Posts from September 2008

  • "PhoneGap is a free open source development tool and framework that allows web developers to take advantage of the powerful features in the iPhone SDK from HTML and JavaScript."
  • A photography blog about books. [via jessamyn]
  • The Ignite theme is coming to my town November 13th. I wonder what I'd present about for five minutes.
  • "Apple's current practice of rejecting certain applications at the final hurdle - submission to the App Store - is disastrous for investor confidence." We're already running into problems with the centrally-controled application distribution system for the iPhone. [via waxy]
  • Polls got you down? Sullivan offers a pep-talk: "We can only tell the truth as fearlessly and as relentlessly and as continuously as we can until November 4. We must do our duty. And if the American people want to re-elect the machine that has helped destroy this country's national security, global reputation and economic health, then that is their choice. But I am not so depressed to think that they will."
  • One question that Ed misses: do we want to have a group of people whose job is to sit around and solve captchas all day? If raising transaction costs works, move it to the world of money by charging a fee instead of relying on outsourced human attention.

Goodbye ORblogs

A week ago I closed ORblogs—a project I started in March 2003 and worked on in some way or another every day until last Thursday. The site was a directory of weblogs based in Oregon and a post aggregator that gathered together posts from those blogs. The site sliced and diced posts by topic and city, and gave readers a way to quickly scan who was saying what, where in our state. At various points it was also a photo-sharing site and general virtual gathering place for Oregonians. I closed the ORblogs discussion forum sometime in 2007, and closed the photo-sharing portion of the site in January of this year. Even with the leaner, meaner ORblogs I found that I simply didn't have enough time to devote to the site that it needed. Traffic to the site had been trending down over this year while blog submissions were growing exponentially. I knew that as the number of blogs in the directory grew, there needed to be new ways to organize posts so readers could find what they're after, but I didn't have time to code it.

In the wake of the closing I've received many emails of thanks and support. I appreciate it, especially knowing that many are losing a daily web destination and source of readers for their blogs. I also received many offers to take over maintenance, but because the code wasn't written for public consumption in mind, it's a Rube Goldberg-esque series of pulleys and levers that would drive someone who isn't me insane. And to be honest, I wasn't sure there was enough interest in a general-topic, local aggregator to make it worth someone's effort.

But I found there was quite a bit of interest after Portland tech community maven Rick Turoczy posted about the closure on Silicon Florist: Can ORBlogs be saved? And John Metta in Hood River began organizing an effort to build something new: Roll your sleeves up.... That was followed quickly by Lewis & Clark College in Portland offering to host a new Oregon weblogs directory. I talked with John on the phone on Wednesday night, and he posted a summary of our conversation: Talking with Paul Bausch about ORblogs.

As John mentions, I still believe in the idea that community aggregators can provide a view of blogging that you can't get from a personal newsreader. That made closing the site an extremely difficult decision, but I didn't have time to take the site to its next stage. I'm looking forward to seeing what Metta and crew build because with the current level of energy around their project, I think they can make that next stage happen.
  • "John McCain's choice of running-mate raises serious questions about his judgment."
  • Rafe puts together the questions he'd ask VP nominee Palin if he were interviewing her. They're great questions about leadership style instead of personal politics gotchas. They should ask all potential leaders these kinds of questions.