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Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution.
Permanent link to archive for Saturday, November 17, 2001. Saturday, November 17, 2001

Continuing the What Are Weblogs thread -- weblogs are relational writing, that's why it is so close, if you're serious about it, to academic writing. Almost everything on this page relates one thing to one or several other things. Academic writing is supposed to be that way, but it was hard work before the Web.  

Bill Humphries tells a story of meeting a journal-writer at a party. "But those are just lists of links!" she said dismissively re weblogs. Bill's blog is just that, a list of links. I still go there when he updates, so something is happening there.  

Is weblog writing like any other kind of writing that came before? I think not. Linking has never meant so much. I speak from experience, having spent much my early life poring through card catalogs and library shelves, and rarely finding what I was looking for. I was doing then what DNS and HTTP do now (and Google). The Web is so much faster that it makes relational writing possible, much the same way that outlining software made outlining possible. (Before that many people faked the outlines, we were supposed to create them before writing the paper, but instead we wrote them after.) 

One more thought before going for a walk. On the K-Logs list, Phil Wolff says that it must be hard to do what I do, beyond the scope of a casual blogger. It's true. I pour huge amounts of time into this weblog, both writing and attaching software ornaments to it, it's like a Christmas tree, it grows up and new gadgets come online every year. (And then eventually you decide enough experimenting it's time to do this for real.) 

Anyway, of course no one but me is going to be willing to put so much time into it. But here's the key thing Phil, software always works that way. Someone has to do the iteration, and factoring and learning (and relearning when new people come on board) and waiting and sloshing through the details -- sometimes two or three times -- toward one end -- making it so easy to do that anyone can do it. This is the unfortunate fact of bootstrapping. Someone has to do it manually before you can figure out how to automate it. This is probably the last bootstrap I'm going to do, personally. In the future I'd like to just watch and critique other people doing them. I'm getting too old for all this digging!! 

BTW, it turns out that Scripting News is not listed in Yahoo's weblogs section because it is already listed under scripting. Is that anyway to manage the biggest directory on the Web? You gotta be kiddin. (That's like saying you can't get to this site by searching for Dave because you can also get there through scripting.) 

Bruce Epstein: Why Virtual Offices Suck. Amen! 

Mixed reviews for Harry Potter. Thumb-up from Scoble. He says "Worth seeing twice." Thumb-down from Kottke "Goonies + Star Wars dumbed down for the kids." Who's next? 

Aaron Cope: "Apache::XBEL is an Apache mod_perl handler that uses XSLT to transform XML Bookmarks Exchange Language files into exciting and foofy dynamic HTML documents." 

Foofy? Is that a technical term? 

Megnut: "True paradigm-shifting, revolutionary thinking is rare and hard to come by." Amen! 

Good morning nitpickers. I think it's cool that Jrobb gets the top hit for the godess of CNN, no matter how you spell her name. I've already gotten two dozen emails on this. You might think you were the first to notice. Trust me, you weren't.  

Now, instead of worrying about us UserLanders having a little fun dreaming about the luscious and brilliant and outspoken Ms Amanpour, here's something worth writing home about.. 

NY Times: "The Bush administration is considering the creation of a secure new government communications network separate from the Internet that would be less vulnerable to attack and efforts to disrupt critical federal activities." 

Why do I worry about this? Because if the government has their own private network, they won't care if the one I use gets trashed by Uncle Osama and his evil-doing friends.  


Last update: Saturday, November 17, 2001 at 4:32 PM Eastern.

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