Why Linux?

The .NET Guy: “But if a group of people have decided that they really would prefer free software, why would they turn to Solaris in the time of Linux crisis? Wouldn’t it make more sense to use a BSD derivative?”

A desktop aggregator with good server tracking?

I haven’t fooled much with server based aggregators. I find the desktop ones to be more responsive. The problem with desktop based aggregators is that they (at least the ones I’ve tried) don’t provide an easy way to share subscriptions and items-viewed-and-closed information among instances running on different PCs. I want a desktop aggregator that can sync subscriptions and message status with a central server. Do any of the existing aggregators solve this problem?

And another thing. It’s too labor intensive keeping up with and deleting the flood of posts from traditional news sites. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a “delete all posts older than 1 day” feature?

Netscan

I had the good fortune to attend a talk today by Marc Smith, a sociologist at Microsoft Research. Marc’s system, Netscan, tracks Usenet messages and lets you ask questions like “Which authors reply to lots of questions but don’t ask many?” and “What groups have lots of long threads?”. It’s fascinating stuff, and readily accessible from their Web frontend. I’d love to see this kind of analysis applied to weblogs.

Cosmos enabled!

Here’s how you can add a Cosmos URL to your Movable Type template:

<a href=”http://www.technorati.com/cosmos/links.html?rank=&sub=Get+Link+Cosmos&url=<$MTEntryPermalink$>”>Cosmos</a>

Now we just need to get Dave Sifry to round out the Technorati API with a way to retrieve Cosmos result counts.

Cows and Mexican food

Long day today.

Earlier I read a printed-out copy of 99cows, downloaded (legally!) from scripting.com. It’s an enjoyable if somewhat breathless read. Steel yourself for repeated use of unfamiliar terms like “sneezer”, “otaku” and “purple” (to refer to something other than color). Presumably these make sense to someone who has read Godin’s other works. I got sneezer and purple but haven’t figured out otaku yet.

One thing that caught my eye was cow #77, the Ambient Orb. I thought, “hey, they should open up the programming APIs for this thing.” Well, it looks like they have. Cool!

I do think that Godin says something useful and true though he focusses 100% on the positive. For all we know, 99 out of 100 companies exhibiting the traits he describes have failed. So the book may or may not be a prescription for success, but in any case it inspires. I bet he would have included ArsDigita had it survived.

Mexican food for dinner tonight. The waitstaff kept calling us “amigo”. Sounds tacky, but it was actually kind of nice. Or was that the effect of the margaritas?

Stigmergy

Joe Gregorio: “The World-Wide Web is the first stimeric communication medium for humans.” I wanted to link the word “stimeric” in the quote to a web page containing a good definition of stigmergy. But a google search on “stygmergy” returns a lot of weblog posts that simply point to Joe’s page. Now I see the point Orlowski was making. Alternative searches: stigmergic, “stygmergy brooks” (to see what the robotics community makes of the term), “swarm intelligence”

Weekend


If you live near Boston you really owe it to yourself to get over to the Arnold Arboretum. We went there for a picnic yesterday and it was beautiful.


Before heading off to bed last night I read E.L. Doctorow’s story in this week’s New Yorker, at Philip’s suggestion. What a great, subversive piece. I say “subversive” because I think that Doctorow was getting at something more general about people, using the theme of religious communities as a vehicle. So we’ll all nod and say “what a fool that man is”, without realizing that we do the same thing in other parts of our lives.