Eclecticity: Dan Shafer's Web Log : Where author, poet, sports fanatic, spiritual teacher, and dabbler in things Pythonesque and Revolution(ary) Dan Shafer holds forth on various topics of interest primarily to him
Updated: 11/13/02; 1:52:41 PM.


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Thursday, October 31, 2002

11:02:12 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

See, It Wasn't Just Me!. As I wrote recently in Anti-Spammers Going Way Too Far, the arbitrary and even mean-spirited people who run the so-called email "blacklists" need to be brought under control. Amy Wohl writes about this problem on her blog today. I hear more and more scare stories like this.

Thanks to Dave Winer for the pointer to Amy's piece.
8:03:06 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

I Should Have Been Clearer

Dan Shafer: "A single outline blog of an entire baseball game gets unwieldy." Not true. This is where outliners shine. A large outline is no more difficult to work with than a small one. [Scripting News]

What I meant, Dave, was that trying to read the entire game's set of notes in one outline could get unwieldy for the reader. Opening all the nodes (presuming one for each half-inning, for example) can confuse people who don't grok outlines and how to use them.
7:54:00 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Real-Time Blogging Issues. Daniel Berlinger, author of the Web editing tool called Archipelago, was one of the folks who joined in the recent experiment in real-time blogging of the World Series that Dave Winer and Jake and a couple of others of us launched. He said me in an email this morning:

Tools seem to affect the result of rt blogging far more than in other cases. I'm curious to know if you have features that you feel would make rt blogging easier, or is it just a slightly faster version of regular blogging?

I have a sort of intuitive feeling that a real-time outliner is probably a better environment for rt blogging than the usual write-edit-post-wait cycle. I'd like the idea, I think, of having an outline open that would just grow during the course of the event. that also lets me define some comments to be less interesting or relevant than others by nesting them deeper and hiding them by default, for example.

OTOH, a single outline blog of an entire baseball game gets unwieldy.

It occurred to me as I thought about this that what I'd really like is a rt blogging tool that captured my notes and published them in real time (even fairly automatically, like readers looking over my shoulder). It should then easily allow me, at the conclusion of the game or event, to archive the whole thing and then create a sort of highlights/summary post in correct chronological order to post on my main blog. Or something like that.
3:08:36 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Blogging: 30 Days Later. I just realized I've been blogging daily (with two exceptions) for a full month now. New patterns and habits have emerged. I've made a bunch of new friends. I've had tons of new ideas and insights. And I haven't updated my "main" Web page one time during this period. I didn't believe anything would replace my desire to maintain my personal site, but blogging has. The instant gratification, the speed (even when things run slow) of updating, has made me much more inclined to add multiple posts and stories to the blog every day. This has the feel in many ways of the glory days of my youth as a daily newspaper reporter/editor/columnist, only faster.

When Radio first came out, I called it the "Web's typewriter." It's that, but it's so much more. Blogging has done more to change me in a short period of time than anything since my first encounter with the Web.

Thanks, Dave and UserLand guys! There's nothing but fun and speed bumps ahead!
1:33:06 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Whither the (SF) Giants? Now that the disappointment of the World Series loss is behind me, I can take a quick look at what I think is in store for the Giants in 2003. Yeah, I know. Get over it. Baseball's done for this year. But for me, baseball is a year-round sport. Or at least sports topic. Will Dusty be back? Will it matter? Will Kent return? Does that matter? What hole(s) do the Giants need to shore up?

It's all in the longer story I wrote for today.
1:20:29 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Don't get TOO excited
Fortune : Jaguar 'most impressive new software' this year [MacCentral]

The reason Forbes thinks Jaguar is impressive is because it allows Macs to become equal citizens on largely Windows networks. So it's nice to have Forbes' endorsement, but it's clear they still bleed IBM blue and Microsoft, puce.
12:47:22 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Just What We Need, More IM "Standards"

Terra Lycos, IBM team on messaging. The Internet giant plans to introduce a new instant messaging service built on IBM Lotus Sametime technology by the end of the year. [CNET]

Sheesh. Sametime is YAIMP - yet another instant messaging protocol. Just what we freaking don't need. Of course, if AOL would do the Right Thing and open their API to broader use, maybe all of this nonsense would become unnecessary.
12:40:49 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Light-hearted, informative article on user input in Python. Thanks to Mark Pilgrim for a pointer to this delightful piece on Python scripting by Paul Evans.
12:34:15 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

IM and Browser Smackdown [MacSlash: A daily dose of Macintosh News and Discussion]. The real meat here is in the discussions that follow the main post.

For the record, I'm using Chimera despite its blemishes, though I may do a browser-only Mozilla install some time and see how that works. And I use Fire for all my IM on OS X. I love it. I have to IM all day with people using ICQ, AIM, Yahoo, MSN and Jabber.

What are you using? Why?
12:26:58 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Dave Winer on The West Wing:
One word for last night's West Wing: Marvelous! [Scripting News]
I think you understate it, Dave. Week in and week out, this show makes me ache with its wonderful writing, acting, and messages. Any time I think I've become a real "writer" I just have to tune in to Sorkin's incredible dialog on this show to know how very far I have to go yet. And if we only had a real President with half the brains and guts of Jed Bartlett, what kind of country would we be? Much better, for sure.

The West Wing is the only must-see show on my list (though "24" is edging toward that status and "Boston Public" approaches it periodically as well).
12:17:04 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Kahlil Gibran. "In battling evil, excess is good; for he who is moderate in announcing the truth is presenting half-truth. He conceals the other half out of fear of the people's wrath." [Motivational Quotes of the Day]
12:10:57 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

How About Reverse Filtering?It occurred to me this morning as I was thinking about spam that perhaps a white-list approach to filtering might work a lot better than what I've been doing in Eudora. I know white lists -- lists of email addresses your client should pass through to you -- isn't new. But for some reason I haven't tried this in Eudora before. What if, instead of trying to filter all the spam out, I try filtering all the non-spam in? I'm going to see if I can define a rule or small set of rules that will route wanted incoming mail to a folder other than In. That would, if nothing else, greatly accelerate my manual spam-deletion process because a much higher percentage of what gets to the In box will be unwanted. Why didn't I think of this before?
10:58:25 AM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

The Realities of Spam. I've been keeping sort of loose track lately to see how serious the problem of spam, in all its forms, has become in my life. It turns out, interestingly enough, that a higher percentage of my snail mail than my electronic mal contains junk. The difference is that I get hundreds of emails every day and only a dozen or so snail mail pieces. So the eSpam problem seems bigger. In absolute numbers, it is.

Disposing of spam is about as easy in both forms. I can tell by looking at the envelope or the subject line whether the information contained inside is of interest or not. This morning, I received about 45 spam emails. It took me less than three minutes to dispose of them. It would have taken less time, but some spammers are getting clever about how they create subject lines so sometimes I have to look at the sender's identity to be sure I'm not killing something sent by someone I might want to hear from.

My ISP is using SpamAssassin on the servers. It doesn't seem to work well over time. I suspect the spammers just figure out ways to rout around the blocker, which then gets smarter, which then gets worked around. Spam cycles. I'm even starting to get spam SMS text messages on my cell phone. Not many yet: three to six each week. But it's increasing.

I may switch one of my email accounts over to Apple's, which many people (including Brent Simmons as I reported here yesterday) have found does a wonderful job of intelligent spam filtration. But I also hear that the program is dog slow, gets worse as volume goes up, and lacks some of the features I'm used to in Eudora. So I'll dip my toe in the water, but I won't go swimming yet.

Bottom line: spam is here to stay. We haven't dealt with it in snail mail and we're not going to get rid of it in email. We need to learn to be smarter about how we filter and dispose of it. If we just acknowledge its reality and stop complaining so loudly about it, maybe we'll find ourselves with more time to correspond with people we care about.
10:48:20 AM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

© Copyright 2002 Dan Shafer.

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