Google may have entered that lofty pantheon as it has started "Googlewashing" by which they are ridding searches of their bloggy results. Why they would care to is a bit understandable - it seems people want "real" answers not opinions on the topic they are looking for...so they go...to the internet. That hotbed of fact. Go figure. Beyond the problem of identification of the media it works within, how will Google know what to wash out of the search? What is a blog?
Some blogs are like the pre-webs topical 'zines. After friends got married in 1995 or so, I realized I wanted a way to keep in touch collectively after everyone was married off. I started a photocopied 'zine called "People Who Know Al" - one and a half issues made it to print before I took the on ramp to the information super highway and got email and a browser to call my own. Fellow travellers AOV and CEO Blues are pretty much interactive 'zines on their relative topics of web related innovation and business theory. Others, like Ian William's are pretty much a personal exploration through a diary. Still others, such as Tomalak's Realm, continue the original links concept.
What I don't get about Googlewashing is this - if I wanted to know what it was like to try and put a movie together, Ian William's site would be a great resource. If I wanted to know what was new in web related things, AOV is a great resource. Apart from the hubris of believing that it should direct the web substantively based on its definition of what is a blog, what does Google think it is doing making it difficult to find one of the best things the internet does well - provide opinion.
I have been following this story for a while and find it fascinating.
Later: So if there are now "Reporters without Borders" in addition to "Doctors without Borders" and even "Lawyers without Borders", what next...chiropractors without borders? Certified General Accountants sans frontiers?
Later Still: want to know if your favorite sites are blocked in China? Check here.
It was not until 20 years ago that local all-night radio was becoming common in the Maritimes. CBC's night service started with the old CBC Stereo service's Brave New Waves which used to be formatted in the early 80's with increasingly obscure and hardcore music as the show moved deeper into the night. By four in the morning, during a King's campus police shift, we would be well beyond Bragg, past punk and listening to Berlin industrial an hour and a half before Mac Campbell came on at 5:30 am with the Maritime Fisheries Broadcast with an update of conditions on the Sable, Fourchu and Banquareau Bank.
During really nerdy phases, I have even been a member of DX clubs like CIDX, BBC World Service Listeners Club and ODXA. Meeting other members of such groups in person can be quite uncomfortable. Once a guy on vacation driving around the Maritimes listening to every broadcast band transmitter - AM to the uninitiated - stopped in at the manse at Bible Hill. All I can remember about the event was that he wouldn't stop picking at his ears. I was something of a celebrity at the time having logged in the CIDX monthly news letter and confirmed via a casette tape of my reception of a local East German am station on 1044, just above CHUM. [Are you starting to get the point about not talking about this before she says " i do??].
Since Archimedes, radio is the second most important technological advance after the harnessing of electricity. With the growth of the unfortunately named WiFi - with its echoes of 1960's suburban rec-room parties around the stereophonic Hi-Fi and Mitch Miller sing alongs - the internet is catching up. I came across the term RLAN last week, radio local area network. Now I want a dedicated RLAN internet radio player so I can listen at work where Bell apparently has a public hot spot. Something with good sound for about $59.99 would be good, thanks.
I got my new copy of the CD soundtrack to Christiane F, a cheery little movie about a teenage addict in West Berlin in the 1970's. I saw the movie when it first came out at Wormwoods in Halifax in 1981 or so and soon after picked up the lp which I had until one of the record purges during the recessions or a move. One of the many perfect decisions which went into making the film was to use an entire soundtrack of Bowie from his Eno/Berlin albums.
The Swicks introduced me to Bowie. Actually Rob did. Ken taught me about autonomy. Steve gave man fire. Dave was a gardener when I first met him. Dave for some years has had a column in the Halifax Daily News which is one of my favorite and - I would argue - one of the best written regular columns anywhere.
By the way, my current radio favorite, Brent Bambury, ran Bowie covers all week on his show: All The Young Dudes by The Church, Life on Mars by The King's Singers, Rebel Rebel by The Bay City Rollers, The Man Who Sold The World by Nirvana. This is a CBC drive home show!?!?
I haven't taken a short haul train trip since Mulroney killed off the local trains in NS. Ah, those were the days - summer job in Truro, hop on a 7:00 pm train Friday, a couple of cold Olands Ex's in the bar car with Capers and a short hop from the train station in Halifax to the Seahorse to rub elbows the other regulars. Trains are great - 3 hours from my house in Kingston to downtown Big Smoke. Snacks on route. A good look in everyone's backyard for 230 km past towns with OHA teams.
Anyway, I was in the land of my birth to go to the IT.Can course at the LSUC for two days. Had dinner with Chip and Jenny at this place. Talked about Phil Sedor, The Guys at the Library, Blackpool and Kearney Lake Road. Over all, however, Toronto is not looking so good. Hotels are cheap and empty. The homeless are as utterly abandoned as I have ever seen. People running by me at 5:02 pm down Bay to Union Station to catch their 5:15 pm GO train. My VIA train sat in Oshawa station for a few minutes as a GO train unloaded - a thousand people as one rushing from the train they rushed to get to, to get into their cars in the mega mall sized parking lot to rush to the traffic jam at the parking lot exit.
VIA has first class and coach. GO is steerage.
I guess I have been sidetracked for a few days. My dad's hometown team - Greenock Morton Football Club - won the big game yesterday. This morning after, I feel a level of relief that surprises me - I didn't realize I got so caught up.
I suppose making phone calls to strangers in the Norseman the pub across the road from Third Division soccer ground should have told me I was a little obsessed. And spending hours on a bulletin board site with other fans of this not quite obscure club was another give away. And having a programme subscription. And buying 1914 cards of the keeper on eBay. And emailing the Sports editor of a major UK sports news service last week to tell them to get a camera to the game so I could catch the sight on my TV of the goal I prayed would come.
And the goal did come. And a little team which won the Cup in '22; had it stolen from them in '48 during the over time in a replay second game by the flash of a camera bulb at dusk; played with the big boys in the late 70's and early 80's in the premier league; almost died in the 90's due to incompetant ownership; but which has been brought back to life by one who must be the greatest most generous owner in all of sports scored the goal and won.
They won the Third Division of the Scottish Football League and are on its way up to the Second next year. 8,500 folk gathered where 2,000 or 3,000 had watched most games this year and hundreds more - economic exiles and their children ship builders computer workers and profesionals of exiles around the world followed through the internet.
I've only been to see them play at their home at Cappielow Park once - a few more times away. But since I've been old enough to know what sports are I have loved this little team.
In another place, a word has raised its head - as used by me: usability. I came across it - though pals - as used by Jakob Neilsen in reference to his calling to webpage usability - weighing what is on the screen. Trouble is...I don't know what it means: the "ability to be used" sounds pretty close to either useful or functional to me...
I think - use, usable, useful, utility, useless, capacity, capabilites, functional - and I am thinking of a list of words that pre-date the web. Did a new word really have to be created? Was one?
I do know what the coining of a word like "usability" does - it creates an expert, a gap in the expertise of others, a billing stream and, who knows, down the road, maybe a bachalors degree my kids may take. It makes an industry. Not that I am slagging (or, indeed, praising) Jakob Neilsen. It's the industry thing. The gathering. Unmeasurable metrics. When I was a kid an industry was not tourism, it was not consulting, it was not even medicine. It was oil fed metal moving and making. It made sounds so loud you needed ear plugs. It was smelly like a gas station.
I don't know why this grates me. I am a big believer in new words for new things. The thing is I also want to keep using good old words, too. Look at the upper left of this page. The implication that kneeding dough is a matter of usability. But bread's been kneeded for thousands of years - how old is the word usability? Its root, usable, is medieval. But was anything assessed for its usability before the web? Spoons? Gaskets? Shoe eyelets? Due to the web swampings of an industry, even Google can't seem to tell me.