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New feature: Blog post sub-text!
By Dave Winer on Friday, June 11, 2010 at 7:08 AM.

Note: If you're reading this on the Home page or the RSS feed you won't see the plus signs. Go to the story page to get the full effect. <img src="> permalink

Did you see the final episode of LOST? I did. I'd love to write about it, and I will -- but be forewarned, if you click on the little plus sign next to this paragraph, there are spoilers below. permalink

A picture named lostLogo.gifFirst, Jack dies. I know -- it sucks. permalink

And Hurley became the new Jacob, and Ben was his #2. And both of them die too, but a long long time after Jack. permalink

At the very end of the last episode, we find out that when you die you get reunited with all the people you shared the most heavy experiences with. So Jack meets up with his father, but his mother isn't there.  permalink

Jack says if he died so young (he did) and many of the rest lived long lives, how come they're all here now? Dad chuckles and says Here there is no now. Gotta love it. When you're alive you get to be in the moment. But when you die there's no such thing. I believe that's true. I figured that out when thinking about relatives who died.  permalink

But you have to be ready to make the trip. Ben wasn't ready, so he stayed behind, even though Hurley thought he could come along.  permalink

They didn't explain all the weird shit that happens, but that's part of the answer. In real life lots of weird shit happens that you don't understand and guess what -- you never do. Some people found that unsatisfying. Me, personally, I was too busy being moved by all the happy fun stuff that was happening to the characters to even care.  permalink

A picture named sneakers.jpgThere's nothing that says a paragraph has to have sub-text. In fact you can use it to simply annotate, sub-texting items most readers wouldn't care about, but that you should include to be complete. An Internet-age footnote. permalink

This is what the editor looks like. permalink

A picture named scripting2Editor.gif permalink

I was inspired by a feature that Rich Ziade added to Readability. I thought of doing this while listening to him talk last night at our Thursday night meetup at NYU.  permalink

It's also related to a Nick Carr post that got a lot of play recently, where he said it was time to get links out of our way. He may have a point. In age where people skim, maybe you want to tuck away the details to let people get the main point quickly, but still provide all the background and off-site links that a careful reader may want.  permalink

For example, here's an excerpt from his post. "Links are wonderful conveniences, as we all know (from clicking on them compulsively day in and day out). But they're also distractions. Sometimes, they're big distractions - we click on a link, then another, then another, and pretty soon we've forgotten what we'd started out to do or to read. Other times, they're tiny distractions, little textual gnats buzzing around your head. Even if you don't click on a link, your eyes notice it, and your frontal cortex has to fire up a bunch of neurons to decide whether to click or not. You may not notice the little extra cognitive load placed on your brain, but it's there and it matters. People who read hypertext comprehend and learn less, studies show, than those who read the same material in printed form. The more links in a piece of writing, the bigger the hit on comprehension." permalink

You might not care to read all this. If you're just skimming you didn't even see it. permalink

PS: I haven't stopped linking and I don't plan to. <img src="> permalink

Now for a little humor. permalink

A chicken and an egg are lying in bed.  permalink

The chicken is smoking a cigarette with a satisfied smile on its face and the egg is frowning and looking a bit pissed off.  permalink

The egg mutters, to no-one in particular, "Well, I guess we answered THAT question!"  permalink

Two Jewish guys walk past a Catholic church. permalink

A sign out front says "Convert today and we'll pay you $100." permalink

One guy says: "That's it, I'm converting now." permalink

"What do you mean, you'd throw out your faith, your people, just for money?" permalink

"It's a lot of money." permalink

His friend can't believe it so he waits outside. When he comes out he says "Is it true, did they give you the money?" permalink

"Is that all you people think about?" permalink

Ponzi calls this The RSS Couch. permalink

Ponzi calls this  permalink

What will I really do with this feature? permalink

It's another kind of linking. It's an in-line footnote. Who knows what else it is. But I reallllly like it. Can't wait to try out some more ideas I have for this. <img src="> permalink

BTW this is not the first post to use the feature. permalink

I tested it out in a post I wrote earlier. So this is the second.  permalink

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