Archive of Posts from December 2002

December 31st, 2002

BlogFodder

Happy New Year! I'm going to be launching a fun project in the new year called BlogFodder. It will be a daily email with an idea, phrase, poem, image, or question that could spark a weblog post. If you have a weblog and you have difficulty coming up with post ideas, BlogFodder is for you. If you just want to receive something different in your inbox, this could be for you too. Hopefully it will evolve as the year progresses, and your feedback and suggestions will help shape what it becomes.

I don't have the website or mailing list ready to go yet, but I'd like to start tomorrow so I can get in an email each day for 2003. If you'd like to sign up, go here and enter your email address. If you sign up now, there will still be a list signup process down the road when the site/list is officially ready to go. I'll announce it here when it's all set up. Thanks for checking it out—and I hope the daily BlogFodder will be an interesting new way to think about posts on your weblog.

December 30th, 2002

Coincidence?

I ran into Ev on a flight from Denver to Sacramento. On that flight I read the article in Fast Company that he discusses today. It's called What Should I Do With My Life? I recommend it.

The Bay Area is rainy. I hope it gets better before our trip back to Oregon. I'd hate to repeat the blizzard traveling we had to go through to get down here.

MTAmazon

An application similar to BookPost: MTAmazon. [via BlogPopuli]

December 25th, 2002

Christmas photos

nebraska sunset

cat in a basket

Happy Day

Hope you're having a good holiday. I'm in Nebraska spending time with family (and spending it away from the Web). The trip here involved a 24 hour wait/drive through a blizzard in the Cascades. And a mad sprint through the Denver airport to make our connecting flight to Omaha. We survived, our luggage made it, we caught up on sleep and we're relaxing now. The best part is, I now know how to put chains on my tires. You learn something new every time you travel.

December 18th, 2002

TiVo awakes

A house just isn't a home until the all-seeing TiVo eye is blinking with life.

TiVo awakes

December 17th, 2002

Gift Idea -- Bush is Sauran

Wondering what to get that politically active Lord of the Rings fan on your Christmas list? It's because you haven't seen the Bush is Sauran (save the Shire!) T-shirt yet. (You can order those shirts—and lots of other similarly-themed stickers, pins, and T-shirts here.)

Technology career planning

Rafe Colburn posted some good thoughts about career planning for programmers (like me), and whether to go broad or deep with your skillset. He says, "Aside from my specific knowledge of HTML, Perl, Java, SQL and other things like that, I have general knowledge of what makes sense for developing applications, how to get projects finished on time, and how to evaluate and make decisions on technology." For many jobs I've applied for, these general knowledge skills like application design and user experience design rarely come up. In fact, I've often had to fill out a grid of numbers: years of experience with given technologies. I imagine they take these grids and input them into a computer, calculating scores for all applicants. I know it's not that cut and dried in reality, but when programmers are hiring programmers it makes sense that they'd come up with an algorithm so they don't personally have to focus on the task. I wonder if there's a way to hack this standard hiring algorithm, and which method (breadth or depth) works best for scoring.

I'm at a similar decision point. I've always worked with Microsoft technologies: SQL Server, Visual Basic, IIS, ASP. Do I dive completely into .NET? Or do I widen my non-general skillset to include more open source technologies? Based on my experience with applying for jobs, I should stick with Microsoft so the numbers on my application can keep climbing. That's frustrating.

December 11th, 2002

poinsettia with lights

poinsettia with lights

PGP use in blogistan

Ben (on Six Apart's swanky new Six Log), discusses extending PGP-signing with a centralized verification/web of trust service. I agree that would be fantastic. But I don't think it needs to exist before implementing PGP-signing in open systems. Signing and verifying can already be done with desktop tools. If PGP-signing catches on, tools to make the process easier would be a void that someone could fill with a centralized Web application. It seems natural.

I think part of what makes this PGP-signing approach nice though, is that it doesn't rely on any one central service. It makes identity management completely decentralized.

December 10th, 2002

photoblog?

I'm going to loose this site's status as a photoblog if I don't get out with a camera soon. ;)

PGP Signature How-To

I wrote a little tutorial about PGP-signing comments for this site. It has step-by-step instructions (with screenshots) for signing comments with PGP 8. It's a pretty simple process, but I thought the visuals might be good for anyone who's curious but hasn't tried it.

OJR Article

OJR: And the meek shall inherit our bylines. Mark Glaser discusses weblogs and their connections to camera phones. He also mentions their potential watershed moment could be the possible military conflict with Iraq. (Calling it Gulf War II may be cute, but it's not accurate and diminshes the gravity of the situation.) I disagree that this could be a big moment for weblogs. If everyone in Iraq was blogging when/if a war happens, then we'd see a watershed. Or if the US troops and policy-makers themselves were blogging.

I believe the real power of weblogs will be shown in their ability to relate firsthand accounts of participants in world events—as in the Venezuelan blog I pointed to on Sunday. It's the power of everyone being a witness and having a voice that will have the biggest impact. (Though a system of galvanizing attention is also very important...and Big Media has a handle on that right now.)

He takes a final jab at weblogs with his last line, "Welcome to the world of lowered expectations." I counter with, "Welcome to the world were intermediaries aren't enough."

Update: The Reuters Article (Blogs May Pierce the Fogs of War) he mentions makes a better case of how exactly weblogs may contribute during a war. But I think this article still describes bloggers as mini-journalists and misses the point about firsthand descriptions of events directly from participants.

December 9th, 2002

AP Day in Photos

Neat: AP Day in Photos.

December 8th, 2002

Venezuela Blogger

Yes, someone is blogging from Venezuela. [via Scripting News]

December 7th, 2002

PGP 8

The free, non-beta version of PGP 8 for Windows and Mac was just released. If you want to test it out by sending me some encrypted email, here's my key. Cryptography is fun!

December 6th, 2002

Weblog discussion

It's in a somewhat difficult format to browse, but Cory and Rael discuss all things weblog by answering questions about blogs over at Infoworld. [via THE sidebar 12.5.02]

Venezuela Strike

The general strike in Venezuela is incredible. Striking people have shut down the country's oil industry, which supplies 10% of US oil. A captain of an oil tanker there who is sympathetic with the strikers has refused to dock. The President there has called out the military to make sure that the oil starts flowing again. The images of thousands of people in streets I've seen on BBC news reports are amazing. They have a few pictures online, but none of them convey the mass of humanity like the video I've seen. I'm surprised this isn't getting more coverage. The Economist also has a good article summarizing the situation. I hope the government and its citizens can find a peaceful resolution.

I wonder if anyone is blogging from Venezuela right now.

mirror project photo

I took a mirror project-style photo during the move. It's now at the mirror project.

December 4th, 2002

yawp, barbaric

Amazon now has some pages from We Blog online for their Look Inside This Book feature. Now I can point out my favorite entry in the book's index: yawp, barbaric, 36. They have 57 sample pages.

Panoramic Photography

More high-bandwidth photographic fun: Panoramas.dk. [via MeFi] I think it's proof that holodecks will exist. ;) Check out this underwater panoramic...and be sure to scroll up and down as well as side to side.

December 3rd, 2002

Urban Decay

Now that I have a faster connection, I can enjoy flash presentations like Shaun O'Boyle's photographic essay Hospital for the Insane without downloading for an hour first. [via glob 11.20]

catching up

I've been busy moving, and I have some catching up to do.
  • Happy Thanksgiving!
  • During the move chaos, Kiruba asked me some questions—and I answered them.
  • If you missed it on December 1st, check out Metafilter's contribution to Link and Think 2002.
  • Oregon is mostly cloudy with a good chance of showers.
  • The only home Internet connection I've ever known is a dial-up because I lived way out in the country. Yesterday I got a cable modem. I predict it will make me impatient.
Did I miss anything while I was gone?