Sunday Jan 25, 2009

Dialog Style

For a while, at their start, blogs were about conducting a continuous dialog on the web.

In some cases, this went a bit too far. You would write a blog, someone else will comment on it and would write some other blog, and all these will be tracked back to each other and a network of connections will create a kind of a strange open-ended non-converging conversation, that could hardly even be called "a conversation" but would instead become a strange, often awkward interconnection of half-finished ideas, notes and scraps.

As a vehicle of pure (and even mildly organized) content and information, the blog is probably the poorest form although its ability to attract search engines can more easily be managed. Hence, its popularity for content, including corporate content.

As a vehicle for continuous dialog, the blog is probably one of the richest forms created by the users of the Internet. With a bit of discipline it could do a ton of magic.

Friday May 04, 2007

News, Blogs and Sun Microsytems Inc.



We are witnessing the close of a decade when blogs might begin to mirror meaningless news and when meaningful news might begin to appear as blogs, like these Reuters Alternet Blogs.

Note that Sun Microsystems Inc. powers Reuters Alternet for the Reuters Foundation.

With its independent board, Reuters continues as one the most independent media and news organizations in the world. 

Friday Feb 09, 2007

Other Blogs

I have started a number of other blogs on

My purpose has been to experiment with other blogging services and learn about user experience.

Originally, I had a few and now there are a dozen or more. They were and are all experimental. Managing the layouts of these blogs had become a headache. I was trying to figure out how to add hosted material and feeds and each had their own model. So, currently, I'm experimenting with the layout management tools that the new service provides.

Recently, Google consolidated's access management with access management for other Google services. Furthermore, has taken a large step in rationalizing its templates and layout managers. Now, after choosing a template, the user can upgrade to the new layout manager which provides a simple GUI interface to handle widgets on the page. Blogger carries guidelines on how to define new widgets.

Since I had not made a huge investment in developing my own templates and layouts in the original experimental blogs, I decided to migrate them to the new layout and template formats and to create some new ones. I then used the guidelines to create some new widgets of my own, including a couple for Google's adsense for content. The scripting language for widgets, "includables," and page layout management proved quite simple to use, and defined properly, the widgets can be manipulated in the simple, graphic layout manager.

Tuesday Nov 14, 2006

Reuters Plucks Pluck

Reuters, the innovative newswire service famous for its bylaws and independent board, "plucks" Pluck, a blog syndicator for news outlets, through a $7 million investment. 

Friday Nov 10, 2006

On Weblogs and Fair Disclosure

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox seems to have responded to Jonathan Schwartz's questions regarding the use of blogs for fair disclosure, Siobhan Hughes of Dow Jones Newswire reports. This is a historical dialog worth noting by those interested in how technology can effectively be used to meet various regulatory requirements.

A Persian Blogger Comes of Age

 The Power of the Press

If you know Persian, occasional viewing of Hossein Derakhshan's Persian weblog might benefit you. He also has an English weblog and a photoblog worth a visit for a cultural study if nothing else. The Washington Post carries another regular blog of his.

Derakhshan's recent piece analyzing current politics of Iran might be a good lesson for those Persian speakers who have a tendency to provide knee-jerk analysis of the Iranian history of the last 30 years. The title is a bit odd but clear "چرا با براندازی حتی نرم هم مخالفم" ("Why I'm opposed to regime change of even the soft variety"). I've not included the link to this particular entry of his but you can search for it on his Persian blog if you're interested. If you don't know Persian, you can turn to his Washinton Post blog, mentioned above, for a taste of his writings.

Athough Derakhshan takes the job of the journalist somewhat seriously and does quite a bit to expose double-standards everywhere he can see it, his failing (if any) seems to be related to an exaggerated view of the role of the journalist in modern society up to a purist theoretical limit beyond any dreamed up by common Western journalists in Europe or North America. One may also detect an exaggeration with respect to the actual (as opposed to either the theoretical or the subservient) capability of a journalist to transform society, which in practice tends to remain limited because of subtle realities of human life that stand beyond and above opinions of one sort or another. To his advantage and credit, Derakhshan insists on remaining at least self-consistent unlike some of his peers who go as far as advocating false concepts such as judicious double-standards.

In his "History of American Journalism classes," professor Thomas C. Leonard of UC Berkeley used to ask whether journalists, under the Fourth Estate, had perhaps evolved into a new type of priesthood (The Power of the Press: The Birth of American Political Reporting), and Kierkegaard would have hated that very aspect of modern times, The Present Age, and Ayn Rand tried to capture it all in her Fountainhead. This perspective, focusing on the leveling effect of the journalistic approach to understanding our moral place in the world, while full of modern rings, goes back all the way to Socrates and his dislike of the rhetoricians of the courts who could make anything sound right or good. Hence, his repose into dialogs

Who is right? The confusion continues, and perhaps, the disintegration of authentic communities of moral practice tend to give rise to priestly elites who busy themselves with "useful" justifications (of torture under "rules," e.g., by Alan Dershowitz: here, here, here; here and here) instead of advocating well-established and crystal-clear moral concepts having to do with human beings and their due integrity and honor, and also, to journalists who play the missing priests--to use professor Leonard's reluctantly-drawn  but apt analogy.




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