A nice overview of the lizard: Mozilla: Blogging's Killer App, and a whole slough of "hidden prefs
O'Reilly Network: Making Feature-Rich, Movable Type RSS Files [Feb. 28, 2003]
I just got back from an hour or so at my regular coffee joint, where I read 4 or 5 IT magazines (how's this for a set of numbers: according to an article on EMC/Symmetrix DMX (Direct Matrix Architecture) in InformationWeek 10FEB03, Information Resources Inc. (a market data analysis firm) "tracks 28 million items, stores around 150 attributes for each, processes 160 billion summarized transactions per week [yes, that really is "billion" with a "b"], and maintains a 40-terabyte data warehouse." Ain't those some numbers?!)
<rant>I'm seriously ticked ... yet another smart young programmer crying the blues to me about how his customers bog his sites down with animated crud and then use him and the other programmers as glorified typists. What's with his management team? Well, the fact is they see a more stable growth path in following a patronizing tactic where they don't burden their customers with things like understanding, knowledge, autonomy, flexibility, or any of those other touchey-feely abstractions. They're big fish in a little pond, and they're filling their environment with greenish crud. Does no one any good, but their numbers look fine, sooooo . . . . It's pathetic.</rant>
*driving another nail into the case*
"Writing for the Web" at useit.com reads in part: "Much is known about how to write help text, online documentation, and other technical writing, and a good deal of the advice from these fields does transfer to writing for the Web. The main difference is that Web readers are much less motivated than readers of online docs since they can't know whether the site is relevant to their goals (in contrast, the docs are always relevant to using a product, even when the writing stinks)."
Yaa ... in a world of hype and brochures, we browse, skim, surf ... a situation where attention deficit is appropriate? So, then, when the material is properly scoped, ...
The intro reads "You can double the usability of your web site by following these guidelines: for two sample sites studied in Sun's Science Office, we improved measured usability by 159% and 124% by rewriting the content according to the guidelines." and points out that "Web content should have 50% of the word count of its paper equivalent"
When I was a kid I read not only the dictionary, but encyclopedias too. My drill sargeant was not impressed to find my copy A. J. Ayers's "Language, Truth and Logic" among the few personal belongings allowed me in my footlocker. So ... let's just say I don't routinely expect to find myself in with the ruling paradigm or majority opinion.
That being so, it's a treat, while drilling down through something concerning transparent inference and the nature of community documents, to come across something as outspoken as this: European Society for Developmental Psychology "Searching for research literature - Although the WWW is often written about as if it was a database of original sources (like a library), there is actually rather little in the way of complete "texts" to be found. There is a lot of information on the internet - but not a lot of ideas. Not a lot of expository text." [emph. added] I would actually disagree with the opinion, but find it heartening that I'm correct concerning the illusion: whether the wealth of brochures we're dealing with comes from corporate spin doctors or well intentioned free (as in speech) crusaders, brochures is what they remain. Hence the goad behind my "Miss Peebles" project.
In the Who said he died? department:
Eric Raymond is back and blogging at "Armed and Dangerous" where he writes, "No, I have not vanished from the earth: The book is nearly wrapped up and I may be able to start blogging again shortly. In the meantime, note that my website has moved. It is now at http://www.catb.org/~esr/.
"The Ecosystem Returns" reads in part, "After a long hiatus, the Blogosphere Ecosystem has returned to The Truth Laid Bare. You can find it right here, in all its glorious silliness. This time around, I did it right: it's fully automated, executing once a day in the early morning using PHP scripts and storing all the results in a MySQL database."
Of passing interest:
Not only does blogads have an interesting set of blogs that are selling ads, but they run an interesting blog themselves.
I stumbled acros Rock, Paper, Stone: The Biz Stone Guide to Independent Publishing from last spring ... a dandy article, and I hear Biz Stone's "Blogging: Genius Strategies for Instant Web Content" is good too. [You noticed that it isn`t a link? Well, a) I think the title sux, and b) it pissed me off that I can`'t afford it. (Yes, I really do think the title sux ... that wouldn't stop me from buying a good text though.)]
Testing NewsCrawler Blog interface ... so far so good!
InfoWorld: Many Large Corporations Avoid Using Scripting Languages for What They Do Best Slashdot pointed out that Chad Dickerson spent an entire column discussing the fact that some major corporations discourage the use of scripting languages like Perl and Python to solve problems to which they are uniquely suited. According to the article: Although it has often been subtle, there is a level of quiet discomfort between the ?scripting? versus ?programming? factions in some corporate development environments in which I have participated."
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In The Village Voice Nation, Nat Hentoff's "Ashcroft Out of Control" reads in part:
"Until now, in our law, an American could only lose his or her citizenship by declaring a clear intent to abandon it. But—and read this carefully from the new bill—"the intent to relinquish nationality need not be manifested in words, but can be inferred from conduct." (Emphasis added). Who will do the 'inferring'?" [likewise, emph. added h_b]
You don't know what you've got til it's gone ...
My recent loss of internet connection and my temporary resumption forebodes what is to come unless I connect with the "punchline" of the "economic conversation" pretty damned quickly.
But, to make hay while the sun shines ... transparent inference has seduced me entirely. (The last time I was swept away so completely was when a cognitive psychology project got me into historiography. [Can there be universally communicable meaning without absolutes?]) ... so, returning to the challenge of indexing document sets, I'm nibbling away at pages such as these:
XML and Search: SearchTools Report ... Lou Rosenfeld's "XML: Text & Context" (accompanied by "Data Does Not Equal Information" is nice, but boy ... Feb '99 ... I'll be hunting down fresh versions of this material. Similarly with "XML and Semantic Transparency" by Robin Cover, which dates from late '98.