Jimmy Guterman's blog

media, technology, management, and the rest of it

Archive for July 2008

On not raising your hand unless you have something to say (or, the opposite of blogging)

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One of the unexpected side effects of moving this blog to WordPress was easy access to real-time statistics. I could tell, pretty quickly, whether a particular post or type of post was getting picked up or ignored. It’s seductive stuff — as anyone who has followed his or her book- or record-selling stats on Amazon knows so well. The bad part, aside from the time-wasting, is that the easy access to stats makes a blogger think too much about audience before posting. Blogs, I believe, are supposed to be about unvetted expression, capturing a moment, embracing the amateur and enthusiast in you even if you’re a professional writer in your real life. I intended to title one of my previous blogs “Quality over Quantity,” to celebrate that, but as old-timers know, I committed a typo and wound up titling that blog “Quantity over Quantity,” an unintentional joke too amusing to fix.

Now I’m not so sure. It’s 2008 and almost everyone has a blog (or has at least tried):

Is blogging getting old? Over the past two years, Twitter and Facebook status messages have emerged as media for distributing thoughts deemed too evanescent for a blog post. And now there are so many such services that aggregators such as FriendFeed and Ping.fm have emerged. More are coming. Nothing is so mundane that it can’t be shared immediately via many media. As Philip Greenspun’s blog puts it in its tagline: “A posting every day; an interesting idea every three month.”

I am a bit too enamored with my own ideas, as are many of us. As Jane said to me once and probably thought many more times, “Tell it to your blog.” The blogosphere is a wonderful place, but it’s one by definition full of noise. Although I value that noise and revel in it sometimes, I think too many of my posts are mostly noise, little signal.

Sometimes statistics reveal a truth. The two posts here that received, respectively, the most traffic and the most pointers in recent weeks were Barack Obama, Rolling Stone, and the secret of one great magazine cover and Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Twin “Hurricane”s in Rio. They’re two of the more substantive posts here from the past month. Neither post will change the world and both of ’em featured pointers to more interesting content elsewhere. But they both sought to do a bit more than point to something and say, “Cool.” So, as this blog trudges forward, I’ll stop posting just to post. If I have something interesting to offer, I’ll try to communicate it in a substantial and entertaining way. If I don’t, I’ll try to shut up.

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July 21, 2008 at 3:25 pm

What is the point of Jimmy Guterman’s Jewels and Binoculars?

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You may have your own opinion; I’ll tell you what I think on Monday.

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July 15, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Posted in housekeeping

Headlines of the day

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July 11, 2008 at 2:26 pm

Posted in headlines

Yet another example of why you shouldn’t sit down next to me if you see me anywhere

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You might be a normal person who hears a child chant, as I just did, “Made you look/Made you look/Now you’re in the baby book,” and forget it immediately. I envy you, friend. I, unfortunately, am not a normal person and I am therefore troubled by a number of things in that nyah-nyah:

  • Why does making someone look put him or her into the baby book?

  • Why is being in the baby book bad and, as a result, tauntable? I like babies. Wouldn’t being in the baby book be a good thing?

  • If being in the baby book is indeed a bad thing, what sort of person would trick another person, probably a friend or family member, into looking just to get him or her into a baby book?

The questions could go on forever (and it felt like they did in the original version of this post), and by now the person once sitting next to me would be running away as surely as if I had been pitching scientology, Atlas Shrugged, or CDs of the New Kids on the Block reunion.

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July 11, 2008 at 1:59 pm

Guitar solo of the day: “Incident on 57th Street”

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(2007) Starts around 7:02:

(1978 ) Fellow old-timers may prefer this one (solo starts around 8:18):

(1975) Even older people may be taken by this one (no guitar solo, but no guitar either, barely a picture to be honest):

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July 11, 2008 at 1:44 pm

Posted in music

Apple App Store surprise: I didn’t waste all that money I spent on Treo ebooks

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Buried in Apple’s new App Store is the ebook reader app eReader. It’s pretty good, considering the small screen, but the best news is that all the ebooks I bought from the eReader store when I thought I’d be on the PalmOS forever work again. Now if Apple could squeeze a competent tasks app into the iPhone I wouldn’s miss my Treo so much.

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July 10, 2008 at 5:08 pm

Posted in devices, reading, web 2.0

Headline of the day

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Naked man hijacks bus (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Key sentence: “Police said the man was possibly on drugs during the incident.”

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July 9, 2008 at 2:14 pm

Posted in headlines