Monthly Archives: January 2005

Homeless

I have a lot to say about this post by Jeff Jarvis. That’s obvious from some of the comments I left there. Part of me is insulted by the massive generalization he laid out: “…the real issue isn’t homelessness. It’s insanity. The laws in this country make it impossible to commit and help even the obvioulsy and often the dangerously insane.”. The other part of me is relieved to see any discussion that trods (plods?) into these waters since discussion of the topic is so rare. And for many very raw.

On the upcoming elections in Iraq

…Now we’re told that the upcoming elections in Iraq are a sign that everything is on the right track, and that once Iraqis elect their own leaders things will get better. I’m doubtful, but I hope I’m wrong. Every day when I think about Iraq, I think about the people there who want a better future. Not insurgents, or terrorists, or people milking the occupation for power and profit, but regular people who want to live in a safe, prosperous, modern country. There have to be millions of them. That’s the basic aspiration of most people in the world, and I’m sure it’s the basic aspiration of most Iraqis. Where do they go from here? What can we do for them? I don’t care if most of those people love or hate America at this point, I feel like they are the people to whom we are obliged. And as cynical as I feel about the lies, the mistakes, and the false reality in which President Bush and his advisors seem to live, I can’t get those people out of my mind.

Rafe Colburn: 1/26/05

Wish I could share my thoughts this clearly. Is it me or is Rafe blogging more often? via dangerousmeta.

On a related note that hasn’t gotten much mention from bloggers on the right or left: the Palestinian elections have moved things in the right direction. Lets hope progress towards peace goes on from here.

Wilco is the future of music

Wired: Lawrence Lessig: Wired 13.02: VIEW: “After its Warner label, Reprise, decided that the group’s fourth album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, was no good, Wilco dumped them and released the tracks on the Internet. The label was wrong. The album was extraordinary, and a sold-out 30-city tour followed. This success convinced Nonesuch Records, another Warner label, to buy the rights back – reportedly at three times the original price. The Net thus helped make Wilco the success it has become. But once back in Warner’s favor, many wondered: Would Wilco forget the Net?”

Searching vs. Browsing

…Browsing is shopping, strolling, flipping through a magazine. Browsing is fun, casual, entertaining.

Searching is mechanical, trial and error, frustrating. Searching is work.

There’s a powerful emotional difference between the two.

…Here’s what’s neat about tags: They’re bottom-up, so the classification comes from the people who make the content, not some highfalutin academic. They’re flat, not hierarchical, so they avoid the pitfalls of hierarchical organization. And they’re emergent – a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters and all that.

But other people have already talked about all that, but what I find truly exciting about tags is that they’re all about browsing. And not the directory/library/annoyingly hidden kind of browsing that led to the death of the Yahoo Directory and the emergence of the single Google box – the fun kind of browsing, like shoe shopping on Haight Street.

At Technorati, we’re sitting on top of this amazing, living, gigantic database of information culled from what we call the real-time web (aka the blogosphere). Wanna know who posted the word “tagonomy” first? Wanna see who links to powazek.com and what they said? We can tell you. But you have to search. You have to type something into that intimidating box and click a button and hope for the best.

Searching is work, browsing is fun.

Tags are the first major interface to our living database that’s truly browsable.

Derek Powazek: “Searching vs. Browsing: 1/19/05

nofollow? My own thoughts – including a possible big media angle on this

Last Tuesday Google, MSN, Yahoo! and an unprecedented group of blog toolset providers announced a solution that aims to prevent comment spam.

Will it definitely work? Will there be unintended consequences? Those are the kinds of hard questions that sometimes keep people from trying difficult things in the first place. On that score – I applaud this. It’s difficult get developers to agree on the simplest things and the cooperation is truly impressive.

Simply put – “nofollow” will allow site maintainers, like myself, to decide whether some links are worthy of getting a PageRank (search engine) boost, or not. We can do that by adding an attribute to links users post in our comments, but truth be told, we can do this to any other links we put on our sites as well.

Anil Dash thinks this is a good thing. Shelley Powers worries about its effect on conversation. John Battelle, someone who is still undecided, worries about the same thing. The Register declares this contributes to “the Balkanized web”.

I’m not sure I’d go that far. In fact, I don’t know exactly what to think yet. I do know a few things:

1. This doesn’t change any of my habits when posting comments on other sites. Not a whit. When I post a link in conversation, I do it to be read by the folks reading that thread – I value the conversation – not the PageRank boost. So you elitists who look down on that practice can stuff it.

2. Robert Scoble is right – the idea of using “nofollow” to link to things I disagree with or want to slam is… enticing. I’m not saying it’s right – but it sure is interesting. For example, if I wanted to tell you about a hate site that I think is downright evil, but don’t want to give it any “google juice” – I can now do so. You can see how this can be abused though right?

3. I can see one or more large media companies decide to use nofollow as the default for external links. I think education and monitoring will help to dissuade, but not eliminate, this from happening. PageRank isn’t an entitlement. And big media has more of it than you my fellow bloggers. This is a new tool for them to influence it – if they decide to. I hope not. I could be wrong.

We’ll just have to see how all this plays out.