Archive for August, 2004

I'll be the one in the orange Yankees cap

August 31, 2004

I’m meeting RFB co-contributor Liza Sabater outside P.S. 122 in my old neighborhood in just over an hour. Liza and I last met face to face something like six or eight years ago, so Liza, in case your blogging between now and 6:45, I wanted to tell you I’d be wearing my orange and black Yankees cap, so you can spot me in the crowd.
Getting a little backlogged with half-written weblog entries. I’m not sure event-blogging is really my forte. I wasn’t even able to muster anything for JazzFest this year after everyone loved the photo essays I published in 2003. Oh well. It all come out in the wash.
Go read True Dirt to get a sense of what I’m missing by being here in New York this week.

Webfeed tracking still lags

August 30, 2004 comments on how general search engines still don’t do a good job of keeping up to date with incremental changes (most likely by scanning webfeeds) in The Daily Internet:

The kind of searches I regularly do on Feedster and Technorati just aren’t available on Google. No amount of fiddling with the advanced search options, rooting around on their labs site, or searching for obscure options will scan incremental new material from half an hour ago. Yahoo search seems to have surpassed Google with some advanced features, but they don’t have an effective reverse chronological “sort by date” either.


Technorati revamps its politics section for the RNC

August 30, 2004

I was IMing with Dave Sifry last night (we’re both in New York for the RNC – he’s credentialed with CNN and I’m going commando). He showed me the new Election Watch 2004 page at Technorati.
It tracks rising and falling mentions of sites, offers blogger commentary of various ilks side by side, and now includes some interesting charts that graph comparisons of site mentions ( vs., etc.).
Dave has the rundown on his personal blog:


On the road again

August 29, 2004

Life’s been a little crazy for personal journaling lately, but the pent-up urge to blog is reasserting itself. I flew into JFK on the jetblue redeye last night and have been holed up in the family compound in Manhattan today drinking liquids and recovering.
Tomorrow I’ll check out the Tank and the other liberal bloggers covering the convention. I wasn’t tempted to venture out into the protests today. It was too hot and I was too headachey and sleepy.
Haven’t eaten all day but not sure I actually need to. A little coffee helped the headache. Time for another glass of water.

Olympians not allowed to blog, but would they anyhow?

August 27, 2004

According to AP via CNN, Olympians are prohibited from publishing their own stories and pictures. In fact, CNN’s headline said “largely barred from blogging”, but that implies that preventive measures are being taken; in fact, the IOC says that it hasn’t done anything to enforce the ban.

Athletes may be the center of attention at the Olympic Games, but don’t expect to hear directly from them online — or see snapshots or video they’ve taken. The International Olympic Committee is barring competitors, as well as coaches, support personnel and other officials, from writing firsthand accounts for news and other Web sites. An exception is if an athlete has a personal Web site that they did not set up specifically for the Games.

The IOC’s rationale for the restrictions is that athletes and their coaches should not serve as journalists — and that the interests of broadcast rightsholders and accredited media come first. …

The Olympic guidelines threaten to yank credentials from athletes who are in violation as well as to impose other sanctions or take legal action for any monetary damages. But [an IOC] official said the IOC has yet to take any action against an athlete. The IOC distributed the policies to each country’s Olympic committee in February.

The story provides only one example of athletes writing firsthand accounts of their time in Athens. Many sportswriters, some spectators, and even a radio announcer, are blogging the games; are athletes writing or photoblogging?

Social networking manifesto

August 27, 2004

Here are the main heads from Stuart Henshall’s Manifesto for Social Networking Required at his Unbound Spiral blog:

  • It’s my Network
    • I own it.
    • Social networks should empower people.
    • I am my own hub.
    • Ease data exchange
  • My Blog is Better at Networking
  • Create Markets for Connectivity
  • Adopt user centric models
    Encourage Face to Face
  • Integrate with IM / VoIP
  • No to Accelerated Spam


Voting as a social act

August 26, 2004

I enjoyed reading Louis (didn’t they call him Luke when he taught literature in New Jersey?) Menand in the New Yorker on how voters decide who to vote for:

[…] Voters go into the booth carrying the imprint of the hopes and fears, the prejudices and assumptions of their family, their friends, and their neighbors. For most people, voting may be more meaningful and more understandable as a social act than as a political act. […]

via all about george

About twice as many people have no political views as have a coherent political belief system.

August 26, 2004

[…] Man may not be a political animal, but he is certainly a social animal. Voters do respond to the cues of commentators and campaigners, but only when they can match those cues up with the buzz of their own social group. Individual voters are not rational calculators of self-interest (nobody truly is), and may not be very consistent users of heuristic shortcuts, either. But they are not just random particles bouncing off the walls of the voting booth. Voters go into the booth carrying the imprint of the hopes and fears, the prejudices and assumptions of their family, their friends, and their neighbors. For most people, voting may be more meaningful and more understandable as a social act than as a political act.

That it is hard to persuade some people with ideological arguments does not mean that those people cannot be persuaded, but the things that help to convince them are likely to make ideologues sick – things like which candidate is more optimistic. For many liberals, it may have been dismaying to listen to John Kerry and John Edwards, in their speeches at the Democratic National Convention, utter impassioned bromides about how “the sun is rising” and “our best days are still to come.” But that is what a very large number of voters want to hear. If they believe it, then Kerry and Edwards will get their votes. The ideas won’t matter, and neither will the color of the buttons.

I’m pretty stuck on Louis Menand’s “The Unpolitical Animal” in this week’s New Yorker

Taming wiki templates (paging mathowie)

August 26, 2004

In the about page at, Matt Haughey explains how he wrangled phpwiki into shape to present an elegant, functional, standard-compliant site.
I have even lower standards.

I just want to get the wiki pages currently at to look like the rest of the site, and the templates that create phpwiki pages appear to be distributed among a thousand php files as far as I can tell.
Matt, any suggestions about how to build pages that are mostly plain HTML but summon the necessary php up in the proper newshole for the wiki features?
(Social network note: Matt and I have never met, though I have been a fan of his for quite some time, and I believe I passed him waiting in a drinks line at the first evening of the BlogOn event and we now have a mutual friend in Jessamyn.)

Blong: beyond the blog

August 25, 2004

I’m starting a thought experiment around a next generation personal identity web presence tool that would replace a blog with something I’m calling a blong. It’s thus far vapor-specified but vis-a-vis existing blogging practices it would have to at least satisfy my two prime design directives:

  1. The geek’s hippocratic oath:

    I will not take away any funtionality without replacing with it something at least equal if not better in the judgement of the users

    (need help on the wordsmithery there), and

  2. xian’s law of “convergence already”

    Thou shalt not give me any more gadgets unless you can take away two gadgets for each one you give me”

    aka, beware of geeks bearing gifts.

My basic spec for a blong would call for logging and collaborative editing capabilities as the fundamental knowledge management tools, maximized open-standards-based interoperability.