blog (category: web)
This week I stopped letting Twitter update my Facebook status. First, because it prepends "... is twittering", which Facebook folks not familiar with Twitter misconstrue as me being flamboyantly gleeful, and second, because it is a different medium, which means a different audience and, (to misconstrue McLuhan,) a different message.
I think of jeffschuler.net as a hub for my various web tendrils: my locally-hosted blog and an increasing number of off-shore services: Last.fm, Upcoming, Twitter, Flickr, del.icio.us, social networks, etc.
(Last week a professional acquaintance noticed that I've got "a lot of kooky stuff on there.")
I present many of these facets as widgets. While I appreciate that the widgets allow for content that isn't flat or normalized (like FriendFeed) -- each service shouldn't have equal footing or the same "shape" -- the page gets awfully busy as more info-sections are added. So I simply link to, rather than embed, certain services.
But what if these models (both the hub-of-widgets, which Facebook Apps also supports in building profiles, and the aggregation stream) would take into account the viewer's preferences?
For example: I, viewing your homepage (or "profile" or "personal hub") like to use Last.fm, so my browser expands your Last.fm widget. Likewise, it hides or collapses a side of you in which I'm not as interested.
Keep the distinct shape and texture of different services, and allow for dissemination from a single place without overloading the viewer.
A jarring reminder to diversify social connections and information sources, Adam's quote from The Polarization of Extremes relates how the internet aids in the "the creation of enclaves of like-minded people," making groups more homogeneous, and "squelching diversity."
But that function is only part of the story, and, really, a feature, [not a bug,] if viewed in context of longer and larger processes. The web is the frameworks for -- and accelerator of -- constant connection, explosion and re-arranging of minds and ideas.
Individual talents and perspectives don't have to shrivel within a retribalized society; they merely interact within a group consciousness that has the potential for releasing far more creativity than the old atomized culture. Literate man is alienated, impoverished man; retribalized man can lead a far richer and more fulfilling life--not the life of a mindless drone but of the participant in a seamless web of interdependence and harmony. The implosion of electric technology is transmogrifying literate, fragmented man into a complex and depth-structured human being with a deep emotional awareness of his complete interdependence with all of humanity. The old "individualistic" print society was one where the individual was "free" only to be alienated and dissociated, a rootless outsider bereft of tribal dreams; our new electronic environment compels commitment and participation, and fulfills man's psychic and social needs at profound levels.
the global village makes maximum disagreement and creative dialog inevitable.
-- Marshall McLuhan, The Playboy Interview: Marshall McLuhan (March 1969)
I'll split hairs and suggest that McLuhan was wrong when he said seamless. Separations exist, and are essential for growth within: polarization/contraction provides focus, cooperative motivation; pressure-cook. But the seams are more porous and flexible than in meatspace, due to the web's openness and allowed dynamism in personal identification.
(Build a highly-adaptable, low-bandwidth medium, and all sorts of social norms are discarded because of ease of anonymity. As bandwidth has increased and patterns have been been formalized, anonymity is somewhat less available, but adaptability and fluidity of interaction remain.)
Not that competition ever goes away because everything happens at once all the time. It's a rich situation. But we are learning global harmony.
Our social models, including our corporate world, were designed as mechanical models. But organism and mechanism are very different [...]
At present we're moving away from inventor-created, allopoietic systems to autopoietic systems -- literally self-created systems, living systems in holarchy instead of hierarchy, with negotiations instead of top-down command; systems that negotiate cooperation and thus design themselves from within instead of being engineered and repaired and redesigned by inventors or designers.
Paul Hawken gave examples and a very nice metaphor for this phenom in his Blessed Unrest SALT talk, (mp3 | summary.) ... Don't sweat global: think local and act local, and more appropriate large-scale results will emerge as aggregate.
The last time we were at River's Edge the audience was largely composed of the Sisters of St. Joseph from the congregation next door... I'm happily certain this won't just be an echo chamber for my pre-conceptions.
Like cleaning the house when there's a more important task to be done.
I'm moving my many masses of quotations into a database I used Dabble DB to create.
I like to capture and stash away quotes from books, blogs, essays, lectures -- to enjoy, refer to, and write about later. My old, long-growing quotes page currently stores the majority, .txt-style, on this server. Many more are on strewn about: in other files, on various pages on my personal wiki, in Google Notebook, elsewhere.
A few years ago I began blueprinting plans for a Mac software app called iQuote, (clever, eh?) outlining how it would begin as a personal, searchable quote catalog, and eventually grow into a net-aware, community-oriented (del.icio.us-like) quote-sharing system. My revenue stream would be in Amazon referral dough from click-throughs on sources.
I never got around to it. I give it to you, lazyweb... go for it. Open-source it, and I promise to maybe help out, (or at least report bugs and criticize your implementation.)
So, though a cosmic-sized, crowd-wise, social-ized, (lowercase-i'd,) quote-sharing system hasn't proved a pressing need for me -- Perfect is the enemy of good enough -- a bit more organization and efficiency has.
"Dabble DB helps you build an online database on the web." The interface is quick and slick, and it's free if you agree to share all of the data you stuff into it. Adding and editing entries, playing with columns, and creating views... all cake. It's responsive and so-far solid. I haven't played with relating tables yet, or querying from externally.
Here's the public page for my new Quotes database. I've already fed it a bunch of blog fodder (that I've been not blogging about.) Next up is my quotes page, for which I'll try out Dabble's Import functionality. Then, to make that page db-driven and searchable.
At a Christmas party, my mom was relating to someone the traits I earned from her and my father. She neglected to mention that I, too, am constantly "trying to get organized." I tend not to use her phrase, or I'd have to choke on all of the times I've buddhisty-boasted ~ emptier-than-thou ~ that it can't be achieved; her seeking precludes its own satisfaction.
We both know that sometimes it's just fun to sort stuff out.
I twittered this morning to talk about laundry, a-mung other things. Could be one of this life's low points.
Gab for gab's sake.
In fewer than 4,000 days, we have encoded half a trillion versions of our collective story and put them in front of 1 billion people I have reviewed the expectations of waking adults and wise experts, and I can affirm that this comprehensive wealth of material, available on demand and free of charge, was not in anyone's scenario.
-- Kevin Kelly We Are the Web, Wired, 13.08 (August 2005)
Nor is it always meaningful.
technological significance and technological novelty are rarely the same--indeed, a given technology's grip on our awareness is often in inverse relationship to its significance in our lives...we are wrong to associate technology solely with invention, and that we should think of it, rather, as evolving through use.
So, now I prolong the insignificance by commenting on it using a different medium.
The day for blogging about blogging and podcasting about podcasting is long gone.
-- Chris Pirillo, 10 Ways to Eliminate the Echo Chamber
Sure it is.
George Clinton called it Promentalshitbackwashpsychosis. (YGIAGAM (Your Google Is As Good As Mine.))
Maybe it's because the content is bite-size chunky, and they fit well in the seat pocket?
Even if the subject is non-trashy, though, magazines themselves are trashy. Or at best, recycley, which is preceded in preference by reducey.
(I still read books, but) I don't read the newspaper or magazines; I read from the web. I'm not iPhone hip, though, and still rock the off-line, often. I used to print out web-reads for off-line consumption, but I've made another step in paper-less. (The soapbox I'm standing on is 100% post-consumer recycled cardboard.).
Here's my online/offline web-reading strategy:
- Browse the blogs and news feeds I read with Google Reader.
- Kick stuff that looks interesting off to a new (Firefox) tab -- using keystroke
ffwith the Google Reader Quick Links Greasemonkey script (or Better GReader Firefox add-on.)
- Mark everything else as Read (keystroke
A,) close Google Reader, and sift through the opened tabs.
- Consume what I have time for, and tag longer items for later in del.icio.us as to_read. Using the del.icio.us Bookmarks extension, keystroke
CTRL-D (CMD-D)then typing the tag name does it all.
- Use Plucker to grab all of the pages at 1-link depth from my del.icio.us/to_read list, and convert them to a Palm-readable format.
- Sync the Palm
- Read tagged items at leisure, on- or off-line.
No trees, no inks, no waste, no shipping!
No big glossy pictures, either, (yet.)
She was goofing around:
"I'll leave you a comment on MySpace, or
write on your wall in Facebook, or
tag a link for you on del.icio.us",
til she erupted into a dizzying spell of
"blog blog blog blog blog blog blog blog -osphere",
and an exasperated, "but one's really saying anything!!".
In fewer than 4,000 days, we have encoded half a trillion versions of our collective story and put them in front of 1 billion people,
-- Kevin Kelly, We Are the Web (2005)
Sometimes overwhelming and pointless and empty.
The discovery of the alphabet will create forgetfulness in the learners' souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves... You give your disciples not truth but only the semblance of truth; they will be heroes of many things, and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing.
-- Socrates, "Phaedrus"
He says disciples, though, whereas our new media means democratization. We should celebrate and experiment and practice.
Discovery and exploration and browsing; moving about and looking at many things; the linked structure of the web; when you come across a link, it's a distraction engine, which, in terms of the memetic incest, is actually a great thing. It's how we get past that incest; we're brought from one site to another.
That is so fundamentally different from the basic idea of how we communicate in print; in print you're trying to cover the topic, and be comprehensive, and be done.
The process continues; between the lines and off the page.
we had better prepare to make other arrangements for living in this country, by which I mean specifically re-localizing, de-globalizing, with an emphasis on local agriculture wherever possible, the emergency restoration of passenger railroad service and related modes of public transit, the rebuilding of local commercial infrastructures, and a radical rethinking of how we inhabit the landscape under New Urbanist lines.
In any case, those who keep wringing their hands over the bulldozers leveling the plots of prairie, or cornfield, or desert -- those distressed folks can direct their anxiety elsewhere. Worry less whether one final strip mall will tilt up out in gloaming, and think harder about how you are going to feed yourself and your family in a couple of years when the stupendous motorized moloch of American life begins to sputter, and the Cheez Doodle shipments can no longer make it to your supermarket shelves, and all that is "normal" melts into air.
I've been tossing around some ideas for a plant/seed/produce/tool-sharing site to grow a community around local gardeners, (urban, rural, and in-between.)
It seems a nice blend of [my interests in] web, software, ecology, and local community -- helping to build that economy/ecosystem that'll become necessary as our current concoction collapses, (as Kunstler continues to promise.)
I need a good project, but it might be more than I'm up for right now.
I found the City of Cleveland's list and locator pretty poor, so I rolled my own (Google) map of Cleveland Recycling Drop-off Locations. The map shows all of the public bins where city residents may deposit recyclables.
For the bins I wasn't familiar with, (the majority,) I used the address provided, pointing to a spot right on the road instead of their exact locations, which are at times somewhat hidden. If you can help me pinpoint bins you know about, (the Satellite map view helps) I'd appreciate it.
The map is shared for viewing on Google Maps, but I believe I'm the only one that can edit it there. Please export the data and do what you like with it, though.
A question posed to Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, during last week's Q1 2007 earnings call, and his response:
Anthony Noto (Goldman Sachs): Eric, I was wondering if you could comment at the management level as you make investments, what measurement do you look at holistically for the company as a return-based measurement to ensure that the overall business and overall shareholders are seeing an aggregated return from each of the individual investments?
Eric Schmidt (Google): We don't approach the questions quite the same way that you phrased them. Our primary focus is on end user happiness, end user traffic, end user growth. [styling mine]
I'd say "overall shareholders" are satisfied so far. When will user-centric become business-as-usual, again?
I'm focusing on resilience of network resources by offloading them into the net-cloud.
- Switch to an external image provider.
- Turn on HTTP compression.
- Outsource Your RSS feeds.
I saved this longest for last, but have finished moving all of my blog's photography content onto Flickr, which now hefts transfers of images embedded in site pages -- instead of my server and its connection.
Quick (flip apache switch) and dramatic fix to reduce file size transfered. I wish I'd known of it earlier.
I didn't take this one too far, preferring code read-&maintain-ability.
Stay light :: quick, safe, balanced, distributed.