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Tuesday, October 21, 2003
Help needed in Montreal

I'm posting this because I know I have readers who live in Montreal. Fellow blogger Mark Carey needs help in retrieving misplaced passports. I know I'd be really grateful to get help if I were in such a situation...

Are you from Montreal? I need your help!. I really need the help of someone who lives in Montreal. In preparation for my upcoming honeymoon in Egypt, I mailed our passports and travel visa applications to the General Consulate of Egypt in Montreal - or so I thought. It turns out that the address on the Egyptian Embassy website is wrong - and has been for some time. Canada Post was no help - all they could tell was that they delivered the package to the wrong address. They didn't even get a signature as I requested. The Consulate in Montreal has had this problem before, but they don't have a phone number for the person or business at the wrong address (they think it might actually be a residence). The package was delivered October 1, and it has not been returned.

I need someone in Montreal to help me find out what person or business is at 3754 Côte-des-Neiges. A telephone number for that address would be very helpful. Also, if anyone happens to live or work near this address, it would be extremely nice if you could knock on the door and ask about the package that was delivered on October 1st - addressed to "The General Consulate of Egypt" from "Mark Carey". Please email me at if you can help. Thank you so much in advance.

Si tu ne parle pas anglais, je peut lire et communiquer en francais, mais pas tres bien. Merci si tu peut m'aider....
[Channel 'montreal_quebec_canada']

Yup, outdated info on the Web sucks. Especially when you're shipping passports.

Update: this just in from Kate:

I went today and spoke to the guy who lives at that address on Cote-des-Neiges
where the Egyptian consulate was. He knows about the address issue because he
gets mail there all the time, but he always writes the consulate's real address
on things and throws them back into the mailbox. He hasn't got Mark Carey's
package. He's pretty tired of hearing about the consulate - although he was
perfectly civil with me - so please don't send someone there to ask him again.

What do you think? []  links to this post    10:57:14 AM  

McGee's Musings: "The power of RSS is that the news comes to me filtered by all of those bright minds, who are themselves feeding off of other bright minds."
What do you think? []  links to this post    10:43:24 AM  
Google Glossary

Puzzlepieces: Google Glossary, perhaps my favourite Google Lab tool, is now available on Google proper. Search for define [someword] to see a definition, or define:[someword] to see all definitions.

Hmm, let's try it. define:critic. Neat. define:weblog. Oh well. It'll come.

What do you think? []  links to this post    10:10:24 AM  
Cooperation and evolution

David Weinberger has been blogging PopTech. Here's a great quote from his record of Robert Wright's talk: "History advances because technology enables people to play [non-zero sum] games over greater distances."

Howard Rheingold put it this way: "When cooperation breaks out, civilizations advance."

Another quote from Wright's talk:  "In a [zero-sum] game it never makes sense to communicate honestly." I'll try to keep this in mind.

Now, the sad thing is, many people play non-zero-sum games as if they were zero-sum games, in the process making them far less enjoyable if you ask me.

(Related: Circle of Empathy.)

What do you think? []  links to this post    9:58:50 AM  
Communication is content

Richard MacManus is not resigned to describing C-list blogging (i.e., one-to-few, by far the most prevalent mode in the blogosphere) as mere "communication":

I think there is a comparison between some C-List bloggers and student radio stations, or pirate radio stations. We have a limited audience, perhaps even no audience. But we're broadcasting because we believe that our ideas have some inherent value.

Which is more reminiscent of the attitude of 19th-century pamphleteers than of that of a bunch of teens in the food court.

There is indeed a qualitative difference between blogging and conversing among friends as we are used to doing it: the conversation is persistent and strangers may peek in, sometimes in the middle of the conversation, sometimes months later, following some obscure link or a lucky Google query. Linkable conversations enable new interested parties to connect the way ordinary conversation simply doesn't.

So how should we frame the activity? By considering the audience, or the author? If we take the intent of the author as the starting point, "broadcast" may be the appropriate term - even given a nano-audience.

What do you think? []  links to this post    9:36:00 AM  
Mob outsmarts expert

Many2Many: The Critics Are The First To Go. Brilliant. A manifestation of what many of us have been believing for a long time.

[...] the most important restaurant reviewer in the country was called to revisit an opinion because his earlier work was so at odds with the judgment of an anonymous and distributed group; he had to admit that yes, on sober reflection “The Grocery deserves a nearly perfect score”; and having made that admission, it is obvious to anyone who cares about food that the NY Times is now an also-ran compared to Zagat’s in terms of tracking quality over time.

JD Lasica sums it up thusly: "the professional elite no longer has a monopoly on cultural criticism."

As the tools of collective intelligence improve and spread out, individual critics on matters of popular appeal - food, movies, music, websites, games, etc., will find it increasingly hard to hold a candle to the aggregated opinion of mobs. (Another post on M2M illustrates how collective intelligence impacts the ability to solve puzzles.)

It seems likely that the monopoly of expertise will progressively be relegated to those topics that few people care about. As soon as something gets big enough, opinion aggregators will be more reliable than J. Random Expert. (With the exception of cases where you have enough prior personal experience with the expert to know you agree with him most of the time.)

What do you think? []  links to this post    9:03:13 AM  
Fame vs. fortune, again

Greg Gershman on full-content RSS feeds brings up an interesting point: having a full syndication feed might decrease your HTML page views while increasing your readership. For an ad-less blog this is great; however if you get paid by the page you might lose out - unless you throw ads into your feed. But then you'll lose subscribers. Sorry, my attention is too precious!

What do you think? []  links to this post    8:28:49 AM  

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