Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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Blogs I’m Reading These Days

So I know I recently said that blogs are dead, but that may have been a slight exaggeration. There actually are people who still blog on a somewhat regular basis and I thought I’d share some of those blogs with you. Just don’t stop reading my blog when you start reading these ones, k?

In alphabetical order, so as not to give any of these blogs a complex:

  • The Bloggess – Her stuff is hilarious. She’s actually written two books now, which I’ve been totally meaning to get.
  • Consumed by Wanderlust. Written by my friend Dr. Dan. Not super frequent these days (apparently being a super productive Assistant Professor with eleventy billion students to supervise, one million grants to work on and one gazillion papers in various stages of writing and publication, among various other endevours takes up his time or something). But always worth reading when he posts!
  • Delicious Juice Dot Com – Hilariously written, this blog is by a local Vancouver woman who write about her random ideas and experiences. It’s generally NSFW – in fact, my work network blocks it, saying it’s “pornography”. It’s totally not pornography, but I’m sure Kimli would be delighted to hear it described as such.
  • Dividend and Conquer – A relative newcomer to the blogging scene, my friend Michelle writes this blog about finances (including creative ways to be frugal as well as her investment experiences), plus answering legal questions (as she is a lawyer). I’m looking forward to watching this blog continue to blossom!
  • Inspiration Rick – Written by my friend, Rick. This blog is a must-read if you like hiking – he blogs all the gorgeous hikes he does in the Rocky Mountains!
  • Patrick Johnstone.ca – You may recall Pat as being my friend who ran for, and won a seat on, New West City Council. Pat blogs about goings on around the city, information and opinions about political issues, and, what I like the most, he writes a blog posting about every city council meeting in plain English! So I don’t have to read a giant council report (which, quite frankly, I’m not going to read) to know what issues my city council is dealing with.
  • VWXYNot? – You may recall my friend Cath from our Paint Nite that confirmed our respective decisions to become scientists instead of artists as being wise decisions. She occasionally still writes on her blog and when she does, I read it. Because she’s hilarious1
  • Wait But Why – His tagline of “new post every sometimes” is pretty apt, as there’s no pattern to when he posts. But absolutely, hands down worth waiting for because his posts are always interesting, well thought out, and extremely well researched. They are very, very long, so when I see one in my RSS feed, I don’t read it right away, but save it until I have a good half an hour to an hour of uninterrupted time where I can curl up with a cup of tea and become absorbed in it. I have learned a tonne from this blog and am always entertained too.

I have a tonne more blogs from which I haven’t seen posts in ages set up in my RSS feed, but I keep them there in the everlasting hope that they will one day be resurrected!

So there you have folks. Blogs are dead, long live blogs!

  1. She’s much more active on Twitter and is totally worth following if you like science, cats, politics, and/or tea. []

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Northern Voice 2010

Apparently I’ve caught the conference bug, because here I am at yet another conference.  I know I promised to blog about something actually interesting to my usual readers after all those conference posts earlier this week, but it’s my blog and I’ll prevaricate if I want to.  But for my *next* blog posting, I’ll talk about something that doesn’t involve me yattering on about conferences, k?

Not Dead Yet… Blogging by Alan Levine, Chris Lott and  Brian Lamb

  • hashtag for this session #BlogsAreDead and #BlogsAreAlive
  • Alan talking about how when he started going to NV, he would blog every single thing that happened, but now at the end of the day he tries to write stuff up – there’s Twitter, etc. to say stuff that we used to say on our blogs
  • people comment on his blog in Facebook, completely detached from his blog – I hate that too!  I wish there were a way to disable comments on my blog postings in FB and a way to direct people to comment on my blog instead
  • “I won’t ever delete my Facebook account because I’m endlessly fascinated by what’s happening in the lives of people I went to high school with” </sarcasm> Brian Lamb
  • companies like eHow.com commission ultracheap articles on topics that are searched for on Google to drive traffic to their sites
  • blogs are dead because they’ve become uninteresting – Chris Lott
  • divided attention – FB, Twitter, YouTube  “Life is just what we concentrate our attention on” (I missed who it was that said this)
  • “blogs are an artistic medium” – Chris Lott [cool. I’m adding “artist” to my resume]
  • Derek commented: My blog is still there. I have control over it.  I treat Twitter and Facebook like they are disposable.  They could be gone any day.
  • Alan: blogs are a record – for those of us with bad memories, we can search our blogs to see what we were interested in a month ago, a year ago
  • people use WordPress as a web publishing medium (e.g., businesses, artists)
  • Tris: confusing the technology (just a way to quickly write on the web) with the activity (e.g., we can use it for a variety of things)
  • bavatuesdays – “a spot of genuine lunacy” – it’s *his* space
  • Brian: If I have a good conversational exchange on Twitter, I can’t go back and find it. Twitter search = no good
  • From the audience: “But is it [blogs] as durable as paper? Will they find it in 1000 years?]
  • From the audience: “I’m writing blogs for my young children but by the time they are on the web, the web will be completely different” – Brian:  you can easily export your blog from most blogging platforms
  • Chris doesn’t care about durability – “I never see a fireworks display and think “wow, I wish that fireworks display could last forever and I could share it with my kids.” [I disagree with this analogy – although he probably was intentionally being flippant. I  use my blog as a sort of repository for my thoughts that I do go back to.  Hell, I’m blogging this so I can remember it later!]
  • “yesterday, Brian made a very cogent argument that bloggers are always trying to conform” because everyone wants to get traffic, so they blog about what everyone else is searching for –> a very homogeneous set of blogs – Chris Lott
  • “If Scoble says “blogs are dead,” that means they are alive” – Chris Lott
  • the Internet is being built by corporations into a “commodified sewer” – “Program or Be Programmed” (from SXSW – can find it on YouTube)

A Four-Letter Word Called Sex by Danielle Sipple, Monca Hamburg and Steffani Cameron

  • Monica: it’s ok with society if a company commoditizes women to sell a product, but if a woman commoditizes herself (e.g., sex work) it’s considered horrible/she’s a slut/she’s stupid
  • cuntinglinguist.com
  • Darren (the moderator) is Googling the stuff that the speakers or audience members are talking about on the screen – I need to steal this technique sometime, ‘cuz it’s very cool
  • abstinence porn – fetishizing anything, including not having sex

A Bridge Too Far? The Uses and Misuses of Social Location Sharing Sites by Travis Smith, Noah Bloom, and Ian Bell

  • Travis – “these tools let me go out and experience the world” in a way that’s more community than just on one’s own
  • Ian Bell – launching a location-based dating app soon [at first blush, this sounds like a straight Grindr to me]
  • more FourSquare users than Gowalla (at the moment) – though varies by location (true for Vancouver, but Gowalla more popular in, for example, Holland)
  • Facebook is talking about updating your status with your location (and probably will do this automatically and you’ll have to “opt out” – if you know about it)
  • we don’t really know why people check in on these services
  • experimentation, we don’t know what the value will be
  • safety – example – the 15 year old who was sexually assaulted by an older man who connected with him on Grindr

Awesome-izing Your Podcast: Secrets From Radio by Tod Maffin

  • Poll Everywhere.com – freaking cool – lets people text their vote and the poll shows up on your slide
  • good radio shows and podcasts just have “it” – “it” is hard to define – but Tod’s going to deconstruct it for us
  • the art had to confirm to the medium (e.g., Ethel Murman had to belt out her songs because it was in a big theatre; radio came on the scene and the family would sit around the radio and listen to it; when transistors came on the scene, big singers belting out their songs would blow transistors –> crooning)
  • then TV came only – smaller families than previous generations sitting around the TV
  • now when you listen to the radio, you are driving your car or doing chores – radio shifted to background (you don’t sit around the radio and listen to a show anymore)
  • now podcasts – shifting from giant theatre audiences to a single person listening to a single individual – increased intimacy
  • “when you are podcasting, you are *literally in someone’s ears”
  • so if you say “hello everyone” in a podcast, it’s not intimate – it’s a mismatch between you (as a podcaster) thinking of your audience as one big group to a bunch of individuals each listening to you on their own – you can say “you” instead of “everyone”
  • you don’t want your podcast to be background
  • “it” = intimate
  • Vin Scelsa – intimate  – feel like you are there with him
  • Ira Glass – leans right into the microphone (not projecting his “broadcaster” voice)
  • “it” breathes (often podcasters edit out every breath and “um” and “uh” and the result is frenetically paced and doesn’t sound natural.)  Breath is emotional punctuation.
  • “it” seeks the universal truth – tries to find the overarching message or greater meaning of the story you are sharing – something people can connect with
  • flipping back and forth between the narrative and the universal truth is useful
  • “it” takes time – may need to interview someone for hours to get the good stuff
  • lapel microphones are good because the person forgets they are being recorded
  • “it” is everywhere – keep your recording equipment with you all the time (can even use your iPhone – broadcast quality audio) – “it” can happen anytime, anywhere
  • “it” does not abuse music – we identify music with things, so if you use music that your listener has already identified with something else, you will lose them – use music like movie scoring – simple music
  • “it” is phony – it’s a performance/production – but that’s OK