Stephenfry.Com 2.0

A notice to staff and parents, a little housekeeping…

Hello all. I have flown to Nairobi to start work on the five films I am making with Mark Carwardine for the BBC. Mark Carwardine, you may remember, wrote Last Chance To See with my late great friend, Douglas Adams. This was a pioneering, prophetic book which saw the pair travelling the world in search of eight critically endangered species. Twenty-five years later Mark and I are revisiting the same places and looking for the same animals to see how world wildlife has fared in a quarter of a century. We already made one film in Brazil earlier this year, searching for the shy and endearing Amazon river manatee. It was during this expedition that I broke my arm. Who knows what will happen in Africa? Well, I hope that whatever does befall, you will be the first to know and witness it, for I intend to make use of the superior options available on this all-new re-skinned, revamped, reworked website to keep you as up to date as possible.

Stephenfry.com 2.0
The new Stephenfry.com 2.0 is out of its box

I have written a general hello which greets all who visit, but I will add for you, loyal blessay subscriber, an extra warm welcome. I aim to provide more and more content on this site as time goes on: before long there will be greater opportunities for you to contribute too, in new and different ways. Visitors will find on the new site a little activity status bar, which will let them know where I am and what I am up to: I should be able to keep it up to date even when out of range of digital networks, thanks to twitter’s text service. I shall try to refresh it at least daily. I shall also, over the next few weeks and months as I travel the world, be uploading little Flip and Vado films of myself like the one of me packing for Africa that is already up.

African \
Afrycan — Video
Afrycam /

A fry can video an African video on a frycam and he will do so. He will start with daily video digests of the journey around Kenya and Uganda. From Africa I go to Madagascar, and thence to New Zealand, Indonesia and the Sea of Cortes. It is fairly clear that I won’t always be able to communicate well enough with www.stephenfr.com Central Control to be able to upload heavy duty video, podgrams and blessays, but I hereby undertake to do my level best to keep those of you interested as informed of my movements as possible.

My web colleague Andrew Sampson (the genius behind www.stephenfry.com since its inception) and I both apologise for any teething problems that the migration and overhaul of the site might have caused or might yet cause. We have had to take elements offline for short bursts of time, and there will, naturally, be glitches to be ironed out as the new site beds in. Your comments, observations and bug reports will be welcomed and acted upon.

Money. Money, money, money. Up until now everything I have offered you has been free of charge. I will continue to provide enough entirely free content to satisfy you completely I hope, with blessays, podgrams, video content and much else besides. I do not intend to grow rich (or richer, I suppose would be fair) from www.stephenfry.com but I don’t especially want to be impoverished by it either, and the very popularity of the site (which, causes me the greatest imaginable pleasure, I promise you) has meant increasing expenses, year on year, indeed month on month. Hosting, servers and other incidentals have pushed the running costs up and up as the volume of traffic has increased. This has also meant that personnel and companies who up until now have been happy enough to contribute their expertise and services to the running of the site free of charge or for minimal amounts now have to be properly remunerated. I feel therefore that stephenfry.com must start to pay for itself. The last thing I want, and the last thing you all want too, I am sure, is to have a site bristling with ads and banners and commercial links, so Andrew Sampson and I have been mulling over (he in Australia, me in London) the best way to ‘monetise’ our web presence without losing your trust and respect, or indeed our own self-respect. Much of our income stream will come from sources that will never intrude into the content – but aside from these transparent entities, there will be signs of commerce on the site that I hope will be tasteful, appropriate and unobjectionable. Your views, as ever, will be welcome. Be assured, however, that your IP numbers, email addresses and identities will never be shared with anyone, we are certainly not in the business of ‘selling you on’. That is a guarantee. In the next few months some content will appear which is not free, but which is priced competitively and which I hope will justify its small charge. I do hope that all of you with a view and the inclination to share it, will feel able to contribute to a constructive debate on how this site can support itself without losing its friendly, open nature.

I have opened myself to charges of the most monstrous hypocrisy by championing open source and free software while simultaneously using proprietary systems here and there, hither and yon. I hold my hand up to the sin of being inconsistent – hypocrisy is going a bit far I think. I am no purist or fanatic when it comes to computing, software and the internet, or when it comes to anything, come to that: I like the idea of open source and free software, but I can’t honestly find it in my heart to boycott any individual, company or consortium that patents its routines, algorithms, codes or protocols and chooses to make money from of its research, innovation and ingenuity. As in all things I’m a muddled, hand-wringing liberal who believes in a mixed economy. I don’t think freedom is indivisible. I can contemplate regulation and entrepreneurialism, cooperatives and corporations, open source and proprietary systems all coexisting. In the end I like structures that are human-shaped, not idea-shaped and humans are great heaps of inconsistency, ambiguity and complexity. All I’m saying is that if you expect this to be a kind of Open Source madrassah you will be disappointed.

Welcome to www.stephenfry.com 2.0. Have fun, I’m sorry I can’t answer individual letters easily, there just isn’t enough time I’m afraid but I do hang around and I do listen and I do watch and I do try to participate in anonymous and peculiar little ways, so thank you, thank you for taking part in this extraordinary and exciting experiment, 2.0.

Your comments are welcome, as ever here and in the Forum

This blog was posted in Blessays

59 comments on “Stephenfry.Com 2.0”

  1. Chakindra says:

    Good morning, mr. Fry, and congratulations on the new design.

    I must admit that it does look rather more stylish than the old one. Easier to read as well in Firefox 3.0.1 (yes, we all love that little Fox of ours!).

    I just wanted to throw a small comment in regarding your latest post: You are absolutely right. Open source is free, but free does not always mean “free of charge”, and … If a proprietary piece of software is what you need to get something working for you, then why not use it? I see no reason, why proprietary and open source systems cannot peacefully co-exist (though that sometimes reminds me of what people used to say about Yugoslavia).

    Anyhow… If you wish to avoid putting ads on your website (wouldn’t help much, as most of us Firefoxies are using Adblock Plus anyway), then perhaps you should consider using the Store to auction off some of your old/no-longer-used gadgets along with some sort of personalised picture of you and the gadget, before you each go your separate, merry ways?

    Just a freak idea. :-)

  2. QuoterGal says:

    Like the new site, though I never saw the old – new to this place, via Twitter.

    This bit from your post today was lovely: “I can contemplate regulation and entrepreneurialism, cooperatives and corporations, open source and proprietary systems all coexisting. In the end I like structures that are human-shaped, not idea-shaped and humans are great heaps of inconsistency, ambiguity and complexity.”

    That’s the ticket. Glad to be here.

  3. SemiColon says:

    I hope you enjoy New Zealand, it should be nice here this time of year. It’ll be brilliant just to know that you’re in our little colony. Love the new wobsite.

  4. Relishan_ says:

    Brilliant! Wow. It’s Great October Revolution. Great October Fryist Revolution)))
    Put away premoderation, and it’s gonna be absolutely… absolutely… um… just absolutely)

  5. Jason Arnopp says:

    Fry 2.0 looks splendid, sir. I love every hair on its crisp and twinkling headage. I’m sure that very few people will hold the odd piece of paid-for content (and I’m sure there’ll be some very odd pieces indeed) against you. After all, they’re not forced to splash out on it. Hope Nairobi is treating you well.

  6. cliffix says:

    Stephen (and Andrew),

    On my part I know the opportunity to pay you something for your efforts here would be much appreciated. But micropayments? I am terrible when faced with those — I always just hit the browser’s back button … .

    How about a LWN.net style subscription model instead?

    In 2002, LWN.net (formerly “Linux Weekly News”) was having similar trouble as you — but worse: they had come to “The end of the road” and could no longer publish purely based on donations of lots of their time and effort.

    After discussion with readers they rescued the publication by introducing a “premium subscription” service. The service permits paying subscribers access to occasional premium content and the Weekly Edition *immediately on release*. This costs $5/mth — though there is also the option of paying a little more and a little less.

    However, in contrast to most other premium content services on the web, LWN’s restricted content does not remain locked away: it becomes available to the web at large after 7 days. Non-subscribers who are unable or unwilling to pay a subscriber fee are therefore not denied access to the content.

    I think such a model would work well for the promise of SF2.0, and technologically it shouldn’t be any more difficult to implement than micropayments.

    I am certainly willing to contribute $5 or a little more each month to get access your premium brew a few days before others, as well as to get a warm, fuzzy feeling from knowing that I am helping to support StephenFry.com and keep it on the air — just as LWN subscribers do via http://lwn.net/subscribe/.

    So there you have it, just as you want: a way “this site can support itself without losing its friendly, open nature”.

    HTH,

    Cliff

  7. scottbeau says:

    Dear Stephen, can I propose an approach which should allow you and your friends to remain solvent without sullying your open source credentials with *gasp* charging for content?

    Could you put the font of human kindness and understanding to the test and ask for voluntary contributions? Following the examples of Radiohead and Wikipedia.

    If your audience is clear why you are making the request and clear that any surplus will be donated to charity/further financing of superlative content, then I’d hope the experiment would work.

    I hope that the mosquitos can read your yellow fever certificate and therefore save themselves the bother. Keep well in Africa

    Scott

  8. NeilHoskins says:

    Have a great time in Kenya. I was there last year and loved the place and the people. If you have time, try to get to the Sheldrick elephant orphanage (as featured in the BBC’s ‘Elephant Diaries’). It’s not widely known that CITES not only allowed the Seth Efricans to sell their ivory stockpile, but have now allowed the Chinese to buy it. The resulting, predictable poaching carnage has now started, and the Sheldricks are snowed under with orphans. I’m sure they’d appreciate a visit, and they’re an extremely nice bunch, too.

  9. taluta says:

    I simply could not have this blessay left without comment!

    I have commented! All is right in the world (^_)

  10. MrTea says:

    Stephen. This is slightly unrelated but I just wanted to congratulate you on your work for LittleBigPlanet.

    I’ve played the beta and am very much looking forward to playing the full game. It is refreshing to see original ideas make it into mainstream gaming and I think your voice work fits in perfectly with what could be the start of a video gaming revolution.

  11. yukari says:

    I always enjoy your site. It helps my language skill. I hope someday you could visit Japan.

  12. MTG5150 says:

    Have a lovely time in Africa and do try to keep from tumbling into the Nile.

    Lovely new digs for your fans and detractors to knock around in Mr. Fry but attached fee content? Really? Hmmm… not democratizing in the least. Having said, I certainly think you have a strong point about how the site ought not cost you so darn much to run. Well, I am only a humble traveler of the interwebs, driving my tiny car down the “series of tubes” as one unfortunate US politician intoned but a thought occurs. Would it be all that fiddly and difficult to simply attach a “Donate Button?” To whit: those of us who enjoy your content and wish to express that enjoyment can do so without feeling coerced or put into a “Ghetto of the haves” Yes I rather imagine it is preferable to the other side of the coin but what of your loyal readers who are well, broke? I mean, I first came to be a fan of yours while in College. I hadn’t the means to access paid content no matter how competitive the pricing.

    Give us the freedom to support you directly and we shall do it!
    Thanks again,
    Michael from Ohio

  13. RubyCosmos says:

    Paid content is always a tricky thing to start. There’s that sense of internet ‘entitlement’ that’s sprung up over the years with free sites and instant downloads. ‘Well, you’ve offered it free *before*, why should you get to change your mind now?’ is a good example. Also, ‘We’re dedicated fans! Don’t you owe it to us not to charge the people who already support you?’

    Which is, of course, ridiculous. But I’m of the impression that your fanbase is a bit more intelligent than that.

    I know I will be paying for the exclusive content, certainly. I believe in showing my appreciation for things I like by way of money (where sensible). I know what it’s like to have to pay for bandwidth, and mine is a much lower number than this site’s. So good luck, and I look forward to seeing what you’ll have cooked up for us.

  14. David Wall says:

    Can I just say that I am so glad to see you revisiting the subjects of last chance to see.

    I saw Douglas Adams give a talk at Chester Zoo, where he read in his own imitable way exerpts from the book. And despite loving hitchhikers et al, I think this is one of his finest works, and can think of no one finer to follow it up.

    I wish you well, and as ever look forward to the resultant programs.

  15. crossland says:

    “I hold my hand up to the sin of being inconsistent – hypocrisy is going a bit far I think”

    I think thats an interesting distinction.

    I’m glad that Jefferson didn’t say “As in all things I’m a muddled, hand-wringing liberal who believes in a mixed economy … humans are great heaps of inconsistency, ambiguity and complexity”.

    Jefferson owned slaves and got slavery abolished. He was inconsistent, but he wasn’t hypocritical – because he criticised slavery in strong terms.

    He didn’t say “owning slaves is basically okay, its kind of wrong, but then slave traders need to pay their mortgages, I think free people and enslaved people can coexist.”

    He said, “slavery is wrong, and no one should have slaves. I have slaves because thats how rich people live right now, but no one should have them.”

    If you said “proprietary software is wrong, and no one should use it. I use it because thats how people live right now, but no one should have to,” then yes that would be inconsistent. And applaudable! Most people are not brave enough to do this.

    But you haven’t said that, so what you say is hypocritical. And a little bit cowardly.

    Good luck with the African adventure, though! :-)

    Regards,
    Dave

  16. catepolacek says:

    Ooooh, shiny new! I love the graphic at the top, who did that?
    I suddenly have the urge to knit a big orange and green scarf…

    I like the donation idea. I’ve seen a lot of Web sites where that works really well to keep the sites going and show support.

    I’ve already written to the local PBS station asking if they’ll show Fry in America, and Kingdom, too, for that matter (we can’t even get it on DVD here).

  17. quixote says:

    Just to add my vote:
    – I love reading about your American adventures, North and South, your soon-to-be African adventures, your blessays, your take on gadgets, just, well, ALL of it. Thanks for sharing it all!

    – I’m glad you’re a muddled liberal. Me too. It makes me feel better.

    – You’re one of the few people in the world whom I’d trust to have a commercial side to the site without ruining it. Don’t worry.

    – Beautiful site redesign!

  18. Chris Hall says:

    Good evening Mr. Fry sir :)
    Well, what can I possible say?
    - I like the new site, easy to read using Firefox (yes, I like the ‘Fox’).
    Absolutely enjoying motering round your new ‘cyber-presence’, most enjoyable indeed.

    - Regarding taking this site to new commercial levels, well done but how about a ‘donate to Stephen’ button? or you could sell off you URCs with a signed piccie? (I’d like you on my wall)

    - I like the new ‘status’ feature dear boy, most, most, most….
    yes, most.

    - Enjoy Africa, watch out for Hippos (yes, Hippos. In some parts of Africa they kill more people than the ‘big 5′ all together. I wonder what the big 5 ‘all together’ looks like?) Looking forward to you documentary.

    - Mind the Nile and don’t go tumbling in :)

    Hava a most enjoyable time Stephen.

    Warmest wishes and kindest regards,
    Chris

  19. wooden_elf says:

    First of all I want to thank you for giving so much of your time to us and make us feel important and that we matter to you. :)

    I am positive that you will find a way to finance this website. And you shouldn’t feel bad in any way because you are giving us all so much already. Maybe it could be our way of giving at least something back. :)

    I’m so happy you’re making this series and Douglas Adams would be even happier. Thank you for bringing us with you on your adventures!!!

    Cecilia

  20. zfiledh says:

    Ver. 2.0 looks FANTASTIC! I have heard that the site was down, but I decided to wait until you gave the green light for it. Am a little nervous about the fee content thing you mentioned, though, because if I have to pay through PayPal, then I’m screwed, because no one will ever convince me to set up an account. I’ve become a little paranoid about it, but that makes up for a long story.

    I just wish you’d be able to visit the Philippines. That would be great!

    Take care!

  21. sluggard says:

    marvelous. ’tis a happy day today.
    congratuations and thanks to all concerned

  22. fernanda1702 says:

    Hello, I’m not completely new to the site though I’ve never posted before, I guess I’m a little shy and think that if I don’t have anything new or interesting to say I better not do it :)

    I really liked the changes made here, in my opinion the site seems much easier to see and find things than before.

    I decided to post this message to point out some suggestions that I’m not sure are good or bad or haven’t been considered before, just in case..

    Normally on sites like this that especially need to grow and spend an ever growing ammount of bandwidth, it’s natural to see a donate button where people donate the amount they’d like to help it grow, so that could be a natural 1st step.

    Another suggestion would be ads on particular places that won’t annoy users like pop-ups and such, but are in a fixed location so that people can ignore or block if they choose to do so.

    And last but not least, if possible (and I don’t know if it’s a difficult step to be considered or not, but perhaps the most interesting in my opinion), a private Stephen Fry store, I know the site already has one, but I am suggesting a real online store with all material with the profit going directly to Mr. Fry without having to go through Amazon or other commercial stores, that would probably make it gain more money than it does, and maybe even selling some new products available only here, or autographed books and such for a slightly higher amount.

    Sorry for any English mistakes I may have made, unfortunately It’s not my main language and I tend to write pretty confusing things..

    See you all later,
    Fernanda

  23. letteapplejuice says:

    Hi stephen, I have been following your progress with much delight on Twitter, your such a Technofile! :)

    I wanted to appologise in asking a work related question to you that ‘scared’ you and made you want to run to hiding…. it wont happen again I promise!

    Thank you for the years of laughs and excellent documentarys, im a long time fan and will continue to follow your work :)

    Best of luck on your latest adventure :)

    Colette

  24. ChasCreek says:

    Firstly, nice new look for the site, much ‘cleaner’ layout and I have to also add as a recent registrant to the site but much longer term listner / reader that the content is immensely enjoyable.

    Secondly – Paid content.

    Paid content has been a bugbear of the internet for some considerable time as the expectation of the internet is that it is free. Large numbers of people have come up against this barrier failing to make any money out of providing information and specifically audio / visual content. Many who have tried have either become very disolusioned and have given up or have had to go back on their ideas and bit the bullet of realisation that it is going to have to be free.

    There is also the flip side of ‘giving something back’. I was pleased to find Stephenfry.com in the first instance in the vein of ‘ah here we can see the person behind the public profile without the constraints of a broadcasting corporation’, and also in the effect of ‘here is Stephen Fry communicating with us (the general public) off the cuff because he wants to’. Now I started this section with ‘giving something back’, and of course you don’t owe ‘us’ anything, I rather meant that in terms of wanting to give us a little more of the Fry’s mind and time out of the love of commuicating and that is much appreciated.

    But…

    Should we pay for it?

    Not everyone will appreciate the costs that can mount up for providing such as service, although I can appreciate that the sucess of the site can soon change that nature of the beast costwise but I think the relationship and expectation can change when there is an expectation for remuneration. Some of that appreciative feeling and that ‘good old Mr Fry for doing this’ perception can be replaced with a ‘why should I pay for that, surely all it is costing him is a bit of time and anyway he does it because he wants to’ feeling.

    Now a major offput to a site can be sponsorship or adverts so it can be a route best avoided but maybe a ‘show your appreciation donate’ route may be well worth a trial before going down the craggy pot filled road of ‘for this bit you have to pay.

    Either way I hope the site continues to thrive for a long time to come.

  25. Presactly says:

    The new design looks good and compared to other comedian blogs/ websites this is by far the best (in terms of function, design and how up to date it is).

    And as for priced content, or adverts, I have no objections at all – I know that Richard Herring has all sorts of old scripts available to download and that is the sort of stuff that always interests me. Saying that you are properly going down a totally separate route!!

  26. For such a bubbly and spirited personality, the new site design looks awfully, err, I don’t know how to put it . . . sober? Prosaic? I like the looks of it but the old design seemed to fit the Fry-style a lot more, I think.
    I love the new content, the up-to-date info on where Stephen is (I hope you can keep it up to date!). I don’t like the Audio/Video section so much as it doesn’t seem to work for me in iTunes. In the RSS feed, the new podgram works for about 15 seconds and that’s it. Is this because I am not in the UK? I guess the iTunes trouble is connected to this but why the podgram on the site, too?
    Hrmpf, I hope I can manage to make it work somehow.

  27. fryfan20 says:

    hello Stephen,

    the new site is wonderful ! it’s so different then the old one, that I was in shock when I first saw it.
    I love the new video’s and I am one of many that are following you on twitter.

    also thumbs up for Andrew Sampson :)

    have lot’s of fun in everything you do
    greetings fryfan20

  28. Laura says:

    Site looks very funky. Thumbs up.

    The donations idea is a good one. I’m sure nobody wants to see you living in a cardboard box in order to give us free internet frolics.

    Another idea: What about selling merchandise in the general store? I’m not suggesting that we all go and buy a t-shirt with a big picture of your face on it, but surely something a bit more tasteful could be done? The website header would look quite natty on a t-shirt, I think. And you could do mugs and mousemats and things. There’s always cafepress, but I’m sure your clever website man could find/invent something better.

    Best of luck on your travels. I’m following with interest.

    Love, Laura xxx

  29. Solitaire says:

    Like the new site.

    Can’t wait to see this update on “Last chance to see..”

    As for the Money side….
    I’d pay a subscription to extra stuff from here!
    Although I’d term it as a ‘Donation’ since it’s to cover running costs and not your drinks tab at your local watering hole… ;)

  30. Robbo says:

    Subscription – donation – whatever.

    I’ll gladly stand you drinks at your favourite watering hole or whenever you visit Toronto.

    Cheers.

  31. wi1dweasel says:

    Hey Mr Fry,
    I just noticed you’re on the Wish List for the Floss Weekly podcast:
    http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pYAJMbVobYCTro_z4LGo3ZQ
    It would be lovely to have you on a show like that, maybe you should contact the guys if you feel so inclined.
    Anyway, great blog, a peruvian fan here.
    =)

  32. amyl_nitrate says:

    I love the design of your new site! It looks so clean and clear. Very nice. The banner at the top is lovely and chaotic. It really catches the eye. I really appreciate the effort you and the rest of the team have put into creating the new design and setting it up. It’s impressive. I also appreciate your attempts to keep the site as free as possible without imposing obnoxious and vulgar ads everywhere (some are worse than others, google ads aren’t too bad compared to my least favourite – the videos or worse still ads that appear and impose themselves over the main body of the site when you’re just trying to click on or read something). I love all the exciting new features on the site like the videos and I can’t wait to see ClubFry. I’m also excited about the prospect of hearing you read some Oscar Wilde short stories that really icing on this very fine gooey chocolate cake of a site. ^_^

  33. andrewsampson says:

    Andrew Sampson here, I produce the site for Stephen. Thank you for your excellent comments, I know Stephen is going to get back to you about them later. I want to clear up a few things for you though. Stephen wrote in his blog “I will continue to provide enough entirely free content to satisfy you completely I hope, with blessays, podgrams, video content and much else besides.” I can re-iterate what Stephen wrote and assure you that he will not be asking for a donation when you visit the site nor will he be charging a subscription fee for any blog, forum, podcast or vodcast content. Our intention is to provide what we call “above the line content”. Stephen writes again “Much of our income stream will come from sources that will never intrude into the content ” This will be productions such as audiobooks, which will be linked from this site and available for purchase from iTunes and other online music retailers. Of course, continue to post comments and questions for Stephen.

  34. micklang says:

    Hi Stephen!

    Thank you for doing a documentary about the US– we get a bad rap here in the UK (my son gets bullied quite a bit for it). On your comments about open source vs. commercial software, I feel strongly that one should pay for convenience, yet keep an eye open for a similar app that would fulfill their need in the open source world.

    I helped make Blender open source back in the mid nineties by paying fifty bucks in the overall attempt to purchase it from the corporate owner. It was a success and Blender became free for the world. The software was limited and could not hold a candle to it’s commercial rivals.

    Lately I checked in to see how Blender was progressing and found that it has matured enough to make me switch back from the overpriced 3DS Max (pretty buggy too).

    Apple computer decided to make me pay for that, as their 10.5.5 update ruined any chances for me to use this software on my mac. It also destroyed my ability to use Roxio Popcorn and God knows what other untested application as well.

    I agree entirely that you should pursue a means to gain income from your website and content as it’s certainly WORTH it. At the same time, I certainly do hope that you continue to enlighten us and others with a clear and free voice.

    To regurgitate that your work is phenomenal will always be an understatement so I will just say “Thanks for everything”!

    Mick

  35. Bluebottle says:

    Long time reader, first time comment.

    I honestly can’t add to what has already been said – your content is well worth paying for in some way or another, whether it be by donation, adverts or premium content. Thank you for supplying it!

    Andrew: Thanks for the clarification, but I think that most people here understand the underlying costs of a site like this and would be willing to have some form of revenue to cover the bandwidth etc other than Amazon Associate links and the like, hence the ‘sure thing’ comments. Merchandise solely linking from here would be a wonderful idea! Looks great by the way.

  36. fredsherbet says:

    I’ve very much enjoyed watching the site develop and seeing someone more mainstream then much of online pioneers embracing the technologies on offer. Thank you.

    I believe the revenue model of the future for online content providers is regular donations from consumers. Online content is difficult to control. Once it’s out, it’s out. Let it spread freely, finding the attention of as many as possible, who’s interest in your work will increase. Donations from people that enjoy the content and want to see it continue will surely be generous. This is the model that has allowed Leo Laporte of the TWiT network to be so successful.

    Thanks again! Fred

    Thank you again!

  37. steph-angel says:

    Hi Stephen… Not sure if anyone else has pointed this out? So apologies if I’m repeating things :-)

    It’s just that on my PC your new design disappears off the left of my monitor, which make reading it pretty hard and writing this post nigh on impossible!!! I’m guessing I could alter the resolution settings to overcome this, but just thought I’d let you know :-)

    XXX

  38. mwong.is says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading this blog so much over the last year – long may it continue! The new look is fresh and clean with a more pleasing and intuitive IA. I love the new banner, gives an impression of a whirlwind of projects as well as your many many talents. The tweetbox is an especially nice touch – my favourite addition so far. All looks great on my old trusty g4 powerbook.
    I can’t wait to see the registered club section and new merchandise – I’ll definitely support this fantastic site in any way I can!
    Much love xx

  39. thandi says:

    Dear Mr Fry,
    Your blessays are brilliant, so enjoyable! I found the ‘Let Fame’ one, a huge eye opener, as I, a teenager from New Zealand have never even seen someone famous, it really made me see beyond that ‘famous’ part of people, and look at the actual ‘person’ as it were.
    I love the Stephenfry.com 2.0 design, really suits the site, and love the top banner! Really brings a character to the site.
    Hope Africa is going well, following you on Twitter :)
    I hope you enjoy New Zealand, it should be lovely weather when you are here! Havelock (village in the top of the South Island near Picton) is a fantastic place to visit :P
    Just finished reading ‘The Liar’ – Fantastic!!! Loved the twist at the end, I really could not put it down!
    Much love, and long may the blessays continue!
    xx

  40. Edde says:

    Dear Mr. Fry, you’ve got yourself a nice new place on the web!

    In case you can’t resist writing, you might want to give http://iphone.wordpress.org/ a try. Although I suspect you’ve got it up and running already… it allows you to blog offline, which might prove useful the coming months.

    Have a safe journey!

  41. katharos says:

    Oooh… is this new commercial content anything to do with the Oscar Wilde short stories I just saw pimped on another page? If so, count me very significantly in. :D

    Hmm, I would love to be able to add a more intelligent comment like many of the rest of your readers, but I haven’t the energy to pretend I can. So instead I shall just giggle at the very cute octopus attempting to engulf a taxi and the Britannia costume (are you implying you are a Goddess) on your header image, and then squee off on my way.

    *squees*

  42. JulesLt says:

    As you said yourself at the BBC talk, the problem with any kind of paid content is that it’s impossible to stop it from appearing on BitTorrent in hours, and many people out there seem to feel they have a moral obligation to do this.

    On the other hand, I maintain that there is big difference between ‘information’ and ‘art’ and this was something the Victorians understood fully when they created the difference forms of intellectual property – they created a framework to ensure that ideas could be spread easily, but that the expression of those ideas would be rewarded also.

    Another way of looking at it is that (theoretically) software gets better the more people can contribute to improving and debugging it, but artworks seem to get worse the more people are involved (think films written and directed by committee and edited by focus group).

    Too many people on the side of ‘free culture’ seem to presume that the same ‘business model’ that works for software, or scientific discovery, can be made to work for the arts. Few of them seem to understand, for instance, that many musicians actually require financial support to tour in their initial years (work out for yourself how many people you need in the audience per night to keep a typical band of 4 people going, considering you will be seeing less than 25% of the door receipts), or that there are many people who are just songwriters or composers.

    I don’t want to see the solo performance because touring with a string quartet is financially prohibitive.

    What I actually want is the story, or the recording of the song, so it seems logical that the thing I want should be the thing I pay for. I don’t want to feel obliged to buy a T-shirt I will never wear, or a mug with the company logo. Although right now I am actually wearing a Panic Software T-shirt.

    I also think that ‘donate what you feel’ doesn’t really work – you really need to set a price, and if people want to ignore it and go to BitTorrent, then they will, just as I taped everything in my youth (but now have more money than time). I’ve seen too many honesty schemes fail, because far more people will not pay into an honesty box than would actually shoplift the same item. It’s a weird psychological thing.

    That’s a general digression – I’d happily pay for things linked from Stephenfry.com – I am sure that if the Gutenburg documentary had been internationally available on within hours of broadcast, it would have sold reasonably well, as it was a bit of a download hit. It would be good to be able to rent your shows via iTunes too (and yes, I know that means DRM, but actually I think DRM on rentals/streaming is probably acceptable, so long as it shows no favours to MS, Apple or Real).

    And long may the BBC continue to fund your programs – if there was ever a demonstration of a good ‘business model’ for the arts, the BBC seems to have proven a strong case for a blanket fee (ditto it’s huge contribution to our musical culture in exposing and promoting artists than commercial radio will not).

  43. thandi says:

    Hello Mr Fry!
    Please come and stay in Havelock when you are in New Zealand! It has many endangered species nearby such as takahe, maud island frogs, tuatara’s, hamilton frogs (as interesting to look at as drying paint, but very endangered :P), giant wetas (the heaviest insect in the world), mohua (yellow head birds), flax weevils (slightly less interesting than the frogs :)) and king shags. However all this pales into insignificance when stacked against the talent, originality and sheer genious of the Havelock Theatre Company :) havelocktheatrecompany.googlepages.com
    (Havelock is a village at the top of the South Island, near Picton)
    Thankyou :D

  44. Peter Labrow says:

    Love the new site. However, some tidying up is needed, methinks. Check the pages on your site using the WC3 HTML Validator and you will see that there are lots of errors in the HTML on every page. Most are simple to sort out. Yes, it’s nerdy, but it’s also calling it a job well-done, not a job nearly done!

  45. socrateschrist says:

    Good updated site. Happy to pay for content and trust S to set reasonable terms. Not interested in the tecnical side but am curious about how the costs of the site break down and develop over time (do tell me if I am being nosey). Enjoyed the Bonzo’s gig very much and I hope the relationship flourishes as S is the best hope we have of being able to fill at least one of Viv’s slippers some of the time. I live in hope of seeing S develop Henry Rawlinson. Last week I saw 3 Bonzos and a piano in Brighton. (They are booked at latest music bar 8/11/08) I realised just how many strong comic voices there were in the Bonzos and how Roger, Rodney and Sam had magic to share that I sometimes failed to notice because of the fireworks that Viv and Neil and Larry delivered. See them if you get the chance. All the other Bonzos are fantastic too.

  46. Selma says:

    Looks like I’m not the only Kiwi around this site – it can seem a far-away world from down here.

    If you’re in Dunedin do drop in for a cup of tea if you get a moment (I mean that. If I could choose one person I’ve never met to invite for a cup of tea I think we both know who it would be. Wouldn’t it be surreal if it actually happened?). Or, if you’re down this way perhaps give us a hint of where you might be and when so that your strange, upside-down fans can drop by and say hello.

    I’m interested to know what aspect of our multitudinous indigenous wildlife (we certainly have more than our fair share of endangered species) you will be here to investigate. Are you interested in the phenomenon of the Eco Sanctuary, for example (a brand new one of which Dunedin is about to open, plug plug)?

    Anyway, wishing you safe and happy travels.

  47. Dirtman says:

    Congratulations on the new design, and thank you for the updated features. I never thought there was a point to Twitter, but perhaps I am about to be discovered to be wrong.

    One thing though: are you, perhaps, Mr Fry, protesting too much regarding the new opensourcelessness? Naturally it’s your prerogative whether to charge for whatever content you wish, and thank you (I hope) for making it our prerogative whether or not to purchase it — by which I mean small purchase price extra items are infinitely more welcome than rollover ads that leap out and fill half the screen whenever you go near the top of the page. I just found your justificatory paragraphs a bit unconvincingly vigorous. My advice, for all that it’s worth nothing at all, is to forgive yourself more and excuse yourself less. Worse things happen at sea than having to defray the costs of servicing what is in many ways an old fashioned fan club, and I’m sure most sane people realise that if you pay someone to do something he or she is good at, they might not get any better at it, but they’ll probably at least be able to do it more often.

    Cheers, and admiration.

  48. ionica says:

    Love the new site, it is very 2008 without being annoying. I would encourage you to try asking voluntary contributions from readers. You might be surprised by us!

  49. Pirrwitz says:

    I was always hoping somebody would revisit Last chance to see. Last year, I went to see the mountain gorillas in Rwanda (it had to be Rwanda for me because of Dian Fossey), which was truly amazing. Charles (the silverback) and his family had a picnic in the sun with the two younger gorillas fooling around. Next year I am planning to visit Madagascar and maybe will see an Aye-Aye, too. Wish I could be part of this film project though. Ah, never mind.

  50. Claire Shannon says:

    Good grief! You’re even geekier than my girlfriend and she’s a university lecturer in geekiness :))

    Sounds like a brilliant, fascinating tour. Next time, can I come in your suitcase? :)

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