Month: August 2005

Shame

At work we have a “music club” where we take turns to bring in albums and listen to them and then we all send slating/sarcastic/nasty emails round… sorry, we review whatever has been brought in (there is a sliding scale based on Galactic Toss Monkeys but that’s a different meme). Occasionally we hear something we like and there is much jubilation (recently M83 and The Go! Team for example), and it’s those moments that have made it worthwhile. I’ve discovered more new (and old) music in the past couple of years than I did for the ten before that.

Over the next few weeks we are changing things slightly, instead of bringing in albums you like we’ll be bringing in those albums we bought and, to our shame, have never parted with. Yes indeed the Wall of Shame has started and already the first choice has proved controversial – Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds. Surely a classic!

With my brain full of other things at the moment I thought I’d steal this idea and ask you lot. Somewhere in the depths of your music collection there will be one record and one record alone that you never play, one record you regret buying yet it remains and stubbornly fights for its place in your collection. Why haven’t you gotten rid of it yet? Go on, spill the beans. Confess! and your musical sins will be forgiven or, quite possibly, mocked.

Me?

Ohh I’ll fess up, but not yet, don’t want to spoil the surprise for my co-workers (OK, here’s a hint – Alexander Bard – but that’s all you are getting, and if you Google it keep quiet!).

The comments box awaits you sinner, enter and be assured that anything uttered there will remain confidential, bound by the seal of the confessional. Except not.

Cat … pigeons

Well yesterday’s post certainly wound a few people up didn’t it. Anyone would think I did it on purpose (and yes I’m aware it’s easy to make those claims retrospectively).

So here’s the thing. Do I REALLY buy into that model? Or should I be asking whether it’s the model that is the issue or a general awareness of being part of a group of people (a very VERY large group) that is important?

Just because my blog is a hobby for me, should I just ignore those who are currently navel-gazing about the state of blogging? After all, I don’t want to challenge the mainstream media, nor do I really care about fame and fortune (other than getting that elusive Bloggie of course, or perhaps I should aim at getting a link on Kottke…), so why do I follow these discussions?

Well that’s a lot of question marks to tackle, so I’ll take them one at a time. Ohh and I reserve the right to paraphrase and ignore should it suit my needs (remember, my site my rules … blah blah blah).

1. Do I REALLY buy into that model?
Short answer. No. Whilst it’s easy to create wide catchment descriptions to easily drop blogs into, it loses one of the things that I love about blogs, the variation of content. I find those blogs that constantly harp on about the same topic are the type I visit once every few weeks, and even then I skim read. Plus the entire idea of a “Top Dog” group is no better than what we have at the moment, so I don’t see what gap this model is filling.

2. Is the model the issue or is it more to do with a general awareness that you belong to a group?
Possibly. Some of the commenters on my site backup the idea that groupings occur naturally but is that something that we should be assigning an importance to? Quite possibly, without some sort of grouping the internet and blogging in general becomes a mind bogglingly large space. Grouping makes it easier to find your way about. The crucial thing is that grouping is the sole preserve of the blog owner, not something dictated by others, the real “top dogs” are the ones that everyone has choosen to “group” with (which sounds a lot dirtier than it is, unless of course I’ve not been invited to those parties….).

3. Should I just ignore those who are currently navel-gazing about the state of blogging?
No I don’t think WE should. A bad parallel, and when I say bad I mean I’m too lazy to think of a better one, would be elections. Would you discourage people from voting and not understanding the issues? Whether you like the fact or not you, my blogging friends, are part of something that is seen as a group. The actions of the few will speak for the many. Personally I’d like to keep an eye on what’s being said. But that’s just me, you may not have the same emotional attachment and need for validation that… er… let’s move on.

To sum up – because I’m beginning to bore myself, heaven knows why anyone is still reading this – I think John’s theory is wide of the mark. At best it’s a good place to start, at worst it’s self-serving of the worst kind. One theory does not a good blogger make, no matter HOW much publicity it gets. John, no offense, but your aspirations are clear and I think that tarnishes what you publish, but I’m certain that for each casual blogger that turns up his or her nose at your theory, there will be a “pro-blogger” who will take it heart. THAT’S the beauty of blogging, it COMBINES diversity and inclusion.

Mobile web

CALLING ALL TECHIES!!

My phone includes a GPRS connection and a web browser (IE unfortunately). I have a few bookmarked sites that are optimised for PDA viewing, but was wondering if you (yes YOU dear reader) knew of any others?

Here are the ones I currently have:

Ideally I’m looking for a multi-inbox POP3 email webapp that I can access on my phone, and anything else that would be useful, I’m harrassing UGC (or CineWorld as they are now) to provide PDA compatible listings info for our cinema as well.

Ohh and I’m not looking for sites designed for WAP access, most of the sites listed above are typically meant for PDAs to view meaning the render OK in a web browser.

Anyone got any others?

Blogosphere*

Are there three blogospheres? asks John at Syntagma. He proposes the notion that blogging/bloggers can be categorised in three groups:

  • Primary – ” “Blogging” as a topic of discussion means nothing to them”
  • Secondary – contains the purely-for-business blogs
  • Tertiary – which comprises all those folk who talk endlessly about “the blogosphere”… serious bloggers, info-providers, probloggers, A, B, and C-listers

He proposes that the Tertiary group is the one that will push onwards, leading the way and which will produce “a few giants” over time, with motivation being the dividing factor.

I disagree, slightly, and think this model needs some clarification and additional rules. For a start it needs to explicitly state that the Tertiary group also consists of bloggers who are trying to make money from blogging, to that end it’s not always the case that they are “those folk who talk endlessly” about the state of blogging, more often than not they are the specialist blogs (Gizmodo for example) and rarely pitch in to discussions about the general state of blogging. However they’ll still be pushing ahead as they rely on audience numbers to pull in money.

Naturally, as with any model, there are exceptions to the rule and some bloggers will break out of their “group” and transcend everyone else, perhaps there needs to be a “Stratum” level group in which to place, for example, Dooce. Whether you like reading about her trials and tribulations as a mother, the mainstream media are very aware of her blog, she’s an A-list blogger with no monetary or advancement aspirations.

Anyway, to the crux of my disagreement, or perhaps discontent would be better. This model perpetuates the “them and us” situation we already have and I don’t see how it can, in the long term, benefit the blogging community. By declaring what is essentially a class system such as this, you immediately discount many blogs purely because their motivation isn’t to earn money, be recognised, or gain fame for themselves. There are many smart people who view blogging as a hobby – and would fall into the Primary group in this model – but offer insightful, thought provoking and useful posts. One example, and this is the first one that pops into my head (and I’m aware that I may be perpetuating my own little clique here), would be Adrian’s How to share iTunes over the Internet post which is a perfect example of a “Primary” group blog which, with one post, is now referenced in forums and sites.

Granted this will still be possible in this model but the I think there is has to be some awareness of the Tertiary group becoming very circular. Mind you, that would actually change anything that isn’t present with the A-list blogs at the moment, and is certainly not the fault of the model. However as it’s the “Tertiary” blogs that are discussing this at the moment, and by the model’s own definition they’ll be the only ones doing it, then perhaps John isn’t far off the mark when he states that “the Tertiary blogosphere … will eventually choke itself off”.

To summarise: I think the basic premise of this model isn’t far off the mark, but does seem a little “exclusive” at the moment. I think that can be clarified through wording though. There is also the small matter of the blogs who readily want to be part of the Tertiary group accepting some responsibility and is currently being discussed on other blogs – the small matter of those Top 100 lists. Are the A-listers really doing the what’s best for blogging or themselves?? More on that tomorrow.

* yes I KNOW what I said about that word, I still don’t like it, I’ve slapped myself already

Friday Morning

9 am. I’ll be at the ticket office purchasing a ticket to FINALLY see the Foo Fighters live in Glasgow.

If ANYONE gets in my way or generally fucks things up and I fail to get a ticket then I’ll… I’ll.. ohhh I’ll be SOOOO mad…

Friday morning. And counting.

Ohh and support from The Futureheads and Eagles of Death Metal (a Josh “Queens of the Stone Age” Homme project) should make it pretty darn good.

Stay still

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this (please God, there must be others like me!) but I do enjoy a visit to our local craft /stationery shop. It has all sorts of lovely things in it, and Louise spends a fair chunk of time and money buying stuff for her homemade cards. I get to wander round the store admiring the art department stuff, the models, the ornaments and various “craft” bric-a-brac, but for some reason I’m always drawn to the pen and pencils. They have one wall covered in all sorts of different pens, biros, fountain pens, felt tips, markers, and even those four colour biros where you can choose to write in green, red, blue and black! Ahhh memories indeed. I even spotted a set of Berol colour felt tips that I used to own as a child (the pens are all in turquoise casing with the colours displayed on the end).

Yes I could spend hours there, browsing the pens and pencils on offer, scribbling on the test pads, lost in my own little world of ink and graphite.

It’s just me, isn’t it.

Anyway, snapped this colourful shot on my phone and I quite like it.

Colours

Weekender

Not a bad weekend, Saturday morning was spent pottering around the house, Saturday afternoon and evening was spent with the in-laws and a fantastic curry*. Sunday was a bit of a drag though.

We had planned to meet Louise’s Granda for lunch and then drive from there through to Dumbarton. Unfortunately, the in-laws car wouldn’t start (they’d stayed the night) so we had to drive all the way back to our house, get their car started and lost an hour and a half. That, coupled with roadworks on the way through to Dumbarton cutting the motorway down to two lanes AND THEN being stuck behind two “wide load” lorries doing 20mph for most of the way, kind of put the kibosh on Sunday.

Still we had a great barbeque at my parents, I did a couple of jobs for him (that he’s not allowed to do, he’s being really good with this kind of thing), and when we got home I plonked myself on the sofa with a beer and the football.

* If you are ever in the Hamilton area, you MUST try the Bombay Cottage. Sure the diet went to hell for one night but it’s well worth it!

Summer Driving

In the midst of making up a CD and I’m stuck. The theme is “summer driving” and I’m looking for good bright pop tracks. For example the first track is going to be “The Pop Singer’s Fear of the Pollen Count” by the Divine Comedy, and the B-52s “Love Shack” will feature as well. Old or new I’m not bothered, don’t want anything too obscure though.

So, suggestions please (and quite possibly a free CD for one of you as well).

7 years

Before the blog I had a website, or home page as they were known. It featured links to other sites I enjoyed, some sample code I’d written up and a few different design ideas featuring all the new fangled stuff like coloured text, frames and tables.

That site was first revealed on the internet 7 years ago today, it took me almost another year to realise that some content was needed (I’d link to the “before blog” category but can’t get it to display ALL of the posts…).

It’s a bit scary to think how far things have come in that time, with a large chunk of it documented here. What an odd little hobby this is, but there must be something to it… seven years!

Congratulations

Well it seems like my mate William has finally decided to do the decent thing and marry his lovely lady Fran. It was all done on the quiet so the first I heard was when he phoned me from Dundee this evening and asked if I’d heard the news.

We’re both so happy for you guys, and we’re REALLY looking forward to the reception!

Mind you, there are more important matters to be dealt with first, when’s the stag night!