Archive for December, 2005

Blake Ross's 10 predictions for the new year

December 31, 2005

Tired of end-of-the-year top ten lists and predictions? Try Blake Ross’s Ten predictions for the new year. Here’s my favorite:
> Yahoo, acclerating its bid to dominate the social space, will announce that it is buying the actual societies of 32 cash-strapped governments. Citizens will be allowed to link their existing names to their Yahoo accounts.
Happy New Year!

Rameses the first war blogger?

December 29, 2005

David D. Perlmutter writes in his Policy by Blog weblog, in an entry called Blogs of War: Then and Now:
> In c. 1300 BCE, the pharaoh Rameses II and his army fought a battle against a Hittite army at Kadesh, in what is now Syria. The battle was a draw; in fact, the Egyptians ended up retreating. But Rameses’ memorial temple–an instance of massive communication–shows on its 100-foot walls pictures and hieroglyphics of the great ruler as victorious. As originally painted, Rameses is bronze skinned, broad shouldered, long armed, resolute of face, wearing the twin crowns of upper and lower Egypt, and many times larger than the Hittites and his own men–a superman in the anthropological as well as comic book sense. (Rameses became the “Ozymandias” who, in Shelley’s poem, demanded that all “look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair.”) In the written records accompanying the images, Rameses boasts that he personally routed “every warrior of the Hittite enemy, together with the many foreign countries which were with them.”
> In contrast, the pharaoh blames his own men for early problems in the battle: “You have done a cowardly deed, altogether. Not one man among you had stood up to assist me when I was fighting. . . not one among you shall talk about his service, after returning to the land of Egypt.” In other words, here was the mighty-thighed Pharaoh announcing that his own men were cowards and he won the battle single-handedly. I have often wondered whether some veteran of Kadesh, walking by the tableaus, did not squint up, shake his head, gnash his teeth, and growl to his wife, “The lying bastard, it was his bad generalship/leadership that lost the day, not our cowardice.” But of course we don’t know; foot soldiers in Pharaoh’s army didn’t carve or write their campaign memoirs; and no scribe or stonemason interviewed them.
By contrast today’s (real) war bloggers are the men and women in country, on bases and in forward positions.
The reference to Ozymandias reminds me of one of my first websites, which ain’t what it used to be.

All politics, still local

December 28, 2005

Ron Fournier, political writer for the Associated Press, put an article on the newswires on Christmas Eve summing up a trend over the past few years: Internet Fosters Local Political Movements. Sound like a familiar premise? The examples he cites include MoveOn, Meetup, and Not sure what prompted the article, but there’s no time like the present to note an ongoing trend I suppose.
Meanwhile, I just blogged over at PDF about eBlock, a service that provides neighborhood-level websites: eBlock addresses the ‘bowling alone’ problem.

Time for bookmarklets 2.0

December 21, 2005

Bookmarklets were always a hack, says Kevin Burton in his Feed Blog: Bookmarklets 2.0?. Is it time for some (don’t say it!) standards?

Google Earth in the wrong hands?

December 21, 2005

A day or so after reading that a number of national governments are unhappy about Google Earth’s aerial views of their sensitive buildings and installations, I read in the Telegraph (UK) about Insurgents ‘using Google Earth’.
There’s no real way to avoid these trade-offs, is there?

How do I blog?

December 20, 2005

Frank Paynter at Sandhill Trek has been asking people this month how they blog. Cool people. Not me. Which is just as well, because I’d be tempted to make a joke (“very carefully”), or be all literal about software and processes (boring).
I don’t think I have a good answer anyway. It keeps changing. Mostly I notice stuff. I want to talk about it. I don’t have a specific person in mind I want to limit the discussion to, so I choose an appropriate blog and post there. When I see an interesting web page and I have a bookmarklet for an appropriate blog, I dash off some surrounding text and post the link.
Other times I write novels. Dirty novels. Go figure.

b!X's postmortem on Portland Communiqué

December 19, 2005

The One True b!X shuttered his citizen journalism site in September of this year (it launched in 2002). In Coda he looks back on that decision and elaborates on three major motivators:
* Growing weariness with the prominence of demagoguery.
* Major local stories looming on the horizon.
* Inevitable future dominance of the financial issue.
(See also his article in the Oregonian on the same subject.)

Growing pains for the monsters of Web 2.0

December 19, 2005

First Typepad had its embarassing outage and now Delicious is feeling some pain:

Due to the power outage earlier in the week, we appear [sic] a number of continued hiccups. We’ve taken everything offline to properly rebuild and restore everything. I apologize and hope to have this resolved as soon as possible. Thank you for your continued patience.
Updates will be posted on our blog as we have them.

Back up your blog!

December 19, 2005

I’ve been asleep at the wheel lately, but the recent Typepad outage should remind everyone to keep current backups of your site, both the data and the output if possible, whether you are self-hosting or relying on a service.
Related: *michael parekh on IT*: ON TYPEPAD OUTAGES AND WEB 2.0 MORTALITY, More than a common export format.

U2 at Jazz Fest 2006

December 14, 2005

Ruh roh! Rumor has it that U2 has been booked for Fest. This may be good for turnout but it may also be kind of a nightmare for just hanging out and being mellow.