Saturday, June 28, 2003

Department of Big Dogs Moving In: RSS Syndication standards 

from John Robb:
RSS and Echo. Well the big companies have finally made their move in the weblog world with Sam Ruby being directed by IBM to take control of an emerging syndication standard. Why now? Big publishing companies are starting to think about using RSS (really simple syndication) not only to automate the delivery of news to readers but also to automate the production of news. IBM is very interested in this given their longstanding and extremely lucrative relationship with the WSJ ($500m over the last three years) and other publishers. It would be against their interest to let a simple syndication standard emerge that didn't require lots of IBM iron and software expertise. RSS had to die. Also, if you small vendors or individual contributors think that you are gaining some say or freedom with the development of Echo, think again. The big companies are going to roll right over you as the push this forward over the next couple of years.


Department of Only in New York 

Via Gawker and 601am Lizzie Grubman, of "Fuck you, white trash" fame, is teaching a class at the Learning Annex on "How to succeed in public relations."
Would that be professional or personal PR?


Thursday, June 26, 2003

New funds for NYC schools? 

New York State's highest court ruled today that New York City has failed to provide "sound basic education" to a million New York City school children. The ruling should mean more money for the cash-strapped city schools.
"Tens of thousands of students are placed in overcrowded classrooms, taught by unqualified teachers and provided with inadequate facilities and equipment," Chief Judge Judith Kaye wrote for the court. "The number of children in these straits is large enough to represent a systemic failure."

Media: Bonnie Fuller gets the last laugh 

Bonnie Fuller, the editor in chief of US Magazine, resigned today to become editorial director for David Pecker's American Media, the company that publishes The National Enquirer and other gossipy, mass-market rags. Rumors swirled a few years ago that Fuller, who has worked at Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and YM, among other magazines, was pushed out of Conde Nast because she angered Anna Wintour and was perceived as too ambitious. At American Media, Fuller will reportedly receive a package worth more than $1 million, an equity stake in the company and bonuses for overall company performance on the newsstand.
There's no question that Fuller is a brilliant and hard-driving editor who turned US around and that she is a perfect fit for Pecker's ambitions, but the really fun part of this is Fuller bucking proving herself to the old guard magazine world of Conde and Hearst and then throwing over that system to become the visionary for an ambitious tabloid company--it's too delicious.

Light blogging weekend 

Travelling down to Florida for a family weekend to celebrate my mother in law's birthday.
Back in force on Monday.


Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Cassandra Pages 

Instructor & Three Graduates with Diplomas and Geraniums (Tuskegee Institute, Alabama)
Gelatine-Silver Print, circa 1905, 4 x 5.5 inches

Cassandra, via Steve Yost: "From the exhibition The Face of Slavery and Other Early Images of African Americans at the American Museum of Photography

Today's affirmative action ruling and a thoughtful post on the subject from mysterium got me thinking about racial inequities in our educational system, and how conditioned we are to glossing over them or looking to solutions like affirmative action, when actually the problem is far more complex."


AOL to go for speed 

Will you keep paying that monthly remit to AOL if you get a fast accelerate to speed up your surfing time? I might, especially if I was on a dial-up connection. According to today's news reports, AOL is planning to announce a download accelerator, celebrity expressions, and new email features as part of July's launch of AOL 9.0.
So many people I know have left the service, it's chilling. Only my friends and colleagues who have worked there seem to want to keep their accounts, and that's about everyone from the old job knowing your AIM and screen name, nut using anything inside the service.


Local History: The San Jose Acid Test 

It turns out the the neighborhood we are moving to, Naglee Park, had quite an active scene back in the 60's. The Grateful Dead's first show took place 12/4/65 in Big Nig's house in Naglee Park.
One of my soon to be neighbors in SanJo has been recalling the local pyschedelic scene back then.
He writes:
In the 70's the Hog Farm had several different Downtown SJ addresses...I
stayed for several days at a house on S 13th and another on S 16th, (where
the bus was parked being fixed ,as always) , in the Fall of '71, one of a
string of homes from Oregon to New Mexico, all the way East to NYC and up to
northern...extreme northern...Canada was across the back fence...Vermont. A
network of literally thousands of people, if a bus broke down or someone got
popped or hurt, anywhere, the Hog Farm had a friend who would drive the 50
miles, put us up, help us fix it...if you had a phone you could always call
Louie or someone who could call Louie and he would get out the "Book" and
make some calls. Lawyers, doctors, mechanics, moms, ex-girlfriends as well
as musicians, artists, publishers, promoters, loan sharks, famed chefs with
fancy restaurants, actors and actresses, writers, filmmakers...everybody was
in the "Book" and help was on the way. Of course you were in the "Book" also
and would get your calls as well...

As to the SJ Acid Test...we were told by those older and wiser that the 16th
St. house was the "house", where the Tests took place, one, I was told, of
many (I will remind all that Friday comes once a week) weekly
occurrences..., so we tested it also, just to be sure the vibes were still
right...Of course the legend says house the Dead lived in was on S. 12th...

Also a couple of houses in LG, Neal Cassaday's and the spot on HWY 17, just
past Glenwood, where a small church is now shuttered...lots of Acid
Tests...after Wolfe and 60's the perception of it all changed, into some
party or somethin', too sad... I was on Haight St. after Garcia's
"Funeral", hordes of teensomethings in tie dye with candles in vigil, three
decades later. Long strange something, that's for sure...alas the true
History will have to be written by investigating police records, 'cause them
that was there, they forgot the I did.

I am planning to move to S. 16th Street...wonder which house they're referring to?


Tuesday, June 24, 2003

New York City in July: Bikram yoga without the yoga. 

It was 101 degrees in New York today.
Summer weather has arrived with a vengeance.
The Producer's Project student film screening was at the pier right next to Chelsea Piers, on a gently rocking boat. Many people's faces in the audience were red and sweaty because of the heat. After the event, we dove into a cab and soaked up the air-conditioning.
Hey, that's New York for you. Last Friday I was bitching about the cold weather and remarking on the high black boots so many New York women were clomping around in.
Now, I'm going to make snide remarks about the heat and intense humidity.
No, I'll skip them and let you imagine what I might say.

New York bonus posts (even wierder than I am):
via Gawker: Apartment share ad for out of work beekeper (are these people insane, or what?)
"There is one catch you should be aware of. I am a professional bee keeper. I maintain a rather large hive of Africanized honey bees. Due to the economic downturn and the reduced demand for honey I was unable to maintain my work studio and therefore I now work from home. The hive is located in the living room."
(via NY Times): Big bugs are gonna suck your blood.

Meetings in NY, then The Producer's Project 

Light blogging day...meetings in New York all day. Tonight, going to screenings of student films created by The Producer's Project, Wendy Dubit and Yvette LeBow's organization.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Marc North is great 

One of Marc North's pictures from today. Click here and see it larger.

Lily the Exhibitionist's blog 

Don't ask how I found this one.
Hi, my name is Lily! This is the first part of a two-part guide for exhibitionists, and anyone interested in the subject. I've been showing myself off for years, and I'm using this as an easy way to share hints and tips, not to mention a few juicy examples, with anyone who can benefit from my experience. This volume includes ideas for basic-level exhibitionism. What the basic means is exhibitionism that's usually tamer than intermediate and advanced levels, but more importantly it always appears unintentional. Basic, intermediate, and advanced refer to the levels of risk in what's being tried, in other words how risky it is.
With basic exhibitionism, clothes become you're most important tool, besides location. This may seem to be the opposite of what it should be, but you don't have to be completely naked to show off.

More here. WARNING: This page gets very racy as you scroll down...


How People Hug (Tim Bray) 

Via Ming the Magnificent, oop,s I mean the Mechanic:
Tim Bray sat in an airport and studied how people hug or not.
People who are culturally non-huggers suffer for it; you will see what looks like a reunion after long separation between a grown daughter and a grown mother, and they will stand face to face, eyes full of tears, and almost quiver it seems.
Non-hugger displacement activity includes reaching out to touch the other only for a moment, and quickly turning to walk side-by-side.
Some groups cheek-kiss, one side then the other, the number of kisses can be two, three or even four, and there seems no doubt or hesitancy how many there will be.
Japanese people and those who meet them bow of course; those whove spent any time in Japan wont be surprised at how many shades of meaning and style can infuse a bow.
More here.
Since it takes courage to hug, at least for me, this is interesting.

Addicted to the Blogosphere: Is my brain going to explore? 

I'm up to 168 blogs on my newsreader, plus the one such as Gawker and Geisha Asobi that don't have feeds.
The endless run of interesting people and ideas is a fatal mix for someone like me, who worked in a library all through college, loves data, and is always seeking new ideas. Between the announcements of new cool projects, and the writing of new cool posts, the blogosphere feels like a virtual coffeehouses aka Library of Alexandria, with amazing ideas, facts and people around each corner--but with no good map to use to chase them down.
I'm lucky I have lots to do in the real world, surfing blogs could become as addictive as playing web-based multi-layer games.
I sit down at night and read my newsreader, catching up before I power down, and basically, I look at items and click into blogs until my eyes get too tired. But geeze, it's great--the energy, the ideas, the voices--bloggers are the musicians of the written word, putting their voices out there to be heard.

Mindjack: Next generation BoingBoing? 

Postings around the blogosphere for a new blog/mag just announced: Mindjack. According to their daily blog, their board is Joi Ito, Gareth Branwyn, Mark Frauenfelder, Mikki Halpin, Jon Lebkowsky, Howard Rheingold and Douglas Rushkoff. Great guys minds, all, but where are the rest of the women, fellas?
Neverthless, magazine looks excellent..maybe I can start reading this instead of Gawker in the morning. Lots of BoingBoing energy here, as well.

SocialText gets funding 

Blog and wiki tools are becoming investment opportunities, a great sign both for the health of the consumer-toolset tech sector, and for community-focused software. First Moveable Type got funding, now Ross Mayfield says SocialText has raised some money from:
Reid Hoffman, CEO of LinkedIn and former EVP of Paypal
Joi Ito, Venture Capitalist with Neoteny
Mark Pincus, former co-founder, CEO and Chairman of SupportSoft
Erik Josowitz, former VP of Product Strategy of Vignette
Oakstone Ventures
Freedom Technology Ventures
Let's see what happens next--the passion is definitely there--will the quality and ease of use of the products draw consumers and enterprise customers?


Sunday, June 22, 2003

Sleeping with the Sheep: Comptche Tales 

My friend D moved to Comptche, in the redwoods east of Mendecino, about two years ago. This week she emailed a picture she'd just taken, and the following note:
"i'd just finished cutting this pasture... put a couple water containers
in it... the evening hay... and finally got all the ewes and lambs in
there. What a racket! If they don't all go together... the ones who miss
out (because they freak out) go nuts and take (what seems) forever to
figure out how the others got to the field out yonder. It can be
frustrating, but... its still great!

As you can see, the lambs are almost a big as the ewes. Shearing has
really changed the colors of the ewes... the browns looked mauve right
after shearing... now, its hard to tell what's going to happen to their
color. I want to go for more brown fleeces and thinking of getting a
moorit ram from someone (who specializes in 'browns') down closer to the
Bay Area.

I'll keep both of the ram lambs this year because I want to see what
comes out of them. They are both black badgers which is black legs and
underbelly, white (or cream) on top with scattered brown markings/spots
(one more than the other) and badger faces. They both have 4 horns...
one has the fused double horns, like his father, the black ram... the
other has two horns growing straight up fron the top of his head, plus
horns growing out each side of his head... more or less straight out.
This ram lamb already broke of one side horn and one top horn, but they
are continuing to grow out, so he will look a little lop-sided... probably.
sheep sheep sheep!"
Her sheep look like little old men, village elders with amazingly individual faces, but all of the wizened, squinty persuasion.

Here's the picture she sent me--this is right outside her window.

Contrast this to my life in New York/New Jersey, getting on the train, driving through the Holland Tunnel, pushing past people on NYC streets (it's push or be pushed sometimes).

5ive: New business ideas 

Working with a colleague on some very exciting new business ideas for brand extensions and new products/new revenue streams for the kids and school/classroom market. Focus is on a set of business strategies and products/services for Pre-K, upper elementary and middle school, toddlers, children, tweens that we can help companies employ to generate new revenue.

Sunday dinner: What I cooked 

In the grand tradition of nice Sunday night dinners, a simple culinary exercise:
--Three-green salad with sweet onion, olives, red pepper, avocado
--Linguine with sundried tomato/baby spinach/fresh mozzarella with garlic
--Home-made garlic bread (Zack told me how to make this based on what they do at Arturo's Pizzeria, the coal-oven spot in Maplewood where he's working part-time.)
--Fresh raspberries, strawberries, blueberries tossed in balsamic vinaigrette--the balsamic vinegar brings out the sweetness

Sunday morning, still raining, plans for the day 

Breakfast with Spencer at Arneta's, the North-Carolina-style diner up to road in Newark, NJ. This is the kind of place where gospel music pumps out on the sound system on Sunday morning and everyone is loading up on eggs, gritts, ham, bacon, biscuits, sausage, pancakes, etc. before and after church. We skipped church, but ate like it was a sinner's last meal.
Heading into Manhattan this afternoon to meet my sister and her family in Chinatown, where I will pick at lunch, then head over th The Firehouse Museum in Soho, which my 6 year old nephew should LOVE.

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