F2F Blast From the Past

Last night before dinner, another conference participant thanked me for a link I had made to her blog way back in olden times (when we blogged with quill pens). I didn’t remember the link at the time — it was two and a half years ago — but lo and behold, here it is (Hi, Sara)! It’s great to meet and converse with people with whom you have online history.

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Someone Else’s Dream

As I was hunter-gathering at the continental breakfast bar this morning, one of the other participants here came up to say she had had a dream about me last night. (I took heart that she said “dream,” rather than “nightmare,” but I was still cautious as she began to tell me what she dreamt).

As it turns out, she dreamt that somebody came up to her, pointed to me and said, “That guy isn’t really a priest. He’s too cool to be a priest!” Now, for clarity’s sake I should emphasize that this doesn’t count as a conscious asseveration of my coolness (she’s obviously the sort of highly-intelligent tech observer who would never make such a mistake if she were fully responsible for her assessment of me) — but given the sorts of things that might ensue when somebody looks up and says “I had a dream about you last night,” this counts as one of the very most positive.

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Technorati Tags, Update

Observant readers may notice that I haven’t kept up very well at tagging. I just realized a way to use MarsEdit, my present favorite blogging client (no disrespect to ecto, which I’ll happily try out some time, adriaan, but MarsEdit originally came bundled with NetNewsWire) to do better hereafter, using the “custom ” feature, so I’ll try to reform my wayward habits.

But here’s a problem with tags: you can’t simply copy-and-paste them, the way you can with links. Copying and pasting links is very simple process; unless I’m missing something, creating a Technorati tag requires a separate step and a degree of deliberation about “how to tag.” The incorporation of categories as tags is a nice step toward this, but most category-users deploy categories that would be too broad to make good tags, and many people don’t use categories at all. At the moment, after the blush of excitement about the tag-powered, Web has faded, that looks like an unacceptable brake on this new step. Brent, Adriaan, Firefoxians, SixApart, tool developers: please help us out on this, or tip us off that the overhead isn’t worth it.

Post Mortem

Just before the Four Freedoms session, Jerry Michalski found me and pointed out that he had read the previous blog entry, and he had some good news: I wasn’t going to be expected to talk for twenty minutes. We weren’t going to occupy twenty-minute blocks of time at all, but would have about five minutes, followed by an open Q-and-A from the floor.

That clearly solved my awkward-duration problem, but left me a bit at sea concerning what I would say in my five minutes. I shaped my note cards for the twenty-minute slot, so I tried to summarize and skim. It seemed to go all right; no one hissed, or threw overripe fruit. Afterward, I had a couple of very provocative conversations; that’s all you can ask, I guess.

Heath “the miraculous Transcriptionist” Row seems to have blogged the session almost verbatim — bless you, Heath! And if you were listening, here or in the webcast, many thanks for your patient attention.

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Freedom to Digress

[I wrote this last night — now I’m here, in Silver Spring, and we’ll find out just how wrong a twenty-minute slot can be.]

I have about twenty minutes, according to the Freedom to Connect conference schedule, which is precisely the wrong amount of time. In about five minutes, I can make a crystalline, sharp-edged case for something; in an hour or so, I can develop a careful, thorough analysis and argument. Twenty minutes is too long for scintillating, but too short for pains-taking. At least, that’s the way it feels tonight.

Luckily for me, I’ve heard David Weinberger at a number of conferences, and if I start feeling the audience slip away I’ll talk about shopping for a washing machine, or the Dewey Decimal System. That will not only occupy my fleeting minutes, but will offer me the satisfaction of watching David’s face as he realizes I’m using up some of his prime material, since he doesn’t speak at F2C until after I’ve gone! Hoohah!

Connection? Dis-?

As a long-time Talking Heads fan, I was pleased to see in Boing Boing that David Byrne isn’t worried about people downloading his recordings without paying: “I don’t see much money from record sales anway, so I don’t really care how people are getting it.” Later, he acknowledges that he himself P2Ps for music (“ I’ve also — I guess you could say — illegally downloaded some songs”).

So far, so good. He’s making me feel better, after I was disillusioned by his public enthusiasm for PowerPoint.

But in the same interview, he observes that he’s starting his own online radio station, since he wants to build an audience for music that lies outside the ambit of hits and favorites. He observes that back when one bought an album, one got both the music one anticipated and sought, and also other selections that one might not have chosen; Radio David Byrne will try to enrich its audience’s listening habits with both popular and more obscure selections. That’s good, too.

But does anyone else note the disconnection between the two sets of observations? If people weren’t obliged to pay for online recordings, wouldn’t they listen much more adventurously? I think we can prove this case, friends; certainly Alan Wexelblat over at Copyfight is on top of the reality-based analysis of downloading and sales (thatnks for that link, too, Boing Boing). On a purely anecdotal level, I hardly ever haunt the P2P filesharing world any more, but just informal filesharing with friends and mp3 blogs called to my attention my favorite recent recordings — and pretty much all the music I’ve bought in the past few months has come to my attention through some form of filesharing. I don’t buy music unheard any more.

So David, by all means run an internet radio station, but go further to connect the dots. If you want to build audience for unexpected music, distribute it for free, online, with a http://creativecommons.org/audio/ and see what happens to sales.

Pippa’s Buddy — And Joey’s

Pippa’s Buddy

Originally uploaded by AKMA.

When Margaret called my attention to Accordion Guy’s Easter Day blog entry, I realized that I had to post the sketch Pippa drew for me the other day. Compare the two side by side; look carefully at the photo of the figurine; then ask yourself, “Does that Buddy really look so friendly after all, or isn’t there something a little ominous about the winking eye, the protruding cheekbones, the pointing finger?”


Risen Indeed!

After a short night (I got to sleep at about 11:30 after the Vigil service at St. Luke’s), it’s time for me to wake up for the Easter Vigil here at Seabury — after which I’ll stagger back to St. Luke’s for the regular Easter Day mass. Then I’ll come home and collapse in a heap, thankful that a body isn’t asked to take part in more than three three-hour services in an eighteen-hour period.

To all my guests here: the very best of all possible wishes, to you and to all whom you love. Bless you!

And — redundantly — to my Christian sisters and brothers: Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Recommendation and Puzzle

When Simon recommends something, I follow up on it — so I downloaded Freemind promptly after he mentioned it, especially since I figured it would be helpful for the series of presentations I’ll be giving in the next three weeks. But it’s woefully underdocumented, I think, and I’m having a hard time figuring out how to benefit from it.

I’m making a pile of 4 x 6 notecards instead, for now.


The Good Friday service has come and gone, and I’ll post the sermon — as usual — in the extended section below. It was a privilege to serve at this occasion with Carolyn Keck and especially with Tony Lewis, with whom I share a certain vocational ancestry as we both studied at Yale (he in the doctoral program, I in the Masters), and served on the staff of Christ Church. It would have been a great treat to have overlapped with him in those days, but I came along after he had moved on.
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