Unpacking some digressions

Here’s an interview with B.L. Ochman, in which she asks me how (roughly speaking) I drink from the Niagra of information in which all online writers stand. Reading it this morning, I see it gives the impression that 1) I have some kind of formal or routinized approach, and 2) that I no longer look at RSS search engines and feed readers. Neither is true.

Much of the time I’m reactive. Such as this morning. A few minutes ago I got up, walked up to the attic where my “office” is, sat down at the laptop, and decided to start by closing some of the too-many tabs that are open in Firefox. I got to the one with B.L.’s interview and decided to post this pointer. Now, being my digressive self, I’m writing something more about it.

The tab was opened in the first place by my feed reader, when I clicked on the feed I’ve had for years of a keyword search for my name. I look at that feed once every few days or weeks. There are also feeds of searches for Linux, Linux Journal, VRM, tiddlywiki, Berkman, Berkman Center, Bob Frankston, net neutrality, public radio and public media. At the moment. These change, depending on what I’m writing about. The older feeds are from Technorati, and the newer ones are from either s.technorati.com or from . Even though I still consider Google Blogsearch inferior to Technorati in the sum of stuff it finds — and even though GB lacks some of the useful stuff Technorati provides, such as the trend graph and the ability to search for tags — it’s simple, has no diaplay advertising to slow it down, and let’s me create an RSS feed in one click. Same with s.technorati.com.

Anyway, I just weeded my reader. I do that every month or two. I also added a Cluetrain search feed, because there seems to have been more commentary going on about Cluetrain these last few months. Perhaps oddly, I don’t think I’ve ever subscribed to a Cluetrain search before.

I also react to email, which is still a torrent, even though nearly all my spam problem has been cleared up by running mail to my Searls.com address through the Gmail laundry. So far this morning I’ve avoided it. Same goes for IM, or IMs. I have three of those: Jabber, AIM and Skype, and dozens of contacts combined. If I fire it up, I’ll be hearing from somebody by one of them in a matter of seconds, so I leave it off more than I used to. Not good, because often there are people (co-workers, family members) who need to get in touch with me right now.

For that, of course, there is still the phone. My not-very-trusty old Treo 700p still serves that purpose, until the Verizon contract runs out this summer and I get something that works on GSM, so I can take it overseas as well. (I also have a GSM mobile I use only overseas, but would rather have one phone than two.) I’ve also lately become appreciative of SMS texting. I call this my “bat phone” mode. Works great except in the subway. Hard to tell somebody downtown that you’re going to be late when there’s no signal.

Anyway, my actual work is mostly proactive. In that mode I use Google so much that I don’t even think about it. I also use Google’s and Yahoo’s image search engines. It’s weird that Google’s seems systematically to exclude Flickr images, while Yahoo’s promotes them. Example, searches for “chilterns” in Google’s and Yahoo’s image search engines. Be nice to combine both somehow.

Anyway, time to go back downstairs, make coffee, have breakfast and otherwise enjoy a mostly-offline Sunday with the family.


  1. AEP528’s avatar

    Why do you find it weird that Google doesn’t include Flickr? Yahoo owns Flickr. Google has Picasa Web Albums. Doesn”t that make them in the online image space? Nothing about that seems weird to me at all.

  2. AEP528’s avatar

    I meant to say, doesn’t that make them competitors in the online image space.

  3. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Of course both are “competitors in the online image space.” But both (Google the more so ) also at least claim to be without commercial bias. Neither is, obviously –at least when it comes to image search.

  4. Mike Warot’s avatar

    Thanks for the insiders view, Doc. I’ve been thinking about asking you to do some tutorials on effective blogging… and here’s one before I asked for it.

    I think that there must be some type of subtle mental sync going on in the blog-o-sphere.

    In my own experience the only things that gave me any “traction” when measured in terms of blog hits involved someone else picture of a cat in a trash can, and some experiments I’m doing in photography… I hope that’s not all I get remembered for. šŸ˜‰

    Thanks again.


  5. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Mike, the main advice worth giving is this:

    — Write quotable stuff about interesting subjects
    — Link a lot
    — Give lots of credit
    — Think AND logic, not OR
    — Keep doing that

  6. MissM’s avatar

    nbsp;Yubnub.org allows you to do combined searches,its pretty neat. For instance, gimyim space . I have their widgit on my igoogle home page. I was looking through the commands available and there are 333 when I look. gimyim is the one I’ve found fascinating, and most on topic. šŸ™‚
    P.S. I love your photos!

  7. Doc Searls’s avatar

    MissM, that’s an interesting service.

    Check out a search for, say, “prom” or “football”. Would most folks making those searches rather be finding images about the subject in general, or pictures people have taken of themselves or other people they know? Both, I’m sure, but not the latter in preference to the former. That’s what you get with Yahoo. “images.yahoo.com” might as well be called “flickrsearch.yahoo.com”. It’s an ad for Flickr. And it’s annoying. And I say that even though I have >17,000 pix on Flickr and I like the service.

    Worse, when you run side-by-side searches, you see how much slower Yahoo is. The football search didn’t have results for a minute or more. You think Microsoft is going to improve on that? Will two slows make a fast? Kinda don’t think so. It’s a side thing, but I am convinced that Microsoft+Yahoo = (-Microsoft)(-Yahoo). Where the dashes are minus symbols. The merger will kill or subtract Xtreme value from both.

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