Gary Robinson's Rants
Rants on spam, business, digital music, patents, and other assorted random stuff.


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 Monday, May 20, 2002

One aspect of the blog world I have been thinking about is that there are so many bloggers that for any set of interests you may have, there is probably someone who effectively covers a very significant number of them in one blog.

It's often commented that blogs are great tools for filtering information, but I haven't seen this other aspect specifically discussed anywhere. They not only filter information, but if you find the blogs that match your interests, they bring information from a number of subject areas into one place. They not only filter, they funnel. These two attributes of blogs go hand in hand when there is a large enough population of bloggers to choose from.

For me, Michael Swaine's blog is the perfect manifestation of that. He covers issues of science, the computer business, programming tools, free speech, and others, which align with my interests to a very high degree. In particular, I'm a longtime Mac user, and he, too, has a particular interest in the Mac part of the computer business. So it's a perfect match.

The result is that I read his blog every day (if I miss it one day I catch up when I can), and usually print out several of the links for later reading. Between Michael's blog and a handful of others, I am finding that I am now getting most of the technical, business, and science information I read daily filtered and funneled through the medium of blogs.

But... how do I know about Michael's blog? I'm a reader of Dr. Dobb's Journal, where Swaine has had a monthly column for many years. So I checked out his blog as soon as I knew he had one. But if I hadn't already known how much his interests coincide with mine, I probably wouldn't have discovered it yet.

My company has tools baking in the oven that provide a better solution to this problem than serendipity. We've got a lot on our plate so I can't predict when they will come out, but stay tuned...
5:18:09 PM    

I can't resist commenting on "The Attack of the Clones". It has been panned by publications I normally agree with. But my wife and I both loved it.

So you know something about my moviegoing tastes, my favorite director is Stanley Kubrick; Ingmar Bergman ranks very high as well; my interest is normally in movies with interesting psychological or philosophical themes, and that also have beautiful visual elements.

The dialogue in Star Wars Episode 2 is not exactly the epitome of rich character development (to say the least). But Lucas has commented that he means for the dialogue just to be part of the soundtrack; he says he's trying to tell the story visually.

In that, he succeeds so magnificently, at least in this episode, that my wife and I both completely went along with the flow of what he's trying to do. There were people clapping at the end of the movie where I saw it, and I clapped too.

There is a big caveat to my review, however. I think your appreciation of this movie is totally tied to how susceptible you are to being swept away by visual beauty. The New York Times review said:

Now is perhaps the time to say that the special effects -- the scaly critters and planetary landscapes, the swordplay and the spaceship chases -- demonstrate impressive polish and visual integrity. But now is also the time to say: so what?

It's impossible to argue with that. If that's how you feel, that's how you feel. If you want to judge it by the standard checklist (clever dialogue, rich psychological nuance, etc.), it fails. But now it's my turn to say "so what?" He's doing something else, with full intention, and he totally succeeds. I suggest you go to the movie, and try to open yourself to what Lucas has achieved, because it is of a high order.
4:51:06 PM    

A first today... I ripped a CD onto my hard drive and threw away the physical disk. I couldn't find the case for it, and a caseless CD just seemed to be more trouble than it was worth. It's the first time I've ended up with purchased music only in the form of bits on my hard drive.

On the other hand, the record company's position is probably that I own the CD, not the music itself, so I shouldn't have done what I did.

Tough. It's a new world, you folks who work at the labels; you'd better get used to it and help make it even better for people like me, or we'll replace you.
4:38:10 PM    

I've made a change to the EM's mathematical engine that makes it more sensitive... the result is that more songs are showing the high level of community approval that they have earned.

I think this will generally make the site more responsive.
1:30:44 PM    

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