Scripting News for 8/11/2006

Now that I have a BlackBerry, I want to take a PDA version of everything I do on my desktop with me into the PDA-land (otherwise known as The Real World). Immediately, every time I pick it up, I want to know what’s new. I’ve got SMS to connect with other PDA users, and email for everyone else. But what about news? At first I thought a “mini” version of my news aggregator would be the right thing, but that’s too much news. I want just-enough, which is less than the firehose I have hooked up to my 23-inch screen at home. So I tried creating a reading list of all the NY Times feeds, and subscribed to that. Okay, that’s pretty good, but then I needed a small version of my feed reader, one that works better on the small screen. Let’s see how that works. 

Steve Rubel on reinventing the media interview. 

Dasht: “Article squatters are the feudal lords of Wikipedia and the only way to displace someone is to spend a great deal of time fighting with them, possibly escalating through the central authority. No doubt there exist article squatters who make it there mission to work with others to improve content but, in my samples, the trend is more towards censorship.” 

Today is the 25th anniversary of the IBM PC. I wrote a remembrance for the celebration five years ago. I thought of it as a “big blank machine.” 

Yesterday’s Ze Frank wasn’t funny, but it was right on. Listen carefully to the words President Bush uses, and decide for yourself who the real terrorists are.  

NY Times editorials are almost never funny, but today’s editorial about the politics of terror in the US shows how our Vice-president was already playing politics with this latest round of news even before we knew about it, but when he certainly knew it was coming. Also note yesterday’s news was completely managed by the US and British governments. How much faith do you have in their honesty? Why? 

Abby Sher is painting a red line down the sidewalks of Santa Monica to call awareness to violence in the world. 

Interview request 

These days when I get an interview request from a professional reporter, I offer to answer the questions, best I can, on my blog, without saying who the reporter is and exactly what questions were asked. This way I create a public record, something that can be useful to anyone, and I avoid the problem of being quoted selectively and out of context. Having created a record that’s likely to be as widely read as the story, I make sure what I have to say has a chance of being heard.

In this case, the question basically is if any trend can be discerned from my decision to stop blogging, on or about the end of this year, and the answer is no, imho.

Blogging is a lifestyle, not something you do inbetween things. For a guy like me, it’s the background, it’s what I do when idle, and when busy, it’s what I think about every waking hour. The lessons I learn from life appear in my weblog, but maybe not so much these days, for a variety of reasons.

I’m what many would call an “A-list blogger,” not by choice, it’s not something I decided to be or something I wanted to be, but because I was first, and the first generation blogs were rooted in my work, and their work formed the roots for the next level, what I write here tends to get a lot more attention than what someone might write at a random blog at Blogspot or Typepad. You might think that’s good, and at times it is good to have such a pulpit. But it also means giving up on some things that are important to me. I don’t want everything I write to be seen as a U.N. Security Council resolution, yet often my posts are read and picked at as if they were formal documents, and they don’t stand up to such treatment.

I’m also a software developer, and part of the satisfaction of blogging for me was writing the software that made it possible, and then creating software and formats that made reading massive amounts of blog material possible (reading is going to be a big deal in the future, as I’ve written earlier this month). I don’t think there’s much room for changing what blogging is, but I do think there’s a chance to create new ways of writing on the net. Key point, if I’m blogging every day, I won’t have the incentive to create new software. Blogging is good enough, but it may be possible to do something richer and more powerful, and I want to find out.

I think there’s a subtext to the questions my professional colleague is asking — can we say that blogging is just a temporary thing, bound to pass as people get tired of it. They seem to keep wanting to see this, but no way, that’s not what’s happening. In fact, blogging is just beginning to come into its own. Yesterday we got the scoop on the news of the terrorist threat from a blogger, Doc Searls. He beat the mainstream reporters, who were (presumably) waiting for official word from the governments, because he was there, at Logan Airport, experiencing the event first-hand. And as the day went on, bloggers posted their accounts of the human view of the events, the eye witnesses, while the pros were (importantly) reporting on the governments. See how the two complement each other? We need both views, and it would do us all good if the pros would stop predicting the demise of blogging, and get busy learning to use blogging in their reporting. It is happening, they are giving up the fight, but every so often I’m asked to defend blogging, which I will never stop doing.

Sylvia, my friend, wrote about my silence at BlogHer, describing me as a parent or grandparent, proud of what his offspring are accomplishing. My blogging voice will go silent, by choice, but I will still be standing behind the medium with every ounce of my being, proud as can be to have helped get something so powerful and empowering started.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Madison Guy on August 11, 2006 at 4:42 am

    Major wire service softens its coverage of Bush terror exploitation: First version of AFP story about White House political exploitation of foiled terror plot was scathing. Later, softened version just made it seem like normal, partisan political bickering between Dems and Republicans. Spinmeisters at work? Or just “objective” journalism as usual? You decide.Compare and contrast these versions for yourself.


  2. You probably know it already, but just to cover all bases… Bloglines has a mobile mode. And the nice thing on top of it is that for each individual feed you have a checkbox that allows you to control if the feed will appear in the mobile mode view or not. Works for me.


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