Time off

Someone had described my cross-browser DHTML objects recently as old code that bends over backwards to be compatible with old crusty browsers…, when compared with up-to-date and well maintained modern libraries.

I found it odd that objects that have managed not to break for six years of DHTML generations are ‘bad’ where new ones, barely tested, in beta, and that break in most browsers but Firefox and maybe IE are ‘good’, but I guess this is the brand new world of web development.

Still, many of my code examples, tutorials, and writings do need to be updated, or at least, wrapped in lime green and sky blue curvy cornered goodness so they look new (not to mention marking them as ‘beta’ so that people will know they’re supposed to use them for production work; stamping them web 2.0 also helps folks known they’re supposed to get excited at first glimpse).

My top-level web site ( and sites other than this weblog also need to be updated to a new look and organized, as well as made more accessible in all ways.

December is a good time to take care of things; to start January right.


More congrats

Congratulations to Jeneane for getting a new and interesting gig, blogging strategist for a new startup: BubbleShare.

Congratulations to AKMA for being a priest for nineteen years and for writing about soup.

Finally, congratulations to my old, moltychicken friend, Stavros the Wonderchicken for finally writing to his weblog again; not to mention creating a rather interesting way of screwing up Technorati’s blog counts. I like the concept–a one post weblog. Somewhat like a one night stand without having to worry about wearing a condom.

I do find it odd, though, when people write in their weblogs about how dull or boring weblogs have become. Does anyone else also see this as an oxymoron?

Regardless, it’s too bad Stavros won’t read my congratulating him, or my contemplation of oxymorons because he doesn’t click through to weblogs who don’t provide full excerpts in their syndication feeds. Such sadness, because how many posts do you know of that manage to encompass a priest’s anniversary, bubbles, chickens, and protected sex, all in one writing?

Social Media

Pedia pother

I made the changes to the initial development section in the Wikipedia entry on podcasting and aside from a couple of comments, not much has been said about it. I’m not sure if it was because I actually made the change, or because the new entry is uninteresting and dull. I rather think dull might be good; nothing more neutral than dull.

I expect over time it will gradually grow, though I hope it doesn’t end up peppered with the same names repeated over and over. Seeing that happen again would be like golf–it might be fun to do, but sucks to watch. But watch is what I’ll do; I’m not going to start feeling ownership of the section.

Wikipedia has taken a beating lately, and I think we’ll all be healthier for it. Too many people treated it like the second coming, closing their ears to potential problems. It’s amusing to see them ’suddenly’ become alert to its pitfalls. Fancy. Kids will also be less likely to copy from it for their papers (now having no recourse but to return to plagarizing books from the library). I did get a kick out of Dave Winer’s (tongue-in-cheek perhaps?) suggestion to turn the Wikipedia podcast entry over to Harvard folk, as a precedent for future Wikipedia effort. Yes, nothing like the Harvard touch to bring a diversified view to the world.

As for the edits I made, I used one criteria for judging what material to keep: was the event, software, or person necessary for the initial development of podcasting. Did I capture all of the events, software, and people? I made the assumption that if I did not, someone would add what was missing; hopefully basing their addition on the same criteria.

Scott had a good question in my comments about what to add and not to Wikipedia. He wrote:

Isn’t there any room in Wikipedia for anecdotes? I mean, it’s not like they’re short on storage space. Don’t the meaningless, if accurate, anecdotes make history much more interesting. A strictly historical account of George Washington crossing the Delaware is pretty dry unless you include him throwing a coin across. Chances are, the coin tossing is what will cause you to remember the entire event.

Anecdotal information is the spice in history; as such, you have to know what you’re doing when you use it, because a little bit goes a long way.

I strongly believe in the anecdotal when it comes to a telling of history. When we read a biography of George Patton, there is much we learn about the man when we hear anecdotes such as his slapping a man who was seriously shell-struck, and then having to apologize in front of all his men.

But then we have to look further into the story: about how horrified Patton was at his action when he realized the patient was in a very bad state; how those loyal to him cheered so loudly during his apology that overcome with gratitude, his eyes welled up with unshed tears and he couldn’t finish.

Or was he horrified? Or did his men cheer so loud he couldn’t complete his apology? This is the challenge of anecdotal information, and in the case of Wikipedia, all such should be suspect.


Neutrogena wouldn’t do that

One of the most wickedly ironic moments this week was reading in Robert Scoble’s weblog about how he and Shel Israel–two men–gave a talk about weblogging to PR and marketing folks at L’Oreal: a company whose clientele is almost exclusively women.

Turns out that L’Oreal, the world’s largest cosmetics maker, is one of Microsoft’s best customers. But we were there to talk about corporate blogging. We talked about how to use Technorati/Feedster/Pubsub/IceRocket to watch what anyone in the world says about L’Oreal’s products.

Here you go L’Oreal, pick this up in Technorati–when you get off the clueless train that is.

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Backchannel is back

I haven’t been following much about Les blogs, until I heard about a problem with backchannels. I gather that the official backchannel for Lesblogs was more than a bit disruptive at times, resulting in Mena Trott calling one of the more disruptive participants, Ben Metcalf, an asshole during her talk on being civil in weblogging.

(The post I linked has a movie of the event, though it’s hard to hear Mena’s response. There’s also a transcript of the backchannel, though it seems to be incomplete.)

Very savvy marketer Tara Rogue likes backchannels:

We come to conferences to learn stuff, sure, but first and foremost for many of us, we come to connect. Speakers and panels kill networking time. Kill it. And really, since the advent of the internet, many of us would sit in our seats with our laptops pointing towards our email or Skype or the like, where we would be socializing with people back home rather than the very people we came here to connect with.

Elisa from WorkerBees disagrees:

Seriously I don’t think it says much for the program content if a chat about the WIFI being down and the need for more coffee is more fun than listening to the speakers! And I sure hope to avoid spending the hundreds and hundreds of dollars it typically costs to fly somewhere, stay in a hotel and pay a conference fee only to essentially IM with my buddies.

Some folks were upset at Mena for calling Ben an asshole during her session on civility. I think she was just being disruptive, and since backchannelers live for being disruptive, they should commend her rather than condemn her. I, personally, commend her because not only was she being disruptive, she was doing so in front of the stage rather than in back of it. Unless, of course, in this brand new world, speaking behind one’s back is considered much cooler than speaking directly, face to face.

My views on backchannels are well known. However, I have to consider that this is a brand new world and new ways of communicating at conferences are the norm now. If a backchannel occurs at our SxSW session, I have to accept this is the ‘new’ way; if four strongly opinionated women technologists debating differing views on a controversial issue can’t hold audience members’ attention, a backchannel will occur and the sound of clacking keyboards will be heard throughout the room.

Of course, I reserve the right to deal with disruption in my own way.


By the by, are Apple PowerBooks waterproof?