<$BlogRSDUrl$>

Friday, June 27, 2003

this week the NYT discovered the existence of metrosexuals - men of differing sexual identities who adopt behaviour patterns traditionally ascribed to women. The chief evangelist is David Beckham.

A little digging (well typing the term into Google actually) reveals that the story is the result of a questionable study by a marketing group that ripped off the term from British journalist Mark Simpson. He coined the term in 1994 as a tongue in chek observation at how the mass media and its corporate partners were encouraging men to adopt more feminine and gay practices so they could sell them more clothes and cosmetics.

It has since become unquestionable that men are adopting more touchy-feely attitudes. Now if you'll excuse me I've got to go pluck my eyebrows.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

as someone who observes the movie scene with semi-professional interest I'm keenly aware that Hollywood seems to have perfected the art of the blockbuster: massive marketing efforts create a sense of a must see event that is hyped through every possible media channel. But how does that account for the unprecedented popularity of movies based on comic book heroes - or more acurrately flawed antiheroes like spiderman, X-Men and now the Hulk-?

One reason is technological - CGI has finally given filmakers the tools to insert photorealistic superhuman characters that can perform feats that were simly impossoble to portray without the use of powerful digital technology. BUt there is also a deeer cultural attachment as philosopher Crispin Stratwell notes in todays L.A. Times. His theory is both frightening and hopeful and one that fully jibes with my observations of my teenage son. these characters first gained popularity in the 1950's and 60's when there was a growing sense of distrust with powerful but unscrupulous conservative regimes.

"We seem to be in an era of uncritical acceptance of the power of institutions, in which a president can rally a people to war and those people are actually unconcerned about whether he's telling the truth about the reasons. It seems a pretty sunny and conservative and confident moment, despite a hangover of vulnerability from 9/11 and the recently stalled economy. Or perhaps this, like 1963, may be a transitional moment in which the possibility of subversion lurks just under the surface.

That's precisely the time when antiheroes are needed and comprehensible.
though a movie is not a social movement, a popular movie is a pretty good index of people's longings. That's why the return of the alienated superhero hints at interesting possibilities — huge, green, fearsome, incredible Hulk-like possibilities."

Thursday, June 12, 2003

interesting story here about massively multiplayer role playing games - the ones where you with thousands of others on line. the bigest mystery to me is not who plays , will the genre become a killer app, or any of that stuff. It's how so many people have so much time to indulge.

wash post story about the forged letter used by Bush on WMD before the war. Surprising how the story goes out of its way to avoid blaming the administration for a cock-up that should have caused the president to resign on the spot. Story quotes one CIS spook as saying "Information not consistent with the administration agenda was discarded and information that was [consistent] was not seriously scrutinized." Also shows that Cheney and his staff had serious doubt about the letter's authenticity. WHo knows what that guy is up to? I have a sneaking suspicion that he's engineered the whole WMD brouhaha to totally discredit the Dems by pulling them out of a hat when they booing reaches a crescendo.


SO Bill Gates is entering the anti-virus business which bad news for everyone else who currently rovides those valuable services. Also for Linux users because the company Gates bought will stop selling its popular linux protection. Will be interesting to see how ashcroft handles it - he got them off the last antitrust case and he'll likely do it again.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

so my conclusion so far...

if you just want to publish random thoughts to get them off your chest and hope that someone reads them starting a blog is dead easy. Basically you go to a blog hosting company like blogger or blogeasy follow the instructions and away you go. If you know how to read and click amouse buton you should be able to do it.

these sites have numerous drawbacks however - they use editing software that resides on a remote server and has none of the bells and whistles you might be used to if you normally write in Word. they don't offer a lot of space, have limited ability to index old material, post graphics or allow from interactive comments from readers if you have any.


Overall the concensus seems to be that the best tool for writing blogs is movaable type but this has a relatively complicated set up - especially for people who think perls are the things you find in shells rather than an open source programming language. The good news is that the folks there are prmosing a new user friendly version...I'm gonna call them to find out when it will be available.


the best info I found

Thursday, June 05, 2003

one day on and what is new?

well I tried radio userland, but since I didn;t find a way to post to the golballs blog from there I decided to come back to the blogger site and splash out on the blogger pro version. But wouldnt you know it - the funvtion is down. don't you hate when you want to spend money and you can't.

In the meantime I 've also spoken to the british poster boy of blogging Nick Denton, for whose extreme sociability the format m ay well have been invented. he doesn't think bloggers are gonna replace old time media very soon - but he does believe that a lot of the writing's better, you get more of a conterxt for stories and that they do have a certain influence on how the medi covers stories.

Anyway in the interests of journalistic claritty I am posting my notes of the chats with Denton and Gulker in unedited form. Hope you can make sense of them coz I cant.


democ of publishing –

started gulker as result of a joke – from will hearst – start gulker.com and cut me out of the loop

its an amzing networking thing – by publishing this blog and opinions I find other bloggers and communities of like minded or radically diff minded people –

are they journalism – not in the modern sense o fthe word but perhaps in the original snse of the word

there is plenty of competitiveness – if I publish something that’s not thought through well will get a torrent of abuse

cfd to postal service in 16th century – the thinkers could collaborate – its no coincidence that the renaissance and industrial revolution started out of that

there is something in the notion of known trusted media sources – half my time there half my time in weblogs

one of the reasons that weblogs are rising is that factory journalism is leaving people looking for other sources –

whenever there’s a big event weblogs happen – eg


emergence from webblog is voices and opinions and quality checking that goes on

doc searles dave winer

reporting is ubiquitous – it’s the individual spin

radio.userland

Lafayette – automatuically generated guide

Will pull together wewblog pots – here are the friends and logs im interested in and will be automatically generated – will look like a group blog
Suggested donations a project rather than a fully fledged enterprise

People are getting overly excited about blogs and their commercial potential

Are a good way tpo build an audience – gawker in 5 months went to be well noticed and has hit critical mass – if you think that media brands are worth something nows a good tiome to build them – but brands don’t converge into money –

Theres an upsacel audience who are hard to reach thru trad media –

Gawkers traffic shoots through the roof at 9.30

Less and more important than people say – no more interesting that drudge whose been around for six years – though the saoftware has evolved so that anyone can set upa reasponany content rich site – but web media is clearly having a major impact in coverage

They ill coexist – webloggers don’t have time for original reporting – but can take risks that mainstream don’t – they are more genuine and more interested in straightforward – more spontaneous and best writing…

democ of publishing –

started gulker as result of a joke – from will hearst – start gulker.com and cut me out of the loop

its an amzing networking thing – by publishing this blog and opinions I find other bloggers and communities of like minded or radically diff minded people –

are they journalism – not in the modern sense o fthe word but perhaps in the original snse of the word

there is plenty of competitiveness – if I publish something that’s not thought through well will get a torrent of abuse

cfd to postal service in 16th century – the thinkers could collaborate – its no coincidence that the renaissance and industrial revolution started out of that

there is something in the notion of known trusted media sources – half my time there half my time in weblogs

one of the reasons that weblogs are rising is that factory journalism is leaving people looking for other sources –

whenever there’s a big event weblogs happen – eg


emergence from webblog is voices and opinions and quality checking that goes on

doc searles dave winer

reporting is ubiquitous – it’s the individual spin

radio.userland

Lafayette – automatuically generated guide

Will pull together wewblog pots – here are the friends and logs im interested in and will be automatically generated – will look like a group blog
Suggested donations a project rather than a fully fledged enterprise

People are getting overly excited about blogs and their commercial potential

Are a good way tpo build an audience – gawker in 5 months went to be well noticed and has hit critical mass – if you think that media brands are worth something nows a good tiome to build them – but brands don’t converge into money –

Theres an upsacel audience who are hard to reach thru trad media –

Gawkers traffic shoots through the roof at 9.30

Less and more important than people say – no more interesting that drudge whose been around for six years – though the saoftware has evolved so that anyone can set upa reasponany content rich site – but web media is clearly having a major impact in coverage

They ill coexist – webloggers don’t have time for original reporting – but can take risks that mainstream don’t – they are more genuine and more interested in straightforward – more spontaneous and best writing…



Wednesday, June 04, 2003

today is when I get really brave

On the advice of the super knowledgeable chris gulker - who's been blogging since 95 - I am switching to radio userland - another content management tool that he says is better, has more features and allows graphics. let's see...

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

there's also another problem I'm struggling to adjust to

that is the inversion of the narrative timeline.

To explain: when I post this it will become the top of the blog page, which means it will be the first thing that the average reader sees. the story thus starts at the end, and every new posting creates a new end and makes it more difficult to see where everything started. I should really explain that better but now Ihave some other stuff to do, like fnding out how Ican post praphics and what's the easiest way to link to all my old articles in case anyone's interested
there's something of a debate apparently among journalists about the posting of notes - those who demand the highest standards of integrity say we should post our notes and all aniclliary material on blogs - this ignors the fact that even tech gurus like myself (ahem) often write down important pieces of information on tiny scraos of paper, spare pieces of skin etc etc. ALso it would be counterproductive. Good stories are the product of a journalist's notes plus their deep background knowledge and individual take on things. The basis of trust between journalists and their audience cannot be manufactured by posting notes on the internet - it develops over time as the reader sees that what the journalist reports is an accurate represntation of the real world - rather than a bunch of images and facts that are manipulated to create a picture that might be factually correct, but is representationally innacurate and often dishonest. Phew, glad I got that one off my chest



But seriously folks - here are some of the notes I made on my intiial blogging experiences, in case anyone's interested:



" May 29 – went to download com – typed in blog – the best popular was wloggar.2.03 after reading the reviews I hit the download button a few seconds later ithe brazilian program was installing on my machine



But I keep getting impenetrable error message when I try to use the publiasinh tool to post on blogger.com. So I go straight to the horse’s mouth – register a blog called goldballs on blogger, choose the Jellyfish template and within minutes I have my first two postings - one about cheerleaders being as fit as Olympic athletes and the other about the weird state of Utah putting out a call for volunteers toa firing squadahead of two planned executions. It’s pretty easy, though its lucky that I knew that a little picture of a chain is the button you hve to press in order to hyperlink text in the blog to another site.



Stll I have a problem. When I type in my supposed address (goldballs.blogger.com) I go to the site’s main page rather than the incisively witty postings of yours truly. Time to check the help site,,,my mistake of course. Confusingly the address is goldballs.blogspot.com. Not bad looking at all.



But what about pics…after all they’re worth a thousand words…soo wouln’t you know it that costs extra, and yup, that option was temporarily unavailble due to technical difficulties"







so a confession - I'm not the most altruistic blogger out there in the blogosphere. In fact I got into this in order to write about the blog scene for a real newspaper - that's right somewhere where they still pay money for intelligent comments written in a fairly interesting style (or something like that at least).

My conclusions so far - which of course you will read in depth when you buy a copy of the Indepndent - or look it up online for free - is that its pretty simple to set up a basic blog but the hard part is actually writing a good one - especially if no-one's paying you do do it.

There are a number of reasons why you might be good at this: you might be an egotistical maniac who thinks that people should be interested in reading your rants and raves - you might not have anything better to do with your time (get a life) or you might genuinely be a revolutionary incisive visionaryu whose ideas rreally will change the world.

Me? I'm none of the above. plus I have a family to take care off, a millin other things that ienjoy doing and a general feeling that in this digital age I spend too much time in front of the computer anyway so when it comes to fun I'd rather get my hands dirty digging in the garden, or having a beer - or preferably both at the same time.

Maybe I should get one of those panasonic toughbooks that I could use inbetween holes.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?