Photo of worker adjusting a wireless access point.

Worker adjusting the wireless access point outside my window.

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Monday, October 31, 2005
Karaoke in China
Wow. Two Chinese kids perform at Google video.

via the Official Google Blog.

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Sunday, October 30, 2005
500,000 Spot Within Reach
Not long ago, I set a goal to reach the top 500,000 at Technorati before the next century. I was 775,745 at the time. I checked tonight and I'm at 576,212! John must be right about using tags for categorizing.

Brandt, Google Watch, and Wikipedia
How do we determine if we are public enough to merit a Wikipedia article? And if we think that we aren't public enough, and an article appears, can we have it removed?

These are some of the issues buzzing around Wikipedia's Daniel Brandt article. He doesn't want it there. Wikipedia removed it once. Then it was back. Read the discussion and also check Philipp Lenssen's (who Brandt labels a 'google-lapdog blogger') post on the topic.

Philipp Lenssen does not have a Wikipedia entry.

Neither do I.

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Saturday, October 29, 2005
Stanford Adds Lectures to the WWW
Standord is putting faculty lectures (and musical performances) up at iTunes. There is lots of stuff over there and I recognize names: Wallace Stegner, Angela Davis, Paul Ehrlich, and Lawrence Lessig.

thanks apophenia

Friday, October 28, 2005
The Journalistic Oddity of the Day
First I read this story at the Guardian about an insurgency fighter in Iraq. An interesting piece that adds some needed depth to our comprehension of the state of Iraq. Gee, it's not just foreign terrorists.

Then I read a blog piece about the story - some good commentary here at Rantingprofs. But note that he is talking about a story at the Washington Post, not at the Guardian. As my grandson would say, "What the...". (And that is all he says, he does not finish that line.)

If you read the full post at Ranting, you'll see he updates with a discussion of the Guardian story and even an interesting comparison of the text. He suggests that maybe there were several reporters. (Hmm. Maybe the insurgency is now allowing for embedded journalism.)

I'm glad for the corraboration of the Guardian story in a way because as I read it, I thought that it could be a piece of fiction or simply built around disconnected observations with the reporter filling in the blanks. I would really like to see some in-depth coverage of the Iraqui insurgency vs. the Al Quaeda insurgency.

The article also gave me a bit of hope that the Sunnis and Shias can maybe talk to each other.

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Monday, October 24, 2005
Google Reader Has a Blog
As tech bloggers blast Google's blog emporium and it's ease of splogging, a new blogspot blog appears for the Google Reader: The Official Google Reader Blog.

Sunday, October 23, 2005
An Old Hotel in New York
The NY Times has an article today called "Downtown Hotel Has Visitors, but No Guests. It's Specical? A Slice of Old New York" by Colin Moynihan(free registration likely required). It's about the Fulton Ferry Hotel,
a brick structure built in 1812 that housed generations of travelers and seafarers and that achieved literary renown 140 yearss later as the namesake of a story titled 'Up in the Old Hotel' written by Joseph Mitchell and first published in The New Yorker.
Mitchell published the story (I'll do the math for you) in 1952. He is, according to Moynihan, "one of the most revered and recondite American writers of the last century." I can't find any of Mitchell's work on the Web but I found a book, Up in the Old Hotel, which is a compilation of his New Yorker stuff.

When I get to New York, I plan on taking the tour of the old hotel.

Saturday, October 22, 2005
Katrina: Reporter 'embedded' with Katrina aftermath tells story
Apocalypse in New Orleans, an emotional account by Brian Thevenot about the Times-Picayune reporters who stayed in the city during the disaster. (Published at American Journalism Review.)

Via Bob Stepno's Other Journalism Weblog

Friday, October 21, 2005
Movies: Serenity
Serenity, the Josh Whedon film based on a cancelled TV show called Firefly. The movie that previewed months before release.

I was not a Firefly fan and never got addicted to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Whedon's most famous creation. But I loved this film. Great story, great visuals, great music, great camera work. Interesting touches like the odd way the crew talks, in an English that harks back to pre-twentieth century. (Remember the American Pilgrims that anchor our Thanksgiving holiday? I think they sounded like Pilgrims.)

The last time I enjoyed the Sci-Fi genre this much was 1999 when The Matrix was released. Both films are basically comic books brought to the screen. Neither one had a Star Wars budget and therein may be the key. Without the xtreme special effects, they had to have an interesting story. (Neither film slouches in the special effects area though.)

This is a must-see if you like Sci-Fi.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Wallace and Gromit are OK
I mentioned previously that the Aardman animation studios (Nick Park, Wallace and Gromit) had a serious fire. Here's an update, posted at a WAC blog.

OPML Reading Lists
Dave Winer has brought up the idea of OPML reading lists and I was having a hard time following until I read this post by Michael Arrington.

Simply put, you will be able to subscribe to a blog reading list published by a trusted source. Or maybe a reading list group-published around a particular topic. It's kind of like a blog-of-blogs (and I understand that feeds can be other things besides blogs).

Hmm. Could these reading lists be created like tag clouds in Sort of social bookmarking a dynamic OPML list.

RSS Feeds at the Library
Hennepin County Libraries (Minneapolis, MN and suburbs) has a bunch of RSS feeds including one for a catalog search. You can also create a feed for your library account.

Found via this article at Free Range Librarian which also mentions the University of Minnesota's UThink Blog system.

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Minneapolis City Elections
The Minneapolis (Minnesota) Public Library provides election information as part of their civic literacy initiative.

Minneapolis Public Library provides election information as part of our civic literacy initiative. Here you will find a list of candidates, one copy of printed campaign literature in PDF format (as available), and a link to the candidate's web site.
It would be nice if they linked to the City's precinct finder which includes city, state, and federal voting districts.

Don't forget to vote!

Sunday, October 16, 2005
Something is happening... Part 2 or Who am I subscribing to?
I continue to try and figure out feeds and why many of my subscriptions at Google Reader point to a newsisfree URL.

I went to Doc Searl's blog and checked what he is advertising as feeds (both in the source html link tag and from the 'XML' button on his blog page).

XML button:
Link tags:
These look legitimate.

If I subscribe directly to Doc's blog from my Bloglines account, it uses the first listing (from XML button) for a feed. All is well.

But if I use the Bloglines Toolkit (1.6.0 and latest) extension contextual menu for subscribing, I get different feeds and only one of the feeds seems directly associated with Doc's blog.

Here are the feeds: [] [] []
(And here is a screenshot of the Bloglines subscribe page.)

Now obviously I could pick the third one if I pay attention but I often just check off the first one in the list without looking closely and in this case at least, that results in the newsisfree feed which seems to toss ads at me occasionally (see my previous post). (My subscription to Global Guerillas is also a newsisfree link and often tells me the post has expired.)

This is a mystery to me I hope someone can fill me in as to what's going on. Worst case scenario is some kind of hijacking is going on that both Bloglines and Doc are unaware of. I don't want to think that Bloglines is doing some kind of hijacking to add (unwanted) ads but I guess it's a possibilty. Or maybe everyone's terms of service cover this.

Something is happening and I don't know what it is
Google Reader again.

I open Google Reader and in my reading list of relevant items (relevancy based on a Google formula) is a post from Doc Searl's blog with this URL.,105472150,1185,f/

The head for the post is: Hope for life beyond Service of the Living Dead. Clicking the link brought me to some sort of ad page. I think it wanted me to download screen savers or desktop pictures. When I used the back button, and clicked the link again, I got to Doc's blog. Something very weird is happening here.

In my G.Reader reading list, the next item, also listed as Doc Searl's Blog, is an advertisement for the Target Photo Center.

This is all very strange.

Friday, October 14, 2005
quote of the day
This seems very relevant given the state of the Google Reader.

quote of the day: "'Beta means never having to say you're sorry' -- Ryan Shaw"

From Danah Boyd's Apophenia blog.

Thursday, October 13, 2005
Aiming for top 500,000!
Technorati Rank: 775,745

That's as of today and I have set a goal to be in Technorati's top 500,000 some time before the next century. John at FreshBlog says the tagging system I recently implemented will help.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Freshblog: NetVibes: Google Personal without the Google
John at Freshblog talks about a new Web 2.0 (free) personal home page.

Freshblog: NetVibes: Google Personal without the Google

Hacking My Blog
I have, as previously revealed, the tag text box in my Blogger post editor (thanks to Freshblog). This still requires that I bookmark the post to my account (plus I have to remember to copy the tags because they don't come through on the bookmarking).

Tonight I added a 'to delicious' link from my item posts (accessed via the permalink). This makes the bookmarking easier although I still have to remember to grab the tags on the way. John at Freshblog provides the html for this.

There is another hack which grabs the tags but it was more involved than simply pasting some html into my template. Details and links here (this links to comments attached to one of my previous posts).

Apple Reveals New iMac + a ViPod
Apple is back in the news with a new and thinner iMac, a new iPod that does video, and a new iTunes (6 and following 5 by a few short weeks). The Stuff site has a nice and short review covering the important points.

The new iTunes store will sell music videos and a few TV shows, including Lost. I just started watching Lost DVDs from the first season and I might try a purchase if iTunes is selling the current season. The shows cost $1.99.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Google Reader Slower?
It seems slower today after some speed increases over the weekend. Are you working on it Google? It was also doing a lot of other weird things today. Sometimes it says there aren't any items on a feed where I know there are items. Sometimes it gives you an error message - "Try again in a few seconds.".

Lay of the Land When I open G. Reader, I don't really know where I am. The 'Home' link is clickable so that says I'm not home but maybe I am and they haven't had time to unlinkify (tech term) the text.

Oh! I found this today off SlashDot -- A tour of the G. Reader. They broadcast the link in relation to the Reader announcement at Web 2.0.

Labeling (Tagging) (So why labels instead of tags?) The problem with labels, tags, and other denizens of the land of folksonomy is that you end up with a long list of them unless you are somehow really organized and maybe keep a printed list of your tags around to refer to so you don't say 'blog' one day and 'blogs' the next and then suddenly 'blogging'. Delicious lets you bundle your tags. Until Google figures this out, I'm going to be very economical on tagging.

OPML Imports I had no real trouble importing an OPML export from Bloglines. It took a bit of time (enough that I wondered if it was really going to happen) but eventually they arrived and the folders in Bloglines became labels in Google.

Monday, October 10, 2005
Tagging, Categories,
FreshBlog is full of blogger(.com) hacks and one I'm particularly interested in is using the social bookmarking site,, as a kind of categorizer for a blog via tagging.

This post describes several methods and I chose #3, which uses Greasemonkey. Here's an example of the concept, using Freshblog's listing.

Within my Blogger editor, I now have a text box to add tags that will create tags in my pfhyperblog account.

The first post I tried to tag (my last post about the new Wallace and Grommit movie) didn't quite work. I got the tags but no bookmarks. But the problem was that I hadn't verified my brand new pfhyperblog account. So let's see what happens now...


Were-Rabbit Film and Aardman Studios Burn
We saw Nick Park's Curse of the Were-Rabbit (starring Wallace the inventor and his wonderful friend Grommit the dog) and it was a joyful, mesmerizing, wonderful film that was thoroughly enjoyed by Grandpa, R., the seven-year-old, and M. the mysterious woman. See it, see it, see it. (Watch for the fingerprints in the clay!)

As the film did well in the American market, late last night, Park's Aardman Studios burned, destroying sets from earlier films. CNN has a story here. Cause is being investigated. A sad, sad event.

Sunday, October 09, 2005
Google Reader: Sunday Morning
There is not an easy way to subscribe like the scriptlet thingie I use for Bloglines. Not happy about that.

I tried to subscribe to Alan Levine's CogDogBlog. He does not publish the feed or have an 'RSS' button (which I think he should but that's another issues). I subscribed in seconds with Bloglines contextual menu thing (and also got the feed url from there for Google Reader).

So Google: Please give us a way to subscribe from the blog itself.

Thank you.

(Oops. Mr. Levine does have a feed link on his main page just not on the permalinks.)

Saturday, October 08, 2005
More on the Google Reader
SearchEngineWatch has a post about the Google Reader.

There is a filter for the feed list when you're at the 'Your Subscriptions' tab. It's filtering on the name of the blog. Makes it very easy to call up the blog that you want to read.

Hmm. Since this morning, I think they added a 'separate labels by commas' blurb under the label text box. Good idea.

Subscribing. I wanted to subscribe to 43 Folders new Feedburner feed. I got the feed URL, plugged it in, and was offered the chance to 'Preview' or 'Cancel'. I previewed but didn't click the 'Subscribe' button (didn't see it) and so I failed at subscribing to the new feed. I was depressed. Then I did it again and saw the damn 'Subscribe' button and succeeded. Joy. But hey, I was sure I wanted the subscription when I started the subscribe process so give me the 'Subscribe' button (along with the 'Preview') right at the start. OK? (Why exactly would I want to preview the subscription anyway? I would subscribe and the unsubscribe if I didn't like it.)

Blog This. A post can be easily blogged to a blog. The text will open in a window and can be edited.

Grandson#1's team won the (flag) football game today.

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Kennedy on Google Reader
Niall Kennedy's report on the Google Reader.

Google Reader: "Google just released their web-based feed reader named Google Reader. Users can login using their Google account and track web feeds in a two-column layout with a default sort of 'relevance.'" [More]

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The Google Reader (RSS!)
I rush to weigh in on the Google RSS/Feed Reader... My faithful readers (Hi Doug) expect this.

Well it's slooooow. At least compared to what I'm used to in Bloglines.

Labels (Tags in disguise)
But they got the label thing going like gmail. Very cool as labels (here at least) equal tags and I am a tag man. I can label the subscription itself or I can label individual posts. Bloglines lets me toss things in a clippings area or in a personal blog (which you can either make public or not). I like the label idea more because I think I will look at the labeled stuff more often. I don't look at my Bloglines blog or the clippings very often.

Can items have multiple tags? I tried adding an extra tag, separated by a space (ala Google added a '-' (hyphen) between the words. Commas work! This is very nice. I can have multiple labels. This would be equivalent to storing something on Bloglines in two folders. (Maybe you can do that but gosh-darn-it, it ain't intuitive. Multiple labels is intuitive.)

How private is my Google space? This is a definite worry and buzzed about by various bloggers (Dave Winer comes to mind). On another hand, your email, no matter where it is, can be accessed by the tech workers maintaining the servers. Think about that.

I don't see any yet. Am I missing them?

Keyboard commands. Nice. I like it.

It's sorting stuff according to 'Relevance'. How do they assign relevance? I can also sort by date. Relevance-sorting could bring blogs up and to my attention more often than they get my attention now. This might be good.

I have to go watch Grandson#1 play flag football. I will try to post more impressions later.

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At Dunn's: Photos of Cuba

Saturday morning coffee with M. at Dunn Brothers, Lake and River Road
(Minneapolis, MN). On the walls are some very nice documentary style
photos of Cuba by Roger Brooks.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Minnesota Vlogging Plus a Wifi Conference
Chuck Olsen of Blogumentary fame has a Vlog called Minnesota Stories. He will also be on a panel at the Digital Technology  Center (U of MN) Wireless Cities Conference. Here's the Conference agenda.

Saturday, October 01, 2005
Dollar Babies
Cinematical posts about dollar babies: independent films based on Stephen King short stories where King sold film rights for a dollar. Wow. What a great move on King's part. Other authors should consider emulating the strategy and maybe even help with the screenplay. What great exposure.

Thanks to Roy for the heads up on this.

New Yorker 1/10/05
(Yes, I'm a bit behind in reading my New Yorker.)

Jan. 10, 2005

Obituary for Susan Sontag

"...she never got it into her head--or therefore anyone else's--that this disease [cancer] might kill her."

Jerome Groopman: The Pediatric Gap (Annals of Medicine)

Why have most medications never been properly tested on kids?

Medicines are tested in adult clinical trials. There is no certain knowledge of how the same meds will affect children. No one seems to care too much. Pharmas are fearful of lawsuits if they conduct trials with children.

Groopman is also interviewed at the New Yorker site.

Ian Frazier: Out of Ohio (Personal History) (sorry, not online)

Nice piece about growing up and leaving your home town. Applicable to those of us from rural areas.

1 + 1 + 1 = 1: The new math of mashups.

Sasha Frere-Jones writes about mashups and remixes. Informative article.

Book: On Beauty by Zadie Smith
Reviewed by Frank Rich NY Times Book Review, September 19, 2005. He says:

In her Wellington and Boston, as in her London, the racial melting pot is an established fact, to be savored and explored rather than mined for sociological morals. In "On Beauty," anyone who is still arguing over it all at this late date is a bit of a dolt, oh so last-century and a ripe target for farce.

Smith's first novel was "White Teeth" and highly regarded.

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