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Saturday, August 30, 2003

Department of School is back in session everywhere 

Maximum Aardvark: Overheard verbatim
Guy: Wouldn't that be ill?
Girl: Oh, that would be so ill.

Girl 1: So, do you guys drink?
Girl 2: Oh, yeah, heavily!


Who will be the next editor of The New York Times Magazine and other snarky bits 

WARNING: This is in the you might not give a rat's $&%#@$ department, but Gawker repeats the current NY city-side specs about who'll be the next editor of the Times Mag now that Adam Moss has a new Times job. Whispers on the avenues are that Jacob Weisberg of Slate is a front-runner for the spot.

Here's the on the money comment from snark of about the Times' move toward hipness in general, and about the probably hiring of SLATE editor Jacob Weisberg for the NYT in particular:
"Jodi kantor isn't a blogger, and wasn't one at slate--it's just that her style seems overly influenced by the short-attention-span theater that is the web. i loves blogs--here i am on gawker--they are flippy and entertaining and point you towards interesting stuff. it's just that once the stuff they point towards starts pointing back, there's nothing left! someone needs to produce the actual fucking *content*."

Tom Curley: Building the new eAP 

Incoming Associated Press president Tom Curley told publishers today that he wanted to lead an initiative to transform the AP into the eAP, or news service of the future.
""We are transforming the AP from a wire service, which we've been for 150 years ... to an interactive database and news network that connects us, and not just connects us technically, but more importantly connects our common business and journalistic goals," Curley, the former head of USA Today, told the audience. He said that AP's news operations — from print to broadcast to broadband — would be merged into a single unit that could deliver a multimedia product.

As someone who has worked to make this kind of effort successful--at media companies ranging from Advance to Scholastic to Netscape to AOL TW--I know how tough it can be--it's a killer--but it is also the way the world is inexorably going. Information businesses of the future will be digital warehouses, needing to providing real time access to all sorts of data that can be packaged and redistibuted through various content management and publishing systems. I would LOVE to have a chance to talk with Curley about his this era of streamlining and consolidation it is how news organizations--and all information businesses--will survive.

from OJR:
"The Net went through several phases and only now is approaching what I could call rational: There was a great mania, a great collapse, it was overvalued, it was undervalued and now people are trying to integrate it into business strategies."
-- Tom Curley, AP president and CEO


Where in the US are the most Internet users? 

The largest percentage of adult U.S. Internet users resided in the Pacific
Northwest at the end of 2002, according to a new report from the Pew
Internet & American Life Project. Oregon and Washington State had the
largest penetration rate at 68 percent, followed by New England (66
percent), California (65 percent), the D.C. metropolitan area (64 percent)
and the Rocky Mountain states (64 percent). The report describes online
usage patterns and habits, favorite Web sites, and other detailed
information by region.

Source: Pew Internet
CyberAtlasvia Digital Edge


Department of what you already knew: Text ads rule on search results pages 

Reuters: Advertising placed on search results pages generated higher click-through rates and cost less than contextually placed ads, according to a study from
NewGate Internet. The study is based on campaigns from two NewGate clients.


UserLand Ranks Top 100 RSS Feeds 

From Digital Edge and Rob Runett, some neat items this week:
UserLand Ranks Top 100 RSS Feeds: provides eight of the 100 most-subscribed-to RSS feeds by RadioUserLand customers, according to a list compiled by online communications specialist UserLand Software Inc. The Christian Science Monitor, San Jose Mercury News columnist Dan Gillmor and USA Today also appear on the list.

Source: Radio Userland via


Hi-tech fruit pickers help the needy 

Hitachi workers and volunteers harvested 8,500 pounds of french prunes, one of the big crops of the region formerly known as "the Valley of heart's desire", now known as Silicon Valley, to donate to the homeless. 170 volunteers nabbed the fruit off 50 trees in Hitachi's 322-acre corporate park that also has fruiting apricot, peach, almond, and walnut trees growing between the buildings.
"French plums in particular are a historical crop, which made Santa Clara valley famous. As far as we know, the orchard there is the largest remaining one," said Joni Diserens, director of Village Harvest, a nonprofit group that organizes fruit harvests in the valley's remaining orchards and backyards with fruit trees.


Friday, August 29, 2003

Writing and crying 

Two years after, and these tapes bring it back:
PATH Ch. 019
PORT AUTHORITY POLICE OFFICER: There's … this is bad. They got planes all over the radar, coming into the New York area. They think everything is going to start hitting.
OFFICER'S MOTHER: Oh … please promise you'll call again!

9 11: Transcript from Windows on the World 

… A PERSON CALLING FROM WINDOWS ON THE WORLD: Hi, this is [person's name], from Windows on the World on the 106th floor. The situation on 106 is rapidly getting worse.
POLICE OFFICER RAY MURRAY (To people in the background): I got a fourth call from Windows on the World, it's getting rapidly worse up there.
WINDOWS ON THE WORLD: We … we have … the fresh air is going down fast! I'm not exaggerating.
POLICE OFFICER RAY MURRAY: Uh, ma'am, I know you're not exaggerating. We're getting a lot of these calls. We are sending the fire department up as soon as possible. I have you, [person's name], four calls, 75 to 100 peopele, Windows on the World, 106th floor.
WINDOWS ON THE WORLD: What are we going to do for ai[r]?
POLICE OFFICER RAY MURRAY: Ma'am, the fire department …
WINDOWS ON THE WORLD: Can we break a window?
POLICE OFFICER RAY MURRAY: You can do whatever you have to to get to, uh, the air.

Everyone died who was in the restaurant. We honor their memory and that of everyone else who perished.


Chef-a-holic: What I made for dinner 

Went to the farmer's market at San Pedro Square for 30 minutes this am, which resulted in this meal, eaten at the table outside in the yard:
String beans sauteed with garlic and scallions
Grilled corn with pico de gallo and lime
Artichoke foccacia (made by a company in Hayward, CA)
Spinach salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing
Strawberries from--where else-Watsonville, CA

This is the first meal I've had where everything was locally grown. How cool is that. (Okay, the olive oil was from Turkey...)

Tracking the Tripod Blog Builder 

TerraLycos announced today that their Tripod Blog Builder has just won an award from PC Magazine for ease of use. Launched in February, the tool is part of a subscription package that Tripod and Angelfire users can purchase (4.95 to $19.95 per month); there is also a free version. Director of Product Management Brian Carr says "Blogging is not just for the political pundits and technical elite anymore...We've transitioned blogs from a technology tool to a lifestyle accessory, adding features most requested by our millions of members."
I just went to the site and checked it out...two of the blogs I selected as recently updated (Aug 14th) gave me File Not Found errors when I got to their pages. The third blog had one entry from July 2003. My quick impression was that Terra Lycos continues to offer great publishing tools, but that not everything being called a blog was a blog...on the other hand, I did see one (fairly new) blog that had the look and feel of a LiveJournal blog.
Will explore further.

Former AOL-er to pitch pineapples for Steve Case 

David Cole,Hawaii-raised ex-AOL executive who went on to create a model organic showfarm in Virginia and purchase Cascadian Farms, has just been hired by Maui Land & Pineapple Inc., an organic pineapple grower (guess where) whose majority shareholder is former AOL chairman and major Hawaii guy Steve Case. Maui Land owns approximately 28,600 acres of land and employs over 2,000 people on the Island of Maui in Hawaii. They also own a luxury resort and a major shopping center.

I was going to make fun of Cole about this, but I'm going to restrain myself. I'm actually jealous--not only because the guy has beaucoup dollars from his stock options--unlike some of us ex-AOlers--but because doing sustainable agriculture seems like a fabulous endeavor, He's apparently been quite successful in his earlier projects, and Hawaii is a great place to live if you can find something to do there and don't mind being on the other side of the plant from New York and DC. So no sniggering this least for a moment.


Missy Elliott rules--and she won the MTV VIdeo Music Awards, too 

Ever since that moment when I heard a baby's cry mixed into an Aliyah single (Are you that someone?and had to find out who created that sound, I've been a fan of Missy Elliott and her producing partner, Timbaland. Well, girlfriend got 8 MTV Video Music award nominations, and last night won Best Video for Work It--which she played a huge role in directing and creating.

More fun pictures here.

Louise Gluck named US Poet Laureate 

Poet Louise Gluck was just named poet laureate of the US. A student of Stanley Kunitz, the 60-year old Gluck gave several readings for the Academy of American Poets when I worked there as a 20 year old aspiring writer, back in the day and on the heels of Kathy Norris. Like James Wright, another of my favorite poets, Gluck's work--and her persona--had an undercover of sadness that always impressed me but also gave me pause.


Fish bones walked the waves off Hatteras.
And there were other signs
That Death wooed us, by water, wooed us
By land: among the pines
An uncurled cottonmouth that rolled on moss
Reared in the polluted air.
Birth, not death, is the hard loss.
I know. I also left a skin there.

Copyright © 1987 Louise Glück
Online Source

9/11 transcripts live on the web 

The Port Authority has released the transcripts of the distress calls received on 9/11.
"The transcripts, released Thursday, provide the first look at the extraordinarily difficult decisions faced by both occupants of the towers and Port Authority personnel as they struggled to respond to the attack.

There were references to howling sirens in the background, while callers repeatedly spoke over each other after the airliner crashed into the first tower. Many callers were inaudible, yet their horror and hysteria jumps off the typed pages."

Excerpts here, courtsey of Fox News.


Is this what studying Kabbalah leads to? 

At the MTV music awards, a ploy for attention

When Britney said, "I haven't had a boy in a while, I'm hungry for a kiss," no one expected her to buss Madonna.

What the Australians said:
The defrocked ex-queen of sugary pop Britney Spears has shocked telly viewers with a full-on tongue sarnie sesh with Madonna and her nudist nemesis Christina Aguilera at the MTV Music Awards.

In a headline-grabbing, stage-managed stunt of cod-lesbionics, Britters, Aguilera and mentor Madge played up a spot of tonsil-hockey for the crowd, prior to warbling the ever-dreadful Like A Virgin and recent effort, Hollywood


Thursday, August 28, 2003

Bloggers hit the road 

Peterme: Californians see New England. A long way from Be-zerkley, CA, blogger Meyerholz turns a fresh eye on Vermont, and adjoining states. Nice trip journal.
DC Pierson: HamFisted Theatric's teen blogger goes to college in NY and can't believe it. "I am surrounded by the famous and the infamous and wonderful people on floors above and below. Last night I got my first applause in NYC, and tonight I'm going to see a Yankees game."


You know you're getting older when 

1) You must take off your glasses to read the street names on the maps.
2) You want to believe him when the amorous tipsy man leans over and says, "You have a teenager? AMAZING! I thought you were not more than 35!"
3) There are three sharp little hairs growing out of a corner of your chin that come back prickly no matter how often you pluck them.

Of course, aging is all relative.
Someone I know quite well recently confessed that s/he likes to log onto and check out how they other 45-50 year olds look. "We look pretty good compared to most of them," he said delightedly.
Course, that's not saying much.

In memoriam 

Touched by John Naughton's writing about memories of his deceased wife, Sue, and quoting this poem by Peter Porter:
The words and faces proper to
My misery are private--you
Would never share your heart with those
Whose only talent's to suppose,
Nor from your final childish bed
Raise a remote confessing head --
The channels of our lives are blocked,
The hand is stopped upon the clock,
No one can say why hearts will break
And marriages are all opaque:
A map of loss, some posted cards,
The living house reduced to shards,
The abstract hell of memory,
The pointlessness of poetry--
These are the instances which tell
Of something which I know full well,
I owe a death to you--one day
The time will come for me to pay
When your slim shape from photographs
Stands at my door and gently asks
If I have any work to do
Or will I come to bed with you.


Dept of my new hometown: Still losing jobs 

American Cities Business Journal, San Jose edition: "The high-tech recession hammered jobs out of Silicon Valley over the past year at a pace outstripping every metropolitan area in the nation, according to figures released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor. "

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

10,000 facts about the blogosphere 

Spent today pulling together the 179 pieces of research about the blogosphere, newsreaders, social networks, paid search, Internet advertising, and numerous other subjects for a project I am advising. Then it turned out that my lovely new Fujuitsu Lifebook with a CDRW doesn't actuall write data discs very well--at least that's what the guy at Kinko's told me when he said he was unable to read the disc.
Unable to solve that problem, I hooked up the external iomega CDR drive, installed the HotBurn software, and let'er rip.
Now I can go back to Kinko's-- they're open 24 hours. Ugh.
Once I finish pulling together some of the charts, etc. I'll post them here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Dept of Zen Forestry 

Last day in Aspen. Went into the mountains to see the Maroon Bells, a Colorado mountain chain. The bus driver said:
"What can you leave in the forest? Nothing, except your footprint."


Understanding The brain's CEO 

"You can be truly smart and still struggle in life if you lack the ability to plan, organize time and space, initiate projects and see them through to completion, and you cannot resist immediate temptations in favor of later better rewards."
--Richard C. Saltus, NY Times article, August 26, 2003

Monday, August 25, 2003

AOL: Journals Launched 

From the press release:
Members can create an AOL Journal based on their particular interests, hobbies or needs, and can be anything members want, including a baby book, a family picture album, a fan site for sports or music. For example, families may design a journal to keep in touch with relatives while travelers will find it handy to set up journals to post descriptions of their journeys. Business professionals will appreciate being able to create journals devoted to industry trends while music and entertainment fans can publish personal observations about the celebrities that fascinate them the most. News journals will allow amateur and aspiring journalists to provide their take on current events while others can choose to set up personal journals to post commentary and links on areas of interest or eclectic hobbies."

According to an insider, AOL Journals already has about 7,000 users, but it's jumped up into the top 200 on AOL searches, indicating members are interested.
Massive scaling will depend on the quantity of promotion that AOL provides.

Former InfoSpace CEO has to repay $247MM 

The former CEO of InfoSpace,Naveen Jain, has been ordered repay $247 million to the company for violating laws on insider trading; Recent stories report that Jain was found guilty of making stock trades between December 1998 and May 1999 while serving as the company's chief executive. The lawsuit, filed by shareholder Thomas Dreiling, sought $207 million plus interest and restitution to InfoSpace.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

It was like my personal network turned into my personal hell. 

Friendster turns ugly when ex-es split the friends.

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