Tuesday, September 30, 2003
Flying to NY Weds; Boston on Friday
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
Vanessa Grigoriadis: Talent on the move
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
Kids Online: Florida #1 in online time
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
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
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
Curried acorn squash (This was a Wayne Nish recipe from Starchefs.com and it did NOT turn out well
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
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
Sunday, September 28, 2003
New Jersey politicos say the Internet's reached a new phase in campaigning
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."
Blog Tech Talk: Making comments better
More on politi-blogging
"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
"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
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
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
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
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)
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
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"
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?
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
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
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)
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
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
"... 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
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
"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."
Sunday, September 21, 2003
PeopleAggregator: AOL Directory hits the web
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
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
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
--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--
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
"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
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
Will $2MM plus coffee beans suport a browser business for Mozilla?
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
More from David here.
Friday, September 19, 2003
Madonna's The English Roses, reviewed by Ms Baby Boogins
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
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
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!
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
"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."
$51.2 Million: The Gates Foundation grant to help create 67 new NYC 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
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
WEVC Hurricane blog: About as real as Britney Spears
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
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
"...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
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
More on Isabel here.
AOL: Downgrading from brand to product
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
News about the environment for people who live in cities
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?
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
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?
"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
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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
'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
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
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
The best way to go bankrupt: Have children, get a job
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
My turn to quote Jeff Jarvis: 9/11 Memorial in NY
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
Reverse Cowgirl quits blogging
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...
Gawker Talker; Jarvis Stalker
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.
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 $10-15,000.
Log cabins and platform tents are less exotic and more practical; since this is all totally a fantasy, I can think about all four of these choices and--do nothing. but continue to day dream.
Translation from the Googlese: Deconstructinng the Blogger Pro announcement
1) Is this the rich company Microsoft-like tactic of offering a free product that will undercut people trying to charge?
2) Is this an expression of the belief, "We're no longer in the product development business, the real money is in selling ads on this thing--and everywhere else in the universe for that matter?"
3) Or is it a corporate branding issue--ie, Google does not charge for premium services. It makes its money from search results and paid search and ad word placements. Therefore a product offered by Google should fit into those models.
4) Or it it they're so loaded they don't give a %$%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
Sauteed mushroons with nutmeg and onion, tossed with romano cheese and oerchiette pasta.
Peace and quiet.
What I made for dinner last night
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
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
BloggerCon session changes: Technology Panel Moves
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
Jim Daly to edit Red Herring--again
Monday, September 08, 2003
Rick Bragg to pen Jessica Lynch book
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
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
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
Sunday, September 07, 2003
In brief: Around the Blogosphere
Craig's List: Craig Newmark started a blog.
Tom Coates' plasticbag.org: Weblogs and the amateurization of everything--good piece with excellent comments
MediaBurn: George Bush is the Gray Davis of the US
Denial of Service took this site down yesterday
Electrolite on new group blogs
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
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 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
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.
Paid Political Ads Online: What do users think?
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
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
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
My secret life: You have no idea
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?
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."
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
--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
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'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.
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 Â to be read and responded to by millions of people, potentially Â 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 Â hundreds of thousands, at minimum Â 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
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
What I made for dinner
Curried chickpeas with spinach and shitake mushrooms
Deptartment of I want it, I gotta have it, it's gorgeous: YeeHaw
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'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
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
Online Journalism.com: candidatecamera.com Web site created to showcase recall candidates
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
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
Monday, September 01, 2003
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
The piece isn't (yet) available online, but I urge you to pick it up--it is excellent.