Saturday, April 29, 2006
"And that, in the end, is the dismal fate of blogging: it renders the word even more evanescent than journalism; yoked, as bloggers are, to the unending cycle of news and the need to post four or five times a day, five days a week, 50 weeks of the year, blogging is the closest literary culture has come to instant obsolescence. No Modern Library edition of the great polemicists of the blogosphere to yellow on the shelf; nothing but a virtual tomb for a billion posts - a choric song of the word-weary bloggers, forlorn mariners forever posting on the slumberless seas of news."
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
One morning last month, I woke early, finished a book I'd been reading, and shut down my blog. I had kept the blog for nearly five years, using it as a repository for personal anecdotes, travelogues, and the occasional flight of fiction—all of which I hoped, eventually, might lead to a novel. And then, somewhere between the bedsheets and 6 a.m., I realized something: Blogging wasn't helping me write; it was keeping me from it.
In my other life I work as a writer, so this gives me pause for thought. God knows, the small amount of bogging I do doesn’t interfere too much with my work. In fact, I justify it to myself by thinking of it as a mental warm up exercise some mornings. There is a far more serious time waster for writers. Computers. And the internet. Much as I love them both I would not like to see the hours I spent sitting in front of my monitor added up. My first computer in the mid 1990s was an Amstrad PCW. I know that it barely qualifies for the term computer but to me it was a wonder. No more Tippex , no more cutting and pasting with scissors and sellotape. Think of all the saved hours! But the saved hours disappeared down the worm hole of cyberspace. Not that I’m complaining. I would never go back to harsh clicks of an electric typewriter. Images of smoke and the metal sounds of the industrial revolution came into my head there. We are in a transition period. Of a generation that knew the old ways, fascinated by the new but not yet able to make full use of it. I keep trying to use voice dictating programs but don’t stick with them, the mind to keyboard line is too ingrained. That’s just one example of not making the leap. There’s still time.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Well, I think it's time to put this weblog to bed.
Yep, after four years and almost 3,000 posts I've decided to close up the Notebook. There's lots of reasons, but generally this is a continuation of the full-reset I started back in January. At first I was actually thinking about just transitioning to a more of a weekly blog where I write less frequently and was sort of cleaning everything up with that in mind. But then I just decided that I really needed a break, and that I'd really much rather start from scratch at another URL some other time when I'm ready to write again. Lot less pressure that way to do something new later on, and a lot easier to get out of the habit of posting daily now.
This blog started out as a personal wiki, actually... Back in 2001 I decided to finally organize my personal web server into sections - so I had the Notebook, Scrapbook and Guestbook. I had stumbled onto Ward Cunningham's original WikiWiki earlier that year and thought, "Wow! That's a much easier way to maintain my site," and so I whipped up a wiki of my own using JSP and used it for the Notebook section. But within a few months, I discovered blogs, and realized that was a much better way to do it. It took a while to really get into it - after trying a few other systems including Radio and Blogger, I finally converted my wiki software into my own personal blog system in May 2002 and started posting pretty much daily from that point on. Four years! It'll be weird to *not* be a blogger any more, I have to admit, but despite how good blogging has been for my life, it's time to move on.
If you've just stumbled onto this post in the months and years ahead, and are reading this now wondering who the hell I am and what I am talking about, feel free to roam through the archives and discover for yourself. For the rest of my readers, thanks for subscribing it's been great having you there to write for! Now please *unsubscribe* and give my poor server a break. :-)
I'll miss reading his blog which was always good clear and thoughtful.
Monday, April 17, 2006
I took this picture on the LUAS on my way to Easter Sunday dinner at my sister's house yesterday. A poster of the 1916 proclamation advertising an exhibition in the national museum. I watched part of the 1916 commemoration ceremony on the TV in the kitchen while the dinner was cooking. And here’s the weird thing, I found something moving about the lines of tanks and soldiers walking up
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
The Long-Distance Journey of a Fast-Food Order
SANTA MARIA, Calif. — Like many American teenagers, Julissa Vargas, 17, has a minimum-wage job in the fast-food industry — but hers has an unusual geographic reach.
"Would you like your Coke and orange juice medium or large?" Ms. Vargas said into her headset to an unseen woman who was ordering breakfast from a drive-through line. She did not neglect the small details —"You Must Ask for Condiments," a sign next to her computer terminal instructs — and wished the woman a wonderful day.
What made the $12.08 transaction remarkable was that the customer was not just outside Ms. Vargas's workplace here on California's central coast. She was at a McDonalds in Honolulu. And within a two-minute span Ms. Vargas had also taken orders from drive-through windows in Gulfport, Miss., and Gillette, Wyo.
Ms. Vargas works not in a restaurant but in a busy call center in this town, 150 miles from Los Angeles. She and as many as 35 others take orders remotely from 40 McDonald's outlets around the country. The orders are then sent back to the restaurants by Internet, to be filled a few yards from where they were placed. Read more here