Monday, October 20, 2003

what the kids today are saying about your favorite games

assuming the egm mag staff isn't pulling our collective legs with these transcripts, the 10-13 y.o. kids interviewed for their reactions while playing classic arcade games sure do come up with a lot of snappy off-the-cuff quips. A favorite: "I'm sure everyone who made this game (Space Invaders) is dead by now."

And yes, i'm going to get around to renovating this blog one of these days soon. As with other, similar projects, inertia's a bitch.


Friday, October 17, 2003

novel use of URL as a direct command line interface

This ITU news item explains how travelers can use their browser's URL field as a sort of direct query line for flight status information for any flight involving Geneva Int'l Airport (Switzerland). I gather they've algorithmically reserved namespace within .aero to make what they've put online possible. Don't take my word for it. Try this URL right now:


"Whose curse is worse?"

Ray Ratto's column at Thy work be done provides the theological framework necessary to understand what in God's name happened to the Cubs and BoSox this week. This is important, because no earthbound rationale could uncoil this thing. Certainly no one at Fox wanted this!

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

relevant to my last rant

From a Salon survey of its own blog community, useful advice for new bloggers on how they might start a good blog and make it even better over time:

Ask other bloggers, not Userland, when you need technical help.
Think about what your 'niche' is going to be before you start posting.
Persevere. Be patient. Write well. Say something unique.
Assess objectively, and strive to continuously improve, your blog.
Don't be afraid to ask questions of other Salon bloggers, that's what the community is for.
Study other blogs; learn from and emulate what they do well.
Read a lot, write a lot, use a spell-checker.
Post often.
Promote your blog aggressively.
Re-evaluate why you're blogging from time to time, and adjust your style and subject matter accordingly.
Be prepared to be surprised at what others find good and interesting.'s in the spirit of these points that my upcoming blog deconstruction will commence (or so I hope).


Friday, October 10, 2003

"Perfect! Now, we change everything."

I've decided to demolish this blog and rebuild it completely, starting from a muddy excavation pit. I think the reasons for doing so are self-evident:

  • does this blog cater to a particular audience?

    no. it's just another rant-catcher.
  • what does the visual design say about the author or the theme of the blog?
    that he's too lazy to create his own look.

  • what keeps readers coming back?

    not visible to the naked eye.
  • are there calls for help I've chosen to ignore?

    hallo. I am a cry for help, already!

I feel these reasons are true because I haven't yet given myself a real incentive to blog beyond the occasional belief that something I've uncovered online merits preservation. Consequently, this site has amounted to little more than a firefly jar enclosing URLs that buzzed within my reach. Is that of much use to anyone else? Only if my most recent posting(s) cross a fortunate intersection with their fancy. The web has been about this sort of star-crossed interaction since Tim Berners-Lee first lit its fuse on his back porch in 1989, so virtually anyone who wants to have some say in the way of the world can do so online. That's absolutely great. What's not so keen is when, as a web property owner, you let the yard go to seed. I can just imagine my neighbors here at Burning Door tuttering among themselves about this blog's sorry state while standing along the fencelines of their own well-kept blogs. Can't blame 'em.

So, over the weekend I'll raze the old structure and start over. I think I finally have a theme in mind -- something that will hopefully address the balance of this blog's shortcomings. The theme includes:

  • an intended audience

  • personal motivation for progressive updates over time

  • appropriate use of a blog as a time-ordered display of hypertextual information

  • a visual style that reinforces the theme while avoiding the Herb Tarlek web-safe palette

A lot of the fun in blogging comes from putting something out there and seeing what sort of crowd gathers. The pain comes from each Google search on a topic you think you know something about revealing 68 expertly crafted blogs that beat to death your novel thesis or how-to guide idea better than nine months ago. sigh.


Thursday, October 9, 2003

those frigging ladybugs

Residents of the Midwest (including most of us here in Chicago) have been plagued by an invasion of imposter ladybugs -- the "multicolored asian lady beetle." These particular bugs will bite, crawl into your home through any available crevice (to hibernate for the winter), and apparently stink and stain if squished. It seems our well-meaning FDA brought them in to help control aphids (which they do quite well) but they've since performed some super-adaptation on these shores and the laws of unintended consequences have taken over. don't say your gubmint doesn't love ya -- they're here for your tomato garden's benefit. honest!

There are a lot of links out there on this phenomenon but OSU has some especially informative material.