Found via TidBITS, this is an absolutely brilliant idea. I want and need this yesterday. To stay on top of my life, I feel I spend a lot of time launching an app, checking its contents and then moving on to the next app. This is the perfect solution. It just needs a to-do list (either sync’d to To-Dos in Mail/iCal or, better still, something that OmniFocus can insert it’s to-dos into).
I woke up this morning to news of a worm targeting WordPress blogs that had not updated to the latest version. So, I dashed off to backup my database and my posts to xml and then to update the blog. Looks like I wasn’t hit and all is well. And, for added measure, I threw a new theme up. As a web designer, I really should create my own theme but you know what they say about the cobbler’s own children…
In November 1994, I sat in Central Park and was amused by some things I saw. When I got back to my computer, I created a new section on my website called The Journal and wrote about it. In hindsight, this was my first ever blog entry. Of course, it wasn’t a true blog in the sense that it had no RSS feed and wasn’t managed in any kind of content management system. But it was a posting about something I wanted to share and I began adding to that list. Over the next 15 years, I’ve (mostly) consistently continued this tradition right up to today (this site you are reading). Whether I was the first ever blogger is an entirely academic and, to me, uninteresting question. I was among the first and that’s enough for me.
What is interesting is what happened in 1997 when Dave Winer started NewsPages. I was an early adopter of Userland’s Frontier tool and an avid user of it (in 1996 I built an entire Help Desk CRM tool using it for Dartmouth College that was still in use years after I left to attend grad school). Winer’s tool made it easy to both post blog entries as well as provided the RSS feed capability to allow you to subscribe to them. The second I saw it, I grabbed it, installed, it and began using it.
Of particular interest, and the reason I bring this up at all today, is Winer reporting today on his blog about an academic paper by Rudolf Ammann, presented at Hypertext 2009 in Torino, Italy (oh to be in Italy again!). The Paper is titled, Jorn Barger, the NewsPage Network, and the Emergence of the Weblog Community and goes into great detail on how NewsPages helped start a worldwide movement. I’m mentioned under my pre-marriage name of Andy J. Williams but it’s me all the same.
So, that was something fun to wake up to this morning. I’ll try to contact the author to have him correct my name.
I am trying out posterous (my site: http://AndyAffleck.posterous.com/) and it’s post-everywhere feature. If this works, it should go to twitter, facebook, livejournal, flickr, and my blog. On the plus side, it makes it much simpler for me to post stuff to all of the usual sites all at once. I have friends who only follow me on twitter or facebook but not my blog or flickr, or other combinations . With a tool like this, I can reach everyone at once. I think this will double or triple post in facebook thanks to friendfeed being in the mix there so I may reduce by one or two the other secondary services I use. On the down side, my images are stored on posterous’ site which makes my ultimate blog portability less. If I change things around, I’ll have the text in my WordPress database but not the images which will make my blog break if I ever discontinue posterous down the road. So, there’s that to worry about. But, still, for now it’s a cool thing to try out. If you do follow me, where do you follow me? I’m curious where you come from. I should pick one service to be mission control, the “if you want to stalk Andy, do it here” type site but each has its own special usage. Twitter is great for small chatter which I would never bother blogging about and blogs are good for longer, more thought out pieces. LJ is really only useful insofar as I can post private stuff there only friends can read. Otherwise, it is redundant and pointless. Flickr is for photos only and facebook is… well, facebook is its own thing.
Anyway, let me know where you follow me. I will influence what services I use moving forward. Happy Holidays!
It seems to be that time of year again where my inbox is getting filled with well meaning emails from people warning me about viruses, why God exists, that are the funniest things ever, that will bring me good luck if I inflict them on other people in my address book, and that will protect PBS from the latest round of evil funding cutting. My standard response is generally something along the lines of:
Hi! Please remove me from your distribution list. Forwarded email is an ineffective way of informing people about anything because they are almost universally incorrect or, worse, hoaxes. I get my news, laughs, and heartwarming stories from other sources and like to keep my email to a minimum so as not to overwhelm me. Thanks, I appreciate it!
If it’s especially pernicious, I’ll include a link to snopes.com or BreakTheChain.org. And I always try to link to a debunking of the particular email hoping that the person will forward the debunking around to their distribution letting them know that the email they just sent was wrong and not to forward it (they never do).
I’ve noticed a disturbing new trend lately though. The email forwards are saying things like, “This was checked with snopes.com and is real,” and even provide a link. Ironically, the links invariably start with, “This is a real threat,” and then go on to talk about how it was a real threat from 5 years ago and now is just leftovers floating around. No one ever reads below the fold to where it is debunked. So, the forward goes on and people think they are helping others when, in fact, they are just making more of a mess of things.
I used to be a lot more direct about this. I was pointed about them being hoaxes and pointless, I often replied to all so that everyone who got the latest round of forwards knew it was a hoax and not to forward it on, and I made it perfectly clear that email forwards were near the top rung on the “road to hell is paved with good intentions” ladder. But for professional and political reasons, I tread much more softly these days.
But the rule should simply be: don’t forward emails. I found this recent posting on a website to be particularly good: The five rules of forwarding emails. I would add a sixth: don’t forward emails. Especially in light of #5 which I hadn’t even considered: by forwarding emails, you expose my email address to the open Internet which exposes me to spam from people who harvest email addresses. I realized that one address that I created to be my private address for friends only has gotten out and will likely start collecting spam in greater quantities. Wonderful. Thanks.
Please, don’t forward emails. It’s really that simple.
My latest article for TidBITS has gone live on their site: “WireTap Anywhere Records from Multiple Sources” — I wrote the initial draft of this article at 11:30PM in my hotel room in Las Vegas after the end of the New Media Expo. The guys at the Ambrosia booth were very accommodating as I kept coming back with more questions every day of the show. It’s an impressive product and I’m very happy to have reviewed it. You’ll note that my only complaints are more about GarageBand being a resource hog (OK, that’s not entirely fair… when I compare it to Audio Hijack Pro I am talking recording 4 channels versus 2 so it’s not so much that GarageBand is a resource hog so much as it is trying to do more than Audio Hijack Pro is in the same situation — as I describe in the article).
It is an expensive tool but for the people who need it, an excellent one.
So, 13 months later and I move my entire blog yet again. Let’s see… a year ago I moved my site from MovableType into RapidWeaver but came to regret that decision. RapidWeaver is incredibly slow on my older, 1.25GHz PowerBook G4 and a huge resource hog. So, it had to go. Now I’m in WordPress because it’s what all the cool kids are using. Or something.
One of these days I’ll import all of the pre-2002 entries.
I’m using a WordPress theme for now. One day soon I will do my own design. Or at least swap out the image above with my own pictures.
My friend Mike was complaining that he has to put too many feeds into his feed reader to keep up with me. There’s this blog, my tumblr mini-blog, my twitter feed, my flickr feed, and so on and so forth. Well, today FriendFeed launched and it solves that problem. I now have put virtually all of my feeds into this one place and now anyone who actually cares can follow along with me as I post pictures, post entries, add things to my Amazon wish list, and more. (Though I did not include twitter as it is both largely redundant and I thought would make the feed a constantly changing thing and thus annoying).
I started at tumblog… not sure what I will do with it but since I am using a content management system which requires me to be at my laptop to post to this blog, I wanted something I could easily post to from my iPhone. It’s more for short entries, quick quips, photos, etc.