Infrequently Noted

Alex Russell on browsers, standards, and the process of progress.

web two point....oh shit

Every day I mourn suck a little. It's buoyancy seemed tied to the rising, and eventually draining, tide of New Economy inanity it started amidst. As a recent Silicon Valley arrival, I can only imagine the lunacy that one must have endured just by overhearing the conversations taking place in South Park as a hundred dot-commies sipped coffee while walking their dogs.

Like canaries in our proverbial coal-mine, the humorists always try (in vain) to show how terribly, terribly stupid we are collectively being. Looks like the New Bubble is starting off strong.

so why *do* I bother?

Frankly, I'm not entirely certain why I blog. I get asked about it from time to time, and I never have a good answer. I guess it's a value thing. I don't really think I generate much of value via my blog, so I don't have a burning need to post or get better at it. I think this also informs my view of other blogs. I don't use an RSS reader because I tend to generally assume that other people are just as busy, tired, and over-worked (by choice, in my case) as I am. Therefore, I don't want to see a thousand posts in an "inbox", most of which are much like mine. If I want middling crap, I can make it. So I read blogs for the surprise of it.

I read them for the joy of reading something great, or different, or better than my own, so I limit the blogs I read to the blogs I can remember to read. It turns out that this is a pretty good radius. It means that I spend more time reading Ping and Ed Felten and less time reading the blogs of people who only occasionally have something interesting to say.

Taken as a whole, it then occurs to me that perhaps I should stop blogging. If I'm not going to put the kind of time and energy into it as these folks (who are much smarter than I am anyway), then what's the point? It's not like I have significant time to devote to this even if I were interested in doing it better.

What do you think?

the end of launch parties?

So tonight is the "Launch Party to end all launch parties" and I can't help but wonder if that phrasing is meant to be said with a hopeful glint at the end? Or is it just me?

I'm going to vote with my feet by helping to end launch parties in general. By not attending.

Unless I'm invited. In which case, RAWK!!

*much* better

Today, David sent me a link to "UNO", a program which fixes the theme mess on OS X.

My desktop is so much better now. Thank you, David.

rethinking my tagging flame

A copule of days ago I had lunch with a bunch of my co-workers at Jot (Scott, Michael, and Ryan) and I brought up the subject of tagging as a cop-out for search. Not surprisingly, most everyone disagreed with me to some extent. But as we talked it through, it became pretty clear that there was none of the "taxonomy vs folksonomy" debate in play.

Instead, people defended tagging from an interaction perspective. It seems that tagging feeds a need to feel organized in some sense. People at the table got a "solid" sense when they tagged a thing, regardless of its search utility. Better yet, people find tagging to be indistinguishable from social "trail leaving" (think del.icio.us), despite that their correlation is only an artifact of UI decisions.

It's just as simple for someone to click a "bookmark this" button as it is a "tag this" button, but somehow tagging has a more productive feeling for people. Tagging is a great way to entice users to provide other kinds of metadata, which is often significantly more useful.

Tagging is useful, but not for any systems reason. It's just a better UI experience. Who woulda thunk it?

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