Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Flying to NY Weds; Boston on Friday

Expecting light blogging the next few days. Flying East tomorrow and into NY for a quick stopover. Boston Friday and into the riotous and heady job of BloggerCon.
If you are going to BloggerCon, I am looking forward to meeting you...if you are considering it, come--at least for the free day if you can'r swing more.

NY Times Blog Space

Just found this page. What is it--okay to link to stories for bloggers?

Vanessa Grigoriadis: Talent on the move

One of the nimblest New York feature writers is Vanessa Grigoriadis, who wrote dozens of frothy and funny cover stories for New York magazine before leaving to reportedly go to Yale Divinity School.
Grigoriadis resurfaced at The New York Times Style Section a few weeks ago and resumed filing the artful fluff she'd done so eleganrly at New York.
Now WWD says the girl is moving on to give some tone to Rolling Stone.
The reason? According to the Times, she wants to write "Long form journalism.:
Translation: Articles over 5,000 words.
Believe it? Nah, not with the Maxim guys in charge.

Google AdSense Gets Another Big Client

Google added another notch to its paid search belt today when it snagged heavweight international player TerraLycos, whose 11 sites drew 31.2 million unique visitors in August. Terra Lycos joins iVillage, Weather.com and Switchboard .

Kids Online: Florida #1 in online time

According to a recent survey conducted by AOL in conjunction with the launch of KOL, the new AOL Kids Only service,, nearly half of the kids in the US(46%) go online at least four times a week and nearly 20% go online every day.
Top towns for time spent online?
Tampa/St. Petersburg Philadelphia, New York, Washington, Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Chicago. San Francisco and Boston.

Kaltix: From spin-out to Google purchase in 45 days

This story about a new Google acquisition is like the high tech version of the Fast and the Furious. What if you started a company and Google bought it within 60 days of launch?

August 11, 2003: ZDNet runs a story about "stealth start-up Kaltix," founded by three members of the PageRank Group at Stanford University to provide large-scale personalized and context-sensitive search, opening the way for highly targeted--and opportunistic--personalized advertising on all those personalized search pages.

On September 30, 2003: Google announces the acquisition of Kaltix. The Kaltix home page now defaults to Google. .

That's 45 days or less from first mention to sold...

However, there is NO INFORMATION about the company. The Kaltix home page defaults to Google. The names of the founders are NEVER mentioned. The Stanford Page Rank Group home page is now also restricted.

Who are these guys What is this technology? I don't think Google wants us to know.

However, I have some ideas about who the members of Kaltix are and I think two of them are members of the Stanford WebBase Project-
My guess is the the three are
1) Taher H. Haveliwala
2) Sependar Kamvar, who has coauthored several recent papers related to PageRank with Haveliwala.

And Glen Jeh, whose recent research has focused on personalized web search.

Am I right?

Whomever they are, they are very rich geeks, right now, I suspect...Probably having exchanged their company for a shitload of options on that eventual Google IPO and fat salaries and bonuses.

More blogosphere comments at Googler.blogs.com., Jeff Heer and Doc Bug.

Technorati links here.

Privacy and weblogs and the blogger's voice

The topic of privacy and what you do and don't write on your blog--both your personal blog and a workplace blog--interests me as a question of privacy, but also of voice, of how bloggers present themselves.
After all, blogs are personas. We emphasize particular aspects of ourselves, allow things we want to share to be revealed, and try to obscure those we consider private, want to hide, or are not aware of.
Reading Cadence 90: "What happened when your family found out about your weblog? and Halley's Comment: Family stories--what I share and what I don't highlights those questions of voice and persona.
Who are you , how do you present yourself is an essential question for all writers, and it seems equally relevant to bloggers.

Monday, September 29, 2003

What I made for dinner

Singapore curried noodles
Curried acorn squash (This was a Wayne Nish recipe from Starchefs.com and it did NOT turn out well
Pan-sauteed salmon
Los Helgados Mexican ices, including a flavor calledf Arroz, that--suprise-- that tasted like rosewater, cinnamon and rice (pudding)

Online news blogs: Top Ten Tips

Through piece by Mark Glaser on setting expectations and managing the flow of blogs associated with online news sites.
In addition to Glaser's sensible tips, I'd offer the following top ten tips for newspaper thinking about blogs:

1) Whose blog is it anyway?
There's a profound difference between a blog published as the equivalent of an online column, as many MNSBC.com blogs are, and a blog that's a community outpost, as some of the blogs on Advance Internet sites.
They deserve different rules and different expectations.

2) Voice-and opinion-- rule the blog format
While Dan Gillmor is revered because the quality of the information in his blog is so good, blogging is an personality-driven format where voice-and opinion--rule.

3) Remember, blogs are timely and interactive
It's not just a web page. Blog power comes from an author's ability to quickly post in reaction to an event or an idea--and readers' ability to respond, both in a comments section and in their own blog.

4) Set standards and publish them
Just as workplace blogs need to have specific guidelines and frameworks, so should online news blogs. Whether your blogs are by columnists or community members, there should be guidelines and ground rules that everyone is aware of.

5) Be a glorious mosaic
Online news sites are often determined not to publish anything that will deviate from the official voice of the news outlet.
Remember that blogs not only provide an outlet for reporters' additional notes and commentary, they can be features in and of themselves, offering ideas and opinion from a wider sphere. This makes for an invigorating--and empowering--experience.

6) Be flexible--Allow blogs to be temporary
It's a blog, not the OED--a blog is able to live for a short time frame and then be retired. Unlike a column, which might need several months to find an audience, a blog is a short form by its very nature, and as such, can be deployed for a few weeks and retired.

7) Permit the personal
BBC reporter Ivan Noble's blog about his battle with a brain tumor is one of many health-related blogs news outlets have published in the past two years.

8) Blog up and down the hierarchy
How many times do we have to hear that people want human faces and human voices online before we act on that knowledge?
The new blog from the Editorial Board of the SacBee was a terrific response to the editing flap. Jeff Jarvis' blogging invigorated an entire company (disclaimer: I used to work for Jeff). . Reporter's blogs have man on the street credibility, authority and value: viz the Seattle Spokesman Review's transportation blog by Amy Cannata.

9) Just do it--be consistent
If you're going to blog, blog. That means posting a pre-determined minimum number of times per week and letting your audience know what that is. Don't embarrass your paper and yourself with "blogs" that update maybe once a month. Why did you bother?

10) Break new ground--try out this disruptive technology
The first online news sites launched on the web 10-11 years ago. Few of them had feeds, let alone integration with the newsroom. Since then we've seen 56% of the population go online, and experienced increasing percentages of Americans get their news on the Internet, especially during the day, when they're at work.
Remember, this medium is still new, and still experimenting.
Let your site be a part of the experiment--label the experiment as such--but don't be afraid to try something new.

Join me for Saturday night dinner, BloggerCon, October 4, Boston

Sat night dinner sign-ups are posted at the BloggerCon site. Sign up to have dinner with me--or one of the other host bloggers.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

New Jersey politicos say the Internet's reached a new phase in campaigning

Wondering if the importance of the web to the 2004 campaigns was just more media hoopla?
In this local news story, the politicos of New Jersey say the web has launched them into a new phase in campaigning.

"Political Web sites have become a real tool for democracy because they allow even not-so-well funded candidates to communicate their message with a vast number of voters."


"This is becoming a new way to contact the voters. It's relatively inexpensive as compared to other types of advertising It's a new phase in campaigning."

Nice photos

Petya reads teen blogs and takes cool snaps. Found her on megnut.

Blog Tech Talk: Making comments better

If you're one of those people who are hot and bothered about the integrity of your comments pages, and want to keep worms, spammers, and the insincere out of them --or at least two of the three--Yoz Grahame's packaged up a nice post on blog spam and how to stuff it.

More on politi-blogging

Activists attack as well as support--story from the Bennington Banner:
"Classical pianist Eric Huebner, as adept at his computer keyboard as he is at the ivories, is trying to turn Howard Dean's vaunted Internet presence against the former Vermont governor.
He helped to create an Internet site called www.wafflepoweredhoward.com to question the credentials of the front-running Democratic presidential candidate, who has seized computer technology to vault to the front of the 10-person pack."
(Via Scripting News)

Saturday, September 27, 2003

The web changes campaign 2004--and the reporters who follow it

From Editor and Publisher:
"The Internet's grip on the presidential race, as well as many state campaigns, comes at a time when newspapers are dealing with other factors that have caused them to approach the 2004 campaign differently. With less money to spend, more competition from cable news outlets, and a wider Democratic field of candidates for president (now 10) than usual, editors contend the next six to 12 months will require a changing game plan. "We're not going to do every swing with every candidate, we're mixing it up more," says Maralee Schwartz, national political editor for The Washington Post, adding that budget cutbacks are curtailing some travel plans for reporters. "We are doing more voter pieces and larger enterprise pieces."

So as Internet presence and web community become integral parts of political campaigns, will dollars for Web advertising follow?
As voters move to the web for information and involvement, will media dollars follow?
At the present time, less than 5% of all ad money for political campaigns goes online, and the lion's share goes to television.
Will 2004 be the year that campaign ad dollars move as well?

Your thoughts welcome--

Rosh Hashona: The New Year

Kol Emet, Palo Alto, then a drive through the Cupertino park lands and lunch at a restaurant in Cupertino Village: onion pancake, cucumbers with chili sauce, cold wheat gluten and black mushrooms, fried scallion dumplings, Chinese ginger candies for dessert.
This is the first year we didn't do a big family and friends dinner for the holiday.
It was a nice change...made me think more about the meaning of the holiday.

Last year at this time, we were in New Jersey. We'd moved back there perhaps a month before, in August, and we'd had to renovate and do significant work on the new house. I was commuting to Dulles 3X a week, staying over 1-2 nights. No one in the family was happy to be back in New York after California, although I was very psyched about the projects I was doing for AOL.
We had no idea at that point that we'd be back in California less than a year later.

When they write me in the book of life for this past year, it should say " She handled change well."

BloggerCon: Oct 4-5 Conference aka lovefest/groupgrope/HS reunion

Hey, it's almost BloggerCon!
A week from now I will be hosting a dinner at a fun ethnic restaurant somewhere in Cambridge, hopefully dining with lots of interesting people,
In some ways, bringing together so many passionate people for a weekend feels like high school, as in, what if they all go hang out with someone cooler than me ('cause there always is someone cooler than me, I'm on the low-key side of coolness, more hipster chic, I'd say.)
The list of people coming to the event is here;I started to list folks I was excited about seeing/meeting, but deleted it because the list was too long and, hey, sounded like HS.

So, here's the deal: this event is going to be a lovefest/group grope/HS reunion, all of the above. If you are anywhere near Boston and you like blogging--come on in, it will be fun. Here's where to sign up for day 2.

Friday, September 26, 2003

George W Bush: Mugging the truth

Reading a piece in The Nation online about George Bush's propensity for what author David Corn calls Bush's "migging the truth... to advance his agenda."
Some excerpts:
The Tax Cut Whopper: "One of Bush's biggest tax-cut whoppers came when he stated, during the presidential campaign, "The vast majority of my [proposed] tax cuts go to the bottom end of the spectrum." That estimate was wildly at odds with analyses of where the money would really go. A report by Citizens for Tax Justice, a liberal outfit that specializes in distribution analysis, figured that 42.6 percent of Bush's $1.6 trillion tax package would end up in the pockets of the top 1 percent of earners. The lowest 60 percent would net 12.6 percent. The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, ABC News and NBC News all reported that Bush's package produced the results CTJ calculated."

The Sept 11 Whopper "As many Americans and others yearned to make sense of the evil attacks of September 11, Bush elected to share with the public a deceptively simplistic explanation of this catastrophe. Repeatedly, he said that the United States had been struck because of its love of freedom. "America was targeted for attack," he maintained, "because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world." This was shallow analysis, a comic-book interpretation of the event that covered up complexities and denied Americans information crucial for developing a full understanding of the attacks. In the view Bush furnished, Osama bin Laden was a would-be conqueror of the world, a man motivated solely by irrational evil, who killed for the purpose of destroying freedom.

But as the State Department's own terrorism experts--as well as nongovernment experts--noted, bin Laden was motivated by a specific geostrategic and theological aim: to chase the United States out of the Middle East in order to ease the way for a fundamentalist takeover of the region. Peter Bergen, a former CNN producer and the first journalist to arrange a television interview with bin Laden, observes in his book Holy War, Inc., "What [bin Laden] condemns the United States for is simple: its policies in the Middle East." Rather than acknowledge the realities of bin Laden's war on America, Bush attempted to create and perpetuate a war-on-freedom myth. "

And so on...bitter, and slanted, and...hey, all true!

Thursday, September 25, 2003

BloggerCon Technology Discussion update

I had trouble figuring out and then finding the story I posted on BloggerCon yesterday about the latest on the Technology discussion, so I am going to repeat the info in this email as a means to make sure people see it.
The Tech discussion is on for Sunday, and we have a number of people who will be taking part and leading parts of the discussion. We are also looking for more people to let us know they are planning to come, so we can include their ideas/thoughts/links in pre-discussion and take away materials.

Please email me if you're interested in adding your voice to this conversation.
People involved (no particular order here)
Frank Paynter
Kevin Marks
Amy Wohl
Dan Bricklin
Roland Tanglao
Greg Allen
Dan Mitchell
Susan Mernit

Deejee from BloggerJack, Scott Brodeur from Mass Live, and Heath Row have also said they may swing by...so has Steve Yost, who developed the amazingly useful QuickTopic discussion system.

Some of the questions we are considering:
1) What is a blogger's bill of rights? (Roland)
2) What are the gaps between how a techie sees a product and a user? How do you make blog tools more marketable? (Amy)
3) What are the things about blogging tools that really piss you off? Your wish list? (everyone)
4) How does the technology shape the dialogue? What are the constraints? Opportunities?
5) Audio and mob blogging--and the semantic web--how to think about new forms (Kevin)
6) Business models and revenue and what users want--emerging business models and ways to make money--can it be done? (Susan)

We want this to be an interesting discussion and provocative session--what else should we be talking about that you'd like to bring up pre conference?

See you in Boston!

The Virtual Visit: Memories of a 1995 cyber-launch

Trying out a new search engine called Fazzle, I came across this CJR story by NY Post beat reporter Laura Italiano, who used to work for me at New Jersey Online about our online coverage of the Pope's visit to New York/New Jersey in 1995.
I started at NJO in June 1995, and we officially launched the full site in January 1996, but when the Pope made his first visit in many years to New Jersey, we decided to cover it online--and cover it like we'd cover a Rolling Stones tour--replete with sound clips, download a blessing, and live action shots of His Holiness.
VZiews of the old 1995 pages live on in the Wayback Archive--here and here.

Rafat Ali:"Traditional news outlets don't know how to credit me"

Paid Content editor & writer (and chief cook and bottle washer) Rafat Ali published a story on the relaunch of the RedHerring web site, only to see it picked up--without attribution--by news.com.
Rafat says: "It is amazing how major, respectable media sites don't know how to credit stories, especially stories done by small media/trade sites. the red herring resurrection story was done by me on Sep 9, after a long, hard investigation. and they pick up the story, have no attributions, and never mentioned that i reported on it first. (Online News post)

Jeanne Sessums: So what do you do?

From allied "But how I make my living now is not that simple. Because, if you've been following along with the home game, you know I got laidoff--or should I say I declined their offer to stay--by the Passion and Precision in Communication folks in April.

So, today I do everything.

Whatever interests me and pays, I do it.

And that isn't what most people do.

You're agency or you're corporate.

You're a PR person or you're a writer.

Always sides. Always dividing lines. Always a way to separate voice from itself."

Jeanne's post goes on to talk about how blogging and other communications tools are changing the concept of a persona and a corporate voice into something more personal. My suspicion is that this question is livelier and more relevant for those of us working outside the corporate structure in their own businesses, freelancing, etc.--When I was fulltime at a large company, I thought about how best to work with my new boss, the third in nine months, and how to fit my aspirations into their structure.
Now, out on my own, I feel the corporate layers peeling away, leaving me...Not exposed, but somehow more whole, which is part of what I feel Jeanne is touching on.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Blogging: A Distruptive technology & a way to cut out the middleman

Doc Searls and Steve Outing are all over the implications of the SacBee requiring Daniel Weintraub's blog to be edited--ie, vetted--by an editor before posting live on the site. Mark Glaser offers a piece on implications for the newsroom.
As someone who worked for big media for 10+ years, and who continues to write about big media, let me remind the bloggers that there is absolutely nothing new about writers and editors believing in the value of a professional filter, which is what an editor is.
This is a philosophy thing, a taste thing, like preferring your steak well-done as opposed to rare, and not actually about control.
But...Having said that, here's the thing--hey folks, lack of editors is one of the reasons blogging is a disruptive technology!
It's not just a cheap publishing platform for Andrew Sullivan wanna-bes, it's a way for anybody who wants to to cut out the editorial middleman. And babe, when it comes to media, that is disruptive.
So, blogging for some folks is just the latest flavor of the month and they don't see why any media with their name on it shouldn't have an editor, as their products always have had--
And then for others it is the next best thing to being a member of the Grateful Dead, running around Burning Man and never getting a sunburn, and cashing out of the stock market before the crash--it is a disruptive technology.
(Read my lips...That sentence is the sound of Susan's inner child gleefully stomping around...)

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Liz Spiers and the Gothamist Flame Wars: Whip it, whip it good

Take a look at the amazingly silly and swarmy sand-kicking going on in the Gothamist comments section. Some guys who might sometimes know better got into a virtual shoving match set off by their excitement over Elizabeth Speirs going off to NY Mag.
On the other hand, this kind of loudness is also one of the things I miss about New York--there are lots of chipheads out here in software land who are just as uptight and doctrinaire as the NY crowd-- --but they save their venom for interanet email wars at work, depriving the rest of us of the chance to feel self-righteous at their expense (thanks, guys)


I joined the gym at the Y this weekend and went and worked out today, first time since I moved back to California.
45 minutes flew by, to my delight.
Later this week, I meet the trainer and get some help with the machines.
Personal goal: Work out 3-5 times a week, an hour per session.
How am I going to do that? Go early in the morning, which will be late by NY standards.

One odd thing today: I picked up a Glamour magazine to read on the treadmill. Never read Glamor.
This one was from 2001, and it was edited by Bonnie Fuller (who since went on to edit first US Weekly, and now, The Star/American Media. It struck me that a) this was a summer 2001 issue, pre 9/11 Twin Towers, and no magazine would be the same as this for a while, and b) it was very much like US Weekly and a lot more fun than I remember Glamor magazine being.

Oh, those crazy kids--BenLo, Cameron, Britney, Demi drive mag sales to new highs

If we hadn't invented celebrities, would God have had to do it?
Or, to put it another way, is anyone in the country not secretly--or not so secretly--following the ups and downs of Ben Lo, Cameron & Justin, that pop tart Britney, her big sister Madonna and that cradle-snatched Demi with her hunka hunka Ashton?

Admit it is so, bro--or find me another reason why US Magazine hit newsstand sales highs of 800,000 copies this week, The Star sold 1.1 MM, People Mag (supposedly) did about 800,000 and InTouch, the Globe and the Enquirer did who knows what...

Celebrities, gotta love'em, after all something's gotta fill the void when you're too old to play with Barbies...

Monday, September 22, 2003

Jarvis on SacBee editing their bloggers

Jarvis is typically brilliant on the recent news from the SacBee ombudsman that the web staff did a bad thing posting a press release to the web site as a news story (gasp, shock, shades of NY Times scandals).
Jarvis says:

"... just for a moment, we should drop the term "news" with all its heavy baggage and instead look on our job in terms of imparting information....When you do that, when you see yourself as a leader in the information business, then minders and copy editors become just a little less important. The value of information to the audience becomes more important.
A press release is information. No, a reporter should never put a byline atop a press release. But that doesn't mean the Bee's online service shouldn't have run the release (without expending the effort and expense of rewriting it when they can't afford to). It's information.
A weblog is information. Maybe a typo -- or even an opinion -- will sneak through but if we're clear with the audience about the immediacy of weblogs, if we correct mistakes when they're brought to our attention -- even by the audience -- then they will understand what kind of information it is.
...: So here's my real point in all of this:
I fear that sometimes we lose sight of the fact that even more than being in the news business, we are in the information business.

Google labs: Search by Location

The latest integrated Google tool is up--Search by Location. The FAQ explains this is a way to put a geographic parameter aka limit on a search. Apparently, it pulls all the mappable data from the search and builds maps on the fly using Mapquest.
Here are some sample searches I did:
Devachan Hair Salon (my NYC hairdresser)--
This isn't so great--The web site doesn't pop up and the map looks wierd.
But a search for Dim Sum, Mountain View gives promising results
A request for Kayaking and Chicago gave me this, though it could not parse state names (maybe it is mapped to large cities to start).
When I searched for hotel, romantic in New York, the results I got were completely different than when I had Google search the web via the home page

Jack Trout: How Microsoft Can Beat Google

From an article by Frederick Markini, The Coming Search Engine War, Part 1 :
"Exactly how can Microsoft trump Google, which possesses dominant market share and the preeminent search brand? I asked Jack Trout, the advertising pioneer and president of Trout and Partners, to offer his thoughts. As you may know, Jack is an advertising legend, having authored the very first article on the concept of "positioning" back in 1969. His landmark book, co-authored with former cohort Al Ries, was called "Positioning, The Battle For Your Mind." It offered the radical theory that products are positioned not in a market, but in the minds of customers. He went on to author the classic "The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing," and most recently, "Big Brands, Big Trouble."

Jack says Google is dangerously close to becoming the generic in the space. Should that happen, the company would be open to brand and product positioning attacks on multiple fronts.

"Microsoft has only one available strategy [to beat Google]: They need to position their new search service as the 'next generation,'" Trout told me. Microsoft, he explained, should not try to claim its new search engine is "better," because that won't win. "The only way you beat Google is by being 'what's next.' [Internet searchers] will switch to the 'next thing,' but Google already owns the current 'best' thing," said Trout. "The Google offering must be positioned into a corner by Microsoft, positioned as the old product. If anyone could pull off this strategy, it would be Microsoft."

In "The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing," Trout defines "The Law of Leadership" being based on the premise that everyone remembers the first of something. The Wright brothers built the first airplane. Who built the second one? George Washington was the first president of the United States. Who was second?

OK, but here's the exception. If you cannot be first in the market, the third Immutable Law of Marketing, "The Law Of The Mind," modifies the Law Of Leadership: It is better to be first in the mind than to be first in the market. A series of first-to-market products no longer exist: the Hurley washing machine, the Du Mont television, the MITS Altair 8800 personal computer -- all were beaten by the second to market. First in the mind trumps first-to-market.

Google was hardly the first search engine, but due to its remarkable success and relevancy, it now is first in the mind. First in the mind doesn't require oodles of cash. For a time, Apple enjoyed a leadership position with seed money of $91,000 and a more interesting name. Google won it with a hyper-focus its core business: search. Others have since made gains in relevancy and some believe both Inktomi and FAST are on par. Still, Google is the perceived market leader, and "equal to," even "better," doesn't win against that positioning in the mind. That's a near impossible brand position to unseat... again, unless you're Microsoft.

Most of us remember that Netscape was the first browser and enjoyed the dominant position -- until Microsoft used the power of its operating system to take that market away. Based on my casual conversations with various Google folks, I get the sense that there is an organizational belief they can thwart Microsoft by simply focusing on the user experience. The lesson of Netscape should cause them to shudder and plan alternative defenses."

More here.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

PeopleAggregator: AOL Directory hits the web

Marc Canter's got another interesting new toy, this one something he built with some folks. The People Aggregator is basically an outliner for relationships: who I am and how to reach me, who I know and who I would like to know. This kind of listings and directory engine is of high interest to many users--the amazing traffic and number of profiles created on the AOL and AIM People Directories is proof of that.
It is going to be so interesting to see who is able to do the integration of these apps--the person who pulls it off will have a HUGE market advantage (think back to Amazon being able to get customer service right in 1998, AND have some rudimentary collaborative filtering to start to recommend books with--pulling these tools into other tools for integration and ease of use will give some lucky who-ha a strong competitive edge.

New site: Upcoming.org

New social network and blogging tools are like shoes--I'm always interested in the latest version, even if I have 5 previous that are amazingly similar.
The latest social network/online utility/ does everything but shine your shoes for you.
The product is upcoming.org, a just-launched online calendar that allows members to indicate affinity with geo-areas called metros, then see a cross-index of events to do that members have entered, and what events their friends or people they want to watch are interested in.
The new site is from LA programmer Andy Baio, also known as one of the fundraisers for the so-called Star Wars Kid.
It has tremendous promise.
(Via the always informed Marc Canter)

Sunday night dinner

Home made guacamole with chips
Capellini pasta with fresh tomato and basil sauce and Asiago cheese**
Low fat ice cream sandwiches

The basil and tomato were from my landlady's garden, yeah, Mary.

Sunday in the Park with Spencer and Zack

Spent the afternoon in SF and Golden Gate Park with the family today; we had lunch in the Inner Sunset at Curry and Naan and then went into the Park to see the new Conservatory of Flowers. The ggreenhouses look great from the outside, but the huge crowds meant the next tour was an hour away, so we prowled the grounds and then lounged outside.
Some moments:
--The blonde little boy, about 5, who took off all his clothes and did a little dance on the lawn. Was he a nudist? Naah, his mom was about to feed him a souvlaki for lunch and didn't want his nice little suit stained.
--The roller-blading, hockey-stick carrying, confident-looking dotcom type guy who zoomed up the path, stopped cold next to his kid, and proceeded to show his little 4 year old how to wield the hockey stick.
--A Japanese family of four happily munching continually on baggie after baggy of snacks.
--The three of us, who happily lay down in a patch of shade and listened to Seal play a free concert across the park.

Afterwards, a quick stop at Amoeba Records, then the drive south to San Jose.

More on BloggerCon Tech Panel, Day 2--

I am facilitating a discussion on Sunday Oct 5th at 11 am at BloggerCon in Boston on 'Technology: What Users Want."
If you were planning to come to BC, it would be great to have you be a part of this dialogue and attend this session. As you probably know, Day 2 is free.

More info on the BloggerCon Tech Discussion
Info on BloggerCon in general

Please let me know if you would be interested in attending this discussion and if you have ideas to share--smernit at aol.com will get to me.

Owning the Search customer:"All roads lead to Longhorn

As many of us have been well aware for some time, Microsoft has been looking hard at the search business. This Reuters story discusses the likely integration of new Microsoft search products into the under-development new MSFT operating system, code-named Longhorn.

"Search results tailored to individual users based on a history of their interests and searches is one area that Microsoft is looking at," said Kirk Koenigsbauer, strategy manager at Microsoft's MSN Internet portal.

Another use for blogging: Resume Blog

Here's a other way to make your availability for work show up high in your Google listings: the resume blog. Robert Walikis has put together a blog of his resume and published it on blogspot.
Phil Wolff found this--and he points to the source page from the Software Product Marketing Group. Apparently, the goal of the project is to offer an inexpensive and visible platform for resume postings to members--and it seems like an interesting experiment.

One one hand, I'm a bit troubled by the fact its a pretty static page; on the other hand, it is GREAT to see people and groups try out new applications for blogging platforms.

About, With and For Design conference: October 17th-18th

Hugh Dubberly, my former Netscape colleague and brilliant thinker, is one of the speakers, along with Peter Merholz at the About, With, and For Design conference at the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Hugh has had a design company in San Francisco for the past few years, and is a noted speaker and teacher--if you're in the Midwest, this is probably a great conference to check out.
(Via peterme)

Will $2MM plus coffee beans suport a browser business for Mozilla?

Now that AOL--oops, I mean TWX--has given the Mozilla people $2MM to fund the Mozilla Foundation, offloading millions of dollars of staff, G&A, and insurances costs in the process, doesn't it make you feel good to know that you too can do your part to fund the Mozilla Foundation's efforts--all you have to do is buy a bag of coffee and RJ Tarpleys Coffee Company will share part of the money with the lizard people. Geeze, this is going to raise money about as quickly as Netscape managed to put out the 7.0 release!
Folks, if you really want to develop a browser alternatiive and have a viable business to support your foundation, you need to focus on making that happen. Otherwise, you're going to burn through the AOL money and be a hobby for lots of techies----maybe you are that, already.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Chiming in on e-books: $10MM sounds right

Reader David Rothman: Actually the $10M figure is rather believable--it's a speck of total book biz sales. Each year Tom Clancy alone may be earning several times the revenue of the whole e-book biz. Why? Partly because of heavy-handed Digitial Rights Management schemes. (I've been advocating e-books for almost a dozen years, and I have yet to pay for a DRM-"protected" book (though I may succumb eventually).
More from David here.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Madonna's The English Roses, reviewed by Ms Baby Boogins

Jesse Kornbluth's baby says: "Madonna has only one name. So do I. If I were a New Age kid, I'd say it's "destiny" that I should write about her new book."
Only 18 months old, the fabulous Boogins publishes her first review--of Madonna's children's book and you can read it right here,

Department of Don't Believe Everything You Read

According to the completely objective Open eBook Forum (OeBF), the electronic publishing industry's trade and standards organization, e-book sales are expected to top $10MM in 2003.
Just think, the year's 3/4 over? Does that mean the industry has already closed $7.3MM in sales?
Geeze, most people I know have never bought an e-book...would love to know where this audience is.
(Via Bay Area Tech Wire)

Persistance, a powerful trait

One of my best traits is my persistance.
While creativity, business smarts, strategic sense, articulateness, and intiution are all qualities I have and value,I believe it is my persistance that helps me stand out.
When I want something--especially on behalf of a person, project, or cause I believe in--I'll try many approaches to get the 'right' result.
I'm sure my persistance played a role in getting Zack into the high school he so desperately wanted to attend, and it definitely helped me move the family back to California. And it's helped me develop all sorts of new businesses and products over the years.

Zack gets into Lincoln!

I got a call today from the San Jose School District Enrollment Center that the district would be able to offer Zack a transfer to Lincoln High School, his first choice, and one of the reasons we moved back here. The paperwork will happen next week, and he will be able to start by Wednesday.
So many people were working to help us make this happen, thank you to each and every one.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Scott Safran: Things TV viewers never say

From Scott Safran, Exec Producer, New England Cable News, via Lost Remote:

"I hope they'll take up more of the screen with data."

"I'm glad they clarified that it was 'ACTOR' Arnold
Schwarzenegger. I had no idea who they were talking about."

"It really helped my understanding of that story that they
asked a couple of random idiots on the street what THEY
thought of it."

More here.

$51.2 Million: The Gates Foundation grant to help create 67 new NYC high schools

This is great! The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has a very interesting program to assist school districts to create smaller, more effective high schools, has just announced a $52.MM grant to New York City to create 67 new, smaller schools. The New York gift will be split among seven nonprofit organizations that will work with New York's Department of Education to open the schools, which will eventually replace a number of large, comprehensive high schools.

The American Institutes for Research and SRI have done some program evaluations that I have recently been reading for a project I am working on. High Time for High School Reform is a research paper from April 2003 that reports on an evaluation of the early stage of the initiative.

It is fascinating reading for anyone interested in improving America's high schools.

Elizabeth Spiers(former Gawker editor) joining NY Mag

So Spiers is going to NY Magazine, good for her. With Mark Malkin gone, they need someone with wit.
But does this mean La Spiers will still come to BloggerCon--or will the fabulous Choire Sicha attend in her place? If Bis comes, she may suddenly become the Big Media person at the conference.

I am impressed by the quantity and quality of the comments on her post about this. As Andrew Gatsby says on Spiers' comments page: Wow. In the rock-n-roll world of blogging, you just landed a major label deal.

And just think: More money for great shoes!

Department of Taking a Break: Awful Plastic Surgery site

Via Gawker: Awful Plastic Surgery-Enjoy photos of Tori Spelling, Victoria Principal and other B-listers whosse assets--along with their Q value--have dropped waay low.

WEVC Hurricane blog: About as real as Britney Spears

You can find photos and postings of Hurricane Isabel's might on blog-like mini-site at WEVC, Belo Interactive's web site in Norfolk Virgina.
The cool thing about this is letting citizens post photos and notes.
The frustrating thing is that it is not really a blog, it's a fake blog. A web page masquerading as a blog to seem trendy.
Why isn't it a blog?
Instead of having a group blog members could post to, this is the classic news site thing where would-be participants are asked to "submit their entries: via email to the news staff, who then post a compilation of entries. It's not fresh and on the scene, it's about as canned as it gets.

Yawn, didn't we see this back in 1996 when we had the great big snowstorm on the East coast? And about 1,000 times since then? Oh yeah, if you call it a blog, then you're cutting edge, I forgot.

Come one guys, you are all terrific online journalists--loosen up a little & let the people post--they won't disappoint you.

BloggerCon: Test Blogroll is live

Dave Winer's posted a blogroll for the BloggerCon participants with nice little feed buttons for almost all.
If you're going to BloggerCon and want to add yourself to the blogoll, this is the link.

Boston Globe on AOLTW becoming TWX once more

Really good piece by Peter Argenti in this Globe this am on the anticipated name change. Some snippets:

"...But since the company reported a US record $98.9 billion net loss last year -- and became mired in multiple federal investigations of aggressive AOL accounting for advertising deals -- the AOL name has come to be seen as a millstone dragging down what remain generally strong and growing Time Warner movie, magazine, music, news, and cable television operations. The company's stock has fallen 66 percent since the merger closed in January 2001. Their reputations battered, Case and Levin have stepped down.

The AOL Net access service, which has lost more than 1 million US subscribers in the last year, now represents barely 20 percent of the company's revenues and 17 percent of its net income. Few "synergies" expected from delivering Time Warner content over AOL "pipes" have emerged. Nor has AOL been able to develop any major new service for Time Warner Cable high-speed modem subscribers to fend off its own losses of dial-up Net customers. Some investors and industry analysts have even proposed the company undo the merger and spin off AOL as a stand-alone company."

Christopher Riley's Radiohead

Berkeley, CA--Went to Bezerkley last night to see Christopher Riley perform his pieces for solo piano based on Radiohead songs. It was terrific--on one hand, the cynic in me says Riley could be the Rachmaninoff of his generation, playing emotional versions of popular songs; on the other hand, Riley could be a truly authentic voice--a pianist who is not afraid to merge his love of an alternative band with his classical training.

What is the music like? Melodic, intense, precise. Music I had always wished 'd heard, but didn't know it till that moment. Music I wanted to hear again, to own, and to have a part of my inner life.

Listen here and see for yourself. For all my criticism, I think I've become a total fan...Listening to Riley play Radiohead made made me feel great.--I've got his music going on real player as I write this.

P.S. If you are a Radiohead fan, and are interested in Riley, he said he hangs out at atease.web and his screen name is Blaster.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Hurrican Isabel picks up: Nuclear power plants in her path

Here it California, it's easy to forget that much of the East Coast is leaving town--or battening down---in preperation for Hurrican Isabel. A story on Forbes.com points out that the hurrican can impact several nuclear power plants directly in its wake.
More on Isabel here.

AOL: Downgrading from brand to product

AOLTW's board of directors is planning to vote to remove the AOL from the corporate name when they meet on Thursday. Touted as the heart of the company at the disastrous merger, this name shift is a correction of sorts, signaling that to the corporation, the public, and most important, to the analysts, AOL is a nice little product that belongs to a big media conglomerate, nothing more.
Ironically, this downgrade is taking place at a point when they've finally created a really new client with nice features. Even better, many of my friends on the inside have all expressed the sense that things are now on the upswing and they're finally getting the business on track. Either they're poisoning the drinking water down there in Dulles, or many people actually do feel newly encouraged.

AOL News: New look, new HTML

AOL News director Gary Kebbel and crew just launched a newly redesigned AOL News. Locked up behind the subscriber firewall, the new service offers video news along with a new look and feel. Most notably, the design is built in HTML and is published with a new editorial tool designed by the Publishing team. One of the difficulties in keeping AOL News current was the heavy demands the Rainman publishing system made on the production team. This new system supports both scheduled and real time updates.

News about the environment for people who live in cities

From Tidepool.org. Global warming confuses the caribou and other observations from long time Arctic researchers who come up to Toolik Lake every summer to do research on the ecosystem.
Meanwhile, Alaska is melting--over the past few years, temperatures have risen about 8 degrees in the winter.
Meanwhile, the world's largest tsunami simulation tank has just been opened in Corvallis, Oregon. This week emergency response folks in Oregon will practice what to do in case the big one comes.
And George Bush's horrendous environmental record is is still being discussed. Mother Jones weighs in here on how Bush had hidden the bad stuff away from the public.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Where will blogging be a year from now?

Here's what Phil Wolf says at a klog apart:

10 million people doing it.

The name shifted from blogs to journals.

Boutique consultants helping non-writers write, managers manage, marketers market, until everyone realizes it's just like email.

At least three blogging jokes on Letterman.

All the presidential campaigns will have team blogs. And so will most congressional campaigns.

The Governor of California will start a weblog.

Ghost blogging will pick up.

Universities will issue blogging tools with admission and with registration for each course.

AOL, Google, Yahoo and MSN will badly pay designers for creating cool blogging templates for their new blogspaces.

And everyone will become a political blogger after the Democratic primary

My two cents on this:
Blog tools will be tweaked to make blogging a fast and cheap publishing platform for academia, small business, and local community group.

Google will develop an AdSense type blogging network with seperate pricing, and AOL will copy the concept

New York media types currently marvelling over odd posts on Craig's List move on to celebrity blogs by folks like JT LeRoy and Chloe Sevigny. Can you spell 'This is so over?'

At least 3 novels will appear written as blogs. Two wil be chicklit paperbacks. One will be serious literature by a young maverick.

Want to play? Post your predictions/wish list here.

Village Voice: Dean Finds that courting bloggers means tough questions

Anya Kamenetzin the Village Voice: "Thanks to his Internet-centered campaigning, presidential contender Howard Dean appears to be far more wired into the wired electorate than his Democratic rivals or George W. Bush. Dean's innovative use of the Web has gotten plaudits from the press, and his courting of the wired crowd seems to be paying off—10,000 people showed up for an August 24 rally in cybercity Seattle. But if Dean is to keep the goodwill of blogocrats, he must find the message to match their medium....
When the unofficial, but large, Dean Nation blog submitted a list of readers' 10 most popular questions to the Dean campaign in April, the DMCA made it, along with "9-11 Investigation" and "Cutting Gov't Spending." Yet in the five short entries that Dean posted on Lessig's blog, he managed to avoid the DMCA and the Sonny Bono Act, though hundreds of posters both during the week and later mentioned the issue or asked him to state a position. "

Break up with J Lo: Dif Ben's buddies intervene?

Fox News is running a story suggesting that the Ben Affleck-J Lo wedding was called off after Ben's pals, including Matt Damon and brother Casey Affleck, staged a "Skip this wedding" intervention.
"Ben had wanted to call off the engagement even before (his well-publicized foray to a Vancouver strip club), but after that, he didn't want to look like the bad guy, so he went ahead with (plans for the wedding)," was one of the quotes from NY Daily News gossipeuses.
Consider this: the guy was in rehab cause he couldn't say no to booze.
He's lost a bundle at the gambling tables because he can't say no to cards.
He almost got married because he couldn't say no to J-Lo.

Yep, that sounds possible.

JD Lasica & NDN :We Media: How audiences are shaping the future of news and information

JD Lasica, one of the finest online journalists in the business, has just published a chuck of New Direction for News series: We Media: How audiences are shaping the future of news and information. This series builds on the thinking in JD's widely discussed Participatory Journalism a series and explores how participatory journalism and traditional journalism are converging.
I'm in the middle of reading Chapter 4, The Rules of Participation, but I jumped ahead to the end and checked out the absolutely through Appendix, which is a great snapshot of blogging and social network resources circa September, 2003.
I'm curious to see where Dale and New Directions for News are going to go with from this report, but my sense is this will accredit NDN as a thinktank for a broader audience than in the past. Meanwhile, the recently announced affiliation/merger with the Media Center of the American Press Institute strengthens their position in the online newspaper world from whence they came.

Monday, September 15, 2003

The Ten Most Toxic Lies in Business

From Mark H. McCormack: Staying Street Smart in the Internet Age:
I can keep a secret.
This was a rational decision.
I want totally honest feedback.
The check is in the mail.
You're the only one we're talking to.
It's business, it's not personal.
The customer comes first.
I'll call you right back.
We judge people on their performance.
The boss is clueless.

New Scorecard for Bush inaccuracies: Misleader.org

A timely little service for US citizens, and a new project by MoveOn.org--Mislead.org, a site that allowed me to sign up for a daily email of the untrue things Bush a d his staffers have said.
Question: So may many days will it take for this list to have 100,000 subscribers? 500,000 subscribers? 1.5 MM?
Bets taken here...I will award my 1994 WW3 conference tote bag to the person who post, the first, most accurate prediction of what the numbers will be.
Deadlines for betting: October 1st.

The laugh's on us: 2004 election bumper stickers

From my friend Mi Won:

Bush/Cheney '04: Because the truth just isn't good enough
Bush/Cheney '04: Putting the "con" in conservatism
Bush/Cheney '04: The last vote you'll ever have to cast
Bush/Cheney: 1984 Now

WWJB: Who would Jesus Bomb?

J Lo a no go; couple aisles apart

So Ben and Jen spent what would have been their wedding day 3,000 miles apart, according to a story in the Evening Standard.
The backstory on this one is going to be very interesting...thanks for making your lives spectacles for the rest of us, you publicity hounds, you.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

B-schmo boots J-lo?

Did Ben Affleck give Jennifer Lopz the boot right before the wedding, or did the still-steaming-about-the-strippers seductress toss out her mannish boy? The tabloids are going nuts on this, as Hollywoods' most-hyped couple edges toward flameout. The People.com piece and the subscequent AP story say that Ben dumped Jen.
There are already 202 stories running online on this topic--many of them edits of the AP piece--and the press is camped out watching these two, waiting for more.

Confessions of a soccer mom: The Mernit Taxi service is launched

For the past 2 years, I've been a 100k flyer working for a big company, one of those people, usually men, who say their family is their first priority, but they're really not home, so the big thing has gotta be their job, eh?
When I left AOL, I resolved that the coming year would be about more balance, especially since this is the year my only child has to a) apply to college and b) actually get in somewhere he'd like to go. Only I had no idea that putting time into making those things happen would involve running the equivalent of a tropical island taxi service.
You see--the kid doesn't drive. He's 17, but he flunked his drivers test and then we moved to NJ where he didn't need to drive and now we're back in Cali and his girlfriend lives 3.9 miles from our house in one direction, and his school is 9.3 miles in another direction, and the gym is is 5.4 miles in another direction, and there is only one bus that goes directly from near where we live to any one of these places, and the schedule is shot on Sundays.
I said I wanted closeness, right? And to be around and enjoy him during what is probably his last year living full time at home. I just didn't know togetherness would be in the front seat of a car, tooling back and forth across Main Street.
Given that I will be out of town half of October, it's time for a session with the bus maps, a trip to the DMV to renew the learner's permit, and cleaning up the rusty old bike.

AOL: Big Brother is watching, or a story about SPAM

It's good when your mail service shuts down a spammer operating from your account, right? But how about when your service shuts you down for sending out more emails than usual? That's what happened to me this morning with my AOL accounts--the system put a block on my account so that I could not get online.
No explanation, no message--just no access to any of my accounts.
It turns out that I hadn't been hacked--which is what I thought had happened, since my machine was bombarded by Trojan horses yesterday according to my firewall--instead, my provider has shut me off for trying to send 60 emails one after the other (sounds like serious spam to me).
I got through on the phone and found out from the rep in Florida that all the email accounts are monitored, and this atypical activity on mine had triggered a shut down.
Wild with relief that I had NOT been hacked, I explained that I had prepared an email with the web address of my new company and my new real-world contact info, to send to 100 or so of my nearest and dearest and put it into my Mail to be sent folder. When I instructed the system to let'er rip, wham! the system reached out to this spaminator and SHUT HER DOWN.
Now, here's the funny part:
I get a new password from the nice lady and go back online. I have 4 emails waiting for me from AOL TOS.
--One is about Harassment (how did I get that one?)
--Another is about terms of service (okay, makes sense)
'--Another is about sending bulk email--this one gives me pause. It says that I complained because someone was sending bulk mail from my account at high speeds and here are my rights. Uh-duh? 60 emails in a queue? That spaminator program sounds just silly and broken now.-
-And the last one? The last one pretended to be from the nice lady from Jacksonville who helped me on the phone, and talked about how nice it was to talk to me--but it was really AOL SPAM--the fitting end to a spam story.

Friday, September 12, 2003

My new AOL Superbuddy, Cool Girl

I have a new AOL Super Buddy on my AOL 9.0 AIM screen, who looks like the cartoon version of this.

'Cool Girl' is one of about 50 choices of animated personas, or expressions. She responds to words and phrases I type, just like my own little pet rock, oops, I meant avatar. Phew, LOL, kisses, ovy vay, stinky, and wow all elict distinctive facial expressions, sounds, and personas.
She is fun! Wish my blog had one like her.
Or one like Britney--if I had a Britney bot on my site, that would be a scream--for at least 5 minutes, till I got tired of the moaning noises of teen aged boys.

Too busy to blog today: Here's Why

Three things going on:
A) Working on notes and plans for the Technology discussion for BloggerCon. Kevin Marks, Roland Tanglao, Amy Wohl, and hopefully a growing list of others, possibly including Frank Paynter and Craig Newmark, who would add wonderful depth, are starting to contribute ideas and pointers around questions such as:
How should blogging tools evolve to better serve the users?
What kinds of business and revenue models can support development? Is this the end of free? How can developers and users both get value (ie money and useful services)
What would a Blogger's Bill of Rights look like?
As video and audio and mobblogging become more prevalent, what kinds of just in time editing tools need to be created?
And--are blogging tools services, products, or features? Obviously, they can be all of the above, but right now we have these compartmentalized slices of wikis, blogs, RSS newsreaders, collaborative filters and recommenders, audio, video, photos, FOAF...Are there ways we'd like them to fit together more gracefully, and what does that mean anyway?
And so on--more discussion participants needed and welcomed, including vendors and folks with a vested interest in a product.
Roland has more thoughts here.

2) Article on online paid political advertising and on editorial coverage of the recall and the elections on newspaper web sites.
In the thick of doing interviews and finding the topic of online paid political advertising so interesting I hope to write more about this. Will publish a link to these stories on the blog when they're published, if my editor says its okay (I know he will),

3) Dealing with high school problems with my son
One of the reasons we moved back to San Jose was so my son could return to the high school where he spent his freshman and sophomore years, and take classes there. We started exploring how to do this last Spring, and the powers that be said it didn't seem necessary to move back to the exact neighborhood for him to return as a senior. Well, we're in a different neighborhood, and the school won't admit him. We've gone two levels up in the appeal, and now I am about to talk to the Superintendent and School board members, as well as explore how being turned down will make him feel (as in super-depressed?) Being in this school is so important to my son--academically, emotionally, artistically--and yet its 3 weeks into the school year and he is not there. And he's a senior. And he went there for 2 years before. And we raised money for them and...

Work continues on all three fronts. Taking a break with the dog.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

First person survivor: Michael Wilson's account of 9/11

Michael Wilson publishes his story of surviving the fall of the towers. (Via Halley's Comment).
First person accounts have a great value to me; this one is almost as powerful as Jeff Jarvis's.
(Warning: I have mentioned Jeff twice today, have to watch out or I might turn into a young Curmudgeon and reference him constantly.)

Marc North: My favorite blogger

It figures that my favorite blog has few words. Almost every day, I am blown away by Marc North's pictures.

The best way to go bankrupt: Have children, get a job

"Having a child is now the single best predictor that a woman will end up in financial collapse,." writes Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard law professor and bankruptcy expert who's just published?The Two-Income Tax: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers Are Going Broke." Since 1996, the number of women filing for bankruptcy has increased 662%.
Writes Warren, "Even as millions of mothers marched into the workforce, savings declined, and not, as we will show, because families were frittering away their paychecks on toys for themselves or their children. Instead, families were swept up in a bidding war, competing furiously with one another for their most important possession: a house in a decent school district..
"The average two-income family earns far more today than did the single-breadwinner family of a generation ago. And yet, once they have paid the mortgage, the car payments, the taxes, the health insurance, and the day-care bills, today's dual-income families have less discretionary income, and less money to put away for a rainy day than the single-income family of a generation ago."

Jayson Blair: Birds of a Feather, Publish Together

Just moments, okay perhaps days, after Michael Viner announce his publishing company would publish a tell-all by the "very honest" Blair, the very honest Viner has filed for bankruptcy on the heels of a court decision. According to the Times, New Millennium, Viner's company, packaged a short story anthology in a misleading way, without the permission of the editor and a best-selling author, who retaliated by suing him. He's lost, and now folks are wondering what will happen to that $500,000 advance Blair was supposed to receive.

My turn to quote Jeff Jarvis: 9/11 Memorial in NY

Jarvis: "I'm standing on the street crying as I have not been able to in two years. I'm not alone.
The street is crowded with people who have come to mourn and pay their tributes. They're crying, too.
It's the children, their loss, their pain, their strength. It's the children who make me cry.

:Don't let anyone tell you that we're back to normal or anywhere near it. "

Washington Post: DC blogger debate business blogs

For the record, this story is here.

Reverse Cowgirl quits blogging

Reverse Cowgirl, the most popular Salon blogger, has packed it in. Blank directory where words used to be.
What does it all mean?
Let's see what insights the pundits unleash about the future of blogging as encapsulated in this news.
(Translation: Don't think it means anything, cept she got tired of the work involved, or is busy turning it all into a lucrative new tell-all, reality TV show, or breakfast cereal.)

MediaLife: Interview with David Pecker, CEO of American Media

Ever since I worked at Parade, and Walter Anderson used to talk about the swash-buckling and agressive David Pecker, who went off from Hachette to run the tabloid empire American Media and has really grown the business.
I've always admired Pecker for going downmarket and making it work. This interview, by Jeff Bercovici, is worthwhile reading if you're curious about the man who's the American King of the Tabloids.

Pecker words of wisdom: "'I always want to be in the right markets and I always have to be No. 1. Being in the industry for 25 years, I've learned that when you?re the No. 3 or No. 4 book in the field, anytime there?s any kind of budget cuts, you are always eliminated."

"When I look at the celebrity journalism market, I think the mass market is covered pretty aggressively. What I think is open is the upper end of the market, which I think Gala and OK! America are going to enter.
As for the mass market, I don?t really see another launch. A mass market launch really has to be at the front end of the supermarket. Right now the three major magazines, People, Star and the National Enquirer, are really the only three magazines in the United States that have 100 percent distribution, which is 275,000 pockets throughout the United States.
That blankets the whole of North America. To replicate something like that is an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars."

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

From Broadband Reports 46.7 million can't be wrong...

"According to the latest numbers, global DSL subscriptions jumped by 5.2 million in the second quarter of this year, resulting in 46.7 million DSL users worldwide. The latest numbers from Point Topic indicate that seven countries account for 75% of that total. Japan added 2.6 million, China came in second with 1.8 million lines added, while the U.S. came in third, adding 1,125,000 DSL subs. Four European countries tacked on an additional 500K DSL subscribers each. "

Gawker Talker; Jarvis Stalker

Elizabeth Spiers moves over from Gawker to NY Mag now that Mark Malkin goes to US Weekly.
Seems like Jeff Jarvis is being spritually stalked by one Eric Deamer, whose blog is called The Young Curmudgeon, which really means "I quote everything my hero Jeff Jarvis said..."
Jeff Jarvis spills the true scoop on Spiers, who is being replaced--maybe supplantedois a better word - by Choire Sicha, the new Horacio Silva
Is yoiur head spinning yet? If the answer is no, you're either a hard core digerati or a NY media type.

The best comment comes from Jason Calcanis, Mr. Voice of Experience, who posted a comment on Spiers' personal site:
ES, My advice: stay at Gawker and ask for 33% ownership in the brand. Gawker will be sold to CondeNast/Primedia/Jann/whoever for $10m in five years.
Going to an established media company would be a waste for someone with your talent. Stick with Nick and get a huge chunk of equity.
Be the brand.
best Jason

Hey, have fun, kids!

Sept 11: More interesting comments on Gothamist, who also ran the picture I put up, then deleted (I was feeling pretty mean, and I regretted in in the am.)

BloggerCon Day 2 Panel-- Technology: What do users want?

What do users want from blogging tools and related services? How can technology help develop new capabilities (think audio blogging and photo blogs via cell phones) We're doing a session Sunday morning on Technology with a capital T that needs to be a conversation between everyone else and the technologists.
Help me plan this, let me know how you'd like to be involved, and what we should cover--and who are must-include participants.Dave's blurb on this is below--once I figure out how to post on the site, I'll see up some space we can work in.

When: October 5, 9AM
Where: Pound 200
Discussion leader: Susan Mernit
Who attends: Bloggers of all experience levels. Vendors and developers, but users drive the agenda, not techies.
Description: Most conferences about technology put the vendors on stage and the users in the audience. At BloggerCon, we're trying a new idea, get a group of informed, independent and neutral users together, and talk about where we want the industry to go. Out of work done before this session should come a set of issues that users want to see addressed. Things that vendors talk about but rarely deliver on. Performance, reliability, interop, no lock-in, no talking over users' heads or down to users about things they wouldn't understand. A basic statement of user's rights, that includes understanding how the software works, and what systems it works with (and not).

Dinner, once more

Grilled tuna with spinach salad with tomatoes and sweet red onion
Curried yams with spinach
Dried mangoes and papaya

September 11th: Remembering

I was on my way from the hotel to AOL when the second plane hit the towers. The cabbie's radio said that the Pentagon had been hit. I remember being happy my family was living in California, away from the turmoil, but I wondered what I would do if war broke out and I was 3,000 miles from them. I also remember wondering if there would be a missile strike against the East Coast.
I got to AOL HQ, went inside, and an announcement came over the loudspeakers that they were evacuating the campus. Instead of going back to the hotel, I called the newsroom and volunteered my services. For the next 2 days, I assisted the AOL newsies in building community message boards, managing meetings, and whatever was needed. The first day, after almost the entire campus had gone home and we were the only folks around,. Steve Case came into the news room and told us we were making a valuable contribution.
By 8 pm that night I was able to reach my family in New York and confirm they were okay, and talk to my family in California and tell them I was okay.
Later that week, AOL chartered two jets and flew all the West Coasters home. The planes were so full, they had to stop in Kansas to refuel, something the jets had never needed to do in my past trips.

Sara Glines: I survived Susan Mernit

From Rob Runnett at Digital Edge, NAA: "MediaNews Group Inc. named Sara Glines vice president for interactive media for the company's East Coast operations. Glines, a member of the New Media Federation's Audience Development subcommittee, was director of online operations for Journal Register Co. in Trenton, N.J. Glines' digital-mediaexperience includes her editor-in-chief role at New Jersey Online and the managing director position at Hachette Filipacchi New Media. "

Sara is a terrific editor who keeps a big bowl of candy on her desk and is always working to find solutions to problems. Hope this is a great move for her.
MediaNews Group owns sets of regional newspapers across the country, including some pretty good ones in Massachusetts.

Ad Targeting and the 2004 Elections

Seems to me that one of the ways online advertising is going to make $$ in the 2004 elections is through very precise ad targeting--to both psychographic and geogaphic audiences. The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, AOL and other big sites have been working hard on their ability to target in these ways, but how about the smaller sites? The little newspaper sites, the local newspaper chains, etc? What tools will they need to get their share of online paid political advertising?
I am working on a story on paid political advertising and the elections and find this topic really fascinating. We are definitely at a transition point. Dean & Co. have shown us that politicians can make money and sign up campaigners on the web, a huge quantum leap from 2002's focus on putting all the data online so consumers could read it and make considered decisions.
More on this later...piece due in 10 days.

Rick Bruner & More on Blogger/Google

Rick Bruner at Marketing Wonk seems to have reached similar conclusions to mine about the discontinuance of BloggerPro and what is suggests about Google's ambitions. Rick quotes Jason Shellen, who said, "We've always wanted to give away Blogger Pro features to all users," and "Currently, all the users of Blogspot [Blogger's free blog hosting service] have Google AdSense ads on them. That's about as much we would want to say [on the revenue question] as a private company. ...A comparison could be made to Google itself. Google offers great free web search. We're offering, hopefully long-term, a great free web publishing tool. If anything, it's a step to make Blogger more prominent."

Someone one sent me an email today suggesting that this was a Microsoft-like tactic to despoil those trying to build a market for paid blogging tools and services, but I think it really underscores just how Lucrative targeted, paid text ads are for Google--it's the highest margin way for them to make great revenue...no customer acquisition costs, no marketing dollars, no churn issues--what a great business.

AOL: End of year layoffs are coming

Studies report that the end of the year is a prime time for layoffs at large companies and AOL is no exception. Folks in Dulles, NY and the Bay area are quaking as October approaches, convinced the axes will fall once more. (My husband's comment: "You mean there are people left?")
New York buzz: Interactive marketing is hanging on because of paid search; the whole team is at risk.
California buzz: The big boss is coming out on a plane to talk to the troops; we fear they'll be layoffs right before he arrives.
Dulles buzz: You know, the Time Inc people are talking over everything now.

Let those snippets give special relevance to the speech given by AOL IM Honcho Lisa Brown at the IAB forum this week:
"We created our own issues at AOL, and we have no one to blame but ourselves. In many ways, we were on the road to perdition with agencies and advertisers. Now we're on the road to redemption," said Brown, an old buddy of Jon Miller from US Interactive.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Department of Inexplicable Obsessions: My Portable housing Mania

Yurts and prefab container houses: for some time, I have been obsessed with both of them. It all started when I spent a weekend with my friend Deanna in Comptche and found myself wanting to build a platform and put up the same kind of heavy green platform tent we used to stay in at summer camp. Fantasies of the tent migrated into fantasies of a yurt. Then, those dreams morphed into the idea that we should buy a few acres of our own out in the woods, perhaps in Yolo County, and put up a cabin or something so we could go there on weekends.
Then that turned into a treasured fantasy--why not build a really cool house out of alternative materials? Like old shipping containers, as Jennifer Seigel seems to do so elegantly.

Yurts, on the other hand, are not particularly elegant, but they are very cool. Traditional portable houses in places such as Mongolia and Kazakhstan yurts are round structures build out of poles and covered in a thick felt covering. You can buy a kit and build a nice-sized yurt that you can live in year round for $10-15,000.

Log cabins and platform tents are less exotic and more practical; since this is all totally a fantasy, I can think about all four of these choices and--do nothing. but continue to day dream.

Translation from the Googlese: Deconstructinng the Blogger Pro announcement

This just in, via my email: A note from Ev saying Blogger Pro will become free, and will be folded into Blogger as one product. Some questions for the group:
1) Is this the rich company Microsoft-like tactic of offering a free product that will undercut people trying to charge?
2) Is this an expression of the belief, "We're no longer in the product development business, the real money is in selling ads on this thing--and everywhere else in the universe for that matter?"
3) Or is it a corporate branding issue--ie, Google does not charge for premium services. It makes its money from search results and paid search and ad word placements. Therefore a product offered by Google should fit into those models.
4) Or it it they're so loaded they don't give a %$%K ? ( I don't believe that one.)

Ev says: "Google has lots of computers and bandwidth. And Google believes blogs are important and good for the web."
My guess is that the translations from the Googlese is--#2.

What I made for dinner tonight

No one home but me. Time to cook what I like:
Sauteed mushroons with nutmeg and onion, tossed with romano cheese and oerchiette pasta.
Peace and quiet.

What I made for dinner last night

My son Zack works out almost daily with Mark, his girlfriend's father, who is an amazing weighlifter and gym rat. My thank you is to make him the great home-cooked dinners he never has at home. L

ast night, we had Mark, Mark's dad Mickey, who's famed as a driller and has put piling down across the western half of the country, his girlfriend Megan, and the three of us at the table for the thank-you feast.

The vittles--drumroll, please (this demonstrates my ability to cook for specific audiences):
Home-made foccacia bread, dough from Trader Joe's
Roasted chicken
Diced red potatoes with red pepper, onion, garlic and rosemary
Baby yams in orange-apricot sauce
Green salad with tomato
Soy Dream ice cream dessert
Chocolate chip and wild raspberry with cinnamon cookies, also courtsey of Trader Joe's

This was a dinner for manly men, I'd made a ton of food, and the guys packed it in. Then we walked the dog for a bit.

This just in-- Dean Campaign comes to BloggerCon

Dave's just announced that Dean's chief blogger, Matt Gross, is going to be at BloggerCon.

BloggerCon session changes: Technology Panel Moves

Well, I just got off the phone with Dave Winer, and he's decided to move the BloggerCon Technology panel to Day 2. He's asked me to chair it and to help pull it further together, which I will will gladly do. Kind of disappointed it's moving, but saw it was incomplete on Day 1, and think we can create a great panel--and program--for Day 2.

If you look at the potential of the Technology panel as a "What do users want and how do we get it?" discussion, the opportunity to get techologists and users of the technology into a room can become pretty interesting. It also becomes a question of who is the market? with the market as a moving target of users with varying needs, skill sets, and expectations.

Perhaps the primary blog users today are fairly technical men, with somewhat advanced programming skills and great interest in politics (joke), and teens writing live online journals for their friends, having gotten tired of having to squeeze all that drama into their IM directory profiles. The emerging audiences--already well entrenched, to be honest--seem to be women (this is an unclassifiable group, because their interests are so close to the men's, the genders just differ), academics, enterprise and the workplace, families, and emerging communities of interest (how to address and build a good platform for group bloggers who aren't business people is an interesting question, one that the political folks may be helping to develop right now). The artists and creative people who will use these tools to create and disseminate art are also important, and they often get left out by engineering-oriented thinkers(who are also creative types).

So a panel on what technology is--and isn't--is going to be shaped by who wants to use the technology, and for what--getting the right people to represent the right constituencies is the trick here--and there isn't even a list of registered participants available to look at--yet.

Message in a bottle: If you are going to bloggercon and read this and have thoughts to share, get in touch! smernit at aol.com

AOL TW's Chairman and CEO Anne Moore on media on the web

From Fortune, snagged by Rafat Ali: "The consolidation of the media is not as big a concern to me as the proliferation of unchecked media on places like the web. And that scares me more than anything."

Jim Daly to edit Red Herring--again

According to Paid Content, French company called Dasar is attempting to relaunch Red Herring. They have recruited Jim Daly, the former editor of Business 2.0, as the top guy. Rafat Ali suggests the new site may look like TechDealmarker.com. The money guy--Alex Serge Vieux--is apparently based in Mountain View.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Rick Bragg to pen Jessica Lynch book

Rick Bragg's found a lucrative way to kiss off the NYTimes after they raked him over the coals for datelining a story from a location only visited by an assistant--he's going to write Private Jessica Lynch's $1MM plus biography.
Accoring to Publisher's Weekly, Bragg will receive half of the $1MM advance as his writer for hire fee. Knopf is planning to release the book in Veteran's Day, and will produce a one-hour prime time TV special planned to coincide with the book's publication date, involving interviews not only with Lynch, but with her parents, brother, sister, fiancé and Bragg as well.

Davd Bowie to launch new album with realtime streamed concert on net

From Reuters, via Joe Kwak: David Bowie will attempt to make technological history on Monday with the launch of his new album by beaming his accompanying live performance into selected cinemas around the world.
The live set in London, will showcase tracks from his new album, entitled "Reality," and many cuts from his extensive back catalogue.
The 90-minute concert at the Riverside studios in Hammersmith will be beamed live by satellite to 22 cinemas in Europe, including five in the UK.

ABC Newslaunches live political show on the Web

Big media is starting to see the opportunity for streaming live content outside of music and celebrities. This past week, ABC NBews launched a new political talk show called ABC News Live.
Accoridng to Reuters, "anchor Alina Cho currently gives news updates during the day and will take over one screen at 12:30 p.m. ET, during the peak viewing time for ABC's high-speed Internet service.

The show will run roughly 15-30 minutes and will feature interviews with political journalists in the run-up to the 2004 presidential election, the network said.
"We're seeing the Internet play an increasingly prominent role in the campaign of every candidate," said Bernard Gershon, general manager of ABCNews.com, part of the broadcasting arm of Walt Disney Co DIS.N ."

Burning question: Will there be paid political advertising as well?

Warren Zevon, RIP

Singer/songwriter Warren Zevon died of lung cancer this past Sunday. RIP, Warren, many people enjoyed your music.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

In brief: Around the Blogosphere

The Google Mirror Site: There's another Google in the world behind the mirror.
Craig's List: Craig Newmark started a blog.
Tom Coates' plasticbag.org: Weblogs and the amateurization of everything--good piece with excellent comments

Unplug Architecture

Unplug Architecture:
William Blaze made this. Wow.
(Via Mediaburn)

MediaBurn: George Bush is the Gray Davis of the US

How many of you are in the anyone but Bush in 2004 camp?

Denial of Service took this site down yesterday

Apparently, Blogger and Blogspot experienced a hefty denial of service attack and that was why the site was down.

Electrolite on new group blogs

Group blogs-where a specific set of bloggers all contribute-- intrigue me. Though I have not seen many that I think are great., especially over time, the concept seems so promising. The BoingBoing format--a loosely woven group of people with some clearly defined interests that inform their contributions to a blog with its own clearly defined focus, seems right on.
Electrolite references some newer ones: Political blogs Jusiper and Not Geniuses( I like Ezra Klein!), American Prospect's Tapped, and Corrente.
The blogs they mention don't thrill me for the most part, but I like Patrick and Theresa's thoughts about presentation of group web blogs. A snippet:
...The simplity of the weblog is one of its glories: short and medium-sized pieces of writing, every so often, with the most recent stuff on top. I'm unfond of "continued on page X" jumps in magazines, and I'm not wild about them in weblogs, either; kinesthetically, whether I'm at a desktop or a laptop computer, it's always easier to keep scrolling down than it is to reach for the pointing device and bring up a new page. ...When I'm running through my daily blog trawl, which consists of several dozen of the things, I find, increasingly, that sites that demand extra mousing-around tend to slip to last. Which means that if I'm interrupted by more pressing matters, they don't get read as regularly...

Eichler-world: Block party in the modern zone

More than 36% of San Jose, California's , population is born outside the US, the 6th largest percentage of any US city(#1 is South Florida). This fact gives particular resonance to my impressions of the block party my husband's band played for last night in an neighborhood of San Jose filled with Eichler houses.
Here's the setting: a beautiful street filled with modern homes with flst roofs, atriums in the center, 200 neihgbors milling about chatting, tables of home made food---mango salsa and chips, risotto rice cakes, empanadas, Louisiana hot links, coleslaw, cookies, brownies, etc. A HUGE container of home-made Margaritas.
A 4-piece blues and R&B band, kicking out tunes. A couple of rented rides for the kids. Lots of good cheer and smilies.
But except for about 6 people, everyone out of the 200 seemed to be white--in a city known for its diverse populations. Surprising. But the only odd note in a very nice night (it's great to see dozens of people dancing to your husband's band, not wanting them to stop playing, digging every aspect of the music, and all outside in the cool air under the bright California stars.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Walter Anderson, Melinda Anderson both publishing books

Walter Anderson, chairman of Parade Magazine, and my old boss, is publishing a new memoir this month called Meant to Be. Out from HarperCollins, it is the story of his hard-luck childhood and a surprising--and shocking--family discovery. Melinda, his daughter, who works at Conde Nast, is publishing her first book as well--The Catholic Girl's Guide to Sex.
Walter was my boss while I was at Parade(running the new media group) and he was one of the most brilliant, inspiring, and unique men that I have ever met. Melinda, his daughter, started a successful editorial career right out of college and has put the time in to learn from some top editors.
I wish them both the best of luck....and Walter, I can't wait to read your book. Melinda, I bet yours is a hoot.

Bush, the Land destroyer

Gristmagazine outs Bush's horrendous environmental policies and his active destruction of checks and balances around land and energy use.
The words "worse environmental record in history" come to mind.
Grist references an ongoing study by the Natural Resources Defense Council entitled "The Bush Record" that chronicles hundreds of efforts to weaken environmental regulations -- a tally more extensive than that of any administration (including the famously anti-environmental Reagan White House) since the U.S. EPA was established in 1971. While critics decry these changes as rollbacks, the Bush administration defends them as forward-looking.
(Via tidepool)

Paid Political Ads Online: What do users think?

A new study just released by the Online Publishers Association reports that 60 percent of Internet users say they would likely
would notice a campaign ad online. According to the study conducted, which was by the Center for Survey and Research Analysis at the University of Connecticut, nearly 30 percent of the respondents expressed interest in seeing political ads on the Web.

This is on my radar because of the piece I am working on and the general relevance of this to the start of the October 2004 political campaigns. Some other bits of research from the past 3 years that could provide some interesting historical perspective include some interesting Pew reports:

2003: Political Sites Gain, But Major News Sites Still DominateModest Increase in campaign use for Internet in 2002
2002: Digital Town Hall: How local officals user the Internet
2000: Internet Election News Audience Seeks Convenience, Familiar Names: Youth Vote Influenced By Online Information

Sunday Sessions for BloggerCon--Ideas to discuss

I am speaking at BloggerCon in Boston in early October, and have been asked to think about some BOAF sessions for Sunday, the community day. What do you think of these ideas? Do you have other ideas? Please post if you have ideas, and/or if you'd like to participate in one of these panels--that means coming to Harvard on Sunday, October 4th, in person, to be a part of the program.

Birds of a feature session ideas
1) Creating a distinctive blogging voice and persona, a roundtable discussion
One of the distinctive differences about blogging (as compared to traditional journalism and personal home pages) is the heightened sense of personal voice coming through along side the sharing of information and ideas.
How do bloggers develop their personal voice? What kinds of decisions have bloggers made about the voice and persona they manifest in their blogs? As blogging moves into the mainstream, what considerations about voice, persona and tone might new bloggers think about? How do these elements come into play for business blogs, personal blogs, professional blogs, etc?
I'd like to pull together a roundtable of 3-4 bloggers who could come to this session and help kick the discussion off for everyone who came to this program. I'd faciliate the discussion, but would look to others to make significant contributions---volunteers needed!
This one is dear to my heart, because self-expression is one of the keys to why people blog, and my hope is this session helps address that,
2) Interactivity and the 2004 elections: What are the key levers and influences emerging?
This is a hot topic! Already, we''ve seen blogs, Moveon.org and MeetUp.com emerge as powerful new tools for political discussion, organizing, and platform development. The California recall campaign--and anti-recall campaign--are also catalysts for using electronic tools, virtual spaces and communities to discuss and address issues.

Let's do a session at BloggerCon that provides a forum for these events--I'd like to see Scott Heiferman, someone from MoveOn, Jock Gill, and a host of others come and share at a session on this topic.
My claim to fame with this one is that I am writing an article on these topics that is scheduled to be published right around the time of the conference. If you want me to facililitate and invite, I could, but someone else could moderate this well if I was to do #1,

Some observations on Jargon

Is jargon the product of a new group's attempt to make themselves secure as a community---ie, they develop their own shorthand language and can require others to demonstrate affinity and/or allegiance by proving they comprehend it?
I am thinking about how there are certain blogging world worlds I truly hate, which is meme.
What exactly is a meme? Sounds like a Greek cough drop, or a pretentious conceit for saying idea.
Tell me what a meme is in plain English, please and skip the pseudo smart stuff.

Are there jargon words you hate? Which ones?

Friday, September 05, 2003

Rayne Today: AOL Journals= Silly Piece of Fluff

Rayne's on a rant about AOL Journals: "Several reasons come to mind, the first being that it’s like a train wreck about to happen – I can’t rip myself away, I want to see the outcome. Secondly, I’d like to understand what the experience will be for those AOL customers who think they’d like to get in on that cool blog thing that everybody’s talking about these days (will they come away saying, Hah! That’s a snap! Or perhaps, Bah! Blogging is garbage, based on their AOL experience?). Thirdly, I’d like to watch and see how that anticipated captive audience builds and whether AOL can really cash in."

My secret life: You have no idea

There are parts of my life that I never write about and rarely talk about with anyone I know. Many times, at night and on the weekend, my husband and I will look at each other and one of us will say, "The people at work would never believe where we are right now."
We don't go to strip clubs, crack dens, or swingers' parties, but we're pretty addicted to inner-city ethnic restaurants, blues bars, and gospel services at poor black churches, and we spend a chunk of our shared free time sampling all three.
Today, I was typical.
I was up in San Franciso doing meetings--a lunch at the Hayes Street Grill with a colleague of my 5ive partners and a friend of hers who is launching an interesting new business, then I drove over to the Sunset area and spend some time with some folks who have a great start-up I am advising on.
Home by 5 and at 6 we head ed over to McCreery Road to the First MIssionary Baptist Church where the Highway travelers, formerly known as The Gospel QCs friends and bandmates of my husband, are holding a concert, or program as they call it.
Last weekend it was Eli's Mile High Club in Oakland, where our good friends Steve Freund and Wendy de Witt were playing.
And the restaurants--truth is, my son doesn't want to go out to eat with us because we like to try such funky ethnic places--last night, we had grilled flatfish and pike with rice and dishes of pan at a Korean Fish BBQ joint in Santa Clara, finished off with Saffron pistachio ice cream from REAL ICECREAM., the home of the best mango kulfi I have ever had. The only other customers in the fish joint were one of the waitresses and her friends, who seemed to be having a Korea-American booze and BBQ orgy, frying everything from shrimp to beef to bacon on the grill as they drank Korean firewater and diet cokes. Last meal out before that with Spencer was at the Mexican breakfast joint on the East Side where we have huevos con nopales (eggs with cactus, a wonderful dish) and huevos chiquailles, a truly scary mess o'sauce.

Dept. of get me more trashy stories like that: Paris Hilton and Ashton Kutcher?

Peoplenews item this morning that no-underwear heiress Paris Hilton was "having fun" with Ashton Kutcher in the corner of a Paris nightclub, while 15 years older girlfriend Demi Moore was home in LA with the kids.
Asked about her relationship with Kutcher, the trailer-trash heiress said, 'Didn't you know that I broke up with Barney, and now I'm dating Bart Simpson?'"
No question but that reality TV has moved off the screen and into what some people think is the real world.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Britney Spears: "I didn't know it was going to be that long and everything."

CNN's Tucker Calrlson has a way with the poptart:
Britney on George Bush: "Honestly, I think we should just trust our president in every decision that he makes and we should just support that."
Britney on her tongue kiss with Madonna at the VMA: "I didn't know it was going to be that long and everything. I've never kissed a woman before."

Ideas at the end of the day

This is the end of one of those days:
--My son is still not in the high school he was supposed to get transferred to
--My lunch meeting today got cancelled and moved to tomorrow
--My dog--after a great walk with Spencer and a friend and her dog--lay down in the street for 20 minutes, refused to budge and I thought he had headstroke(again)
--I made a lot of progress at my work, but still did not have time to email Dave Winer back about ideas for birds of a feather Sunday at BlogCon--I have two ideas for a panel I'd like to run--
a) The Blogger's Voice--What does it mean to established your own voice? How is this similar/different from the journalist in traditional media? What thoughts about having their own voice and how it evolves can bloggers at the conference-and elsewhere-- share? What are your thoughts about how blogging is such a personal medium?
b) Political blogging: How the face of both national and local elections are being changed by blogging and interactive platforms and programs such as MoveOn.org, MeetUp.com, etc. I'm writing an article on a topic very close to this, so will be an instant expert by October--but it is less dear to my heart thaan the first.

Anyway, I don't feel like I got enough done today...and I hate that feeling.

Queen Charlotte Islands offered to Haida Nation by British Columbia

from tidepool.org, an environmental news site: Haida offered fifth of islands
In an unprecedented move, the province is offering the Haida Nation 20 per cent of the Queen Charlotte Islands, hoping to end confrontation and conflict over land use in that area. In return for the land, the government wants the Haida to suspend a rights and title lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court -- which claims ownership of the Queen Charlottes, including offshore oil and gas rights -- and wants the Haida to "re-engage" in the treaty process. The offer is 2,000 square kilometres of Crown land, of which half would be owned outright by the Haida with the remainder reserved for Haida tenures, protected areas or co-management. It is the largest chunk of land proffered in any of B.C.'s treaty talks.
Source: (09/04/03) Victoria Times Colonist
Haida offered 20% of Charlottes (09/04/03)
Vancouver Sun storyB.C. offers Haida tribe 490,000 island acres (09/04/03) Seattle Times
Haida culture is grounded in nature (05/09/02) Seattle P-I
B.C. ruling could change how Weyerhaeuser logs (05/09/02) Seattle P-I
INFORAIN MAP: First Nations of the Coastal Temperate Rain Forest

The Queen Charlotte Islands are my dream destination, the place I most want to visit. There are Haida villages there with totems just as they were hundreds of years ago, protected in a vast wilderness forest with restricted (human) access. Politically sensitive Canada does something for their indigenous people, once again.

Anderson Cooper: Remembering a brother's suicide

Anderson Cooper has a piece in Details Magazine this month talking about his brother's suicide in 1988, at age 23. Interviewed in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Anderson said, "I think about my brother every day...The violence of his death still stuns me, and it comes to me at odd times throughout the day... still have a sense of shock that it transpired at all."
Anderson's brother, Carter, was a Princeton student who killed himself in front of their mother by jumping off the terrace of the family apartment. Back in the day, I had a friend who'd dated him, and thought Carter was a sweet, if troubled, guy. She was shocked by his death, as was everyone who knew him (as in how could you not be shocked?) I have a family member who died suddenly in an accident, and believe me, it haunts you.

CJR:< Big media go blogging--and outsider take over--a must-read piece by Matt Welch

Nice assembly by Matt Welch on the spiffily redesign Columbia Journalism Review site of big and emerging media users of blogs. Welch's list is a handy dandy cut and snip, with listings from Slate, MSNBC, FoxNews, etc. This sidebar accompanies a major piece called Blogworld, The New Amateur Journalists Weigh In (I can't wait to find out how he defines amateur journalist!)
Welch: "Blogging technology has, for the first time in history, given the average Jane the ability to write, edit, design, and publish her own editorial product — to be read and responded to by millions of people, potentially — for around $0 to $200 a year. It has begun to deliver on some of the wild promises about the Internet that were heard in the 1990s. Never before have so many passionate outsiders — hundreds of thousands, at minimum — stormed the ramparts of professional journalism. "

Matt's article is one of the best pieces I have read about blogging--and one of the most definitive. Truly a do not miss.

Burning Bird: Comments spam

Well, it turns out there's such a thing now as comments spam--and some people have it.. See this post from Shelley at Burningbird:
The vig-rx blog virus, otherwise known as comment spammer, is using Google against us. After stealing another IP address, as expected.

Weblogs being targeted are being found through a Google search. Example is here. Aren't open web services a wonderful thing? Go ahead -- all open comment MT weblogs on this list have this comment, if they haven't deleted it yet. The key word in the search is Blog -- any weblog title or entry with Blog, and Bob's your uncle.

and a comment on the person doing this, from ralph: I looked at the logs shortly after posting my original comment and saw that indeed they got to my site through Google using the pattern you mention. There was a delay of about seven minutes between the original access and the posting of the comment. When I saw that, I realized the same thing you did in your recent post, that this clown is parsing the form, and that my form is indeed close enough to the "standard" way of doing things that his parsing works, even though the form elements all have different names than MT's. So the software he's using is not tied to a particular tool.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Utne Reader: Flicks that Stink revealed via IM

Movie moguls are blaming text-messaging teens for this summer's box office failure of films like Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle and The Incredible Hulk...In this age of mobile phones equipped with text-messaging software, adolescent thumb-tribes can spread a collective thumbs-up or thumbs-down across the digital grapevine even before the credits roll on opening night.

What I made for dinner

Chicken Marsala with mushrooms, peppers, and baby onions (from my landlady's garden)
Curried chickpeas with spinach and shitake mushrooms

Deptartment of I want it, I gotta have it, it's gorgeous: YeeHaw

The amazing Yeehaw Industries, via Blather

When I look at these images, that vow of voluntary simplicity I took when I moved into this San Jose rental (ie no more stuff to move!) burns a hole right in my credit card.

Megnut: Good advice for life & Lafayette Project

I like Megnut's recent post: "Don't befriend/work with/love/etc. anyone who is incapable of saying, "I was wrong" and "I don't know."

I'm also eager to see The Lafayette Project, which at one time was supposed to launch in July. At Reboot, Cory Doctorow blogged Meg talking about the product they were developing as an integrated tool suit--a social network/FOAF tool to identify both bloggers and readers for purposes of referral and recommendation, including a recommendation engine aka collaborative filtering/more like this feature; an RRS reader (host-based, I assume), and a translator so that all those Polish, Portguese and other non English blogs can be read in the English speaking world.

Others are also thinking about--and working in this space--and developing what seem like similar products--it will be a step forward when some of these next-generation efforts launch.

McJustin? McDonald Fries will come with that shake

Can it be so? Peoplenews says Justin Timberlake is the new face of McDonald's. Says Timberlake, "'We share the same crowd - people who like to have fun." Lou Perlman should be proud.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Online Journalism.com: candidatecamera.com Web site created to showcase recall candidates

It's getting wacky here in California. According to the LA Times, via Annenberg's Online Journalism, Gateway Inc. is inviting all 135 California gubernatorial candidates to post their pictures on the Internet. In addition to posting photographs, the Gateway-created site, candidatecamera.com, will include poll results and a press area. The photos, taken with Gateway digital cameras, will be edited by photojournalist David Hume Kennerly. Kennerly told the Times he hopes to create a "cumulative scrapbook" of the recall election. (perma-link to this brief)

This is a total publicity stunt and in tenor with the general circus-like treatment of the potential recall, which I think is quickly fizzling out. The real winner here is Gateway, which is hoping for lots of people to go to their home page, see their product offers, and end up buying.

Greg.org talked with Sofia Coppola

Smart and hip Greg Allen of greg.org interviewed Sofia Coppola, whose new movie I am eager to see. Lynne Hirschberg and another journalist were part of the group-grope as well. Some Q&A with the auteur of the forthcoming Lost in Translation, which I am eager to see.
LH: The relationship of the fashion photographer and his young wife may or may not have shadings of your own life and your relationship to Jonze. Giovanni Ribisi, who plays the photographer, speaks with Jonze's mannerisms, and Scarlett Johansson, as Charlotte, is dressed and styled to seem a lot like Coppola.
SC: I know. How narcissistic.

G [to self]: Waitaminnit, she said it wasn't like her own experience. And then Scarlett tells Lynn that Sofia tried on the underwear in the opening scene to show her how it should look?
Q [to self]: Gots to get the URL for the onset pics of Sofia in that underwear...

BW: What is this we've read about you and Spike? That you're breaking up and you moved into the Chateau Marmont?
SC: I don't know where they get this stuff in the Post. I mean, I like to read gossip, too. They said it was from a close friend or something? Do they just make this up?

Note: I once flew from London to NY on the same flight as Sofia and her hub; they were the chicest couple on the customs line, with the ultimate downscale clothes (like, her striped shirt was one of the $200 ones from Marc Jacobs, ditto the bag, and Spike's velour leisure suit was old school (okay, I think he was really wearing cordoroys, but...) Oh yes, and the music is already for sale.

KOL: AOl to redesign kids service

Apparently, America Online is finally going to redesign to old and tired Kids Only service and turn it into KOL, KOL, the first version of AOL designed entirely for children, as the press release says.. Given that one of the really outstanding aspects of AOL is the parental controls feature--and the enclosed envronment it so successful provides to children ages 5-16, this is a very wise move.

Monday, September 01, 2003

Recent readings

Here's the latest series of books I just read:
Anne Tyler: A Slipping Down Life and Searching for Caleb. I got these for the trip to Aspen, since I find Tyler relaxing, but these were among her weaker efforts.
Wallace Stegner: My current favorite writer, still working my way through all his books, for the first time. Remembering Laughter. Another slight novel, drawn right from an American Realist landscape painting.
Julia Blackburn: The Leper's Companions and The Book of Color. I got these with such high hopes--and hated them both.

Tom Junod, The Falling Man

Just read Tom Junod's piece, The Falling Man, in the August 03 Esquire. This essay about the people who jumped to their deaths from the World Trade Center buildings references a series of photos taken on site by Richard Drew. In telling the story of the efforts to identify the man in the photo, and to acknowledge the possibly hundreds of people who jumped--or were forced out, as the Port Authority says--Junod writes a graceful and powerful essay about human life in the face of death, and how survivors mourn and remember.
The piece isn't (yet) available online, but I urge you to pick it up--it is excellent.

CNN looks at blogging

It would be incredibly bitchy to say they didn't get blogging during the Iraqi war, but perhaps they do now. COlumnist Christine Boese says she is obsessed with blogs and tells readers all.

AOL now has 30,000 registered bloggers

Rick Robinson in the SF Chronicle today: AOL now has 30,000 registered blog users.

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