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May 26th, 2014

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25 commandments I’ve never followed

December 18th, 2012

Maybe one, maybe a handful of them, but I don’t think I’ve ever followed all of them. Even posting this here seems to break the key idea that readers are the most important part of writing, because if it were posted somewhere else maybe it would have more chance of finding readers. But I’m stubborn and like to post on my own blog.
25 Commandments for Journalists


December 5th, 2012

I’ve been using StackOverflow for years as a programmer, and never before scrolled to the bottom to see the whole community of sites. Not only is there stackoverflow for plumbers and scifi/fantasy buffs, but http://area51.stackexchange.com/ lets you join or start a community of experts for a new stackoverflow site.

Its interesting that its not just platform software anyone can use, but that the community/reputation/expert factor is an intrinsic part of the thing. Its not just the software, apparently.

Lincoln on pragmatic idealism

July 25th, 2012

I really like these quotes from his debate with Douglass: “This they said and this they meant (the equality of those certain unalienable rights). They did not mean to assert the obvious untruth, that all were then actually enjoying that equality, nor yet, that they were about to confer it immediately upon them. In fact they had no power to confer such a boon. They meant simply to declare the right, so that the enforcement of it might follow as fast as circumstances should permit. They meant to set up a standard maxim for free society, which should be familiar to all, and revered by all; constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and even though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated….the assertion that “all men are created equal” was of no practical use in effecting our separation from Great Britain; and it was placed in the Declaration not for that, but for future use.” — quoted in Stephen Prothero’s The American Bible p.80

I think this is a key point, that declaring what is right or just describing an idea has power even though the writer doesn’t have the ability to enforce or implement it, and may not in their lifetime.

Learning Communities Online

June 12th, 2012

Just found P2PU – Peer to Peer University – on a list at reddit of online learning resources

This looks really cool. The ones I’m most excited about so far are

BOINC for citizen scientists

tools for content curation

My Friend Radio

January 19th, 2012

‘listen to what joe is listening to/last listened to’

ah – this does exist, I didn’t know if it did; on last.fm you can listen to any other user’s library radio. Too bad most of my friends don’t use last.fm.

Actually, it doesn’t work that well – it seems to try to load the entire library before it starts playing any one song.

Editorial Calendar search tool

January 6th, 2012

This looks useful: http://us.cision.com/edcals/edcals.asp

(though all the links appear to be output with the ‘:’ following the http, as of 1/6/2012)

The Terrible Trivium and other matters

December 24th, 2011

I admit it – I enjoy children’s books. My excuse is reading them to my kids. When they all grow up I’ll have to rent kids so I can read to them. Compare picture books for kids to power point presentations designed for executives: both assume a short attention span and try to get the point across powerfully and with images as an aid. The picture books tend to be more honestly informative, but otherwise not so different.

Where else would I have time to delve into the life of Leonardo da Vinci, dolphin behaviour, or the invention of steamboats and submarines? And who else would point out the dangers of the Terrible Trivium if not for Norton Juster, author of the Phantom Tollbooth in which the protagonist faces this most terrible of fiends, “demon of petty tasks and worthless jobs, ogre of wasted effort, and monster of habit.” As the Terrible Trivium says, “If you only do the easy and useless jobs, you’ll never have to worry about the important ones which are so difficult. You just won’t have the time. For there’s always something to do to keep you from what you really should be doing…” Indeed.

quiet thoughts

August 22nd, 2011

so many things that cannot be said…at least the good thing about voice is it doesn’t leave a record

Writing anonymously and what’s wrong with Google Plus

July 29th, 2011

Second things first: Google Plus is too all-encompassing and controlling. I can’t get a feed to publish elsewhere, or hack at, or stream, or store as text. Anything I write there lives ONLY in Google Plus, it seems, and can be taken out only manually.

And I’m not sure I want to write primarily for my friends. If I wanted to tell my friends something, I’d send them an email. If I have an idea to share, it seems cleaner in some way to publish it anonymously – or at least without notifying my friends – so that it stands on its own merits, and the reaction to it is not muddled up with relationships and niceness. Besides, if the writing is both honest and personal, it may relate to people my friends know or would recognize, and that is the last thing I would want. Unavoidable, perhaps, but not desireable.

Postscript: Google Plus may open itself up when the API is launched: http://www.readwriteweb.com/hack/2011/06/google-plus-puts-out-a-call-for-developers.php