Tea recommendations

Caterina's wonderful tea recommendations make me wish I drank the stuff more often. Alas I find tea to be one of those beverages that sounds exotically different depending on blend and leaf ("deep overtones of amber and mint", "a mellow fruitfulness", etc.) but ends up all tasting like, well, tea to me. Perhaps my palate is just not refined enough? After all, for a long time I thought wine tasted like, well, wine. And I know that's no longer the case.

Post Office 0, Blizzard 1

"Neither rain nor sleet nor snow" should be ammended to include, "except blizzards." The Patchin Post Office on West 10th Street was unable to open at its appointed hour (9 AM) this morning because a mound of snow prevented customers from opening the door. The sole employee who'd arrived for work was out in front shovelling the sidewalk.

Moblog update

Since I was a snowstorm behind with my moblog photos, I've removed them. The ones I shot on my way to work today as replacements didn't turn out very well, but look for further moblogging action as time passes. Meanwhile, it's still snowing here! The sidewalks and streets are filled with snow and being a pedestrian is hazardous because 3' high mounds of snow block street corners, forcing one to cross in the street with traffic.

Google/Pyra Press

A few more articles about the Google/Pyra deal. From the Guardian UK: Google gets Blogger and better and Google buys Blogger web service. The Washington Post chimes in with a webloggy summary, Blogs Get Google's Embrace. Web Host Industry Review has Google Buys Blogger Maker Pyra Labs. MSNBC (via Reuters) Google buys developer. Perhaps the best of the bunch is Search Engine Watch who offers some good thoughts about what Google might do with Blogger in Puzzling Out Google's Blogger Acquisition. Oops, almost missed this BBC article, Fame or misfortune beckons for weblogs? with some nice quotes from Matt Webb. Don't miss the wonderful graphic at the top of the page: a champagne bottle with the names Blogger and Google Photoshopped onto the label.

New York City Blizzard '03

The New York Times has a slideshow of blizzard photos which are much nicer than the photos I took while out and about yesterday. I dedicate this post to all my friends on the west coast who are missing out on the blizzardy fun.

Artforum on weblogs

This month's Artforum Hot List is a to-the-point article about weblogs that mentions

Although blogs tend to focus on the author's immediate world, they are increasingly devoted to commentaries on current events and politics. The variety of ways in which news is incorporated into and disseminated from these sites is astounding; it underscores the potential of online self-publishing to both complement and challenge traditional media.

The very talented Chris Pew of Capsule9 sent the tip. Go buy some of his art in return.

More on the Pyra/Google deal

The New York Times has a story
Google Deal Ties Company to Weblogs
. Internet News reports in with Google Acquires Blog Software Firm. But Google still doesn't have anything up in their Press Center. And still, oddly, says nothing about the deal. Nor does the old Pyra page.

Subway megnut

Influenced by my new hometown, I present you with "Subway megnut". I haven't done much testing, I just wanted to get something up before the weekend ended. Here's a .gif of the design I'm going for. Please let me know if that's not what you're seeing on this page. Alas with CSS and all, I suspect there are some bugs to still be fixed. But as I said a few weeks ago, I'm less set on perfection these days, and more interested in actually just getting a new design up. All aboard! (Wait, they don't say that on the subway...)

Update: if you're not seeing the design, or seeing half new design, half old design, you might need to load the new style sheet. Some browsers don't do a very good job of updating style sheets. Click here for the updated style sheet then reload this page.

Google buys Pyra

So the news is out: Google has bought Pyra Labs, the company I co-founded. I'm really pleased with the deal because Pyra's always struggled for the resources to really do cool stuff with Blogger. As Ev says in Gillmor's article, the acquisition gives Pyra, "resources to build on the vision I've been working on for years." It's also an exciting development for weblogs in general, and one that's sure to raise their level of exposure. What does this mean for the Lafayette Project? Not much. As I said on Friday, we're not doing weblog search, and we had no intention of going up against Google.

More discussions and interpretations here:

Iraq is not Nazi Germany

There's an article in the Guardian stating the opponents of war on Iraq are not the appeasers and points out the fallacy in comparing Iraq to Nazi Germany and this era to the 1930's.

What I'm doing in NY

Nick and I haven't talked about the Lafayette Project, mainly because we
didn't want to inflate expectations. But -- we should have known -- mystery excites even more than disclosure. So, here are the mundane answers to frequently asked questions. More information will follow as we get closer to launch.

What is the Lafayette Project?

It's the working title for a weblog media project involving Meg Hourihan and Nick Denton. It's called Lafayette because that's the street in Manhattan from which we're working. It's a project because it seems pompous to call a self-funded three-person team anything else.

What do you mean by weblog media?

Systems such as Blogger and Movable Type have made it easy to publish to the web, but the reader experience leaves much to be desired. The more weblogs there are, the harder it is to keep track of them all. That's the problem we're addressing: turning the weblog network into accessible media.

So you're working on weblog search?

No, companies such as Google already provide keyword search over weblog posts. We want to help readers browse weblogs when they *don't* know what they're looking for. A best-of-the-blogs show, if you like.

Isn't that what services such as Technorati and Blogdex already do?

Yes, and we've learned a lot from the experience of Cameron Marlow at
Blogdex and Dave Sifry at Technorati.

What's the connection between Lafayette, and niche weblog sites such
as Gawker and Gizmodo?

There isn't one, except that they've all sprung out of a belief in the future of weblogs as media.

When will Lafayette go live?

There will be something to see by the second half of the year.

A rather scary mix-up

Oh right, right, Colin Farrell. I misread this and thought it said Colin Powell. Given my heightened state of alert, I suppose that's to be expected.

Get your MUG

The Manhattan User's Guide is a week-daily email subscription and website offering tips and tricks on all things Manhattan. Today's warnings about Bally's Total Fitness apply to those far beyond Manhattan's borders, as Bally's is a national chain. Cautions MUG:

Misleading sales practices, high pressure to sign a contract, illegal debt collection tactics, failure to provide refunds, failure to provide services and contracts with serious 'gotchas' seemed more the company's stock-in-trade than providing fitness facilities.

Pro-March rally

There's an Anti-War rally tomorrow but the City is still refusing to issue a permit to march to the protest's organizers. A federal appeals court has upheld a judge's ruling supporting the City's refusal to do so because of, "safety and security considerations." This seems like a dangerous precedent and violation of our First Amendment. Perhaps next time, the City will refuse to issue any permit whatsoever. After all, safety and security considerations won't be disappearing anytime soon. I think I'd like to march tomorrow with a placard that reads, "Unconvinced about war right now, pro-Constitution and pro-March." Hmmm...that doesn't roll off the tongue like I'd hoped.

Laws just for the sake of it

The New York City City Council has overridden Mayor Bloomberg's veto of a cell phone ban at public performances. Says City Council Speaker Gifford Miller of the ban that will fine violators $50 per incidence, "I don't expect the police to spend any time enforcing it." What does he expect, a rash of citizens' arrests in Times Square?

You owe your Don a service

France's refusal to hop aboard the war-monger train is angering Republicans. Now some congressmen are are suggesting the United States impose trade sanctions on France. Other people are calling for a boycott of French wine. My hope? That the reduction in demand for these products will drop their prices. And that there will be less annoying American tourists in Paris next time I go there.

Speaking of France's hesitation, is France the funeral-parlor owning Bonasera and the US some sort of Godfather?

Cue FDR + 50 lbs., in white suit, Charles de Gaulle kisses his hand, etc.

Some day, and that day may never come, I'll call upon you to do a service for me.

Some think that day's arrived.

Stilton, and Gruyere, and Pont L'Eveque, oh my!

A cheese FAQ from Murray's Cheese Shop in the Village (257 Bleecker, NYC). It addresses cheese types, how to serve, how to store, and pairings with wine.

Paris photo collection

If you're missing Paris as much as I am, you'll like looking at these wonderful photos of the city. Makes me want to go back right now. [thanks Heather!]

Taillevent on top since 1973

In the article Taillevent stays on top Patricia Wells writes about Paris' Michelin 3-star restaurant Taillevent.

[The] remoulade of truffled celery root topped with paper-thin slices of scallops and truffles is fantastic. This pristine and elegant first course arrived like a pastry shop millefeuille, a neat, crisp-looking rectangle with tiny chopped celery root laced with truffle bits. Atop it, alternating black and white disks of fragrant black truffle and sweet sea scallops added a cool, refreshing balance.

Oh yum yum yum. [via The Morning News]

My head is breaking

Ross Mayfield chimes in on the increasingly-complex discussion of power laws, inequality, and weblogs. My biggest question from all this: How, if at all, will the inequality change when more efficient ways to read weblogs are developed? Ross writes,

One design challenge for social software is extending the capabilities of people to hold a higher number of meaningful conversations and cultivate relationships.

Assuming we can meet that challenge, and you could read five or ten times as many weblogs as you read now, in the same time span, what would happen to the curve? As a weblog publisher, would it diversify the sites you link to, reducing its steepness? Or would it make it easier for more people to read all the popular sites (using Jason's example, Mary now has time for BoingBoing and MetaFilter) and increase the number of links to the more popular sites? That's what I'm wondering about, and I don't know the answer.

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