Archive for January, 2005

The Triangle Bloggers Conference 2005 has outgrown the room we had reserved in Carroll Hall. I’ve secured the newly renovated auditorium in Murphey Hall nearby known as MU116. This is the Classics Department building so it comes complete with Ashcroft-offending statues at the entrance to the room. Tasteful, classic and partically clothed. The room has comfortable seating, plenty of technology and wireless access.
So the new info is:

Saturday, February 12
9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Murphy Hall 116
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
FREE

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On page 7A of today’s News and Observer, Nextel has a full page advert for their wireless service. The irony is that the area pictured in the advert is the lawn of Weaver Street Market in Carrboro. Memsy Price, a Nortel marketer, who is pictured in the advert doesn’t need Nextel to get internet access while at Weaver Street.
At least two wireless quilts cover the Weaver Street lawn. The first is completely free and open to all. It’s provided by Weaver Street as part of the Town of Carrboro’s wireless blanket.
The second comes from the UNC offices in the same building as Weaver Street Market (just upstairs). That network is restricted to UNC faculty, students and staff. But that group is a pretty significant part of the Weaver Street community.
To be fair to Nextel, they have very wide coverage in this area if their maps are an accurate guide, but the advert selling Carrboro as the reason to have their wireless plan is funny to me and a bit wrong.

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UNC scored a mere 91 points to Georgia Tech’s 69 tonight. Sloppy play with lots of turnovers due to great pressure from the Yellow Jacket defense will result in a general drop in sausage consumption across North Carolina tomorrow. The Tar Heels left us 9 points shy of the sausage biscuit special.
Not expecting a Bojangles day after the Wake Forest game on Saturday. The Deacons just dispatched Maryland 81 – 66.

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If poets wrote poems whose titles were anagrams of their names, then we would have this to live with.

I obviously need a longer name, but Dylan Thomas seems to come out well with “Halt, Dynamos” and the poem with that title is pretty witty too. And H.D. comes up fine with her “DH.” Maybe Juan Lopes will work out somehow.

I blame the Warren Wilson Alum list for this one in particular Paula Szuchman of the Wall Street Journal.

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The title tells it all. Great national poetry parody from Wales in the form of the Dylan Thomas Random Poetry Generator.

A sample:

And finally he goes missing
Into the lightgrey tides,
Waiting while they cover
Heartily in the lazy-loving blush

And lazily the salmon of the birds
Dance hazily in praise of the bird
Burning while they walk
Mildly into the sixpenny cobblestreets

I blame Simon for telling me about this wonderful time waster.

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For sometime now a member of a library staff has told me that Suspicion, Isolation and Rigidity were the three pillars of his department. They have been the pillars of any unhappy place I’ve worked as well. I’m happy now but I want to remember them.
Does this ring true with you?

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Just back from a great dissertation defense of Deb Procopio’s work on the Internet and the Knowledge Gap. One important finding (I gave my copy with makes on it back the Dr. Procopio so I’m working from memory) is that Internet use works aggressively to close the Knowledge Gap of Lower Socio-Economic Status (called SES in the trade) people. Internet use doesn’t just move up everyone’s knowledge equally although it does move everyone up. But it demonstrably and significantly helps out citizens of lower SES. Dr. Procopio worked with some large datasets from the Knight Foundation surveys covering several years and several communities and her findings were consistant throughout.
Look for more about this.

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The news is alive with the rustle of pundits trying to make sense of IBM‘s giving 500 patents [list of the patents in PDF] back to the Commons (or in this case the Open Source Community). There are over 160 stories in Google news on the subject.
Not one to be left out, I too took a call from a local paper (also known as the News and Observer — hopefully called “Nuisance and Disturber” when I was in school) to opine on “what does it mean?”
Since my contribution may not make the paper tomorrow as the number of stories begin to push over 200, I give it here:

IBM is one of the biggest patent holders in the world. It takes a lot of guts to step up to the plate and not only say that the patent system in the US is badly broken, but to also here are some patents back. Things that should not have been patented. Things (processes or inventions) that should be out there free so that they could facilitate innovation. IBM need not give up all their patents, only the ones that should not have been patented in the first place, patents that were filed as a defense against false patent claims later.


Matthew Szulik,
CEO of Red Hat, was also adamant about false and defensive patents during his talk today. Red Hat has assigned several patents to the Free Software Foundation, he said, in order to make sure that the processes remained free for all to use.

UPDATE: The N and O story is out and I’m not in it. I must become more pithy and less insightful! The story is a remix of yesterday’s NYTimes story with two paragraphs of local quotes dropped in. The NYTimes reporter is credited and the local reporter “contributed to this story.”

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Thomas Mendoza has been taking public speaking lessons. This is my guess anyway. And I do have a basis for it. His stance. His timing. His presence. The are all studied but casually studied and friendly.
He had several cute jokes. Here’s one.

Backgound: Yahoo! is a major client of NetApp having bought petabytes and petabytes of fileservers.

Mendoza is out to dinner a few weeks before the Google IPO. His dinner partners were the Google founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and his boss NetApp Board Chair Don Valentine.
In the course of the meal, Mendoza pitches NetApp solutions to Google only to be rejected by Page who goes on about how Google has such brilliant people that they design their own storage systems etc and will never buy a NetApp.
Soon after the bill is delivered. Brin pushes the bill over to Mendoza. Mendoza pauses for a minute. He realizes that these folks are 1) weathier than even he can possibly imagine or will be in two weeks 2) are not going to be his customers. He says as much to Brin and passes the check back.
Brin looks up and says. We make you rich without buying a single NetApp.
How so? asks Mendoza.
We brought out Gmail with gobs of free storage which was a slap in the face to Yahoo! What did they do? They immediately called you up and bought a whole large batch of NetApps. You pay.
And Mendoza did.

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My collegues, Phil Meyer and Jock Lauterer, were two of the guests on yesterday’s State of Things call-in discussion show on WUNC. They were joined by Ken Ripley of the Spring Hope Enterprise. Along with them was, Robert Ashley, the new editor for the now-Paxton-run Durham Herald-Sun who had, as Rickie Ricardo would say, “Some ‘splanin’ to do.” The Paxton Group recently took over the Herald Sun and immediately and without ceremony canned over 20% of the staff from top to bottom.
I, like many of you, listened to the show in the WUNC SoT Archives as I was in a very exciting faculty retreat almost all day yesterday.
I did catch the end of the show during the evening rerun. Enough to hear Phil challenge newspapers to get out and make mistakes, to take audacious chances and to change the business. This was in a response to a call from “David from Greensboro” who asked if the Herald Sun might follow the Greensboro News and Record’s ground breaking staff blogging effort.
Ruby has some comments on this and other parts of the show on OrangePolitics.org

On listening to the archives, I’ve been enjoying Jock’s insights into the odd space that the Herald Sun occupies. Jock says that the Durham newspaper market is like a teenager — not quite a full grown daily and a community newspaper. Sometimes it shows itself off, flexing its muscles, then it panics and retreats to smaller more local behavior.

Phil Meyer is as deep and insightful as always describing the odd travels of newspapers over the past few decades esspecially the changing advertising market and the changing nature and competition in classifieds.

During call-ins, resourceful Fiona Morgan of the Independent makes up for the fact that Ashley wouldn’t return her calls. She jumps into the fray quickly naming names of those who were let go — more that Ashley had confessed to. He split hairs on who was a reporter and who wasn’t. The conversation turns to a discussion of news cartooning which Ashley (thinking now of Jock’s comment) says is no longer merited in a market the size of Durham. Jock also laments the firing of Ross Taylor the photographer. The gist seems to be that the paper is thinking like a small town paper (in Jock’s definition).

Today’s show will be Latino Media in North Carolina.

Off to presentations by NetApp President Thomas Mendoza and Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik.

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Anton Zuiker is the Mister Sugar behind the Triangle Bloggers Conference 2005. He’s posted a recent review of the state of the conference on his site.
We’re a month away and we’ve had great response from great folks.

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Thanks to Cory and to Justin, I’ve been boingboinged along with Dan Gillmor in a listing about our session at the Triangle Bloggers Conference 2005 on February 12.
No wonder my user count went way up! And I was enjoying a very exciting faculty meeting all day…

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The Triangle Bloggers Conference 2005 already has some great folks signed up and is going to be bigger than 50 persons soon with greater than a month to go.

If you will be attending and you want to go online during the conference, you need to register with the UNC Wireless network. I can do this for you. Send me email with your name and your MAC address and I will sign you up for conference period access.

One addition of particular note:
Dan Gillmor, former San Jose Mercury News tech reporter and author of “We, the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People” (O’Reilly, 2004) will be among the participants.

You’ll have a second chance to hear Dan on Monday Feb 13 when he will be giving a public talk on campus (not sure where yet) in the afternoon probably around 3:30. I suspect he will be talking about his ideas concerning distributed journalism and grassroots journalism.

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One of the finalists for the job of Dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC was part of a team that did a study of newspaper readers in the St. Petersburg (Florida, not Russia) area.
The question: What writing style do readers prefer and benefit from most?
Hint: Not the famous inverted pyramid style that we’ve taught in J-schools forever. (according to the study)
Dr. Georgia Green, who is not the finalist BTW, did a through write up of the study and the findings in an article for the American Society of Newspaper Editors called “Structure, Goals, and Comprehensibility Revisited.”
Note: This study didn’t settle the ongoing discussion of inverted pyramid vs. storytelling or narrative.

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Collapse: the book
The promotion and discussion of Jerad Diamond‘s new book, “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed”, continues unabated. Last week there was a full page advert in the NYTimes (as well as a review of Malcolm Gladwell‘s new book, “Blink: the power of thinking without thinking”, in the same edition). This morning, Diamond himself was interviewed on NPR’s Morning Edition. The interview should be online later today.
I’ve been posting on this right along — once the semester gets going I promise to read it instead of reading about it.

Observation: The word Collapse is also a key work in Robert Putnam’s bowling alone thesis in
“Bowling Alone : The Collapse and Revival of American Community”.
That book was answered in part by Richard Florida’s creative class thesis in
“The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure,
Community and Everyday Life”
.

Will there be a book in answer to Diamond keying in on the word Rise?

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NC native novelist, Michael Parker reminds me of the time when Raleigh radio was regional and interactive. In his essay “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way” published in today’s NYTimes Magazine, Michael brings back memories of the Ask Your Neighbor show on WPTF (I think). Ask Your Neighbor was at once local, regional and national. National in the sense that there were versions of AYN all across the country. The one in Detroit continues after 43 years!

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News and Observer has a nice very brief piece on WUNC radio and General Manager Joan Siefert Rose by Danny Hooley in their Lifestyles Section today. Part of the story is Joan’s direction to make the content of WUNC more available to a national audience (ala Minnesota Public Radio or Michigan say). Amongst the changes in that direction is the hiring of a Business and a Health reporter (hope that they give a boost to those two programs in the J-School here). This spring, WUNC will become the southeastern bureau for the national program “Marketplace.”
Two other projects will be a youth voice radio and an indepth look at poverty in North Carolina; both are scheduled to begin this spring.

We all know and love, although with some reservations, OrangePolitics.org here in Orange County. NandO also has a story on a community blog in Johnston County called 4042.com. It’s not really a blog, but it is a discussion board setup that allows — for better or worse — anonymous postings and spirited threaded discussions. Already the regular complaints and compliments are being aired in the report, but amusing to see another view of community blogging.

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Larry amongst the Stacks

Larry Alford is leaving UNC’s Libraries after 30+ years there. Any one who has had the pleasure of working with Larry understands what a loss this is to the UNC community and what a great gain Larry’s move to Philly and to Temple will be. One does not make an appointment with Mr. Alford or with Larry Alford. One makes an appointment with Larry. There is no other Larry.

I wish him the very best and we all will miss him. There is little, if anything, that has to do with the Academic Libraries that has not felt Larry’s intelligent touch.

In related news, Herald Sun copyeditors implicitly accuse UNC of breaking child labor laws. “New chapter for librarian: Alford, 45, to lead Temple Univserity’s system” says the headline. Larry may look and feel 45, but he is 54. If he had started in the Libraries at age 15 or less… The great pictures of Larry do make him look as young as he probably feels.

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It happened again, and I’m not complaining this time at all, UNC trounced Maryland 109 – 75. I hope Bojangles can stay in business this year! (Recall that the Carolina Tar Heel victory special kicks in once UNC breaks 100. The Special is two sausage biscuits for $1 if you go to a Bojangles tomorrow before noon).

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Coming on the heels of the Armstrong Williams stories and just after John Hood’s mention of Steve Glass, the Berkman Center at Harvard announces an invitation-only conference to be held on January 21st and 22nd, 2005 entitled “Blogging, Journalism and Credibility: Battleground and Common Ground.”
Why talk about an invitation only conference? Because there are active discussions happening on the conference blog right now. And you can participate by commenting on the blog. Also the sessions will be webcast live, blogged, on IRC and covered by journalists.
Of particular interests there so far:

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