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Winer Number

You too could be an instant winner! The better half discovered that I have a webpage up on Dave Winer's test site. If you believe Manila, it's been up since February.

A little digging with a Perl script reveals that a there's a whole bunch of these pages - check out the 07.29.2003

Churn Rate

Cameron Marlow strikes a cautionary note in the debate over how many blogs there are on this green earth:

In all user communities, not every individual that signs up for a service will use it indefinitely. When trying to gauge the effect a service is having on society at large, the important number is not …



Martin Spernau has used the Perl module Search::ContextGraph to set up a neat feature on his weblog. Each post has an automatically generated list of related posts below it, so you can surf around similar entries without having to use the search box, or even know what you're …



The monsoon has arrived in Vermont, and it's in no hurry to leave us. The college (which lies between this site and the Internet) has lost power twice in a little more than a week - once from downed power lines, once from a blown transformer, both times the fault of powerful windstorms. The tomatoes in the garden have swollen to the size of basketballs, but their color is an unhealthy frog-be…


Tarkowski Article

Regular readers will know that I like to crib posts from Alek Tarkowski, a Polish blogger with a keen mind and a low tolerance for blather. On July 8th, Alek wrote the following post, which captures all of my frustration at the data-free manifestos that seem to regularl…


Fear of Turbulence

Some people are afraid of heights, or spiders, or being stuck in a confined space. Some people are afraid of all three. The better half is afraid of fishes. I am afraid of turbulence.

A reminder to myself for the next time I decide to fly a fifteen-seater prop plane from Boston to Rutland, over mountains, on a hot and windy July afternoon: wear…


Talk: Artificial Stupidity

My colleagues and I unexpectedly got asked to give a talk at the Open Source conference, to fill a Friday morning slot. I feel like the third-string rookie in those sports movies, who unexpectedly gets called in to make the Big Play when the star quarterback/batsman/coxswain injures himself and is taken out of play.

Our talk will be called "Building a Smarter Search Engine: Artificia…


Microsoft Sponsor

Microsoft continues its schizophrenic relationship with open source by sponsoring our lunch today at the Open Source conference. Tip to my fellow attendees - don't drink the Kool Aid!…


Portland Oregon

I'm in Portland, Oregon, experiencing a sort of heat-wave survivor guilt. Every inch of the country the plane flew over was covered with a hot miasmic haze, until at the very end of the trip, we descended into a lone pocket of comfort in the Pacific Northwest. I'm here with my two colleagues, in town for the Open Source convention. The main event itself starts tomorrow, but for the past two …


Quebec Road Trip

I got back from Québec on the night of July 3rd, having logged over a thousand miles of driving in three days. My mother and I had been prepared for even worse, but those mile markings in the atlas turned out to be kilometers on the Canadian pages. The red squiggle in the map here tells the story. map of QuÃ…</i></p>
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Dave Winer Considered Harmful

If you don't know who the man is, stop reading right now and be happy.

I realized I had had my fill about five nights ago, when over a sushi supper I briefly tried to explain the great RSS saga to the better half, and found myself talking for half an hour as she …



I'm writing tonight from the town of Roberval, on the shores of Lac St. Jean, Québec. Lac St. Jean is a very large lake some three hours north of Québec City. On the map the lake shows as a ring of settlements tethered to Quebec and Trois Rivieres, far to the south, by a pair of long, snaking roads. Everything else is pure wilderness, glacial lakes and moraines for hundreds of miles to t…

Idle Words

brevity is for the weak

Greatest Hits

The Alameda-Weehawken Burrito Tunnel
The story of America's most awesome infrastructure project.

Argentina on Two Steaks A Day
Eating the happiest cows in the world

Scott and Scurvy
Why did 19th century explorers forget the simple cure for scurvy?

No Evidence of Disease
A cancer story with an unfortunate complication.

Controlled Tango Into Terrain
Trying to learn how to dance in Argentina

Dabblers and Blowhards
Calling out Paul Graham for a silly essay about painting

Attacked By Thugs
Warsaw police hijinks

Dating Without Kundera
Practical alternatives to the Slavic Dave Matthews

A Rocket To Nowhere
A Space Shuttle rant

Best Practices For Time Travelers
The story of John Titor, visitor from the future

100 Years Of Turbulence
The Wright Brothers and the harmful effects of patent law

Every Damn Thing

Every Damn Thing

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