Archive for December 2002

Off for the holidays

No updates for a few days while I'm in Boston for the holidays with my family. Merry Christmas and safe travels to those of you celebrating as well.

Free online wine course

The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) offers courses online at If you've got some time on your hands over the Christmas holiday, perhaps you'd like to enroll in one of their free courses? They're offering A Taste of Wine Online ("a close look at three of the world's classic wine grape varietals"), The Professional Chef Discovers Contemporary Flavors with California Raisins (taught by my fav Thomas Keller!), and The Professional Chef Discovers California Cheese ("an exploration of cheese that promises to be at once serious, timely and above all enjoyable"). Not only are these classes free, you can also earn credit for them. I know how I'm going to spend some weekend time once I'm done with all this unpacking...

Wired News on bloggers and Lott

Another article in Wired News about weblogs, this time addressing webloggers' roles in taking down Trent Lott. Nothing particularly new or different in it, except there were some quotes of note from Elizabeth Osder, a visiting professor at The University of Southern California's School of Journalism. First she says,

"Bloggers are navel-gazers...And they're about as interesting as friends who make you look at their scrap books."

That part is funny. But then she says,

"There's an overfascination here with self-expression, with opinion. This is opinion without expertise, without resources, without reporting."

Which is just foolish and ignorant and demonstrates that Ms. Osder hasn't spent much time following the happenings of the (ugh, I hate this term) blogosphere.

Without expertise? Hardly. Have a look at Joshua Micah Marshall's short bio, or Dan Gillmor's about page. Without reporting? She must have missed the whole Kaycee Nicole saga. And without resources? She must not understand much about the Web or blogging at all. Not only do we have sites like Google at our disposal, but we have the distributed knowledge of a diverse readership. As Dan Gillmor likes to say, "my readers know more than I do." There are domain experts for nearly anything you can possibly imagine. Weblogs provide a way to connect and share that knowledge.

Wirless propagation?

I wonder if we'll see an increase in wireless usage as wi-fi addicted bloggers head home for the holidays? I am contemplating bringing the AirPort along when I head to Boston this evening. Once non-wirelessly connected folks see how easy and great it is, I suspect they'll want to go wireless as well.

Christmas Scrabble miracle

Last night while playing Scrabble I experienced a little Christmas miracle of my own. I was in 2nd place and it wasn't looking good for a comeback. All the letters were gone from the bag and we had only to play what remained before us. And then lo and behold, I looked at my letters, looked at the board, and promptly scored the highest single score I've ever gotten in one play. I laid down "brittle" onto a "d" to form "brittled." Not only was it a Scrabble (entitling me to an extra 50 points), I also played it on the triple word score. Since no letters remained in the bag, my use of all my letters also ended the game. 126 points for one word, and the game was mine.

HP Mpulse interview with me

There's an interview with me (where I talk about "blogging's infancy, how content has changed, and why pervasive blogging is just around the corner") over at HP's Cooltown magazine site. I guess it's been up the whole month of December but I hadn't realized.

Save our sounds

Save Our Sounds, America's Recorded Sound Heritage Project is raising funds to match a Congressional grant to preserve over 140,000 original audio recordings. "These original recordings are on old wax cylinders, decaying wire, decomposing acetate, and deteriorating audio tape...The Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress are preserving important collections of historical recordings of spoken word and music, from Woody Guthrie's 'This Land Is Your Land' to Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech, from American Indian recordings of the 1890s to the oral histories of ex-slaves recorded in the 1930s." The project aims to put the recordings online once copies have been made. [via The Boston Globe]

UNFPA and 34 Million Friends

The other day I wrote about UN conference on population and the unanimous rejection of the US' position against condom use and other family planning. Over the holiday I found out something else from the UN Foundation site:

Earlier this year, President George Bush decided to withhold $34 million appropriated by the U.S. Congress for the UN Population Fund's (UNFPA) work in the developing world.

With a budget of only $270 million worldwide, UNFPA will be hard-pressed to serve women throughout the world without the U.S. contribution. According to UNFPA estimates, the $34 million could prevent 4,700 maternal deaths, 60,000 serious maternal illnesses, as well as more than 77,000 infant and child deaths.

Behold the 34 Million Friends campaign, an attempt to "bridge the funding gap" of $34 million by asking for $1 from 34 million "friends" in the US. In less than five months, the campaign's raised $155,000. That's a lot, but it's hardly $34M.

Funds raised from the "34 Million Friends" campaign will go towards UNFPAs core programme budget, to compensate for the loss of United States support. This includes giving women and men in over 140 developing countries access to quality reproductive health information and services.

I'm donating $100 that I received for Christmas towards the 34 Million Friends campaign. Please spread the word and if you can, join me and contribute. Even the smallest amount -- the cost of a latte at Starbuck's -- can help make a difference. [via Ellen Goodman and my mom who cut out the article from the paper]

Video game addiction

One of the highlights of Christmas vacation was playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City on my brother's PlayStation. I didn't think I liked video games, especially the horribly violent kinds like GTA. But it was so fun! It was like being a character in The Godfather or some Guy Ritchie movie. I was stealing motorcycles and punching cops and doing all sorts of other nefarious things I would never ever do in real life. Now I want a PS2 and GTA:VC. My birthday is coming up you know...

Brittled is a word

Several people have written wondering whether "brittled" really is a word. You can check it here at the official online version of the Scrabble dictionary. Just type in "brittle" and you'll see it.

Job posting

I'm looking to hire a hardware/software engineer for the new project I'm involved in. The description is here at NY Craig's List. Please pass it on if you know someone who might be interested.

Missing Maggie Berry

This is just the thing that happens when one goes away for a while and doesn't have lots of online access. One misses entertaining and enlightening articles like The Morning News - Women's Fashion: Part II, Color by Maggie Berry. I'm glad I've caught it now and am on track to having a fabulously stylish wardrobe.

pb gettings some props

Here's an interview with Paul where he answers some questions about web apps, weblogs, Blogger and his recent move to Oregon.

Holiday Spirit

Thought I'd get in the holiday spirit and do a little Christmas decorating around the 'Nut. But my funny blinking lights are horribly ugly and bad, I don't know if I can stand them for the whole month. I'll leave them for now just for kicks, and to remind everyone what the web used to be like back in 1995/96.

Brrr...New York

current New York temperature 19 degrees!New York has a strange way of welcoming us. Ol' NYC must have heard me blabbing before I left SF, "I'm looking forward to winter. I've missed it." But 19º?! I was ready to get into this cold thing slowly, was geared up for the 30º. But not this. After a quick stroll to get bagels, coffee, and juice this morning (during which we observed all the puddles were totally frozen), I've had enough. I don't think I can leave the house again today.

Health Insurance

Now that I've moved I have to find new health insurance, as my former plan was limited to California. In the past I've used eHealthInsurance to find local providers and get free online quotes, but they only list one plan for me here (which is quite expensive). If you have any recommendations -- especially if you're self-employed -- please email me. Thanks.

Snowy NYC

snow todaySnow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow!!!!!!!

I'll probably write this again in March but the intonation will be totally different and there won't be any exclamation points.

Blog small talk

Oh God, I just realized that my posts have become the blogging equivalent of small-talk. All I'm doing is talking about the weather. I really need to get back to work again so I have more to talk about.

Minor site updates

A few minor updates around the site to reflect my changed location. Some updates to the About page and finally some fresh content for the sidebar. For some reason I couldn't get FTP to work over my dial-up in France, so I was stuck having the world believe it was taking me two months to read the Great Gatsby.

Supernova conference weblog

I'm at the Supernova conference down in Palo Alto. Missed the morning but I'm looking forward to getting engaged this afternoon. You can follow along with the conference weblog if you'd like.

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