Josh Mack blogging at the intersection of technology and the liberal arts, and occasionally on; bicycles, politics, Brooklyn, parenting, crafts, and good reading. Currently helping to build a new NYC neighborhood news site - nearsay.com, that celebrates the voices that make our city. Subscribe to the daily newsletter it gives you what you need to know.
Someone on NPR was talking about the Benjamin Button movie, and said that it was the first movie to get over the zombie effect in the portrayal of Brad Pitt through the ages. "People would rather look at robots than zombies" he said, I thought of this as I took some money out of my possibly zombie bank, and walked around a zombie like feeling Soho last week. This is turning out to be the Year of the zombie. Highway signs warn of zombie crossings, the Sunday NYT's article about needing to build a new Internet mentioned millions of zombie computers, you can come home and read about Jane Austen as a zombie hunter, the media industry is looking like a zombie as is almost everything else. Zombie's are usually controlled by a sorcerer, they have no speech or free will. Has Obama vanquished Cheney, the evil sorcerer, and has his departure suddenly awakened us into our current state of realizing that everything may look fairly normal but just isn't? We are surrounded by Zombies. Never fear the Portland Mercury, publish a guide to killing them. One thing though is that you get just one shot, if you miss you'll end up a zombie. So much for learning from failure.
I'm very pleased that my friend Alice Feiring's site/blog is being linked to by Eric Asimov's great new wine blog The Pour. I built the site for Alice last year and pushed her to post often and not just post her published articles. She still posts long essays on her travels and tastings. She also puts up recommendations. She so far is more game than my other friends who are hard-working often published food and drink writers who claim they don't understand writing for free or in their spare time. Her traffic shot up yesterday to about 550 page views many coming from The Pour according to the referrer logs. Go Alice.
Garden Voices, the reblog, I launched on GardenWeb is also driving traffic to smaller blogs. It's a great feeling to spread some traffic to these blogs not to mention the good will (and links) it is engendering for the site.
I was very pleased to read about Six Apart's new funding. Lately, it has been too easy to lose track of the fact the blogging is still in it's infancy.
On the subject of aggregators, it looks like Fox has not (yet) acquired Dogster. Instead the acquired company Newroo a still in alpha company, that according to TechCrunch, has "NewRoo is a real-time news aggregator that allows users to create their own customized news and content pages."
I'm fond of the nav bar on The Independent, and I think it might be SEO friendly as well.
You will see a Pandora widget on the sidebar. I added it yesterday. I'm listening to Pandora and trying to get it to make a great Elvis Costello station. The song listed as a favorite is a cover of Start Me Up as played by the Folksmen on the "A Mighty Wind" soundtrack. It's very funny as they repeat the last line over and over in harmony. Pandora announced that it can be streamed on a Squeezbox so we are also thinking of getting one for home, so we can listen to it on our stereo. What a great name for a product, great Who song.
Lastly, for those of you who may have missed it Sandra Day O'Conner gave a speech recently in which she said that the US risked edging near towards dictatorship.
1. David - not a Typo. That is the way they are spelling it
So tonight a friend told me about a project in which people are creating alternative guides to museums via podcasts. Sure enough here it is a description of the project and, here are the guides which look more like they are about single paintings than tours. Podcast lectures. When I started CityReads my vision was exactly this, I imagined a whole library of these. How it came to be a company with 1 CD and 1 downloadable MP3 for sale is more about the complexity of difficult partnerships than anything else. Needless to say I want to get back to the original idea which is why I am so interested in podcasts.
Update: The NYT has an article about these today. It gives a description and introduces (to me at least) the term sound seeing.
Seth Godin has two four thoughts on Podcasts. The first two are at first glance pessimistic and address the lack of browsability of podcasts and the time commitment they take. Then the next two are about how much he likes podcasts but questions whether there is a business model. So what would make a podcast an A list podcast?
Fred Wilson also has a very interesting post about his take on the business of podcasting. He likens it to photosharing and also thinks the browsing is a problem.
Perhaps someone will come out with an easy way to create time code based TOCs for the files. In the meantime to get around this couldn't you put a TOC on the post. At Voyager I was briefly in charge of a program called CDLink (Voyager shut shortly after I started trying to figure out what we could do with it. ) It was a sort of brilliant yet hard to place application. It enabled you to create links in web pages that would trigger a cd to play a specific track at a specific time-code. It was great for writing liner notes and essays. A critic could write about what they loved about an album, a composer could comment on their piece, etc. The flaw was that you needed to own the CD so like many Voyager products had a somewhat limited mass-market appeal. Is there a reason why real media files can't be podcasts? I had thought that you could trigger events on time code in that. Anyway I think if this is a real issue perhaps people can be creative and get around it. The issue of how to make time and sort through it is also real but just as we turn to editors for guidance we may end up with that as well.
Here is an article on MediaPost that compares Pod-Casts to Razzles.
Can podcasts survive and flourish as stand-alone artistic expressions?
Remember Razzles? The product was excellent. The ad promoted sampling
and once sampled, the product sold itself.
Don't forget, popularity has never been a measure of quality, and
similarly, quality has certainly never been a measure of popularity.
Hits are not science... they are magic.
I've named my blog DefinitiveInk because that is what my consulting business is called but that isn't my name. I wrestled with what to call it but thought since the blog had to do with my consulting and what I think about, it made sense to name it that. Eventually I will get off my arse and redesign the whole site so it revolves around the blog. I may move the blog to an MT installation on my host or I may finally flatten these templates and play around with them in the process moving the DefinitiveInk site over to TypePad. My Google results are fine as well DefinitiveInk's listings are showing up, and I see in my referrer logs that Google is spidering my site on a regular basis. I'm actually very flattered that people are reading my modest effort here especially since I haven't publicized it that much and I get a thrill at the occasional comment or trackback. The problem I'm having with Google has to do with my name.
I used to get some decent results but now I've been pushed back to page 5 or 6 and even then it is hard to tell. The Joshua Mack who shows up on those pages is not me, instead he is a Christian pastor who is a right winger and who has written numerous books evil, home schooling, and other topics. Once when I was dating someone Googled me and I had to convince them that the Joshua Mack who is so prolific on the results isn't me. The other main players on the results pages are a basketball star, and a wealthy socialite in NY whose party invites I would sometimes get growing up. I know that I'm not alone in this, for instance a quick search for Steve Rubell, a very popular blogger comes up with pages filled with the former owner of Studio 54 and now hotels, but I want my name back on top.
As those of you who read my blog can guess the Joshua Mack who hogs the pages is not dear to my heart. I want to displace him and thrust him down into the bowels of Google so only his true believers can seek him out. So now I find myself at a crossroads. Do I rename the blog? Do I mirror the blog with one named Joshua Mack. Do I activate JoshuaMack.com and point it here? Would simply naming it Definitive Ink/Joshua Mack do it? What is the best way? Any ideas? To kick this off I've begun an experiment where each post now says Joshua Mack for Definitive Ink. We'll see if this has any impact.
Update - It has a DefinitiveInk post now appears in the #3 position on Google with just the small change to the posting attribution. Amazing.
Ten Reasons Why Blogging is Good For Your Career: 1.You have to get noticed to get promoted.
2.You have to get noticed to get hired.
3.It really impresses people when you say “Oh, I’ve written about that, just google for XXX and I’m on the top page” or “Oh, just google my name.”
4.No matter how great you are, your career depends on communicating. The way to get better at anything, including communication, is by practicing. Blogging is good practice. 5. Bloggers are better-informed than non-bloggers. Knowing more is a career advantage.
6.Knowing more also means you’re more likely to hear about interesting jobs coming open.
7.Networking is good for your career. Blogging is a good way to meet people.
8.If you’re an engineer, blogging puts you in intimate contact with a worse-is-better 80/20 success story. Understanding this mode of technology adoption can only help you.
9.If you’re in marketing, you’ll need to understand how its rules are changing as a result of the current whirlwind, which nobody does, but bloggers are at least somewhat less baffled.
10. It’s a lot harder to fire someone who has a public voice, because it will be noticed.