February 29, 2000
# Misnomer: Other Voices

The 5k web design contest is coming, so stop using tabs and return characters now!

Here's a really good paper comparing Orality with online discussion. I hope to finish a more polished, comprehensive version of my thoughts on dialogue and digital text sometime this week.

Jason Kottke and Jason Levine both have different takes on the Amazon patent issue. What a startling coincidence.

Seeing someone in two different places on the web is kinda wierd.. tho that's not the right word. (scroll down)

I'm writing a paper on Emma Goldman, a turn of the century Anarchist and Feminist - before it was popular. <grin>

posted by dru in blog
February 28, 2000
# Misnomer: Rollins for Prez!

Ooooh! A new toy. It's small.

Henry Rollins for President!. "In an age where people accept what Dr. Laura says as the absolute truth, the United States needs a leader who will encourage people to use their own brains."

The Standard: Amazon.com Patents Enemy-Making Process "In 1994, for example, [the US patent office] awarded a patent to Compton's on the concept of multimedia. That one was later yanked." Isn't this indicator enough that the process is simply and utterly FUBAR?

Slashdot interviews: Ask Jakob Nielsen anything "let's bypass all the people who have usability opinions just because they have opinions, and go straight to The World's Leading Expert" hehe.

Dan Gillmor interviews Linus Torvalds: "The best result is still what happens naturally." Some interesting bits on collaborating online. "The natural world is far from serene, as Darwin noted."

I'm doing miscellaneous stuff today - mostly catching up with coursework, cleaning my fishtank, grocery shopping. My subsequent procrastination will probably result in frequent updates to misnomer.

posted by dru in blog
February 27, 2000
# Misnomer: Lazy

I have done a sum total of nothing today, and it doesn't feel too bad. This makes about 36 hours of playing pool (free all week at the campus pub), surfing (online), and sleeping. Ahhhh.

Is this the end of the web's non-linearity? frightening.

Now I'm listening to His Luscious Uncle (links to bio and mp3's), who are originally from Sackville. "I strolled downtown to find myself / but get stood up again../ I haven't had the guts to just sleep in" Worth a listen.

posted by dru in blog
February 26, 2000
# Misnomer: Send some love to Amazon

Here's a great Salon piece that shows how the difference between dating and appearing on "who wants to marry..." is a matter of degree. "Women's eroticization of traditional power relationships makes evaluating a boyfriend for his earning power seem acceptable, rather than mercenary, to most men and women."

Dave Winer has a worthwhile piece called Notes on Competing - One of the better pieces by Dave I've read, actually. This Amazon business seems to be stirring up quite a few people. Jakob Nielsen and quite a few others still point to Amazon, however.

Now this is truly ridiculous. Jeff Bezos needs a kick in the pants. absurd! "Amazon has demonstrated they are not afraid of seeking an injunction to stop other people in their tracks" I'd be more inclined to call it cowardice.

No. Scratch that. Amazon needs to learn what it means to feel the love. It's that simple

Here's how: Go the other way. Instead of cutting yourself off from the rest of the web with patents, open up your infrastructure for everyone. Let any web developer put their own value-added interface on your product database. Selling stuff online is all about providing good information about products, so let everyone use your shipping and handling, and let them skim a percentage off the top for selling through you. If Amazon has the best infrastructure, it will be ubiquitous, perhaps without the customers knowing it. You don't need to worry about one size fits all, because if it's compelling, hundreds of people that know will use their knowledge to sell products for you. Feel the love

No one else is feeling the love yet. Bummer.

I'm a face in the crowd of Brent Simmons' collection of Manila people today

posted by dru in blog
February 25, 2000
# Misnomer.

The web gives us a new view of humanity?

Big web pages that try to be everything to everyone tend to get a bit out of focus. It's like a Jackson Polluck painting, except it's not art. Other examples: AOL, Lycos, and Infoseek aren't quite as bad.

posted by dru in blog
February 23, 2000
# Misnomer: Politics

Dave Winer has some suggestions for candidates who want the support of internet people. This begs the question: is there a body of voters big enough to be called the 'internet vote', and is it worth it - even at the state level - for politicos to win their support?

Another question: if there is an internet vote to win, does it necessarily have a concensus on issues facing the internet?

PC is to Piaget as WWW is to Vygotsky. Very interesting piece which makes an analogy between theories of developmental psychology and technologies.

Looking for some good tunes for free? Check out Wood Worm; very classy techno. My favourite track is "SPF 45", which fuses jazz and electronica, with interesting results.

posted by dru in blog
February 22, 2000
# Misnomer: Redesign

Orality and Literacy Links. Lots of very interesting stuff I haven't seen before. I got into the idea that digital media combines aspects of Oral and Literary traditions, and couldn't find anything that even came close to saying the same thing.. until now. I applied for a grant to study this stuff in the summer, so my reading list just increased exponentially... if I get it.

Just found out I have the same birthday as a guy named Drew in one of my classes. Creepy.

From a friend's .sig: "In order to have the great reliability that we promise with Windows, you can't have all these variant versions where somebody has gone and tinkered
with source code here and tinkered with source code there."
-Bill Gates

posted by dru in blog
February 21, 2000
# Misnomer: Redesign

Moving right along... The Problem with Music basically sums up why I don't think that the status quo of record companies can be any worse than lots of MP3's being distributed freely.

Redesigned today, with a view to making more sense of the dynamic navigation bar, and (as always) loading and rendering speed. That's one thing I don't like about the default Manila configuration: you have to wait for the entire page to load and render before you see anything.

So far, 100% of the reactions are positive.. And I just redid the tables.. should be a lot prettier now. Whew.

posted by dru in blog
February 20, 2000
# Misnomer: Plato would dig the web

[idea] Rebirth of the dialogue online

Reading this discussion, I was reminded of Platonic dialogues. Plato refused to write essays or books in the narrative sense, because he (more or less) believed that the process of arriving at an intellectual conclusion should be apparent in the communication of such a conclusion (e.g. justice is...). I find that to understand something online, it is often beneficial to read a discussion that takes place between informed individuals. In this sense, the web could represent a return of the dialogue as a a mode of intellectual documentation - as contrasted to the present, where discourse happens, but the results are communicated in essay format.

This has everything to do with the mediums used. It is cumbersome to hold a discussion via letters, so a good deal of discourse takes place orally, which does not transfer readily to paper. Furthermore, lengthy discussions take up a lot of printed space (in journals), so single-writer essay format usually is chosen over a verbatim transcript of a particular debate.

By contrast, email is effective in itself as a medium for discussion, and debates conducted via email lend themselves well to being published verbatim, since no transcription is required. Furthermore, the space limits of print media are nonexistant online, so the richness and sumblimity of discourse can be preserved.

Email discussion does differ from Socratic dialogues in that it isn't as structured or questioning of fundamental assumptions, but in the right conditions, it does lend itself to the critical advantage of the dialogue: it can guide the reader through all the steps taken to reach a conclusion; it lets everyone see (and question) the process.

Aaron Olson responds to the above piece. Looks like misnomer is getting more readers who aren't necessarily part of the weblog 'community'. This is cool.

Today's entry on Kottke.org inspired my new tagline. Not trying to mock anyone, "thinking about the box" just best describes what I do.

The search feature doesn't seem to be picking up misnomer yet. Question: will it automatically read all of my archives?

posted by dru in blog
February 19, 2000
# Misnomer: Covered in plaster.

Powazek: WTF is a weblog?

It's 7am, and I'm still awake. I can't explain it any more than you can. The campus Pub had a non-alcoholic 'Rave' from 3am to 6am, and before and after I was watching the kiln for the bronze pour, which happens this afternoon. Something about techno makes people a little more relaxed, and a little less into the meat-market atmosphere. More dancing for the sake of dancing. I like it.

Must. Sleep.

posted by dru in blog
February 18, 2000
# Misnomer: Covered in plaster.

This is very cool. Now you can access all two months worth of archives using the search field in the title bar. thanks Userland fine print: it won't really work until tomorrow, when the site gets indexed

simplicity itself
eludes the fervent seekers
who sacrifice all


It doesn't occur to C|Net (or any of the companies described) that there might advantages letting the internet do it's own thang with music. We fear change. Regulate!

It's really unfortunate that a little comment can spark a childish pissing contest. "If you compare the blogger sites against the userlanders, then it's pretty easy to see where the design skills lie." If Dave doesn't like Derek's site, who cares? How this extends to editthispage vs. blogger, or who's design is better, or anything, I don't understand. An opinion is an opinion.

The weblog 'community' is looking like a junior high lunch hour at the moment. Kinda sad.

Slashdot postings: Jon Katz's Lonely Hearts Club Thread, Women in CS.

Lake Effect has a good rant about the Oscar nominations. This is good, because now I don't have to go on about it. :D

It's that Argosy time of the week again. This time, I wrote about Napster, and the Economics of making music in digital media (see wednesday for a summary of my ideas).

posted by dru in blog
February 17, 2000
# Misnomer: Internet Bliss?

Ask and ye shall recieve is the motto for yesterday. I asked for (and received) a response from David Grenier about MP3's and micropayments.

(I have an exam, but plan to comment extensively after that).

hmm, looks like I ran out of time: I spent from 9 PM to 3 AM finishing sculpture for the bronze pour tommorrow. I'm tired.

posted by dru in blog
February 16, 2000
# Misnomer: Internet Bliss?

Question for Dave: How can companies do (nevermind ask) what's best for the internet when they have stockholders who demand short-term results?

While I was in class, Dave responded

Lisa W. has a weblog. I didn't know that. She mentions Coming Soon (the movie), which apparently isn't going to be released in the states, as a result of the ratings board scandal

idea. Short extrapolation: if digital storage becomes the medium of choice for people who listen to music, then those musicians who distribute with SDMI and demand payment up front will gradually get less well known, while those who let their music be distributed freely and ask for a voluntary micropayment of 50 cents or so - if you like the music - will gradually get more widely distributed.

Another possibility: Hit single type songs will still be popular, but might not make as much money as music with real depth (and longer listenability). MP3's are good at playing one song 'til you get sick of it pretty efficiently.

My rationale is that music on the internet costs nothing to distribute, so why should it cost anything to listen to. If you like it, you pay for it, and if you're not going to, then you probably wouldn't have, no matter what kind of copy protection is used.

I wonder what David thinks..

I started out writing "consumers of music". What is happening to me?

posted by dru in blog
February 15, 2000
# Misnomer: Fun with Photoshop

The RIAA says they are the "the trade group promoting the vitality of music in the U.S." I'll not dignify that with a response Latest SDMI information is interesting though.

I like this headline: McCain Feeds off the hand he bites. Sounds like a good plan, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who remains distinctly skeptical about such promises. "McCain voted against the final version of the satellite TV bill, not because he had a change of heart but because he said the bill had become 'simply another legislative goody bag, full of special provisions for special interests,' after it was amended in a House-Senate conference committee." Yeesh. It's enough to make me cynical.

Hey cool! I made Bloat's Top 8 new blogs list. Glenn Danzig, only crazier!

Christian Science Monitor: This year, apathy is out "
And the fact that Texas Gov. George W. Bush is the son of a former president is 'a little too monarchical for
me,' says Mr. Nelson. 'I thought we got rid of that with the American Revolution.'"

bicker bicker bicker (Salon and Slate go at it)

Here's an interesting idea from the /. discussion group.

Been having fun with Photoshop the last few days...


More of my computer art can be found here

posted by dru in blog
February 14, 2000
# Misnomer.

No one else is talking about micropayments.

I just tried to read a news story at Red Herring, but it took three minutes to load and then crashed my browser. Is making a site look pretty or 'professional' really worth making it that slow?

Did anyone else notice that according to Microsoft, Windows 2000 has over 63,000 bugs?

Some interesting debate about what 63,000 bugs actually means.

posted by dru in blog
February 13, 2000
# Misnomer.

Thanks to google, here's a good list of micropayment-related stuff, including companies, banks, and articles.

WC3: Micropayments Overview: "With the rising importance of intangible (e.g. information) goods in global economies and their instantaneous delivery at negligible cost, 'conventional' payment methods tend to be more expensive than the actual product. On the other hand, billing for small portions of a product or service reduces the need of security"

Recent issue of Spark looks interesting.

posted by dru in blog
February 12, 2000
# Misnomer.

The Dead Media Project aims at documenting every medium that didn't make it. "Early 20th century electric searchlight spectacles. Morton Heilig's early virtual reality. Telefon Hirmondo. The various species of magic lantern. The pneumatic transfer tubes that once riddled the underground of Chicago. Was the Antikythera Device a medium? How about the Big Character Poster Democracy Wall in Peking in the early 80s?"

posted by dru in blog
February 11, 2000
# Misnomer.

The Argosy is online.

This week, I wrote about the tragedy of the commons.

Last night, I saw Romance. Easily the most shocking, and at times repulsive movie I've ever seen, but at the same time, it was quite intelligent. If you're interested in sexual politics, I'd recommend it. It's a movie I'm glad to have seen, but didn't especially adore watching.

posted by dru in blog
February 10, 2000
# Misnomer.

mmmmmmm... BeOS on a wireless webpad. Yum. I'd still settle for BeOS 5 for free, though. Is there any possible way Be will go back to their beautiful old logo? I'm still bitter.

posted by dru in blog
February 09, 2000
# Misnomer.

Wired: CBS is stoopid. OK, that's not the real headline, but that's my humble opinion.

A year ago, there was a very interesting article on the history of vibrators in Wired: Love Machines: The secret history of a mass-market appliance. "The musculo-skeletal relaxation devices were medical vibrators used by Victorian doctors to masturbate their patients to health."

posted by dru in blog
February 08, 2000
# Misnomer.

I have a friend who is making his own language, which sounds like a lot of fun. Anyway, this led me to find the constructed languages list. Apparently, there are hundreds of people who make up their own languages. Yet another list I'd love to spend time exploring.

God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.

- Voltaire

If anyone was curious as to what I look like, wonder no longer. I don't always look so stoic, though. But when was the last time you had a perfect picture of yourself?

My friend Ola posted the 100th message on the discussion group, saying that he liked the photo. I wonder if this means something. (now back to your non-self indulgent programming)

posted by dru in blog
February 07, 2000
# Misnomer.

The Tragedy of the Common Re-stated "The essence of dramatic tragedy is not unhappiness. It resides in the solemnity of the remorseless working of things."

Howard Rheingold: The Tragedy of the Electronic Commons "When two attorneys enraged millions of Internet users"

Free Speech as a Tragedy of the Commons

This list makes me wish I had a lot more time on my hands...

Context: I'm planning on writing an article about discussion groups using the tragedy of the commons as an analogy.

I've got these mysterious lines from a Slackers song stuck in my head:

Now a bee in a birds nest never made no honey

and a bird in a hive sang no song

god made man, man makes money

so who am I, who am I to judge?

There is an interesting debate about web page annotation software going on over at Hack the Planet.

The Word art director shows how hip he is: "I am a pretty regular person, not a pretentious art intellectual. I'm not one of those posturing, wanna-be hip people who hide behind their knee-jerk distaste for mainstream products, nor am I one of those other types of paranoid anti-snob snobs who are so adamant about not wanting to be hip."

This is apparently what inspired a whole issue of Suck

posted by dru in blog
February 06, 2000
# Misnomer.

In reference to my comments on Slashdot's integrity, Jeremy Bowers asks: "Yeah... but wouldn't the parts be less then the total of the sum?" Too true, but that provides all the more impetus for them to not even think about skewing their view.

Wes has an interesting response to the same comment on Monkeyfist. He gives this as a hint.

Jorn has a scoop today: Sinead O'Connor turned in Shane MacGowan for heroin posession. This is pretty sad, the Pogues have always been one of my all-time favourite bands. It seem like Shane has been hitting rock bottom for about 15 years now - IMHO, it's amazing that he lasted this long. I wonder if he'll write songs in jail?

posted by dru in blog
February 04, 2000
# Misnomer.

Over at Monkeyfist, Kendall Clark asks whether Slashdot has any editorial integrity to compromise, since they are "total amateur hour". However, one rhetorical question begs another: isn't amateur journalism still journalism? Since I, and many others rely on /. for information, I'd say it's pretty darned important that they keep some semblance of integrity. That said, I don't think it would be in anyone's interest to compromise /., because the audience's bullshit detectors are so sensitive - it wouldn't be long before a bunch of replacement sites showed up.

Last night was Argosy night. This week, I wrote about three principles for understanding the web.

posted by dru in blog
February 03, 2000
# Misnomer.

I demoed Manila for some of the execs of Mount A's Student Admin Council.. they were very impressed. They are implementing an environmental policy, and want to use much less paper for memos, etc., and also want to communicate with the student body more effectively. Looks like Manila fits the bill!

posted by dru in blog
February 02, 2000
# Misnomer.

If you're having a bad day, this is bound to have some effect. [via /usr/bin/girl]

Warning: do not try to censor the internet while under the influence of cluelessness.

In Canada, SOCAN acts as a sort of micropayments system to reimburse authors and musicians whose intellectual property is used. Their web site doesn't explain very much about the process, though. It looks like a micropayment system from the student's end, because we buy a course reader, and $2 or something is automatically distributed to the author.

New Hampshire primary election results are out. I'd go on about the system being non-conducive to reflecting the interests of the general population, but I won't waste my breath. Did I mention that Americans place way too much stock in 'character'?

posted by dru in blog
February 01, 2000
# Misnomer.

What's with all the hype about PC's being replaced? It seems more like an analysts' pissing contest than anything... PC's will keep doing what they do, and if something else is more effective, then thats just great. Let's see the goods!

Slashdot has an irrestibable story about replacing SAT tests with legos. What could possibly make more sense?

Well described, fascinating. (thanks to Sylvia for the link)

One post, two replies.. hmm, I think misnomer just got its first dg thread.

Cam has a long, somewhat interesting rant about New Media Magazine's new site, and the presidential race up today.

posted by dru in blog