jay fienberg wants to formalize, in the transition to pie/atom/echo/??, the idea that syndication feeds pointed to by any web page should contain the contents of that page. this seems so obvious to me that i never considered the possibility of doing otherwise on randomchaos.com.
it wasn't until my last year of college that i experienced broadband internet access. and it wasn't until going without it that i realized how nice it was. the ability to access of information instantly at any time dramatically changes the experience of using the internet. questions i wouldn't bother to lookup in the dictionary or encyclopedia, nor bother dialing up to lookup on the internet, i will always lookup when doing so requires little more effort than typing a few words.
last month i first uses a wireless card and hub to connect. and today when that connection failed for some still unknown reason, i had the same experience of realizing how much the convenience has become a must. the leash of the ethernet cord that once seemed perfectly normal to me now seems as odd as chained books. soon enough a new generation will be growing up with as little use for modems or ethernet cords are as today's youth have for VHS.
on the smoking gun, a high school student defends a constitutional right to use the word "fuck" after calling his principle "a fucking fag". the motion to dismiss the case is seven pages long and provides an extensive history of the word "fuck". it's an interesting read, but why is there no mention of the word "fag". i think it's both more offensive and more threatening, given the history of the word "fag". is this kind of bigotry so accepted that the lawyer didn't even bother trying to defend it?
blogstop is a nifty acronym game. i see two potential improvements: first, requiring meaningful links within the text would make it more interesting to read and more difficult to write. and having the server automatically add <acronym> tags around the words as the acronyms are created would make it more readable.
mailinator has interesting uses beyond spam reduction, although i do enjoy the "flicking a booger at spam" analogy. the creators have already recognized the potential as an anonymous meeting point, and added the capability to mask from addresses. one could also use it to make a virtual treasure hunt. send an email to an address and then give people clues as to what the address is. then in the email you sent, point the players to the next secret address. for example: according to "they might be giants", how many dollars does a prosthetic forehead cost? an email from me is waiting at the mailinator address of the correct answer.
the new york post reports:
The city is opening a full-fledged high school for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students - the first of its kind in the nation. this is segregation. it's likely segregation that the concerned parties are happy with, but that's precisely the problem. removing glbt students from the rest of society will hinder the ability of everyone to solve problems of homophobia. it will be easier for "straight" teens to develop ignorant beliefs because they won't be exposed to glbt youth, and the glbt students will develop a false sense of security. and what about closeted students, who are stuck at the "straight schools"? with no exposure to publicly glbt peers, how will they ever come out themselves?
also, this assumes homophobia doesn't exist among glbt youth, which simply isn't true. anti-gay prejudices also exist within glbt people, so moving them to a different school isn't going to remove the prejudices. it's nice that someone is trying to do something about these issues, but segregation is not the answer. why not put this money into improving the atmospheres of already existing schools?
one of the dozen or so projects i have in the back of my head is a distributed computational linguistics. i had a pretty solid idea of how i would implement this until earlier today. different grammatical structures (simple sentences, noun phrases, verb phrases, etc.) would be defined by components in OPML files. word-level objects would then need a seperate XML format, and could be easily distributed. simple interfaces for maintaining these XML files could be written, allowing anyone to participate in a widely distributed computational linguistics project. individuals might take charge of prepositions, intransitive verbs, etc. my knowledge of linguistics is quite limited, but i think i know enough to get this kind of system working well enough that it could produce interesting results. unfortunately, today i learned that there is no such thing as a noun phrase, so now i need to relearn (or unlearn) a bit about linguistic theories before i can even think about the project. meanwhile, i continue to wonder: why is it that people who study language for a living can't explain language using common language?
honestly, i expected the random feeds to be of higher quality. too many bloggers are just pointing to the same stories with no commentary. why bother? or keeping personal diaries. why publish? it wasn't until today, after reading through forty or fifty feeds, that i found one i'm interested in reading further, ironically titled: the blathering idiot.
in my increasingly desperate attempt to make money doing something i enjoy, i've added google ads to the weblog. the ads aren't as targeted as those on the japanese lessons, because the weblog itself isn't as targeted. but hopefully you'll find them useful enough to make up for the distraction from my infinitely more important words. if you really don't like the ads, simply give me a job and i'll remove them.
the next version of mail log will allow users to subscribe to OPML lists of feeds, which will have the same effect as subscribing to every feed in that list. but it will also have some added functionality because the contents of the list can change, automatically changing the users subscriptions. this is my solution to the same problem some are trying to solve with more complicated centralized subscription "harmonizers". ironically, among these people is the inventor of OPML.
anyway, the default subscription will be the OPML file i just posted at randomfeeds.php, which is a list of random feeds pulled from syndic8.com. i don't believe there are currently any newsreaders that allow users to subscribe to an OPML file. but many allow importing of feeds from OPML files, so you can use this utility now to add some spice to your regular reading by saving the results and importing them.
i grabbed the rsscreator class from kai blankenhorn, improved it a bit, and added experimental "pie" support. so if you happen to have a news reader for the format that would not be named, you can now use it to read this weblog. i renamed the class "syndicator" to reflect that it's no longer rss-specific. i also plan to add mbox support. as with everything on randomchaos.com, you can see the source.
the following will only be of interest to you if you read "dive into mark" with a news reader: a few weeks ago mark pilgrim announced he was supporting RSS as its creator has specified, and getting rid of the "funky" elements of his feeds. everyone thought that was nice of him until he actually implemented it, at which point his feed became nearly useless. i put up with it for a few weeks and then it occured to me that i don't need to - i can syndicate mark's feed and make it "funky" again. after doing that locally, i thought someone else might like to use the service. i emailed mark yesterday and asked him if he'd mind. no response today. i'm assuming that's because he doesn't care and making it publicly available now. if you want a "funky" version of mark's feed, simply redirect your news reader to dive into funky RSS.
nothing on the technorati ping page or the technorati wiki explains exactly what information needs to be send to technorati via XML-RPC. i'm assuming it's the same information weblogs.com and blo.gs use, so i added that to my makemefamous script. and with this post i'll see if that assumption is correct.
doc searls quotes:
The basis of ethics is man's right to play the games of his choice. I will not trample on your toys and you will not trample on mine; I won't spit on your idol and you will not spit on mine. that's only the basis of an ethics of independence. you could just as reasonably suggest that the basis of ethics is man(people)'s obligation to protect other people. i will not protect you from my toys and you will protect me from yours. i will pacify my idol and you wil pacify yours. this is the basis of an ethics of interdependence. these two frequently come into conflict (humanitarian intervention or imperialist occupation?), which leaves us without a clear general rule upon which we can make ethical decisions. there is no external basis for ethics.
i haven't bought a cd for a few years now, mostly because i don't want to support the RIAA. the RIAA general hurts musicians and music enthusiasts to help record companies make more money. there are plenty of cds that aren't produced by the RIAA, but it has previously been such a hassle to figure out which ones that i just wrote off the whole medium altogether. but now RIAA radar makes it easy to boycott only RIAA music.
ray ozzie asks:
Has anyone yet attempted to create "RSS email". yes, my mail log application (for OS X) originally allowed migration between RSS and email in both directions. but because the interface was too complicated, i redid it and in the process cut it down to RSS to email only. you can still download the 0.9 version, if you desire that functionality, and a future version will allow email to RSS publishing with a simpler interface.
the french have proven themselves our equals in the international don't-you-have-something-better-to-do? contest, by attempting to remove english words from use in france. they're starting with e-mail.
emmett plant wrote a nice letter to congress about why a bill intented to protect musicians actually does the opposite. as an independent musician, i completely agree. i'm not giving all of my music away for free like plant is, but what i do give away for free, i want to be freely shared on peer-to-peer networks. please, share my music.
an initial fifty six cents of income from google ads has inspired me to put more work into the more promising sources of revenue from randomchaos.com. i added a new style sheet for printing, added comments, and improved my own interface for editing the japanese lessons, which i will now resume. i also posted two new full songs and fifteen new clips to the music section, and tried to make it clearer that i will sell custom cds. now you should give me money.
the washington post noted that bush's approval rating is dropping as casualties in iraq rise. this trend seems to be restricted only to american casualties, or bush's approval rating would have dropped dramatically when america killed of thousands of innocent iraqi civilians. (what does that say about america's compassion?)
now here are some interesting numbers:
slightly more than half the country -- 52 percent -- believes there has been an "unacceptable" level of U.S. casualties in Iraq...Still, only 26 percent said there had been more casualties than they had expected. assuming those unexpected casualties are among the unacceptabl casualties, that means that 26 percent of americans were expecting unacceptable casualties in iraq. most of that (24 of that 26 percent) can be assumed to be among the 24 percent who didn't support the war in iraq before the casualties began to mount. but that leaves a few questions: if those 24 percent of americans were expecting unacceptable casualties, why weren't they doing more about it? and more importantly, who are those 2 percent of americans who simutaneously expected unacceptable casualties and supported the war? that's about six million people who supported a war they expected to be unacceptable.