February 2005


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A fascinating story about one American correspondent's real estate experience in Iraq.

Yahoo is buying Flickr (Ludicorp), and Evan Williams (formerly of Blogger) is starting a podcasting company called Odeo. And it's a 60-degree weekend in San Francisco.

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Frassle alpha 9a: Consider it a bit of de-whoops-ification.

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How many of Shimon's friends does it take to fold a shirt?

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An excessively depressing but informative article by Mark Pilgrim.

I fixed a few bugs over the weekend. While deploying the new version, I noticed that some studio pages didn't work. (The web server was crashing shortly after serving my page.) In the course of investigating that I upgraded some software, rebooted, and… the machine didn't come back up.

Thanks to the technicians at my hosting provider, that got sorted out this morning. It was a minor network configuration issue — the name for my machine in /etc/hosts didn't match the name in /etc/sysconfig/network. It was a big scare (shit; what if the machine died? when was my last backup?) but luckily it turned out to be relatively simple.

Regarding the original problem that caused crashing, I haven't fixed it, but I disabled the category tree widget which seemed to be the source. So if you use that in your studio pages it will simply not show up for now.

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Steve produced a nice 10-minute version of our Thursday meeting. It's a lot easier to watch than the meeting, which I found a little annoying.

The only logical conclusion that a crew from ABC Nightline can draw from yesterday's Berkman Blog Meeting is that bloggers are a bunch of screaming monkeys jockeying among themselves to produce a statement so quotable it will be on television.

That is the spectacle we experienced last night, when a record number of people converged on the Baker House conference room to discuss issue of blogging and on/off the record. It was an interesting topic, but seeing this many people demonstrate their overarching desire to get their mug on television was just… depressing.

I honestly didn't have all that much to say on this topic, but there was one question the Nightline correspondent asked that I would have liked to answer. (Mostly the crew just filmed, but at the end Mr. Donovan (?) asked a couple of questions.) He asked simply, why do we come here?

That's an interesting question because the motivations behind the Berkman Thursday meetings are so different from the motivations behind the meetings many of us corporate worker bees are used to. At work, a meeting that sucks is one with no agenda, where you spend most of the time getting to know the other people in the room, reach no actionable decisions, and come out with 15 different understandings. But this is pretty much what we do every week at Berkman.

Why? Because we're not corporate worker bees. We're a bunch of friends who learn a lot from each other. Normally, a Berkman meeting makes me smarter. Not because I convinced some newbies that wrangling Movable Type is so easy only a moron could screw it up, but because I asked one newbie to explain her struggle getting some piece of software to work. I develop software, and I want that software to be usable by humans who not only are not me but are people I may have not even met. It's hard enough to design software my own coworkers can use, so I need all the help I can get.

I come to Berkman Thursday meetings to listen, so I can be a better software developer.

Yesterday's meeting sucked because there wasn't much to listen to, just a bunch of people competing for best sounding paraphrase of something witty someone else said. That's why the dinner afterwards was such a relief; there were no cameras, and the screaming egotists were not at my end of the table. I sat next to a traveller named Andy, a Nightline producer named Alissa (Elissa? Alyssa?), Rebecca MacKinnon, Ingo Muschenetz, Ann House (blog?), and Jennifer Stoner. And I learned some stuff, like if the cops in China catch you taping something you shouldn't, a high speed chase is a viable option because they often get lazy. And that if you're setting up Movable Type and you're almost there but you have to give up and pay for TypePad instead, it's frustrating.

And then the Nightline correspondent decided to buy us all dinner. That was nice.

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This page is an aggregator of useful information for people interested in the weekly weblogger meetings hosted by Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Below are the latest posts on our Agenda Blog, and at left are recent posts by some regulars.

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