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Digital Age

October 23, 2011 | By Greg Braxton, Los Angeles Times
This season "Terra Nova" has exhumed the Cretaceous period, but can it also help resurrect another block of time that would seem equally challenging to revive — the family viewing hour? The heavily promoted prime-time show, dubbed internally at Fox as "Little House on the Prairie with Dinosaurs," is an eco-action-adventure series built around a family of five that travels back 85 million years to give humans a second chance at caring for Earth. The ratings have been solid for the show, which counts Steven Spielberg and former News Corp.
July 17, 2011 | By Mike Hoyt
A few years ago my old boss, David Laventhol, had an extended conversation with Rupert Murdoch about newspapers. It was after some sort of big-deal journalism dinner, and they talked long after the tired waiters wished they'd go. David had a storied career in newspapers. He helped invent the Style section of the Washington Post when he was a young editor there. He was editor and publisher of Newsday, publisher of the Los Angeles Times and president of Times Mirror, finishing his career with me at the Columbia Journalism Review.
July 17, 2011 | By Ricardo Lopez, Los Angeles Times
Newsstand owner Robert Kelly is well aware that he's not in the most profitable of businesses these days. But, at 58, he says it's too late to get out of the print business. Plus, he enjoys having a front-row seat to the comings and goings in Los Feliz. Kelly has become a fixture at the corner of Vermont and Melbourne avenues, where he has operated his newsstand for 11 years, greeting neighbors and regulars by name and instinctively reaching for their favorite magazine or newspaper when they approach.
June 22, 2011 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
There's a certain poetic justice in the fact that "On the Road" is one of Apple's top-grossing book apps. Released on Saturday, the iPad app for Jack Kerouac's landmark novel — featuring a variety of enriched content, including commentary, maps, audio recordings and other ephemera — hit No. 4 on Apple's list on Tuesday, ahead of the Bible and T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land. " That's a testament to the power of the digital project, but also to the novel, which has occupied a visionary place in the culture since it was first published in 1957.
June 10, 2011 | By Shan Li, Los Angeles Times
Suddenly, they're popping up everywhere — those square, futuristic-looking matrixes that appear to be a cross between abstract art and Rorschach tests. You'll find them in the corner of newspaper and magazine ads, in department store aisles, on product displays, price tags and For Sale signs in front of homes. Giant-sized versions have shown up on billboards. Called quick response codes, or simply QRs, they're the barcodes for the digital age — but ones that convey far more information, and which can be scanned by consumers with smartphones and tablet computers to open a Web page, play a video or even place a call.
May 5, 2011 | By Alex Pham, Los Angeles Times
Bob Pittman, best known for his stints as the founder of MTV, the president of AOL Inc. when it was still called American Online, and the chief executive of Six Flags Entertainment Corp., has coasted over to Clear Channel Communications Inc. as the radio conglomerate's chairman of media and entertainment platforms. For the 57-year-old New York-based executive, the move in November to the nation's largest radio broadcaster was not so much a stretch into yet another entertainment medium as a return to his roots.
March 12, 2011 | By Nomi Morris, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Television writer-producer Jill Soloway turned off her electronic devices for 24 hours last Saturday and spent the morning playing with her 2-year-old son in her yard in Silver Lake. "It was excruciating and kind of wonderful. I struggled with a feeling of anxiety that there was something in my inbox I needed to tend to," she said. "Then came a moment when it felt like a holiday. Holiday means holy day. What a huge gift. " Soloway, executive producer of the Showtime series "United States of Tara," and a self-described smartphone junkie, was taking part in the "National Day of Unplugging," organized by Reboot, a group of urban media professionals who try to reconnect with Jewish tradition in a way that is meaningful to their hectic lives.
November 12, 2010 | By David Sarno, Los Angeles Times
Kathy DeGrego's T-shirt lets you know right away she isn't an old-school librarian. "Shhh," it says, "is a four-letter word. " That spirit of bookish defiance has guided the makeover of the suburban Denver library system where DeGrego works. Reference desks and study carrels have been replaced by rooms where kids can play Guitar Hero. Overdue book fines have been eliminated, and the arcane Dewey Decimal System has been scrapped in favor of bookstore-like sections organized by topic.
October 17, 2010 | By John Lopez, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Like many great satires, Gary Shteyngart's "Super Sad True Love Story" imagines a dystopian future eerily reminiscent of our present world, one in which invasive social networking threatens his characters' sanity and their souls. To research the book, the reserved novelist had to break down and buy an iPhone. The change in his life, according to Shteyngart, has been nerve-wracking. "It's hard to focus. It's hard to have a conversation without checking the iPhone. It's hard to go to a shrink and spend a few minutes on the couch and not need to see what's happening.
August 9, 2010 | By Daina Beth Solomon, Los Angeles Times
"There has to be a compelling reason these days for someone to decide to pick up a smelly book," says satirist Gary Shteyngart, the 38-year-old author whose novel "Super Sad True Love Story," a dystopian romance, has earned critical raves. By "smelly," Shteyngart is referring to the running gag of the plot — that books stink of dirty feet. Set in the near future — "oh, next Tuesday," Shteyngart jokes in a recent interview — the story details the development and collapse of a society that ridicules "printed bound media artifacts" and, in fact, anything that requires deep thinking.
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