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February 06, 2005

Scripting News Brunch

I just got back from the “Geek Brunch” with Dave Winer of Scripting News. In attendance were: You can see from that list a lot of what we talked about—blog link aggregators (Kmax), blog search (Blogdigger) and podcasting by phone (Slapcast). Below the fold: Some highlights from the conversation, including Channel Z, desktop blogging clients, and making the invisible visible. Of the “new” technologies we discussed, I think the podcasting by phone was most interesting to me. One of the major drawbacks to podcasting is it seems to take too much equipment and time to create an mp3 for people to download, but being able to just call a number, say what you want to say, and have the resulting conversation/monologue converted to mp3 and posted online (even directly to your blog) is pretty awesome. It doesn't get much simpler than that. One obvious great thing it would be good for—reporters (both “professional” and non) covering demonstrations, strikes, and other breaking news. Pretty cool. Blogdigger also looks like it has a lot of potential. If it's true that AskJeeves just bought Bloglines, it might be time to look elsewhere for online RSS aggregation, and Blogdigger's groups could be a good place to look. I'll have to check it out. Winer also talked a little about “Channel Z,” the outliner he uses to create and update Scripting News. As I mentioned last month, I've long admired the way Scripting News smoothly integrates both short and long posts into one smooth flow of daily content w/a permalink for each item. Plus, I love outliners (my current favorite is NoteTaker), so using an outliner to update my blog(s) would be great. Winer said he maybe might possibly who knows? release his cool tool someday, maybe in stages. He's waiting for the right moment, and I for one hope it comes soon. He also mentioned I should look at Manilla, but for $1100, I think, um, probably not. While I was fascinated by the tech talk, I could only participate in a limited way since I'm not a programmer/developer. My only sort of contribution to the tech conversation was when I mentioned that even though Movable Type is clunky (Winer said it was “too modal,” I think b/c the controls you need the most are too scattered an hard to reach), that doesn't bother me b/c I use a desktop blogging client (ecto) so I almost never have to log into MT itself (except to delete comment spam, but that's easy w/Blacklist). This was, in fact, one of the reasons I switched away from my old Radio blog—I didn't like being so tied to the browser and having to do so many things through the browser itself. Winer seemed surprised to hear that desktop clients were popular, and wondered aloud how many people use them to post to MT and other blogs. If a lot of people are doing it, then the blogging platform you use almost becomes irrelevant; what counts is how well your desktop blogging tool works. That's true, of course. I could do just about everything I want a blog to do with WordPress or probably w/a number of other things, but my day-to-day workflow wouldn't change so long as the blog software was open to ecto. In addition to talking about technology, we talked a little about the media and why it doesn't seem to work. See Winer's recent posts on this here and here. For example, Winer asked, “why are they [meaning Republicans, I assume] trying to convince us there's a crisis in social security?” We tossed out possible responses, but his point was not to arrive at an answer, but to point out the fact that the media just aren't talking about the question. It's invisible. The only thing the media talk about is what Bush is proposing and whether it's feasible and what might be cut here, added there, etc. That's necessary, of course, but why are so few people investigating the reasons behind this whole agenda? The question is just not on the radar, which, according to Winer, is where blogs come in:
When things are invisible, it's the job of bloggers to make them visible.
It's a somewhat utopian notion—that blogs are going to be able to shine a light into the dark corners of society and thereby make a positive difference. Whether it's true or not, it's a worthwhile goal for bloggers to strive toward, it seems to me. Other “invisible” questions we discussed: Why did the media replay the dean scream a million times? On this question the media covered the scream, but didn't cover the fact that it didn't sound insane if you were actually in the room, nor their own role in replaying it again and again, etc. Those questions were overlooked at the time, invisible; they've been considered somewhat since then, but on a comparative basis they're still invisible. Also: Why are Ward Churchill's ideas so repugnant that some people want to throw out the first amendment as far as he's concerned? On this topic all we get from the media are “wow, those are some crazy ideas” and “lots of people are furious and they want Churchill's head.” Why no consideration of the ideas themselves, or the reasons behind the fury? Those questions are invisible. Why don't bloggers raise them? I could go on; with two hours of fast-paced conversation, we covered a lot of ground. Overall the brunch was a great time, featuring excellent conversation, great to meet so many fascinating and talented people. If there's ever a Scripting News meal in your area and you're sort of a tech/blog geek, I highly recommend it. NOTE: This post has been updated to add links to the brunch attendees who commented on the event.

Posted 02:39 PM | Comments (9) | meta-blogging

Ambivalent Art

Thanks to those of you who sent links to your ArtPad Paintings, a small gallery of Ambivalent Art is beginning to take shape. Click the “action!” links beside each thumbnail below to watch masterpieces in the making from: Divine Angst with “untitled” on a vacation theme (action!) Divine-Angst Energy Spatula with an “abstract homage to Miami Vice” (action!) Energy-Spatula Second Person Singular with “untitled” (action!) Secondpersonsingular Ai Ashley with “untitled” (action!) Ashley Ai Anonymous “Beret” (action!) Beret Ai Anonymous “Monkey” (action!) Monkey Ai Anonymous “Moon” (action!) Moon Ai Why Law with “untitled” (action!) Whylaw Ai E. McPan with “E. Takes A Holiday” (action!) Emcpan Ai Screaming Bean with “Enter the Bean” (action!) Beanie Ai Bamber with “dog” (action!) Bamber Ai Res Ipsa Loquitur with “untitled” (action!) Resipsa Ai kmsqrd with “Keep Droning, I'm Not Done Yet” (action!) Kmsqrd Ai Lawrah with “Law Student View” (action!) Lawrah Ai Spycygrl with “self-portrait/portrait of a law student” (action!) Cinnamon Ai Idlegrasshopper with “los pantalones” (action!) Grasshopper-Pantalones Ai Idlegrasshopper with “any questions?” (action!) Grasshopper-Brain Ai Sui Generis with “nothing inside” (action!) Sui-Generis Ai Aren't they fun? Thanks again for sending paintings—more are always welcome! (Note: This post will update as I learn about new paintings. If we get enough, I'll create a more proper gallery. Thanks!)

Posted 09:23 AM | Comments (5) | life generally

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