues can cover. Thus, they are no longer viable. Narcissistic beliefs block appreciation for the power of crowdsourcing. 

TV broadcast is next up. The cost to produce TV programs is exorbitant. The cost to move their video content to the web is too expensive and untimely. 

Everyone needs to quickerfy. (see http://tv.tEarn.com)
And now RIP to the Rocky Mountain News, its last issue is Friday. We're fast approaching the tipping point where a major city in the US will not have a daily newspaper. So watch for any of the following to join the list in 2009:

Denver Post
Detroit News, Detroit Free Press (each moving to 3 issues a week next month)
Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Newsday (Long Island)
Newark Star-Ledger
Philadelphia Daily News
San Francisco Chronicle (losing $1 million per week)
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (may close as early as next month)
Seattle Times

Today the Rocky Mountain News publishes its final edition after nearly 150 years. Elsewhere, newspaper publishers everywhere from San Francisco to Philadelphia face equally grim prospects.

The reasons have been well chronicled by others like Poynter Online and I won't waste time rehashing familiar arguments and analyses. But one complaint about newspapers is that they increasingly are out of step with their readers, who for too long were ignored at the bottom rung of a one-way hierarchy which defined their relationship.

Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg: "Openness and transparency isn't an end state. It's a process to get there."

It was only a coincidence, but the Rocky Mountain News announcement came on the same day that Facebook declared that it would embrace a community-driven process for governing. Responding to a controversy earlier this month over changes to its terms of service, Facebook said it will henceforth put any proposed modifications to its membership up for public debate in a "notice and comment" forum.

Not everyone was impressed by the announcement. Marshall Kirkpatrick posted a scorcher over at ReadWriteWeb, dunning Facebook's management for losing its grip. But if I read Marshall correctly, he's not slamming the company for its bid to be more transparent. Rather, he's arguing that Facebook still hasn't fully absorbed the real reason behind the flap.

What's delusional about the company's position? Multiple company officials on the call today said that the controversy showed how much of a sense of ownership users have over Facebook and that they wanted a sense of participation in its governing. (You complain about us because you love us!) We'd argue that it is pretty clear people have a sense of ownership instead over their content and want Facebook to keep its hands off. Ownership of content, not the lack of input on policy, was what people were upset about.

Fair enough. And voting may not be the best idea out there. Still, I think Facebook deserves credit for at least trying. Listening to the conference call on Thursday, I found myself wondering whether some of the very decades-old newspapers now going through a horrid time might have fared had they found a way to similarly engage their readers once the Internet went commercial. How long, for instance, has it taken for newspapers to let its reporters begin blogging? How about the inclusion of reader comments--let alone taking feedback on how to make coverage more relevant to the community's needs? Or reader blogs, for that matter? (There still aren't many of the latter.)

There are obvious differences between Facebook and a big city newspaper and I'm not suggesting that the cure here is simply to sprinkle some Web 2.0 fairy dust and everything will be as it was 25 years ago. But Facebook is also a media company and as Larry Magid smartly writes, its 175 million users are the ones who supply the content. Giving them a voice in policy making, whether to quell a brewing storm or to get out ahead of the next one--that's less interesting to me than Facebook's willingness to experiment.

It's not a perfect system and there doubtless are going to be rough spots ahead. Still, I'm going to cut them a break. It's easy to be cynical about the motivations but if Facebook has found a way to offer up more transparency and yes, even as Marshall suggests, participation over governing, then the company has hit upon a formula that will keep it relevant. Wish The Rocky Mountain News and its industry cohorts would be able to say the same. Sigh.

Update, 12:33 p.m. PST: A Brooklyn blog reports that The New York Times next week will begin neighborhood blogs. Thanks to a pointer from TechCrunch, where Jim Schachter, the editor for digital initiatives at the Times, confirms the pilot program. Schachter also asks the following:

Can we create a combination of journalism, technology and advertising that people who don't work for us can adopt? How much or how little oversight by us would be needed to keep the quality high? Would people pay to be associated with us? Would there be enough revenue that some split between us and a non-NYT blogger would work? I'd love to know what readers here think.

Feb 26, 2009

Comments at Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Connect, Disqus, ... What's New?

Swipe through the marquee to see what happens!

A blog or website has so many options for inviting user participation. Options crowd pages, confusing visitors with the many options. What works? What is the future?

Comment Update

Traditionally, a page invites user comments. 99.99% of pages gain no comments. Too many comments are simply spam. When the 0.01% does get comments, there are so many that few reads them. 

It's broken. (Ed: the notes for this blog is officially off!)

Many options allow sites to capture textual interaction. Here are the choices:
  • Forums bury comments inside databases - often inaccesible to robots. Thousands of forums still have private conversations among a few members. The majority provides flypaper to unsuspecting search engines - providing antiquated knowledge. Craiglist is an example.
  • Groups send comments to each other via email digests. There is so much group email that the content is often ignored.
  • Bookmarking - like Digg, Stumbeupon, Reddit, Yahoo Buzz, and dozens of others, share comments to the communities at those sites. Essentially, these are review sites for articles. If an article gains fans, it may surface as a top article to be read by millions. Note that fame is fleeting - as a few of our articles have achieved momentary fame.
  • Social Networks - like Facebook, Myspace, and LinkedIn, allow users to show status, and their friends comment on the status. Blogs and websites can send page feeds into social networks, thus allowing friends to read and comment on articles inside the social network. Comments become part of the social network.
  • Open Social and Facebook Connect widgets allow visitors to comment at a website and feed the comment to their friends inside the social network. This requires the visitor to sign in, grant permission, and submit - a confusing process.
  • Google FriendConnect provides a comment widget. Unfortunately, Google does not have a significant social network for sharing. Thus, each sitebuilds its own - a time intensive process. Disqus serves a similar function.
  • Twitter offers innovative sharing with their social network. Scobleizer talks about one method that changes commeting below:

Doing comments first on Twitter with Twickie

OK, so, what is the tool I was using earlier in the evening to get lots of responses from my Twitter followers and copy and paste them into my blog? Chris Pirillo’s Twickie.

How does it work?

I ask a question on Twitter.

People respond...

Thank you for participating. I’ll try other questions soon, I don’t want to overdo it.

Essentially, the problem is the same - either too little like nothing, or too much creating pure noise. Piles of comments at Craigslist, Digg, Stumbleupon, Twitter, and the like essentially serve no-one.

Working Models

What's working? Here are a few ideas.
  • Shared comments wins. Closed comments, specific to a site, only works for the top sites. New websites need to look for other models.
  • Facebook authenticates users and friends. Thus, the feed is primarily chit-chat among real friends. As many users have expanded their circle to include apps, fans, and essentially strangers, the personal feeds become noisy. Facebook responded by isolating robotic and app feeds to separate tabs. More options would help maintain the conversation stream among friends.
  • In contrast, Myspace has uncontrolled noise among strangers. Their original model was emerging musicians and their fans. It has expanded to prostitutes, emerging starlets, and other promoters - creating a rapid stream of spam for every user. Not surprisingly, Facebook has advanced beyond Myspace - while is latter is stuck in neutral.
  • Each page at Techcrunch, the leading tech blog, has become an open conversation pit. In the early morning, people fight to react with the first comment, thus gaining the highest visibility. Recently, they added Facebook Connect so that visitors can both post and share their comments with their Facebook friends. 
  • Open conversations are hard to manage, breaking out with profanity and shouting. Overall, it's still a great place. Lesser sites like ReadWriteWeb, Venture Beat, and GigaOM have less conversation. Cnet's closed, restricted commenting has few participants.
  • Gawker, a leading social news blog, has an interesting approach to comments. Members are monitored, evaluated - before given permission to post in public. It's a wonderful way to assure that visitors are actually reading the content before posting replies - informed comments. Thus, the comments crowdsource true value for each article. 
  • Twitter's 140 character microblog has gained incredible growth. The open commenting allows anyone globally to share with anyone else. Open has helped Twitter grow, but the noise level per participant has grown as well. Millions tweet. Who's listening?
Toward a New Model for Comments

A new model shares open comments, exploits the popularity of Twitter, and surfaces the common discussions among Twitter users on a common topic. Here is the Twitter stream on twitter, itself.

Click the like, tag, dislike buttons; and join the conversation. Note the realtime results when you refresh the Twitter stream to see your photo on this page. Try it.

Whether new TV shows, old shows, emerging starlets/jocks, or the President of Albania, you're be surprised at the global, relevant conversations that surfaces. 

Sites that have deployed this new commenting/guided search/informed chat model include:
Many more sites are coming...


Commenting has changed from closed posts to open, shared conversations. Tweet your reply, now.

Yahoo's Bartz On Management Reorg: 'You'd Be Amazed How Complicated Some Things Are Here'

Ed: Who are the customers?
  • The users of email, readers of news, and billions of visitors who pay nothing.
  • The advertisers that are the bulk of incoming revenues.
  • The ISPs who partner with Yahoo for services and contribute little in fees.
  • The thousands of newspaper partners starving for a hand out.
The blog post seems to target the former. The real work is all the rest.

imageYahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) CEO Carol Bartz is implementing a new management structure that she says in a post on Yahoo's blog that aims to remove the "notorious silos" in the name of speed and simplicity. Bartz' memo is pretty vague on what she'll be doing away with. She's more expansive on what she'll be adding, namely the formation of a Customer Advocacy group, which she indicated was inspired after getting a lot of angry phone calls from frustrated users and advertisers. As Bartz notes at the end of her missive, she has a big to-do list.

Surveying her past six weeks at the head of Yahoo, which has included the sudden loss of three top execs in the past four days, Bartz says there's a lot to be optimistic about at Yahoo, but "there's also plenty that has bogged this company down. For starters, you'd be amazed at how complicated some things are here." She also hints that she wants to refurbish Yahoo's brand, saying that the idea of what Yahoo stands for has lost any clear meaning the last few years. Bartz' full memo after the jump.

Getting our house in order

A month and a half in the saddle and today I have the perfect excuse to get blogging.

I've been on a whirlwind tour for the last six weeks, talking with everybody from executive leaders to the guys who configured my laptop. 
I've been in student mode, slowly getting smarter about what makes this place tick. And most recently, I've been gathering information on what it's going to take to get Yahoo! to a great place as an organization –- and one that brings you killer products.

People here have impressed the hell out of me. They're smart, dedicated, passionate, driven, and really nice. There's so much great energy and frankly lots of optimism. But there's also plenty that has bogged this company down. For starters, you'd be amazed at how complicated some things are here.

So today I'm rolling out a new management structure that I believe will make Yahoo! a lot faster on its feet. For us working at Yahoo!, it means everything gets simpler. We'll be able to make speedier decisions, the notorious silos are gone, and we have a renewed focus on the customer. For you using Yahoo! every day, it will better enable us to deliver products that make you say, "Wow."

I've noticed that a lot of us on the inside don't spend enough time looking to the outside. That's why I'm creating a new Customer Advocacy group. After getting a lot of angry calls at my office from frustrated customers, I realized we could do a better job of listening to and supporting you. Our Customer Care team does an incredible job with the amazing number of people who come to them, but they need better resources. So we're investing in that. After all, you deserve the very best.

We're also leaning on this team to make sure we're all hearing the voice of our customers (consumers and advertisers). I'm singularly focused on providing you with awesome products. Period. The kind that get you so excited, you have to tell someone about them.

Whether on your desktop, your mobile device, or even your TV.

And that takes a real understanding of what you want/need/love/hate, how you're using our products, and what you find simple, intuitive, easy and fun. Who wants innovation for innovation's sake if it doesn't make your life easier, more efficient, more productive? So expect us to hear you better and take better care of you.

Finally, a note about our brand. It's one of our biggest assets. Mention Yahoo! practically anywhere in the world, and people yodel. But in the past few years, we haven't been as clear in showing the world what the Yahoo! brand stands for. We're going to change that. Look for this company's brand to kick ass again.

Big thanks to the many of you who've reached out with positive comments. It's clear people want Yahoo! to succeed. I'll try to pop by here again soon, though probably not too soon. I have a pretty long to-do list.

Carol Bartz


Feb 24, 2009

Web 3.0 and beyond: the next 20 years of the internet

Ed: More hype from the semantic web crowd. The basis is AI (artifical intelligence) from the early '60s. There has been little progress simulating human intelligence - and no break-throughs to suggest that this 50 year old problem has a solution. The innovation MAY come from bio-genetics, but certainly NOT from web statisticians.

Web 3.0 is here today, not 10 or 20 years from now. These are the drivers:
  • Open databases - like Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Obama, Crunchbase, and NYTimes; not closed like Facebook, Myspace, Gawker, and traditional media, business, and politics.
  • Realtime integration - see http://gf.tearn.com/ or http://bf.tearn.com/ for a few examples that crowdsources photo/video search with Twitter chat by topic. This enables guided search and informed chats - what I call the right-brain search.
  • Cyborgtic networks - Problem solving continues to depend on humans, but aided by the smarts of robotic software. Small groups of 5,000 inactive friends in social networks can't solve specific problems. The global network of billions CAN.
Like web 1.0, the web 2.0 bubble is a financial crisis. The web continues to grow. In fact, the data suggests increased growth as more laid-off workers turn to the Internet. 

Web 3.0 business model will depend more on innovative services, commerce - and less on advertising. Purchasing of virtual/digital goods has been growing on social networks, games, and the iPhone. Web services will grow as businesses adapt their antiquated web 1.0 websites to web 2.0 and web 3.0 features. A new wave of advertising demand will follow. Let's end the 'chicken-little' comments from pundits who might suggest otherwise.

Read on. Have any comments?

Web 3.0 and beyond: the next 20 years of the internet

Silicon Valley has painted a picture of the web in 2030, and it is very powerful – and very smart – indeed
Fingers typing on a computer keyboard
Jonathan Richards

In the heart of Silicon Valley, at what is referred to, somewhat romantically, as the 'web's edge', something is stirring.

A new type of internet is being imagined, far more powerful that the one which lets you link up with your friends or watch a video uploaded by a stranger.

Facebook, YouTube and the other social networks and blogs that fall within the scope of 'Web 2.0' may be beginning to penetrate the mainstream, but to those whose Cassandra-like vision lets them see the web in 2020 and beyond, they are but a pixel in a much larger picture.

In a little over a decade, according to the engineers building the internet of tomorrow, the web will be able to connect every aspect of our digital lives - be it a website, an e-mail, or a file on our PC - to every other aspect. It will know, for instance, when you are typing an e-mail, what the subject of the e-mail is, and be able to suggest websites and books as well as documents, photos and videos you have saved that may be relevant to that topic.

It will be achieve this by virtue of the inherent 'intelligence' in the underlying architecture of the internet, they say. In other words, the web is becoming smart.

Nova Spivack is an evangelist of the next phase of the web's development - what Silicon Valley, with its expansionist zeal, has taken to calling Web 3.0, or 'the semantic web'.

Broadly speaking, Mr Spivack says, Web 3.0 refers to the attempt by technologists to overhaul radically the basic platform of the internet so that it 'understands' the near infinite pieces of information that reside on it and draws connections between them.

If Web 2.0 was all about harnessing the collective intelligence of crowds to give information a value - lots of people liked this story so you might too (Digg.com), people who like Madonna also like this artist (last.fm), lots of people linked to this site so that makes it the most relevant (Google's basic PageRank algorithm) - then Web 3.0 is about giving the internet itself a brain.

For those still a bit lost, Mr Spivack, the founder of Radar Networks, a leading Web 3.0 company, says it's useful to think about the web's development in ten-year cycles.

"We have had the first decade of the web, or Web 1.0," he says, which was about the development of the basic platform of the internet and the ability to make huge amounts of information widely accessible, "and we're nearing the end of the second decade - Web 2.0 - which was all about the user interface" and enabling users to connect with one another.

"Now we're about to enter the third decade - Web 3.0 - which is about making the web much smarter."

Each decade in turn corresponds to an engineering focus on either 'the front end' or 'back end' of the web. Web 1.0 was a back-end decade, focusing on the web's basic platform, its link structure and navigation system. Web 2.0 was front end, with a heavy focus on users and usability, clean-looking sites, and people making connections with one another.

In Web 3.0, the emphasis will revert to the back end, with a renewal of the web's key index - the essential data that is catalogued by search engines like Google. That in turn, Mr Spivack says, will make way for Web 4.0, another 'front-end decade', only with more advanced programs than the likes of Facebook.

A prime example of a Web 3.0 technology is 'natural-language search', which refers to the ability of search engines to answer full questions such as 'Which US Presidents died of disease?'. In some cases, the sites that appear in the results do not reference the original search terms, reflecting the fact that the web knows, for instance, that Reagan was a US President, and that Alzheimer's is a disease.

"Our engine reads every page of the web sentence by sentence and returns results by drawing on a general knowledge of language and what specific concepts in the world mean, and their relationship with one another," said Barney Pell, chief executive of Powerset, which is developing natural-language technology. The firm, based at the prestigious Palo Alto Research Centre, in California, is sometimes talked about as a Google-killer, should its offering - which is not yet widely available - become popular.

It's not just search that will be overhauled in the web of the future, however. One of the recurrent themes in the presentations at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco was 'open platforms', the idea that a website or device, like a mobile phone, should be able to accommodate whichever features or applications its user wants. Think of the iPhone as a folder into which an owner could 'drag and drop' any application - a weather forecaster, an e-mail service - without Apple having to approve such an action.

Some of the world's largest technology companies - Nokia, Apple and MySpace - all made announcements embracing the idea of open platforms, suggesting that the web will become a place where much more mixing and matching of different services will be permitted.

Alongside this will come more mature virtual worlds, or what Silicon Valley's faithful - perhaps to get away from connotations of the computer game - have started referring to as 'immersive environments'.

"The web is going to be a much more immersive, a much more multi-dimensional environment," said John Doerr, one of the founding board members at Google and a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which invests heavily in the tech sector.

Mr Doerr's presentation touched on a range of areas that would be affected by the web, in particular green technologies and the energy sector, as well as disease therapy, and he gave stark warning to any firm that was not willing to embrace emerging trends. "In any real revolution there are winners and losers. The internet wasn't some kind of 'kum ba ya' thing," he said.

When the time came to pack up the projects and exchange the last business cards, there was a sense - as there was seven years ago - that Silicon Valley was riding a wave of seemingly limitless investor confidence, begging an obvious question.

"Are we officially in a bubble yet?" one of the conference moderators asked, repeatedly.

No one was willing to answer. In the meantime, the vast sums of money to be made and the new services to change people's lives, radically and everywhere, were both things to be celebrated.

Subject: Why men don't write advice columns

Subject: Why men don't write advice columns
Importance: High


Dear Walter,

I hope you can help me here. The other day, I set off for work leaving my husband in the house watching the TV as usual. I hadn't driven more than a mile down the road when the engine conked out and the car shuddered to a halt. I walked back home to get my husband's help.

When I got home I couldn't believe my eyes. He was in our bedroom with the neighbors daughter. I'm 32, my husband is 34, and the neighbor daughter is 22. We have been married for ten years. When I confronted him, he broke down and admitted that they had been having an affairfor the past six months. I told him to stop or I'd leave him. He was let go from his job six months ago and he says he has been feeling increasingly depressed and worthless. I love him very much, but ever since I gave him the ultimatum he has become increasingly distant. He won't go to counseling and I'm afraid I can't get through to him anymore. Can you please help?






Dear Sheila:

A car stalling after being driven a short distance can be caused by a variety of faults with the engine... Start by checking that there is no debris in the fuel line. If it's clear, check the vacuum pipes and hoses on the intake manifold and also check all grounding wires.. If none of these approaches solves the problem, it could be that the fuel pump itself is faulty, causing low delivery pressure to the injectors. I hope this helps,


Feb 23, 2009

Software Platforms Portal Launched

Collected photos, videos, and chats for the top 200 software platforms. Latest add is the NYTimes Times Open platform. Visit http://sw.tearn.com/

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