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Atomized junior- The Radio Weblog

Friday, 31 January, 2003

Dave Weiner has a few words on AOL up on Scripting News. I'd hit button and turn his whole article around here, but there is just one sentence I thought captured the essence of the whole. : AOL was the finger in the dike of the internet.. I just don't understand Aol it always seemed designed to obstruct the real power of the web from users.
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Sunday, 26 January, 2003
the Miserables, take two

Wrote another short essay. I was thinking about Victor Hugo's Les Mis. I even went out and picked up a copy of the novel. Which I will read - right after I finish reading Christina Wodtke's book and Louis Rosenfeld/peter Morvilles' as well (I've taped them together to make one big book: Information blueprints for the arcitected web). Going back to Hugo though. I've become a little sensitive on the subject of regime change for some reason. Not that I place a great deal of weight on some concept of national sovereignity. The worlds one big playground. You want rules? Lay out the bases, get yourself a big rubber ball, name some teams and try to start a game. The rules are in force as long as the game goes on.
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Friday, 24 January, 2003

>>I've been following Lessigs blog and extended site over at Stanford as he and his assistants sort out the press and commentary on the Eldred decision. This one they are referenceing, here from the Washington Times is a good example of what the prevailing view in Washington really is on this. My brother in law [who is no republican] had pointed out to me that the court took this case on, not because they thought it was hard interesting, or had good points, but because they thought it was such a laugh and a good oppurtunity to give a very pointed message to fair use and copyleft types. I note for now only that the notion of incentive to further creativety advanced by the W.Times editorialist is quite different from what I had thought I understood about that from reading Jefferson and other framers of the original copyright policy. "ghr" On the web: Eldred and Post-Eldred. The Washington Times: Why piracy control matters Supreme Court supports the Copyright Extention Act… [Lessig News]
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>>The BBC gives a tip of a posioned pen to the most annoying spam of the year. This year marked the first time since I've had an email account that I finally got a Nigerian confidence scheme email. With tears of pride welling up in my eyes I thought to myself "today I am a true netizen". Then I sat down and added about 50 words to my auto-delete filter. I wish to "increase" nothing, do not send me mail referenceing measurements in any system I wish to "see" or "view" nothing, and desire not to re "Mortage" my house. I especially like the qoute at the end of this article. Where someone from surf control (the company who compiled this list) estimates that the amount of spam would exceed real email by July of this year. "ghr"

The most annoying spam of 2002. A list of the most irritating spam messages sent in 2002 has been put together by an e-mail filtering firm. [BBC News | Technology | UK Edition]
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Wednesday, 22 January, 2003

Okay, five minutes later I've already gotten a flame. No, I didn't know they were so expensive. Sue me. Part of the philosophy of weblogs is that we don't mind sharing epiphanies, even if it makes us look stupid, to some. So, why was I so clueless? Because I've had good health insurance and good health, no reason to learn, or be concerned. It's easy to look the other way when it's someone else's problem. I'm just human, no claims of sainthood here. [Scripting News] "ghr" >> the speaker above is Dave Wiener, in his previous post he had expressed some shock at the size of a particular managed care co-payment. And then incredulity when the health practioner informs him what the cost would be without health insurance. He's got his finger on the central issue of the whole health care debate its not clear he realizes how much. Several years ago someone asked Newt Gingrich how much he payed for health care. He didn't know - he had people who took care of little details like that. Certaintly the implication is it wasn't enough in a relative sense to bother the big man about. He had Hillary that (rhymes with witch) and her "healthcare reform" to fight. To the rich and higher reaches of the middle class even high co-payments are just a fumble in the pocket for small change. They don't find themselves drawing their finger down the list of what procedures are covere, flipping the booklet over to the dental plan page, sweating the details of prescriptions co-payments. They disdain the idea of universal comprehensive coverage and push for ever more varieties of privatised insurance plans ever dividing the pool of participants and resources of managed care plans. Also enabling the medical industry to stave off any genuine realignment of its approach to health care in America, any real comittment to preventive health care. It is satisfactory to this nation's elites that this country continue to provide the best medical care that money can buy.
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Wednesday, 15 January, 2003
Web Beacons

Scrolling through the near infinite reaches of my news aggregator I came across two pieces dealing with yahoo's default use of web beacons. Nasty little things those, from what I gather they are little java entities often embedded in IMG tags such as single pixel gif images. these can be used in web pages or deployed in HTML email. They seem to be able to do everything cookies did, maybe more, and exist because people found out about cookies and begain disabling them. Yahoo at least let's you opt out at the source. I'll have to try to catch one of these in the wild, inside some piece of spam to see what the less responsible are up to.
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Tuesday, 14 January, 2003

LibraryLookup Bookmarklet Keeps Going and Going and Going.....

alf is off and running with more ideas for adaptations of Jon Udell's LibraryLookup bookmarklet. He proposed the following in an email message:

  1. "Set up an SFX server like this one:

    ( so that we can use an SFX Lookup bookmarklet ( to find resources. (As an example, try it on an abstract page in HubMed:;uids=12520538)

  2. Sign up to WorldCat, so that we can find books by geographical location (see the link to the OCLC WorldCat service if you run the SFX Lookup bookmarklet on the abstract page above). WorldCat also provides the 'other formats for this book' service you asked for."


[The Shifted Librarian]

>>The library I work for recently (last week) installed a new opac (Online Public Access Catalog). The Aleph 500, made by a company called A Libris. One of the many widgets that came with: was this SFX interface. Dealing with a new opac is a little traumatic not least back in the cataloging department. So I had made a note to check out the buzz and find out just what SFX can deliver when I could. I had that penciled in for some time in March. The All Consuming web site I knew about previously: it peels book reviews off of weblogs and aggregates them so you can see what other people with your shared dementia are reading, now technology will tell you where to find the book as well.
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Friday, 10 January, 2003

Jon Udell is getting record flow on his weblog. The librarians are figuring out what he's doing. Nice.  [Scripting News]

>>On the strength of this brief write-up in Scripting News I went over and took a look at this site, another site I will have to put in the "can't figure out list." Maybe I just have to try harder.
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Thursday, 9 January, 2003

Thunderbirds win new mission. Film: Movie based on 60s TV show at last leaves the launchpad - to rescue British film industry. [Guardian Unlimited]

>>I have to say it - even though I know the Guardian has this in their article when you follow the link - Thunderbirds are Go! I was trying to explain this show to my other nephew, Grant, a few weekends ago, before I heard this wonderful news. He, raised as he is on Star Wars, Iron Giants, Rescue Heroes, Batman Beyond, and other improbable's, found my description incomphrehensible. It might have been when I got to the part about Super Marrionette Action
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Punk Rockers Turn to Opera [NPR News (Audio)]

>> O.K I'm saying at the outset, that I'm not buying the premise of this story -- That punk rock is just like Opera (that's Opera as in Cosi fan Tutti, not Opera the web browser from Norway; and thats Cosi fan Tutti, the Opera by Mozart, not Cosi fan Tutti of Chris and Cosi, who used to be in Throbbing Gristle) so if you like one you ought to like the other. Some of the points the presenter makes along the way I'll accept. Neither is easy listening, both place great weight on highly wrought emotionalism and a tendency towards extreme vocal performances;, thought, when it comes to that both those comparisons are easier made to heavy metal. Punk was many things, if often to me seemed composed of the cast-off stylings of other rock and pop modes. I never like Punk bands when they seemed too theatrical (which was often) I never really liked Gen-X. I made peace with Nick Cave's theatricity, because I liked that "Hamlet" song , and because I always saw him as more of a Grand Guignol figure. Maybe this punk as opera angle might shed some light on Chris Dejardin's singing for the Flesheaters. The NPR link leads to a audio link on their page so you'll have to have Real player for the goodness to flow.
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Wednesday, 8 January, 2003

Apple Safari browser. Wow. Apple has developed a web browser for OS X. Safari is available as a public beta at the moment. It has the same feel as the other iTools. Coolest feature for me is spell checking in form fields. Right click on words see correct spelling. Can underline in red words that spelled miscorrectly. Yippee!

Will post links to reviews as I find them in the news aggregator. Currently being discussed at:

* Dive into Mark
* web graphics
* 7nights [ia/ - information architecture news]

>> News from Apple. The IA/ post doesn't say much but he collects three other sites that do say more. Apple has chosen to release their own browser, Safari. I was only surprised by this for a minute or so, then I realized it fits in with their other iApps endeavors. The only real surprise is that they built the inards of it from the konquerer source code. I use iCab myself which I believe turns around portions of the Mozilla code, but which seems largely home brewed by Alexander Clauss. From what I've read here I can't see myself switching just to make Steve Jobs happy. I haven't really grasped the entire iTools/iApps /iLife/.Mac thing yet.

As notably is what is happening to Apple's product line. They've discovered people actually like the 12" powerbook, so that gets G4 treatment and better graphics. I can even tell them why people like it - because you can actually carry that one around with you. People also seemed to prefer the eMac to the new iMac despite Apples best efforts not to have that happen. They seem to be having a hard time aligning product and price point with customer
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Tuesday, 7 January, 2003
Lucas vs. Les Miserables

My nephew Lucas saw the musical Les Miserables a little while ago and has developed views upon it. I should say at the outset that Lucas is only just eight years, and therefore has only a shallow crucible available for those topics he chooses to reduce. I for my part have never seen Les Miserables or read the book for that matter. I gather; however, from what has been related to me with some explicatory matter provided by my brother in law, that at least one plot thread closes the play with virtually everyone dieing upon the barricades of Paris. This has exasperated my nephew to no end. He has fixed his eye on the plucky though doomed students as the problem. "They're Dimbells", he declares, "Dimbells!" A wonderful neologism that, capturing at once the clanging noisomeness of the students as well as their - well - non brightness. The problem is: the musical creates the impression that they didn't win, why then undertake the venture if catastrophic failure was possible? Why not lay in what allies and technology might be needed to, at least, prevent outright defeat? Stupid stupid, only stupid. The youth that favors the nobility of righteous, though lost, causes is a later youth. The truly young are very practical people even inclined towards a native skepticism.

It might cheer my nephew to learn, as nearly as I can tell, that the cause was ultimately successful. The regime of Charles X growing increasingly reactionary over the years and more under the sway of the Ultra[royalist]s had lurched into the year 1830 on the back of several misguided policies and political endeavors culminating in the July Proclamations which ended freedom of the press and dissolved the elected legislature. Now the sentiment of the people was radically ignited and an insurgent Paris took to the streets and by the end of July held the city and the nation. Louis Philippe Duke of Orleans was named the peoples King of a New constitutional monarchy that lasted nearly twenty years.

Perhaps the problem lay with the tragedy that came to Victor Hugo when he first started to work on the story that eventually became Les Miserables, picking up a newspaper one day he read the news that his grown daughter and her husband had accidently drowned in the river Seine a few days earlier. As sense of the inescapability of loss may have colored a originally nostalgic view of the July revolution, leading him to underscore that rarely is anything gained without sacrifice.
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Digital Radio: A Mediocre Alternative Chosen by the FCC. Digital Radio, also called DAB (Digital Audio Broadcast), provides a superior alternative to its analog counterpart - the good, old AM/FM radio broadcast which has been the standard for the past 100 years or so. The services offered on digital radio make it possible to receive data (including pictures, text, and even video), right along with a crystal-clear, near-CD quality audio signal. Using an enhanced receiver, the digital radio listener can experience a completely new and satisfying form of entertainment, albeit dependent on the standard used for the broadcast. Early last October, the FCC approved something called In Band On Channel (IBOC) as the new digital radio broadcasting standard for the US. That decision is now being contested for several reasons, including the alleged failure to consider alternative DAB techniques, as well as the eventual impact which IBOC DAB may have on low-power stations. Some critics are even calling the decision a sellout by the FCC. IBOC purports to enable DAB for a broadcaster without radical changes, but digital radio is radically different from old radio, and we should consider carefully the choices which are about to be made for the US radio audience. As we've seen with mobile telephony, it's not hard to get started on the wrong foot. []

>> This was the most interesting thing I read all day. You hear a fair amount about digital tv and a lot less about digital radio - broadcast radio that is, not streaming web radio. Radio has been a big part of my life I can name the call signs of every radio station I ever listened to. I can tell you about the dj's and the format changes. Two things about the FCC's current and particular transition plan (IBOC DAB)stand out. First, that broadcast radio will continue to exist as a cultural and information/entertainment medium, but (second) at the "accidental" cost of increased corporate consolidation and apparaent winnowing of competion. As former college radio dj (WMUC-FM, college park 10 watts) its hard to see schemes like this take root. Despite the vague talk of reallocating unused resources to smaller sations in return for redistributiing their bandwidth, its as likely as not that many smaller stations will simply be shaken off the airwaves by this. They won't have the resources to stay with any lenthy engineering or administrative process. Existing broadcasters have never liked low-power stations and have never made any secret of this. They have been unpleased with the FCC for allowing them to exist, but they never had any sufficient or compelling reason to eliminate them. Now, it seems that progress will do that for them.
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Monday, 6 January, 2003

A Republican's View of George Bush, Compassionate Conservative. It's thoughtful, not angry or insulting. It appears to make sense and it doesn't upset me. Is this really how they think of themselves? Required reading for the liberal opposition: A Republican's View of George Bush, Compassionate Conservative. (NYTimes, free registration required) [MetaFilter]

Two for the price of one a NYT piece and hoi polloi aggro courtesy of Metafilter. I read the Frum artcle and came away with the same feeling I used to get when I would read pieces that purported to explain what third way democrats were all about. What feeling is that? The feeling that I'm not on the list of who gets the memo's that tell you what you need to know. My own read is that a centerist politician is bound to be a study in motion, and will require a color and playbyplay team to explain what all those fancy moves are. Less, we the people, fail to notice some of them.
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Name space blues

I had a professor for a class in college (Barry Pearson Blues and Ballad Folk if I remember correctly - 15 yrs ago) who once offered the view that all guitar players will have a story about how they came to have their first guitar. They may not tell the story themselves at first, you may have to ask, but they will have a story. It will be a mix of truth and fiction, and it will if analyzed be seen as conforming to an archetype. The guitarman archetype - I don't know whether Carl Jung saw that one coming or not.

Thinking of that after I finished the previous post led me to wonder if I should share some kind of explanation of why I call this thing Atomized Jr. well Jr. because Atomized (senior) is the static site I built a few years ago. Which I named Atomized last fall. I remember watching some guy on tv, a retired biochemist from Fort Meade , circling around a stunned Frontline reporter spraying them with a flit gun. Explaining as he did so how easy it is to to make anthrax into a fine powder that will aerosol with an ordinary household atomizer. And it seemed every time I paused some group or nation would be in the news standing proudly beside their new atom bomb saying they wouldn't use it of course unless they had to - but, possibly, things had come around to just that. I got all nostalgic for the sixties: the cold war-Buffalo Springfield-Creedance-Airplane-tin soldiers and Nixon's coming-red white and blue bordered flower power. The whole lot.

So the phrase Atomized won out over Suede Sports Coat which was a line spoken by Fred Ward, Charles Napier, and Alec Baldwin in the film Miami Blues. Also the tag line History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man , itself a hold out from a brief period when the name Godzilla vs MARC 21 was under consideration was replaced by the current one somewhere along the line.
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Friday, 3 January, 2003
Birth of a weblog

It's been a fortnight now since I put this weblog up, I am at the ides of the Userland trial period. It seems a good moment to pause and consider.

It seems fine; like being able to choose your own oar from the rack before getting in the boat and starting to row. There are features - the news aggregator and assorted site lists - that keep you effortlessly in touch with the webat large. Mostly it does what it means to, which is to let you just think about the writing. I was over at a Radio site called theShiftedLibrarian and came away with a strong sense at just what came be accomplished with one of these things. Plus, her short tutorial on how to hammer at the XML code that the navigator links macro scoops up allowed me to start to arrange that the way I wanted. Thanks Jenny! Oh and note thats Shifted Librarian, not Shifty Librarian.

The particular joy of having something like this (the word weblog itself still grates having too much the ground meal of enthusiast and newspaper lifestlye coverage in it for my taste) is in taking the river of passing thoughts and notions that flow through one constantly and daily, and stopping one every so often and casting the unfortunate fish down on paper. Examining it and being forced to consider whether your thought had any merit or wisdom after all. The turning point for me to getting Radio userland set up was the first day of the Trent Lott brush fire as it burned through Metafilter. It was the evening the Washington Post article appeared, which I had skimmed but hadn't got as far as Lott's infamous comments which were related on an interior page [this is how the Post typically handles things like this], but someone at Metafilter had noticed and started a discussion on it. The noteworthiness of Lotts statement was immediately apparent. A gaping breach in the wall of political quiesence. A backbencher, maybe, could get away with a statement like that, but no one in a leadership role of either party could, and survive with their career intact. And yet Metafilter was rife with chatter that it was no big deal, even a perfectly respectable set of opinions. When a few people spoke up to say that it wasn't, that it was simply racist, a flat out call for the days of Jim Crow. The resisting chatter grew strident. A movement sprang up in a series of posts to "respect Matt's wishes" and not discuss articles from major newspapers with front page posts. Within in a short while these voices succeded in pushing the discussion into Metatalk, Metafilter's interior dialogue page, effectively ending the public disscussion, which is what these people wanted. Call it reverse Godwin by proxy. I started to write a post to protest this, but by the time I got back to it the following week the story had broke nationally and from there on no amount of pulling white sheets over it would hide it. By then; though, I had made my mind up to start my own weblog.
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Last update: 2/16/04; 21:48:02.