December 21, 2002

The 10 cardinal columnist sins

I saw this link on Gawker today (keep it up, folks), and saw myself reflected all too well in its 10 admonitions.  Something for all bloggers to read before they hit the "Post" button.
Posted by dsifry at 8:54 AM | TrackBack | View blog reactions

December 18, 2002

Technorati Sidebar Released

I've just put up a new addition to the Technorati site - a sidebar for Mozilla/Netscape and IE.  When you find an interesting site or blog, simply cut-and-paste the URL into the Technorati sidebar, and get an up-to-date list of blogs that link to that URL. It's like getting instant reviews and commentary on what's going on on the web.

I like going to my favorite news sources, like the New York Times, The Washington Post, Slashdot, etc., and when I find an interesting link, I paste it into the sidebar so that I can see what interesting conversations are going on about the article.  Depending on the article, I get a glimpse into different communities of thought - Articles in the Times about missile defense bring up warbloggers, articles about technology bring out the geeks.  It adds a metalayer to browsing. 

It would be cool to have the sidebar automatically load the watchlist for any URL that I'm browsing on, automatically.  Any Javascript or XUL programmers out there ready to take on that challenge?
Posted by dsifry at 11:48 PM | TrackBack | View blog reactions

Interview with Blogdex creator

Kiruba Shankar has posted an interview with Cameron Marlow, MIT Media Lab researcher and author of Blogdex. 
5) Ok, I want you to be honest here. Forget you are the creator of Blogdex. Put yourself in the shoes of a normal guy who blogs. Now, between, Blogdex, DayPop and Technorati , which do you think is the best popularity index ? Why?

Well, each of these provides a slightly different take on the problem. As popularity indexes, Daypop and Blogdex have pretty much converged on a similar set of statistics, where the Daypop Top 40 probably has the more usable interface.

For me, the important services provided by each of these systems are more diverse than "popularity index" suggests. Daypop provides weblog and news search, Technorati focuses on giving webloggers their inbound links, and Blogdex is a historical index of link diffusion. As time progresses, I think that the tools and user interfaces will continue to diverge until each of them provides for a unique niche.
It's a good interview.  Kudos on Blogdex, Cameron!
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Total Information Awareness discussion on NPR's "Fresh Air"

Today's "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross will feature civil liberties lawyer David Cole, who opposes Total Information Awareness and other security measures implemented after 9/11, and lawyer Douglas Kmiec who supports them.  Fresh Air should also be available on the web after 12/19/02.
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December 15, 2002

Technorati Dinner before Creative Commons

We'll meet at Henry's Hunan on 1016 Bryant St in San Francisco at 5:30PM on Monday, December 16.  Doc Searls and Marc Canter have already confirmed, among others.  Please do try to arrive on-time, because the official Creative Commons reception at SomArts starts at 6PM, and we don't want to be too late to the reception.  See you there!
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December 13, 2002

Creative Commons

Don't forget the Creative Commons release party, this Monday, December 16,th at SomArts in San Francisco.  If you're going to be there and want to get together for dinner either before of afterwards, leave a comment on the blog entry. I'm thinking about either Cafe Moda or The Left Coast Cafe, both of which are a stone'! s throw away from SomArts.  Of course, there's always the Mars Cafe, which has decent food nearby too.  Invite your friends, but don't forget to RSVP to the Creative Commons folks if you're coming!

Microsoft stumbles with its first WiFi products

News.com reports that Microsoft is having problems with its set of new home WiFi products, which have otherwise received good reviews
Users have reported a myriad of problems, all involving dropped connections, and most affecting the company's MN-500 Wireless Base Station and MN-100 10/100 Ethernet Wired Base Station. Some users said connections were failing every half hour.

A Microsoft representative confirmed the troubles Monday and said the company planned to issue a firmware update to correct them.
I wonder what the underlying OS on the product is - embedded Windows or something more stable like *BSD, Wind River, or the like...
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December 11, 2002

Supernova Wrapup

Lunch break, so I can do a little bit of blogging before getting back to work. I'm back in San Francisco at work after spending the last day and a half at the Supernova conference.  It was great, one of the best conferences I've been to in years.  First of all, it was small.  Kevin Werbach, who has a very interesting pedigree, put the conference together and got some very interesting speakers and attendees. The total number of people at the conference was about 100, so we all sat in the same sessions, listened to the same speakers, and for the most part, had lunches and dinners together.  That was a big idea, because over half of what makes a conference interesting is the schmoozing, networking, and f2f meetups that occur.  The early LinuxWorlds had great networking, but there were too many people there, and I would always get pulled away for press interviews, analyst meetings, and partner/customer discussions to really have the chance to hang out and meet and make new friends, which is really what is most exciting, serendipitous, and fun. 

Even though I had to work during the first day of conference sessions, I got there in time for the blogger's dinner that Dave Winer had scheduled with the enormous effort of 2 posts on his weblog, and it was a great time.  Immediately I saw old friends like Doc Searls, and people I've known through email or blogs like Cory Doctorow, Glenn Fleishman, Rohit Khare, David Weinberger, David Isenberg, Howard Rheingold, Dan Gillmor, Joi Ito, Marc Canter, and of course, Dave Winer

Dave is a really neat guy, and I've been looking forward to meeting him for a while.  He lets it all hang out on his weblog, and writes essays too, not to mention the software business he doesn't quite run anymore.  Dave is sort of the blogfather of the blogger mafia (not that we really exist, shhh!)  We really got to know each other better at coffee after dinner on Monday. He wrote about it on his weblog, and I must say, Dave was being too kind.  BTW, we're from Lawn Guyland.  It's always fun meeting transplanted New Yorkers because after talking for a while, you always come away thinking there's a bit of a tristate cabal going out here.  I mean, I wouldn't be able to make it in the dog-eat-dog world of NYC, but out here among the laid-back California culture, I feel a bit like a wolf in sheep's clothing. It's a little shared secret we all keep, and there's a delightful pleasure in sharing it with another expat.  Dave and I also spent some good time talking about Outliners and OPML (which is fertile ground, IMHO) and I think that having a really good outliner for Linux would be killer, even if it was proprietary; there's just nothing half-decent available on Linux for keeping notes and quickly building weblogs like Radio's Outliner.  At coffee, I also met Robert Scoble, who had worked for UserLand for a while, and had coincidentally, written about Technorati a few days before.  I also bumped into Meg Hourihan  and Lisa Rein, who were having coffee with Cory.  I had wanted to meet and get to know Meg at the conference (she was one of the founders of Blogger), but other than a brief introduction, never got the time to get acquainted.  Oh well, maybe next time.

There were also a whole bunch of new friends I made at the conference, and some very interesting folks they are: Mitch Ratcliffe, who used to be the Y2K columnist for ZDNet amongst other things, Euan Semple, a manager at the BBC, Peter Kaminsky, Myles Weissleder from Meetup, Dick Hardt from ActiveState (who also knows Rasmus), Bob Frankston (co-author of VisiCalc), and a whole bunch of other people that I'm sure I'm leaving out.

Tuesday morning I got up bright and early and headed over to the conference.  I met up with Glenn Fleishman, the best journalist covering the WiFi industry, and we hung out during the conference, which culminated with Glenn's panel on wireless infrastructure, on which I was a speaker.  I've got some pictures of the panel, but more on that later.  Howard Rheingold sat at my table, and I got him to sign my copy of Smart Mobs.  He's great, and he lives in the bay area, too.

Dan Gillmor (whose writing I love) did a great job on short notice talking about blogging and Journalism , called Journalism 3.01b2, which I blogged about earlier.

Sergei Brin from Google did a great Q&A with the crowd, and the best part (for me, at least) was his offer to look into setting up an XML-RPC aggregator at Google, which would then fire off the GoogleBot to reindex recently changed weblogs that pinged it.  Minus the technobabble, it means that blogs would get reindexed on Google more quickly, making Google's index fresher.  Sergei, how about having me over to the offices again - we'll have lunch provided by your great chef, and I'll happily explain all the details.

The afternoon wireless panel went well, even when I put my foot in it (so to speak) during one of the Q&A's.  All in good fun.  What was awesome about it was that some of the real innovators in the wireless space were there, like Tim Pozar and DeWayne Hendricks, who I got to meet for the first time.  They should have put in two more chairs on the stage for those two.  DeWayne talked about the need for people to submit their comments to the FCC Spectrum Policy Task Force, which is beginning to decide some things that have serious impact on the unlicensed wireless industry - innovative proposals like easements to licensed spectrum holders for ultra-low power technologies like ultrawideband are being actively opposed in Washington by the oligopolists, so all the rest of us need to make our voices heard. 

Afterwards, a bunch of us drove back into SF for the EFF open house of their new digs down in the Mission district.  Fortunately we got there before the party got too crowded, and I got a chance to meet Clay Shirky, who was supposed to be at Supernova, but had had his flight cancelled.  He was quite charming and interesting, and I plan on staying in touch with him.  I shook hands with John Perry Barlow and Brad Templeton, and was able to thank Seth David Schoen and Cory Doctorow personally for all the hard work they've been doing to stop the HDTV Broadcast Flag.  They wrote a great reply brief to the FCC last week, and deserve to be commended for their cohesive, cogent arguments.  I saw Lile Elam, founder of GeekMaids, and I also bumped into Brewster Kahle, and got to see one of his Bookmobile-printed public-domain books.  That was an awesome idea in action, when he drove his bookmobile across the country, making books for people on the spot at schools and libraries, culminated by his arrival in DC on the day of the Eldred arguments before the supreme court.

I bumped into Zach Brown, and we hung out for a while.  Zach's the writer of Kernel Traffic, and editor of Kernel Cousins, and it's great to see that he's doing well and having fun. 

After the EFF reception, Doc, Euan, Marc Canter and I went to a little Tapas place in the Mission for dinner.  It was AWESOME.  Marc is a true epicurean.  I've got to make a mental note to invite him out again and just remember to have him do the ordering, he was naming all of these wonderful sauces and spices and ordered up some great dishes that went with the really interesting conversation.  It turns out that we also have a lot in common, like his youth membership in Habonim - I was in Hashomer.  Marc's another San Francisco personality, a true gem.  His new company sounds really neat as well.

Hmmm, I'm thinking that I can't allow all of these interesting personalities drift off - perhaps I should set up a dinner or something, sort of like what Jeff Ubois does (did?) with his dinners with interesting people.

Anyway, I'm still basking in the afterglow of all that concentrated stimulation and fun.  It is so great to put faces to names and email addresses, and have real human interaction - reminds me that even with these wonderful communication tools like email and weblogs, there is simply no substitute for physical interaction with all of its multimodal communication streams, chance meetings, and introductions by friends. 

I'm looking forward to next year's Supernova which is planned for Washington DC, and Dave is talking about putting together a weblogger's conference for next summer as well.  Can't wait.

Back to work...
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December 10, 2002

Blogging from Supernova

I'm here at Day 2 of Kevin Werbach's SuperNova - blogging it from Snippets...

December 5, 2002

Project Rainbow finds its pot of gold

Cometa Networks, formerly known as Project Rainbow, has just been announced.  In a press release on their site, they proclaim:
NEW YORK, Dec. 5, 2002 – Leading technology companies AT&T, Intel and IBM, and global investment concerns Apax Partners and 3i today announced they are utilizing their collective technologies and capabilities to create a new company, Cometa Networks, that will provide broadband, wholesale, wireless Internet access nationwide.

Cometa Networks plans to provide this service to telecommunications companies, Internet Service providers (ISPs), cable operators and wireless carriers, who then can offer their customers wireless Internet access, using wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) technology, also called 802.11. Cometa will also offer wireless Internet access to enterprise customers through the participating carriers

The company will work with major national and regional retail chains, hotels, universities and real estate firms to deploy the broadband wireless access service in “hot spots” throughout the top 50 U.S. metropolitan areas.

Cometa’s service will make it possible for users to keep existing sign-on procedures, email addresses, IDs, passwords and payment methods – regardless of whether they are accessing the Internet via an ISP, corporate virtual private network, telecommunications provider or cable operator.
A nationwide equipment provider and aggregator with the clout of AT&T, Intel, and IBM to back it up?  Sounds like some big footsteps in the jungle. 
Posted by dsifry at 10:25 AM | TrackBack | View blog reactions

December 4, 2002

Technorati RSS Watchlists

Technorati now has RSS feeds that show you who is linking to your blog or web site.  Here's the RSS feed of the newest inbound links to this blog.  It's a great way to see the conversation that is inspired by your website.  I've gotten addicted to the Technorati Link Cosmos Watchlist I have for Sifry's Alerts - it lets me very quickly see people's reactions to posts here, and add comments on their blog.

December 3, 2002

Turning the tables on Total Information Awareness

Aaron Swartz writes about John Gillmore's response to a SFWeekly article turning the tables on Poindexter's Total Information Awareness program. Gilmore's challenge? Find out everything in the public record about Poindexter, post it to the web, and publish it.

Ouch! Best use of comedic irony I've seen all month.

I don't think this kind of campaign should be done to anyone, but perhaps this will help to open people's eyes about what this frightening big-brother proposal can do to all of us. And it is pleasantly ironic that the person whose privacy is about to be invaded is the one who will run the program that can do it to us.

Long and short? This is an outrageous law, and it should be changed. We must wake up and remember that freedom and liberty are the very things that make America great, and are the things that we must hold most dear, because otherwise, the terrorists have accomplished their goal.

Posted by dsifry at 4:36 PM | View blog reactions