A new podcast dedicated to parenting in the digital age: Jumping Monkeys, hosted by former TechTV personalities Leo Laporte and Megan Morrone. Having started drinking from a podcasting firehose ever since I got an iPod, this podcast scratches a completely different itch. I'm not in the tech industry, but the hosts' observation that parenting and family issues are something of a taboo there rings true. So Jumping Monkeys feels pretty fresh: the first full podcast is an intriguing look at how current Web2.0(TM) technologies such as Twitter and
Shannon and I are both listening to this one, and she's finding it a lot more enjoyable than Star Wars Galaxies with Yivvits and MrBubble. Hard to believe.
(Oh, yeah. I'm back.)
Yes, that sounds like bad fan fiction. But it's actually a pretty good fan-made video on YouTube that takes several incarnations of the BBC science fiction series and sets it to GBS's defining song, "Ordinary Day." Not bad, especially if you've seen the old show. And if you haven't seen the new show, currently airing on SciFi, you are missing out on something far better. Shannon and I got our DVD set from Amazon in Canada because we couldn't wait for the U.S. release....
Napster may have had this advertising copy for some time, but I only saw the web ad today: "We'd give you the songs for free, but we all know what happened last time."
A few days ago I discovered that my friend Lex had shuttered his Blog on the Run. Lex, being a professional journalist with a wicked sense of humor and a wellspring of righteous anger, did a really good job with it. (Thankfully, he's still writing The Lex Files at the News and Record. I have a hard time keeping up with just the one blog!) Lex writes at the link that "blogging hadn't been fun in quite a while."
Perfectly understandable. Blogging, like any other hobby or creative pursuit, can become just another chore from the sheer repetition, especially when there are so many other demands on your time. (Raises hand.) But I've been thinking lately about how fundamentally weird blogging can be.
There was a recent sordid affair where an Iraq veteran (a blogger) was murdered, allegedly by his wife's (a blogger) lover, who was a friend of their daughter's (a blogger) boyfriend. Their son blogged as well. The local newspaper easily found the blogs and published the URLs in its coverage. I believe there were some posts by the children after their father was shot. There were also a host of comments, some of them vile. The newspaper received a fair bit of criticism for publicizing the blogs; the newspaper pointed out that there's no expectation for privacy when you post something on the global internet.
There's also been some interesting stuff in the online gaming world. I recently wrote at length about the self-inflicted PR challenges Sony Online Entertainment faces with their changes to the online game Star Wars Galaxies. One of the developers had a long-running blog about random stuff. Occasionally he'd mention something work-related. But when you've got thousands of worked-up video game obsessives out there unable to let go of the changes to their online community, even the most casual references get magnified. And replicated on your workplace's online forums. And presumably cause you headaches at the offices. So the blog is kaput, archives erased much like Lex's.
Blogging is without boundaries, unless you're using one of the social networking sites like Livejournal which allows blog-style posting to a closed community of friends. (Even then, that's risky.) Google and archive.org can find everything you've ever done and said online. You can't thoroughly separate the online persona from your time at the office. If you're fortunate enough to find a following, you'll find trolls as well, and they'll follow you to every place you're publicly accessible.
Why do we blog? In my case, it's an effort to force some reflection, and I do like the idea of having some opportunities for feedback that a closed diary simply won't allow. Because it's a globally open book, however, I'm reeeeeaally circumspect about what I post. Others have a true publisher's mentality, and are trying to build an audience and deliver a message. I got a taste of that kind of writing and response with the surprising reaction to my SWG pieces, and that's the direction I want to move in. But with global reach comes real human costs. I want to move carefully.
But I can't blame Lex for shuttering Blog on the Run, much as I'll miss reading it. When blogging takes a toll on a pro like Lex, I worry about the folks who blithely sign up for an LJ account and sally forth completely unaware of the fact that there are consequences to being a global communicator. We're fast becoming a nation of public figures with no clue how to handle ourselves or protect our boundaries. Take the way people mug for the cameras, desperate to be part of reality television. Lower the barrier to entry. Turn up the volume.
Wait for the crash. For a lot of people, it's coming.
Go to Google Maps. Look up an address. Click on the "satellite" link at the top of the page. Scroll around a fully interactive satellite image of the address -- and everything near it. You can see your house from here....
The Monkeysphere is not a vulgar concept, although this gamer's stab at sociology has some decidedly rude language. But it's an amusing take on our lack of inability to pay attention to what's going on outside our sphere of personal contact:
Yes, the Monkeysphere. That's the group of people who each of us, using our monkeyish brains, are able to conceptualize as people. If the monkey scientists are monkey right, it's physically impossible for this to be a number larger than 150. Most of us do not have room in our Monkeysphere for our friendly neighborhood Sanitation Worker. So, we don't think of him as a person. We think of him The Thing That Makes The Trash Go Away.
My friend Lex is not just insightful and revolutionary in his approach to reinventing the Greensboro News and Record, but he is also abreast one of the most confounding technological innovations of the day:
a jet-powered outhouse
(It's his Thursday, January 6, 10:08 PM entry. Direct links to your entries would be a godsend, Lex.)
183. My chain of command has neither the time, nor the inclination to hear about what I did with six boxes of Fruit Roll-Ups. ®
Courtesy of my friend Mark, the authoritative list of things you can't do in the military. From experience.
From boingboing: Apparently some people just don't feel safe enough at night. In concept, reminds me of baby Kal-El's spaceship from Krypton in the '70s Superman movie, only it looks like a coffin with a wet bar.
Sorry I've been away for so long.
ENFP - "Journalist". Uncanny sense of the motivations of others. Life is an exciting drama. 5% of the total population.
Interesting. I need to retake this, but I remember in high school and college being a diehard INFP -- much more introverted. This change resonates, though. Around the time I met Shannon I split the difference between introversion and extroversion. And now, although I'm still sometimes the King of Social Awkwardness, I find myself talking to strangers more easily, getting lonely more easily, and wanting to be part of a large community.
You are the Fifth Doctor: Your youthful exterior
belies your centuries of experience, and even
you have a bit of difficulty rectifying these
two aspects of your personality. You are
compassionate, introspective, and deeply
troubled by injustice. If you occasionally seem
to display more vulnerability than your
predecessors, it's probably because you're more
openly human than they were. Are your
companions finally rubbing off on you?
Which Incarnation of the Doctor Are You?
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