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Saturday, May 10, 2003

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

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

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

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

IBM Sharepoint 

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

Mitch Ratcliffe rocks: Blog Endorsement
With my new newsreader, I can keep up with more sites, and actually read some of the blogs people keep talking about. I've followed the blogs of Joi Ito, Marc Canter, Nick Denton, Ross Mayfield, Meg Hourihan (a favorite!) and a few other closely enough I feel like the wanna-be watching the popular kids, but I've heard people talk about "Mitch" more than I've read Mitch.
Well, I've been reading Mitch today and hey, I'm going to keep reading Mitch.
Favorite items from today's reading: Blogging is not the same as journalism viz a snarky flap about investors flogging bloggers, and item on Marty Yudkovitz as new Tivo president.
And finally, the guy clearly reads. He's got some good literary comments in his blog and a clear sense of histroy..always a plus.
And finally, he's got a definite word on the squabbling about what is social software and who's entitled to call it that, aka "I'm the boss of this playground/office/clique" whatever. For those of us who weren't part of the blogging scene back at the dawn of time 3-4 years ago cause our heads were stuck up the butt of the web, these arguements--oh, I mean discussions--don't have the resonance they do for the old guard.
Anyway, check out Mitch.
BBC: Dogs and cats being farmed for skins in Europe and China. Story here
WSJ: Women think Bush is a hottie in a flight suit. Here .
BBC: Monkeys cannot write Shakespeare. Uh-duh.
Speak out against the proposed FCC changes to prevent media monopolies# posted by Susan : 11:58 AM

Friday, May 09, 2003

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

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

# posted by Susan : 11:44 PM

Thursday, May 08, 2003

By the way..did you know...
There is a site for ex-Netscapers, of whom there are thousands by now.If you are one of the many and have not listed yourself here, go do it. If you're just avidly curious with way too much time on your hands, check out the generations of good-bye notes, starting with the AOL acquisition of Netscape and continuing up to the present day. Feels like Charlotte's baby spiders crying goodbye as they drifted away...
# posted by Susan : 7:26 PM
Netscape's star may have faded, and the staff slimmed down at the Mountain View campus, but one guy hasn't forgotten the legacy. Javascripter and evangelist Eric Meyer has recreated the Netscape Fish Cam, one of the web's first cams, and a window into the engineering area where Netscape founding engineer Lou Montulli worked.
About the cam and about the specs.
# posted by Susan : 7:07 PM
Megan: This one's for you!
A gift for Megan P from Zack J courtesy of Sidney S: you all know who you are, here's the present:

# posted by Susan : 6:32 PM
READING: What I Loved--Skirting the line between fiction and reality

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

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

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

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

# posted by Susan : 6:23 PM
Department of I never want to meet them: First giant squid, now giant jellyfish called Big Red

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

# posted by Susan : 5:28 PM
Roach Executions: Ultimate NYC art
A slide show of Catherine Chalmer's new exhibit of her photos of roaches is on the web at RARE, the Chelsea Gallery. Chalmers, whose profile in the New York Times explains how she raises bugs and then stages scenes she photographs, has created the ultimate New York exhibit.

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

# posted by Susan : 9:27 AM
MEDIA: Online ad sales growing--but AOL still lags behind
Yesterday's Business Week story says that while the NY Times, Yahoo, and other companies are seeing a healthy uptick in online ad spends, AOL ad sales are not doing so hot. $178MM in big partner deals have expired and are not being renewed, plus the companie is still focusing its efforts--and its salesforce-- on $500,00 to $1MM sized-deals--and not returning calls from smaller players, according to the Brian Hindo piece.
The online service's first-quarter ad sales fell to $226 million, from $389 million a year ago--it will be interesting to see how a new leader (former US Interactive exec Lisa Brown), an improved broadband product, and a dire need to improve the numbers move the needle.
# posted by Susan : 9:06 AM
Dept. of what's in a name: Famed pink salmon is really grey, ugh

Did you know that farm raised salmon has grey flesh, not pink? According to a recent story reported on and other sites, a lawsuit brought by conservationists has pushed three of the big supermarket chains--Krogers, Safeway, and Albertsons--to note that the farm-raised salmon they sell has been dyed to mimic the pink-tones of wild salmon, who eat a different diet that the farmed fish.
CNN on the fish story, neat Phil Huang column on this here.
# posted by Susan : 8:47 AM

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

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

# posted by Susan : 10:13 AM
FASHION MUSEUM: Zandra Rhodes is kickin it
The Fashion and Textile Museum, the first exhibition space in London dedicated to the global fashion industry, opens in London tomorrow. Founded by legendary designer Zandra Rhodes, the museum is built on her 3000-piece collection of key pieces from Ossie Clark, Jean Muir and other designers, and housed in a converted warehouse on the south bank of the River Thames. I was one of those kids in the 70s who read mom's Vogue and marvelled at the amazing creations from Rhodes and others--it's exciting to think more of these fantastic clothes will be available for viewing.

News stories here, here and here.

# posted by Susan : 9:35 AM
Paid Content: Is Playboy getting it right?
Playboy Enterprises reported today that net income for the first quarter ending March 31, 2003, was $0.6 million, compared to a net loss in the prior year quarter of $9.4 million. Apparently these results reflected their online group's move from an operating loss to an operating profit, as well as improved Licensing and Publishing results.
There's some pretty agressive marketing going on at the US Playboy site, including a sizzling premiumn cyberclub that promised access to snaps of every Playmate ever, a Playboy TV streaming site, lots of maagzine sub offers, gaming, and an online catalog/store.
Back in 2001, the online unit cut staff and began to focus on pushing users to premium subscription services, including video content. According to the PLAN Annual Report filed this March, the principal sources of Playboy Online Group's revenues now come from subscription revenues for websites offering unique Playboy branded content, e-commerce sales of Playboy branded and other consumer products, and advertising and revenues generated by international licensing transactions for websites outside of the United States--like the site operated in partnership with Korea Telecom Hitel.
Playboy is clearly very focused on exploiting its brands, selling across multiple media to its core audiences, which include women, and getting into international in a big way. These are lessons all information companies should be learning, but Playboy seems to have found ways to focus in that really suit their brand--and their bottom line.
# posted by Susan : 9:09 AM
A new day! yeah. Yesterday was my first experience of blog withdrawal--being unable to post made me feel uneasy. I'm going to leave the template alone and hope
I don't go back to that place for a while.
# posted by Susan : 8:43 AM
ONLY IN JAPAN: Plant one on your poodle
Is this an outgrowth of the Japanese subculture that encourages thirty--something women to dress like twelve-year olds, or just plain weird anywhere? Geisha asobi via Xeni at --thanks!

# posted by Susan : 4:46 AM

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

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

# posted by Susan : 10:58 PM
Hanging in there: Diller buys Lending
I remember when my old friend Jamie Bennett and his pal Mitchell York left Cahners and CMP Media, respectively, to join Doug Lebda in a new venture called Lending Tree . That must have been about 1997, and those guys faced the challenge of building an online financial services firm from scratch. Here it is 2003, lots of folks have moved on, many companies have folded, and US Interactive's bought Lending Tree for $734 million in stock. Congratulations, Doug!
News reports here .
# posted by Susan : 4:50 PM
Department of Who the Hell is This Guy? Joumana Kidd Fan Club, Not
More serious journalism from the NY Post:
Is Bob Ryan, a sports columnist for the Boston Globe, a graceless twit or a media whore? Ryan told Bob Lobel, host of WBZ TV's Sports Final, that he'd "like to smack" Jason Kidd's wife, Joumana, because he feels she uses her son T. J. Kidd as a "prop."
"I got theories with this woman, this Joumana Kidd who wants to be a TV star. She wants face time on camera. The great way to get face time is to bring the cute, little precocious kid. Oh, great. I'd like to smack her," said Ryan.
Meanwhile, T.J. and his dad dad have been on the mound for the first pitch at a Yankees game, been featured in NBA television commercials, posed (with faux milk mustache) for a "Got Milk?" ad, attrended the U.S. Open and exchanged high-fives with rapper Jay-Z.
Maybe Ryan wants to smack Jason Kidd? Duh, I think not.
# posted by Susan : 8:34 AM
Bureau of Meaningless Blah Blah Blah : Paris Hilton sets the record straight--she's no skank
Is Paris Hilton the boy-friend-stealing, face-sucking, no underwearing-wearing slut she appears to be--or is she just getting a bad rap? In today's NY Post, Paris tells gossipeuse Liz Smith that people have the wrong picture of her.
1) Paris isn't a party girl
"I DON'T drink. I don't do drugs. My family moved to New York when I was 15. We would go to parties and before long we were made out by the media to be party girls - dancing on tables. It used to hurt. It was embarrassing to my parents. But people who know me, know it's not true.
2) Paris works hard for her money
I'm out networking for my career, to pay my own rent, my own bills. I make my own money.. know I'm pretty, but it means I have to work even harder."
3) She ain't no guy-poacher
(Lisa Marie Presley and Shannon Dougherty)..."They just didn't understand. I'm only good friends with their exes."

# posted by Susan : 7:49 AM

Monday, May 05, 2003

Circle-Jerking freaks beat the meat in San Francisco

You know that California lunatic fringe? Someone let the dogs out again when one thousand people gathered in San Fran for the second annual Masturb-a-thon, a fund-raiser for fund-raiser for the local Center for Sex and Culture. Folks, just cause you can, doesn't mean you should. Nobody wants to see your nasty ol' chickens.
# posted by Susan : 10:51 PM
THINKING: The Law of Accelerating Returns

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

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

# posted by Susan : 10:02 PM

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Yo, babe! Frog mating calls for Spring

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

# posted by Susan : 11:55 AM
CELEB GOSSIP: The latest trash
Yeah, so I have a love for celebrity gossip and silly stuff. It's my adult version of playing with Barbie and Ken. If you share my interest in this sort of time-waster, Celebs without Makeup is worth a visit. Christina Aguilera, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears..they look like the rest of us when the war paint's off.
Gossiplist also rocks. This week's issue dishes Kevin Spacey, Farrah Fawcett, Alan Ball, Elton John, George Michael, Vincent D'Onfrio and lots of other serious Hollywood intellectuals. The quotes from the Justin Timberlake/Java Joel phone interview are hysterical--but apparently the DJ was suspended briefly when the star freaked out at the offensive questions.
# posted by Susan : 10:54 AM

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