December 31, 2003

Reading Assignments

Vegetal and mineral memory: The future of books Umberto Eco "Libraries, over the centuries, have been the most important way of keeping our collective wisdom. They were and still are a sort of universal brain where we can retrieve what we have forgotten and what we still do not know. If you will allow me to use such a metaphor, a library is the best possible imitation, by human beings, of a divine mind, where the whole universe is viewed and understood at the same time."

The Rings and the Rings - Wagner vs. Tolkien Tolkien refused to admit that his ring had anything to do with Wagner’s. “Both rings were round, and there the resemblance ceased,” he said.

Did Blaster cause the August 14th blackout? Probably not. But still...

Posted by kiplog at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)

New York

I went to New York while I was back home for Christmas. This is what it looked like.

ny1.jpg

Posted by kiplog at 01:35 AM | Comments (2)

Knowledge on the web

So what does cause the wind to blow in a given direction?

How to decypher the Chicago radio traffic report Not only will it teach you where the circle interchange is, but you'll learn what the longest interstate in Illinois is. Some great traffic resource links too.

CSS Crib Sheet An excellent collection of CSS issues with links to their fixes.

Posted by kiplog at 01:28 AM | Comments (0)

Grid Blogging

"Grid blogging aims to investigate the potentials of a distributed media production model spread across blogosphere nodes. It seeks to ignite attention on specific topics at set times through variegated voices..."

I'm trying hard not to be annoyed by this. First it's the corporate-speak mission statement. Second it's the fact that the first one was set for Dec. 1, which any respectable blogger knows is when everyone is supposed to link to linkandthink. Third, it reminds me of The Friday Five, the scourge of blogging. Fourth, Kevin hates the idea too.

There's really nothing wrong with the concept though, it's just that being given a topic feels too much like a homework assignment and the idea that hundreds of weblogs are discussing that topic makes me feel too overwhelmed to read any of them.

Posted by kiplog at 01:28 AM | Comments (2)
December 16, 2003
December 14, 2003

Some timely links

Reporters' Log: Saddam's capture BBC journalists' reactions from around the world.

A Clandestine Trip to Bagdhad The journal of a photojournalist going to Bagdhad with Bush

The longest line, a film of the people waiting on line at the Apple store Opening in Ginza Japan. Amazing. Time's shadow has some good comments - "Whether or not one chooses to stand in a long line seems to have more to do with how many people are behind you than in front of you. "

The list of 2003 lists

Posted by kiplog at 11:55 AM | Comments (1)
December 13, 2003

Weblogging

I've been thinking about why I haven't been posting as often as I used to, and have all the excuses: lack of time, working on my own, laziness, lack of a schedule or time management structure, etc, etc. But it comes down to 2 issues:

1. I don't spend as much time on the Web as I once did.
2. The 'automatic' tools used for posting actually hinder me from posting.

I don't have a solution for either of these issues, but I really do intend to work on solving them. Weblogging isn't just some hobby I picked up to try to be popular or gain Blogshares, it was something I started doing in 1999 because it helped me learn by exploring the huge mounds of knowledge piled around the Web.

As for the first issue, solving it just comes down to time management and focus. And turning the fucking TV off. Spending more time on the Web reading articles that help me know my job gives me a tremendous advantage. Just knowing what people are talking about is invaluable, just to help you walk around from day to day.

As for the second issue, this has been troubling me since I switched from hand-coding to Movable Type. While it is a great tool, it's hindered me in several ways. First, I've been baffled every time I go under the hood. I'm not a programmer, I'm a builder. I'm more of a carpenter who makes sure the beams are straight and the nails are all in, than someone who knows how to fix the electricity. I've been plagued by some technical issues that really should be easy for me to fix. Like- why does rebuilding the files fail half the time, and why can't I get a different template to work for each category. These technical issues require time and patience I don't have. These are the kinds of things I solve everyday when working, but for some reason, stop me in my tracks here.

The other part of this issue is the format. Doug Miller hit the nail on the head when he said "Blogs have become the PowerPoint of the Web." The whole damn format, the inference that a title is required for each post, the inferred size of the post from the size of the text input box, and everything else in the system constrains a blog tool user to conform to a format. It's like using a damn Microsoft wizard to design a webpage.

Now I know I can customize all that, and I could be as freeform as I want, but the whole thing hinders actual writing, which is what I found so valuable about weblogging - reading, understanding what you just read, and conveying that information, as you understand it is what knowledge is all about.

Obviously the first step to solving these issues is to do what I just did - think them out and write them down. Hopefully I'll get to solving them as the next step.

Posted by kiplog at 12:36 PM | Comments (15)
December 03, 2003

Weblogging news

Most of this is old news, but I'm posting it anyway.

Eric Wagoner, from Kestrel's Nest, started a search for the missing Jorn Barger, one of the weblogging forefathers. I knew the search wouldn't go on too long, since the Metafilterians have gone to work finding him. However all they have done is find out that he isn't really missing. From what I know of Jorn, he's the type that if he doesn't want to be found, you won't find him.

Comment spam, a growing problem, has spurred this comment spam manifesto "In order to increase search engine rankings you are posting advertisements to our Web pages. What you failed to understand is that bloggers are smarter, better connected, and more technologically savvy than the average email user. We control the medium that you are now attempting to exploit. You’ve picked a fight with us and it’s a fight you cannot win."

Movable type users have a blacklist clearinghouse now. Also if you are a Movable Type user, you really should know how to fix the vulnerability that spammers can expliot.

If you follow weblogging as a phenemenon, keep an eye on the Blog Herald and blogosphere.us.

The NITLE weblog census "is an attempt to find as many active weblogs as possible, across all languages"

I keep forgetting to put Dirty Old Town on my list of Chicago blogs. But why does he take so long to update? "Because I hate you and I’m trying to make you cry… What the fuck do you care? It’s a fucking web site. Read a book." Hmm, this guy sounds familiar...

Posted by kiplog at 01:16 PM | Comments (2)