The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'blogging'
Blogging has been accused of being a lot of things, and now, according to an Evangelical church, it is un-Christian:
"Blogging has become a socially accepted practice - just as are dating seriously too young, underage drinking and general misbehaving," notes the monthly of the Reformed Church of God, Ambassador Youth.
"People will now do and say things that should only be done in private, or, frankly, should not be said or done at all," rues Denee. "Propriety, decorum and decency are not elements considered on blogs. People simply blurt things out, without considering the contents or consequences."The Reformed Church of God, who issued this particular fatwa, recommends in lieu of this unnatural and ungodly practice, "maintaining friends the "old-fashioned" way, through actual personal contact, as well as letter writing, emailing or instant messaging".
(via The Register)
The wheel of fortune turns again; disgraced blogging pioneer Jorn Barger is now homeless on the streets. He has been seen in San Francisco, holding up a sign "Coined the term 'weblog,' never made a dime". I wonder whether he shares the sidewalk with several failed dot-com entrepreneurs.
(via The Fix)
Today is Free Mojtaba and Arash day, an international campaign to free two Iranian bloggers imprisoned in a crackdown on online publishing. To see how you can help, follow the link above.
A list of a notional worst blogs ever, which reads more like a list of canonical blogger clichés, including the likes of IWillLinkToYouIfYouLinkToMe.com, BourgeoisBohemianHipster.com, VelvetClad.ChunkyGothGirls.com, and, of course, EmotionallyStuntedPolemicist.com and snarkette.com (the last one actually exists, but isn't a blog, but rather a site with photos of cats). (via bOING bOING)
New York Bloggers organise a gathering at a trendy restaurant; the management ejected the entire group. So the bloggers googlebombed the restaurant.
- Parrot knows 950 words, has grammar, can coin phrases and shows evidence of a sense of humour. Which calls into question the accepted belief that parrots act as sound-recording devices. Mind you, the article also claims that the parrot has telepathic abilities, which makes it sound rather dubious. Perhaps the BBC News has been acquired by Pravda?
- FBI computer expert talks about (in)security:
American companies have tried to respond to the massive fraud being perpetrated online. One common preventive, adopted by most companies that sell products online, has been to refuse shipments outside of North America, or allow international shipping, except for Eastern Europe. Criminals have figured out a way around this, however. They hire folks to act as middlemen for them. Basically, these people get paid to sit at home, sign for packages from Dell, Amazon, and other companies, and then turn around and reship the packages to Russia, Belorussia, and Ukraine. You know those signs you see on telephone poles that read "Make money! Work at home!"? A lot of that "work" is actually laundering products for the Russian mob. Of course, anyone caught acting as a middleman denies knowledge of their employer: "I had no idea why I was shipping 25 Dell computers a day to Minsk! I just assumed they liked computers!"
Dave also had a great quotation for us: "If you're a bad guy and you want to frustrate law enforcement, use a Mac." Basically, police and government agencies know what to do with seized Windows machines. They can recover whatever information they want, with tools that they've used countless times. The same holds true, but to a lesser degree, for Unix-based machines. But Macs evidently stymie most law enforcement personnel. They just don't know how to recover data on them. So what do they do? By and large, law enforcement personnel in American end up sending impounded Macs needing data recovery to the acknowledged North American Mac experts: the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Evidently the Mounties have built up a knowledge and technique for Mac forensics that is second to none.
- The amazing story of three blind brothers who became Israel's most formidable phone phreaks, partly by dint of their acute senses of hearing:
Two hours into an afternoon-long interview with the Hebrew-speaking Badirs, my translator's lips lock. He shrugs and tells me that the Badirs have shifted into a secret code. Ramy later explains that as kids he and Muzher developed their own language - reordering letters in mathematically complex ways - after they discovered that other boys were snooping on their conversations.
Ramy, Muzher, and Shadde were arrested on a variety of charges relating to computer fraud in connection with their hacks of the radio station and Bency Levy's phone sex operation. Police took them from their home in wrist and leg cuffs, but even in custody, they could not help but show off by conversing in their secret language and announcing telephone numbers that were being keyed in by law enforcers.
- Warning: blogging can endanger your career, relationships or general wellbeing: (via FmH)
"The blogging community is terribly incestuous," Lapatine admits. "If the relationship doesn't go well, all your mutual friends will read about it. This," he adds, "is how a friend of mine learned that he had halitosis and was a bad dancer."
Some bloggers run into difficulties from seemingly mundane reports about their daily thoughts and activities. "As an Asian girl, I get weird Asian-fetish e-mails from people who read [my] site," says Lia Bulaong, the twentysomething Manhattan author of Cheesedip (she includes tame photographs of herself in everyday clothes). "Also, stalkers I had in college that I didn't know about have come out of the woodwork."
- The prognosis for the upcoming Hitchhiker's Guide film looks somewhat dubious, what with Karey "Chicken Run" Kirkpatrick rewriting the script (undoubtedly crushing out anything that doesn't fit the standard Hollywood rules of characterisation and plot) and a rapper being cast as Ford Prefect. The thing about Trillian having been rewritten as a "brilliant scientist" also seems dubious. But you knew that already.
- A proposed Trainspotting-themed tour of Edinburgh has run into problems because the city has been cleaned up too much, with many of the locations in the novel and film no longer existing in any recognisable form (via Lev)
Jorn Barger is alive and well and living in the New Mexico desert. It seems that the reclusive Barger moved across the US without telling his roommates. (I wonder how long until someone starts calling him the "Wandering Jew-Hater" or some variant on that.) Meanwhile, one of his (less controversial) longtime obsessions, professional cute blonde girl Jenni Ringley is shutting down her webcam. Jenni, of Jennicam fame, was the first of millions of "camgirls", shedding her clothes in front of the computer before anybody else was doing it (let alone trading requests for Amazon wishlist items); some could argue that the blame for the blight that is Reality TV rests partly with her.
In today's Onion: Mom Finds Out About Blog:
"God, my links alone contain unlimited fodder for Mom's neuroses," Widmar said. "She'll have access to not only my life, but the lives of all my friends who have web sites. She'll have the names of all the places in Minneapolis where we hang out, which she can--and will--look up. With the raw materials in my blog, she could actually construct an accurate picture of who I am. This is fucking serious."
Seeing his blog through his mother's eyes, Widmar said he knows there's no way the site can remain unchanged.
"The clock is ticking," Widmar said. "I've gotta act fast. At this very minute, she might be reading about the time I did Ecstasy last summer. If Mom finds that entry, I can pretty much count on our conversations for the next year being centered on the dangers of drug use."
I'm fortunate that my mum doesn't show any interest in my blog; I've shown it to her, but she never payed much attention to it (perhaps because I don't write about my everyday life here and she doesn't have a dictionary of cultural references at hand to decode what it's actually about). Except for the time she tried to talk me into pimping her home movies on my web site.
(Another reason why blogs, without some sort of authentication mechanism (think LiveJournal's friend lists), are unsuitable for private discourse.)
Over the time I've been writing in this blog, I've become aware of two different philosophies of what a blog is for:
- A blog is a chronological list of links to articles/sites on the web viewed by its compiler (that is, quite literally, their "web log")
- A blog is a chronological list of short pieces containing commentary or opinion, and often linking to the subject being commented on
Blogs started out as (a), a sort of shared hotlist in chronological order, with minimal commentary. Gradually, the human instinct for self-expression (or, if you will, the tendency of memes to reproduce themselves at every possible opportunity) won out and blogs expanded into longer entries, with more analysis, commentary, opinion, personal prejudice and/or miscellaneous rambling. The requirement for each blog entry to be a link to a URL on the web gradually fell by the wayside, with many blogs being indistinguishable from journals, chronologically-arranged photo albums or a combination thereof.
Anyway, while writing in this blog, I became aware of a tension between these two uses. Is this blog a chronological record of sites I've seen, or a place to write in? If I link to every Grauniad article and SourceForge project of interest, it will drown out the actual content in the blog, and the signal-to-noise ratio will deteriorate. However, to maintain a blog worth reading, only a fraction of the things I look at and find interesting get blogged.
Consequently, I have just added a new section: the linklog. This is what it sounds like, a chronological list of links to URLs. There's no commentary (other than the title), and less editorial honing than in the main blog proper; I'll post articles to it as I see them, without taking the time to comment on them; though later the links may be used in longer entries in the main blog.
The linklog is now visible in the sidebar of the blog page. There is no user comments facility there, nor will there be (if you wish to comment on any of these links, mention it in your own blog; there are several sites which allow you to keep a blog quite cheaply if not for free).
The creators of Movable Type are given a roasting over their license agreement. Any "commercial" use of Movable Type requires a $150 license; and the creators have recently asserted that this includes anything other than playing around with it at home; i.e., if you install it for a friend, you're using it for "commercial" purposes. Collectivist parasites and second-handers beware; Ben and Mena (and their army of lawyers) are coming to get you! (via Gulfstream)
A survey claims that most bloggers are teenaged girls; well, in Poland, anyway; elsewhere, they may well be middle-aged men who write like teenaged girls. Though the survey may be confusing blogs with LiveJournal.
The article then goes on about the sorts of people who keep blogs; claiming that "interesting people run interesting blogs, but it's remarkable how few of them there are". (Something quite possibly true, though isn't it just a restatement of Sturgeon's Law?)
Weblog software provides a wonderful tool that makes it easy to publish your thoughts and pictures to the world - should you lack immediate friends or family to whom you might want to mail these thoughts and pictures to first. The nutty blog hype, such as it is, has been inflated by a handful of weblog tools vendors and exhibitionists who desperately see this as their big moment. By promoting the humble blog as a social tool that heralds an "Emergent Democracy", or a fabulous network that can overthrow Big Brother, they're crowning themselves with the mantle of populist heroes.
Maybe we're all safer this way - thanks to weblogs. Maybe blogs are a way of keeping the truly antisocial out of harm's way. So if you know a middle-aged sociopath, for heaven's sake, point him to a computer and show him how to start a weblog.
Btw, I wonder what proportion of blogs are actually blogs (i.e., consist predominantly of linkage to things on the web), as opposed to news pages, journals, review sites and such.
A Grauniad reporter tracks down Salam Pax, the mysterious Baghdad blogger. It turns out that by day he is 29 years old, an architect by profession, and spent much of his formative years in Vienna.
Soon, however, he began to search out other "bloggers" posting on the internet. Few were writing in English from the Arab world, and those that did wrote in heavily religious overtones. That was enough to encourage Salam to put his head above the parapet and one day he identified himself on a bloggers' website as an Iraqi. "I was saying, 'Come on, look, the Arabs here: sex, alcohol, belly dancers, TV shows, where are they?' All you saw was people talking about God and Allah. There was nothing about what was happening here."
Screens cover the windows to keep the midday sun away from his three computers, each of which has been opened up into a sprawling tangle of wires and circuit boards. A poster from the film The Matrix hangs on the wall, looking down on a jumble of computer books and CDs strewn over the floor. Pages of website addresses and computer commands are tacked to the wall above his screen. It was here that Salam would sit and talk endlessly about the impending war with Raed, who returned to Baghdad before the war, and the friend he describes only as G - Ghaith, another young, intelligent, eloquent architectural graduate who spent much of his adult life dodging military service.
Dating a blogger, reading about it, or the consequences of bloggers going on about their co-workers/boyfriends/buddies/&c:
Indeed, for many bloggers being noticed seems to be the point. John M. Grohol, a psychologist in the Boston area who has written about bloggers, said they often offered intimate details of their lives as a ploy to build readership.
Or perhaps it's pathological narcissism or exhibitionism? Or perhaps a symptom of the human need to communicate in a disconnected, depersonalised society?
That became an issue for a recent boyfriend of hers, a 34-year-old Manhattan hedge-fund manager who feared that having his name in the blog could compromise his business relationships. During his eight-month stint as a nameless regular on Ms. Clemente's site, he said, "it was an odd feeling that there was a camera on me." Friends and relatives who knew about the site followed his relationship online, he said. "On occasion my mother would send me an e-mail saying, `How was the play?' or, `Sounds like you had a nice weekend away,' " he said.
I wonder how long until we see personal ads reading "blogger seeks exhibitionist", promising Internet-wide fame to anyone wanting to go out with them. I suspect there'd be takers out there (though whether one would want to sleep with them is another matter).
When the relationship ended, she said, "I had totally random people e-mailing me saying they were sad we broke up." She described the experience as "totally weird," but added, "As a writer, having anyone read your stuff is a compliment."
The proliferation of personal bloggers has led to a new social anxiety: the fear of getting blogged, as friends of bloggers face the prospect of becoming characters in a public drama:
"It's personal etiquette meets journalistic rules," Mr. Denton, the blog publisher, said. "If you have a friend who's a blogger you have to say, `This is not for blogging.' It's the blogging equivalent of `This is off the record.' "
Then again, the question is, is that really blogging? Blogging was originally about linking to things on the web and/or commentary on various ideas/media; however, the word seems to have mutated to mean "any web page where new content is added at the top", with many in this category being online diaries/journals. Meanwhile, you're as likely to find old-sk00l link-based blogging in LiveJournal sites as elsewhere. (And whatever happened to E/N sites, the geek-macho cousins of blogs?)
IMHO, my philosophy of blogging is that it is not so much about one's everyday life as about one's intellectual interests. This includes links to interesting sites/articles, commentary about books/movies/music/ideas/current events, and so on. Sure it may not be as "personal" as giving the juicy goss about one's sex life or rabbiting on about the poor quality of coffee at work, but it's more interesting.
In my blog, I specifically avoid talking about friends, coworkers, places of employment and so on, for the usual reasons.
And you probably won't find me talking about recent dating experiences/trips to the supermarket/taking my cats to the vet/whatever; there's enough of that sort of thing elsewhere on the web (and some do it more rivetingly than others).
In short, this blog is not a journal, and not an intimate window into the author's private life. (The author's prejudices and fixations, maybe.)
(That's also why the <TITLE> of this blog says "I am not your friend in the void"; if after reading a blog for a while you start to think of the author as a close friend, or someone you have a special relationship with, you probably need to get out a bit more.)
Anyway, that's just my view on the matter.
Salam's back. (Well, not entirely; he still has no Internet access per se, so he's getting confederates abroad to post his entries for him.) Anyway, his dispatches from the war and the subsequent anarchy of occupied Baghdad make for interesting reading. Good to know he has made it.
A whole market has emerged right there in front of the two hotels, Meridian and Sheraton. Thuraya [thuraya.com] phone owners standing in front of their cars offering you phone calls abroad for $5 a minute (it actually costs less than a dollar).
Hang on; Meridian and Sheraton? Have Baghdad's hotels been acquired by US multinationals that rapidly, or were they called that during Saddam's regime?
Yesterday I almost died of thirst in front of 30 bottles of pure water. I had 30,000 Dinars in my pockets but couldnt buy a 2,000 Dinar bottle. (2000 in itself is a crime you used to get 4 bottles for that price, but what to do, the war and all). 30k Dinars in 10,000 bills which now have the stigma of being stolen on them.
Who gave them permission to camp at the grounds of the ***** Social Club and the Iraqi ***** Club. What am I supposed to do with my membership? Where do I find another big indoor swimming pool? No, seriously. What is this thing with these foreign political parties who have suddenly invaded Baghdad? Do they have no respect for public property? Or since it is the season of the loot they think they can just camp out wherever they like and, ahem, liberate public buildings. PUK at the National Engineering Consultants building. PDK at the Mukhabarat building in Mansour. INC taking an army conscription center. Islamic Dawa at the childrens public library. Another Islamic-something taking a bank. Outoutout. Liberate your own backyard; you have no right to sit in these buildings.
Hopefully he'll resume blogging regularly once AOL or Earthlink or someone rebuilds the Iraqi Internet.
Blogging has now become more paranoiac-friendly with Invisiblog, a new online blogging tool devised by cypherpunk cryptoanarchist types. Invisiblog uses anonymous remailers for posting, making it (theoretically) impossible to trace their authorship (except, of course, by the NSA's quantum supercomputers, but they can probably read your thoughts before you post anyway, and already know that you've been a very naughty boy/girl/android).
A decent (user-oriented) tutorial on how TrackBack™ works. Somewhat enlightening, though not enough detail to actually implement it if you use your own blog software. (via bOING bOING)
Almost a decade ago, they brought us the year September never ended; now AOL are adding blogging to their homepage services. Prepare to see an influx of dittohead blogs and britneyblogs. Within a year or two, the typical level of commentary may well look like "u r a doody-head!!1" (via The Fix)
Maybe WebTV should follow suit and set up a blogging service, with automatic syndication from CNN and FOXNews, and menus of pre-prepared "witty comments"?
Bias in the Blogosphere, an analysis of the blogging phenomenon using the Chomskyite propaganda model, and concluding that blogging is a reactionary, right-wing propaganda machine by its very structure. Makes some good points (about linkwhoring, the threat of being Dooced or mailbombed serving to shut down dissenters, and dependence on official resources for facts), but it appears to fall into the "blogging was born on 9/11" fallacy, the stereotype of equating blogging as a whole with the right-wing, jingoistic talkback-radio excesses of the "warbloggers". (via Graham)
It may well be that the majority of bloggers are wealthy white males, Libertarians turned born-again Rush Limbaugh clones when the planes hit the WTC, but that just reinforces Sturgeon's law; specifically, that when people have the means of expressing themselves, the vast majority will use it to download porn, put up photos of their cats, discuss the last episode of Friends, or loudly expound their allegiance to their favourite thought-saving orthodoxy, and only a small proportion of content will be actually interesting. (Well, that and the primal instinct to form packs and do battle against rival packs.) So it's not unexpected that big chunks of the blogosphere look like a conservative, vaguely xenophobic suburbia; well, that and the LiveJournal britneyblogs, and the technofetishistic E/N sites run by misogynistic virgins, and so on. Just that warblogging is the currently fashionable flavour of blogging for pinks.
An article on the rise of blogging in Iran, and how a young generation of web-savvy reformists is leapfrogging the power of the theocracy, largely due to Iran's lack of resources and/or will to establish a Saudi-style censorship infrastructure. Wonder how long this will continue.
Not only is it the future of journalism, but blogging is good for you. It has been found that keeping a blog wards of Alzheimer's disease, by virtue of exercising parts of the brain.
Proof that blogs are no longer the exclusive domain of introspective cat-owners, list-making geeks and right-wing warhawks: women in Iran take to blogging, to talk about social issues that women cannot discuss openly in the conservative Islamic society. (via Reenhead)
Tanya has a go at Kraftwerk:
"I change my website every day
My weblog is the perfect way
My weblog serves me very well
I use Shockwave and XML