Imagine starts cranking up its web sites

Imagine Publishing has started the process of integrating its new titles into its operations. First up, some new web sites. Games™ is already on the shelves of WH Smith’s so it’s not surprising its web site is also the most advanced.

Of interest to readers of the other acquired mags is the pull-down menu at the bottom of the front page that provides links to the other new Imagine titles, as well as the existing ones. None of the sites seem much further down the line than “Under construction” and there are no hints that mags other than the ones we already knew about are being worked upon, but it’s good to get some confirmation that the mags are definitely on their way.

First Imagine title out of the gate

games™ is now on the shelves. Looks good (from a design perspective. I have no idea, content-wise), so I have high hopes for the remaining mags.

Still no word, incidentally, on which other titles have survived. Sorry.

How different can headline and story be?

We all know that most of the time, the journalist who writes an article rarely writes its headline. Now sometimes the headline can differ from a story because the sub didn’t really understand the piece. Sometimes it can be downright misleading.

But how about this from The article is about Ricky Gervais’ decision to charge for his record-breaking podcast. Now look at the RSS feed details

Gervais smells the money and abandons Guardian

“I was a fool” to give record-breaking podcast away for free, says British comedian.

I don’t think he says that anywhere in the article. How worrying, given that’s quite an explosive quote if it’s true.

So it looks like there’s something else web subs are going to have to pay attention to in future.

Another day, another story about global warming

Seems like every day this week, there’s been some terrible news about global warming. Today, we have the news that Greenland’s glaciers are sliding towards the sea much faster than previously believed. Then there was that forecast yesterday of an 11.4m increase in sea levels worldwide by 3000 if we don’t cut emissions. On Wednesday, plants turned out to be using CO2 so efficiently, there’s an increased risk of floods. All this in the week the Kyoto Protocol celebrated its first birthday.

We’re doomed, as they used to say on Dad’s Army. Oh well.

Imagine confirms some of the mags that have survived the Highbury death nell

Imagine’s put up a press release that lists some of the titles it’s continuing with. They are:

  • gamesTM
  • iCreate
  • X360
  • Play
  • Windows XP Made Easy
  • PDA Essentials
  • Digital Camera Buyer
  • Web Designer
  • PowerStation
  • Advanced Photoshop
  • Digital Photographer and
  • Go>Play

Damian Butt also adds: “We have made a commitment to honour all subscriptions for magazines we intend to publish, and we are keen to retain the support and enthusiasm of our loyal subscribers. We will also offer an alternative offer for those with subscriptions for magazines that will not continue. All subscribers will be informed by letter within two weeks.”

So good news for a few mags at least. Note, this doesn’t mean the other titles aren’t continuing, only that the ones listed are the only ones that are carrying on for sure.

Now kids are supposed to learn Chinese?

The British Council is arguing that teaching children French in school is a bad idea: what we really need to be doing is teaching them Mandarin. Well, okay, they’re actually arguing that teaching languages is a good thing and we need to step up our efforts. But they’re also saying perhaps we ought to try languages like Mandarin and Spanish in preference to French.

Do they live on some parallel plane of existence? We’ve been trying to teach kids French and other European languages for decades. Are we notably bilingual now? Can the majority of British people fluently speak a language other than English as a result of their schooling? Do we, through our best efforts, close relative location and membership of the EU, happen to have a glut of French, German, Spanish and Italian teachers?

All the answers to these questions are “No”. So, exactly how quickly and how well does the British Council think any attempts to produce fluent Mandarin speakers will pay off? Given that the government only just over a year ago ended the compulsory teaching of foreign languages to all 16 year-olds, exactly how much extra effort is going to be needed anyway?

Plus Mandarin: not the easiest language in the world to pronounce correctly. Going to need a lot of native speakers for this one…