Sunday
Nov282010

Trying out Squarespace

I have to admit that after trying to make Typepad perform a number of unnatural acts, the ease with which I've been able to set up a Squarespace website, with blog included, has been very pleasant.  The proof is yet to be ascertained, however.  I need to place a number of widgets (some only on the blog), and get the look and feel.

Another issue, of course, will be the transfer of the Telematique blog contents over to this site.  So far, however, I'm a happy camper.

Saturday
Nov272010

Getting ready.

After way too long, I've taken time over the holiday to put the Telematica.com / Cumulati website together, as well as refreshed the Telematique blog site. In the course of doing this long overdue housekeeping, I actually (re-)discovered a couple of blogsites that I put together over the years on Blogger and Posterous.

I'm not yet sure that I'm satisfied with the 'coordinated' look for the blog and the website. I'll give it a week, and then make the decision as to whether it's not time to abandon Typepad altogether, move the blog and the website (?) to WordPress. Or, do I bite the bullet and host the website using a CMS like Joomla or Drupal?

Any suggestions?

Sunday
Aug082010

What I need is an iPad client for Typepad

I admit to the fact that I haven't done much to keep the blog fresh. Face it... I've been concerned about being just another voice in the cloud computing echo chamber. (That's the grist for a separate post, and much too self-reflective for this crankygram.) But I will also stipulate that since starting with the iPad, I have had the urge to blog, but have found it to be a pain because of two technical shortcomings.

First,when I encounter a tweet, blog post or some piece of web content that stirs my imagination, the nuisance factor of leaving the iPad app, initializing the browser bookmark or app by which to craft the blog post, and then returning to my initial stream of work is just ridiculous. But, I have seen the future... iOS4 on the iPhone makes clear what can be done to bounce between apps without too much loss of context. So, that brings us to the second failing.

TypePad post creating, editing and management ... There's NOT an app for that. At least, not on the iPad. The rather dated iPhone app can be fired up on an iPad, and might be of some value if it were a true universal app... But it's not.

So, the alternative means is what I am doing now.... Using the web-based editor on the TypePad.com site, using the Safari browser which really sucks when trying to use the WYSIWYG editor. It can't. Not really. For example, right now I'm trying to scroll back up to the beginning of this post. #TypePadeditorFail. My only option is to use their Lite Editor. Gaak.

So, it is with some hope and an optimistic point of view that I look forward to the arrival of iOS4 for the iPad, and with less optimism that TypePad (or some brave third party) will provide a decent TypePad blogging & blog management app. Kthxbye.

Saturday
Apr242010

Those are our words on that screen.

It's a quiet Saturday morning, and I've been leisurely cruising the sources I use to 'catch up' with people whose thought I enjoy. In this case, I came across a reference to a blog post by Steven Johnson, entitled 'The Glass Box and the Commonplace Book.' It's the transcript of the Hearst New Media lecture he gave on April 22, subtitled 'Two Paths For the Future of Text.' As usual, Johnson's written it (and, I'm sure, delivered it) lovingly.

What has, however, rousted me from my slothful and infrequent blogging is his point regarding Apple's iBook application on the iPad.

Take a look at this screen. This, as you all probably know, is Apple's new iBook application for the iPad. IbookWhat I've done here is shown you what happens when you try to copy a paragraph of text. You get the familiar iPhone-style clipping handles, and you get two options 'Highlight' and 'Bookmark.' But you can't actually copy the text, to paste it into your own private commonplace book, or email it to a friend, or blog about it. And of course there's no way to link to it. What's worse: the book in question is Penguin's edition of Darwin's Descent of Man, which is in the public domain. Those are our words on that screen. We have a right to them.

The simple point regarding the ownership and use of information and the public domain is what stirs me. Those are our words on that screen. We have a right to them.

Like Johnson, I have no particular problem with paywalls, or compensating an artist for the ability to enjoy / consume that person's efforts. Reasonable limits to protect the rights of the author/composer/performer make sense to me, but I will also repeat Steven's position as one I consider my own:

But I also don't want to mince words. When your digital news feed doesn't contain links, when it cannot be linked to, when it can't be indexed, when you can't copy a paragraph and paste it into another application: when this happens your news feed is not flawed or backwards looking or frustrating. It is broken.

And, then a reason for optimism: Common-placing as a value proposition for authors and publications. He calls out the Pulitzer Prize winning ProPublica as an example.

A number of commentators have discussed the role of non-profits in filling the hole created by the decline of print newspapers. But they have underestimated the textual productivity of organizations that are incentivized to connect, not protect, their words. A single piece of information designed to flow through the entire ecosystem of news will create more value than a piece of information sealed up in a glass box.

And though this applies as well to the citizen journalist and blogger/commentator, the support of this role within the realm of professional journalism is tremendously important. He goes on to argue that the connectivity derived from the web is more powerful than its filtering and 'echo-chambering' effect.

The reason the web works as wonderfully as it does is because the medium leads us, sometimes against our will, into common places, not glass boxes. It's our job -- as journalists, as educators, as publishers, as software developers, and maybe most importantly, as readers -- to keep those connections alive.