Please allow me to introduce myself...

Probably all you need to know about me is that when my editors asked me to write a little something about myself for this space my first (and second, third and fourth) thoughts went to the Rolling Stones' Sympathy for the Devil.

You know, "please allow me to introduce myself; I'm a man of wealth and taste."

Of course even I recognized that description hardly fit me. Wealth? Unlikely. Taste. Only on the parts of my tongue that weren't singed away in an unfortunate Novocain incident years ago.

But the song's later lyrics caught the essence of Jim Barthold.

"I've been around for a long, long year."

That I have, in what even I would describe as an interesting life, starting as a weekly newspaper editor in a New Jersey seashore report, morphing into a sportswriter with a major metropolitan tabloid, moving into public relations with a leading cable equipment vendor, switching alliances back into the media with cable and telephony trade publications and coming squarely to rest as a free-spirited freelance writer—until veering off again last year into a short stint as a market analyst.

Through it all there has been one constant: I've been an observer. Now I'll be observing, and reporting on, the IPTV space and those who would make television an application. If the past is, as they say, just a way of seeing the future, it should be interesting. And, of course, you're all invited—no, actually, required—to climb aboard for the ride because it's only through interaction with readers that the observer really gets beneath the surface of what's going on.

So there, I've introduced myself. Now it's up to you to do the same. -- Jim