Archive for March 6th, 2004

Dowbrigade News – Now on CD

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Another
of the topics of interest that came up on Thursday night, and which was
driven home in dramatic fashion mere hours later by the bollocks in the
Berkman server, was the precarious nature of digital archives, and the
worries that bloggers have about permanence of their work and writing.

Dave said that was the kind of problem he liked, because he could sit
down in a few hours and come up with a solution.  We don’t know
what he had in mind, but we have given some thought to the problem and
concluded that what we need is an easy way to convert a month’s worth
of the Dowbrigade News into a PDF. Burn 12 monthly PDFs onto a CD and
you have a fairly stable, relatively permanent record of one year’s worth
of your Blog.

It could be stored and used as a backup or archive. Good quality
CDs are supposed to last up to 100 years. It could also be given as a
gift or stocking stuffer, sent to people who
live
in isolated
off-line backwaters or read on airplanes.  For certain more stylish
and less topical blogs, it may be a superior mode of distribution.

Since we use OS X, it is simple to create a great-looking PDF
by using the built-in "create pdf" option in the print dialog box .If
only Manila had an option to display a whole month of posts at a time,
it would be very useful for creating pdf archives.

We currently try to do this once a week, usually on Sundays, but since
it is hard for the Dowbrigade to remember where he parked his car from
day to day, let alone something that is supposed to happen once a week,
and because when we are posting at a robust rate we can only display
about
four days
at
a
time,
our record
contains
many
gaps.

An easy format for storage and archiving as well as non-networked distribution.

Sorry for the Interruption

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Several regular readers have called to express concern over their
inability to connect up to the Dowbrigade News over the past 24 hours
(thanks for the call, Mom). In fact, the entire blogging host server
at the Harvard Law School was off-line due to a major malfunction, but
Dave Winer and his ETs (Emergency Technicians) managed to save all the
data and get us up and running again this morning.

The result, however, was that yesterday, for the first time since the
debut edition of the Dowbrigade News appeared on June
18, 2003
, nearly
nine months ago, that we did not post a single article. Although we realize
it was pure vanity, we took pride in our record of constancy, including
one dark and snowy night in December when we forced Dave
to take a detour off
of I-93 returning from a Blogging of the candidates in New Hampshire, so
that we could get to our computer and file before the magic moment of midnight.  Our
first and
only post
that day was at 11:59:14.

But what’s the sense of rehashing the past, other than crying over spilt
milk and recycling tired cliches. Actually, it’s quite liberating not
to have the burden of that unbroken string of 200+ days hanging around
my neck like a blogging
albatross.  So we missed a day.  So what? It’s not the end
of the world, and there’s just twice as much to blog today.

Last week Dave accused us, facetiously we hope, of not liking our
blog, because we sometimes complain of feeling under-endowed in the comments
department. Let us set the record straight.  We
LOVE our blog. It is the greatest thing to happen to us since Norma Yvonne.
It has
literally
changed
our life and given us a voice, the mere sound of which is enough for this
frustrated writer, whether anyone else is listening or not.

Thanks for coming back.

Dr. Seuss, Multi-Use

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Jessica has
a nice post (one of a number on the topic, actually) on the hundredth
birthday of Dr. Suess.In her posting
is a link to an archive
of Seuss political cartoons
. Who knew
that before meeting the Cat in the Hat, Seuss was the political cartoonist
for a New York daily newspaper which no longer exists?

Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel, 1904-1991) was a life-long cartoonist:
in high school in Springfield, Massachusetts; in college at Dartmouth
(Class of 1925); as an adman in New York City before World War II;
and in his many children’s books, beginning with To Think That I Saw
it on Mulberry Street (1937)

from j’s
scratchpad
(the girl with the untied shoes)

Booty Call Answered

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Not in response to our call
for information
, the Boston
Globe today
has answered our question about doggy booties. Local dog lovers will be
happy to learn that Paw-Tectors are available at PetCo’s nationwide and
quick calls yesterday verified that they were in stock in the Brighton and Cambridge
stores. But you better hurry:

"We’ve had quite a few customers coming in and asking about them,
saying they were scared to walk their dogs," said Angela Mariani,
a manager at Petco, as she flipped through the final half-dozen pairs
on the shelf. "As you can see, we’re really low. They’re just
selling so fast."

Meanwhile, a web search turned up an interesting site called "spoiledrottenkids.com"
with a wider variety of products and styles for paw
protection in genera
l.

 

from the Boston Globe

The Devil Is in the Details

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Whenever new media evangelists want an anecdote to illustrate the potential
power of the Blogosphere in influencing real world events and creating,
rather than regurgitating, news, they bring up the downfall of Trent
Lott. Its a great story, particular if you aren’t a big fan of racist
redneck reactionary Southern Republicans and closet Dixiecrats.

Now a recently completed study done at the The
Joan Shorenstein Center
on the Press, Politics and Public
Policy at Harvard’s JFK School of Government looks at what exactly
went down in story by story, post by post detail,
and it makes fascinating reading.  This is the perfect article (longish
at 26 pages) to send to somebody who is really into the news and the
news industry but doesn’t really understand what blogs are or how they
interact with the traditional media.

It is available as a free download .pdf from the Shorenstein.  The
weird thing is the extent to which the authors have gone to make sure
this milestone article in the academic history of the Blogosphere is
unbloggable. Excerpts or selections of the text cannot be saved, or copied
and pasted. The document cannot be converted to another format or saved
as anything else. The words “Not to be Copied” in 92-point faded-shit brown watermark letters are splayed diagonally across each and every page.

The selection below were typed out by the Dowbrigade, letter by letter.
We took a perverse pleasure in this exercise because, quite frankly,
as soon as we are told we cannot do something we want to do it. Obviously
this is a fundamentally anti-social attitude and for this reason we indulge
it only occasionally. In this case we were further motivated by the sincere
belief that by quoting a portion of the document some of our readers might
be interested enough to download
the entire thing
, which we found well
worth the read.

Lott’s remarks did not go unnoticed by the scattering of print and television
journalists present, but with the notable exception of one ABC reporter,
they chose not to refer to them an their accounts of the party, which
largely mirrored the genial tone of the event. Nor did the press revisit
the matter in the days immediately following the party; the story of
Lott? speech surfaced sporadically in the newspapers and on TV talk shows,
but was not given sustained or prominent coverage. Among one group of
political writers, however, Lott’s words received close and unremitting
attention. These were the "Bloggers" – the slang term for the pundits
who kept online journals oc commentary known as "Weblogs." While the
mainstream media stayed largely silent on Lott, the "Blogosphere," as
some called
it, hummed with indignation and outrage.

Within two weeks, however, the hum would grow into a roar and, under
intense pressure from his own party, Lott would step down as majority
leader – an event unprecedented in the annals of the Senate. In the aftermath
of this unforeseen and, to many, astonishing outcome, some credited bloggers
with playing a central role in the unraveling of Lott’s fortunes and
hailed them as a potent and unconventional new voice in the nation’s
media.

download
the PDF to read the rest

Signs of the Apocalypse Dept.

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Experts are amazed at the discovery. Children in a nursery were shocked when
they spotted a three-headed frog hopping
in their garden.

The creature – which has six legs – has stunned BBC wildlife experts who warned
it could be an early warning of environmental problems.

Laura Pepper, from the Green Umbrella nursery in Weston-super-Mare, said: "We
thought it was three frogs attempting to copulate at first.

"It is very strange. The children couldn’t believe it."

Mike Dilger, from the BBC Natural History Unit, added: "I have never seen
anything like this.;Frogs are primitive animals – so the occasional extra toe is not that unusual.
But this is very unusual."

All the creature’s eyes and legs appear to function normally, but it is not known
whether it eats using all three of its mouths. The mystery amphibian is currently
the subject of a frog-hunt after it hopped away and disappeared as staff at the
nursery showed it to curious parents.

from the BBC