Did you know that if you blog it's because you desperately want to be a columnist? Me neither.
Thank goodness that real journalists don't bore people with "the tedious minutiae of their lives". Or their fantasy lives.
Hmmmm, YouTube's not loading for me this morning. This isn't good since the majority of the top videos seem to be from there.
My new computer arrived on Thursday. It has much wonderfulness to offer but the thing that I like best so far is that it has a flat-screen monitor that is large enough to let me see whatever I'm working on/playing with without my reading glasses.
My computer has died. I'm having to work on the laptop (which I don't like nearly as much as the desktop) while I wait for my new one to be delivered.
Without my computer I might run out of excuses not to do housework! I'm beginning to regret not paying extra for quicker delivery.
The kids have been on spring break this last week. We didn't go anywhere, it's just hard to get much uninterrupted time on the computer. Other moms will understand, there are just some things that you can't do without attracting children - take a bath/shower, talk on the phone, blog - if the kids have been quietly entertaining themselves (or not so quietly) all a mom has to do is do one of these things to get instant attention.
I was curious when I saw referrals from ChinaDaily in my stats. Below is the Google translation of the entry...I appreciate the link but I'm still not sure what it's all about.
The Boke of household female compatriots, should be very welcome! For housewives, how to handle the relationship between family and career is an eternal topic. The Boke of the main elements that started around these topics.
"Random Thoughts", the Boke indeed do this, the author can be found in real life constantly surprised enlightening point about people, and the resulting number of Legend, by word record; Although a person's world, it can trigger many resonance!
I got tagged by One Happy Dog Speaks.
1. Choose a search engine (e.g. Google), click "Images".
2. Pick 5 random blogfriends.
3. Think of a word or phrase that you feel describes each friend.
4. Do an image search of that word or phrase.
5. Pick an image that makes you say, "Aha! That's it!"
teebee at Guide to Midwestern Culture:
Gaijinbiker at Riding Sun:
Beth at She Who Will Be Obeyed!:
Gnotalex at The Blog Quebecois:
Allan at Allan Thinks:
Just added this (free) blog stats service to this blog and to Mom's Kitchen Blog. It's "aimed at Professional Bloggers and caters to high traffic blogs, bloggers with multiple blogs and even Blog Networks." The only part of this that might describe me is "bloggers with multiple blogs", but just barely since I only have two.
It tracks visitors, post views, comments and categories. That's all very good but one of the best features for many bloggers will be the ability to track AdSense clicks, referrers, drill down data for search engines, and outbound links. You can then check your metrics at their site or receive it by RSS feed.
BlogHer is a guide to women bloggers. Membership (free) is required to list your (or someone else's) blog. Registration is easy. After you register you will receive your password by email. Then you can log in and submit blogs. There are a wide variety of categories from which you may choose one or more to associate with the blog. All submissions are reviewed to avoid listing spam.
Did someone get banned and decide to take revenge?
BlogsNow seems to be having a bit of a problem this morning. The links aren't working and every page has "Use BlogsNow and you will die."
Update: It appears to be working again. It now has the message, "Don't use BlogsNow and you will die as well." That's pretty much the same thought I had when I read the first message.
Well, not everybody, but more than my lack of trackbacks would indicate. (That's a problem for another post, "Can't Hear a Word They Say".) It's 5:00 in the morning and at this time of the day I'm short on imagination but still long on vanity so I checked my blog's URL to see who had linked to it.
A site called Talk Digger lets you enter a URL and see which bloggers have linked to it. It checks a variety of sources (Bloglines, Feedster, Technorati, IceRocket, and others) and then shows the number of links and clips from the last three.
Forbes may think that blogs "are the prized platform of an online lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies, libel and invective." (password and login = forbesdontbug)
Blogs started a few years ago as a simple way for people to keep online diaries. Suddenly they are the ultimate vehicle for brand-bashing, personal attacks, political extremism and smear campaigns.
The article is big on blaming the medium but with or without blogs there will be some companies who will try to attack or discredit their competitors. There will be people who rant about corporations because they think that all big businesses are bad. Some people probably feel stongly enough about it to dedicate a blog just to trashing a company or product. I don't really know much about them and wouldn't base a buying decision on what a blogger with an obvious bias (for or against) has to say. On the other hand, I have bought at least a couple of things this year (a Nikon D70 and an iPod) where my decision was based in part on posts I had read that expressed satisfaction on similar purchases. These posts weren't on "product-specific blogs", they were on blogs I read regularly and were, to me, no different than a recommendation from a friend, co-worker, or neighbor.
My advice to companies is this: Don't think of bloggers as the enemy, but as potential customers. People who dislike you will do so regardless of what you do. If you provide the rest of us with a good product combined with good customer support we will
sing blog your praises.
Indexing began in June, so most posts before then won't be indexed. More information here.
La Shawn Barber thinks some bloggers have gone too far in criticizing Cindy Sheehan.
The left is using her plight to espouse more anti-Bush rhetoric, and the right is demonizing a woman grieving over the loss of her child.
I wish she had provided links to some examples. The posts that I've read have expressed sympathy for her and dismay that she is allowing herself to be used by the Left. As an American, she has the right to express any views she wants. Others have the right to disagree. Just because we sympathize with her loss doesn't mean the death of her son should be used as a shield to protect her from further upset. If you seek attention, you have no cause to complain about the kind of attention you get.
As part of an experiment to see how "findable" blog references are J-Walk Blog has asked bloggers to link to a post so here's my link to the J-Walk Blog Link Experiment.
Michelle Malkin posts about Air America and Al Franken. According to a New York Post article, Franken said, "About three weeks into the life of Air America, I became an involuntary investor — I stopped being paid."
Um, no. If you show up for work the day after you expected to get paid but didn't, it's no longer involuntary. Or is he accusing Air America of slavery?
Dan Savage who is guest blogging for Andrew Sullivan tells about a man who joined the army after 9/11 and served two tours in Iraq. An investigation into the man's background came up with evidence that he is gay so he is no longer in the army.
This is just dumb. (Beyond what I see as the obvious stupidity of removing someone for feelings rather than actions.) If wars can be aided by propaganda and given the Islamic extremist views on homosexuality, then the news that there are gay guys kicking terrorist butt would be a good thing, no?
Lileks on Intelligent Design. It's pretty much what I was thinking here. Only more. And better said. I was beginning to worry that I didn't understand the arguments over ID. I just don't see the conflict in accepting scientific evidence while still believing in God.
That doesn't mean I believe ID should be taught in schools. Let them teach the science. Let me worry about finding a way to integrate the science with my religion.
Speaking of schools, there is a proposal in Kentucky to ban "junk food" in schools during school hours. Diet sodas and non-carbonated water would be permitted. A proposal to ban caffeinated beverages from being sold during the latter half of the school day was deleted because there wasn't enough evidence to show that caffeine is bad for children.
Parent Stella Woods applauded the state's effort to reduce students' access to sugar and fat.
"I think it's excellent; they don't need the sugar," she said. "Their health is very important because they're young, growing children."
Her daughter, Christina, however, said school lunches are terrible. "They don't fix it good," said the 14-year-old, who likes to buy Mountain Dew from the vending machines at school.
If that sentence came out of my child's mouth, my complaint would have been about the quality of her education, not about whether or not she can get something with sugar in it.
In lighter "news", Scrappleface reports "NCAA Considers Ban on Hostile Animal Mascots". It's worth reading just for the phrase "perky men wearing fur suits with gigantic foam heads".
And last, not from a blog but just because I thought it was funny, The Laws of Anime.
Blogs are a wonderful thing. They can bring attention to people you might never hear of otherwise. Before today, I had no idea who Nancy Clark was. Nor did I know of any of the people she mentions in her
rant column. Thanks to Patterico and Captain Ed, I know who she is. Thanks to Google, I know who the people she mentions are.
According to Clark, "bloggers and some radio and cable talk show hosts make up stories and spread rumors. Too often, consumers don't know the difference between these lies and mainstream news reports." (All bloggers? My oldest son's comment on her statement here was, "The New York Times is a blog?") She left out sports discussion forums and chat rooms (until later in the article) which, from the little I've read of them, seem to be a "good" source of rumors. Maybe she doesn't understand the difference between blogs and forums. She wouldn't be the first journalist to make that mistake.
I will agree that readers should consider the source of news. I don't agree that "trust me, I'm an accredited reporter" is enough.
Usual scenario: A loser tries to make himself seem important by posting information that makes him appear to be an insider, "in the know."
Worse case scenario: Gambling interests, bookies, the mob pass off inaccurate information about a player or team as truth to try to influence wagering or the outcome of a contest. They're counting on readers and viewers to be gullible.
The mob blogs? That's the most interesting bit of information in the whole article. I wish she had included some facts on how she verified that. I tried Googling it but the only information I could find about Des Moines organized crime and sports was all from the 1930s. If these guys are still around and blogging, anything they have to say has got to be more interesting than a list of whom Clark is going to interview.
The reactions of each to what the other has written is understandable but I think that both, to some degree, misinterpret what the other has said. There's a lesson in there somewhere for bloggers (and journalists). Maybe even a broader lesson for everyone, you're responsible for what you say and do so if you don't want it publicized, keep it private (or don't do it at all).
Blog software comparison chart is a handy way to compare the standard features of the different types of blogging software. It doesn't include plug-ins or other modifications that may be available.
Blogtopsites.com is a blog directory. You can add your blog. You must include a link on your site that looks like this -
My permanent link for this is in the left column near the bottom of the page.
The Personal Blog category looks as though its the one that's being added to the most. At this time, the Automobile category is the only one that doesn't yet have any listings. Other categories include Technology, Politics, Humor, Music, Photo Blog, Sports, and a few others. No category for food blogs though.
Techievampire of Explicitly Ambiguous has a post about a NYT article on the We're Not Afraid Web site. I love this line, "Cry me a river.. build a bridge… and get over it." Can I get that on a t-shirt?
Rob of Okihawk.org has given me a case of beach envy. Okay, the truth is that I'm constantly envious of anyone who lives near a beach (the warm, sandy ones) but posting pictures of it is like showing a new dessert cookbook to someone on a diet.
On a totally unrelated note I'm thinking of getting a new computer for work. It has absolutely nothing to do with wanting to play the game. I created this JoeAnt topic recently. Playing the game would help me evaluate sites for that topic. Yeah, that's it, it's research. If anyone reading this also plays WOW (and has managed to take a few moments away from the game) and knows of some good sites to add to the directory, let me know. I may be too busy soon with my
quests research to find sites myself.
I meant to post this right after I read it the first time but got distracted.
If, as you live your life, you find yourself mentally composing blog entries about it, post this exact same sentence in your weblog.
Most of the "life moment" posts that I mentally compose never make to the digital version. Part of it is that my mood may change, whatever happened may not seem as interesting later, or I just forget. Another part is that once I've composed my mental post I lose any desire to actually write it out. I never have been strong on edits and rewrites.
In the article he said guest blogging was "the online equivalent of what David Brenner used to do for Johnny Carson". From the reader/viewer point of view, he's right. When Johnny Carson hosted The Tonight Show he would have a guest host when he was on vacation - no reruns. David Brenner wasn't the only guest host but he was a fairly regular one. He did a good job - he was funny and he handled the talks with the evening's guests fairly well. But it didn't matter if he did as well as Carson would have, he wasn't Johnny.
It's the same with blogs and guest bloggers. Even if the guest has the same political philosophy as the regular blogger (and I gather in this case he doesn't), I feel a sense of disappointment that has nothing to do with the quality of the posts.
I think Greenberg made a couple of mistakes. First he assumed blogging was easy. It's not, at least it isn't when you want the type of reader interaction he was hoping for. Second, he assumed it was hard. It is, but not in the way he seems to think. Doing it well does require some dedication and is challenging but the challenges are different from someone producing their own blog than the challenges for someone who is a substitute blogger.
The only way to know how well you'll do as a blogger is to start your own. For me "doing well" means enjoying it. If you begin by setting goals of x-number of comments or x-number of visitors it will just become another chore and who needs that?
A couple of days ago Michelle Malkin wrote about a political blog that has several ad hominem attacks about her in the comments. I know this type of thing isn't the province of just one side of the political spectrum but it is ironic when it comes from the side that promotes PC behavior and is supposed to be the side that cares about people and their feelings.
Defenders of these comments talk about free speech or say that the blog author doesn't have control over what people post in the comments. I'm all for free speech but this is more like verbal anarchy. Setting limits on language isn't the same as banning the free expression of ideas and opinions...at least not the kinds of ideas and opinions that require thought and actually support a position rather than denigrate someone.
As a reader I can just avoid blogs (left of right) with language that offends me. As a blogger I would like to see weblogs gain more acceptance from the general public as forums for discussion. I don't see this happening as long as this kind of behavior is allowed, or possibly even encouraged, on some of the more popular blogs. Rant and rave all you want, it's your blog but know that you'll only be preaching to the choir. Joe and Jane Public will take one look and think that blogs really are as bad as the MSM says and you will have lost your chance to influence their opinions.
Do you blog to promote ideas or promote yourself? I guess it comes down to keeping your commenting posse happy (and stroking your ego) or trying to make a real difference and risk upsetting some of them by asking them to behave with some civility.
It's not as though I've been blogging obsessed lately but it makes me wonder what's going on subconsciously when, in the middle of a dream, I think, "I should use my phone to take a picture of that so I can blog about it later."
Jeff Gannon may not be sitting in on any White House press conferences now but he's not staying quiet. He has a blog. My favorite post so far:
February 21, 2005
The Grey Lady's leader says he will keep on drinking. Bill Keller, the executive editor of the New York Times announced Friday that “This is not a time when editors swear off alcohol.” I'm not sure if that is what has been fuelling their coverage for the last 50 years, but it would explain a lot, especially Maureen Dowd.
This ended up being a fairly long post. It happens, I begin with one simple thing and it grows as I find one link, check it out and it leads me to another, and another, and another.... If you just want to see some useful/amusing/weird links go on to the extended entry. If you want to know how I found them, read the whole thing.
Technorati Tags - find photos, blog posts, and web sites on tagged topics. This page in Technorati shows a list of words. The size of the word indicates the number of related tagged entries coming from Flickr (photos), links are from Del.icio.us and Furl, and the blog posts come from blogs that have categories and RSS/Atom or posts that are tagged (see Technorati and this page for details). It says it is currently tracking 122,033 tags. (You can search for tags that aren't listed on the page.)
I've checked a few of the categories and haven't found any listings under the blogs section that were more recent than January 12th. So while this is interesting and has potential it isn't a source for breaking blog news at this time.
Reading about it did lead me to LookSmart's Furl. It's a bookmark manager that you can use through a toolbar or a link in your favorites folder. I have enough toolbars, any more and I won't have any screen room for the actual sites I visit so I added the no-pop ups link to my favorites list to try it out. (Requires free registration.)
When you come across a site/page you want to save you click the Furl link and it sends the page to your archive. From the save page you can edit the title and URL, rate it, assign it a topic, make it public or private, add keywords, comments, and clipping (summary). You can also select to have the info emailed to you.
I signed up to try it out because I thought it would be
good for someone who can only remember arcane trivia and not recall what she was reading and wanted to blog about only ten minutes ago a handy research tool. If I'm looking at multiple news articles on a topic I want to blog about, I can save the ones I'm interested in to my archive. It has the potential to keep me from having to backtrack or repeat previous searches. It's also a way to save something that I don't have the time to write about now but may in the future.
Furl lets you subscribe to other users' daily links if you know their first name, last name, user name, or email. (My username is marybeth if you're interested in my links. There's not much there yet since I just began trying it out, though.)
The front page of Furl has the day's most popular links. That's where I found The Complete Collection of Gmail Tips. Here are a couple that had information that I thought was interesting:
#4: If your gmail address has a dot in the username - firstname.lastname@example.org - you can leave the dot out. It's also not case sensitive.
#5: Gmail supports the standard "plus" addressing scheme. For example you can submit email@example.com (replace sitename with the a word that will let you remember the name of the site to which you are submitting your email address for shopping or a membership). Then you will know who sold/shared your address if you get spam to it. You can also use the plus feature in combination with filters to manage incoming mail.
The most popular list also shows the members who linked to them and some of the other things they have linked to. I don't know if today is typical but a good precentage of the links seem fairly geek-oriented.
I didn't sign up for Del.icio.us, the other link manager that Technorati uses. (See A Beginner's Guide to Delicious.) Many of the popular links are the same as those I saw on Furl but I also found a few new ones. See the extended entry for links.
Instapundit has a post on why bloggers blog.
...people blog so that they can express themselves -- to be producers, not consumers....
This is one reason I blog. Another is that my kids ask me what I've blogged about lately. If I had just brought up whatever the subject was in a conversation they would probably tune me out, but if they know I blogged about it, then they listen.
They sound a bit threatened by bloggers discussing politics. Best quotations:
"But where journalists' careers may be broken on ethics violations, bloggers are writing in the Wild West of cyberspace."
“'People are pretty smart in assuming that if a blog is making a case on one side that it’s partisan,' Jamieson said. 'The problem is when a blog pretends to hold neutrality but is actually partisan.'”
Do as I say and not as I do?
As far as I know, no one has threatened to jail U.S. bloggers for exercising their right to free speech (unlike here) but once you begin placing restrictions on what can be discussed in a blog, aren't the consequences just a matter of degree?
Will Rogers noted in a New York Times article 80 years ago that "everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects." That seems even more true today.
The author goes on to prove this by misspelling Barry's name (Berry) and Dan Gillmor's name (Gilmour).
He also says, "Blog owners usually don't allow their readers to add their own comments, preferring their monologues to others' dialogues." I'm sure that some bloggers don't have comments open so that they don't have to hear any other opinions but their own but I would have guess that most of those who don't allow comments do so for other reasons - older software that didn't include a comment option or to avoid comment spam.
The writer of the article does have a point when he says,:
There are many credible blogs dealing with serious subjects, but most bloggers aren't experts. As the old computer maxim GIGO states, "garbage in, garbage out," and the person believing everything he reads--especially on blogs--is living dangerously indeed.
I agree, you can't believe everything you read. What I like about blogs is that the good ones link to sources and since I'm online already I can Google anything I read about for more information. Opinion articles in online newspapers seldom link to anything. Blogs are usually upfront about the author's biases while newspaper articles of any type more often pretend to have no bias.
clearly establishing his bias against showing the unreliability of blogs, Hill moves on to the Wikipedia.
Librarians abhor using reference sources that don't have established credibility editorial rigor, and while Wikipedia is an interesting social experiment and "includes information more often associated with almanacs, gazetteers and specialist magazines," it's too untrustworthy to be used as a secondary source. I prefer the expensive and more reliable traditional encyclopedias for my research, for as Gabriel Biel, the German philosopher, put it 500 years ago: "You get what you pay for."
I spent a half hour or more trying to find a reference for the Biel quotation. I found one from a Web marketing company. Bartlett's, Webster's, and other references with "established credibility" don't list this as one of his quotations. Hill doesn't cite a reference.
I don't know if I would use Wikipedia as a primary source either but neither would I discount it just because it is free and isn't produced by a traditional encyclopedia. If people who devote part of their lives (as a career or hobby) to a subject don't know about it, why would a researcher with no real interest in the topic know more? Where do the researchers for those credible resources get their information if it isn't from specialists?
I remember reading once that the Encyclopedia Britannica (credible resource) didn't mention the airplane until decades after the Wright brothers flight. I don't know if that's true. What I do know is that after the invention of the Internet, printed resources will always lag behind online sources. Research may take the same amount of time but you can post information online before a publisher has even produced the first copy. Online resources can be edited immediately when new research or new discoveries are made. Print references are static.
The key to good research is finding multiple resources and evaluating their reliability. Rather than fighting or discrediting new technology, Mr. Hill's time would be better spent finding out how the librarians in his district could better help their patrons learn how to evaluate sources.
Go visit both blogs...and make sure to take the time to read that post.
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While I spent the weekend doing other things besides blogging, a comment spammer had used the time to add trashy links. I have plug ins to close and remove the comments and ban the URLs they include but I was a couple of days behind in running them.
N.Z. Bear has added some new features to the Ecosystem. There's a graph with blog rank and unique inbound link histories, top ten posts (posts which had the most inbound links), and a menu of links from other blogs according to their ecosystem ranking.
The changes look good but I've found one blog that I link to which doesn't show my link to them. It's not a new link and it's not on a blogroll that only shows the most recently updated. I haven't checked to see if there are more missing links but it does make me wonder about accuracy. For now, I'm going to assume that it's just a little glitch due to all the reworking of the Ecosystem and hope that it corrects itself soon.
Debbye of Being American in T.O. is back after a too long (but understandable) absence. Go welcome her back.
LeeAnn of The Cheese Stands Alone is back blogging again!
I'm an only child. For most of my life I've realized there are benefits to not having siblings but that's never stopped me from wishing I had a brother or sister...until I read this post. It's enough to make me drop-down-on-my-knees-and-praise-the-Lord grateful that I don't.
The last two comments left on my blog have confused me.
The first asks, "Why did you take Hollywood Squares off your programming and put another Hollywood magazine on?"
It had nothing to do with the post, but that's okay. I just wanted to make it clear that I have no control over a local stations choice in syndicated programs. My sphere of influence is a bit smaller...sometimes I can get my kids to do what I want. Monetary bribes ususally works best.
Your local TV station is interested in money too. Maybe they got the entertainment magazine show cheaper. They'll consider that a good financial move as long as they don't get complaints. Do a Google search for the station's call letters or look them up in the phone book. Let the person in charge of programming know you don't like the change. If you do business with local advertisers for the show, let them know you aren't happy about the programming change. If the station hears from enough people, they may decide to pick up the Hollywood Squares syndication again.
Just to make things clear, I do not make the calls. I don't have anything to do with the organization who does make the calls. All I have done is complain about the calls.
I don't like that the calls don't provide a way of responding. I think the calls are deceptive in saying they just want us to vote but follow Democratic talking points (complaints about outsourcing and cost of drugs for the elderly were topics of the last two I got). I don't think the calls are an invasion of my privacy but they do intrude upon it.
Many of the visitors to my blog come via a search for "Just Go Vote". If anyone has any information about this organization, please let me know. I would love to be able to share it with these visitors.
Yesterday I wrote a post that began with Jimmy Carter's comment that elections in Florida were unlikely to be unfair and went on to discuss what I remember best about the Carter presidency...double digit inflation, high interest rates, long gas lines, the Olympic boycott, and the Iran hostage crisis. It was one of my best posts. Ever. Really! (Okay, no comments about how being better than most of what I've written so far wouldn't be that difficult.)
I clicked "publish" and left my computer, expecting MT magic to do its thing. There must have been a server problem because when I came back it hadn't published (there was a page not found error) and my post was lost.
I had spent a lot of time on the post and was in no mood to try to duplicate it but I'll summarize the main points.
- What does Carter mean by "conditions for a fair election still do not exist in the state of Florida"? Still? I'm not convinced it was unfair before or that it is now. When my kids say something isn't fair they mean it isn't favorable to them. Carter seems to think the same way.
- Carter was another "anybody-but-candidate". In his case it was anybody but a Republican. We know how well that kind of reactionary voting turned out. Not that his failure as a president was all bad. It helped get Ronald Reagan elected.
- Carter's first act when he became president was to pardon all draft evaders. Shouldn't that have made Vietnam service, or lack of service, a moot point? Maybe it is only for those who avoided service altogether but not for someone who joined the National Guard and volunteered to go to Vietnam.
"Whenever you have a chance, say something good about our country." - Jimmy Carter, July 1979 (A Crisis of Confidence aka National Malaise speech)
...unless you're a Democrat and a Republican is the president. - Marybeth, September 28, 2004
Earlier this year I added a link to the Knight Ridder Election 2004 blog. In March they posted that they were taking a spring break.
"But we'll be back when the election heats up again during the summer conventions in New York and Boston."
It's fall and they're not back yet. Maybe they don't like what's in the campaign news.
Or pajamas with feet. Those are good too.
I must have missed the dress code memo. I don't own pajamas. I'm not going to go buy pajamas. Deal with it.
I've written before about how I get most of my news from reading other blogs. I get a wider variety of sources and better explanations/discussions of news topics than I can from newspapers or TV news. I also read news that isn't being covered by major media.
The influence of blogs on what news is being covered and how blogs have made it more difficult for major media to ignore some stories has been a recurring theme in many blogs I read. I think there's another, more subtle, influence blogs are having in breaking down stereotypes.
The only stereotype that I feel has had any effect on the way people treat me is the assumption that because I live in Kentucky, I don't wear shoes, keep the washing machine on the front porch, just barely graduated from 6th grade...as if everyone from Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and such states live like the Beverly Hillbillies (before they moved to California.)
When you begin reading a blog post, you may not know the author's gender, race, location, education, or age. You read the thoughts of the author, the other things are irrelevant, all that matters is whether they make sense and can support their opinions with facts. I believe that this exchange of ideas without the influence of prejudice or bias will do as much or more to breakdown stereotypes of all kinds than any affirmative action program has ever done.
This posting is a community experiment that tests how a meme, represented by this blog posting, spreads across blogspace, physical space and time. It will help to show how ideas travel across blogs in space and time and how blogs are connected. It may also help to show which blogs (and aggregation sites) are most influential in the propagation of memes. The dataset from this experiment will be public, and can be located via Google (or Technorati) by doing a search for the GUID for this meme (below).
The original posting for this experiment is located at: Minding the Planet (Permalink: http://novaspivack.typepad.com/nova_spivacks_weblog/2004/08/a_sonar_ping_of.html) --- results and commentary will appear there in the future.
Please join the test by adding your blog (see instructions, below) and inviting your friends to participate -- the more the better. The data from this test will be public and open; others may use it to visualize and study the connectedness of blogspace and the propagation of memes across blogs.
The GUID for this experiment is: as098398298250swg9e98929872525389t9987898tq98wteqtgaq62010920352598gawst
(this GUID enables anyone to easily search Google or other search engines for all blogs that participate in this experiment, once they have indexed the sites that participate). Anyone is free to analyze the data of this experiment. Please publicize your analysis of the data, and/or any comments by adding comments onto the original post (see URL above). (Note: it would be interesting to see a geographic map or a temporal animation, as well as a social network map of the propagation of this meme.)
To add your blog to this experiment, copy this entire posting to your blog, and then answer the questions below, substituting your own information, below, where appropriate. Other than answering the questions below, please do not alter the information, layout or format of this post in order to preserve the integrity of the data in this experiment (this will make it easier for searchers and automated bots to find and analyze the results later).
REQUIRED FIELDS (Note: Replace the answers below with your own answers)
(1) I found this experiment at URL: http://www.jeffdoolittle.com/archives/000356.php
(2) I found it via "Newsreader Software" or "Browsing the Web" or "Searching the Web" or "An E-Mail Message": Browsing the Web
(3) I posted this experiment at URL: http://www.findercreations.us/randomthoughts/
(4) I posted this on date (day/month/year): 03/08/2004
(5) I posted this at time (24 hour time): 01:38:08
(6) My posting location is (city, state, country): Louisville, Kentucky, USA
OPTIONAL SURVEY FIELDS (Replace the answers below with your own answers):
(7) My blog is hosted by: Self-hosted
(8) My age is: 44
(9) My gender is: Female
(10) My occupation is: Mom
(11) I use the following RSS/Atom reader software: none
(12) I use the following software to post to my blog: Movable Type
(13) I have been blogging since (day, month, year): 23/04/2002
(14) My web browser is: IE and Firefox
(15) My operating system is: Windows 98 and Windows XP
The search term "just go vote foundation" is showing second in my stat log with "just go vote" coming in third. A bit further down the list at #13 is "justgovote". What they found here were my two previous posts about the automated political telemarketers, here and here.
I'm still looking for answers.
If you have a telephone, you've probably heard from the Just Go Vote Foundation.
The group apparently has a presence in other states, too, and it is doing its darn-dest - and succeeding - at staying anonymous.
National Republican and Democratic officials said Tuesday they don't know who the group is. State party activists don't know either.
The group had visibility in the June 1 special U.S. House election in the form of direct mailings on issues including outsourcing of jobs, personal information risks, affordable medicine, improving schools, roads and the economy.
Those cards told people to call the candidates and express their views on the issues. They endorsed no one.
In recent days, the group has saturated the market with automated calls on issues.
Just Go Vote Foundation's direct-mail information lists a Sioux Falls street address. That gets you to Mail Boxes Etc. If you want a contact number, the foundation offers the secretary of state's office.
Kea Warne, state election supervisor, said she has fielded questions, too, but does not know who the group is.
Call up the name on the Internet and you will find only chat rooms filled with questions and frustrations.
One chat-room visitor said: "The phone has rung four times in the hour that I have been home. It's Sunday afternoon, and I do not appreciate it. These idiots are really upsetting me."
Another said: "I have received five phone calls today from Just Go Vote Foundation. I think there needs to be a do-not-call list for political campaigns. I am getting sick of the calls. I am about to unregister and quit voting."
And a third comment: "Looks like I'm in good company as I received five phone calls ... over the span of an hour."
It's nice that Mr. Krantz has bothered to report on this, I wish he had been more successful at finding information. If you look at the comments that were left for the post "Just Go
Vote Foundation Away", you will see that they are the same as the "chat room" comments that he quotes. I can't find the same comments anywhere else. (This is the only forum where I have seen it discussed (more than one post). It is also mentioned here and here.
I was flooded with spam comments this morning. There were 53 new comments. All with the same spammy links.
Most came from IP 184.108.40.206. But some with the same content came from:
I don't know if any of these are the actual IPs of the spammer. The really weird thing about it was that several of the comments were to posts where I had already closed the comments.
Anyway, comments are closed for now.
Michael Moore has a blog. There are two entries so far, one from July 4 and one from July 6. The posts aren't very interesting, about what one would expect: F 9/11 is wonderful and the people who don't like him are idiots.
There is no comments section. Too bad, that could almost have made it worth visiting.
Faculty, staff, and students can get free blogs MT at the University of Minnesota. There are a couple of advantages to using this over any of the free blogging sites (Blogger, for example). One is that there is a directory of the university blogs. That might be more of an advantage for the faculty or staff...some students may not be as eager to have their comments found. The stats on the directory page show:
Total number of blogs: 350
Blog authors: 410
Blog entries: 2303
Comments to all blogs: 791
Faculty and P/A: 63
It also links to the ones with the most comments, most entries, and recently updated. Indexing by topic and author would be useful.
Another thing that may be useful (to the more school-oriented blogs)is the Find It database which lets users post citations from books in the University library directly into their blogs.
I was looking at the links to the blogs with the most comments on the directory page to see if they were personal or education-related. On one (mostly personal postings), I found a link to 100 Wonders of the World. I thought there were seven ancient wonders and seven new wonders...I guess I learned something after all.
Someone from IP address 220.127.116.11 posted comment spam. I looked up the location of the IP and my only conclusion is that the men in Tamuning, Guam must be pitifully unendowed.
One of the projects at JoeAnt that I plan to begin soon is to further develop the Weblogs section of the directory. I plan on adding more topics, subdividing some of the larger topics into subtopics, and adding new blog listings.
I need help.
If you want your blog listed (or you want to suggest someone else's blog, blog hosts, directories, awards, or tools), please put a description of the blog/site in the comments section for this post or email me at Antie_emATjoeant.com (change "AT" to @). Include the Weblog topic that you think best suits the blog. Descriptions should be objective and give our visitors an idea of what they'll find when they visit the blog. I'll also welcome suggestions for new subtopics.
Please do not submit any blogs with objectionable content.
Google has joined the blogging community with the launch of a blog of its own. There are only three posts so far. The first promises:
We're going to post stuff here - regular bloggy things: What Larry had for breakfast. What Sergey thinks of that Hellboy movie. Which Dawson's Creek character reminds us most of Eric.
And perhaps, news about Google, and our thoughts on whatever random events cross our horizon.
So far, so good. The problems come with the second post. Only the first was signed. (According to Evan Williams, some posts will be signed while ones that are just corporate announcements will not.) The second post was edited. There was no comment about the edit nor any sign that the post wasn't the same as originally written.
Two more things:
1. It doesn't allow readers to post comments but does invite comments by email.
2. The PR bar for the blog is gray now. Any bets on how quickly that changes?
Still, any mix, however small, of bloggers and the old-school press could lead to some choice interactions, said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project. "It cuts right to the core of the age-old question about journalists: Are they professionals, or can any old jerk do it? I guess we're going to find out."
Not that he's biased or anything. Just who does the Pew Research Center think these "jerks" are? According to one study about content creators (people with Web sites, Web cams, Weblogs, file sharers, and visitors to newsgroups):
Content creators are likely to have higher levels of education – 46% have a college degree or more compared to 26% of all Americans. Income levels are also generally higher among content creators, with 31% living in households earning more that $75,000 annually, compared to 18% of all Americans who live in such households.
I'm not saying that all or even most blogs should be considered news organizations but I also don't think they should dismiss bloggers as not being equivilant to traditional journalists either.
Yet, as news outlets, blogs often fall into the shadowy space between reporting and advocacy. Outside of their links to stories from the conventional press, blogs tend to have little independent reporting, and more stream-of-consciousness commentary and analysis. They are often fiercely partisan, and post links to parties' and candidates' fund-raising operations.
At least the bias of the blog author is more likely to be stated on the site unlike those "non-partisan" newspapers and TV newscasts. Limiting media credentials for bloggers because they "have little independent reporting" seems like an attempt to make sure that few blogs develop fresh news reports. It's like when you were trying to get your first job. No one wanted to hire you unless you had job experience and you couldn't get experience unless someone would hire you.
Some independent voices might be a nice change. What's the worst that could happen? Bloggers could force the traditional news sources to work harder and do a better job. Maybe that's what they're afraid of.
There have been some changes made at Blogger and it's more than just a redesigned logo. The first thing users will notice is a new dashboard. Along with access to your blogs, it has "some blogs of note, a link to your Profile page, and recently updated blogs."
There are new templates, users can enable comments, there's a new profile feature which allows the author to show some biographical info with a picture (images still need to be hosted elsewhere). The profile page "also feature blogging stats, interests, and links to each user's blogs as well as recent posts; and they allow you too find other Blogger users who share your interests or location. Additionally, there are Profile Tags that will render a mini-version of your profile on your Main Page."
Posts can be archived individually. (This assumes that they've solved the problems with permalinking that Blogger has had in the past.) Posts can now be made by email.
For new users, Blogger has added a basic tutorial beginning with "What's a Blog?"
USA Today reports on a recent Google bombing.
They've nearly succeeded on the No. 2 search engine, Yahoo. By Sunday, eight days after the prank began, johnkerry.com was listed second among 703,000 results of a Yahoo search of the word "waffles."
At the No. 3 search engine, MSN Search, johnkerry.com was also the second Web page result of a search Sunday for "waffles."
Reading about waffles is making me hungry. Usually Kerry has the opposite effect.
2 large eggs
2 cups flour
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil or melted butter/margarine
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Heat waffle iron.
Beat eggs in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat in flour, milk, oil, sugar, baking powder, and salt until smooth.
Pour 2/3 cup batter onto the center of the hot waffle iron. Close the lid.
Let cook for about five minutes or until steaming stops. Carefully remove waffle. Repeat with remaining batter.
Makes six 7" waffles.
of his BlogSpot location and into his own domain.
I got the domain name and set up MT for him last December and it took a few months of
nagging encouragement to get him to make the move. Finally, a couple of days ago he began posting to his MT blog. Today the server was down almost all day. I'm sure there's no connection.
Just over a year ago, I added the ICBM tag to my blog and submitted the URL to GeoURL. At that time there were only 100 cities listed and the closest city to me was Chicago. The results showed blogs within 500 miles.
There was a post asking for submissions of the names of large cities that were missing from the database (so, of course, I requested Louisville.) By May, there were 7000 cities listed. In October, LocalFeeds.com was using GeoURL to aggregate RSS feeds near cities. Louisville isn't on the list on their site, but there was a feed for it too. The feeds are down right now but promises they will be back up soon.
What I want to know is, doesn't anyone in Prospect or Goshen have weblogs? The only ones listed that are north of me are across the river in Indiana.
Dave Barry has moved his blog from the BlogSpot location to the Miami Herald's Web site: http://weblog.herald.com/column/davebarry/. Comments and trackback are both active on the new site. XML/RSS feed is available.
Finding and organizing news sources:
Google News - frequently my first choice for searching for news because it's handy to use from my toolbar but it can be annoying when there are multiple copies of the same news article from different sources. I like being able to sort by relevance or date, I just wonder what determines relevance. The advanced news search does help finding a specific article since you can select a source or location along with your keyword(s).
Google Alert - will send email notifications when selected keywords are mentioned on news or websites. Notifications are sent out when Google updates its index. This service is good for tracking information that you won't find from news services...sites that mention your name, website, business, or hobbies. There are better ways to track regular news, but this is useful for finding information and references from sites and discussion forums. This service is not affiliated with Google.
Topix - sources for local, national, or world news. You can search for news by topic and it will save a list of your most recent searches. There are also lists for hot topics, people, industries, and companies. I added this one to the list of links next to my IE address field and it may become my favorite souce.
Yahoo - now includes the ability to add RSS headline feeds to your personalized page along with the headline news from their regular sources. Many of the RSS feeds that I've found in my searches here come from Topix.net. I don't use this as a homepage and I seldom use the email address that comes with it (I use MyWay.com for a homepage because I registered early enough to get the email address marybeth@... no numbers after my name!). If I did, I might find this one more useful than I do.
Bloglines - you can subscribe to standard news sources, weblog feeds and comic strips. You can find blogs by browsing the directory or by adding the URI from your page of listings. Click a link and Bloglines will recommend other feeds based on your current subscription list. You can see other subscribers to the blogs if they have selected to share their user lists (this is opt in, if you don't select it, no one will see you listed as a subscriber and they won't see your list). Seeing the lists of people with the same interests can help you find new blogs to read. You can also see how many subscribers you have for your blog. I like the features it offers but not the layout (frames) and the blog directory can be difficult to use since it sorts them by title and you can only begin with the first letter of the title and have go through it page by page.
My Wire Service - subscribe to news and weblogs, sort subscriptions by topic, and clip headlines to save for later. This is a nice service but has always been slow to load. (I have DSL, I would hate to see how slow this is on dial-up.) The weblogs are sorted A-E, F-K...but are not alphabetized within these divisions.
News is Free - another web-based feed aggregator. You can select news sources to add to personalized pages and also add RSS feed for blogs or news sources that aren't listed in the directory. If you get the premium service (you get one month free when you register), you can set it up so that you can post to your blog from this site. You also get news alerts and archiving. None of these extras appeal to me and although I like the look of the layout of the site, I'm still not sure how often I'll use it.
I know there are many more sources out there. If there's one that you have found useful, please leave a comment and tell me what you like about it (include the URI).
Things I found interesting or amusing during my first morning rounds of blog visits today:
Joe from Life at the Frontier writes about the spell checker in Blogger.
What I found most astonishing, however, was that it did not recognize the words 'blog', 'blogger' and 'blogging'.
Debbye of Being American in T.O. has been covering reactions to comments made by Don Cherry (hockey commentator for CBC). Earlier comments were here. She does a good job of explaining what is happening so I blame it on my lack of understanding of Canada that I don't understand why the Languages commissioner is investigating this. Is "languages commissioner" Canadian for "PC police"? I have trouble listening to sports commentators, their cliche filled blather makes my ears go numb. Personally, I would be happier to hear someone talk who has something unique to say.
GDay Mate offers this bit of humor:
A recent Harris On-line poll 38562 men across the US were asked to identify woman's ultimate fantasy.
97.8% of the respondents said (correctly) that a woman's ultimate fantasy is to have two men at once.
While this has been verified by a recent sociological study it appears that most men do not realize that in this fantasy one man is cooking and the other is cleaning.
I'm easily satisfied, one for cleaning would be enough. I like to cook as long as there's someone else who will clean up afterwards.
The Bejus Pundit quotes a Dean supporter from the democraticunderground.com who is ready to ignore the presidential election if Dean isn't nominated. Thank you, Donnie, for risking your sanity and blood pressure by visiting that forum so we don't have to.
The blog quebecois writes about the poetry of John Kerry. Yes. Poetry. Read the post, see the example, but be warned, an Ivy League education doesn't guarantee good poetry. My second-grader
could do has done better.)
Now that I've shared these I really need to do some work on JoeAnt, some (ick) housework, and plan what I'm going to have my Brownies do during our meeting tomorrow. We're working on a couple of Try-It badges that have to do with food and cooking. We have our meetings in a school classroom so our food preparation is limited to no-cook things. I'm thinking of having them make no-cook strawberry jam. The recipe looks easy enough and the red jam would make a nice Valentine's present for their parents. Maybe I can find some lace ribbon to tie around the jars.
I was looking at stats for my blog. At first I was comparing the traffic totals from the different counters. Yes, I have more than one. I had Stat Counter when I had my blog on BlogSpot and just moved it over too when I changed to MT and the new URL. My webhost offers a few more ways of checking stats; Analog, Awstats, and Webalizer along with something that shows the last 300 visitors. (The last one isn't very interesting unless you like looking at entry after entry of visits from Googlebot and Slurp.) I also added Site Meter for Ecosystem tracking. No two agree on the amount of traffic.
In the list of the 250 top referrers in Webalizer, along with all the spam referrals, I noticed a referral from clarkbot.forclark.com. Daily Clarkbot: links about Wesley Clark seems to be listing links to anything it finds that mentions Wesley Clark without any review for content.
The Clarkbot is a Perl script written by Rick Heller. It searches the Feedster RSS search engine for references to "Wesley Clark" To be picked up by the Clarkbot, a blog must generate an RSS Feed, and that feed must be listed with Feedster.
I'm not sure if this is one of the more gutsy moves I've seen or the most dunderheaded. Judging by the blurbs that are shown with the links, many of them are anti-Clark so I'm leaning toward the latter.
Each citation has the title of the post/article and a 40 word excerpt. (No, I didn't sit there and count the words in each blurb, this did it for me.) I'm going to save this post before I give in to the tempation to change the title to "Does Clark Know That Hillary Clinton is a Miserable Failure?" or "Does Clark Know That Maureen Dowd is a Poodle?". The possibilities are endless and the more I think about it, the more tempting it gets.
Wish me strength.
[Update: "Michael "Miserable Failure" Moore Supports Clark" is another tempting title.]
Link to the Moore Googlebombing found via Sliced Lemons.
A couple of blogs I read, Ipse Dixit and Wizbang, have weekly caption contests. I'm not going to do that and maybe one or the other has used this picture in their contests, but doesn't this photo just beg for a caption?
I've made an effort at having a single-focus blog. I was doing pretty well at keeping up with it for a while...but I've been slacking off lately. My
attempts at channeling my cats' thoughts other single-focus blog has gotten to the point where there are only one or two posts a month. The point I'm getting to is that I admire someone who picks a topic and sticks with it. Especially when it's entertaining. Ugly Wedding Dresses is one such site.
This is one example...and not necessarily the worst of them.
You know, my seven-year-old daughter would probably think this one is great. Her taste runs to sparkly and gaudy.
Samantha of Uncle Sam's Cabin writes about reparations for descendants of slaves.
Julie Neidlinger's Weblog has a post about a student who was suspended for using a DOS command (NET SEND) on a school computer. Check the links to the teacher's site and to comments from the student (especially the comments from his mom.)
LeeAnn's post about a bird flying into her door gives me an excuse not to clean my windows. By leaving all the streaks, smears, and fingerprints on the glass my windows are more visible to birds. Although with one, two, or three cats looking out and twitching at them, I doubt any birds are in a hurry to try to fly into our house.
Forgotten Fronts has comments about a British study on the safety of cell phones.
More later if I have the time.
Off on a bit of a tangent here, this has nothing to do with the weblogs mentioned above. I know that with the large number of bloggers, people will occasionally write about the same things at the same time. Sometimes it's not just coincidence though. What do you do when you see that you have had a visit via someone's site tracker minutes before they posted about a link that was in your blog without giving any credit to where they found the link? Email them? Remove them from your blogroll? Just ignore it? I realize there are no "blog laws" saying you have to give credit when you find a link and write about it but I would be interested in hearing if this annoys anyone other than me.
I change my blogroll from time to time, add some, delete some. The ones that remain, the ones that I don't tire of, all have one thing in common. Humor. Not just the "let me tell a joke I heard" type of humor (although I have read some great jokes on weblogs), but the clever, even sarcastic, kind of humor that comes from looking at things differently than other people might. As often as not the butt of their humor is themselves.
Some, like Scrappleface, always have something humorous to offer. Others may just throw in a comment here or there that makes me smile. Sure, serious matters deserve serious discussion but we still need to laugh once in a while.
Sometimes I wonder if this is part of the problem some people have with President Bush. He frequently looks like he's having fun. When you see photos of him out meeting people, he's smiling. Not the fake politician smile, but real smiles that reach his eyes. He can be solemn and stern when the occasion calls for it but not every occasion does.
Some of the things he's done which the Left derides; landing on an aircraft carrier, making a surprise Thanksgiving visit to Iraq, he always looks as though he is throughly enjoying himself. You know, it's one of the things I like about him.
I added a Blogs for Bush blogroll this weekend. It's a long list and I had several interruptions (kids!) while I was doing it, so if any blogs were left off, it wasn't intentional. If I overlooked anyone, leave me a comment and I'll add you to the list.
This blogroll (lower left) shows the most recently updated first. Check them out.
I edited this blogroll to show 50 at a time with the most recently updated ones still at the top of the list. I expanded it again...some blogs I like to read weren't always showing. Either new entries they made weren't getting pinged (so they weren't moving to the top) or there had been so many others that posted that the ones I wanted to see got dropped down where they weren't showing.