Archive for March 2004

The Brontë sisters

How the Brontës Became Romantic Icons -- I've never been a huge Brontë fan (always prefering Burney and Austen) but this article was a good look at their tragic lives and its impact on their writing. Maybe I'll re-read some of that Brontë sisterly goodness soon.


Jason's posted pictures of our High Line stroll last weekend.

The Economist's Backgrounder on Haiti.

The case for gay marriage (also from

Catholic Group Is Told to Pay for Birth Control

And those are just a few of the things I am thinking about.

10 great things from MUG

My favorite daily email has been, and continues to be, Charlie Suisman's Manhattan User's Guide (MUG). Today, Suisman asks New York City bloggers to share 10 Great Things about NYC. There's some great stuff in there -- some new to me, some just reminders of places I need to revisit and things I need to redo. Tomorrow will bring Part Two of the series, and I hope many more wonderful tips about NYC.

Lady bloggers in the Daily News

There's an article about New York City women bloggers, I am woman, hear me blog in today's New York Daily News. The print edition has a big color photo of me, Liz Spiers and Blaise Kearsley but that doesn't appear to be online.

As far as story goes, it's the same old stuff, but the selection of women highlighted is great. There are several women profiled whose blogs I wasn't familiar with, so I'm looking forward to adding some more "blog-ettes" (as the article refers to women bloggers) to my reading rotation.

So many many megs

"Six Hundred and Fourty Nine Megs" of Jay-Z is available for your remixing and sampling pleasure in the Jay-Z Construction Set, so now you too can raise the ire of the major labels.

The Jay-Z Construction Set is a toolkit with all of the necessary software and raw materials to create a new remix of Jay-Z's Black Album. It includes nine different variations on the Black Album, over 1200 clip art images, and a couple hundred meg of classic samples and breaks.

Take an old famous blues singer, say Bessie Smith, and make a "Black & Blue album" or mix AC/DC's "Back in Black" to make a "Double-Black" album. Or you know, come up with something else. The content is all there!

A photo from last week

I hadn't realized till just now that Blaise posted a scan of the picture of us from last week's New York Daily News article on blogging. (You can see my post here about it here.) That's me with the blondish/orange hair in the corner. Yeah, I don't know why I dyed it that color, but I did (where I = my favorite hair cutting gal pal Silvia).

Ms. has a blog

I hadn't realized my old friend Ms. Magazine has a blog now! I'm totally adding it to my daily reading rotation and look forward to seeing what it has to offer. Also, I was so honored to see a link in the sidebar to megnut! Very cool.

Off for some sun and sand

I'm off to Anguilla -- an island in the British West Indies -- today for some very much needed, albeit brief, vacation. Plans include swimming, sunning, sleeping, snorkeling, and reading. Oh and eating. And that's about it. Items of note in the suitcase include: tank tops; summery skirts; one itsy bitsy teeny weeny green polka dot bikini; a fresh book,
(no, not Judy Blume's, Mark Hamill's, just because I'm leaving NYC doesn't mean I shouldn't still be thinking about it!); digital camera; and most importantly, SPF 30.

If reading this makes you jealous, I've just the thing for you: American Airlines sale! Caribbean For As Low As $198 Round Trip. So maybe you too can be doning a tiny green bikini soon as well! Updates will resume next week when I return.

A world away

junks hole, anguilla, bwi
Junks Hole looking toward Savannah Bay, Anguilla, British West Indies.

Flakes are falling

If you happen across a giant swath of dry skin on the streets of New York City in the next few days, it's probably mine. After conscientiously applying SPF 30 multiple times a day in Anguilla and suffering only a bit of sunburn on my face, I am now leaving an epidermal trail throughout Manhattan. I blame the recent snow and excessive work schedule for causing my tan to flee.

March tomorrow in NYC

I've hardly heard anything about it, but apparently there's a rally and march planned for tomorrow beginning at 11:30 AM, a "global day of action on the first anniversary of the U.S. bombing and invasion of Iraq." Here are the logistics for the New York City demonstration.

Forever in New York City

Forever: A NovelWhile on vacation I read
Forever: A Novel
by Pete Hamill. It was
The Count of Monte Cristo
Interview with the Vampire
, which sounds cheesier than it was. It was perfect beach reading, and I enjoyed a great deal of it. It got me so much more curious about the City's history and made me more determined than ever to dig into
Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898

Perhaps the most interesting bit for me was actually after the book. My edition contained an interview with the author in which he talked about completing the book on September 10, 2001. And then of course, needing to go back and re-write a good chunk of the end. After all, his protagonist had supposedly experienced all of Manhattan's major events from about 1740 on. I imagine the process must have been difficult for Mr. Hamil. The "present day" world where his novel ended no longer existed, and ceased to exist the morning after he put down his pen.

Future talk

So you may have heard about Future Me, the website that lets you write emails to your future self, and set a delivery date years from now. The possible conversations are fascinating, and yet email is so clunky and leads to such asynchronous exchanges. I want immediacy in my future me chats! Thus it was with trepidation that I began an AIM conversation this afternoon with my future self.

megnut: you there?

megnut2012: yeah, what's up?

megnut: well, i'm just wondering, um, what's it like being 40? what's our life like now?

megnut2012: eh, pretty much the same as being 32

megnut: really? huh, no epiphanies?

megnut2012: nah, not so much.

megnut: what about wrinkles?

megnut: does all that wrinkle cream i've been buying lately actually work? or do you have a lot of sun damage?

My development on Future AIM Me begins in earnest later this week. Ready your questions for yourself now and look for a rough alpha in mid-summer.

Garden ahoy!

The Bountiful ContainerOne bitterly cold weekend day in January, I sat on my bed with McGee & Stuckey's Bountiful Container at my side and began sketching my plans for this year's fire escape garden. The goals: everything (or nearly everything) would be edible so I could cook with it; good smelly flowers, so cuttings could be brought indoors; and hardier specimens, such as a lavender that's hardy to 0° so many plants will (hopefully) survive the winter. Yesterday, I reworked some plans and placed orders. And during a scouting expedition to the garden center, I purchased a pink primrose. It now sits on my windowsill, harkening spring.

You too can begin your garden now (where now equals planning and ordering but not necessarily planting since I don't know where you live and what you're planting!), and I cannot recommend the Bountiful Container more strongly. This book has proved so useful time and time again, and I constantly return to its pages for the handholding that I, a novice green thumb, require.

Hello, hypertext!

Former New York Times restaurant critics William Grimes and Ruth Reichl select eateries for A Quick Guide to the Best Restaurants in New York. Handy, but why aren't these restaurant names linked to the Times' reviews?

Situated software

Clay Shirky's got a new essay up on Situated Software, a term he's using to describe software, "designed in and for a particular social situation or context." I find his essay really interesting, and I wish I had time right now for a more thorough response, but my own application commitments prevent me.

One reason the situated software approach works so well is the clear definition of the end users of the system. It enables developers to build for a very specific set of users and features, which is a wonderful foundation for success. When you don't have business people requesting new features for some hypothetical user or situation, your software tends to do what it's designed to do better. In software development, the use of personas -- each persona represents a target user of the system -- is one way to address application focus and scope. But for some time now, especially with regards to social software development, I've wondered if that's sufficient. Later in his essay, Clay writes:

We constantly rely on the cognitive capabilities of individuals in software design...[w]e rarely rely on the cognitive capabilities of groups, however, though we rely on those capabilities in the real world all the time.

This gets to something I've been thinking about for sometime now, the possibility of using personas to represent groups rather than individuals. In fact, I even proposed it as a talk for the last O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference but it wasn't accepted. I'm still tickled by this idea of modeling the groups, because as Clay writes, there's a power in groups that you don't find when the same individuals operate in isolation. By creating group personas (groupas? grouponas?), perhaps we could better design and hone our software to utilize the group's power. Then we could create software that's honestly social and situated, and it wouldn't necessarily be at odds with the breadth and reach of a Web School application.

Hidden Tribeca

Neat stuff today over at MUG with Tribeca Pentimento. This essay highlights what I love about living in old cities, the hidden (and sometimes not so hidden) history that's everywhere. Working in Tribeca I know these spots and wish it were a sunny day for exploring the neighborhood rather than a cold rainy day for coding.