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Shooter as Tabula Rasa · Last night I ac­ci­den­tal­ly came face to face with Twit­ter hor­ror, a very pale re­flec­tion of larg­er real-life hor­ror, but still jar­ring. What hap­pened was, some­one shot up a Québec Ci­ty mosque. For a few hours no­body knew who’d done the shoot­ing, and that ab­sence of iden­ti­ty be­came a blank can­vas which the Net’s trolls paint­ed with their shit-colored dream­s ...
 
YouTube Addiction? · You hear talk about In­ter­net over­load­/ad­dic­tion, but this very spe­cif­ic form has crossed my radar mul­ti­ple times in re­cent days. In stu­dents, specif­i­cal­ly. To the ex­tent of fail­ing mul­ti­ple cours­es. Be­cause they use lap­tops for ev­ery­thing, and YouTube is al­ways a Cmd-Tab away, and whether your itch is Team Fortress 2 or cat breed­ing or string quar­tets or ten­ta­cles, there’s al­ways some­thing new and fresh there to scratch it. So teach­ers don’t get heard and home­work doesn’t get done. My hunch is it’s a re­al thing. Any­one else?
[8 comments]  
CL XXXVI: Island Ingress · On a wet grey Fe­bru­ary Satur­day we com­bined two of our amuse­ments on a boat trip to Keats Is­land: Cot­tage Life and Ingress. Some of this will be com­pre­hen­si­ble on­ly to Ingress play­er­s, but there are a cou­ple of fair­ly groovy pix.
Up­dat­ed with an apol­o­gy
 ...
 
Ingress in 2015 · Yes, we’re com­ing up for the third an­niver­sary of In­gress, the game; I’m one of the few from the first late-2012 wave who are still on-board ...
[1 comment]  
Money and Ads on the Web · My good­ness, the iOS-9 ad-blocker tech is rat­tling cages all over the In­ter­net. Here­with some links, in­clud­ing a cou­ple you like­ly haven’t seen, and one to a pos­si­ble so­lu­tion to the prob­lem, from Google ...
[5 comments]  
Internet.org · All sorts of peo­ple are de­nounc­ing In­ter­net.org, but it looks OK to me. Maybe I’m wrong. If some­one con­vinces me that I am, then I’ll up­date this post with an ex­pla­na­tion of why it’s a bad thing, and of course link to the ev­i­dence ...
[9 comments]  
#ActualGameplayFootage · Good heav­en­s, I start­ed writ­ing about Ingress in 2012, but haven’t since last Ju­ly. Yeah, I still play, not ob­ses­sive­ly but reg­u­lar­ly. I’m a grey­beard so my body’s in use-it-or-lose-it ter­ri­to­ry, and as of to­day I’ve walked 766 kilo­me­tres play­ing this game. Al­so, it’s en­riched my life; see here and es­pe­cial­ly these pic­tures. But most­ly, check that hash­tag in my ti­tle; the thing is, I like to go out­side and see things ...
 
Text Editors for Freedom · The press cov­er­age says Court Orders IRS to Re­lease Computer-Readable Char­i­ty Tax Forms. There’s this guy Carl Mala­mud who runs Re­source.org, which is in the busi­ness of mak­ing pub­lic le­gal ma­te­ri­als ac­tu­al­ly pub­lic. “What,” you ex­claim, “Public le­gal fil­ings aren’t al­ready public?!” Nope, not un­less cit­i­zens can get full-text ver­sions for free. This is the sto­ry of how I helped Carl (in a small way) to stick a small wedge in­to a wall of re­al­ly stupid public-sector re­sis­tance to open­ness ...
[3 comments]  
Twitter News · Good news and bad news; but most­ly bad. It’s a play­ground for abusers and management’s point­ing the wrong way ...
[5 comments]  
How To Be Secret · Sup­pose you need to ex­change mes­sages with some­one and be re­al­ly, re­al­ly sure that no­body else reads them. Here’s how I’d do it ...
[5 comments]  
Gamergate and Bullying · I’ve been watch­ing the “Gamergate” brouha­ha with sick fas­ci­na­tion. We all know the Internet’s got ug­ly cor­ners and sud­den­ly the ug­li­ness came out of the cor­ner. I hon­or the courage of the wom­en who’ve been stand­ing up to the creep­s. But I was kin­da puz­zled by who the creeps ac­tu­al­ly are and why they’re so up­set; I know lots of heavy gamers and they’re by and large pleas­ant well-adjusted peo­ple. So I went look­ing for them ...
[13 comments]  
Kathy’s Gone Again · I mean Kathy Sier­ra, on the Web at se­ri­ouspony.­com, in Wikipedia, and for­mer­ly on Twit­ter; but as of now @Se­ri­ousPony is gone. Here’s why ...
[12 comments]  
Apple’s Privacy Policy · See A mes­sage from Tim Cook and es­pe­cial­ly Govern­ment In­for­ma­tion Re­quests. It’s good; well-written and clear. Plus, there’s a news sto­ry; as of iOS 8, Ap­ple can’t un­lock a ran­dom iPhone. Mind you, this is al­so an Ap­ple mar­ket­ing piece ...
[6 comments]  
Life Changed Much? · Oc­ca­sion­al­ly, new tech­nol­o­gy changes lives. But most­ly it doesn’t. I’m a grey­beard and (like most peo­ple I think) the num­ber of qual­i­ta­tive tech-driven shifts in my life fits on the fin­gers on one hand. How about you? ...
[13 comments]  
Ingress Tips for iOS-folk · Wel­l, it looks like the client has dropped. Wel­come iDe­vicers to our pri­vate par­ty! OK, not so pri­vate, there are a mil­lion or so of us around the plan­et. I’m a regular-but-not-obsessive play­er, and have been since 2012; if you’re play­ing in the Van­cou­ver area, I’ll prob­a­bly meet you in-game, which quite like­ly means F2F. The first time this hap­pens I want a de­mo of the ap­p ...
[6 comments]  
Twenty-first Century Home Repair · What hap­pened was, a hor­ri­ble wind­storm took a big branch off the neighbors’ maple; it re­duced one of our eave­stroughs to scrap met­al on the way down. Get­ting it fixed was (sur­pris­ing­ly) Net-mediated and pain-free ...
 
Ethical Privacy Choices · Here’s a lit­tle rant I post­ed to an IETF mail­ing list thread on whether the IETF should move its public-facing ser­vices to private-by-default mod­e. Some­one post­ed a re­ply sug­gest­ing that “the us­er gets to choose the de­gree of se­cu­ri­ty that they con­sid­er appropriate” ...
[2 comments]  
The Web is 25 · We’re cel­e­brat­ing! I can re­mem­ber, some­time in the ear­ly Nineties, be­ing ir­ri­tat­ed when emails and Usenet post­ings start­ed fill­ing up with these new things called “URLs”, initially-awkward-looking ag­glom­er­a­tions of slash­es and colons and let­ter­s ...
[9 comments]  
Ingress in 2014 · It was stormy at dusk last Sun­day; Shoekey and I hunched shoulder-to-shoulder in a wa­ter­front park, 90 km/h of swirling wind driv­ing a mix of fresh rain and salt spray at us from ev­ery di­rec­tion, zip-loc-bagged An­droids in hand. Be­cause in a big Ingress op, you got­ta do what you got­ta do. Yeah, I’m play­ing again ...
[1 comment]  
Surveillance and the Media · As I write this I’m an­gry at the CBC, Canada’s na­tion­al broad­cast­er, for their shod­dy, shal­low cov­er­age of re­for­m­gov­ern­mentsurveil­lance.­com (let’s say “RGS” for short­). But the trap they fell in­to is prob­a­bly at­trac­tive to many fla­vors of me­di­a ...
[6 comments]  
Tab Sweep: Hallowe’en · Well in­to Q3 and au­tum­n, and my SAD is al­ready stir­ring in the back cor­ner of my brain. But any sea­son is Har­vest sea­son on the We­b ...
[2 comments]  
Ads In Front of Things · They’re bad ...
[10 comments]  
The Ingress Social Network · While I go days at a time with­out turn­ing on the clien­t, I do still go out on an Ingress level-8 op ev­ery week or two; and now I have a cou­ple of purely-social rea­sons to pitch in now and then ...
 
Bugg Synthesis · I was sit­ting up late; fam­i­ly asleep and work over, scan­ning around. The New York­er feed threw up Jake Bug­g: From Not­ting­ham to Mal­ibu. He sound­ed in­ter­est­ing on pa­per and, hey, the ar­ti­cle was full of YouTube links and what with the ChromeCast, I was lis­ten­ing and watch­ing right there and then. Yeah, Jake’s good, I’d go see him if he came to town. You may nev­er have heard of him but I guar­an­tee you’ve heard Light­ning Bolt. Syn­the­sis? The In­ter­net is one great big fat cul­ture pump, don’t you for­get it.
[1 comment]  
Ingress Ebb and Flow · The last Ingress frag­ment here was back in May, re­flec­tive of the fact that I, like many who lev­eled all the way up, lost in­ter­est and drift­ed away. But I’ve been out a bit in the last cou­ple of week­s; in par­tic­u­lar spend­ing qual­i­ty time in grave­yard­s. the game re­mains an in­ter­est­ing and under-reported sto­ry ...
[3 comments]  
Meta Meta Meta · On Sun­day I wrote On Medi­um about writ­ing on Medi­um, af­ter I post­ed a rewrite there of a piece I wrote about Texas pol­i­tic­s. Now let’s write about that ...
[2 comments]  
Blogginess · Paul Ke­drosky, high­ly vis­i­ble In­ter­net/Money guy, tweets: “So strange to see peo­ple talk­ing about fu­ture of blogs in 2013. Blogs still exist?” (His own blog is now just a dai­ly tweet­pendi­um.) Paul’s smart, but that’s ridicu­lous ...
[7 comments]  
Ingress Chase Scene · I hadn’t been out to play in a long time, but I heard of a cross-faction event at IO, and I’d nev­er done one of those. It got way out in­to crazy-space; Even non-players might en­joy the sto­ry ...
[1 comment]  
Advanced Ingress · Wher­ev­er you go these days there are Level-8 play­er­s, and even the oc­ca­sion­al L8 por­tal. It’s a dif­fer­ent game at that lev­el. What may be my last piece on the sub­jec­t; with a side-trip in­to BioShock In­finite ...
[5 comments]  
Measure the Pain · Learn­ing isn’t free; re-learning is pay­ing the price twice. Many of the peo­ple who use what we geeks make would like to re-learn less ...
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Card Update Degree of Difficulty · In Hawai’i I left my cred­it card be­hind where we ate lunch on the way to the air­port. Called ’em from the de­par­ture lounge and told ’em to cut it up and throw it out. Called Visa and told ’em to send me a new one. Real­ly pret­ty easy. Then there’s switch­ing over all the pre-authorized pay­ments ...
[4 comments]  
Ingress Tourism · The game still feels like a big sto­ry to me, and still under-reported; so here­with Ingress cov­er­age, fea­tur­ing touris­m, com­mu­ni­ty can­cer, client con­tro­ver­sy, and tac­ti­cal tip­s. With pic­tures of places Ingress play­ers see ...
[3 comments]  
Birthday! · Here’s an odd sen­tence made of spe­cial word­s: The Web can do big things for lit­tle peo­ple and lit­tle things for big; we think it’s re­al­ly pret­ty good right now. In re­lat­ed news, this blog is ten years old to­day ...
[7 comments]  
Ingress Weekly · I still think Ingress is the most in­ter­est­ing New In­ter­net Thing on the cur­rent radar. What else is there to get ex­cit­ed about, Vine? Gimme a break. Al­so I can’t write about work un­til the re­lease pipeline un­jams a bit. So here­with more news from the fron­t ...
[6 comments]  
Ingress, Month 3 · Ingress is in­to its third month and if any oth­er relatively-mainstream blog­gers are cov­er­ing the sto­ry I haven’t seen it, so this for the record if noth­ing else. There are strains show­ing; but in­ter­est­ing de­vel­op­ments al­so. To start with: as of to­day, Jan. 29, ev­ery Zip­car and Jam­ba Juice lo­ca­tion is an Ingress por­tal, it seem­s; which feels to me like a news sto­ry ...
[2 comments]  
Yasutomo Cuben Wallet · In that dis­con­nect­ed time be­tween Christ­mas and New Years, a fa­mous per­son in my tweet­stream rec­om­mend­ed a “Secure front-pocket-carry sciatica-preventing über-light wallet” ...
[4 comments]  
Things About Ingress · I’m not even a se­ri­ous play­er, I go out for a cou­ple hours two or three times a week. But there are lots of sto­ries to tell and lessons to learn; here are some of mine. [Warn­ing: This post will be more or less com­plete­ly in­com­pre­hen­si­ble to any­one who hasn’t played quite a bit.] ...
[9 comments]  
Two Million Saved · Back in April of last year, I not­ed that my LifeSaver 2 app had saved a mil­lion call records and SMS texts in­to the cloud. Now it’s two mil­lion, and by a much more use­ful mea­sure. But there’s more work to do and it’s go­ing to be fun ...
[1 comment]  
Blog 4 $ · An­drew Sul­li­van, one of the world’s most vis­i­ble blog­ger­s, is go­ing in­die and will try to make a liv­ing at it. I wish him luck, but I think maybe he’s think­ing about it wrong ...
[8 comments]  
Low-stress Inbox · I’ve long been aware of the In­box Zero no­tion, and nev­er re­al­ly got it. My Google in­box has 6,457 mes­sages and my per­son­al in­box 5,096; none are un­read and I feel no stress. Re­cent­ly I’ve no­ticed that lots of peo­ple have huge num­bers of un­read emails star­ing them in the face, more or less all the time I guess. This would drive me crazy in about fif­teen min­utes. So, as a Christ­mas present to the world, here is my recipe for main­tain­ing an un­read count of ze­ro; a con­di­tion I’ll call Low-stress In­box ...
[2 comments]  
Ingress · It’s a new thing on the In­ter­net, a planetary-scale augmented-reality game be­ing played on a re­al plan­et: ours. It’s fun to play, par­tic­u­lar­ly if you have kid­s. And in­ter­est­ing, I think, for any­one who cares about is­sues of Life On­line, even non-gamers ...
[10 comments]  
Gonna Hang Out · There’s this no­tion of a “Google+ Event”, which com­bines G+, YouTube, and Moder­a­tor; it’s try­ing to be a new way to do an on­line con­ver­sa­tion. Some of the out­reach peo­ple at Google (i.e. in jobs like mine) are go­ing on the road a lot less and Event­ing a lot more, these days. So I’m go­ing to try it to­mor­row (Thurs­day): Life, Iden­ti­ty, and Every­thing ...
[1 comment]  
Private By Default · As of now, this blog’s pri­ma­ry ad­dress is https://www.t­bray.org/on­go­ing; note the red “s”. That means your com­mu­ni­ca­tion with it is pri­vate, which I think is the way the whole In­ter­net should be ...
[24 comments]  
Sending and Receiving · Yes, this is about “social media”; is that still a thing? I de­pend on this blog and syn­di­ca­tion feeds and Twit­ter and G+, all at once at the same time, and in a com­pli­cat­ed and messy way. But life isn’t ter­ri­ble ...
[6 comments]  
Nouveau Spam · Gmail is re­al­ly good at spam these days. It’s been for­ev­er since I’ve seen any phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals or watch­es or pen­ny stock­s; the very oc­ca­sion­al 419 and virtuous-girl-looking-for-friends leaks through. How­ev­er, there is a steady flow, one or two per day, of intensely-miscellaneous pitch­es for prod­ucts or ser­vices that look per­fect­ly rea­son­able and mainstream — except for be­ing spam-promoted. They’re ac­tu­al­ly sort of, uh, in­ter­est­ing. Here are a few days’ worth, in the or­der I re­ceived them; the ge­o­graph­ic dis­tri­bu­tion is re­mark­able ...
[1 comment]  
What’s Wrong With Twitter? · About fif­teen min­utes af­ter Twit­ter came on the scene, al­ter­na­tives start­ed crowd­ing through the door be­hind it. So far, none of them have re­al­ly made a dif­fer­ence. Why the crowd? ...
[3 comments]  
Blogodammerung? · Jon Udell is blog­ging less. Gosh, so am I. There are loads of ways to talk to the world, new al­ter­na­tives ev­ery day it seem­s. Is this thing, you know, over? ...
[19 comments]  
Not the Softest on the Block · We moved in­to our cur­rent place in ear­ly 1997 and, al­most im­me­di­ate­ly, were bad­ly bur­gled. Last week, Mat Ho­nan got bad­ly hacked. We took home-security mea­sures and haven’t had any prob­lems since. I pro­tect my on­line pres­ence, with sim­i­lar re­sult­s. Some lessons ap­ply to both cas­es ...
[1 comment]  
Checking out Intrade · I kept hear­ing about how this or that po­lit­i­cal cam­paign or eco­nom­ic sce­nario was “trending on In­trade”, so I thought I’d check it out. Then, of course, I had to make some bet­s. It’s fun! But not a good way to make mon­ey I think ...
[4 comments]  
T.Runic · I have an in­ter­est­ing job and a fam­i­ly, so it took me five times as long as any­one else, but now I have an Inferno-capable Lev­el 60 Di­ablo III char­ac­ter. I’m won­der­ing if this is when I start get­ting bored. Here­with a few notes on the ex­pe­ri­ence, and some tips for those who haven’t done D3 yet ...
 
Diablo III · I’m re­al­ly not much of a gamer; but I did the Di­ablo dance back in the day, and have en­joyed re­vis­it­ing the fran­chise. Here­with re­marks on that thing that’s been re­spon­si­ble for so many red-rimmed eyes at ear­ly meet­ings this last cou­ple of week­s. D3 isn’t just flawed fun, it’s in­ter­est­ing in a se­ri­ous way, I think ...
[3 comments]  
A Million Lives Saved · Wel­l, not re­al­ly. But my LifeSaver 2 app has now up­load­ed over a mil­lion calls and mes­sages for a tem­po­rary stay in the cloud and (in the­o­ry) trans­fer to oth­er de­vices. This is not as im­pres­sive as it sounds since the num­ber of unique users is still just a few hun­dred; but it pleas­es me nonethe­less. I ob­serve that the num­ber of down­loads is quite a bit small­er; it seems that peo­ple up­load, and then it takes them longer than they thought to get their new de­vice brought up and LifeSaver in­stalled; long enough for the cloud scrub­ber to have erased their up­load, so they have to do it again ...
[4 comments]  
LifeSaver 2.0 · Way last fal­l, I took my old LifeSaver app and re-wrote it to store his­to­ries in Google App Engine back-end as op­posed to the SD card, most­ly be­cause lots of mod­ern phones don’t have SD card­s. Then I had an at­tack of fear about de­ploy­ing it, then I went on a world tour and got sick and took va­ca­tion and got dis­tract­ed. I just pub­lished LifeSaver 2.0 ...
[7 comments]  
Skyrim · I bought it for the house­guests over Christ­mas, got mild­ly hooked, took a char­ac­ter to lev­el 17, but that’s it, I’m bored ...
[6 comments]  
Cloud Lifesaving and Fear · Last year I built (and of course blogged) this nifty lit­tle An­droid app called LifeSaver, which would copy your telephone-call and SMS logs on­to an SD card, so you could move the SD card to an­oth­er phone, run LifeSaver again, and get ’em all back. Calls and texts aren’t mi­grat­ed by the ex­cel­lent An­droid back­up sys­tem ...
[26 comments]  
Suggestions and Additions · Th­ese are the ways that you cir­cle peo­ple on Google+. The streams of names, most with lit­tle pho­tos but some naked, burn time but I can’t stop ...
[4 comments]  
Things About Google+ · No, I haven’t fig­ured it out. Nei­ther has the rest of the world. Which means that now is a good time to write about it, while our im­pres­sions re­main plas­tic ...
[21 comments]  
Turntable.fm · All the geeks know about it, but not many civil­ian­s; in the Blues room this evening, we end­ed up talk­ing about Web-server stuff and NodeJS. The idea is pow­er­ful; one symp­tom of which is, I keep think­ing about ways to make it bet­ter.
[Up­date: It’s now US-only. Can’t play any more.]
 ...
[10 comments]  
Who Follows? · Any­one who’s been on Twit­ter for a while and has built a fol­low­ing oc­ca­sion­al­ly won­ders how many of them are re­al peo­ple; be­cause plen­ty aren’t. So I took some mea­sure­ments ...
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+1 · The of­fi­cial state­ment is: The +1 but­ton is short­hand for “this is pret­ty cool” or “you should check this out”. This blog now has ’em. If you’re one of the (vast ma­jor­i­ty of) peo­ple who are look­ing at this in one feed-reader or an­oth­er, you can’t see them, but you might want to glance at the home page to get the feel. Or just open this ar­ti­cle in a brows­er and look down at the bot­tom ...
[38 comments]  
Cheap Laughs · Read­ing the tech news of the day, I was moved to sneer at one sto­ry, and the In­ter­net piled on in a way that gave me a few chances to snick­er, so here they are. [Warn­ing: Adult lan­guage.] ...
 
Things about Blogging · What hap­pened was, my man­ag­er or­ga­nized an in­ter­nal Google pan­el on blog­ging and asked me to join it. Other pan­elists were Matt Cutts, Don Dodge, and Chris Messi­na ...
[7 comments]  
Accidental Twitter Honeypot · I have always-running search­es for “Android sucks” and “Android rocks” that I look at a cou­ple of times a day; I find them very use­ful for gaug­ing the gen­er­al zeit­geist. Any­how, one of them ac­ci­den­tal­ly has been giv­ing me a real-time panora­ma of the world of Twit­ter spam; de­press­ing, but im­pres­sive in its scale. Check it out.
[6 comments]  
Letter Sweep · I’d typed the first let­ter of some URL in­to the ad­dress win­dow when I was in­ter­rupt­ed. Look­ing back a mo­ment lat­er, I was star­tled at what the brows­er had as­sumed I want­ed to vis­it ...
[4 comments]  
Millions of Hovels · There’s a re­al­ly in­ter­est­ing piece in the New York times about black-hat SEO, The Dir­ty Lit­tle Se­crets of Search. Nor­mal­ly I’d just tweet a link, but it has this won­der­ful para­graph that to­tal­ly cap­tures the sad part of the In­ter­net, the way I see it. I read it three times in a row, nod­ding all the while ...
[10 comments]  
Tab Sweep — Technology · I see lots of things on­line that I’d like to share. Often I do that via Twit­ter, but in­evitably the num­ber of brows­er tabs climb­s, each rep­re­sent­ing some­thing that I feel is owed fur­ther thought or at­ten­tion. This is that. The on­ly or­ga­niz­ing prin­ci­ple is that these notes are tech-centric; It should be un­sur­pris­ing that some go back month­s ...
[3 comments]  
Unfriending · I’ve nev­er re­al­ly got much out of Face­book. Quite like­ly be­cause I’ve been Do­ing It Wrong; so I’m try­ing to fix that ...
[12 comments]  
Anniversaries & Ideologies · I took my lit­tle girl to the Sun­day tod­dler drop-in at the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ty cen­ter and thought about this weekend’s birth­days: Wikipedia’s tenth and the IETF’s twenty-fifth ...
[5 comments]  
Twitter ProTip: Less Is More · I was look­ing at Twitter’s lists of im­por­tant and mem­o­rable Tweet­s, and spot­ted an ob­vi­ous pat­tern: They’re short. Back when I was first get­ting in­to this, I used to have fun craft­ing tweets that oc­cu­pied ex­act­ly 140 char­ac­ter­s. That got bor­ing pret­ty quick, and then I no­ticed that Twitter’s at its most fun when you get a bunch of peo­ple quot­ing and ex­cerpt­ing each oth­er; and for that to work you need some room in the up­stream tweet­s ...
[6 comments]  
You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone · There are no whales; but my Twit­ter ac­count has been in­op­er­a­tive for the last 4 hours or so, via any and all clients. The earth’s back­ground hum has sud­den­ly fall­en silen­t. I’m a river-of-news per­son on Twit­ter; I fol­low lots of peo­ple and of­ten ig­nore it for hours and nev­er wor­ry what I might have missed, be­cause if it’s im­por­tant it’ll find me ...
[3 comments]  
No More Users · I just wrote a lit­tle piece about how to write soft­ware, and it con­tained a few ref­er­ences to the hu­mans who car­ry the mo­bile de­vices on which the soft­ware run­s, and who in­ter­act with it. I found my­self re­fer­ring to these in­di­vid­u­als as “users” or “the user”. Gack; I hate that word ...
[32 comments]  
Communication Silos · On any giv­en day, I’m apt to com­mu­ni­cate elec­tron­i­cal­ly via the tele­phone, an In­ter­net VOIP equiv­a­len­t, email, IRC, IM, Twit­ter, and I might even write a blog post, like to­day. Why all these silos? Shouldn’t these con­ver­sa­tions be talk­ing to each oth­er? ...
[7 comments]  
The Listening Engine · I’ve been think­ing about Jere­my Toeman’s Will Nor­mal Folks Ever Use Twit­ter? A re­lat­ed ques­tion is: “Will nor­mal folks ev­er use feed readers?” I sus­pect the an­swer to both ques­tions is No. This might sig­nal a new kind of strat­i­fi­ca­tion in so­ci­ety ...
[21 comments]  
Teachable Moments · My son, who’s just start­ed “Computer Labs” at school, came home all ea­ger to tell us about this “Google” thing on the In­ter­net. So far, we haven’t par­tic­u­lar­ly en­cour­aged com­put­er use at home. We got in­to an in­ter­est­ing fam­i­ly talk which was re­port­ed back to the teacher, then Lau­ren and I found our­selves in­vit­ed to come in and teach the In­ter­net to the class. So we set up scratch blog­ging space; this end­ed up be­ing in­struc­tive both for them and us ...
[7 comments]  
On Self-Promotion · This con­ver­sa­tion start­ed with Clay Shirky’s A Rant About Women, which ad­vised that gen­der to self-promote a lit­tle more, maybe even bull­shit­ting some­times. There have been good follow-ups and I’ve been think­ing about this a lot. It’s a fal­la­cy, though, to think that these is­sues are im­por­tant on­ly to wom­en ...
[14 comments]  
Power Web Site · I pro­pose a new def­i­ni­tion. A site which is de­signed as the pri­ma­ry Web prop­er­ty for a per­son, place, or thing is a pow­er site if the per­son, place, or thing has a Wikipedia en­try but, in pop­u­lar search en­gi­nes, the site ranks above that Wikipedia en­try. There aren’t very many. But they fol­low sim­ple pat­tern­s ...
[14 comments]  
On the Blankness of Google · To­day, with­out plan­ning to, I vis­it­ed the Google home page, then al­so Ya­hoo and Bing. They don’t look like each oth­er at al­l. I think, first of al­l, that Ya­hoo is the past, Google the pre­sen­t, Bing the fu­ture. And sec­ond, that it doesn’t mat­ter much ...
[17 comments]  
After Branding · In 2010, you are what­ev­er the Net says you are. Deal with it ...
[25 comments]  
On Scholarship · What hap­pened was, for that Sex and T.E. Lawrence piece, I had to en­gage in an old-fashioned pa­per chase; book­s, scrib­bles, large work sur­face. I’d say “No search en­gines involved” but that wouldn’t be true ...
[4 comments]  
The End of the Golden Age? · For a few years now, the In­ter­net has been just in­sane­ly use­ful. Every­thing is there and you can find it when you need it. But Google is work­ing less and less well, and I’ve spot­ted an­oth­er po­ten­tial crack in its foun­da­tion­s. Will we look back on this as the time when it all start­ed to fall apart? ...
[15 comments]  
Twitter Injection · Re­cent­ly in Blog & Tweet I ex­plained why I want­ed to make my Twit­ter his­to­ry a part of the pub­li­ca­tion you are now read­ing. Along the same lines, read Dave Win­er on the im­por­tance of the his­toric record and the gen­er­al good­ness of stat­ic files be­hind an Apache server. This post out­lines how it work­s, with source code, and draws a con­clu­sion ...
[9 comments]  
Blog & Tweet · If you blog and al­so are on Twit­ter or a com­peti­tor, I think that’s a prob­lem. Twit­ter doesn’t (yet) have a busi­ness mod­el, and doesn’t make it ter­ri­bly easy to re­fer back to the be­gin­ning of your tweet-stream, and the da­ta is full of frag­ile URL-shortener out­put. So it’s time to reel things in ...
[22 comments]  
You Have to Choose Who To Read · Is blog­ging over? Last year, Chris Wanstrath, one of the hottest de­vel­op­ers cur­rent­ly walk­ing, said to stop read­ing feeds and get back to work. A few weeks ago Twit­ter guy Alex Payne, in Fev­er and the Fu­ture of Feed Read­ers, con­sid­ered Chris’ ar­gu­ments; he isn’t sure that blogs are dead but says that feed-reading soft­ware is in ter­mi­nal de­cline. And then this week The New York Re­view of Books, which sits near the in­tel­lec­tu­al cen­ter of the English-speaking world, pub­lished The News About the In­ter­net by Michael Mass­ing; it more or less amounts to the main­stream of the writ­ing class rec­og­niz­ing that the bl­o­go­sphere, while im­per­fec­t, has im­por­tant things to of­fer ...
[4 comments]  
Blog Spam · I have com­ments, but no spam in my com­ments. Here’s why ...
[20 comments]  
Is This Spam? · I still mod­er­ate all the com­ments here, but the set­up is id­iosyn­crat­ic enough that hard­ly any spam gets through. To­day, I’m pon­der­ing one par­tic­u­lar com­men­t, won­der­ing whether to ap­prove ...
[21 comments]  
The Internet’s Payload · The tree’s branch­es are re­al but on­ly there to sup­port the leaves. The siz­zle is en­tic­ing but the steak is why you sit down. The eye can­dy is cool, but the Web is re­al­ly about word­s, and most­ly writ­ten words at that ...
[17 comments]  
Friends and Flexibility · I so love the In­ter­net. The oth­er day it turned up an­oth­er friend of my youth, un­seen for three decades. Which gives me an op­por­tu­ni­ty to plug Pi­lates, in which I in­vest a cou­ple of hours ev­ery week ...
[2 comments]  
Al3x, Meet Ted · Alex Payne is known by thou­sands as al3x. He’s a de­vel­op­er at Twit­ter. I’ve been a fan since he wrote what I con­sid­er to be the sin­gle great­est tweet ev­er by any­one. He just pub­lished Mend­ing The Bit­ter Ab­sence of Rea­soned Tech­ni­cal Dis­cus­sion, which is good, but wrong in an es­sen­tial way. Ted is Theodore Stur­geon ...
[13 comments]  
Sustaining the Internet · I spent Thurs­day evening and Fri­day at a meet­ing called “The Fu­ture of the In­ter­net and Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Consultation”, host­ed by the In­ter­na­tion­al In­sti­tute for Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment (IISD), an ad­vi­so­ry or­ga­ni­za­tion fund­ed by var­i­ous bits and pieces of the Cana­di­an gov­ern­men­t. This par­tic­u­lar ex­er­cise is aimed at pro­duc­ing ad­vice for In­dus­try Cana­da, which has some rea­son­able con­cerns about the In­ter­net, Canada, and the world. Da­ta point: Canada, once sec­ond in the glob­al In­ter­net con­nec­tiv­i­ty score­card, is now nine­teenth and falling fast. Which isn’t good ...
[3 comments]  
Wikipedianism · Good heav­en­s, it’s a year or more since I had an ar­gu­ment with Nick Carr about Wikipedi­a. His Potemk­in­pe­dia starts out as a re­ac­tion to Noam Cohen’s Wikipedi­a: Ex­plor­ing Fact Ci­ty, which, I agree with Car­r, most­ly fails to tran­scend the lightweight in dili­gent­ly pur­su­ing the metaphor of Wikipedia-as-city ...
[14 comments]  
That Sound · I’m sit­ting in the keynote at North­ern Voice 2009 lis­ten­ing to a keynote (elo­quent if un­sur­pris­ing thoughts about what new me­dia mean to old) in a nice soft acoustically-good are­na be­ing de­liv­ered by a golden-voiced ra­dio pro­fes­sion­al, and I’m hear­ing a sound more clear­ly than ev­er that’s a reg­u­lar part of my life but didn’t ex­ist a decade back: The soft surg­ing pitter-patter of lap­top key­boards as back­drop to the speaker’s voice. It’s a good thing.
[4 comments]  
59 Photographers, 16 Countries, 1 Book · “It start­ed as an off­hand sug­ges­tion of the kind that ap­pears so fre­quent­ly on mail­ing lists.” I mean the PDML Pho­to An­nu­al 2008-2009. Orig­i­nal­ly I didn’t know how se­ri­ous­ly to take it, but this is a love­ly lit­tle sto­ry with a hap­py end­ing ...
 
On Email · This con­ver­sa­tion launched when Gmail an­nounced its of­fline mode and has been swirling around: See Man­joo (sum­ma­ry: “Gmail is great!”), Mr­gan (sum­ma­ry: “No drag and drop, blecch”), and now Alex Payne’s The Prob­lem With Email Clients ...
[21 comments]  
Where To Write? · Maybe not so much on Twit­ter.
[Up­date: Use­ful point­ers in the com­ments, and al­so I just ran across Bird­feed­er; ob­vi­ous­ly this is a hot spot.]
 ...
[16 comments]  
How Many Followers, Really? · Some­time in the last few days my Twit­ter fol­low­er count clicked over a round num­ber of thou­sand­s. In par­al­lel, DeWitt Clin­ton pub­lished Sam­pling Twit­ter, some nifty re­search in­to how many Twit­ter­ers are re­al­ly ac­tive. Be­ing, ob­vi­ous­ly, an ego­ma­ni­ac, I was more in­ter­est­ed in how many of the peo­ple fol­low­ing me are “active” ...
[3 comments]  
On Internet Addiction · It’s ob­vi­ous that I’m an ad­dic­t. Not all ad­dic­tions are bad; I’ve been hooked on books since the age of six and on mu­sic al­most as long, and hope to main­tain these habits in­to the grave. But the is­sue is quan­ti­ta­tive; you have to bal­ance your ad­dic­tion­s, wor­thy or oth­er­wise, to get things done ...
[17 comments]  
On Blogging in 2008 · This month Wired mag­a­zine ad­vis­es ev­ery­one to pull the plug on blog­ging. Last mon­th, Tech­no­rati re­leased the State of the Bl­o­go­sphere 2008. Next month in the At­lantic, An­drew Sul­li­van will pub­lish Why I Blog (well, it’s Oc­to­ber right now, and Sullivan’s piece is clear­ly la­beled “November”). Me, I blog less these days ...
[14 comments]  
That Parade · Of the Lost Souls I mean. It was so much fun it shouldn’t be legal. This post is here so I can post a fun­ny pic­ture of my­self and med­i­tate, once again, on the pro­fu­sion of dig­i­tal record­ings of, well, ev­ery­thing ...
 
Twittery · Last night, af­ter the Cana­di­an elec­tion par­ty leaders’ de­bate, the anal­y­sis had a sec­tion where they graphed Twit­ter re­spons­es to var­i­ous ver­bal sal­lies and bons mots. In­no­va­tive and use­ful I thought; ad­mit­ted­ly a bit left-leaning, if on­ly be­cause smart well-connected young peo­ple tend to lean left. Then when I got to work this morn­ing, some­one sent me a point­er to Charles Arthur’s What ef­fect will the fi­nan­cial cri­sis have on the tech sec­tor? in The Guardian; it quotes my Twit­ter stream, twice. Once again, the spec­trum of hu­man com­mu­ni­ca­tion shifts per­cep­ti­bly.
[1 comment]  
Working As Intended · This is a sim­ple sto­ry of an on­line pur­chase that went well de­spite a prob­lem. The fact that this is suf­fi­cient­ly rare to make me want to write about it is sad, but that’s how it is ...
[4 comments]  
Ephemeral Aggregators · I’m think­ing that The as­cen­dan­cy of Hack­er News & the gen­tri­fi­ca­tion of geek news com­mu­ni­ties, by Rab­ble, is, in its qui­et way, one of the most im­por­tant think pieces I’ve read in quite a while. It’s pret­ty clear that on­line ag­gre­ga­tions of in­di­vid­u­al con­tri­bu­tions are oc­cu­py­ing a big­ger and big­ger slice of the spec­trum of use­ful in­for­ma­tion sources. And al­so clear that this new land­scape isn’t sta­ble, but steadi­ly shift­ing un­der­foot ...
[3 comments]  
Deletionist Morons · For a nice safe NPOV (“Neutral Point of View”) dis­cus­sion of the is­sues, see Dele­tion­ism and in­clu­sion­ism in Wikipedia. My ex­pe­ri­ence, which isn’t NPOV at al­l, is that Dele­tion­ists are knuckle-dragging drool­er­s, walk­ing va­cant spaces, and as a side-effect gen­er­al­ly, well, what’s the word I’m look­ing for? “Wrong.” ...
[27 comments]  
Everything On-Line? · Re­cent­ly I read The Re­bel­lion Within by Lawrence Wright, a long, eru­dite, im­mense­ly in­for­ma­tive New York­er piece about the in­ter­nal dy­nam­ics of Al-Qaeda and the Mus­lim Brother­hood and Is­lam­ic Ji­had: Who are these peo­ple, any­how, where did they come from, and where are they go­ing? I en­tire­ly rec­om­mend it. There’s a prob­lem, though: I read it on-line ...
[7 comments]  
Not an OS · Last Thurs­day I tweet­ed: “I strive to main­tain an open mind when non­tech­ni­cal peo­ple talk about the ‘Internet OS’ or ‘Web OS’. Some­times it's tough.” I got some grum­bles by email and I think the sub­ject is worth more dis­cus­sion. Let me be more speci­fic: Nei­ther the In­ter­net nor the Web is much like an OS. And even if it were, that’d be the wrong way to think about what’s go­ing on right now ...
[24 comments]  
Twitterbucks · I like Twit­ter. I hope it last­s. So I want it to have a busi­ness mod­el. This week, I was in a dis­cus­sion on that sub­ject with re­al­ly smart peo­ple, some even with use­ful ex­pe­ri­ence. After­ward, I had a re­al­ly rad­i­cal idea for a busi­ness mod­el: Ask peo­ple to pay for us­ing it. Read on for dis­cus­sion, and a sur­vey ...
[40 comments]  
Twitter Problems · Nope, I’m not talk­ing about up­time or ar­chi­tec­ture or any of that stuff, I’m talk­ing about peo­ple. In Twit­ter Mus­ings, Lau­ren Wood be­moans the de­cline of the per­son­al, of the ephemer­al, of the tab sweep, not just in Twit­ter but in life-online gen­er­al­ly. Worth read­ing. And In Sum­mon Mon­ster­s? Open The Door? Heal? Or Die? (dun­no about that ti­tle) Giles Bowkett sings the old information-overload blues, but grounds it in per­son­al­i­ties, cit­ing the “Tim Bray problem” and “Cory Doc­torow problem”. Any­one who com­pli­ments my taste in hats has to be ba­si­cal­ly OK. I’m not sure he says any­thing new about con­tin­u­ous par­tial at­ten­tion, but he has way bet­ter pic­tures than the oth­er peo­ple who write about it.
[2 comments]  
Over Two Thousand · That de­scribes the num­ber that ap­pears, on the page called @tim­bray, with the la­bel “followers”. I’m find­ing it kind of in­tim­i­dat­ing, and while I’m no more con­fi­dent about What It All Means than I was when that num­ber passed one thou­sand, I’ve been think­ing about it more. Plus, I thought I’d throw in some Twit­ter­tain­men­t ...
[5 comments]  
Blogging@Sun · Al­most ex­act­ly four years ago we launched blogs.­sun.­com. It’s been a trip, al­most all up­side, re­mark­ably prob­lem free. There’s a bit of new news, both in­bound and out­bound ...
[2 comments]  
Changing Your Address · I’m tired of typ­ing my postal ad­dress in­to Web sites. Fur­ther­more, it’s stupid, waste­ful, and a lit­tle wor­ry­ing that so many of them out there have stored copies of it. Wouldn’t it be bet­ter just to give them the ad­dress of my ad­dress? ...
[23 comments]  
Look Sideways · There was this lit­tle flur­ry of ex­cite­ment when one of the Silly-Valley TechWhat­ev­er news ag­gre­ga­tors as­sert­ed that Twit­ter was drop­ping the use of Rail­s. It seems not to be true. This is yet more ev­i­dence that the news ag­gre­ga­tors are be­com­ing part of the prob­lem, not part of the so­lu­tion ...
[6 comments]  
Facebook? · I’ve giv­en five pub­lic talks in the last two weeks and in sev­er­al of them I’ve done a pol­l: “How many peo­ple here were ac­tive on Face­book six months ago? Please keep your hands up for a mo­men­t... of those, how many still are?” Not many hands stay up. Mind you, these au­di­ences are most­ly grown-up.
[11 comments]  
On Twitter · I’m writ­ing this in an air­plane to Van­cou­ver from Chicago. When I get home and read my mail, if re­cent trends con­tin­ue I will hear about a few new Twit­ter fol­low­er­s, bring­ing the to­tal up over one thou­sand. I think that with Twit­ter, some­thing im­por­tant is hap­pen­ing. But I’m hav­ing trou­ble fig­ur­ing out what ...
[19 comments]  
The Big Switch · Clear­ly, Ni­cholas Carr dis­ap­proves of much of the cul­ture in which I’ve im­mersed my­self and which I nearly-wholly em­brace, to which I would ap­ply la­bels such as “online” or “Web” or “Internet” or “Twenty-first century”. (Carr and I have writ­ten back and forth al­ready on the gen­er­al­i­ties.) So it would be rea­son­able to sus­pect me of bias in writ­ing about his re­cent The Big Switch—Rewiring the world, from Edi­son to Google. And in­deed, I do think that sev­er­al of its key ar­gu­ments are, well, wrong. But it’s a good book any­how; well writ­ten and ex­treme­ly ap­po­site ...
[5 comments]  
Microsoft + Yahoo · I have a Ya­hoo userid. I bet you do too. I won­der how many of those there are, in to­tal? I won­der what that num­ber di­vid­ed by $44,600,000,000 is?
[16 comments]  
The RESTful Way · I re­ceived the most charm­ing email this morn­ing from the own­er of “therestfulway.com” do­main name say­ing, in essence, “Anyone you know have a lov­ing home for this do­main? I don’t need it and it’s about to expire.” What a nice do­main name. If you want it, drop me a line ex­plain­ing why and I’ll for­ward the re­quests to the au­thor. I think he’d prob­a­bly give it to some­body with a good rea­son, but al­so wouldn’t turn down a rea­son­able mon­e­tary of­fer if one were forth­com­ing.
[2 comments]  
2008 Prediction 5: Social Networking · This is the fifth of five pre­dic­tions for 2008, ex­pand­ed from the short form gen­er­at­ed on short no­tice as de­scribed here ...
[1 comment]  
TV and the LazyWeb · I have a prob­lem: I want a new HDTV, I have very spe­cif­ic re­quire­ments, and I’m not which mod­els match, or even how best to find that out. There’s al­ways the LazyWe­b, and it’s show­ing new signs of life, in the form of Dave Sifry’s Hoos­got. Let’s see if it can help me find the right TV ...
[15 comments]  
In The Audience · At mod­ern high-tech con­fer­ences, many in the au­di­ence go on­line, and stay on­line dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion­s. To fa­cil­i­tate this, con­fer­ence or­ga­niz­ers of­ten pro­vide wire­less net­work­ing, and ex­ten­sion cords for lap­top pow­er. There is strong dis­agree­ment as to whether this A Good Thing or Ap­palling Dis­cour­tesy. I have ob­ser­va­tions both from in the au­di­ence and on the stage ...
[14 comments]  
Death Online · This month has been nasty in the bl­o­go­sphere; as in sudden-death nas­ti­ness, best sum­ma­rized by Shel­ley Pow­ers in With Sad­ness. One of the de­part­ed, Ani­ta Row­land, was an oc­ca­sion­al con­trib­u­tor here, writ­ing me emails be­fore there was a com­ment sys­tem, for ex­am­ple to iden­ti­fy a cro­cos­mia and an iris. Bye, Ani­ta. What, then, about blogs and death? ...
[9 comments]  
Knol · There’s much ado about Knol, but I haven’t no­ticed many Wikipedi­an voic­es. Wel­l, I’ll speak up, and I’m sort of a Wikipedi­an. Ac­tu­al­ly, less so re­cent­ly, which is rel­e­van­t ...
[16 comments]  
Social Network Fear · I’ve been re­al busy the last cou­ple of week­s, and thus ca­su­al­ly delet­ing the steady flow of Face­book and LinkedIn stat­ic, and now I can’t bring my­self to go to ei­ther site be­cause it’s just gonna be a big slow te­dious pain in the butt wad­ing through all those in­vites to see if I ac­tu­al­ly know them and re­ject­ing the stupid app-spam come-ons and try­ing to think whether I care about join­ing this group and that. Time is not on my side.
[3 comments]  
Twitter · It seems to be hav­ing a growth spurt. Every time I check my mail, there are a dozen “XXX is fol­low­ing you” mes­sages. My al­go­rithm is, I bring up their Twit­ter page and give it one glance and make a follow/no-follow de­ci­sion in about 0.5 sec­ond­s. Which prob­a­bly means there are in­ter­est­ing peo­ple I’m not fol­low­ing be­cause they weren’t in­ter­est­ing in that half-second. And I have more fol­low­ers than fol­lowees, which prob­a­bly makes me an ego­tis­ti­cal bas­tard. Oh well. I think Twit­ter is here to stay.
[3 comments]  
Missing in Shanghai · Wikipedia. BBC News. YouTube. Every­one on word­press.­com and on blogspot.­com. Plus, all feeds host­ed at FeedBurn­er (and that’s a lot of feed­s, in­clud­ing some pret­ty big-name blog­ger­s). Mind you, all this changes, some­times from week to week, they tell me. Stil­l, you have to feel sor­ry for Chi­nese knowl­edge work­er­s, fight­ing with one hand tied be­hind their back.
[4 comments]  
Counting Subscribers · Rob Scoble is re­port­ing Google-Reader sub­scriber counts for pop­u­lar sites. Th­ese are in­ter­est­ing num­bers and (I sus­pec­t) a rea­son­ably use­ful met­ric of rel­a­tive pop­u­lar­i­ty. But some of the ev­i­dence is puz­zling ...
[1 comment]  
Writing Online · Check out Is The Net Good For Writ­er­s?, com­piled by RU Sir­ius. Thought­ful, but I think it ig­nores part of the land­scape. This via Nick Carr’s The word on the net, which has me se­ri­ous­ly ir­ri­tat­ed; I look for­ward with ven­om to re­view­ing his book, which just ar­rived in the mail. [Warn­ing: this frag­ment is ap­palling­ly self-centred.] ...
[2 comments]  
The Intimate Internet · Here’s the thing: the Net’s killer app has al­ways been oth­er peo­ple. There are side ben­e­fit­s, like ac­cess to all the world’s in­for­ma­tion. But the links that mat­ter aren’t be­tween pages but peo­ple, and they’re strong and rich and sub­tle. Mul­ti­ply the in­fi­nite fla­vors in hu­man re­la­tion­ships by a thick­en­ing bun­dle of means-to-connect; that prod­uct is what’s new and what’s good and what’s ex­cit­ing. Peo­ple who are look­ing for the Next Big Thing are most­ly look­ing in the wrong places. And any­way, you don’t need to look, it’ll find you ...
[7 comments]  
Murder Coverage · The pa­per this morn­ing had a front-page sto­ry about some guy with Hells An­gels links get­ting shot: “A high-speed car chase in a qui­et east Lan­g­ley neigh­bor­hood Tues­day end­ed with a black Hum­mer in a ditch and a spray of gun­fire in a gang-style shoot­ing just a few hun­dred me­ters from two schools.” ...
[2 comments]  
Gripes · Are there any Face­book apps that aren’t pa­thet­i­cal­ly lame? Just won­der­ing. Al­so won­der­ing, why do I have to up­date my Face­book sta­tus, my Twit­ter sta­tus, and my chat sta­tus in three dif­fer­ent places? Which means that usu­al­ly I don’t. [Up­date: Wan­na change your sta­tus just once for ev­er­where? MoodBlast is da bom­b! Thanks, Dion.]
[20 comments]  
Heard in Conversation · We were talk­ing about how to pub­lish some­thing or oth­er, and Lau­ren said “Well, if there’s a Face­book app for that, there’ll be a WordPress plug-in, too”. Sounds about right.
 
Branding the Ape · The Ape has a new lo­go, cour­tesy of Greg Boren­stein. Ain’t it cute? ...
[1 comment]  
Facebook Rules · Face­book of­fers me ir­ri­tat­ing lit­tle choic­es, al­most ev­ery day. I have a sys­tem for deal­ing with them ...
[4 comments]  
Tab Sweep — The World · The tabs build up as fast as I cut ’em down. This sweep is half photo-stuff, but I al­so have Second-Life hu­mor, an Art-Rock co­nun­drum, and what hap­pens when you can’t write any more ...
[7 comments]  
1½ Days of APP Interop · Check the re­sults. This makes me very glad, as did the hours on the IRC, try­ing code, patch­ing code, peer­ing at log­files, laugh­ing at each oth­er... mak­ing it work. This is how the Net gets bet­ter. Like I said last time, Win­dows Live Writ­er is da bom­b, oth­er peo­ple who are in the blogging-client biz bet­ter watch out ...
[8 comments]  
See, It’s Addictive · Blog­ging, I mean. Up till now, I had known ex­act­ly one in­stance of a suc­cess­ful high-volume blog­ger who just walked away from it: Rus­sell Beat­tie, who closed up shop in April 2006. Wel­l, he’s back. Two things you need to know about him: he is ex­treme­ly ex­pert on the mo­bile tech­nol­o­gy busi­ness, and his sur­name rhymes with “she catty” or “he ratty” or “me fatty”. I’ve sub­scribed.
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Two From David · I’d like to en­cour­age you to read two things fea­tur­ing David Wein­berg­er. I’ve been mean­ing to post about his new book for some time, but just re­cent­ly ran across his “Web 2.0” de­bate with An­drew Keen over at the WSJ On­line, and if you care at all about this here Web thang, you re­al­ly ought to go take it in. Not be­cause it’ll ed­u­cate and in­form you (though it will) but be­cause it’s good fun. I find the Net-centered life suf­fi­cient­ly ful­fill­ing and self-supporting that I wouldn’t take the time to re­act to a provo­ca­teur like Keen, but it’s nice that David does so, while en­ter­tain­ing us ...
 
Missing Rejections · I’ve on­ly been on Face­book for a lit­tle while; I vis­it my turf there once or twice a day when a friend­ing re­quest comes in (I won­der if/when they’ll quit flow­ing?) I ac­cept them from any­one I ac­tu­al­ly know. Some­time in re­cent days the “Reject” but­ton went away, to be re­placed by an “Ignore” but­ton. Much less un­com­fort­able to click on, wouldn’t you say? I won­der if the ex­pe­ri­ence is less painful for the ig­noree than the re­jectee? (I haven’t got around to propo­si­tion­ing any­one in week­s, so I don’t know). Face­book feels in­creas­ing­ly an­o­dyne; maybe that’s the point?
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“Flashier” · Check out The New Web War, the first of Rob Scoble’s Fast Com­pa­ny column­s. It’s a nice com­pact sum­ma­ry of the Apol­lo/Sil­verlight/JavaFX are­na. There’s a startling sen­tence in the con­clu­sion: If your com­peti­tor builds a more in­ter­ac­tive site than yours, cus­tomers will flee to the “flashier” foe. Uh... Google? eBay? Ama­zon? Face­book? All plen­ty in­ter­ac­tive, and pure non-proprietary na­tive Web tech­nol­o­gy. The ev­i­dence seems clear to me: qual­i­ty con­tent and use­ful func­tions trump both flash and Flash. All these peo­ple keep say­ing that “Rich” In­ter­net Ap­pli­ca­tions win, and they’re right: but I do not think that word means what they think it mean­s.
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More on Missing Women · This con­ver­sa­tion stays in­ter­est­ing, and for me, has start­ed to get very close to home. [Up­date: If you care about this, there is lots of juicy in­put (much of which I dis­agree with) in the com­ments. Al­so check out the con­tri­bu­tions from Dave Meg­gin­son and es­pe­cial­ly “game­hawk”.]  ...
[20 comments]  
“X Me” is a Facebook Virus · A friend on Face­book in­vit­ed me to try the “X Me” ap­pli­ca­tion. It sound­ed a lit­tle sil­ly but it was a per­son I re­spec­t, so I clicked on it. As soon as it in­stalled, it popped up a list of more or less ev­ery­one I knew ask­ing if it was OK to mail in­vi­ta­tions to them. I said “no”, and then (weird­ly) it popped up one oth­er name and I said “no” again. Now I’m get­ting mes­sages from peo­ple ask­ing if I re­al­ly think they should in­stall “X Me”. This, ob­vi­ous­ly, is a virus ...
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devChix · Check out de­vChix. Since I am giv­en both to pub­lic lamen­ta­tion about single-gender geek cul­ture and ob­ses­sive in­ter­est in dy­nam­ic lan­guages, I am pret­ty much ex­act­ly their tar­get au­di­ence (a­side from be­ing, well, male, but let’s not quib­ble). There is cur­rent­ly much ado around the bl­o­go­sphere over Let’s All Evolve Past This: The Bar­ri­ers Women Face in Tech Com­mu­ni­ties. I had some fair­ly strong re­ac­tions to the piece, but I think I’ll sit on them for now; it’s weighty, ad­dress­es a sub­ject that mat­ter­s, and de­serves not on­ly read­ing, but some care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion. Oh, and if you Just Don’t Care about this whole missing-women thing, vis­it de­vChix any­how and read RUBY: DRY up your Enu­mer­a­tions. Good stuff.
 
I’m So 2.0 · In the last cou­ple of week­s, I have found my­self signed up for DOPPLR and Face­book. Most peo­ple of course al­ready know about these things; but I had a re­al sur­prise ...
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JRuby IRC Koan · On the #jru­by IRC chan­nel, a well-known JRu­by com­mit­ter was heard to ut­ter the fol­low­ing: this is the in­stance of place which har­bors the method we are in­vok­ing which may not re­al­ly be self at point it is call­ing. And it was in the mid­dle of the day, too.
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One of Everything · On the In­ter­net I mean. And ac­tu­al­ly that should be at least one. In con­nec­tion with a project I’m work­ing on, I was think­ing about mon­key nois­es and, what do you know, wel­come to the world of Pri­mate Vo­cal­iza­tions. My fave is Dian Fossey’s go­ril­la hoot­ing and Colobus abyssini­cus: Male roar.
 
Good Conduct for Bloggers · As sev­er­al have not­ed wit­ti­ly, Tim O’Reilly has man­aged to ac­com­plish the near-unthinkable by get­ting the on­line com­mu­ni­ty to unite in dis­agree­ing with his Call for a Blogger's Code of Con­duct. (There’s a wik­i­fied ver­sion, not re­al­ly start­ing to con­verge yet). I per­son­al­ly wouldn’t be able to adopt Tim’s pro­pos­al, but I think the dis­cus­sion he’s launched is a use­ful and healthy one, and we all owe a vote of thanks. I have one big is­sue and some lit­tle ones, but I al­so have an al­ter­na­tive to pro­pose ...
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On Aggression · The re­cent In­ter­net Nasti­ness ex­pe­ri­enced by Kathy Sier­ra has start­ed a dis­cus­sion about ag­gres­sion in gen­er­al; is it ev­er OK to go on the at­tack, or should we try to adopt a mu­tu­al non-aggression treaty cov­er­ing the whole bl­o­go­sphere? On re­flec­tion, I think that, yes, it’s OK to go neg­a­tive, but on­ly if you mean it and are do­ing it se­ri­ous­ly, and on­ly if you’re pre­pared to deal with the con­se­quences. It may be the case that some leg­isla­tive tin­ker­ing is re­quired to make ac­count­abil­i­ty work bet­ter. [Up­date: Hani re­sponds, and I’ve been Biled.] ...
[30 comments]  
Web Accountability · Fol­low­ing on last week’s nas­ti­ness, Tim O’Reilly has is­sued a Call for a Blogger's Code of Con­duct; good stuff. While the dis­cus­sion he launch­es will cer­tain­ly be use­ful, I think you can boil down his point #1 to get one sim­ple rule that clean­ly ad­dress­es the le­gal and eth­i­cal re­al­i­ties and isn’t just for blog­gers and that we all should live by: You’re ac­count­able for what ap­pears on your Web site ...
[7 comments]  
Way Way Over the Edge · Please, stop read­ing this and go read Kathy Sierra’s Death threats against blog­gers are NOT “protected speech” (why I can­celled my ETech pre­sen­ta­tion­s). Some­thing is bad­ly out of con­trol and needs to be fixed, ur­gent­ly. There’s got to be more sto­ry to be told. Any­one who is re­mote­ly con­nect­ed with the peo­ple do­ing this needs to dig that sto­ry up and tell the com­mu­ni­ty. You can’t cure a dis­ease with­out a di­ag­no­sis ...
[13 comments]  
Twenty-First Century Recruiting · Google is hir­ing. And there was a Tues­day in last week. Mind you, everybody’s hir­ing. But jeep­er­s, I got a friend­ly email yes­ter­day to my @sun.­com ad­dress from a Google re­cruiter, sub­ject “Exciting Job Op­por­tu­ni­ty with Google!” say­ing “saw your blog, we sure are a great place to work, want to talk?”. Now, it’s re­al­ly easy to dig up my pri­vate non-Sun ad­dress. Not to men­tion my phone num­ber. Am I old-fashioned, or does this seem a lit­tle des­per­ate? I as­sume that more or less ev­ery­body in the biz who’s got a blog or is oth­er­wise pub­licly vis­i­ble will be get­ting email @work from the big G. Any­how, I wrote back say­ing “Thanks, but en­joy­ing my job just now.” and she wrote back say­ing OK and “Feel free to pass along my con­tact in­for­ma­tion to any friends or col­leagues who you think might be in­ter­est­ed in ex­plor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties with Google.” I’ll get right on it. What’s nex­t; sandwich-men in high-tech park­ing lot­s?
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Contrib: I Give Up on Comments · I start­ed a di­a­logue here and it went some­thing like this. Tim: “I want to fid­dle the feeds to make the com­ments more visible.” Tim’s com­menter­s: “Go pound sand.” Well OK then, I won’t, for now. What I will do is, when I think there’s some un­fin­ished busi­ness com­ing out of the con­tri­bu­tions I’ll do a post like this with “Contrib:” in the ti­tle. Al­so, there were some good ideas that I’ll try to cap­ture in an im­proved com­ments feed. Al­so, I’ll try and fig­ure out a way to do some of what Sam wants. I’m look­ing for a metaphor to pin on Sam. Ca­nary in the coalmine? Princess and the pea? What­ev­er, he has good taste.
[2 comments]  
Old Map of the Future · I vague­ly re­mem­ber run­ning across it a cou­ple of times a dozen years ago or more, de­scribed as an “experimental Web site”. From time to time, when bored, I’d vis­it jodi.org and of­ten my brows­er would end up toast­ed by flail­ing JavaScript [Warn­ing: it can still hap­pen]. I saw some ef­fects there for the first time that are now in ev­ery AJAXian’s tool­box ...
[3 comments]  
Life Is Complicated · My good­ness, even CNN picked up the sto­ry about Mi­crosoft try­ing to re­tain Rick Jel­liffe to up­date the Wikipedia ar­ti­cles on ODF and OOXML for them, just as the ISO pro­cess around OOXML is get­ting in gear. This rais­es com­pli­cat­ed is­sues about doc­u­ment for­mats and trans­paren­cy and con­flict of in­ter­est; and there’s at least one ele­phant in the room ...
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Five Things · Har­rumph, I’ve been tagged. I’m not sure I ap­prove of this glorified-chain-letter stuff, but who can re­sist a chance to blath­er on about them­selves? So, here are five not-widely-known things ...
[4 comments]  
Incoming · My com­put­er, like most, is nor­mal­ly con­nect­ed to the In­ter­net, and since I’m on quite a few mail­ing lists and sub­scribe to quite a few feed­s, I get a lot of traf­fic. In gen­er­al, we re­al­ly haven’t fig­ured out how to man­age traf­fic in such a way that we know what’s go­ing on and still get work done ...
[6 comments]  
Framing Lauren · Check out Framed! by Lau­ren Wood. There’s puz­zling low-grade In­ter­net scamware afoot. Here’s a slight­ly more de­tailed de­scrip­tion of what’s go­ing on; if you have any ideas, please leave a com­ment on her blog, not here ...
[2 comments]  
Changing The Present · Heard about it via Bruce Tate who’s ap­par­ent­ly build­ing it, and at first glance I’m very very im­pressed. Chang­ingThePre­sent is try­ing to bring web-commerce tech­niques to phi­lan­thropy, and off the top I can’t see why it won’t work. When it’s this easy to pick a cause, pick a ve­hi­cle, and throw a few bucks in­to the pot, why wouldn’t you do so ev­ery time you read a par­tic­u­lar­ly grim head­line or see a par­tic­u­lar­ly hor­ri­fy­ing pic­ture? And lord knows there are enough lame presents ex­changed this time of year. If they suc­ceed in get­ting a feedback-heavy com­mu­ni­ty built up around this, it could re­al­ly be a new thing in the world. The jury’s out, ob­vi­ous­ly; but I’ll be watch­ing.
[3 comments]  
On Email · For years, I’ve had two email ad­dress­es; the cur­rent job and the long-term per­son­al one. The lat­ter is un­for­tu­nate­ly one of the world’s most pub­lic, ap­pear­ing among oth­er places on the front of the XML spec­i­fi­ca­tion, and thus gets a lot of spam. I mean re­al­ly a lot. Which was caus­ing some pret­ty se­vere pain, but I’m us­ing the Gmail dodge, and that helps quite a bit ...
[24 comments]  
Traffic Generators · Time was, Slash­dot was the big, big, dog. The first time I got hit, 3½ years ago, there were 27,000 hits in the first day and around 40K in ag­gre­gate over the next few. This last Mon­day, two days ago, Slash­dot hit my XML schema-language piece at 7PM Paci­fic. As of now, mid-day Wed­nes­day, I’ve had 8,361 hit­s. Now, there are mit­i­gat­ing fac­tors: the Slash­dot link to on­go­ing was kind of hard to see, and quite like­ly in the years since 2003, the set of Slash­dot read­ers who care about the things I write about have most­ly sub­scribed, so they’d seen that piece al­ready. But stil­l. By way of com­par­ison, I got 17,849 links in the first 48 hours to Ja­va Is Free; Red­dit was the lead­ing re­fer­rer with 5,623. Times change.
[3 comments]  
Wikipedia Churn · There’s been some­thing hap­pen­ing re­cent­ly in my lit­tle cor­ner of Wikipedi­a, and I don’t know if it’s an anoma­ly or ev­i­dence of a trend; so this is raw ran­dom anec­do­tal data. By “my lit­tle corner” I mean the small col­lec­tion of ar­ti­cles that I track via a recent-changes Atom feed, have con­tribut­ed to quite a bit, and feel a lit­tle bit of shared re­spon­si­bil­i­ty for. There’s been a surge of re­cent ed­i­to­ri­al ac­tiv­i­ty, with super-energetic (and ap­par­ent­ly well-informed) new con­trib­u­tors trim­ming and tweak­ing and grow­ing the ar­ti­cles, of­ten sev­er­al times per day. In gen­er­al, while I haven’t been con­vinced that 100% of the changes are im­prove­ments, the qual­i­ty of the ar­ti­cles as a whole is def­i­nite­ly trend­ing up. Al­so, the ran­dom drive-by teenage de­face­ments are get­ting fixed re­al­ly fast. Any­one else see­ing this?
[5 comments]  
Comments Good · on­go­ing has had com­ments for a cou­ple of months now; I’m re­al­ly hap­py with the way it’s worked out, so, first of al­l, Thank you! to the peo­ple who are do­ing it; I checked this morn­ing and there’ve been 449 con­tri­bu­tion­s. The qual­i­ty is by and large high; for ex­am­ple, in the last day, Kill Switch Night­mare got a re­al­ly smart com­ment from Colin Jeanne point­ing out that for the bad guys, there may be eas­i­er and dead­li­er at­tack vec­tors than the Vis­ta/Of­fice “Kill Switch”. And some­what to my sur­prise, Bob Aman re­spond­ed to On At­tack­ing Iran, tak­ing the oth­er side of the is­sue and demon­strat­ing that not ev­ery­one who’s con­sid­er­ing this is a com­plete fruit-loop. Yes, they’re still mod­er­at­ed; I’d like to turn that of­f, but I watch ev­ery­one I know on com­mer­cial pack­ages burn­ing time and cy­cles bat­tling the ever-mounting spam wave, and I get scared. Call me a chick­en. Cluck-cluck. I’ve got a to-do list for a dozen mi­nor im­prove­ments, all sug­gest­ed by you (thanks!); I’ll get to them.
[9 comments]  
Radio Delíro · I’m hav­ing trou­ble, this dingy Fri­day af­ter­noon, with episod­ic ran­dom de­fo­cus­ing. I don’t lis­ten to mu­sic when there’s a chance of se­ri­ous work hap­pen­ing; right now I’m tuned in­to Ra­dio Delíro, whose front page says Ra­dio Déliro, basée sur les préférences mu­si­cales de Roland Moreno, est animée et programmée par Syl­vain Robert. I’ve nev­er heard of ei­ther of M. Moreno or M. Robert, but I sure like the mu­sic they pick. It’s de­li­cious­ly eclec­tic, which in prac­tice means ridicu­lous­ly corny some­times; but in a good way. Just now they were play­ing the Don Fried­man Trio per­form­ing You Must Believe in Spring, which is ap­pro­pri­ate giv­en what’s go­ing on out­side.
[3 comments]  
Metered Approval · What hap­pened was, as we were get­ting ready to leave the apart­ment in Frank­furt a bunch of com­ments showed up, and when I clicked “Approve” the Net had gone away for some rea­son and we had to leave. At the air­port, I no­ticed they had lots of these hokey Internet-by-the-minute kiosks; I’d nev­er used one. While writ­ing on­go­ing frag­ments re­quires an in­tri­cate web of tech­nol­o­gy and a sol­id ssh con­nec­tion, the com­ment sys­tem is pure browser-based sim­plic­i­ty. The kiosk in­ter­face is slick, it lets you en­ter a URL and doesn’t ask for mon­ey un­til you say ”Go“. So I slapped in a €0.20 coin and start­ed strug­gling with the Ger­man key­board, which makes the “Y” and “/” hard to find. Even­tu­al­ly I reached the ap­proval page and got logged in and saw the com­ments again. I was about ready to hit the but­ton when this thing popped up on the screen, “Your time is run­ning out in 30 ... 29 ... 28 ...”, quite nerve-wracking in fac­t. I dove in­to my pock­et and found an­oth­er double-Euro-dime with sec­onds to spare, giv­ing me time for the ap­proval to com­plete and to use the “logout” but­ton. What a weird feel­ing. I won­der if these things are prof­itable?
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The People Who Comment on Blogs · Now in­clud­ing the Chair­man of the SEC. That cool or what?
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On Comments (II) · Thanks, ev­ery­one, for the high-quality dis­cus­sion and sug­ges­tions about com­ments and dates and up­dates and so on; if this were an IETF Work­ing Group, I’d be com­fy declar­ing “rough consensus”. I’ve made the ob­vi­ous changes; here­with a de­scrip­tion, along with gen­er­al re­marks on how this whole com­ment­ing thing is go­ing ...
[13 comments]  
On Comments · I’ve had com­ments run­ning for a few days here now (I pre­fer to say “contributions”, but what­ev­er). Peo­ple are ir­ri­tat­ed at me be­cause an on­go­ing frag­ment shows up as un­read in their feed-reader when­ev­er a new com­ment comes in. I’m not sure what the right thing to do is. This piece out­lines a few op­tions and asks the com­mu­ni­ty for dis­cus­sion ...
[34 comments]  
Wikipedia: Resistance is Absent · What hap­pened was, I went to check out the new Mi­crosoft search en­gine at live.­com (it’s not bad), and I start­ed by look­ing for my­self. I was kind of sur­prised when my Wikipedia en­try came in ahead of on­go­ing. (Wikipedia’s #2 at Google and Ya­hoo.) I’m see­ing this pat­tern of Wikipedia inch­ing up the search-result charts for a whole lot of things. Search-result rank, on the In­ter­net, more or less equals Author­i­ty. So this trend has to wor­ry the anti-Wikipedians. It wor­ries me too. Maybe it could be re­versed, but I don’t think so. [Up­date: By­ron Sal­tysi­ak sug­gests a more pos­i­tive aproach.]  ...
 
“Publish” Everywhere · Atom, es­pe­cial­ly the Pub­lish­ing Pro­to­col, is mov­ing in­to the evan­ge­lism stage, since the com­mit­tee work’s al­most done and there are plen­ty of im­ple­men­ta­tion­s. Here’s why I think Atom is im­por­tan­t. If you look at Dave Sifry’s num­bers, the growth of the bl­o­go­sphere is as­tound­ing; look­ing past all the fluff and chaf­f, there are some­where be­tween five and ten mil­lion peo­ple out there who care enough to con­tribute to the Net once a week or bet­ter. That may sound like a lot, but I don’t think it’s near­ly enough. Here at Sun, in a blogging-friendly tech-savvy cul­ture, maybe 5% of the peo­ple post reg­u­lar­ly. So I look at the num­ber of peo­ple us­ing the Net and I won­der: “Why there aren’t 50 mil­lion, in­stead of five mil­lion, peo­ple con­tribut­ing ev­ery week?” The an­swer: “Because it’s too hard”. We can fix that. Here’s the Atom dream: A “Publish” but­ton on ev­ery­thing. On ev­ery word pro­ces­sor and email read­er and web brows­er and cell­phone and PDA and spread­sheet and photo-editor and digi­cam and out­lin­er and sales-force track­er. Real­ly, ev­ery­where. If it doesn’t have a “Publish” but­ton, it’s bro­ken.
 
Scam Spam · I don’t know about you, but in re­cent weeks I’ve been hit with high vol­umes of spam pro­mot­ing pen­ny stock­s. They are elab­o­rate­ly craft­ed and go through my spam de­fens­es like a hot knife through but­ter. When I was off the net for 72 hours last week, the vol­ume ac­tu­al­ly filled up the POP in­box at one of my ac­counts and my mail start­ed bounc­ing. By the way, you can find the peo­ple who do it with a search for “Stock Promotion” (G, Y). As a con­se­quence of liv­ing in Van­cou­ver, long a head­quar­ters for penny-stock pro­mot­er­s, I have some per­son­al ex­po­sure to how in­cred­i­bly de­vi­ous, en­er­gized, and un­prin­ci­pled these peo­ple are; it’s like try­ing to root out cock­roach­es in a warm cli­mate. Part of the prob­lem is that there is ap­par­ent­ly an in­ex­haustible sup­ply of suck­ers ready to march smil­ing in­to the jaws of these bottom-feeders. This could be the straw that fi­nal­ly breaks the back of email as we know it, the kind that costs noth­ing to send and some­thing to re­ceive.
 
Back to the Land · Every year I spend a few days on a fam­i­ly member’s farm in Saskatchewan; this is usu­al­ly fol­lowed by many pho­tos of cows and Prairie land­scapes here on on­go­ing. The In­ter­net there is dial-up but us­able, with the ap­pli­ca­tion of some dis­ci­pline. On­ly this year, I fired up my recently-repaired Mac and it told me that my in­ter­nal mo­dem did not ex­ist. Re­peat­ed re­boots failed to make any pro­gress, and I couldn’t re­al­ly get to the Ap­ple knowl­edge base. That’s OK, all I re­al­ly need is email and I could use the secure-webmail in­ter­face for that. On­ly for some rea­son, that wasn’t work­ing; in­com­pre­hen­si­ble er­ror mes­sages about some­thing be­ing mis­con­fig­ured. Ouch; so I filed a trou­ble tick­et and called my boss’ ad­min and asked her to drop me a voice­mail if any­thing super-important went across our group alias. Then when I called back to check my mes­sages, my per­son­al­ized Sun 1-877 num­ber gave me a busy sig­nal. Clear­ly, some heav­en­ly pow­er did not want me in­ter­act­ing with work. So I closed the com­put­er with an em­phat­ic “snap” and went to take a crap, and the toi­let backed up.
 
On Carr · You know, I’ve re­al­ly had trou­ble fig­ur­ing out Nick Carr. I’m a con­firmed sub­scriber, be­cause a lot of his writ­ing is ex­cel­len­t; but then, some of it seems to come from troll ter­ri­to­ry. I have a the­o­ry; and some words on Open Source. [Up­date: Carr re­sponds at length.] ...
 
Stiff’s Questions · A while ago I got an email out of the blue from Jarosław Rzeszótko, who’s from Poland I think, say­ing “I hope you don’t mind if I ask you a few ques­tions about software.” Then I ran across it again while look­ing for some­thing in my in­box on a plane ride, so I dashed off some an­swer­s; the per­son seemed pleas­ant and po­lite. He calls him­self “Stiff” and his blog “Sztywny Blog”. Any­how, he al­so heard back from Li­nus Tor­vald­s, Dave Thomas, David Heine­meier Hansson, Steve Yegge, Peter Norvig, Gui­do van Ros­sum, and James Gosling. The an­swers to his ques­tions are in­ter­est­ing.
 
Two Thousand · I checked the front page and it said “1999 fragments”, which means that with this one, there are twice the num­ber of your fin­gers times the num­ber of your fin­gers times the num­ber of your fin­ger­s. Dam­n, that’s a lot. To any­one and ev­ery­one who hap­pens to read this: a big “Thank you!” I think I’d go on writ­ing if no-one were read­ing (but I haven’t had to make the ex­per­i­men­t). I’ve learned, to my cha­grin, that what I think about what I write has no re­la­tion to what oth­ers think about what I write; as in, throw­away squibs reach mul­ti­tudes and carefully-polished es­says are ig­nored. I have failed to learn what peo­ple want to read. Which is on bal­ance a good thing, I think.
 
Contribution and Experience · “User-Generated Content” is an ir­repara­bly ug­ly and bro­ken phrase. First, we’re peo­ple, not “users”. Se­cond, peo­ple write and speak and de­sign and com­pose and sing and play and build and earn and pay; ma­chines “generate”. Third, it’s words and pic­tures and sound and mon­ey, not “content”. The trou­ble is, we need la­bel­s; short ones that still say some­thing. Say, con­tri­bu­tion and ex­pe­ri­ence? The Net (re­al­ly, tru­ly) is the sum of bil­lions of con­tri­bu­tions from mil­lions of peo­ple, and that’s all that’s in­ter­est­ing about it. Peo­ple con­tribute at the edge, and ex­pe­ri­ence the con­tri­bu­tions at the edge. (Ex­pe­ri­ence, not con­sume; the dif­fer­ence is ob­vi­ous). The Net itself’s a con­tri­bu­tion, by hu­man­i­ty to hu­man­i­ty, the en­gine of fu­ture con­tri­bu­tion and ex­pe­ri­ence. The Net’s not fin­ished of course; con­tribut­ing and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing, both of them, are too hard and awk­ward and slow.
 
Feed Format Kitten Fight · Like your syn­di­ca­tion pol­i­tics tasty and fresh? Head over to DeWitt Clinton’s Un­to.net and read On RSS and Atom. Clinton’s at A9, Amazon.com’s Sil­ly Val­ley search-wonk caul­dron, and his stuff keeps com­ing across my radar in re­cent week­s. Any­how, he has what seems to me a clear-eyed and dis­pas­sion­ate eval­u­a­tion of the feed-format choic­es fac­ing im­ple­men­tors these days. There is one place he gets it back­ward, say­ing: “I’ve been con­sis­tent­ly im­pressed with how well the au­thors of the Atom syn­di­ca­tion for­mat an­tic­i­pat­ed the needs of the ad­vanced con­tent syn­di­ca­tion community.” No; Atom’s de­sign re­flects the back­ward-looking ex­pe­ri­ence we got in the last few years of work­ing with RSS; it turns out that the fu­ture is some­what like the past. But don’t stop when you get to the end of DeWitt’s piece, there are dozens of com­ments, most of them in­struc­tive, com­ing at the is­sue from all sorts of di­rec­tion­s. Scoble pushed back at length, fol­low the point­er from his com­men­t. Some­one who signs him­self “Raja” has an aw­ful­ly fa­mil­iar style. And a fi­nal note: when Mr. Clin­ton talks about XML, for ex­am­ple an RSS <description> el­e­men­t, he says <description/>. Now, that’s the kind of pedantry I can re­late to.
 
The Prompt of Doom · You know the one I mean; when you vis­it some site that you haven’t been to for a while, long enough that you’ve changed browsers or some­thing ex­pired, and it asks you for your your user­name and pass­word and you don’t have the vaguest idea, so you guess, and the brows­er says “Remember this username/password?” I al­ways get a sink­ing sen­sa­tion, know­ing that my im­me­di­ate fu­ture prob­a­bly con­tains email con­fir­ma­tions (which will prob­a­bly end up in the spam­buck­et) and half-forgotten pass­word (is the an­swer case-sensitive or not?) hints. I con­fess to rankly su­per­sti­tious be­hav­ior, telling the brows­er “No, don’t re­mem­ber it.” in the hopes that the gen­er­al orner­i­ness of things will cause me to guess right. I know some In­ter­net Iden­ti­ty gu­rus, and they say “It’s about so much more than sin­gle sign-on”, but dammit, do I ev­er want sin­gle sign-on; and I can’t be the on­ly one.
 
Not Writing Much · I haven’t been, re­cent­ly, al­though the “needs writ­ing about” queue nev­er stops grow­ing. I’ve got a new daugh­ter, who takes band­width. After I told the world about my Si­grid project at Ja­va One, two dif­fer­ent groups want to try it out, but I de­cid­ed it need­ed one last refac­tor­ing, which takes band­width. Most of all though, that Ruby-community dis­cus­sion around Uni­code turned in­to a mind-bomb for me. I’ve been pro­gram­ming in dy­nam­ic lan­guages for many years, and think­ing about i18n and Uni­code for al­most as long, but it had nev­er oc­curred to me to think about what The Right Way is to com­bine them. Now I’m hav­ing trou­ble think­ing about any­thing else. I’m not ready to write; among oth­er things, there are peo­ple in the Ru­by com­mu­ni­ty who see cer­tain things as ax­iomat­ic that I see as sim­ply wrong and un­sup­port­ed by any ev­i­dence. I don’t think they’re stupid so I need to do more lis­ten­ing. Oh, all these things tak­ing band­width, they’re good things; this is a good time, and summer’s here! I hope you’re en­joy­ing life too.
 
Blogging Cam: Almost Right · Via Niall Kennedy (who’s been very good late­ly): Mi­crosoft cam­eras that have one-button pub­lish­ing to MSN Spaces. This is so wrong. I don’t want to see a fu­ture in which your cam­era is LiveJournal-enabled or Facebook-ready. When I get a com­put­er or a mo­bile de­vice, it’s ei­ther Web-ready or not, it doesn’t have to be MSN-enabled or Yahoo-blessed. This is why we need the Atom pro­to­col. If your phone or your cam­era or your any­thing is Atom-enabled, then it will work with any pub­lish­er who sup­ports the pro­to­col, no spe­cial deals re­quired. Com­ing soon.
 
Wrong Again · I re­peat­ed­ly ad­vised Jonathan not to al­low com­ments on his blog; “You’re an of­fi­cer of a pub­lic com­pa­ny, dammit,” I said, “the trolls and stock-pumpers and nazi pe­dophiles will have a field day, you’ll have to have three shifts of watchdogs.” Shows you how much I know; check out the com­ments on A Roof in Mid­town Man­hat­tan. Yeah, some are ob­vi­ous, par­tic­u­lar­ly at the top, but there are re­al sur­pris­es as you read on down. Got­ta get that on­go­ing com­ment cor­ral on the air.
 
Underground, Invitation, Le kick and rush · I won­der if there’s any re­al ben­e­fit, when some­one whom I’ve al­ready high­light­ed writes some­thing ex­cep­tion­al­ly good, in point­ing to them again and say­ing “read this!” But some­times you can’t not do it. Item: my broth­er Rob on the joy of un­der­ground high ex­plo­sives. Item: Alex Waterhouse-Hayward on Ana Vic­to­ria (o­h, my). For my last link you’ll have to be able to read a lan­guage some­what but not en­tire­ly un­like French; Mon­di­al 2006 is the World Cup 2006 blog from Libération ; its tor­rent of high-velocity low-rent French baf­fles me in places, and it doesn’t help that I’m not 100% au fait with les Bleus, but you have to like pieces like Panini, beer & Co.
 
Yes, I Can Keep Editing! · I have tak­en a se­ri­ous in­ter­est in a fair­ly small num­ber of Wikipedia en­tries, on sub­jects where I think I’m pret­ty ex­pert, and for some time I tried to keep on top of them, nuke others’ ed­its when they were bo­gus, fix gram­mar and spelling prob­lem­s, try­ing to achieve what Toy­ota calls kaizen, or con­tin­u­ous im­prove­men­t. But I can’t any more. I don’t have time to go check back ev­ery day or even ev­ery week, and that’s what a con­sci­en­tious ar­ti­cle min­der ought to do. I to­tal­ly need, for each ar­ti­cle, a feed I can sub­scribe to that will sum­ma­rize changes. Give me that and I can prob­a­bly stay on top of a hand­ful of ar­ti­cles, be­cause most ed­its are good. It can’t be that hard; ev­ery ar­ti­cle al­ready has a “history” page that has the in­for­ma­tion right there; all you’d have to do would be to cre­ate an al­ter­nate ver­sion wrapped in RSS or Atom tags. So, dear Wikipedi­an­s; you want me to in­vest time and at­ten­tion in im­prov­ing the com­mon­s? Give me tool­s. [Hah! And from with­in the bow­els of Wikipedi­a, a voice emerges, say­ing: “Ask and you shall re­ceive.” And, it’s valid Atom 1.0; how many more mil­lion Atom feeds is that? Put me in the Wikipedia fan­boy colum­n.]
 
anne 2.0 · I’ve had Anne Zelenka’s Content’s Divorce from Ad­ver­tis­ing open in a brows­er tab for days, think­ing about it and try­ing to find some­thing to ex­pand on or dis­agree with. Noth­ing comes to mind, but I’m still think­ing. Great-looking site, good writ­ing on lots of lots of oth­er im­por­tant stuff too. High­ly rec­om­mend­ed.
 
What Matters · Let’s con­sid­er Flick­r, del.i­cio.us, and Tech­no­rati as canon­i­cal “Web 2.0” com­pa­nies. Let’s sup­pose that Flickr is pop­u­lar be­cause it’s a good way to or­ga­nize and pub­lish pic­tures, which is use­ful. And that del.i­cio.us is pop­u­lar be­cause it’s a good way to or­ga­nize and pub­lish links, which is use­ful. And that Tech­no­rati is pop­u­lar be­cause it’s a good way to find out what peo­ple are say­ing right now, which is use­ful. And let’s sup­pose that the facts that they all do tags and are fre­quent­ly de­scribed in sen­tences that in­clude the word “social”, just sup­pose those things are ephemer­al, and the suc­cess is about do­ing use­ful things for in­di­vid­u­al­s. How old-fashioned. Every day that goes by I be­lieve more and more that the on­ly im­por­tant new thing is that the Net is read-write. Every­thing that mat­ters fol­lows from that.
 
Astounding, As Usual · Dave Sifry’s back with an­oth­er State of the Bl­o­go­sphere and the num­bers are, well, see the ti­tle. We re­main on track for ev­ery­one in the world to have a blog by 2009 or so. A mild gripe: Dave says “blogs” but he re­al­ly means “feeds”, a lot of them aren’t blogs at al­l. Stil­l, we’re up to 3.9 mil­lion of them be­ing up­dat­ed week­ly or bet­ter. The me­dia spec­trum is get­ting aw­ful­ly smooth, whether you’re talk­ing about the out­put of a multibillion-dollar me­dia em­pire or news from your brother’s fam­i­ly, they’re all just tabs in the ag­gre­ga­tor.
 
Evolution and the Net · My broth­er Rob in­ves­ti­gates whether or not there’s a con­vinc­ing anal­o­gy be­tween the progress of Dar­wini­an Evo­lu­tion (well, Goul­dian ac­tu­al­ly) and the Internet’s, uh, evo­lu­tion. I’m not 100% con­vinced, but I sure am glad I read it.
 
Too Much Fun · That’s what Dave Or­chard is hav­ing; check out WS-SopranosDesperateHousewivesKwisatchHaderach. Al­so out there in the “that much fun must be illegal” ter­ri­to­ry is David Isen­berg, he’s build­ing a whole fran­chise around “Fat Pipe. Al­ways On. Get Out of the Way!” cre­do; there are now bumper stick­ers and T-shirts. He sent me some; thanks, David. (But see David Weinberger’s wor­ry).
 
“You Looked Better on Myspace” · Spot­ted on a young woman’s T-shirt on a Big Is­land street.
 
Second Life · My spidey-sense is tin­gling; I keep hear­ing things about Se­cond Life, the kinds of things you hear about some­thing that turns out to be re­al big. So far, I don’t re­al­ly get it, but that doesn’t mean any­thing. Read on for a pic­ture of my Se­cond Life per­sona and some im­pres­sion­s ...
 
Atom as a Case Study · This is adapt­ed from my talk of the same name at ETech 2006. The talk’s sec­tions were en­ti­tled Why?, How?, What?, and Les­son­s?; I’ve left out What?, the de­scrip­tion of what Atom is, since we’ve had plen­ty of that around here. That leaves Why we built it, How we built it, and what Les­sons you might want take away from the ex­pe­ri­ence ...
 
Storytelling · Re­cent­ly, Post­mod­ern Sass wrote Ich bin kein Blog­ger, call­ing out an ar­gu­ment that there is no such thing as blog­ging. I think the ev­i­dence is against her, but then again, Sass her­self has been do­ing some­thing with the form that I haven’t seen any­where else. Her blog is filled with ex­tend­ed, in­ter­linked, multi-part sto­ries; noth­ing new about that. But ev­ery time she posts a sto­ry, she goes back to the pre­vi­ous episode and up­dates it to add an “in the next chapter...” link. Latch on­to a few of the sto­ries in her Year One Archives and see how they run back­ward and for­ward. I think this is a good idea and quite a few of the multi-part blog nar­ra­tives out there, in­clud­ing some of my own se­ries, would have ben­e­fit­ed from rich­er link­age.
 
The Magic Middle · Dave Sifry’s post­ed Part 2 of the State of the Bl­o­go­sphere and this may be the most in­ter­est­ing chunk ev­er. There’s a lot more than just num­bers in there; what par­tic­u­lar­ly caught my eye was the no­tion of the “Magic Middle”, 150 thou­sand or so blogs with be­tween 20 and 1,000 in­bound links. Th­ese peo­ple tend to have a lot of very spe­cif­ic top­i­cal au­thor­i­ty and to be, in gen­er­al, good. Per­haps a new thing in the world?
 
RBD: Bitplanes and Mexican Pop · As an­oth­er side-effect of the re­cent soft­ware re­jig­ger, I now have ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion about which on­go­ing frag­ments are ac­tu­al­ly get­ting looked at by hu­man­s. One of them, these days, is RGB Planes, from May 2004, a harm­less ex­per­tise in bit-banging which ac­tu­al­ly pro­duced some rather pleas­ing pic­tures. It turns out that one of those pic­tures was named rb­d.p­ng (have a look, it’s pret­ty) and it al­so turns out that RBD, a band out of Mex­i­co, is hot stuff these days. The band mem­bers are al­so te­len­ov­ela stars and hence look good in pic­tures; a Google Image Search for “RBD” pro­duces lots of pic­tures of them, and my bit­plane. Every day, a cou­ple of hun­dred of the peo­ple who do that search are tak­ing the time to click it. If you’re one of them, ¡Hola! You couldn’t make this stuff up.
 
Frontier Justice · Be­ing ad­min­is­tered, in this case, by Google’s Matt Cutts. I think I ap­prove: I sup­pose there may be some de­cen­t, hon­or­able, in­tel­li­gent peo­ple in the SEO busi­ness, but ev­ery­one al­so knows there are al­so de­spi­ca­ble scum. Talk­ing to Dave Sifry and Rob Scoble to­day at North­ern Voice, I learned about some hor­ri­ble black-hat SEO tech­niques that de­serve the In­stant In­ter­net Death penal­ty. I’ve re­peat­ed­ly heard the Net com­pared to the Wild West, be­fore the law came to town. Un­til Wy­att Earp gets here, there’s gonna be some vig­i­lante jus­tice hap­pen­ing. Whether it’s a good idea or not.
 
Everybody’s Blogging · Dave Sifry’s start­ing an­oth­er run through the State of the Bl­o­go­sphere. His first in­stal­ment finds that the num­ber of known blogs, now some­where around 25 mil­lion, has been dou­bling ev­ery 5½ month­s. Which calls for a quick­ie Perl scrip­t... aha: At this rate, in Au­gust 2009, the num­ber of known blogs will more or less equal the pop­u­la­tion of the world.
 
Online Picture Dictionary · Our son is in French Im­mer­sion school, and lots of times there are words in his sto­ry­books that don’t ap­pear in my workable-but-limited French vo­cab­u­lary. One time I’d mis­placed the Larousse, but I thought for a sec­ond and re­alised I wasn’t stuck. I went and typed it in­to the near­est on­line im­age search, and there I was. So next time you find you don’t know what a sauterelle or a cit­rouille is, look no fur­ther.
 
Protecting Your Data · I was watch­ing a mailing-list dis­cus­sion of back­up soft­ware, and how of­ten you should back up, and based on some decades’ ex­pe­ri­ence, found some of the think­ing slop­py. Here are my life lessons on keep­ing your da­ta safe while as­sum­ing that The Worst Will Hap­pen. Some of it is Macintosh-specific, but there may be use­ful take-aways even from those part­s, even for non-Mac-hacks ...
 
Top Posts · BlogPulse says that my lit­tle It’s Not Danger­ous squib was the twen­ti­eth most pop­u­lar blog post of 2005. That’s nice, but I tossed that off in about fif­teen min­utes in a flash of ir­ri­ta­tion at the wave of mo­ron­ic “fired-for-blogging” sto­ries. I sup­pose it mat­ters that it got trans­lat­ed. Stil­l, it’s lightweight. Want some­thing more sub­stan­tial? A few days lat­er, I wrote On the Ab­sence of Women, put my heart and hours of my time in­to it, then it sank like a stone, hard­ly a rip­ple. Or, go back to that BlogPulse list—interestingly, quite a few of the links are gone already—and for some­thing with ac­tu­al meat on it, check out #6 for an emo­tion­al wrench, #10 for a life lesson, or #25 for a wicked­ly good laugh.
 
TELawrence.net · As a mem­ber of the T. E. Lawrence So­ci­ety and a par­tic­i­pant in the TEL stud­ies mail­ing list, I’m hap­py to an­nounce the ar­rival of telawrence.net. Lawrence died in 1935 and UK copy­right sur­vives its au­thor by 70 years, so his writ­ing is now out of copy­right. This is the work of Jere­my Wil­son, bi­og­ra­pher and stu­dent of TEL, and a fine thing it is; thanks Jere­my! We look for­ward, in the near fu­ture, to the ar­rival of large vol­umes of TEL’s writ­ings; he was pro­lific. I’m pon­der­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty, once things get go­ing, of a TEL pe­ri­od­i­cal along the lines of the Pepys Diary; Lawrence was not a di­arist but he was a pro­lif­ic cor­re­spon­den­t; I sus­pect that the en­try den­si­ty would be plen­ti­ful enough to sup­port a blog for­mat.
 
My Wikipedia Policy · Scoble pub­lished his, and these days, I think hav­ing a pol­i­cy is a good idea. Un­like Scoble, I have edit­ed my en­try, in my case with a very spe­cif­ic goal. Both Scoble’s en­try and mine are la­beled as stub­s, which I think is sil­ly. I sug­gest­ed that we de-stub mine, and no less a per­son than Wikipedia god­dess An­gela Beesley laughed po­lite­ly at me, say­ing it didn’t even have my birth-date and so on. So I filled in the ba­sic bio and now it’s plen­ty long and I’m even­tu­al­ly go­ing to run out of pa­tience and de-stub it my­self. Hey Rob, you want me to de-stub you too? Why don’t you put in your birth-date and cit­i­zen­ship and oth­er ba­sics first? The oth­er thing I do, and I rec­om­mend that ev­ery­one else with an en­try do, is get a Wikipedia ac­count and put your en­try on your watch­list, so that if some­one starts de­fac­ing, you’ll no­tice. Wikipedia doesn’t pro­vide feeds on watch­list­s, but I think they should, it would im­prove the ef­fi­cien­cy of error-correction. I see Petrik de Heus has al­ready hand­craft­ed a watch­list feed gen­er­a­tor in Python. [Up­date: Thanks to AdamJa­cobMiller and Pa­triceN­eff for clean­ing up my ar­ti­cle and de-stubbing it. Scoble’s still a stub though.]
 
Meta-Blogging · So, here’s the good news: I walked in­to the bar at ApacheCon to get a beer, there was an­oth­er guy there wait­ing; when the bar­tender came around, he or­dered a drink then, point­ing at me, said “... and what­ev­er he’s having”. He turned to me said “Love the blog” and we shook hands and talked for a while. I’m ter­ri­bly em­bar­rassed that I’ve lost his name; In­ter­est­ing guy, he’s at Google and was there for the JCP Board meet­ing. That’s the first time my blog’s earned me a beer, what’s not to like? So here’s the bad news: Re­cent­ly, a col­league asked me what I thought about a sub­ject that I’d just writ­ten a big piece on two days ear­lier. I har­rumphed, and she said “Who has time to read all your stuff? There’s too much!” OK, so I write re­al­ly fast and I don’t sleep much, but she has a point. The prob­lem is that the cre­ative flow is re­al­ly un­even. First half of the week, I was on the road and didn’t post much, now for some rea­son I have five big pieces squirm­ing around in the back of my head want­ing to be writ­ten; and the nasty bit is that if I don’t write them, they don’t save up, they evap­o­rate. I sus­pect there isn’t a so­lu­tion.
 
Activa vs. Mrs. Lanteigne · That would be Mrs. Louisette Lan­teigne of Water­loo, On­t., who has an ex­treme­ly am­a­teur GeoCi­ties web­site that she’s been us­ing to post il­lus­trat­ed com­plaints about what look like dan­ger­ous, shod­dy, and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ly dam­ag­ing con­struc­tion prac­tices in her neigh­bor­hood, il­lus­trat­ed with her own pic­tures. Ac­ti­va, one of the de­vel­op­ers she’s been com­plain­ing about, has slapped her with a 2-million-dollar li­bel ac­tion. Plus, Slash­dot knocked her site off the air (Google cache here). The lit­i­ga­tion seems a lit­tle over the top to this non-lawyer; are there any good Waterloo-area geeks who’d like to fix her up with a higher-grade Web pres­ence?
 
Bright Autumn Leaves · A bunch of glean­ings that are lan­guish­ing on my write-about-this list, and I’m just too busy to stretch out at length. Uni­fy­ing the­me: none. The Adel­phi Char­ter is sound, pro­gres­sive think­ing on in­tel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty. Alec Muf­fet wants to launch the Cam­paign for the Abo­li­tion of Ap­pli­ca­tion Splash Screens; right on. The Ar­chaeo­ge­net­ics Lab­o­ra­to­ry at Cam­bridge plots the spread of Ho­mo Sapi­ens. From 1996, Jeff Bigler’s Tact Fil­ters.
 
Jonathan’s Question · Jonathan was giv­ing a keynote and asked the au­di­ence: “Would you rather give up your browser, or all the rest of your desk­top apps?” The an­swer is ob­vi­ous, but the follow-on ques­tions are re­al in­ter­est­ing. Most or­di­nary database-backed busi­ness apps have mi­grat­ed in­to the brows­er and they’re not com­ing back, no mat­ter how great Win­dows Vista is. Giv­en that, what kind of apps jus­ti­fy the ir­ri­ta­tion and in­con­ve­nience of hav­ing to down­load ’em and up­date ’em and back up the da­ta and so on? Jonathan lists a few, in­clud­ing the brows­er it­self, Skype, Google Earth, OpenOf­fice. But what’s the pat­tern be­hind that list? From right now in 2005, I see three fam­i­lies of desk­top apps that are here for the long haul: First the brows­er it­self, in­clud­ing vari­a­tions like news read­ers and mu­sic find­er­s, whether P2P or cen­tral­ized. Se­cond, re­al­time human-to-human com­mu­ni­ca­tion, span­ning the spec­trum from text to voice to video. Third, con­tent cre­ation: Pho­toShop, Ex­cel, DreamWeaver, and what­ev­er we’ll need for what we’re cre­at­ing to­mor­row. And like Jonathan says, as does Tim O’Reilly way down at the bot­tom of Page 3 of his big What is Web 2.0? es­say, as did the Govern­ment of Mas­sachusetts: all those bits and bytes that are the num­bers and re­ports and sto­ries and po­et­ry and pic­tures and mu­sic and video we’re cre­at­ing and ship­ping and search­ing and shar­ing? They’ll be open, non-proprietary, re-use lim­it­ed on­ly by their cre­ator and your imag­i­na­tion. Noth­ing else makes any sense.
 
Cats Don’t Link · Shel­ley Pow­er­s, in a tour de force of per­cep­tive­ness, has crys­tal­lized in a few short words ex­act­ly what it is that we­blog­gers do and don’t do. Don’t miss it.
 
Sunlit Criminals · I just don’t un­der­stand how this can be. I got yet an­oth­er phish­ing spam claim­ing to be from Ama­zon. So peeked at the re­al URL and it was point­ing to “Amazo-check.com”, which lame­ly at­tempts to sort of look like Ama­zon, among oth­er things us­ing its lo­go. Thir­ty seconds’ in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­veals that the do­main is reg­is­tered by Marin Lopez, Calle Al­bar­tos 22, Madrid. Mapquest sug­gests that that should be Calle Al­ba­tros, which is in the same postal code. The site is reg­is­tered and host­ed by ar­sys.es in Spain. Either Señor Lopez is a crim­i­nal and should be ar­rest­ed, or his do­main has been hi­jacked (I doubt it, giv­en the name) and he should ei­ther take it down or his ISP should, or he’s a fic­tion, but some­one paid ar­sys for the reg­is­tra­tion and they’re the crim­i­nal. What am I miss­ing?
 
June Harvest · Pret­ty well all of my cre­ative en­er­gies in re­cent days have been con­sumed in thrash­ing at the Ja­va un­der­brush, so in­stead of ac­tu­al­ly think­ing and writ­ing, I’ll cough up some undi­gest­ed links, ain’t the Web grand? First, this Matisse Pro­ject de­mo has been get­ting tons o’ buzz, but what I like is the silky-smooth Czech ac­cen­t. Se­cond, Dervala’s friend Tim Vet­ter got an as­tound­ing Mission-district pic­ture. Third, David Meg­gin­son si­mul­ta­ne­ous­ly ex­plored Ru­by on Rails and PHP, nev­er pre­vi­ous­ly hav­ing con­sid­ered ei­ther; his con­clu­sion may be sur­pris­ing. Fourth, Clint Combs writes up an­oth­er in­ter­est­ing RSS/A­tom app. Fi­nal­ly, John Cowan is pump­ing out tech­no­lin­guis­ti­cophilo­soph­i­cal gem­s, sev­er­al per day in re­cent days, don’t miss ’em.
 
Featherweight Meme Propagation · That (ex­treme­ly lightweight, I thought) Blogging’s Not Danger­ous piece has now been trans­lat­ed in­to French, Span­ish, Ital­ian, Fin­nish, and Ger­man. A few of them (grum­ble, grum­ble) skip the caveats in fron­t, the trail­ing re­marks on pol­i­cy, and the sus­pi­cious con­clu­sion about me­dia cov­er­age. I know, I’ll go write a Busi­ness Book en­ti­tled Eleven Les­sons For Suc­cess From the Bl­o­go­sphere and make mil­lion­s, I tell you, mil­lion­s. But, just be­cause I thought it was a facile lit­tle squib doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t thank those kind peo­ple for read­ing and trans­lat­ing it; and I do.
 
Offgoing · The box that hosts this cy­ber­home­stead is be­ing moved from some­where to some­where else in Eastern Stan­dard Time start­ing at 11PM Sun­day March 20th. They say it’ll be up well be­fore all us Norteam­er­i­canos get to work... we’ll see.
 
Pure Black Flame · A few days back I post­ed a frag­ment ar­gu­ing that blog­ging is good for your ca­reer, which has be­come, I be­lieve, the most-linked-to item in the his­to­ry of on­go­ing. While it was uni­ver­sal­ly ig­nored by all the me­dia out­lets that have been grave­ly in­ton­ing “Blog and yer fired”, there were re­ac­tion­s, some quite re­mark­able ...
 
It’s Not Dangerous · I have giv­en sev­er­al press in­ter­views in re­cent days, all more or less along the same lines: someone’s been as­signed to write a sto­ry about peo­ple be­ing fired for blog­ging. Re­cent pieces from AP and CNET are push­ing this spin, go­ing on and on and on about the risks. Ex­cept for, it’s all a bunch of BS. For most peo­ple, blog­ging is a career-booster, both in your cur­rent job and when you’re look­ing for your next one. This frag­ment in­cludes, among oth­er things, Ten Rea­sons Why Blog­ging Is Good For Your Ca­reer ...
 
A Big Metal Zipper · The best piece yet on au­tolink­ing. The metaphors are def­i­nite­ly out of con­trol, but in a good way.
 
Steve Gillmor · Others have point­ed this out, but it’s worth say­ing again: Steve has been writ­ing some re­al­ly good stuff re­cent­ly.
 
Picture Search and Gravel Hauling · If you’re in Flori­da near Inglis-Yankeetown and you want to haul dirt, rent a truck from Tim Bray. No re­la­tion, but I got­ta say that’s a nice-looking truck. I found it us­ing the new Ask.­com pic­ture search, which has a much nicer pre­sen­ta­tion than Google. How­ev­er, it (like all oth­er search en­gi­nes) sad­ly fails the Cherry-Tomato Chal­lenge.
 
Organizing the Long Tail · The Long Tail is one the few things about the bl­o­go­sphere that seems new. Here’s an ob­vi­ous ques­tion: is there any struc­ture lurk­ing in that Long Tail, or is it just an un­dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed skin­ny pointy blob? The an­swer starts here ...
 
Sad · I met Bob McHen­ry, for­mer ed­i­tor of the Encyclopædia Bri­tan­ni­ca, when I did some con­sult­ing for them a few years back. He’s a wise, en­gag­ing, fel­low, and he did me a huge favour by agree­ing to do a keynote at the first-ever XML con­fer­ence in 1997. But I’m pro­found­ly dis­ap­point­ed by his vi­cious thrash­ing of the Wikipedia, which de­scends (lit­er­al­ly) to toi­let in­vec­tive. I can­not un­der­stand how a per­cep­tive hu­man be­ing can fail to see the beau­ty. Although Bri­tan­ni­ca is a pale shad­ow of its for­mer self, McHen­ry pre­sum­ably still has some in­sights at his dis­pos­al that he could of­fer to this brave band of peo­ple try­ing to cre­ate a new thing in the world. In­stead of stand­ing back and throw­ing mud.
 
New Spam Flavour! · When I picked up my phone this morn­ing it beeped “text mes­sage waiting” at me. Two in fac­t, which, run to­geth­er said: Stock Buy­ers Alert: Tick­er: XXXX|Current: $0.051 - 194.1% in­crease on 11/08/04. De­tail­s: New­ly list­ed. High Growth Po­ten­tial. Large em­pha­sis on Rent-to-own pro­gram with high re­turn on lease in­vest­ments. Let’s see, here we have a pen­ny stock (i.e., usu­al­ly a scam) based on rent-to-own (i.e., ex­ploit­ing poor peo­ple), tout­ed in a new spam flavour. What’s not to like? So, in a probably-futile at­tempt to nip this new evil in the bud, I called the tele­phone com­pa­ny to com­plain, and the friend­ly, help­ful la­dy knew all about it. “The one about the stock­s? Me too.” It turns out that ba­si­cal­ly ev­ery­body in their net­work got it, they hadn’t fig­ured it out, they were work­ing on it. If I could cue doom­ful impending-peril mu­sic at this point, I would.
 
Attack Mode · To­day, I’m an­gry. A per­son with whom I have to deal is mis­be­hav­ing and may de­stroy some­thing good through bad, in­ex­cus­ably bad, be­hav­ior. This per­son doesn’t work for me nor for any­one I know, in fact there’s no au­thor­i­ty re­la­tion­ship ei­ther way. I se­ri­ous­ly con­sid­ered us­ing on­go­ing as a weapon. Sup­pose I post­ed a piece here whose ti­tle was that person’s name, lay­ing out in suc­cinct but force­ful de­tail the na­ture of the bad be­hav­ior, solid­ly il­lus­trat­ed by point­ers to on­line ex­am­ples. Sup­pose I of­fered a calmly-worded opin­ion that no­body in their right mind should con­sid­er hir­ing, or do­ing busi­ness with, or dat­ing, this per­son. Sup­pose some oth­er peo­ple who shared my opin­ions saw fit to point to the at­tack and per­haps chime in a bit. Giv­en the way search en­gines work, I’d say that such an at­tack would be ex­treme­ly dam­ag­ing, and very hard to re­cov­er from. Would I do this? I don’t think so, un­less it was a mat­ter of life or death. But I sure do think about it some­times.
 
Voting Day! · For blog­gers too; and you don’t even have to be Amer­i­can! Cour­tesy of Tech­no­rati, check it out. And un­like bor­ing old reg­u­lar vot­ing, you can vote for or against ei­ther can­di­date.
 
Crooks in Plain Sight · This morn­ing, a rather well-crafted phish­ing at­tempt squirmed through my spam fil­ter; my EBay ac­count was due to be sus­pend­ed, and so on. Very pol­ished and pro­fes­sion­al and con­cerned, on­ly I don’t have an EBay ac­coun­t. So, by in­vest­ing about 45 sec­onds of source-viewing I as­cer­tained they want­ed me to go vis­it 203.146.170.21 which turns out to be “ThaiEdResearch.org”, a plausible-looking web­site, at least to one who like me doesn’t read Thai. But ob­vi­ous­ly, they are ei­ther crim­i­nal­s, or their web­mas­ter is a crim­i­nal, or their ISP is a crim­i­nal. If any­one cared, it wouldn’t be too hard to find out. This feels to me kind of like walk­ing in­to a bank, wav­ing a gun around, and giv­ing them a stamped self-addressed en­ve­lope to mail the stolen mon­ey in. What am I miss­ing? [Up­date: lots of feed­back on this one.] ...
 
Wikipedia · There’s been a swirl of con­tro­ver­sy around the Wikipedi­a, sum­ma­rized nice­ly by Ross May­field. Back in Ju­ly, I added sub­stan­tial­ly to the ar­ti­cle on T.E. Lawrence and since have fixed a cou­ple of lit­tle ty­pos and er­rors here and there. Maybe the Wikipedia is a short-lived fad, maybe it’ll get bet­ter, maybe it’ll get worse, but I was sur­prised that no­body point­ed this out: The Wikipedia is beau­ti­ful. It’s an un­ex­pect­ed and un­ex­plain­able tri­umph of col­lec­tive cre­ativ­i­ty and of or­der over en­tropy. I hope it lasts a long time, and those who crit­i­cize it Just Don’t Get It.
 
Cybercubes · Lau­ren nails it; this is one of the technology-culture sto­ries that has al­ready ar­rived en masse be­fore peo­ple start notic­ing it. When I’m work­ing in three-million-pixel mode, I ac­tu­al­ly work on the big out­board screen, and the 1280x854 Pow­erBook screen in­evitably grad­u­al­ly fills up with iChat win­dows. There are a cer­tain num­ber of peo­ple with whom I usu­al­ly have a chat go­ing most of the time, ev­ery day; the equiv­a­lent of ad­ja­cent cu­bi­cles, I guess. (Ex­cept for, un­like re­al cubes, you can ig­nore peo­ple with­out be­ing rude.) The fact that some of them are many time-zones away is ir­rel­e­van­t. And un­like a re­al cube far­m, Lau­ren is in one of the ad­ja­cent cy­ber­cubes, which is nice too.
 
M & A & F · Check out Mark Pil­grim on why specs mat­ter; a typically-excellent piece which be­gins with the propo­si­tion that in the con­text of stan­dard­s, most de­vel­op­ers are ei­ther mo­rons or ass­holes. I count my­self as proud to be (in Mark’s terms) a mo­ron. Mark how­ev­er omits to note how the Web en­cour­ages mo­ron­ic be­hav­ior (and why this is good) and avoids a third cat­e­go­ry, Flamer­s. So I’ll cov­er those bases ...
 
Tribal Drumbeat · Some­times it feels like a fam­i­ly. What hap­pened was, we’re hav­ing all this angst over in Atom-land about well-formedness and me­dia types and the fact that RSS is usu­al­ly served “wrong” and the prob­lems this caus­es. Wel­l, be­fore too much longer, there are go­ing to be a lot of Web re­sources named this.atom, that.atom, and the-other.atom be­ing dished out by Web Servers ev­ery­where, and by de­fault those servers are gonna look at the names and say “Dot-atom what? Yer tex­t/­plain, punk.” So I ap­pealed to Greg Stein of Apache and Google, and he had a pow-wow and re­port­ed back I've gone ahead and done this: the ap­pli­ca­tion/atom+xml (for .atom) type will ap­pear in our next re­leas­es (A­pache 1.3.32 and Apache 2.0.51), when­ev­er those come out. Wel­l, Apache’s not the on­ly serv­er out there, so I wrote off to Obasan­jo and Scoble and said “Here’s the prob­lem, how about IIS?”. So Scoble did some dig­ging and got rout­ed to Thomas Dem­l, lead pro­gram man­ag­er on IIS, and I saw a for­ward­ed email say­ing The change goes in­to Win2K3, SP1. Now if we could sort out the rest of the Internet’s is­sues that smooth­ly... any­how, thanks guys.
 
Atomic Heartbeat · The IETF AtomPub Work­ing Group for­mal­ly buck­led down to work on June 23rd, and it’s been more or less won­der­ful since then. Here­with a few words of ap­pre­ci­a­tion ...
 
Big Numbers, Steep Slopes · Check out these num­bers and graphs from Dave Sifry. Like I keep say­ing, I’ve seen this movie be­fore, and it was ten years ago, and it was called The Web then.
 
This Picture is Not Here · Lit­tle Red Rid­ing Hood, the Wolf, and the Hunter are not in this frag­men­t ...
 
Google Censorship, Ouch · From Perrspec­tives, a fair­ly or­di­nary U.S. left-liberal po­lit­i­cal site (but with an above-average sense of hu­mor), a shock­ing sto­ry of be­ing cut off by Google AdWords for “language that ad­vo­cates against an in­di­vid­u­al, group, or organization.” Earth to Google: that coun­try you’re based in is go­ing through a war and an elec­tion! A sub­stan­tial part of the pop­u­la­tion is (quite prop­er­ly) ad­vo­cat­ing like crazy against one po­lit­i­cal fac­tion or an­oth­er as a re­sult of one or the oth­er. The Perrspec­tives folks point out that the pol­i­cy, on top of be­ing, uh, wrong, is al­so bro­ken, in fact lots of peo­ple are us­ing Google AdWords for po­lit­i­cal rhetoric and polemic; the ap­pear­ance is ei­ther of po­lit­i­cal bias or of in­com­pe­tence. I’m not sure whether I’m say­ing Don’t be evil or Don’t be stupid but whichev­er, please don’t.
 
Predictable · Per Godwin’s Law, the syn­di­ca­tion tech­nol­o­gy de­bate is over. Good enough, it was get­ting kind of lame.
 
Who Are We? · Blo­gads ran a big read­er sur­vey, and just post­ed some pre­lim­i­nary re­sults, which are ex­treme­ly in­ter­est­ing. I’m not sure what they mean, but they’re sure in­ter­est­ing.
 
OO.o Online · Hah, I see that the OpenOf­fice crowd is de­cloak­ing. Some of it I found quite dif­fi­cult to read, but your mileage may vary. My fa­vorite so far is Eike Rathke, pret­ty geeky stuff but with the es­sen­tial spin: you-gotta-laugh-or-you’ll-go-nuts. Par­tic­u­lar­ly if you work with STL.
 
San Diego Geek Dinner? · I’m go­ing to have a free evening next Mon­day, the 26th, in San Diego. It oc­curs to me that a geeka­zoid gath­er­ing in those parts might be a fine idea, and the per­son I’m vis­it­ing said he’d even or­ga­nize it if there was any in­ter­est. So if this sounds like a good idea, drop me a line; re­mem­ber, first.last@­sun.­com.
 
Planet Sun · Sev­er­al peo­ple have point­ed to Plan­et Sun, a rather good ag­gre­ga­tion of all the known Sun blog­ger­s. It’s done by David Ed­mond­son, whose own un­col­lect­ed thoughts is well worth vis­it­ing. Al­so wor­thy of note in re­cent days is Mike Duigou on Com­plex­i­ty, which to­tal­ly cap­tures the men­tal pain con­se­quent on con­fronting a big new hairy URI. (But that whole Java.net space is or­ga­nized in a weird way that I don’t quite get; hm­m...). Al­so, Plan­et Sun is a clever name... for the next such project how about Set the Con­trols For the Heart of the Sun? [For the under-40s, that’s a druggie-Sixties-music ref­er­ence -Ed. (Yeah, but a great tune! -Tim)]
 
Persuasion · It’s prob­a­bly su­per­flu­ous for me to point to any­thing by Scoble, since I sus­pect our read­er­ships have pret­ty com­plete over­lap, but his re­cent es­say en­ti­tled How Do You Per­suade? is the best thing he’s ev­er writ­ten.
 
What People Care About · Here­with the top cou­ple of dozen search strings that brought peo­ple to on­go­ing, sam­pled over the last few days. Let this be a les­son to you on what you can write about with­out de­vel­op­ing a “certain reputation” ...
 
Quarter-Century Story · I made a con­nec­tion this week reach­ing back 25 years to the first time I ev­er pro­grammed se­ri­ous­ly; this ret­ro­spec­tive is most­ly for my own amuse­men­t, but con­tains some ref­er­ences that will prob­a­bly bring smiles to faces that have a few grey hairs at­tached ...
 
Short-notice Geek Lunch · So Scoble post­ed at 1:30 AM Sun­day that he was in Van­cou­ver, how about lunch. A dozen peo­ple turned up, it was 16°C so we ate out­side in the sun, fun was had ...
 
Guru Neil · Wired is run­ning a short in­ter­view with Neil Young which I read be­cause I’m fond of his mu­sic; and if you’ve nev­er seen Neil per­form live you ought to make the ef­fort, there are ups and downs but the ups are way up. Any­how, I think this is a must-read for any­one who cares about Me­dia and Ra­dio and Mu­sic and The Net and all those oth­er cap­i­tal­ized word­s. Mr. Young ob­vi­ous­ly Gets It, big time. I’m now off to spend some time at his new mul­ti­me­dia pro­jec­t, Green­dale.
 
RSS: Unreal and Addictive · What hap­pened was, some­one point­ed out that Ap­ple is now do­ing do­ing RSS feeds for lots of stuff; I signed up for OS X Knowl­edge Base (feed) and Down­loads (feed) and sure enough, ev­ery so of­ten there’s some­thing there to look at. To­day I was kind of hung up wait­ing for a phone call and RSS got me in trou­ble ...
 
Get Yer Social Networking Here · Some­time in De­cem­ber, some­body flipped a big switch and all of a sud­den ev­ery­one was invit­ing me to join their Linkedin net­work. Then sud­den­ly last week the Kozmick Finger point­ed at Orkut, and near as I can tel­l, all the geeks on the plan­et have spent this week­end busi­ly invit­ing each oth­er to be Orkut pal­s. It all seems most­ly harm­less; mind you, I haven’t ac­tu­al­ly got any use out of ei­ther of ’em. For what it’s worth, all the Orku­tians seem to be heavy geek­s, while about half the Linked­in­crowd is VCs and busi­ness­peo­ple. I don’t think it’s gonna change the world, but I’ve been wrong be­fore. To those whose in­vi­ta­tions I’ve de­clined: sor­ry, noth­ing per­son­al, it’s just that I feel I ought to ei­ther have spent some face-to-face time with you or been in some sub­stan­tial on­line in­ter­ac­tion.
 
Geek Dinner Wednesday · Jere­my Za­wod­ny pinged me and said “You com­ing to the Val­ley? Let’s do a geek dinner.” Sound­ed like a good idea to me, so he went ahead and or­ga­nized it. That would be the evening of Wed­nes­day the 14th. You got­ta ad­mire a guy who’ll not on­ly or­ga­nize din­ner but hang his ad­dress & phone num­ber out on his blog. Wow, looks like an in­ter­est­ing crowd.
 
Slippertje gemaakt? (Antislipschool) · What hap­pened was, I was sit­ting up late and saw a new bot hit­ting the site; first of al­l, the bot said it came from TranSGeniK, a French Te­cho/Am­bi­ent mu­sic site which has some OK tracks to lis­ten to (have I just fall­en vic­tim to ref­er­er spam, I won­der) but then I see that the bot’s be­ing run out of ovh.nl, which near as I can tell is a bunch of Dutch au­to en­thu­si­asts who have lunch and prac­tice anti-skid driv­ing tech­niques (y­ou can get “slipcertification” it seem­s). And they need to run a French bot at on­go­ing. You couldn’t make this stuff up.
 
Area Code Map · Ever won­der where some area code is? Google is pret­ty help­ful with that, but I al­so stum­bled across this re­mark­able la­bor of love; pret­ty well any­thing you could pos­si­bly want to know about area codes, with ex­haus­tive map­ping, all on one page. And there’s a re­lat­ed page on how new area codes get worked in­to the sys­tem—for a re­al thril­l, scroll down and read the sec­tion on Over­lay.
 
Do the Wikipedia a Favor · The won­der­ful Wikipedia project needs help. Please do­nate a bit; I did.
 
Meetings · Wed­nes­day evening, Lau­ren and I had a so­cial in the spa­cious and com­fy suite that she gets for chair­ing the XML con­fer­ence, and it was great fun. (If you know us and didn’t get in­vit­ed, sor­ry, we on­ly de­cid­ed Wed­nes­day morn­ing and missed see­ing a few peo­ple). For me, the re­al thrill was there were sev­er­al pairs of peo­ple at the par­ty who’d known each oth­er for years (elec­tron­i­cal­ly) but had nev­er met and were re­al­ly hap­py to do so. Put Bet­ty Har­vey and David Meg­gin­son and Rick Jel­liffe and Dare Obasan­jo and Jon Udell and Norm Walsh and Sean McGrath and James Clark and Peter Flynn and Eve Maler in a room — the ev­i­dence of the wine­glass­es sug­gests there were thir­ty peo­ple or so, I just picked those names off the pic­tures that I took but aren’t good enough for on­go­ing — put all these peo­ple in a room, and you get more than a few of of these You’re David? Wow! mo­ments. I had one of those my­self, meet­ing Dare Obasan­jo for the first time. Dare is giv­en to oc­ca­sion­al over-the-top flam­ing and snarling on mail­ing list­s, and he looks kind of men­ac­ing too, but turns out to be a friend­ly, cheer­ful, and in­ter­est­ing guy.
 
This Is War · Just now, a cou­ple of spams that made it through Mozil­la were in the in­box, and I missed slight­ly with the bold swipe of the mouse to group-select ’em for era­sure and ac­tu­al­ly se­lect­ed one, which brought it up in the mes­sage pane, a pitch for strap­less bras. Sud­den­ly my com­put­er was talk­ing to me: “For years, wom­en have struggled...” then my fin­ger reached the Del key and it was gone. Lau­ren raised an eye­brow at me from across the room and when I ex­plained said “I think we’ve just hit a new low.” She’s so diplo­mat­ic.
 
Debbie Does BitTorrent · I had this vague idea that BitTor­rent was a use­ful thing for snag­ging Lin­ux dis­tros and Lord of the Rings trail­er­s, but then the Edi­tor of a very well-known pub­li­ca­tion said, in ca­su­al con­ver­sa­tion, that he thought it was a game-changer, some­thing im­por­tan­t. So I went and got it, and here’s an ini­tial re­port. [Up­date: Good stuff from Raph Le­vien.] ...
 
Whose Medium? · Re­cent­ly Jon Udell ran some video clips from Blog­gerCon in which three dif­fer­ent peo­ple, among them Amy Wohl, com­plained pow­er­ful­ly that on­line pub­lish­ing is too hard, and that worst of al­l, it re­quires pro­gram­ming, which or­di­nary peo­ple can’t be ex­pect­ed to do. Since then, Dy­lan Evans ar­gued more or less the op­po­site po­si­tion in The Guardian: that be­ing un­afraid of code is in­creas­ing­ly go­ing to be es­sen­tial to any­one who wants to be con­sid­ered part of the in­tel­li­gentsi­a. So who’s right? ...
 
Delacour · I don’t of­ten do a short post say­ing “Hey, look at this great blog!” but I’ll make an ex­cep­tion in the case of Jonathon Delacour’s “The Heart of Things”, which is in­ter­est­ing and beautiful—achieves ef­fort­less­ly the kind of nice ty­pog­ra­phy that I’ll even­tu­al­ly make hap­pen here at on­go­ing. Al­so it’s well-written and mul­ti­lin­gual, and well any­how, check it out. At the mo­men­t, Made in Usa is the top sto­ry, but it’s good enough to de­serve its own point­er, for down the road.
 
My Tribe · The recently-ended Foo Camp has been well-covered all over the Web and cer­tain­ly doesn’t need me to write any­thing more about what hap­pened there. I’ll say in clos­ing, though, that it ful­filled a need that I didn’t know I had, the need—sometimes—to go trib­al, to hang out with your own kind. For which, thanks to the or­ga­niz­ers and to my fel­low camper­s. Ob­vi­ous­ly I’m a geek, but as a mat­ter of choice I’ve spent a lot of time on oth­er path­s, be­ing a busi­ness­man and fam­i­ly man; and I don’t re­gret those choic­es. But it’s sweet for a cou­ple of days, among fel­low spir­it­s, to share con­cerns and jokes and val­ues and then the im­por­tant thing, the cen­tral thing: nev­er need­ing to ex­plain “why.” What we’re do­ing here is worth do­ing for its own sake, nev­er for­get it.
 
The Input Spectrum · What hap­pened was, I found my­self talk­ing to my com­put­er be­fore break­fast this morn­ing, and I didn’t re­al­ly like it. Then I looked at the screen and saw the dozens of fold­ers full of thou­sands of email­s, the Web brows­er parked at a Wik­i, the chat icon­s, and the RSS ag­gre­ga­tor. Feel­ing a lit­tle over­whelmed, I looked around the room and saw the news­pa­per­s, the mag­a­zi­nes, the TV, and a pile of unan­swered (phys­i­cal) mail, as well as Lauren’s and my cell­phones charg­ing and the land-line on the side­board. All these are about mov­ing mes­sages around. So I ask: which is the right one to use? ...
 
Degrees of Viral Separation · I was nuk­ing a few dozen pieces of So­big.F dung that had made it through the mail fil­ter, rec­og­niz­ing a few of the names that had been forged in the “From” and “To” field­s, not rec­og­niz­ing more, and it oc­curred to me that each in­stance of this virus con­tains an as­ser­tion about three peo­ple: that one of them knows the oth­er two. There’s a busi­ness plan lurk­ing in here ...
 
Thermodynamics Of Hell Fire  · I don’t nor­mal­ly point at “weird stuff on the Net” but af­ter vis­it­ing a few pages of Ob­jec­tive: Chris­tian Min­istries I hon­est­ly can’t fig­ure out whether they’re for re­al, or a side project by The Onion staff. I par­tic­u­lar­ly gasp at the Creation Science Fair from which the ti­tle of this note is tak­en. Thanks to Tim Ro­mano for the point­er. [Up­date: Sev­er­al peo­ple have writ­ten me that this is a par­o­dy, but no­body has re­al­ly pro­vid­ed much sol­id ev­i­dence. But the more I look at it, the more I con­clude that it just has to be, based on­ly on the lan­guage.]
 
On Not Being a Gamer · I’d nev­er re­al­ly played com­put­er games ex­cept the oblig­a­tory runs through Myst and Riv­en. In mid-1999, I found­ed Antarc­ti­ca, and for a while we shipped, along with our 2-D da­ta map­ping soft­ware, a 3-D ver­sion that was a lot like a video game. I fig­ured I’d bet­ter check out video game cul­ture, and it be­came a hob­by for just over two years; this is a look back. It’s just bare­ly pos­si­ble that some­one read­ing this may have known me un­der some vari­a­tion of the name “Bengal” (of the Bas­in) ...
 
Linkage Harvest · Here­with, dear read­er, prac­ti­cal hints for turn­ing up in­ter­est­ing stuff on the We­b, with a sam­ple of the find­ings ...
 
Spamapalooza! · Help! I’m get­ting like a cou­ple of hun­dred spams per hour re­layed through rbof53-01-p177.gt.saix.net (SAIX is a South African ISP) to ev­ery per­mu­ta­tion of two or three let­ters @tex­tu­al­i­ty.­com. They are a clas­sic 419 spam al­leged­ly from rizu­ma@join­me.­com, but I’ve nev­er seen this pat­tern be­fore. It all gets caught by the spam fil­ter, but tex­tu­al­i­ty.­com is just a POP­mail ad­dress and I can’t imag­ine good things will hap­pen if I just ig­nore it and fail to of­fload the crap from my ISP reg­u­lar­ly. This isn’t an ir­ri­tan­t, this is an out­right as­sault. The phone num­ber in South Africa is +27-83-570-6267. Is there any­thing I can do? (Later: got my ISP to drop any­thing that’s not specif­i­cal­ly to tbray on the floor, but what a shock. I sup­pose if you’re any big com­pa­ny, there are a cou­ple of dozen of these turkeys pound­ing you at any giv­en mo­men­t. Yow.)
 
Free Speech and Benchmarks · This is as­tound­ing. Many soft­ware li­cens­es, in­clud­ing some from Mi­crosoft and Oracle—and in this biz, if those two are do­ing it ev­ery­one is—have lan­guage say­ing you can’t pub­lish bench­marks or stud­ies about the soft­ware with­out writ­ten per­mis­sion from the ven­dor. Ap­par­ent­ly, the US courts are giv­ing this prac­tice the treat­ment it de­serves. I feel a se­vere flame com­ing on, but there’s some in­ter­est­ing back­ground to look at first ...
 
aloihin Backhuhn ambulant chopin · This, be­lieve it or not, was the ti­tle of a spam that made it through the Mozil­la junk fil­ter. Maybe we're con­verg­ing on a new bar­gain with the spam­mer­s: if they pro­vide an in­ter­est­ing enough ti­tle, we'll smile at their clev­er­ness be­fore hit­ting Delete ...
 
Budapest and Marks · on­go­ing is not nor­mal­ly giv­en to fits of ran­dom­ness, but isn't there a quote about con­sis­ten­cy and small mind­s? Woke up this morn­ing, turned on the com­put­er, and got an IM from Lau­ren who's in a meet­ing in Bu­dapest. Which I'm not too jad­ed to find a bit ex­ot­ic and thrilling. Then I ran across this and this from Mark Bern­stein, which ev­ery­one who fan­cies them­self on the cre­ative end of what­ev­er this is should read forth­with. And then I see that Mark Pilgrim's get­ting mar­ried. Mark's voice is one that stands nice­ly out from the crowd, so best wish­es from points North! Over & out.
 
Logging On to Cluelessness · I'm on the road (in Flori­da bad-dialup hell too) and was watch­ing the bas­ket­ball game in the ho­tel room, amused by the con­tin­u­al ex­hor­ta­tions of the an­nounc­ers to “Log on to nba.com” for one thing or an­oth­er. You hear this us­age all the time in com­mer­cials and pro­mo­tion­s, but al­most nev­er among peo­ple who ac­tu­al­ly use the We­b. I “visit” or “hit” or “look at” web­sites, I don't “log on” to them. But maybe I'm not giv­ing them enough cred­it for sub­tle­ty ...
 
On Flaming · I first heard “flame” as a verb on Usenet some­time back in the Eight­ies. Flam­ing is now part of the land­scape for any­one who lives in part on­line. It's ug­ly. Can we make it go away? Should we? What should we do about it? ...
 
Giving Back Timbuktu · He­h, a mi­nor mile­stone; for the first time, I put some­thing back in­to CDDB. Which makes me think that I should take a mo­ment to plug the disk Talk­ing Tim­buk­tu, by Ali Far­ka Toure (from Mal­i) and Ry Cood­er. CDDB is mag­ic, so is the record, read all about it ...
 
Bottom-Heavy Email · We all got a note from Paul the CFO, who's a bright and rea­son­able kind of per­son, telling us we should put one of those pri­va­cy dis­claimers at the bot­tom of out­go­ing email­s. This struck me as a ridicu­lous idea, so I pushed back a bit, and learned why these things ex­ist ...
 
On Disconnectedness · We're com­ing off 72 hours of be­ing off the Net at home. This dis­con­nect­ed­ness di­ary is bet­ter than oth­er bloggers' home-tech laments, be­cause it in­cludes a gen­uine earth­quake pre­pared­ness safe­ty tip ...
 
Old Game, Old (Online) Community · Go is a very old board game, called Wei Ch'i in Chi­ne­se, Igo in Ja­pan, and Baduk in Kore­an, and is played most heav­i­ly where those lan­guages are spo­ken. I used to dab­ble in it, and re­cent­ly in the grip of in­som­nia dis­cov­ered that one of the old­est of games is sup­port­ing one of the old­est of on­line com­mu­ni­ties (and some drop-dead-cool Mac soft­ware) ...
 
On Being Slashdotted · There may be those who write in pub­lic and don't care who and how many peo­ple read, but I'm not one of them. So when I turned on the com­put­er Tues­day morn­ing and dis­cov­ered by vis­it­ing Slash­dot that they had a point­er to my XML Is Too Hard for Pro­gram­mers piece, I woke up re­al fast. Here­with a bunch of ran­dom ob­ser­va­tions on the ex­pe­ri­ence ...
 
Porn Spam: Zero to Zero · This is a true sto­ry: in 1988 I single-handedly knocked AOL off the air. What brought it to mind is, I just now took my once-daily look at the junk-mail fold­er and wiped a few dozen pornospams with a sin­gle keystroke, and there were none in my in­box; an­ti­spam is get­ting good enough that I may nev­er see an­oth­er, and I re­mem­bered, lo my righ­teous wrath and the aw­ful con­se­quences when I got my first one ...
 
Spam Inflection Point? · I'm a very heavy email user, and af­ter a failed at­tempt to use the shiny new OS X "Mail.app", have re­vert­ed to Mozil­la, curent­ly the 1.3­be­ta. Both have re­mark­ably ef­fec­tive spam fil­ter­s. De­spite Bar­ry Shein's pes­simism in today's Slash­dot, I think we may be win­ning ...
 
Small XML-dev Flame War · I am a mem­ber of the xml-dev mail­ing list, the orig­i­nal XML-zealot con­clave and home to most of the peo­ple in the world who wor­ry se­ri­ous­ly about XML in gen­er­al; a very spe­cial and for­tu­nate­ly small shared ob­ses­sion ...
 
The Warriors Formed the Outline of a Heart · Warsinger died. Warsinger is the nom-de-guerre of a mid-level play­er in the middlingly-popular MMORPG Dark Age of Camelot. Camelot­ers fight fear­some mon­sters that swarm the coun­try­side (and of­ten lose). Camelot is di­vid­ed in­to three realm­s, Midgard, Al­bion, and Hiber­ni­a, who reg­u­lar­ly fight each oth­er and win and lose and die ...
 
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