Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist

Archive forApril, 2004 | back to home

30 April 2004
Filed under:Current Affairs (US) at10:18 am

Coming to this late too – CBS rejected the ad chosen by MoveOn.org from all the ads sent in to them.

I also learned from Ad Age that that the winning ad was “produced by professionals”:http://www.adage.com/news.cms?newsId=39555. I share the disappointment of Seth Stevenson at “Slate”:http://slate.msn.com/id/2093860/ who lamented that,

Of all the ads, this is the one that most looks like it was dreamed up and executed by the Democratic National Committee. So why bother?

29 April 2004

Harald has been using it for a while and while I have long been skeptical of the benefits and uses of this software I have finally let curiosity get the better of me. So if you know me and you’re on “Orkut”:http://www.orkut.com/ (the Google-owned social software site), look me up. It seems already “I am connected to 244374 people through 1 friend”. I think this reflects the rather tenuous idea they have of connection rather more than it reflects any real godlike social status!

28 April 2004

A netfriend of mine, Melanie McBride has written an excellent overview of the issues around “Blogging, Equality and the Future”:http://www.mindjack.com/feature/linkedout.html on “Mindjack”:http://www.mindjack.com/, a magazine I have been involved with for some time. It quotes those who believe blogging is a vital democratic tool but also includes the welcome cautionary voice of “Danah Boyd”:http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/ who points out the un-acknowledged barriers to blogging (very much in the terms I plan to in my own PhD). I could go on but why not read the article for yourself!

27 April 2004

1) “BBC Radio 7”:http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbc7/ – the BBC’s digital speech radio channel which broadcasts classic comedy and drama – now has a Listen again feature (audio on demand in other words). It is still streaming audio like the rest of the BBC’s offerings but
2) Someone at the BBC has decided to allow the “Reith lectures”:http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/reith2004/ to go out “as MP3s”:http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/reith2004/mp3.shtml as well as streamed audio, just as one of the first and most popular campaigns on their “iCan campaign site”:http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/ican/G30 requested. It’s a pity they decided to record voice at 64Kbps only (so the file size is large). Even if you don’t want to listen to the Reith lectures visit the page where there is a form and register your support for MP3s!
3) The “News Quiz”:http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/comedy/newsquiz.shtml – a topical humorous discussion of the news similar to NPR’s “Wait Wait don’t tell Me”:http://www.npr.org/programs/waitwait/ – is back on the air.

25 April 2004

I start far more posts than I actually post (I have 30 in draft at the moment) because I am disciplining myself to one post a day. Which is why I am only just now bringing My So-Called Blog (written in January) to your attention.

It isn’t very deep or academically rigorous but it’s nonetheless fascinating to me because it shows the motivations and some of the consequences of this behaviour. My favourite quote:

He wanted his posts to be read, and feared that people would read them, and hoped that people would read them, and didn’t care if people read them. He wanted to be included while priding himself on his outsider status. And while he sometimes wrote messages that were explicitly public — announcing a band practice, for instance — he also had his own stringent notions of etiquette. His crush had an online journal, but J. had never read it; that would be too intrusive, he explained.

Thanks to Many-to-Many for the link

24 April 2004

In the spirit of Phil Gyford’s rendition of “Pepys Diary”:http://blog.org/archives/000604.html there are several other weblog-ified classic literary diaries that have started up. The classic Victorian diary spoof “Diary of a Nobody”:http://www.diaryofanobody.net/ is quite entertaining.

It is “Simon Cozens”:http://simon-cozens.org/’ (rather free) English translation of The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon Pillow Talk, however, that is to my mind the most successful adaptation yet. Why? Because in his rendition it seems exactly like the blog of a contemporary teenage girl, yet the reflections (of a woman in the court of the Japanese Emperor) are a thousand years old. Rarely does history seem to speak to us so directly.

Of course “some people”:http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/32554 think in making its relevance apparent Simon is barbarously mangling the poetry of the original text. Well, there’s nothing to prevent people who find it interesting from taking a look at the extracts translated by others that are “available online”:http://home.infionline.net/~ddisse/shonagon.html, buying the ‘canonical’ paperback translation by Ivan Morris (Amazon UK) (Amazon US) or even the reading it “in the original”:http://www.wao.or.jp/naniuji/koten/makurano.htm. Besides, his is the most complete translation available online for free (that I am aware of).

23 April 2004
Filed under:Interesting facts,Software reviews at1:18 am

Microsoft is offering a “preview (beta) version of the software”:http://www.microsoft.com/office/onenote/prodinfo/sp1/default.mspx for free download. Here’s “what OneNote offers”:http://www.microsoft.com/office/onenote/prodinfo/sp1/guide.mspx. It claims to be ‘a single place for users to electronically capture and organize typed and handwritten notes, audio recordings, graphics, and other rich media’ – sounds a bit like “NVivo”:http://www.qsr.com.au/products/productoverview/product_overview.htm the qualititative data analysis software I have been using recently. As you’d expect it is a lot more glossy in feel and more consistent with Windows conventions than NVivo but is unlikely to have the kind of depth of ‘serious academic functionality’ NVivo provides. Still I am looking forward to kicking it around. I wonder when this preview edition will expire? It is not clear whether the software will expire at all. Certainly there is nothing that tells you when you install it.

As a bonus I find that with this new version of OneNote I can use the Microsoft speech recognition software that was installed when I installed Unreal Tournament (it would not work with my old copy of Microsoft Word). I am finding it works remarkably well so far.

Does anyone know where I can get some documentation on how to use Microsoft’s voice recognition software? (Things like how do I indicate I want to use punctuation?) There doesn’t seem to be any that was installed when I installed the game.

Thanks to Steve Hatch for the link

22 April 2004

I recently discovered maisonneuve, a Canadian magazine out of Quebec with an interesting editorial policy:

What does Maisonneuve publish? The sky’s the limit – hell, what’s in a sky? Poems about nothing? Love ’em. Got a cousin who writes long diatribes against houseflies? How about a really good vignette on the way people walk? Photocopies of your childhood collection of gum-wrappers. Audiofiles of people talking at the Jackson Pollack retrospective. Sonnets to your beloved–they better be good.

Sounds a bit like “McSweeney’s”:http://www.mcsweeneys.net/ that way. What makes it succeed of course is that they seem to attract and choose good stuff. It’s available in print and on the web – check it out!

21 April 2004

It’s in the planning stages (see “this wiki”:http://joi.ito.com/joiwiki/LoicLondonMay04) but seems to be settling around the evening of May 12th. It looks as if there’ll be at least 50 people coming, including quite a few of the people on “my blogroll”:http://www.bloglines.com/public/derb/. I’ll be there – especially if it’s at a Japanese restaurant…

Thanks to Boing Boing for the link.

(If you like this you may also want to check out “Notcon”:http://blog.org/archives/cat_net_politics.html#001081)

20 April 2004
Filed under:Open source,Software reviews at11:58 am

The clever people at DemoLinux have produced a freely downloadable file you can put on to a single CD-ROM. The advantage of this is that as long as your PC allows you to boot from its CD-ROM drive this disc provides a useable installation of “Debian”:http://www.debian.org Linux you can run on your PC without having to change any of its settings. An ideal low risk way to get a taste of what Linux can offer without the hassle of re-partitioning your hard disk etc. It even includes a version of OpenOffice – the open source substitute for Microsoft Office.

Thanks to “Follow Me Here”:http://world.std.com/home/dacha/WWW/emg/public_html/2003_11_01_blog_archive.html#106779797278667523 for the link.

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