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Permanent link to archive for Sunday, February 09, 2003. Sunday, February 09, 2003

Progress on the CSS for the Harvard weblog template for Manila thanks to Aaron Swartz, Simon Fell and Michael Zajac. Just a one more problem, now the links are at the bottom of the page instead of in the right column. I must have mis-typed something. For what it's worth, here's the OPML for the template.  

Donna Wentworth: "I don't think I can express how excited this makes me."  

Phil Ringnalda says to ask if weblogs are journalism is like asking if food is a vegetable. Well put. 

A Halley-spotting in Great Britain of all places. The girl is drinking tea, and going to Amsterdam. Hey I wonder what she's doing there.  

One year ago today, a reminder of how beautiful anger can be. 

Scoble is on a roll. About Microsoft. He says he won't post again for a week. I don't believe that for a second.  

Health insurance in Massachusetts 

A friend told me something yesterday that I find hard to believe. He said that in Massachusetts it's against the law for insurance companies to price based on pre-existing conditions, or to even ask about them. I can't believe it. Is it true?

Apparently it is true. Frank Field sends a pointer to this FAQ from the Massachusetts Attorney General about health insurance. "Good Health Not Required. You cannot be turned down, or charged more, for individual health insurance based on your gender, health condition, medical history experience, genetic information or any condition arising from acts of domestic violence. Your premium rate may only be altered up or down a limited amount based on your age and geographic location. Individual health plans may apply pre-existing condition limitations and waiting periods for up to six months after enrollment, but these limitations can only be applied to persons who did not have prior coverage within 63 days of enrollment in an individual health insurance plan."

It makes sense. The state is going to foot the bill for the uninsured. Perhaps they subsidize the insurance industry. No matter what we're all better off, imho, if everyone has coverage.

Working with CSS 

My next problem is with CSS.

Here's a template that Bryan Bell designed for me last month.

I'm trying to adapt it to my new Manila site, but something isn't right. The background on the text is supposed to be white. But it's not.

I've sent a panic message to Bryan. If you see what's wrong let me know.

Postscript: Jorge Curioso suggests adding a div#newsItems { background-color:white; color:black; } to the CSS, and that does make it more readable, but it's still not quite right. He also makes suggestions that would make it more accessible, but I plan to pass this stuff back to Bryan before making the theme available to others, so this is just for appearances and to get the ball rolling. I find this all pretty daunting. I'd rather use tables. But then I'm a programmer not really an HTML afficionado.

Working with Manila 

Now that I'm working with Manila again, I'm remembering all the things that infuriate me about Manila. I can't for the life of me figure out how to get my new site to show me the Edit With Radio buttons so I can use the outliner to edit my templates. I refuse to edit the template in a web form. I will not do it! ;-> Anyway, I have gone to my own personal membership page and told the software that I have Radio and that it's running on port 5335. I've been to the prefs page for the site (I'm a managing editor) and made sure the pref is on there too. I look everywhere for the stinkin button, but it's nowhere to be found. I guess I'll have to resort to looking at the source code to figure out what I'm not doing that I need to do. Like all software, it's great when it fades into the background and you can forget about it. It's shitty when it's in your way.

Postscript. Found the problem. I had to enable the XML-RPC interfaces at the server level. Once they were enabled, the buttons appeared. It's hard to imagine that a user who is not well-versed in the Manila at the source level would be able to figure this out without asking for support. On the other hand, it's probably right that the XML-RPC interfaces are disabled by default.

Where to live? 

I'm going to rent a place.

Should I go for Harvard Square? It's like student housing. I'm 47. I'm used to my creature comforts. I must have a hot tub. How about around the law school off Mass Ave? Might be more interesting. Rent a house in Arlington? Lexington? Newton? I'm definitely not buying something, I don't want to tie myself down again after wrestling free.

If you have any opinions let me know. I'm actually feeling homesick for Palo Alto right now. It's colllld here. Brrrr.

Postscript: Looks like I'll have to give on the hot tub. Based on email, people in Mass don't think of them as necessities. A hot tub seems as important as front steps, a kitchen sink or a toilet, to me. But then I've been living in Calif for 23 years and I guess it's warped my personality. Heh. Anyway, I just took a walk up Mass Ave towards Arlington, not too far, and it looks pretty good. I don't really care if there's a lawn. Being in walking distance to Harvard Square would be nice. A floor in a house would probably be enough. I must have a good net connection of course.

Clay, start a weblog, now! 

Clay Shirky does not understand weblogs.

The scaling equation for weblogs is, emphatically, not like BBSes, mail lists, not like the Well. The popularity of this weblog does nothing to interfere with the growth of lawblogs, or warblogs, or bizblogs, medblogs, governmentblogs, divinityblogs, you name it. Perhaps within each there may be some hierarchy because humans build hierarchies like other primates. No big news there.

This is publishing on a departmental level. Don't look to BBSes for prior art, look to desktop publishing. I've been saying this to Clay over and over. This is different. The Web is not like every other POS that's come along over the years. It's unfortunate that Clay doesn't actually have a weblog. Then maybe he'd get a sense of how they work.

To get an idea of what I'm talking about, skim Clay's article. How many of the weblogs he mentions have you heard of? I found that most of them were strange to me. So if we're hitting a scaling wall, why are these blogs becoming popular, even dominant, without any of us knowing about them? If we were all on a mail list together, believe me, we'd know the names of the people who dominate.


Last update: Sunday, February 09, 2003 at 3:04 PM Eastern.

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