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Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, August 16, 2006. Wednesday, August 16, 2006

To file a complaint, push the red buttonPermanent link to this item in the archive.

Platform Wars: "Getting bought by a large media 1.0 company wouldn't make much sense for TechCrunch." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Maryam: "Robert will only link to you if you pick on him not me." Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Reading isn't comprehending Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A note to Nick, Scott and Mike, and people who think the number of people who "read" your blog means anything...

It would be interesting to do a study to see if people can tell you what a blog post said some short interval after reading it. Something like the SAT, for blog readers. I bet the numbers would be astonishingly small. I have reasons to believe that almost no one actually reads this stuff.

A story I like to tell. Once I wrote a short bit explaining why I like a certain web technology that people are somewhat fanatic about. I got flamed, en masse, by people who thought I was dissing it.

Another. I can't tell you how many times I get emails that "solve" a supposed "problem" that is discussed in the first sentence or two of a post, where the solution is explained in the third or fourth sentence. I conclude from that that people read something, it triggers one of their canned responses, and before reading the rest of the post, they're typing the answer in their email app, or asking for more info, when the info is in the next sentence of the blog post, the part they didn't bother to read.

I think a lot of people skim quickly and click on links, skim quickly and then hit the back button, then hit the back button again. So what's the point of being on the A-list if no one reads, they just scan. (And guess what they're scanning for, their name, of course!)

What I really value is new information or ideas that I receive from reading blogs. I don't care so much about being heard, because I know from experience that there really isn't very much of that going on.

Scott Karp: "Even if no one reads this post, I feel better having written it."

So to Scott, that may be the only joy available from blogging, the satisfaction of getting something off your chest. It really can be therapeutic, and also, having written it, you can then move on to the next thing, and the next thing after that. By writing something you really have to think it through.

Oft-repeated hype Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The problem with Wikipedia hype is that the proponents over-sell, and they're often smart people so maybe they'll stop doing it if I point it out. Here's an example.

Simply appearing in the Encyclopedia Britannica confers authority on an article. Simply appearing in Wikipedia does not, because you might hit the 90 second stretch before some loon's rewriting of history or science is found and fixed.

Someone who hasn't spent the last 30 years online might not understand that it's equally possible that the looney version of the story might be the one that gets reverted to, after someone who knows the subject edits it to represent more than the single point of view of the troll who's camped out on the article, or the group of trolls.

I've seen so many articles on Wikipedia on subjects that I know that are just plain wrong, and when I try to fix it, the fix gets undone within minutes. Sorry I'm not willing to commit my life, or a big portion of it, to a Wikipedia page. So mistakes live on, sometimes big ones.

There is value in Wikipedia, but please, let's not undermine other approaches, let's not put unnecessary barriers in their way. Wikipedia has been so successful that we're in danger of going back to a monoculture. We're trading a bad system, imho, for an even worse one.

From Tootsie Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Jessica Lange: "Just when I think I've found the perfect man, an even worse one shows up, and that's when I make my move."

I was wrong Permanent link to this item in the archive.

On Monday, I wrote: "They're different from us, but you can't tell from looking at them, because they look exactly like us, unlike black people who usually have darker skin."

From Walter Purvis, via email: "As I understand it, the 'us' in that sentence is Americans. Now re-read that sentence pretending you're a black American. It's funny how racial biases creep into our thinking so subtly, isn't it?"

Gulp. That is correct. What I said was wrong, and I'm sorry I said it.

A picture named aaronCard.jpgWhat I was trying to say made no sense, and it did occur to me as I was writing it. Canadians look so much like us that there are Canadians of all colors and countries of origin, just like people from the United States. In my defense, I was thinking about racial contrast because the first part of the piece was about Jackie Robinson and the integration of baseball. And I did say that Robinson and I both come from the same country. But Mr Purvis noticed something that I didn't, and he is correct, and very generous in his criticism, and I appreciate that very much. because it makes it easier to say I was wrong.

Computers crash Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Yesterday I wrote about Macintoshes and how they crash, as all computers do.

A picture named g5.jpgNo one, even the most idiotic Mac idiot, disputes that Macs crash. They disagree on whether it's my fault or whether I got a bad Mac (obviously I did, two of them). I don't run any unusual software, and I don't install experimental stuff on my computer. I'm really conservative. I know what it's like to live on the edge, I used to write drivers and other system-level software, a long time ago. These days it's Firefox and OPML, Handbrake, Azureus, The Sims (v 2), Flickr Uploader, VLC, iTunes. I have an HP printer and scanner, iChat, TextEdit. The computer that crashes is a dual CPU G5, bought virtually at the end of its lifecycle, so it should be well burned in.

A picture named g5otherway.jpgBut all this michegas is beside the point (which most people seem to have missed, even though it was pretty clearly written). I know computers crash. There's no such thing as an architecture that can't crash (even toasters catch on fire, no one's fault, shit happens). That's why its irresponsible for Apple to advertise that Macs don't crash. I'm not a lawyer, but it seems fraudulent to me. And as a programmer, it's really tempting fate to make such a claim. Bad Murphy karma. Put it this way, if you were a pilot, would you fly a plane if the manufacturer said it can't crash? How much faith would you have in their support system if you thought they really believed that??


Last update: Wednesday, August 16, 2006 at 10:26 PM Pacific.

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