Archive for September, 2005

BlinkList social bookmarking engine

September 29, 2005

Another from the “meant to post this a while ago” files. A fellow named Mike Reining from MindValley wrote me to tell me about their BlinkList service. Mike successfully got my attention by showing awareness of this site (and also You’re It), writing to me about MindValley’s passion for “how online tools are transforming the social fabric of how people interact, learn, share, and make transactions online.”
So how does something like BlinkList differ from, say, or Yahoo’s MyWeb 2.0? Mike says:

In my prior history I worked for eBay (on the craigslist deal in fact) and now I have decided to go out on my own to bring some new ideas to market. One of them is on social learning and sharing. I guess it is generally referred to as social bookmarking and social search, but I think that misses out on the “learning and knowledge sharing aspects” that make this field so interesting.

Mike also drew my attention to an interesting review of the BlinkList beta at Blended Edu:

Simply stated, MindValley recognizes that online community hinges on the users ability to easily access their information without frustrating them to the point they won’t use the software (a point which is – surprisingly – often overlooked).

As you store and tag more content, it becomes more and more difficult to remember what tag you used for similar content. But don’t fret! MindValley Labs has come up with a slick way to help you to maintain tagging consistency. Here’s how it works: as you add links and other content to your cache BlinkList automagically suggests tags you have already used. This simple step makes it easier to find content at a later date, prevents user frustration with the technology, and allows students to focus on their learning.
Ready for another neat techno-constructivist BlinkList feature? When you click on a tag, BlinkList shows related tags, thereby allowing users to easily find topics and resources related to their search. But wait. There’s more! By using the tag filter you can drill down even deeper into the BlinkList community knowledge reserves to locate the resources most relevant to your particular needs.

Looks like a site to keep an eye on.

First the LA Times, now the US Government

September 28, 2005

The Onion, America’s Finest News Source, reports: Congress Abandons WikiConstitution:

WASHINGTON, DC – Congress scrapped the open-source, open-edit, online version of the Constitution Monday, only two months after it went live. “The idea seemed to dovetail perfectly with our tradition of democratic participation,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said. “But when so-called ‘contributors’ began loading it down with profanity, pornography, ASCII art, and mandatory-assault-rifle-ownership amendments, we thought it might be best to cancel the project.” Congress intends to restore the Constitution to its pre-Wiki format as soon as an unadulterated copy of the document can be found.

Wanted: better Netflix-blog integration

September 28, 2005

So I just returned Coffee and Cigarettes and Netflix invites me to give it some stars and maybe review it for my Netflix friends. I guess I can bother to improve their data and their ability to recommend things for me and my friends (not that I’ve ever yet relied on their recommendations), but it sure would be nice if they gave me an easy way to post my rating and review to my blog as well, sort of like the way Flickr lets me post pictures. Sure, I can plug in a badge with my Netflix queue in it. I do that on my personal blog, but I’d like better integration, please.
See also Amazon.

Blogging a yoga conference

September 25, 2005

Susan Mernit gave me a head’s up about this wekeend’s YOGA JOURNAL LIVE at ESTES PARK, a conference blog related to The 10th Annual Yoga Journal Colorado Conference (which itself includes a conference-within-a-conference featuring yoga legend Sri B.K.S. Iyengar).
The blog is described as “A live conference blog sharing the teaching of BKS Iyengar and many notable senior yoga teachers who are participating in Yoga Journal’s Estes Park Conference”:

Check out the pictures, streaming video, podcasts and commentary from the conference! Dates are September 25th through October 2nd – with the site archived for several months thereafter. Namaste!

Welcome, Camilo!

September 23, 2005

Loyal readers of this weblog may have noticed that we haven’t exactly kept up with the original three-to-seven posts a day pace that I first established in that heady summer of 2002. I’ve been busy with my new job and my other blogs and my other contributors have their own blogs and pursuits distracting them as well.
Hey, I don’t think we’ve even posted about Google’s new blog search tool (which I’m not impressed by, yet).
So, here’s my solution: new blood.
Please welcome Camilo Ramirez as a new contributor to this weblog. Camilo is a Colombian economist recently relocated to the Bay Area, with a passion for online communities and a desire to understand what is the the future of our virtual interacting environments. Camilo’s background includes math, environmental studies and media, and he is currently watching how ideas and communities evolve through the interaction and transformation of values and customs as new ideas and applications emerge.
Since moving to the Barea, Camilo’s been making the rounds of geek dinners and blog conferences and blog dinners and geek conferences and he is full of interesting ideas and insights about the future of blogging. He and I were carrying on a fascinating email correspondence when I asked him if he might be interested in putting some of his thoughts down here at RFB. He agreed, and I am pleased to welcome him to the team.
This weekend I’ll update the sidebar to add Camilo to the contributor list. I may also rethink what else appears there. Perhaps some of the other blog entries from the Telegraph publishing empire would be valuable. There was a time when I used RFB as my everything-blog before it reverted to being just a blog about blogging and a blog about blogging about blogging (but never a blog about blogging about blogging about blogging).

Reporters without Borders releases blog-censorship handbook

September 23, 2005

Via the Beeb:

A handbook that offers advice to bloggers who want to protect themselves from recrimination and censors has been released by Reporters Without Borders.

New Orleans will rise again

September 14, 2005

I even think there will be a Mardi Gras, but this is some good news (from The Times-Picayune):

The 2006 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival will go on

by Zack Smith
“There will be a Jazzfest. We are committed to putting on the 2006 Jazz and Heritage Festival, whatever that may take,” said Quint Davis, producer/director of the springtime musical extravaganza and president of Festival Productions Inc.-New Orleans, which produces the festival with AEG Live, the nation’s second highest-grossing concert promoter.
Details are sketchy at this point.
“We don’t know when, we don’t know where, we don’t know what format,” Davis said. “There will be a Jazzfest in 2006. It will be in Louisiana. It will be as close to New Orleans as we can get it.”
The producers would like to hold the event at its customary site at the Fair Grounds Race Course, but if that’s not possible they are committed to holding it in Louisiana. “We’ll be starting from the Fair Grounds and working our way out” in determining a location, Davis said.
This commitment comes from all of the major stakeholders in the festival, Davis said.
Davis and Jazzfest founder George Wein have met with AEG Live Chief Executive Officer Randy Phillips and other top AEG Live officials. AEG will continue to bankroll the festival, as it did in 2005.
The plan to go forward with the 2006 festival has the support of members of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, which owns the festival. Davis and Phillips have been in contact with foundation Executive Director Don Marshall, who has been in contact with board members.
The producers and the foundation also have committed to contribute to a fund to support festival staff, many of whom have been dislocated by Hurricane Katrina. Jazzfest planning typically begins in September.

Charlie Parker jams

September 7, 2005

Driving back to my office on 101 North from Santa Clara I hit the button for KCSM and caught most of “Jam Blues” by Charlie Parker and an all-star crew. I’m going to have to get me that record. It was a perfect California moment, sailing up the freeway with Bird blowing in my ear.
Barney Kessel’s guitar solo was particularly sweet. Oscar Peterson, Ben Webster, Benny Carter, Charlie Shavers, and Johnny Hodges all took turns as well, each one burning up the tracks without cutting each other or showing away.
Nice interlude in the middle of another hectic workday.

Katrina PeopleFinder project

September 6, 2005

Over the long weekend I witnessed a flurry of email messages from the network of activist techies and techie activists I’m connected to since the Dean campaign and the work on this book. Some of this coalesced into the PeopleFinder project to help cross-correlate all the missing persons and I’m OK data being gathered across distributed newspaper a and other websites. They are still looking for help:

At loose ends

September 4, 2005

B landed safely in London and sent me email from her hosts there. I’ll call her mom and dad today to let them know she got there ok and has had a chance to rest and relax before her strenuous trip to Sicily. (Pout.)

I’ve been watching a bunch of movies that I don’t think B would want to see. I saw the new Rob Schneider movie, and it was as dumb as you might expect, but it was relatively innocent fun. There seems to be trend toward “dirty” PG and R rated movies that have sexual themes but are actually fairly childish and even harmless. Sort of just an extension of bathroom humor from what I can tell. I suppose it has to do with the infantilization or extended adolescence of American culture.

Last night I saw the 40-year-old Virgin, which surprised me by being really pretty good, despite the same type of over-the-top bawdy (almost wrote body) humor. It felt a bit funny going by myself. I am forty after all. Four women in front of me seemed to find the jokes, even the ones that B would no doubt consider “boy humor” to be very funny. Not sure if mixed company would work the same way. Then again, I think younger people are just more used to “blue” humor in general, as they tend to be more familiar with pr0n and stuff like that.

Meanwhile, I got a Bill Hicks tape (I mean disk) via Netflix. Wasn’t sure if B would be interested in him. Not sure I even want to sit through an extended show, but I keep hearing what a great comedian he was. Maybe I’ll see it the Reverend Bill is interested in watching it.

Otherwise, just trying to work through my small to-do list for the weekend (and sleep a lot): Picked up my shirts at the cleaner yesterday, need to get more coffee today. I’m doing laundry right now and doing some scanning for my brother in Greece (long story).

Been playing my uke a bunch and mean to get out my guitar practice book to put in some guitar time for the first time in months. I was going to try to do some overdubs on Xourmas’s basic tracks for Salty Dog, but my iBook is back in the shop and my powerbook’s fan drowns out everything else. I may try recording on my work PC, but it won’t be as easy as just plugging in a mic, firing up GarageBand, and recording some tracks.

I keep figuring out melodic lines, like recently I was working out Two of Us on the little uke. One nice thing about the modest level of single-note technique I’ve picked up is that if a melody is bouncing around my head, I can usually pick it out on one of my instruments, which is infinitely satisfying for some reason.

Let’s see. What else? Had coffee this morning. Will probably head down to Lakeshore soon. I’m enjoying taking it easy.

Listening to a Zero show I was at (thanks to MZ) – that’s always fun. I can remember where I was on the floor during some songs. The Rigor Mortis (a Meters) tune is bringing up unpleasant thoughts about bodies floating in Lake George. Worried about my friends from New Orleans, of course.