Monday, April 28, 2003
BHN: Blogging Headline News - today Microdoc announced their new Blogging Headline News service. I’ve had the opportunity of taking a look at it before, and making my suggestions. Some of them have been implemented, and I think others will be. Regardless, this is already a very valuable tool.
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Friday, April 25, 2003
Greater Toronto Area Bloggers - it looks like someone has added me to the blogroll here. I presume inclusion is due to being in Toronto, as I haven’t yet participated in any of their activities. My guess is that they found me through GeoURL, BlogMatrix or one of the blog directories listed on my sidebar. On second thought, if they found me on GeoURL, I probably wouldn’t be listed there, as I’m not quite in the GTA.
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Internet News - this is a public thank-you to Gwen Harris who created the RSS feed I asked for.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2003
Daypop is Using Meta Tags - very nice, Daypop. Work with existing standards before trying to create new ones. The restrictions mean that none of my meta tags are useful. I’ll have to do something about that....
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Tuesday, April 22, 2003
The World as a Blog - very neat Flash application made by Mikel Maron. It shows blogs on a world map as they’re updated and a bit of the text from their update. Google has a similar thing at their corporate headquarters.
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Topics are coming to BlogDigger - “I should note that one other person should be mentioned in conjunction with this; Michael Fagan, proprieter of Fagan Finder, who first brought up the idea of incorporating topics into BlogDigger.” It’s nice to think up ideas and tell other people to implement them :-). I have been doing that a lot lately.
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Monday, April 21, 2003
Sugar industry threatens to scupper WHO - Big Sugar? Boy. The Sugar Association’s front page features a link to their press release. The WHO report isn’t out yet, so no news on their website. Via Blogdex. See also related news.
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Quotes - many, many excellent quotes in this Kuro5hin discussion. Via Blogdex.
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Saturday, April 19, 2003
Pentagon Town Hall Meeting (Transcript) - Either Rumsfeld is amazing at keeping a straight face, or he actually believes what he’s saying.
If you think about it, what just took place in Afghanistan significantly informed what took place in Iraq. And what has taken place in Iraq is, in a sense, a -- it's a war, but it also is a -- an opportunity to learn about what we're doing well and what we're not doing well and what we can do better.

It is like a giant laboratory where you can look at it as it's happening and as it evolves and finishes, and immediately take that knowledge and that information with respect to strategies and tactics and capabilities and weapons systems and munitions and logistics and all -- every aspect of this, and then try to back the lessons, the good lessons, into this system.

I'm sure, I am positive that out of this we're going to end up finding ways that we can reduce friendly fire casualties. I am positive we can. There has to be a way to reduce that. And we know it's existed in every conflict, but without question, when this is concluded and we have the lessons learned, I'll bet anyone a dollar to a dime that we end up with ways that we can reduce those.
See also related news.
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Tuesday, April 15, 2003
My RSS explanation and resources page has been getting a lot of attention. Thank you to all the linkers, who’ve pushed me onto Blogdex’s front page, and several places on Technorati. I few people have e-mailed me about additions, and I will take a look at them. The best compliment ever, from Scott Johnson, who called it “Michael Fagan's Absolutely Fantastic, Really Cool, Just Plain Excellent RSS Resource.”
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Monday, April 14, 2003
Evolution of the Web and Implications for an Incremental Crawler (PDF) - of interest to few but me. Among the observations of this study: .com pages change much more often than .gov and .edu pages and that it takes about 50 days for 50% of web pages to change (but this is skewed as mentioned in the other fact). Via Michelle’s Research Sources Online
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Thursday, April 10, 2003
The Religious and Other Beliefs of Americans 2003 - “Many people believe in miracles (89%), the devil (68%), hell (69%), ghosts (51%), astrology (31%) and reincarnation (27%).” Via Dive Into Mark.
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Monday, April 07, 2003
World War IV by the numbers - via Ming the Mechanic.
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Lots of comments on my Putting More Meaning Into the Blogosphere post. It seems I am falling into a trap I thought I wanted to avoid: blogging about blogging. Anyhow, from Marc Canter’sMikel Maron’s comments, I learn about Memingo. I registered for an account, and I will have to try this out. Marc has some nice compliments, including my use of colour-coded categories (I’m doing this with low-tech Blogger), and says my post “sure makes alot more sense to me that debating RSS vs RDF.”
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Sunday, April 06, 2003
Thin Ice - I have been blogging more about the war than I mean to, but this is quite funny, and just like I feel. Via Blogdex.
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Maybe the US could be tried for antitrust and broken into a number of smaller countries?
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Congo massacre 'leaves 1,000 dead' - via Ben Hammersley, who says “There’s a prize for the first newspaper to have this in the first 10 pages.” See also related news, and my previous Congo war-related post for more information.
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Saturday, April 05, 2003
Campaign on Iraq Poster Exhibition - a lot of people put a lot of thought into many of these posters, such as this one. I probably shouldn’t point individual ones out though: there are too many good ones. Via Blogdex.
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Army chaplain offers baptisms, baths - if this is real, it is very sad. Via Blogdex.
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Probably should’ve mentioned this before. In Mapping my creative network, Seb creates a diagram with people and themes. I think I am associated with classification, but presumably not games. Thanks for the inclusion Seb.
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Non Sequitur - the comic today mentions blogs on LiveJournal, the publishing system many of my meatspace (did I really use that word?) friends use. Two blog-related posts on Puzzlepieces in a row...what a rarity.
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Friday, April 04, 2003
Putting More Meaning Into the Blogosphere

When the Daypop Top 40 first came out, I noticed a fair ammount of redundancy. A single story (story meaning event, idea, or other meme) might occupy multiple spots on the list, such as Reuters articles on different news sites, and even the inclusion or exclusion of “www.” Not all stories were centered on a URL, but were rather spread out over a number of articles, blog posts, etc. In that case, some parts of the story would by themselves be too small to register on the list. I suggested to Dan Chan that he use topic clustering, to group the list into topics based on keywords. That way, all parts of one story could be seen at once, and conversely, a single story could easily be ignored if you weren’t interested in it. He thought the idea had merit, but nothing ever came of it. I later coded a prototype keyword-based topic clusterer, which I offered to the now defunct BlogMints (which could be described as an aggregator for blog comments), and nothing came of that either.

More recently, Daypop now has Top Word Bursts. This does group stories by keyword, however the stories aren’t garnered from the Top 40 links’ titles, but rather from the text written on blogs. Early on I suggested merging related keyword clusters, which Dan quickly implemented. It isn’t perfect, but few things are.

I also noticed that (at the time) there were quite a few listings on the Daypop Top 40 related to Macs, a topic I was uninterested in. I suggested to Dan that he create a separate top page for Apple (and ones on any other topics that were popular enough to warrant it), which could probably be easily done with keyword filtering. Again, he liked the idea, but it never happened. Much later, we now have Memeufacture, which includes Apple among its several topics. (Memeufacture and the Daypop Top 40 are among quite a few tools that do essentially the same thing; see my What’s Happening page for a comprehensive listing).

The Internet Topic Exchange is an idea I immediately latched onto. Anyone can create a channel (i.e. topic), and anyone can post thier blog entries into any channel. Many blogs include a system for categorizing entries, but this allows multiple blogs to work within the same topic framework. An individual can choose to read a Topic Exchange channel as if it were just another blog, with a focus that the individual wants, despite the fact that all the posts originate elsewhere. This blog has, for instance, included environmental stories, flash games, my ideas, and other topics. If someone is just interested in one of these, they could be reading a Topic Exchange channel that I ping, which would also include what other blogs say on the topic.

RSS aggregators (good listing here and here) are indispensable tools for reading the blogs you’re interested in. Add all the blogs you read, and then read them right from the aggregator, which also finds when the blogs update for you.

There are a fair number of public (online) topical aggregators around. For example, LISFeeds, on librarian topics and Weblogs At Harvard Law. The former (similar to a typical aggregator), uses one frame listing the blogs, and another frame to display the posts from the selected blog. The latter, on the other hand, lists individual posts on the same page, organized not by the source (the blog), but by the time of the post. This is better, in my opinion, as the blogs have already been selected for relevance, so no need to separate the posts in one from the posts in another.

Blog and RSS search engines are useful, but they search the whole blogosphere. Some newsreaders contain search engines, so that you can search just within the blogs that you read. Micah Alpern’s Trusted Blog Search Tool uses the Google API to do the same thing. It uses either an OPML file or blogroll (these list the blogs you read in your aggregator or the blogs you link to from your own blog, respectively), neither of which I happen to have. I’ll have to look into using OPML sometime.

Blog/RSS Search Enginewhole blogosphereDaypop, Feedster, others
Top Recent Links Indexerwhole blogosphereBlogdex, Daypop Top 40, others
Recent Keywords Indexerwhole blogosphereDaypop Top Word Bursts
Top Topical Recent Links Indexerblogs chosen by creatorMemeufacture
Closed Metablogblogs or individuals in a groupMetafilter, The Start of Fee
Open Metablogposts by opt-in blogsInternet Topic Exchange, Blogpopuli, blaxm!
RSS Aggregatorblogs you choosesee here and here
Public Topical Aggregatorblogs chosen by creatorLISFeeds, Weblogs At Harvard Law
Personal Blog/RSS Search Engineblogs you choosewithin aggregators, Trusted Blog Search Tool

Next Steps

For quite some time, I have wanted my own Blogdex (top recent links indexer). Virtually all RSS aggregators now “cluster” posts by source; that is, you can view headlines from one blog at a time. As I mentioned earlier, I would rather they be sorted by date, regardless of the source. Even better, I want clustering by source, link, and keyword, all from within my aggregator. By clustering by link, I mean using the blogs in my aggregator to create a top recent links indexer, instead of the whole blogosphere as Daypop, Blogdex, and others do. Similar to Technorati, each link should be followed by the posts which include it. T