Saturday, May 31, 2003

Future of Open Source Browsers aka Is the open web fu**ed again?

More news items and blog posts today on yesterday's AOL/Microsoft announcements and the possible impact of this new alliance on Netscape and open source browsers:
--O5O, OS Opinion writes:
Is the Microsoft-AOL Time Warner browser settlement the beginning of the end for open-source and alternative browsers? Does it represent a threat to the open standards of the Internet? What about the fate of, the open-source group tightly connected with Netscape? All these questions are on the minds of alternative-browser industry insiders as the ramifications of Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) settlement with AOL (NYSE: AOL) began to sink in.
David Smith, research analyst for Gartner, quoted in Boston internet .com story: The IE-Netscape "competition has been way overblown in past couple of years. The two companies really only compete on the fringes," said David Smith, Microsoft analyst for research firm Gartner:
"Microsoft is a supplier of technology. AOL is a user of technology as a media company." To talk about browser wars now is ridiculous, he said. "It is so off the map these days and out of the world of issues that people have. Very few people use [Netscape], very few care."
Reuters News: Clock Ticks for Netscape...
Forrester Research analyst Rob Enderle said that, now, it's only a matter of time before AOL sells Netscape. "Clearly the clock is ticking for Netscape as a Web property owned by AOL Time Warner," he said. "This is an asset that has become nonstrategic in a company that is doing some massive cost cutting."

Netscape executives declined to comment. AOL Time Warner Chief Executive Dick Parsons shed little light on the company's plans for Netscape. "We're still exploring other opportunities with Netscape," he said in announcing the deal. Asked if he was planning to sell the unit, he said, "Not at this point."

National Post of Canada:
...This spells the end for Netscape, whatever it means for our ability to police our own homes and computers. There is no a longer a reason for Netscape to exist, with its market share dwindled to nothing, and with it not fitting into AOL Time-Warner's plans to refocus on media properties and their distribution.

And while no one has apparently noticed, the deal is also a strike against the open source software movement. AOL Time-Warner no longer needs to bankroll Mozilla, the nonsensical browser promoted by the evangelical fans of collectivist code. Without its support, that browser will languish, at best, and more likely founder.

Forbes: Microsoft clears the Netscape history file:
Microsoft has wound back the clock to 1995 and paid $750 million--in cash--for Netscape so it could put it out of commission.

Friday, May 30, 2003

Links from around the web

Anil's next speaking gig: Nigerian E-Mail Conference
Marl Fraufelder is moving the fam to the South Sea Islands for a year and chronicling their experience at The Island Chronicles. I predict this will be as good as HBO!
Pets with their heads in bags of food, via Camworld.
CNN: Online divorces growing on popularity.
Pocourante: Wanna know who spelled it and won?

Thursday, May 29, 2003

BetaNews: Support for Mozilla will continue

A recent BetaNews article says:By agreeing to the continued use of Internet Explorer, AOL effectively puts to rest the company's longstanding plans to transition AOL client software service to its own Gecko browsing technology used in Netscape. AOL's original license to use IE expired on January 1, 2001, and the companies failed to reach a new agreement.
AOL says it will not close its Netscape unit "at this point," which means development of Gecko and support for the open source Mozilla browser are likely to continue.

Will Microsoft buy AOL?

Is the "we're friends now" announcement from Parson and Gates a first step toward selling off the AOL unit to a technology company that would clearly love to have their subscription list?
AOL has roughly 32 MM subscribers (a drop from 18 months ago), Microsoft has 9 million. AOL is owned by a media company that would love to have a business justification to cut it loose (my opinion), Microsoft is a technology company that has been trying to beat AOL in the online business for the past 7 years.
My prediction: Look for AOL and Microsoft to look for ways to develop stronger and more profitable partnerships, including teaming up or bundling on ISP access in some way., and watch for a possible sale announcement down the road.

The end of Netscape: $750MM sell-off

The end of Netscape?
Now that AOL and Microsoft are best friends, the Netscape browser's in a tough spot.
Sold for $750MM in potage , AKA settlement charges, the browser--once touted as AOL's strategic alternative to Explorer--seems like a pretty lame duck product right now. Since AOL is going to continue indefinitely using IE as their core platform, is there a reason for AOL to fund Netscape and the Web properties team?
Back in the day, like 2000-2001, Netscape was going to be the bright hope for the non-AOL subscriber, the web alternative and flanker brand. But those days are long gone--Time, Inc content is moving onto AOL as a sop to the subscription price, AOL is facing hard choices about making their business work at the right margin, and Netscape's development path has slowed.
When you think that AOL purchased Netscape for $4.3 billion back in the day, the $750MM that AOL is getting from Microsoft in settlement charges is chump change--but if you're a cashed-strapped company, it's manna from heaven.

The rise of Mozilla?
As some of you know, I was VP for Programming at Netscape during the peak of the boom. At that time, hopes and plans for the browser and were bright. I was much more focused on Netscape 6.0 than on Mozilla.
But now I am running Mozilla with my news aggregator and strongly preferring it to Netscape and finding it better in some ways than IE.
Will one by-product of this AOL/Microsoft development be a backlash that pushes more people to Mozilla? With the development of Linux, and the move away from browser as the only web-based platforms, having an alternative browser may feel less critical than in 2000, and yet, having strong multiple browser platforms does matter.
I am going to watch and see what happens to Mozilla in the light of these announcements and see if the Phoenix will fly again.

News: To Psychopathic Murderers, Violence Is Not So Bad

Reuters Story today:
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Psychopaths who have committed murder do not equate violence with something that is unpleasant, UK researchers said Wednesday.

This relatively positive attitude toward violence was not seen in either murderers who were not psychopaths or other men with personality disorders who had committed different crimes, the authors write in the journal Nature.

Psychopaths, despite evidence of charm and skill, are commonly unable to maintain affectionate relationships with others, while routinely engaging in impulsive, amoral and hostile behavior unhampered by guilt.

And while psychopaths who commit murder may often claim to think violence is wrong, the current findings stem from the results of tests designed to measure people's underlying attitudes toward a concept, and not simply what they say they believe, the researchers note.

More here.
If you substitute deception and unscrupulousness for murder, it sounds like some business folks I've known.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Blending profit and nonprofit values--a piece from Stanford Business School.

Wynton Marsalis has a weblog

Wynton Marsalis, the talented jazz trumpeter from New Orleans, has a weblog with an RSS feed (thanks, Ernie the Attorney!)

News: Rick Bragg Resigns from NY Times

News just in that Rick Bragg has resigned from the NY Times over his recent suspension. More stories here. Seems to me the old grey lady is taking a major hit. UGH.

Blogs & Social networks: Jumping the shark?

Yawn, more blogging stories in big media today. Time published a piece on Friendster and dating.
As some of you may know--and as everyone should know now, Friendster is a 6 degrees of separation hook-up service for friends of friends and their friends--and their friends, too, of course. Jonathan Abrams, the guy who started is, is an ex-Netscaper (I love keeping track of the legion of ex-Netscapers, they must number in the thousands by now.)
Times says Friendster is about dating, and it can be, but it is also about meeting friends of friends--something that also goes on at Ryze, another networking and social connection site.
I love Ryze, but I am neutral on Friendster--I have an account, but haven't really gotten in to it.

Department of Bizarre Synergies

So, remember the item I posted this morning about the salt marsh the city of San Jose bought from Cargills?
Well, that very same Cargill's is the company that helped McDonald's roll out the flavorings for its new McVeggie Burger.

McDonald's new Veggie Burger ain't exactly vegan

Is it a real Veggie Burger if it's cooked on the same grill with McDonald's hamburgers, chicken, and ribs? If you answered yes, you might feel great about McDonald's vegetarian burger as part of a light choices menu rolled out across Canada and a test in Southern California.
If you don't think bacon grease should mix with your soy protein and veggies, you might not be as thrilled about the new dish.
Accoesing to a recent story in Veggie's Paradise, the McDonald's rep said the burger was "geared to the lighter side of McDonald's. It' s for people who are working on their weight. It's not intended for religious-based or serious vegetarians."
Furthermore, while the McVeggie Burger features a vegan patty made exclusively for McDonald's by Yves Veggie Cuisine , the bun and the patty are vegan, but the barbecue sauce contains egg yolks, chicken fat, beef stock, beef extract, and rendered beef fat. Not exactly vegan

AOL Launches African-American area

After more than 10 months of planning, AOL has launched a new area for African Americans.
"We can't speak to all 30 million members in the same voice," says Belinda Hankins, AOL executive director for African-American business, in today's press release. "We want to be the brand of choice and provide compelling and relevant experience for African-American members."
Congrats, Belinda!

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Whole lotta quaking hits the bay area

Okay, just when I thought it was safe, suggestions that the big one is coming--this weekend San Jose, Santa Rosa and the SF coast were all hit by quakes.

Rocky Roads: San Jose gets the prize

Here's another New York/San Jose item, from the San Jose Business Journal. For those of you who'd just assume, logically enough, that New York City has some of the country's worst potholes, the word's just in that San Jose--along with Los Angeles--snags top worst road honors.

According to The Road Information Program, a lobbying group, San Jose and Los Angeles are tied at the top of a national list of which cities have the bumpiest roads, with 67 percent of their major roads delivering unacceptable rides.

Close behind are San Diego and San Francisco-Oakland, tied at third and fourth with 61 percent unacceptable. Sacramento is sixth on the list with 50 percent unacceptable. New Orleans, Baltimore, Detroit, Kansas City, and Oklahoma City also are in the top ten. New York, not even close!

San Jose: Buying a salt marsh as big as Central Park

The city of San Jose is planning to purchase an 865-acre salt mars, a plot about the size of New York's Central Park, for $13 million dollars. According to the Mercury News, " the 856-acre pond, ringed by levees and bordering Coyote Creek, is the same size as New York's Central Park. Its purchase comes two months after a $100 million state and federal deal to buy and restore 16,500 acres of Cargill's other bayfront salt ponds. "
I've done a lot of hiking around in the Alviso wetlands, and that area feels like one of the few areas in the Valley that hasn't been totally developed--thought the housing developments are rushing in. It's good to hear the city will protect those lands, and perhaps one day turn them back to marsh for wildlife.

Blair Snitch Project Update: Rick Blair, outta here

"In a few weeks, I'm outta here," suspended Times journo Rick Bragg tells the Washington Post.
"I will take it from a stringer. I will take it from an intern. I will take it from a news assistant. If a clerk does an interview for me, I will use it. I'm going to send people to sit in for me if I don't have time to be there. It is not unusual to send someone to conduct an interview you don't have time to conduct. It's what we do.

"And this insanity -- this bizarre atmosphere we're moving through as if in a dream -- we're being made to feel ashamed for what was routine. . . . Reporters are being bad-mouthed daily. I hate it. It makes me sick."

AOLTW: Selling off the problem child

Steve Case tells the press he might be in favor of spinning off the AOL unit. In a NY Times piece today, David Kirkpatrick discusses Case's position and motives at length, concluding it is impossible to tell whether Case's ideas still have any influence.
I've wondered all along if all the reorgs and layoffs at AOL were not destined to make the unit shipshape, neat and tidy for sale. There is no way to know, but I suspect there are people at Time Inc and CNN and Warner Bros who think the stock price mght go up if AOL wasn't part of the mix. On the other hand, the company is profitable, so, dunno.

Monday, May 26, 2003

Photo Exhibit: Black Panthers 1968 in Berkeley

The Berkeley Art Museum has a show about “The Black Panthers 1968,” an exhibition of 45 photographs, on display through June 29, exploring this time and a movement it gave rise to through photos taken by Ruth-Marion Baruch and her husband, Pirkle Jones, white liberals.
Articles about the exhibit here and here., info from the museum here.
The photogs donated $1MM of their photos to UC Santa Cruz

Sunday, May 25, 2003

Jayson's Gal Pal: Zuza Speaks


Zuza Glowacka, Jayson Blair's galpal, has published an essay in Newsweek about her relationship with Jayson and the Blair scandal.
I understand what Elizabeth Bishop meant when, in her poem “One Art,” she wrote, “The art of losing isn’t hard to master.” In the weeks since I’ve had to resign from my job because a close friend of mine, Jayson Blair, was caught plagiarizing and fabricating, I’ve lost my privacy, my credibility and many of my longtime friends. A few weeks ago I was a young employee of The New York Times, one of the most respected newspapers in the world. Now I’m known to the world as the 23-year-old mysterious Polish emigre, caught up in possibly the biggest scandal in the history of journalism and certainly the biggest scandal in the history of my life thus far.
More here from this really persuasive and well-argued essay. Man, she's clearly not only smarter than Blair, but much more stable.

Drowning in information & Tracking the Flow

I'm about to confess that there is no way I can keep up with all the bloggers and postings that interest me--there, I've said it. Even with a newsreader, there is just too much to read--and too much to think about. That's why I'm particularly interested in Tom Coate's analysis of a Microdocs story on how information is tracked through the blogosphere. Tom's got some smart diagrams charting the process and a tidy explication. Thanks!

Translations from the Woof-ish: Sign in Vancouver

Cory Doctorow shot a funny sign.

Department of Banned Books Foolishness aka deeply silly people

A school board member and a grandmother in Riverside, California propose to ban Dav Pikley's The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, part of the Captain Stinkypants series written by Dav Pilkey and published by Scholastic, because the book has poop as a character and doesn't meet their critical standards (always a good reason to ban a book, doncha know).
The book..." has poor grammar, poor spelling, poor content, and it's an extremely poor example of what I would want my student to learn," said Gayle Cloud, the school board member. "I think Dr. Seuss would be rolling over in his grave."
BTW, Riverside is the school district that banned the highly regarded The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier from middle school libraries in the Riverside, California, Unified School District after a district committee decided the book was inappropriate for seventh and eighth graders to read without class discussion.
What fools.

Dream: Strings Attached

A long and intricate dream this morning in which many things were Chinese and had long white strings of thread attached.
Dreamt I was living at the beach, with many other people, and we had a wide, gauzy silk crepe curtain across the big picture window; it was opened and closed by pulling on the thin strings in the warp of the fabric.
Second part of the dream was a flotilla of people gathering to demonstrate about something and they had these amazing mobiles floating in the sky, very intricate kites of birds, all attached together by thin white strings.
I woke up and went, "Wow, that was amazing, what does it mean?" and then I stepped back and said, "Oh, everything has strings attached. Hmmnn, that's a comment on my life."

Department of Trendy Reporting: Blog This

The New York Times has yet another blogging piece by a reporter, this one about photo blogs. Most annoyingly, there's no service box or sidebar that would make it easy to go visit all the blogs Sarah Boxer talked about--all of which were entered in the Photobloggies by the way. The Gothamist piece pretty much echoes my feelings--qwould be nice t have livelknks, this is trendy stuff, etc. Nevertheless, piece is worth checking out.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Why do people in Japan have a thing about dressing their pets?

What is this about?

Ringtones: Gross & Yucky drive the business

Fart ringtones are big with American teens, according to a Reuters article quoting Cindy Lundin Mesaros, a spokeswoman for Faith Inc.'s 4295.T Modtones unit, a ringtone provider for Verizon Wireless VZ.N . "It's pretty impressive, considering there was no promotion and no press," she said. "You stick it underneath someone's chair and dial your own number and it's a remote-controlled whoopie cushion."

Blairgate: Times suspends Rick Bragg

Department of 'Dateline Integrity:' Columbia Journalism Review published a web exclusive story on Friday, detailing how The New York Times has placed Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Rick Bragg on a two-week leave because of impropriety in reporting a piece published last June. The story has been widely picked up in the news.

According to Howard Kunz of the Washington Post, an NY Times editor's note Friday said that Bragg had only briefly visited the Florida town of Apalachicola, from which he filed a story last June, and that most of the reporting had been done by a stringer. That freelance reporter, J. Wes Yoder, an intern, should have shared a byline with Bragg, the paper said.
According to the Daily News, Yoder, 23, spent four days in and around Apalachicola, on Florida's northern gulf coast, did much of the reporting and sat with his notes alongside Bragg when the staffer wrote the piece.

"I had offered to volunteer for Rick for the summer because I wanted to learn from him," said Yoder, who has since become a staff writer for The Anniston Star, an Alabama paper where Bragg once worked. Yoder said Bragg paid him directly for his work over three months, calling it an invaluable experience.

Gordon Gray, author of the CJR piece, writes:
While many national correspondents at the Times rely heavily on stringers, the paper’s policy on "dateline integrity" is that the bylined writer must "provide the bulk of the information, in the form of copy or, when necessary, of notes used faithfully in a rewrite." Had Yoder been given at least partial credit, it seems, Bragg’s piece might not have had any "dateline integrity" issues. The Times national desk policy of not giving bylines to stringers or freelancers is one of the areas a new committee — headed by assistant managing editor Allan M. Siegal and formed in the wake of the Jayson Blair plagiarism and fabrication debacle to rethink newsroom policies — will review. "It would have been nice for J. Wes to share a byline, or at least a tagline, but that’s not the policy," Bragg said. "I don’t make the policies."

Why am I covering this? Rick Bragg is one of the best "local color" writers in the country, if not the world. His memoirs and essays are outstanding.
It would be a shame if the Times trying to police itself slapped his hand too hard in the process.

Friday, May 23, 2003

Despite all my rage...

Got a fan letter today that made me wonder whether just anyone can get a university email address:
Subj: Read your blog...
Date: 5/23/03 5:37:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Hi, Susan. I was curious to see who was linking to, and I came
across this entry in your blog:

"Does anyone besides the evil sixteen
year old boys I am related to use IP-relay? Not to talk to deaf people, but
to embarass the IP operator with the outrageous comments they are forced to

Thanks for making my job harder, you fucking bitch.
My fantasy is that this person needs reading glasses, or maybe classes in anger management, or perhaps both. Oh, no, I forgot, it's always best to shoot the messenger. Thanks, girlfriend, you have a real nice day, too.

Kazaa: Can't stop P2P

What does it say about me if I confess I've never used Kazaa--too nervous about worms and viruses?
My son the teenager has a computer loaded with music he's used Kazaa to pull off the net, and I have a great time hanging out with him listening to to Squarepusher, Infected Mushroom, and remixes of 90's house.
Neverthless, Kazaa says that users have downloaded more than 230 million copies of their file-sharing program.

According to the San Jose Merc, "In just over a year, the software used to download free music over the Internet has surpassed all other applications distributed through CNet's site -- including ICQ, the predecessor to AOL's Instant Messenger, and WinZip, the software utility used to open compressed files."

Lucy Woodward: Fame is the AOL Homepage

Musician Lucy Woodward was one of AOL Music's First Look artists, and it's certainly paid off. In the past 3 years, AOL music has become an industry force, driving record sales and higlighting artists before MTV. Here's Lucy's quote on how normal her life is:
In New York, a lot of people like to remain anonymous. They go there and they just kind of look down on the street all the time, and kind of keep their head down. So in New York, my hometown, I don’t even get that much recognition. Travelling other places, I act normal, and I kind of forget sometimes that, oh, yeah my picture is in the store, or I’m on the AOL homepage."
More on the evolving power of AOL Music here.

Gossip: Britney sweated in this

Britney Spears is putting her old costumes up for sale for a good cause, the Post reports today. 160 of Brit's tight, tiny duds--including the scanty slave-girl outfit she wore on the Slave 4U video--are going on the block at
Now that Brit's browner, bigger, and older, she's past all this trashy pop-start stuff, no doubt. She says "“My mom wants me to get rid of all the major costumes, cause she doesn't want me walking around in that.”
More Goggle news on this here.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Gothamist does Jayson, too

Jen Chung and pals deconstruct the J-man.

Fight Club: Disgraced Journalists

Eric Gillen of Black Table offers show and tell on America's disgraced journalists. Says Gillin:
A closer look at the picture shows that charges of plagiarism, fraud and misconduct don't always spell instant career death. In fact, some journalists have received little more than a soft rap on the knuckles while others, of course, have never worked in this business again
More delicious writing about this right here.

Jayson in the NY Observer

Jayson tells the NY Observer:
"I was young at The New York Times. ...I was black at The New York Times, which is something that hurts you as much as it helps you. I certainly have health problems, which probably led to me having to kill Jayson Blair, the journalist. I was either going to kill myself or I was going to kill the journalist persona."
More stories about Jayson Blair coillected at Google News.

Jayson Blair: The Pix

Want candids of Jayson Blair? Times photo Ed Keating went over to his Brooklyn home and shot candids last Friday, according to Editor & Publisher. The photos first appeared in Newsweek, but for a sum, they can be yours as well (if you're a media outlet, of course.)
Jayson, Jayson, Jayson, you're on your way to being the Tammy Faye Baker of the the new millenium. Don't be shuffling and scraping, man, you worked hard and you screwed up--live with it.

Great article by Jimmy Guterman!

Return of the Dotcom Media Flameouts
A new version of the Wall Street Journal Online takes its cue from some unlikely sources.
By Jimmy Guterman, May 21, 2003

Remember dotcom journalism and how it was going to change everything? was supposed to make sense as a Nasdaq-listed public company? After numerous downgradings, it now trades over the counter for a nickel a share. was supposed to render the Wall Street Journal irrelevant? Well, the editor of is back at the Journal. was supposed to render existing media journalism irrelevant? Now the Wall Street Journal Online has launched a promising service that successfully does some of what Inside set out to do.
That last development is the most interesting, and it shows how a few of the dotcom journalism models worth preserving are being incorporated into more venerable media ventures. As with's Health Edition, launched last year, the front page of its month-old online Media & Marketing Edition includes annotated headlines, links to related stories by WSJ-affiliated sources such as Barron's and the Dow Jones Newswire, and shortcuts to subject-specific areas on associated sites. For those wanting a quick overview of the day's media and marketing news, along with links to more detailed information, it's quite useful.

Full story here.

AOL 9.0: More here; software released.

eNews story on 9.0 beta here.
BetaNews piece here.

Flying: No Terrorists please, but pigs are okay

According to a recent story, the new U S Department of Transportation regulations allow pigs, horses, and other animals on board a plane so long as they can fit into the luxury cabin of a Boeing 777. The new guidelines have been introduced so all "service animals" - not just guide dogs for the blind - can be transported with their owners.
More here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Writing: I used to write poetry--here's one


At the first class we learn to say
Di bobe zet der bon,
the grandmother sees the train.

By the end of the course
we will speak 1,000 basic words,
be able to read the Forverts
and hear the different gutterals
in Polish and Russian Yiddish.

Di bobe zet der bon,
are our first five words:

The grandmother sees the train pass through her village.
The grandmother sees the train,

her children are on it.

The grandmother sees the train come to take her away.
She is the only one left who speaks Yiddish.

More of this poem here.

AOL Client 9: Feels like CitySearch

AOL Client 9: Feels like CitySearch
As most of you know, AOL upgrades and releases a new client once a year. Last October, it was AOL 8.0, which offered much improved mail functionality, a new look and feel on the Welcome Screen, and a much strong integration of tools such as You've Got Pictures, Radio and the IM/Buddy tools such as Expressions.
AOL does updates to its clients throughout the year as well, (viz the new Broadband client release this April), but the big thing is the annual "new" client.
So AOL 9.0 is scheduled for sometime this Fall, and pictures and designs are starting to leak across the web as beat testing rolls out.
There's a whole set of screen shots at Neowin.
Some comments on 9.0 changes as represented by these screens:
1) Information management--New emphasis on suitcase and my stuff: Two items on the very top suggest AOL is going to integrate more with desktop tools and information management--a File command on far left, and as little suitcase icon at far right.
2) Downplaying channel content--No more channel bar on Welcome Screen. Does anyone go to all that content buried in the bar? AOLers have long discussed whether the real estate and the click-through for the left nav mar are merited--guess the answer is in these 9.0 designs.
3) Continued broadband strip below for those who don't have broadband client--that hasn't changed much.
4) AOL Dashboard replacing channel strip--Like the current AOL IM/Mail tool, this object can open and close, collapsing on command. What does it do? Weather, money, radio search and dictionary reference are the highlights.
5) Refreshing tabs and expanded views. Right now the Welcome Screen has little buttons you click to see new current features and news. This new design allows you to use a tab to refresh the view. Tabs suggested a focus on younger audience/premium content/key demographic groups. A tabbed series right down by the promos offers Music Sports Teen People(this is the teen channel now) Customize. Note that all these categories appeal to the 13-25 demographic, and that they are all key categories to offer upsells in the form of premium services. Further, the Customize tab suggests that AOL will be able to go beyond the current capability it has in 8.0 to offer users the chance to select one of 8 screens and allow users to switch some components in and out--adding some of the capabilities of My AOL and My Netscape to the main screen. (Yes, it's like RSS in a way).
Finally, doesn't the whole thing look a lot like Citysearch? Lots of commerce and transaction services, plus community?

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Poetry from Jayson Blair's student website

From Gawker, with love:
More here

Life to go after Parade?

Stories ran yesterday about Time Inc developing Life, the defunct magazine, into a photo-driven newspaper insert that could compete with Parade, the Advance Publications newspaper insert/magazine., and with USA Today's insert, owned by Gannett. Time Inc is reportedly testing the product with newspaper owners to gauge interest before deciding to move ahead.
If they do move ahead, will the web site be AOL-only?
(Full disclosure: I ran the new media business at Parade before I moved to Netscape/AOL)

3 Month Anniversary! Blogalicious Habit

It's 3 months since I started blogging. Only three months, but how life has changed:
1) Have started a consulting company, 5ive, with four amazing guys.
2) Have consulting clients, and am enjoying working with them
3) Am working with K-12 education and blogging, two areas I am passionate about
4) Am doing more work with non-profits, another goal post leaving AOL
5) Have K-12 related business idea I am developing and it's going well.
6) Feel like my life is getting a new shape--on two coasts, no less.

Microsoft & AOL Bloggers

Mary Foley of Microsoft Watch says the evil empire has blogging on the brain. She's pulled together a list of all the really smart 'softies with Blogs.
Further she points out how Microsoft's forthcoming FrontPage 2003 product can be used as a front-end blogging tool, as can InfoPath, how Microsoft's OneNote note-taking application (with its one-button "publish to Web" feature) can be a blog builder, and avid interest in building .Net blog plugins and tools.

Has anyone pulled together a list of AOLers with blogs? Given that Dave Winer says AOL has 400 techies programming blog software (so not true!), you'd think there'd be lots of bloggers, eh? The only AOL bloggers I am aware of who are actively blogging are Erin Malone, and Chris Johnson, though there are surely more. Netscaper Andrew Woolridge is into blogging in a big way, but it's not connected to his day job.

Big Biz & Innovation Summit?

Just got the weekly AlwaysOn Rap email from Tony Perkins and was a little bemused to see that AOL's Jon Miller is going to speak at his Stanford event. July 15-17th. Perkins says this adds "even more momenteum to the event."
Is it possible to have an Innovation Summit where a focal point is being able to talk to and run up against thje CEOs of really big, mature companies, people who might be able to give you a job, or throw your company some significant business?
Can big companies be innovative?
If the point is to get a lot of really smart people into a room and have them talk about innovation, I get that. Jon Miller is really smart and he's helped move AOL along from the mess it was in two years ago. There is no question it is now in a smaller mess than it was then.
But I wonder how much the " heavy weights all poised to be part of the always-on revolution" really understand innovation...or am I missing the point here?

Monday, May 19, 2003

Oldies and still goodies

Judith Donath's The Sociable Web and Mark Granovetter's The Strength of Weak Ties" were both big influences when I read themin the 90s. Corante is picking them both up...good stuff.

Pet your roach, honey

Reuters says that Australians are keeping giant roaches as pets. They're not keeping those nasty little German roaches(brown), or the big fisty Palmetto bugs, nah, it's the down under premiumn pests that have pet cachet: the giant burrowing cockroach and the rhinoceros cockroach both native to Australia, and found in the warm, northeastern state of Queensland.

Accordng to Reuters, "These gigantic cockroaches, officially called Macropanesthia Rhinoceros, grow as big as the palm of a hand, measuring about three inches and weighing just over an ounce. They are also known to live up to 10 years. "

Hmmn....maybe my cat would like one as a pet.
(Via Amish Tech Support)

AOL Broadband: Will growth slow?

Department of Let's pray this ain't true:
The number of people with high-speed Internet connections to their homes increased 50 percent in the 12 months, but it looks like conversion to high-speed access is slowing down. Stories here.

Dirt: But Jayson Blair was a nice guy!

The Jayson Blair had a problem he was struggling with and he never acted like an entitled twit so I feel bad for him stories are leaking out now, along with info about his supposed coke and alcohol abuse and treatment.
A piece in the Morning news about how nice he was to the writer.
Wash Post: I met Jayson Blair ten years ago...
Cuppa Tea: He was a nice guy
This guy should NOT profit financially from what he did!--But he probably will.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Dave Winer: If you want to be in Google, You gotta be on the Web

Dave Winer, former Netscape engineer and developer of RSS, sometimes seems as powerful and as feared as Aunty Entity, the Tina Turner character ruling the Thunderdome, but he knows his stuff.
In an entry in his blog today, Winer points out how pages that are locked behind paid databases--like those published by the NY Times--get less page views than those out free on the web. Conclusion: if you want to show up in Google's search results, make your pages reachable by Google.
Winer: "Weblogs, on the other hand, are not only on the Web, but beautifully organized for search and retrieval. Google is just indexing what's on the Web. Most print pubs aren't there...There's basically a very simple rule. If you want to be in Google, you gotta be on the Web. "

Art: George Ahgupuk & Rockwell Kent

One of my favorite artists from the 1930s is Rockwell Kent, the painter, illustrator, and designer. Kent combined a passion for art with a love of the outdoors, and did much of his finest work camped out on expeditions to Alaska, Greenland, and other remote & rustic areas. This afternoon, up in Hastings on Hudson, I bought a copy of Greenland, Kent's book about his sojourn there.
I also learned that a new art exhibit of Eskimo drawings opens this week in a summer exhibit at the Anchorage Museum of Art and History, and that one of the featured artists is by George Aden Ahgupuk,. Apgupuk is an Alaskan Inupiat artist whose mentor was Rockwell Kent, who discovered him on a trip to Alaska.
According to Russell Hartman and Dinah Houghtaling, writing on Native Alaskan Graphic Arts: Founding Artists , in 1936, American artist Rockwell Kent purchased some of Ahgupuk's drawings while on a trip to Alaska. Although the two artists did not personally meet, Kent proclaimed Ahgupuk a great artist and arranged for his induction into the American Artists Group. Kent also propelled Time Magazine and The New York Times to write feature articles about him, which led to book illustration assignments.
Kent, who feel out of favor in the 50's for his socialistic beliefs and curmudgeonly views about "modern" art (ie, he HATED abstractionism). An easy way to see why I like his so much is is read one of his books or look at some of his prints, woodcuts and paintings. Here are a few, all available for sale from the Aaron Gallery:

The most complete collection of Kent's work is in Plattsburgh, New York at the Art Museum at SUNY Plattsburgh. Good links to his work are at Artcyclopedia the Smithsonian Magazine.m and an Alaskan department of education page about his book Wilderness, here.
Here's a pix of the artist from the 30s--I was surprised at how contemporary it appears.


Saturday, May 17, 2003

Yummish: Foodblog & breadcoffeechocolateyoga

Just found Kips' Foodblog...I know it's a good food website when reading makes me want to click, cook, eat, not neccessarily in that order. Lots of links to other sites, descriptions of meals and recipes, and photos.
No RSS..too bad, I am still in love with my newsmonster reader.
breadcoffeechocolateyoga is also neat, First of all, this person likes coffee and chocolate, and second of all, they're into brazilian music and acid jazz..what could be bad?

AOL: Buddy Icons that don't suck

Via David at BoingBoing, BadAss Buddy Icons, a site to grab uh, unique icons for your AOL IM tools.

Star Kids: Securing those domain names early

According to, Michael Douglass and Catherine Zeta-Jones have registered a dozen Internet addresses aka URLS for baby Carys Zeta Douglas, born on April 20 this year. More details in this story in the Mirror.
Baby son Dylan's name is already registered to Michael Douglas@ P.O. Box 49054, Los Angeles, CA 90049,
A quick check reveals that the domains for Rolling Stone kids, Elizabeth, and are all unsecured.

Blogging: The T-shirt

"Friends don't let friends blog drunk"
If you want to show the world you're a blogger, or just have hip, amazing obscure slogans on your chest, check out Paul Frankenstein's Cafe Shop with assorted merch from Gawker, JaneGalt, and lots of other folks who hopefully didn't think this enterprise would pay the rent on the 1 bedroom.
Quwstion: Does Eizabeth Spiers wear the Gawker throng? Might be great shwag to send the Hilton sisters--Paris seems to always need new panties.

Missed it again: NYC Bloggers Bash

Missed it again! The NYC BLoggers bash was last night, and at the last minute I couldn't go.
We're selling our house, and I had to go home and deal with getting it ready for the wave of realtors heading through the door today. It must have been a great time tho--it was at that cool bar down in the subway in midtown in the West Side and lots of people I hope I get to meet next time were there: Paul Frankenstein, Jane Galt, Shelia the Redhead, etc. And Anil, of course, who I know and think is great.
I think everyone who went there is still asleep--will point later to any cool pix that go up...and all the blog entries the folks have gotta post.

New Word: Blogeoisie

New word for the blogging compelled: blogeoisie, the class of people who read and write blogs, coined buy Bill Thmpson from the BBC and reported by BBC's Ten Things We Didn't Know This Time Last Week.
Thanks Luke Hopwood, dev/null

NY Times: Dating a Blogger story

Amusing NYC Times piece on spilling your guts in cyberspace--stories of the venting, ranting and naif who let loose and get busted (as opposed to those of us who just put it out there, k nowing everyone in our life will see, eventually.)
Proof blogging is entertaining mainstream is Times covering it as lifestyle story, as opposed to Tech.

Blogger's Delight:new links to SMB!

Ah, the sweet rewards of the blogging world. Four new bloggers linked to me yesterday!
Redheaded Ramblings: Shelia A-Stray, an interesting blog that is a combination of a personal diary and sharp observations--well worth reading; Travelers Diagram, a NYC blog with interesting notes--and phots--on art, the city, music & more; the rompe blog, from Germany!; Aron Bailey's 601am, a wonderful blog of morning NY goodness. Thanks for finding this interesting--we aim to serve it up hot, fresh, and delicious.

Friday, May 16, 2003

One Thousand (Cloned) Trees: Natalie Jeremijenko's Art

Today BoingBoing highlighted environmental artist Natalie Jeremijenko's new "One Tree(s)" project which involves planting 1,000 clones of the same tree in various places and monitoring what happens. My friend Steven Madoff has written about Natalie's work and had discussed it with me; great to see this getting play on BoingBoing, one of my favorite blogs (okay, maybe my favorite). The show is at Pond, info here.
A 1999 Rockefeller Fellow, Jeremijenko has done projects for MassMOCA and was named one of the top one hundred young innovators by the MIT Technology Review.Here's a link to an amazing paper (PDF) she wrote about product design, and a link to The Biotech Hobbyist, an online magazine she produced 1998-2001. This zine is "THE place on the Web for biotech tinkerers, builders, experimenters, students, and others who love the intellectual
challenge and stimulation of hobby biotech !"
(a little conceptual art, mebbe?)
More links here.
I just realized that her initias are the same as New Jersey--NJ.
This must mean my brain has died but I am still typing. Uh-oh.

News: Teacher files against No Child Left Behind Act

According to KCTV, Kansas City, Kansas, Brian K. Kegerreis of Roeland Park, Kansas, a middle school special education teacher, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education on Thursday claiming that the No Child Left Behind education act is unconstitutional.

The law requires that all public school students be academically proficient by 2014, and specifies penalties for schools that don't measure up. According to KCTV, Kansas, Kegerreis feels the law could is a barrier to providing quality education.
More stories here .

AOL: Colburne doesn't remember

Story in CNN Money today explaining how documents filed as part of a deposition to the SEC by David COlbunr last summer offer interesting detail--or a lack of them--about the pPurchase Pro deal under scrutiny. According to the article, Colburne says he doesn't remember details of key meetings, but he doesn offer some details about his deputy Eric Keller, who was put on leave at AOL as a response to the SEC inquiry.

Quote: "In his deposition, Colburn described a conversation he had with Joe Ripp, then AOL's chief financial officer and now the vice-chairman of the AOL division, and Keller. Colburn said he had "concern," which was shared by other "senior executives," that Keller was "not fully forthcoming" about a $12.2 million AOL transaction with Purchase Pro. Not long after that conversation, Keller was placed on leave. Colburn and a human resource manager notified Keller, but despite prodding from an SEC lawyer, Colburn testified that he couldn't recall details of that conversation. " (More here.)

News: Check this

Richard Branson buys an Australian island to use for staff holiday retreat
DIA: Beacon set to open, with much press fanfare and rising real estate prices in town.
Beatle wife Heather Mills insists she would be "happy to live in a shed" with Sir Paul.
LA director Adam Shankman is suing Jennifer Lopez for $6MM for ripping off his idea of doing a big-screen adaption of Carmen with the singer.

Family ties: Giants coach Fassel reunited with son put up for adoption

Denver post photo
34 years ago, then teen-aged couple John and Kitty Fassel put their out of weblock baby up for adoption. This week, the Fassels reunited with their son, now the father of four and a resident of Denver. The New York Times ran a heart-warming story on this event, including very generous an dloving quotes from Dorothy Rogers, the sons adopted mother.
More recent stories on this one here.

Pack and Go: Taking your yoga instructor on the road

New York Times article today on a growing trend for the affluent NY/LA set to take their yoga instructor on the road when they travel. Quote from a hotel mogul:
"It's important to travel with someone you can depend on and trust, someone who helps you better your life. now more than ever...Even though taking a chef, trainer, Pilates, and sometimes a yoga instructor with me to St. Barts, the Hamptons and Europe is a way I nuture myself and take care of my health, it may sound frivolous to people who don't understand."
No, not really. We understand that your psychic is afraid to fly.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

AOL News, more execs & shareholder's meeting

New execs adding to the mix
Ned Brody, who was CFO at Looksmart, is joining AOL as SVP for premium services, reporting to Broadband head Lisa Hook, reports Business Week and CNET. An AOL release today quotes Lisa Hook, "I'm excited about the opportunity we have to reinforce the consumer relationships at the heart of our business and create incremental revenues by providing members with quality premium services. Already, we've made good progress with the recent launch of premium services in the voice, music and anti-virus categories. Ned is a first-rate business strategist and manager, and I know that he will be a great asset to us as we continue to build our premium services business."
Brody left Looksmart in 2001 and was replaced by Martha Clark. Shares of Looksmart fell 43% last week when the compant announced greatly reduced results for the most recent quarter.
In the past six months, AOL has added some very talented people to their team: Tina Sharkey, Deanna Brown both came from the NY media world; Ned Desmond was brought in from Time, Inc. AOL also recruited Joe McCambley from Boston-based ad agency Digitas to run the Studio division, where all the pages are built. Hopefully, these folks will help make some hits.

Shareholder's meeting
AOL's next shareholder's meeting, at which Richard Parsons becomes chairman, is this Friday. The Associated Press is predicting shareholder drama at the meeting, given that shares have fallen 30 percent since last year, despite leaders' vows to get thing back on track and assurances we've hit bottom. Since the merger was completed, in 2001, AOL TW shares have lost 70% of their value, as we all know.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Department of Scary Stuff: California Autism Rate Doubles

According to a recent report by the California Department of Developmental Services, the number of children with autism in California has nearly doubled in the last four years and continues to grow as researchers struggle to identify the cause of the incurable developmental disorder. Reported in SF Gate.

New Blog: Newbie Mind: blogging as a communications and learning tool

I broke down and started a new blog where I can focus on writing about blogging as a communications and learning tool. Am interested in promoting and supporting blogs as a tool for teacher professional development and curriculumn exchange, group discussion, and community building. Newbie Mind will focus on those topics and on what is being said and done in those areas. It will also contain tips, links, and best practices.

Test: New blogger tools

I'm posting this with DANO, the new blogger platform. The tool allowed me to set up an RSS feed automatically, but Newsmonster can't find it--yet. I am hoping that publishing this item, and having note changes will make the new RSS feed visible. Here goes.

Business, California, Internet

Department of Vacant Buildings: eBay purchases San Jose campus & city officials kvell

According to a story in today's New York Times , eBay is buying a vast San Jose office campus for future expansion. This is big news in a town filled with vacant dot-bomb office parks and emptying apartment complexes.
"This gives me hope," says Mike Fox Jr. , chairman of the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce and president of M.E. Fox & Co. Inc. Distribution Co. "The most successful dot-com company in the world has chosen to stay here. That's good for the psyche."
San Jose Merc story here .

NYC, photos

Neat animated gif of new york city apartment buildings from anil and jason levine (Q daily news). Click here to see.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

News; Gossiplist

Gossip: New Gossiplist is out
The new Gossiplist is out and it's a doozy. Blind items about John Goodman, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Gavin Rossdale, Fran Drescher, Cameron Douglas and others are explicated with care, as we used to say in English class.
Is it all true? Who knows--probably not, but mucho fun to read.

Business: EXECUTIVE SHUFFLE: Kevin Conroy promoted at AOL

EXECUTIVE SHUFFLE: Kevin Conroy promoted at AOL
Read the announcement this morning that Kevin Conroy's been promoted to EVP and head of broadband for AOL. I remember when Kevin joined AOL to lead the music team back in 2001. He came from BMG, where he'd worked with Napster and took a unit that needed a lot of work and made it into a powerful force for consumers, and for AOL's bottom line. Kevin has always been one of the people at AOL who planned carefully to get things done. His move into broadband is a natural extension of his current role and his interests in live and recorded entertainment delivered digitally.
His promotion does make me wonder, however, how the AOL organization is going to shift once again. Will Kevin's entertainment teams move with him, reflecting AOL's continued--and new--emphasis on broadband content as their subscription revenue stream? If yes, that means a significant chunk of the programming group could move off the Programming EVP's bottom line and into another executive's organization.
Or, it's possible that Kevin will move and leave his Entertainment organization in place with a new leader, perhaps his second-in command, and be more of a virtual leader for both teams.
Either way, with Conroy's new role, the internal lines at AOL are redrawn in a way that puts one of AOL's most focused and driving executives into an even more key role..
More stories here.

Monday, May 12, 2003

Humor: Pesky the Rat

Pesky the Rat Goes to Bloggers' Therapy
Pesky the rat and his friend Janet the Snake are the Archie and Mehitabel of today's blogosphere--they have their own blog where they comment on recent events. Most recently, Pesky and his snakey pal attended Blogger's Therapy because they are unable to talk without insulting each other. Before that, Persky commented on the flap at the New York Times over standards and assured his readers The Rat would not compromise.

News: The New York Times Doesn't Get It

News: The New York Times Doesn't Get It
It's going to take more than excoriating Jayson Blair to get the Time's to understand how new media models are changig. J.D. Lasica lays it out here in a terrific article about how the Times just gets it wrong.

Blogging: Promoting your blog

Promoting your blog
Okay, you're writing the damn thing. You told your friends, your mother, and your ex-colleagues from work. Now what? Short of publishing company secrets, how do you get anyone to visit your blog?
Shirley Kaiser of Brainstorms and Raves offers tips, including links to Volokh's Promoting One's Blog . Tim Swanson has a Link-0-Rama section on his blog that lists all the places that will promote, list, and syndicate your blog.Other links that have value: How To Get Your Web Site Content Syndicated by Kalena Jordan and DanThies.
One of the best comments in the above advice, however, is to keep at it . It's unrealistic to expect to build a large audience quickly, unless you are writing something very unique. Also, remember that most people unfaimilar with your writing will come to read a specific post, not your blog in general, so focus on alerting people to key posts and hope that builds up a repeat audience.
More tk on this...stay tuned.

More on Jayson Blair: E&P--The Blair Watch Project, or who knew the Times was that wacky?
The press and the blog worlds are going crazy with the revelation in the NY Times denoucement of Jayson Blair.
One of the best alternative views is from E&P's Greg Mitchell, who picks apart the tremendously lengthly, painstaking detailed story the Times published about what he called "The Blair Watch Incident."
SF Indymedia takes another tack in its story --that the Times is rotten to the core and demonizing young Blair for its own failings, including pressuring young reporters to write too many stories, wear suits, and smoke outside the building."
ChronWatch says "Jayson Blair is journalism's Andy Fastow."
Alternet's writer says "According to some critics, (Blair's) poster boy for the repeal of affirmative action...There are countless reporters of color with proven track records looking for new opportunities. The question is whether outspoken, honest journalists of color are a better fit than con artists like Blair."
Gersh Kuntzman at Newsweek filed a column today making fun of the whole brouhaha. Kuntzman writes:" What will no doubt become known as “The Blair Switch Project” is the greatest journalism scandal since the last time a journalist fabricated stories, became the toast of the town, crashed and burned in a public spectacle of second-guessing, disappeared for a few weeks and then emerged with a six-figure book contract."
Twenty-eight links to this story right now at Blogdex trackback.

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Jayson Blair: What is most amazing?

What is more amazing--that the NY Times devoted a front page, meticulously researched article to detailing Jayson Blair's obsessive deceptions and frauds during this time as a writer at the paper--or the slopy, self-serving journalism Blair engaged in?
And what's with folk at the NY Times? Seems like Jonathan Landman was the only one who wanted to move the guy out.
And finally, how sad is this? Watching a promising journalist self-destruct his career is heart-breaking.
Good comments from One Minute Man here.
Mickey Kraus tears the Times a new one here .
Poynter asks Can this happen elsewhere?

RSS: Does it work?

This is my RSS test--let's see if I got it to work or not.

PACKING IT UP AND TAKING IT ON THE ROAD: Going bicoastal, not postal

We'll we're about to move forward with those plans to be bicoastal in a major way. Sometime this summer, we're going to move to California, back to the Valley.
Only when Susan Mernit moves anywhere, it's never simple, nope. I'm going to move back West and continue working in New York. Yep, it's that bicoastal thing again.
Live in California, work everywhere. Come back to the City (NY is the only city that never needs a modifier) and see clients and get things done. Come back to the city a a lot. Work in California as well.
Am I completely insane? Well, I might be , but a bi-coastal work life won't be the thing that drives me round the bend--I've done this before. When I worked at AOL, I commuted cross country for a year--almost every week. (Yes, I have amazing miles). Then I commuted up and down from NY to VA, which seemed like a mere trifle after my 6,000 mile excusions.
Truth is, I am very excited about heading back to California-- at heart, I am both an editor/business person and a product developer. While NY is the world's media capital, the Bay area is home to so many brilliant product companies--I realy enjoy the creation that goes on in both places. And I know great people in both places.
So I hopefully will have the best--and worst--of both coasts pretty soon.

Tigers & Pigs: Why can't we all just get along?

From Betsy Devine's blog, which I found via Scott Johnson :

"Sai Mai, a 26-month-old female tiger, plays with baby pigs at a zoo in Chonburi province, 50 miles east of Bangkok, May 7, 2003. The Royal Bengali tigress was born in captivity and breast-fed by a female pig for four months after her birth."

Saturday, May 10, 2003

Brewster Amazing! The Guardian on how Brewster and the Internet Archive print books off the webfrom the back of a van--and how they've brought this mission to India.

"It takes about 20 minutes to print out a 300-page Wizard of Oz," says Kahle, "and if you have four printers, you can produce up to 30 books an hour. And you can do an edition of one, which is interesting. Harvard says it costs $2 to lend a book out, then put it back on the shelf, so it's cheaper to give them away."

More Guardian" Having proven the concept, Kahle is hoping that other people are going to take it up. The first Bookmobile has been spun off into Anywhere Books, which is a project of the Rudolf Steiner Foundation. Kahle took the idea to India, and that country now has two bookmobiles on the road, with another 28 to come. The Library of Alexandria, in Egypt, is planning to do one, with the support of Hewlett-Packard and the US embassy. China could follow. With World Bank or similar financing, third world Bookmobiles could even become thriving microbusinesses."

Brewster is one of the people who played a key role in my Internet life--and he has always done interesting and valueable things...way to go, B.

IBM Sharepoint

IBM Sharepoint:
Met someone at a luncheon the other day who was interested in Microsoft Sharepoint as a blogging type tool. Comments by Eric Hancock here that I'll pass on to her. Short version: You use it, the borg owns you.

Mitch Ratcliffe rocks: Blog Endorsement
With my new newsreader, I can keep up with more sites, and actually read some of the blogs people keep talking about. I've followed the blogs of Joi Ito, Marc Canter, Nick Denton, Ross Mayfield, Meg Hourihan (a favorite!) and a few other closely enough I feel like the wanna-be watching the popular kids, but I've heard people talk about "Mitch" more than I've read Mitch.
Well, I've been reading Mitch today and hey, I'm going to keep reading Mitch.
Favorite items from today's reading: Blogging is not the same as journalism viz a snarky flap about investors flogging bloggers, and item on Marty Yudkovitz as new Tivo president.
And finally, the guy clearly reads. He's got some good literary comments in his blog and a clear sense of histroy..always a plus.
And finally, he's got a definite word on the squabbling about what is social software and who's entitled to call it that, aka "I'm the boss of this playground/office/clique" whatever. For those of us who weren't part of the blogging scene back at the dawn of time 3-4 years ago cause our heads were stuck up the butt of the web, these arguements--oh, I mean discussions--don't have the resonance they do for the old guard.
Anyway, check out Mitch.

BBC: Dogs and cats being farmed for skins in Europe and China. Story here
WSJ: Women think Bush is a hottie in a flight suit. Here .
BBC: Monkeys cannot write Shakespeare. Uh-duh.

Speak out against the proposed FCC changes to prevent media monopolies

# posted by Susan : 8:58 AM |

Friday, May 09, 2003

My New Tools: Mozilla and NewsMonster
So my friend Mark Graham recommended NewsMonster as a good news aggregator, aka news reader. Okay, sounds like just what I need.
So first I check out Kevin Burtin's and see this guy is hella smart. Then I check out NewsMonster and decide it could be a great tool, just as Mark suggested.
Next step: I download Mozilla and play with it. It's like Netscape, without the ads. I remember working with the browser team on what the sidebar tabs should be for Netscape 7.0--I asked them to get rid of of What's Related, cause consumers didn't get it.
In the Mozilla version, of course, it's still the Top Tab, and it works really well for a more experienced user base.
But then, once I have NewsMonster downloaded on my machine, I hit one of those little snags--NM doesn't see my Java which means it can't work.
So I go to Java Sun and get Java, run it and open NewsMonster.
Presto! It works.
I now have a nice news aggregartor up and running with about 50 feeds.
But here's the great part: it is no trouble to add more RSS feeds from anywhere--everywhere--I want!
Newsmonster is able to easily snag the RSS feeds from every one of the sites I like that has RSS.
So I go on an acquisitions rampage across the Blogosphere.
45 minutes later, there are over 150 sites in my NewsMonster Index. I am now going to be able to read and scan what others are saying in a way that was impossible bevore I added this tool.
Yeah! I am excited.

Next steps:
Use NewsMonster
See how using NewsMonster affects my reading and posting behavior
Observe what this teaches me about how increasing consumption of online information may reduce consumption of other info sources, like TV or weekly magazines
Get an RSS feed for this I wonder why I didn't set one up right away> Just didn't realize the value fully.
I wil keep posting on this....thanks Mark and Kevin for a cool tool. Will send you some dough if I keep using it...
Update: Matt Haughey on the joys of Mozilla.

# posted by Susan : 8:44 PM |

Thursday, May 08, 2003

By the way..did you know...
There is a site for ex-Netscapers, of whom there are thousands by now.If you are one of the many and have not listed yourself here, go do it. If you're just avidly curious with way too much time on your hands, check out the generations of good-bye notes, starting with the AOL acquisition of Netscape and continuing up to the present day. Feels like Charlotte's baby spiders crying goodbye as they drifted away...

# posted by Susan : 4:26 PM |
Netscape's star may have faded, and the staff slimmed down at the Mountain View campus, but one guy hasn't forgotten the legacy. Javascripter and evangelist Eric Meyer has recreated the Netscape Fish Cam, one of the web's first cams, and a window into the engineering area where Netscape founding engineer Lou Montulli worked.
About the cam and about the specs.

# posted by Susan : 4:07 PM |
Megan: This one's for you!
A gift for Megan P from Zack J courtesy of Sidney S: you all know who you are, here's the present:

# posted by Susan : 3:32 PM |
READING: What I Loved--Skirting the line between fiction and reality

I just finished reading Siri Hustvedt's third novel, What I Loved. This carefully written story of the friendship between two New York based
literary/artistic couples began with a graceful pacing and leisurely plot development that reminded me of Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose , but about halfway through, the story turned into something else-a clunky roman a clef about the real life Club Kid Murders, in which downtown scenster Michael Alig was convicted of taking the life of one Andre (Angel) Melendez, chopping up the body, and dumping it in the East River, events soon to be portrayed in the film Party Monster.

Turns out that Paul Auster's son, Daniel, from his first mariage to writer Lydia Davis—was involved in this murder, a murder remarkably similar to the murder that takes up the last third of Hustvedt's novel. In 1998, Daniel Auster, then 20, pleaded guilty in Manhattan Supreme Court to stealing $3,000 from the body of a deceased drug dealer named Andre (Angel) Melendez. He admitted to being in Alig's apartment during the murder and received a sentence of five years’ probation.

The novel is full of other apparently autobiographical bits--one of the characters--Iris, is Siri spelled backwards. Another main character paints a series about his father, similar to The Invention of Solitude, Auster's book about his dad. And so on.

While I didn't know any of this as I was reading it may partly explain why the tone and pace of the book veer off so suddenly from the strong beginning. Hustvedt is an excellent writer but the structure of the book seems as flimsy as a house of cards, and the resolution at the end highly unsatisfactory. Too bad real life got in the way.
Gossip: The New York Observer, Slate.
Reviews: Bookreporter, AP and NY Times.
Interview: here.

# posted by Susan : 3:23 PM |
Department of I never want to meet them: First giant squid, now giant jellyfish called Big Red

CNN reports that a new species of giant jellyfish has been found in the pacific by scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute The marine biologists used a remote-controlled submarine to get video images of the big jellyfish swimming and then collected tissue samples of the bell and the thick arms of one specimen, as well as one 8-inch wide "baby" giant jellyfish.More links from Technorati.

# posted by Susan : 2:28 PM |
Roach Executions: Ultimate NYC art
A slide show of Catherine Chalmer's new exhibit of her photos of roaches is on the web at RARE, the Chelsea Gallery. Chalmers, whose profile in the New York Times explains how she raises bugs and then stages scenes she photographs, has created the ultimate New York exhibit.

More Chalmers:
Food Chain Show : Discussion with the artist
Interviews here and here .

# posted by Susan : 6:27 AM |
MEDIA: Online ad sales growing--but AOL still lags behind
Yesterday's Business Week story says that while the NY Times, Yahoo, and other companies are seeing a healthy uptick in online ad spends, AOL ad sales are not doing so hot. $178MM in big partner deals have expired and are not being renewed, plus the companie is still focusing its efforts--and its salesforce-- on $500,00 to $1MM sized-deals--and not returning calls from smaller players, according to the Brian Hindo piece.
The online service's first-quarter ad sales fell to $226 million, from $389 million a year ago--it will be interesting to see how a new leader (former US Interactive exec Lisa Brown), an improved broadband product, and a dire need to improve the numbers move the needle.

# posted by Susan : 6:06 AM |
Dept. of what's in a name: Famed pink salmon is really grey, ugh

Did you know that farm raised salmon has grey flesh, not pink? According to a recent story reported on and other sites, a lawsuit brought by conservationists has pushed three of the big supermarket chains--Krogers, Safeway, and Albertsons--to note that the farm-raised salmon they sell has been dyed to mimic the pink-tones of wild salmon, who eat a different diet that the farmed fish.
CNN on the fish story, neat Phil Huang column on this here.

# posted by Susan : 5:47 AM |

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

CASHING IN: The Next Generation
Following in the tradition of Michael Finkel and Michael Wolff, disgraced journo Stephen Glass, who invented items for at least 27 of the 41stories he wrote for the New Republic stories and got caught, is out promoting his new novel, The Fabulist, about a young writer who climbs the ladder through--hey--faking quotes. A story in the Washington Post today quotes Glass telling "60 minutes" correspondent Steve Kroft: "I lied to the people who were my co-workers and cared about me. I lied to my family. I lied to my editors. I lied to all of the readers, and I lied to the people I was writing about."
No doubt Glass will join many others in that special circle of hell that has $1.MM houses, expensive cars, successful books, and powerful friends.

# posted by Susan : 7:13 AM |
FASHION MUSEUM: Zandra Rhodes is kickin it
The Fashion and Textile Museum, the first exhibition space in London dedicated to the global fashion industry, opens in London tomorrow. Founded by legendary designer Zandra Rhodes, the museum is built on her 3000-piece collection of key pieces from Ossie Clark, Jean Muir and other designers, and housed in a converted warehouse on the south bank of the River Thames. I was one of those kids in the 70s who read mom's Vogue and marvelled at the amazing creations from Rhodes and others--it's exciting to think more of these fantastic clothes will be available for viewing.

News stories here, here and here.

# posted by Susan : 6:35 AM |
Paid Content: Is Playboy getting it right?
Playboy Enterprises reported today that net income for the first quarter ending March 31, 2003, was $0.6 million, compared to a net loss in the prior year quarter of $9.4 million. Apparently these results reflected their online group's move from an operating loss to an operating profit, as well as improved Licensing and Publishing results.
There's some pretty agressive marketing going on at the US Playboy site, including a sizzling premiumn cyberclub that promised access to snaps of every Playmate ever, a Playboy TV streaming site, lots of maagzine sub offers, gaming, and an online catalog/store.
Back in 2001, the online unit cut staff and began to focus on pushing users to premium subscription services, including video content. According to the PLAN Annual Report filed this March, the principal sources of Playboy Online Group's revenues now come from subscription revenues for websites offering unique Playboy branded content, e-commerce sales of Playboy branded and other consumer products, and advertising and revenues generated by international licensing transactions for websites outside of the United States--like the site operated in partnership with Korea Telecom Hitel.
Playboy is clearly very focused on exploiting its brands, selling across multiple media to its core audiences, which include women, and getting into international in a big way. These are lessons all information companies should be learning, but Playboy seems to have found ways to focus in that really suit their brand--and their bottom line.

# posted by Susan : 6:09 AM |
A new day! yeah. Yesterday was my first experience of blog withdrawal--being unable to post made me feel uneasy. I'm going to leave the template alone and hope
I don't go back to that place for a while.

# posted by Susan : 5:43 AM |
ONLY IN JAPAN: Plant one on your poodle
Is this an outgrowth of the Japanese subculture that encourages thirty--something women to dress like twelve-year olds, or just plain weird anywhere? Geisha asobi via Xeni at --thanks!

# posted by Susan : 1:46 AM |

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

My blog done broke
I spent much of today trying to repair the problems with this blog. What I hoped would take 40 minutes to fix took more like 5 hours
This morning, I decided to remove the Blogchalk data, but I was careless and removed some other code as well, probably a link to some javascript.
Trying to fix that, I made it worse--or at least not better.
By the time I fixed those problems by getting an old "good' copy of the page and recreating all the code, I managed to break the
publishing tool--or at least delete access to my archives--and then to most of the pages. How this happened was inexplicable--
java calls, I venture.
I posted a ticket at Blogger Control, then realized that I might be able to get the site back if I switched the template. This worked.
So now I've just finished with new and improved meta tags, site meter, etc. My coding is definitely impoving and I am enjoying it. I remember making a deliberate decision back in 1997 not to learn CSS and keep up coding beyond the basic since I was an executive and I should focus on acquiring other skills.
Them days is sure over--and I'm glad of it.
P.S. Propos to Blogger control techs--they got to my ticket within 3 hours of posting--thank you--great service!

# posted by Susan : 7:58 PM |
Hanging in there: Diller buys Lending
I remember when my old friend Jamie Bennett and his pal Mitchell York left Cahners and CMP Media, respectively, to join Doug Lebda in a new venture called Lending Tree . That must have been about 1997, and those guys faced the challenge of building an online financial services firm from scratch. Here it is 2003, lots of folks have moved on, many companies have folded, and US Interactive's bought Lending Tree for $734 million in stock. Congratulations, Doug!
News reports here .

# posted by Susan : 1:50 PM |
Department of Who the Hell is This Guy? Joumana Kidd Fan Club, Not
More serious journalism from the NY Post:
Is Bob Ryan, a sports columnist for the Boston Globe, a graceless twit or a media whore? Ryan told Bob Lobel, host of WBZ TV's Sports Final, that he'd "like to smack" Jason Kidd's wife, Joumana, because he feels she uses her son T. J. Kidd as a "prop."
"I got theories with this woman, this Joumana Kidd who wants to be a TV star. She wants face time on camera. The great way to get face time is to bring the cute, little precocious kid. Oh, great. I'd like to smack her," said Ryan.
Meanwhile, T.J. and his dad dad have been on the mound for the first pitch at a Yankees game, been featured in NBA television commercials, posed (with faux milk mustache) for a "Got Milk?" ad, attrended the U.S. Open and exchanged high-fives with rapper Jay-Z.
Maybe Ryan wants to smack Jason Kidd? Duh, I think not.

# posted by Susan : 5:34 AM |
Bureau of Meaningless Blah Blah Blah : Paris Hilton sets the record straight--she's no skank
Is Paris Hilton the boy-friend-stealing, face-sucking, no underwearing-wearing slut she appears to be--or is she just getting a bad rap? In today's NY Post, Paris tells gossipeuse Liz Smith that people have the wrong picture of her.
1) Paris isn't a party girl
"I DON'T drink. I don't do drugs. My family moved to New York when I was 15. We would go to parties and before long we were made out by the media to be party girls - dancing on tables. It used to hurt. It was embarrassing to my parents. But people who know me, know it's not true.
2) Paris works hard for her money
I'm out networking for my career, to pay my own rent, my own bills. I make my own money.. know I'm pretty, but it means I have to work even harder."
3) She ain't no guy-poacher
(Lisa Marie Presley and Shannon Dougherty)..."They just didn't understand. I'm only good friends with their exes."

# posted by Susan : 4:49 AM |

Monday, May 05, 2003

Circle-Jerking freaks beat the meat in San Francisco

You know that California lunatic fringe? Someone let the dogs out again when one thousand people gathered in San Fran for the second annual Masturb-a-thon, a fund-raiser for fund-raiser for the local Center for Sex and Culture. Folks, just cause you can, doesn't mean you should. Nobody wants to see your nasty ol' chickens.

# posted by Susan : 7:51 PM |
THINKING: The Law of Accelerating Returns

Accelerating the rate of change, by Ray Kurzweil and Chris Meyer, is a powerful article that discusses the idea that because of our society's power to grow, the 21st century will be equivalent to 20,000 years of progress at today's rate of progress.
Kurzweil and Meyer describe acceleration as the societal equivalent to Moore's Law.
Some quotes:
The Law of Accelerating Returns is the acceleration of technology, and the evolutionary growth of the products of an evolutionary process. And this really goes back to the roots of biological evolution."

"...Even with today’s technology, which is going to evolve further very rapidly, the opportunity for ideas to find the right people who are going to push them forward and to get the right ideas in the right places is really extraordinary, and a great facilitator of progress. And it’s a very liberating and democratizing force as well, and I think it’s really behind the trend toward democracy. It might seem like we’re moving toward democracy, but if you really look at the world compared to, say, 1990, there has been a tremendous movement in every area of the world. And not just at a sort of national political level, but at every level of society."
(Source: Dave Farber's Interesting People list)

# posted by Susan : 7:02 PM |

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Yo, babe! Frog mating calls for Spring

It's frog mating season Listen to calls of the frogs around you, or sample frog calls on the web: the spring peeper and the common toad. The Exploratorium's online Frog exhibit explains more about what the noises mean.
Latest local frog news:
New Jersey

# posted by Susan : 8:55 AM |
CELEB GOSSIP: The latest trash
Yeah, so I have a love for celebrity gossip and silly stuff. It's my adult version of playing with Barbie and Ken. If you share my interest in this sort of time-waster, Celebs without Makeup is worth a visit. Christina Aguilera, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears..they look like the rest of us when the war paint's off.
Gossiplist also rocks. This week's issue dishes Kevin Spacey, Farrah Fawcett, Alan Ball, Elton John, George Michael, Vincent D'Onfrio and lots of other serious Hollywood intellectuals. The quotes from the Justin Timberlake/Java Joel phone interview are hysterical--but apparently the DJ was suspended briefly when the star freaked out at the offensive questions.

# posted by Susan : 7:54 AM |

Saturday, May 03, 2003

Dale Chihuly: Yes, he blows

Seattle glassblower Dale Chihuly is the subject of Gothamist's wonderful post on the glassmaster and his various exhibits around the world.
A new Chihuly installation at the just-opened Tacoma Art Museum is partly responsible for all the press exclaiming over Tacoma's new lustre--and for the flap over the half a million dollar cost of the piece created especially for the museum.
Chihuly's own site is a great place to see his work online, learn about the artist,
and check out the exhibition schedules. A larger than life figure, Chihuly has art in over 20 museums, worldwide.

# posted by Susan : 5:18 PM |
HANGING: Missed the Blogger's dinner in NY
Dinner at Katz's deli with the cool kids of blogging, organized by Doc Searlsand Dean.
I now know the payoff for reading Doc Searl's weblog is not only knowledge, but a great social life :-)
Wonderful comments from Halley's Comment on the East/West coast confusion thing...people who live here, popping up there, and then, here, and a fine review of Katz's as well.
Pix here.

# posted by Susan : 9:42 AM |
BLOG THE PLANET: Department of Vicarious Thrills
Wish you were there? They are.
Mt. Everest: Lorenzo Gariano posts an audio blog from his Mt. Everest climb. The accompanying base camp journal from Scott Wollum has terrific pictures.
Hawaii: Hawaii Stories , Knikc-Knack's Hawaii Blog
Bangkok/Cambodia: Christina's Blog
Paris: Paris, a blog by Tom Fox
Napa, Ca : Terry Trazoli, Seattle Times travel editor, blogs trip to Napa and SF; Good Juice blogs wine, food and the good life.

# posted by Susan : 7:41 AM |

Friday, May 02, 2003

SHOPPING: 50's soap, matches, and pop for sale from old time grocery store

Karlin Lillington has a cool link to the BoingBoing item on a grocery store that was closed in the 50's and is only now having the contents put up for auction. Great photos of stuff live here.

# posted by Susan : 8:59 PM |
BLOGGING: William Gibson to close down blog
According to Wired News, William Gibson will wind down his blog to focus his writing energy on a new novel. "...Blogging is the largest amount of personal feedback I've had from readers over time," Gibson says in the article Gibson has blogged on what it feels like to be a novelist not writing a novel.
Karlin Lillington, who wrote the Gibson story, has a cool weblog, called techno/cultural here .
Other links to novelists blogs include those in the BoingBoing archive for Bruce Sterling and Rudy Rucker.. Cory Doctorow has his blog here.

# posted by Susan : 8:49 PM |

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Beck joins the Blogosphere
Beck's the latest celeb to launch his own blog, joining Wil Wheaton, Moby, and a host of wheat-grass drinkers. Thanks to Media Junkie ffor the link.

# posted by Susan : 9:22 AM |
May 1 : Moments in History
1883: Buffalo Bill staged his first Wild West Show.
1920: the Boston Braves and Brooklyn Dodgers played the longest game in baseball history. The 26-inning game ended tied at one.
1941; General Mills introduced Cheerios cereal.
1963: Rolling Stones began their first recording session in London for Decca Records, recording the Chuck Berry song ``Come On.''
1982: Joan Jett and The Blackhearts had the number one single with"I Love Rock and Roll."
1986: Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee married actress Heather Locklear in Santa Barbara, Calif. Both wore white.
1988: Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls became the first player to score 50 or more points in consecutive playoff games, in the Bulls' first two games against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the
First Round of their Eastern Conference series.
1997: Marilyn Manson won its lawsuit against the New Jersey Sports & Exhibition Authority, which tried to ban the band from playing in a heavy-metal rock festival at the Meadowlands.

(Sources: CNN and AP)

# posted by Susan : 8:30 AM |
MAD SCIENCE: Minute pinworms survive Columbia space shuttle crash

According to a recent BBC science story, hundreds of worms that were part of an experiment aboard space shuttle Columbia
have been found alive in debris recovered from the crash site, Nasa officials say. The Caenorhabditis elegans worms, which are about the size of a pin head, were in a locker discovered in Texas several weeks ago.
The C elegans worms have a life cycle of seven to 10 days, so the ones found this week were likely to be four or five generations removed from the original space travel.

# posted by Susan : 8:08 AM |
HOT OFF THE PRESSES: New & Juicy Metapop, a collaborative web log
Check out the new effort from Shanti Bradford and crew.

# posted by Susan : 12:14 AM |

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