Copyright Weblogging

Always off

Is this still on? Testing, testing.

Can you hear me? Good!

Frank Paynter is surveying several people about why they blog for a post he’s writing for the Kitchen. When he asked the question, I had a hard time answering. It wasn’t that I didn’t have good reasons to blog, because I do. In fact I have dozens of good reasons, hundreds! Give me several hours and I could, and probably would write them out into a post.

Of course, then there would be another day where I sat down at my computer in the morning just to check what’s new only to surface in mid-afternoon, wondering where the day’s gone. A better question for me isn’t why do I weblog, but why I do it so much.

The hype behind broadband is that you’re ‘always on’. I could be the poster child for ‘always on’ because lately that’s a pretty good description of my life on a day to day basis. As for my roommate, switch internet for TV and you could describe him, at least on the weekends.

So, as an experiment, I’ve set up my home laptops to do the work I normally do on my server, and I’ve gone out and saved several web pages of research for a new article, and today I’ll disconnect the cable modem. We’ve already disconnected the digital cable converters, and I’ll take them and the modem down to Charter.

If something goes wrong with my web sites, Hosting Matters will either correct the problem or keep it from being a problem for anyone else, and I’ll make any fixes I need when I connect. As for the Kitchen, I’ve tried to make this as self-sufficient as possible, because the strength of that effort should be in the fact that it’s not dependent on any one person.

I’ll be slower to respond to email, but I don’t think anyone will mind. I’ll post less, but most of us are posting less. In fact, you’re probably indifferent as to the state of my connectivity, but I want to provide a heads up for anyone who might be expecting responses from me.

I don’t plan on being offline at home forever–just for a couple of months, see how it goes. Maybe less. Maybe more.

All well and good, but what I hadn’t counted on is how all of this is going to impact on Zoe. You see, every morning after she gets breakfast, Zoe comes in and curls up on my cable digital converter box. This morning, it wasn’t there, so she had to make do. Tomorrow, even that will be gone. Poor dear.



When I followed the pointer to Oliver Willis’ Brand Democrat, that Happy Tutor provided, I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. This is about as absurd as changing the name of I69 because of it’s ’sexual connotations’.

President Kennedy was shot and killed on this day in 1963. He was a good president not the least because he was willing to admit he made mistakes and then learn from them. He was forward thinking but still very shrewd.

We remember him in almost an ideal way, but he wasn’t an ideal man. He planted the seeds of what was to become the Vietnam war. He tried to put some brakes on the civil rights movement, because it was going too fast. Oddly enough, he’s been given credit for many advances in civil rights at the time, but he really wasn’t a leader in this effort — it was old LBJ, the president now remembered for escalating Vietnam who was the person most responsible for putting civil rights into the platform of the Democratic party–leading to a mass exodus of southern Democrats to the Republican party.

People are never as pure as they seem: either purely good, or purely bad.

The I-69 story was a prank, and I fell for it. I guess this is where that ‘makes mistakes and learns from them’ comes in.


Loss of Intimacy

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Have we lost the window of opportunity for intimacy in our writing? Did we have it once, but then we stood at the edge of change, and in one direction lay power and glory, the other obscurity and intimacy, and we chose the glory?

Somehow when we stopped using Blogrolls and started using aggregators to keep up with each other’s writings, we started to lose our touch with each other. No matter how many readers we did or did not have, when we had to visit each other’s weblogs, it set both a tone and a context for the writing.

Now, we have a wonderful ability to consume mass quantities of data, and we are probably the most well informed citizens of this world, if not the known universe. If all this data were food or beer, the sound heard the loudest would be a hearty belch.

Perhaps it’s for the best, because there’s something distasteful about putting your most delicate thoughts into a writing, which then just gets shoved up next to a video of a basketball game riot, half a dozen dire political announcements, an adorable picture of a kitten (which will upstage everything else), and a bit of code. Perhaps we what we need is mood aggregators, similar to the old Mood Rings popular decades ago.

With the increased popularity and scrutiny of weblogs in the press thanks to the American political scene, putting one’s thoughts online is somewhat like standing in the middle of the T station in Boston and shouting out for all to hear what is or is not on your mind at the moment. Even if you’re in a group of friends, there’s something about the surroundings that keeps you chit chatting on common place things. We have lost the internet equivalent of candlelight dinners, Sunday morning brunch, and a late night chat over cocoa or beer.

Oh, we still have voice for anger, no worries there. In fact, we have even greater capacity for anger and rightousness and umbrage. But then, there’s something impersonal and dispassionate about anger. Anger is the ultimate camouflage for what’s really going on in our heads and our lives. People don’t look too closely at you when you’re angry.

And look at the marvels of technology available now. There’s room in syndication feeds for ads and images and podcast enclosures, and who are we to stand like frozen blocks of salt in the path of progress.

I wonder though, since I’m in the mood and it’s a cloudy day and suits the topic, have we achieved this massive information input, increased exposure, and technical supremacy by sacrificing a space for either exquisite beauty or exquisite pain?