October 03, 2002

Culture Jamming

The defective yeti isn't fond of Culture Jam. I read it a year or so ago and joined Adbusters as a result. I liked the book, but more importantly, I liked the message. It resonated with me. A lot. Yes, there were things about the book that bugged me, but I overlooked that in light of the more important messages it contained.

If you haven't read Culture Jam, please do. It's worth reading even if you end up disagreeing with everything it says. You should also read Fast Food Nation as well.

One of these days, I'm gonna put a books category on my blog. But today is not that day. Neither will tomorrow be. Another book looms on the horizon. In fact, I need to update the crappy ass poor excuse for a web site I've got there. Perhaps I should make it more weblog-like. Maybe I'll use MovableType and spruce it up.

Yeah. Anyone want an RSS feed for progress updates on my book? Well, anyone other than my editor, that is?

Oh, you might be asking yourself why I work for a big media company if I'm a culture jamming fan. Well, I'll answer that later.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:15 PM

RSS Critical Mass

Is it just me, or is RSS really, really close to critical mass. You, know the kind where you read article in The Wall Street Journal about it. Well, Dave notes that "I just learned that RSS is being taught at a computer class at Harvard." and goes on to note that there are two article in the San Jose Mercury News: this one talk about the major RSS aggregators--both web sites and desktop/server software, and this one even mentions our little Finance News RSS test.

That second article has some other interesting tidbits.

One RSS developer said most major media companies worry about news feeds driving people away from their advertising-supported Web sites.

Uhm... DUH! But if these sites still haven't learned the "advertising lesson" yet, when will they? Ever?

Nonetheless, more mainstream sites are coming around. The BBC announced in August the availability of four news feeds. And the New York Times recently started making feeds available users of Radio UserLand software.

I have to say that the BBC rocks. They've been doing great work in streaming audio--even providing experimental Vorbis feeds. I tried those out a while back and rather impressed. Generally, the BBC seems technologically open-minded and likely to "do the right thing" or something close to it.

Here's my favorite part:

As for the future of RSS, developers are discovering new uses for the technology seemingly everyday. Yahoo is beta-testing a financial news feed. Web enthusiasts have recently figured out how to suck Amazon book titles and Google news headlines into news readers. And other developers are fiddling with ways to import calendar and weather content.

No, not because it mentions one of my projects. I've been named in the press enough recently. I like that because it's very clear about the future. The handwriting is on the wall: Provide RSS or someone will do it for you!

I hope the right folks are listening. No, not to me. Why would they. But listening to the RSS buzz. It's getting louder and louder. You can ignore it, but it is NOT going away. There's a good reason that NetNewsWire is one of the hottest applications to hit the OS X desktop this year. Part of that is because Brent rocks, but a lot of it part of a much larger shift that's taking place. And with all such shifts, you either get with the program or find yourself wondering how and why you missed it.

Shoot, Josh even added TrackBack and RSS (though I don't think he's announced that part yet) to Entropy, the system that powers Fruhead.com.

If you're still reading, I highly recommend reading Clay Shirky's Weblogs and the Mass Amateurization of Publishing. He has ideas that you probably haven't thought about yet.

Posted by jzawodn at 09:59 PM

On Windley's Radar Too

Last week, I noticed that I was on Dave's radar. Now that I've caught up on blogging, it seems that I'm on Windley's radar too. He picked up on my FreeBSD/Linux MySQL story and that provoked an interesting discussion of "Abundance Mentality" that has continued here.

Specifically, Phil says:

Blogging requires what is called an "abundance mentality." If you don't approach it with the mental attitude that there's plenty to go around, you're less likely to share, which is at the heart of blogging. The cynical side of me wonders if this might not be blogging's fatal flaw: it requires a fair amount of altruistic behavior.

I have to admit that I never really thought about it before. But now that I do, there are parallels between blogging and Open Source.

However, when you look at the larger blogging sphere, like all the younger kids who are getting into it, things are a little less clear. But in the realm of sharing professional information, I agree so far.

Posted by jzawodn at 12:24 AM