Archive for August, 2003

The business of blogging is business

August 28, 2003

Ross Mayfield has posted a long, considered rebuttal to the Business 2.0 article on business blogging. In it, he cites Up2Speed‘s take on the same article.
The area of general agreement among all parties is that blogging-about-blogging (metablogging) is “inside baseball” and not indicative of the future of the form.
So why am I still doing this weblog?

Self-referential? Moi?

August 28, 2003

David Weinberger questions an assertion in an (inaccessible) Business 2.0 article that top-tier webloggers write too much about themselves. He counters with the conversational nature of most blogging.
As for me… uh, who cares what I think?

The dream plus 40 years

August 28, 2003

I Have a Dream, “the last great city-on-the-hill vision of America that we’ve received.”

Weblog tools a crutch?

August 27, 2003

Adrian Holovaty says, in a Zlog interview,

I believe in my heart that people should come up with their own publishing methods. Frankly, it’s boring to surf the blogosphere and see so many sites using the same, tired weblogging tools. The same basic templates, the same “post a comment” form, the same URL schemes…. It’s almost as if they’re all small parts of one huge site.

Tom Coates disagrees and defends the one-big-siteness of the blogosphere.
I think I understand Adrian’s point but even when he narrows it I can’t agree:

Of course, I have a deep appreciation for how these tools have enabled hundreds of thousands of non-Web-developers to broadcast their ramblings on the Internet with minimal effort. But I have a much, much deeper appreciation for people who have taken the time to write a system for themselves. And as far as I’m concerned, people who do Web development for a living yet don’t use a custom-built weblogging system shouldn’t be trusted.

I believe in my heart that people should come up with their own transportation methods. Frankly, it’s boring to drive around the Bay Area and see so many vehicles using the same, tired internal combustion engines. The same basic shape, the same “steering wheel” form, the same turn signals…. It’s almost as if they’re all small parts of one huge transportation system.
Of course, I have a deep appreciation for how these cars have enabled hundreds of thousands of non-engineers to travel with minimal effort. But I have a much, much deeper appreciation for people who have taken the time to build their own vehicles. And as far as I’m concerned, people who work on an assembly line in detroit yet don’t drive a custom-built automobile shouldn’t be trusted.

Yahoo blog rumor

August 26, 2003

Noticed in my sidebar, The Blog Herald (which needs an editor as bad as I do), reports that undisclosed sources inside Yahoo! say “that the company is already in talks with a number of blogging firms, looking for the right acquisition vehicle to integrate into the Yahoo! stable of sites.”
It seems more likely to me that the Yahoo! Blog Korea site is a prototype of a homegrown blogging platform. Remember, this isn’t rocket science.

Cowgirl's bo-hunk's robots 'n' stuff

August 26, 2003

Last week I went to SF and finally met the honest-to-god Amazonian bitch-queen of the blogosphere, the Reverse Cowgirl [Susannah Breslin] her ownself, squiring her aptly named boyfriend, Christian Ristow around the grungy tearoom teabagging and teaspoon-heating’ Tenderloin Rx Gallery, where three diabolectronicoes were showing off their kinetic art.
A daily self-portrait for three months running in a gilt frame. Enormous flapping dragonflies. An electronic monkey on your back wagging its tail in synch with your heart-beat or the megahertz hum, its limbs flailing in rough accord with your own, dangerously to one hipster’s eye at one point. Fuzzed out TV monitors blaring. A suggested cover that doubled as a two-drink minimum.
Ristow shows off an enormous mouth, [the better to eat you with] shell-casing teeth moving independently like a player piano in a soothing undulating rhythm until the jaw would unexpectedly snap shut with a loud crunchy clang. The mouth had a warmup ignition sequence and several times Ristow fretted over people flipping the switch to start it up wrong or a metal stay (I don’t know the right name, mechanical klutz that I am) that should have been removed from one of the jaw pinions before the thing tried to move.
The mouth is beautiful too.
He also showcased a giant metal hand [give the artist a hand] that would occasionally drum loudly on that metal surface it rested on, unless I hallucinated that.
I’m working on streamlining my digital picture-taking (see Scot Hacker for more stuff like “The Achilles heel of digital photography is that there’s no risk/no expense, which encourages you to shoot five variants of everything, rather than one well-conceived shot. Nobody has any time, so the collections never get edited properly and you end up with mountains of superfluous bits to surf through in the future.”), and recently bumped down the default resolution to take pictures more tailored to the web, where most end up (the rest are deleted or kept as image or composition fodder for paintings that never get painted). This means that instead of 93 shots on my big flashcard I get, I don’t know how many, at least 263. I felt no inhibitions about taking pictures.
I started in downtown Oakland with some shots of the sky and some buildings, then I narrated the rapid transit under the bay [still life with tunnel]
and short walk to the gallery, and finally I took a bunch of shots of the show. Later I selected the 105 shots that looked best, exported them from iPhoto at an even smaller res, and then tediously uploaded them all to my TypePad blog (there has to be a better way), and you can see the Robots gallery there now.
What else? I met the beguiling and technosavvy eroticon Violet Blue of Tiny Nibbles (the Cowgirl provided URLs with each x-pollinating introduction), and witnessed another fellow introduce himself to Susannah as a fan and kind of a stalker. I wondered if he meant lurker but Kowpie didn’t think so.
It was like a live version of my blog. She introduced me to her fan and mentioned Radio Free Blogistan (much as she often links generously to me, my Salon Blogs A-List connection) and after contemplating my not tall, not female, not sex-discussing-reputation having self briefly he turned his attention back to the not obscure object of his not stalking desires (much as I imagine her copious readers glancing at her link to me and moving quickly on).
Meeting people in person is great. Let’s hope it never goes out of style.

Summaries of candidate blogs

August 26, 2003

Niel Palleck is posting hilarious excerpts from the Democratic candidates campaign blogs:

JOHN KERRY, August 8–I took the bus to Springfield today because my best friend got tickets to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who were supposed to open for the White Stripes until Jack hurt his finger. I was pretty pissed, because I think it would have been great to see The White Stripes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs together. Really, I don’t care that they’ve been on MTV a bunch of times. I still think they’re cool.


HOWARD DEAN, August 21–Heidi Julavits has this manifesto up at The Believer, which, as you know, is the latest project from the talentless ironists at McSweeneys, which is trying to be all sincere now, and it’s not working. Julavits wants to have it both ways: To get her book reviewed and also to have people read and enjoy it. What Ms. Julavits (who is Dave Eggers’ ex-wfe), doesn’t seem to understand is that literature as she and her elite consorts know it will soon be consumed in the fire of the proletariat literary revolution. Every day, real writers are producing the people’s literature, and it’s only a matter of time before they rise up to unseat their bourgeois masters. I anxiously await the day.

Semantic blogging white paper

August 26, 2003

An HP Labs article called Semantic Blogging for Bibliography Management argues for piggybacking semantic metadata on “a very successful paradigm for lightweight publishing.”

Clouds, reflections, and robots

August 25, 2003

[sky over 14th and Broadway]I just posted a photo album called Robots over at TypePad.

It starts from downtown Oakland where I couldn’t resist taking some pictures of clouds. Longtime readers will know I find the sky endlessly amazing, especially out here at the western edge of things.

[a distorted reflection]On BART, the reflections from the door windows likewise drew me in. I guess self-portraiture is inevitable. You are the only model you always have available.

[loud drumming fingers]The gallery was somewhat dark and kinetic, so many of the shots there are blurry but nonetheless communicate the feeling of the opening, where were served blue colored drinks in sinuous martini glasses.

Visual narrative

August 25, 2003

[loud drumming fingers]It took longer than I’d hoped, but I’ve just posted 105 pictures to a new photo album called Robots.