Joho the BlogJanuary 2005 - Page 2 of 12 - Joho the Blog

January 29, 2005

Favorite phone call so far this morning

[Ring ring]

Me: Hello.

Her: Hello!

Me: Hello!

Her: How are you this morning?

Me: I’m fine. Who is this, please?

Her: It’s your mother-in-law.

Me: (Sputtering) Oh. Sorry! I didn’t recognize your voice. How are you?

Her: (Laughing) That’s ok…

Me: Wait, you’re calling on my business line.

Her: Is this John?

Me: Nope. (laughing) Now you feel the fool!

Her: (laughing) I’m sorry!

Me: No problem. And give John my best.


Category guilt and more

In response to AKMA’s confession, Dave writes about feeling guilty about not using categories: When he failed to use them a few times, he felt so guilty about it that he stopped using them entirely.

Best of all, now those of us who do use tags can engage in Taggenfreude. (Sign of a meme catching on: Bad bad puns. Why? Because they’re as easy as falling off a blog.)

Jay at iCite has some trenchant comments on the article on tagging in the new issue of my newsletter. (I’ve replied in a comment.)

Dan Bricklin reflects on this and decides that software needs to take guiltlessness as a desideratum.

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January 28, 2005

New issue of my newsletter

I just published a new issue of my (free) newsletter:

28, 2005

vs. Leaves
: Tagging may be shaking the leaves off of taxonomic
trees, affecting not only how we organize ideas and information but how
we think about organization itself.
: A new effort tries to break through the national
boundaries implicit in the blogosphere.
Some funnish stuff.
: Wikipedia topics.

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Pi: Order of magnitude quiz

Hiroyuki Goto holds the record for reciting the value of pi. How many digits did he memorize? To win, you have to come within an order of magnitude. Prize: The satisfaction of know you guessed good.

Drag-select between the X’s to see the answer.

X ————In 1995, he recited over 42,000 digits. It took him 9 hours. ———— X


January 27, 2005

Burningbird on why tagging can’t violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics

Burningbird pulls together a whole bunch of excellent posts about tags, and marshalls them into a discussion dead center on the main point:

I believe that ultimately interest in folksonomies will go the way of most memes, in that they’re fun to play with, but eventually we want something that won’t splinter, crack, and stumble the very first day it’s released.

…no matter how many tricks you play with something like tags, you can only pull out as much ‘meaning’ as you put into them.

…the semantic web is going to be built ‘by the people’, but it won’t be built on chaos. In other words, 100 monkeys typing long enough will NOT write Shakespeare; nor will a 100 million people randomly forming associations create the semantic web.

(This snippet doesn’t do justice to the piece. It’s a must-read.)

Shelley understands this stuff better than I do, but I’m not convinced she’s right. My initial concern about the hype is whether we’re going to get more apps that get us tagging. If we don’t, then tags won’t have much effect. If we do, then I simply don’t know whether we’re going to be able to solve the problems inherent in scaling tags: Tags work because they’re so simple and because they are so connected to the human semantic context, but having billions of tags won’t work because they’re so simple and connected to the human semantic context. Will we be able to triangulate tags with other data – especially social data – so that we can get more out of them than we put in? It doesn’t seem impossible to me – simply knowing who created a tag lets you get more out of the tag than the person put in – but it’s not up to me to invent the stuff.

So, I think you can get more out of a tag than someone put in. But I don’t know how and I don’t know if we will.


Exley on how to fix the Democratic Party

Zack Exley, ex of MoveOn and ex Internet guy for the ex Kerry campaign, kicks off his new blog with a Rosen-length piece — and it’s just part 1 of 4 — on what the Democratic Party ought to do to get itself back together.

Zack is not as much of a soft-headed, touchy-feely Web guy as I am. And that’s a good thing. We need people like Zack if we’re going to win elections, although, IMO, we have to do the touchy-feely stuff if we’re going to transform democracy. But let’s make damn sure we win some freaking elections already.

Zack’s ten-point proposal for “building a permanent field program with the New Grassroots” suggests a way to quickly build up a field organization that does the hard work of traditional politics. He says it combines the benefits of democracy and hierarchy. Conclusion:

Using the online assets that Democrats built in 2004, we should be able to jump light years ahead of the Republican field organization. If we do, it will not be thanks to Internet Magic, but rather thanks to mixing new online tools and resources with good old-fashioned grassroots organizing, focusing on results.

I don’t know enough about how politics actually works to be able to evaluate his plan, but I have a lot of respect for Zack. And, yes, his proposal is all about reinventing how the Democrats can do the work of traditional politics — building a clean database of vote information, organizing phone banks, raising money, etc. — and not about building communities and enabling lateral conversation. But, this is not an either/or. And if what Zack proposes can help us change our government’s current direction, I’m all in favor of it.

Besides, he has another 3 parts coming.


January 26, 2005

Congressman Barney Frank blogs from Davos

My Congressperson, Barney Frank, is blogging live from the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos. For example, here’s a post on the conference blog in which you can feel him trying to process the gap in values and even cognition between him and those he thought he agreed with. Barney’s not exactly a hep cat when it comes to technology (and he’s not exactly great on tech issues), so it’s especially good to see him bloggin’ away. [Technorati tag: ]

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Bogus Contest: Truth in Britannicas

From the TimesOnLine, by Alexandra Blair:

A SCHOOLBOY with a fascination for Poland and wildlife has uncovered several significant errors in the latest — the fifteenth — edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Lucian George, 12, a pupil at Highgate Junior School in North London, was delving into the volumes on Poland and wildlife in Central Europe when he noted the mistakes.

The first was the assertion by the internationally acclaimed reference book that the small town of Chochim, in which two battles were fought between the Poles and the Ottoman Empire, now lies in Moldova.

“Wrong,” said Lucian, who attends the former hall of learning of Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary. “Chochim is in Ukraine.”…

Bogus contest: Write your own tag line for the Britannica, preferably containing the word “Wikipedia.” For instance:

“Encyclopaedia Britannica…It’s like Wikipedia, but slower!”


Jay aggregates WebCred

Jay Rosen asked the attendees at the WebCred conference to send him an email describing something the conference change changed their mind about. He has stitched the replies into three posts: 1 2 3.

He also points to Dan Gillmor’s excellent Reagan-esque call for newspapers to tear down the walls around their archives. Jay calls it a “must read.” I agree. [Technorati tag: ]

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Gunner Palace

Gunner Palace looks like it might be good. It’s a non-political documentary about the life of our soldiers in Baghdad. (Yeah yeah, I know everything is political.) The trailer maybe has a couple too many ironic shots, and the rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack of the second trailer is too expected, but those seem like trailer artifacts. They’re sending me a “screener” – I feel so Hollywood! – so I’ll let you know…


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