Technoparti!

Alright, my ridiculous hack to the blosxom clicktrack plugin worked! I now am showing up in the Technorati cosmos’ as linking to things. I just checked for a post I linked to in Joi Ito’s blog and I’m there. It seems absurd to be writing out two anchor tags for every link in every post, one for the humans and one for the machines, but that’s the way it must be if I want to both be tracking the clicks and getting credit for linking in to things. Wacky, ain’t it?

Feeling Stronger Every Day

I’ve never met Brian D. Buck, never talked to him, don’t know him. I did work with and am friends with his brother, and via that route learned about his long and hard struggle with cancer. I follow his blog and aggregate it, and by the nature of his life there can be long stretches with no posts. That’s why it was especially good to see this note that his new chemo treatments seem to be working and he isn’t experiencing as negative side effects as on previous treatments. Just because I don’t know him doesn’t mean I’m not pulling for him. Here’s hoping he comes through this phase OK.

Mystery Solved

One of the things that bugs me is that I never seem to show up in things like the Technorati mini-cosmos that tracks who is linking to individual stories. Joi Ito and Boing Boing have that and even when I link to them, this blog never shows up in those lists. What should have been glaringly obvious to myself but wasn’t is that I use a plugin that is an outbound link tracker. This means that the URL in my story links is actually a link back to this blog with the outbound URL as a parameter to a CGI. Of course nothing can track that, it’s not a link to the article per se. Duh.

I hacked the clicktrack Blosxom plugin to now write out a standard link tag with the unmunged URL in it just prior to the clicktracked one. Because there is no text between the opening and closing of the link tag, it is effectively invisible to humans using browsers but should be recognized as a link by robots and other parsing mechanisms. Now we’ll see if this has the desired effect. I was really starting to feel left out of the party.

Weblog Chronology

First Seth Godin wondered if blogs are backwards, which Joi Ito commented on. Sebastian from Zonageek then proposed (note – following link is in Spanish) that when looking at a date view on a blog it should go in forward order but otherwise in reverse. I thought that was an interesting notion, so I whipped up a Blosxom plugin to do just that. It’s running on this blog right now. God love Blosxom, this plugin is really and truly 7 lines of actual code, plus a little bit of other framework stuff to make it run.

Later today, as a break from preparing to move, I’ll make it available for download and register it on the Blosxom plugin site. I’m calling it sort_days_forward right now, which is kind of cumbersome. Anyone have a better suggestion?

Lessig Free Culture Talk

I’m downloading another Joi Ito BitTorrent file as a political statement, this one the Lessig talk about Free Culture from Helsinki that Joi blogged about (here is a link to the actual Bittorrent file.) This is another example of a file being traded via peet to peer sharing that infringes nothing, informs the public and has no “piracy” of any sort attached to it. In other words, more proof that these technologies are morally neutral, and thus don’t need our legislators clamping down on them with things like the INDUCE act. Regulate the behavior, not the technology.

I installed the Tomato Torrent client on my iBook for this stuff, and thus far find it the least annoying of all the BitTorrent clients. While technically what BitTorrent does is quite cool with the load sharing and making all downloaders also uploaders, the clients all are kind of hokey. The whole “leave the window open when your download is finished so you keep uploading” method of interaction is kind of ridiculous. Don’t we have better ways of doing things like this than leaving windows open all over one’s computer? How about a little checkbox that says “keep uploading this file for X hours|days after download finishes” and then the window goes away and the uploading happens in the background. That would have the same effect without the window litter, would automatically stop at some point without you having to remember to do it, would allow you to be a good citizen and upload for a while, all while being a less annoying UI experience.

More Gaping Void on Creativity

Man, Hugh Macleod is on a tear! He elaborated some more on his entry about putting the hours in and keeping your day job, which I think are the most important of his 12 points about how to be creative. My god he is talking some wise shit now.

I like what he says about not quitting the day job. Usually, that phrase is code for “you are going to fail and then starve to death if you attempt to make a go of your dream.” Hugh believes that quitting the day job unbalances your life and puts too much fiscal pressure on the creative part of you, forcing you to make artistic compromises to keep cash flowing. This is what he calls “The Sex and Cash Theory”. He believes it is better to let the art go where it will without forcing it to feed you when you have a perfectly good source of cash already in your life. Says he:

If I was just starting out writing, say, a novel or a screenplay, or maybe starting up a new software company, I wouldn’t try to quit my job for a year and make this big, dramatic heroic-quest thing about it.

I would do something far simpler: I would find that extra hour or two in the day that belongs to nobody else but me, and I would make them productive. Put the hours in, do it for long enough and magical, life-transforming things happen eventually. Sure, that means less time watching TV, internet surfing, going out or whatever. But who cares?

Wise, wise words.