This will be the last Morning Feature – except for Ask Ms. Crissie Sundays – largely because the internet has become unusable. (More)

A Farewell to Morning Feature

I began writing Morning Feature on the date of President Obama’s first inaugural in 2008. And with relatively few exceptions, I’ve written that or Mixed Nuts every morning since. But today will be the last weekday Morning Feature … largely because the internet has become unusable.

A bit of behind-the-scenes background. You’re used to lots of links in Morning Feature, because I like to document what I say and quote original sources if possible. In order to do that, I keep several browser tabs open: the news stories and/or academic journal articles that I’ll cite in my article. I try to arrange the tabs in the order I’ll use them, and close them after I’ve quoted and/or linked, so the tabs work as an outline and ongoing progress meter.

Or they used to. Increasingly, over the past year, almost every media source I use has loaded up their webpages with ads. Most are video ads, sometimes four or five on a single page, all auto-starting and auto-reloading every 30 seconds. I have 6-10 tabs open for a typical Morning Feature … so that’s 20-50 video ads, all auto-starting and auto-reloading every 30 seconds.

Those ads consume pretty much all of my CPU’s processing time, despite the fact that I just bought a new, super-fast computer with 32 gigabytes of RAM. I can get around the ads if I can switch to Read Mode, but more and more sites now disable Read Mode … to make sure you watch and listen to their ads.

I understand that online news sites need revenue from ads. But increasingly, the sheer number of ads will overwhelm even my super-fast CPU and freeze my browser. When that happens, I lose whatever I’ve written since I last saved. Needless to say, that’s very frustrating.

The other reason I’m dropping Morning Feature is simply that Mixed Nuts is more fun to write. A three-day Morning Feature series made sense when I was reviewing books, or trying to cover a topic that was too big for a 1000- to 1500-word essay. But I’ve stopped reviewing books, and I’ve already covered those Big Topics. Often more than once.

So from Monday-Saturday, I’ll stick with Mixed Nuts and let the Squirrel hop around the day’s news with his customary cheekiness. Because that will be the plan each week, I won’t need a Meta Monday to explain it.

Yes, Ms. Crissie will continue on Sundays, including updates the staff poker game and of course Chef’s breakfast recipes.

Thank you for your understanding.


Photo Credit: BeMoreWithLess


Happy Friday!