kottke.org posts about Greg Knauss

RomantimaticJan 23 2014

My pal Greg Knauss has freed his first iOS app into the wild. Romantimatic (App Store) is an app that reminds you to do one simple thing: send your significant other a "I'm thinking of you" note.

We live in a world where it's easier to communicate with another human being than ever before - a world that also places relentless demands on our time and attention.

Even with the amazing technology we have in our pockets, we can fly through the day without remember-ing to send a simple "I love you" to the most important person in our lives.

Perfect implementation of sweethearting/glancing for the iOS age.

Update: Unsurprisingly, Greg had gotten quite a bit of a negative response to Romantimatic. I love his response.

I knew there would be some have-we-come-to-this tut-tutting. I mean, I'm not that oblivious. You attach software to the expression of romantic love, and some people are going to see it as cynical. We've wrapped code around almost everything in our lives, but deeply felt emotion is still supposed to be start-to-finish analog. You don't put your anniversary on a calendar, because it means you're a bad person who doesn't care.

Except it doesn't. It means you want to remember it. Your calendar is a tool and it helps you do the things you want to do. I see Romantimatic in the same light. If you're not good at something and want to get better at it, a tool can help. Tools make things faster and easier and more reliable.

See also this guy writing data mining software to find love on OK Cupid.

To Tien Wang, McKinlay's OkCupid hacking is a funny story to tell. But all the math and coding is merely prologue to their story together. The real hacking in a relationship comes after you meet. "People are much more complicated than their profiles," she says. "So the way we met was kind of superficial, but everything that happened after is not superficial at all. It's been cultivated through a lot of work."

"It's not like, we matched and therefore we have a great relationship," McKinlay agrees. "It was just a mechanism to put us in the same room. I was able to use OkCupid to find someone."

The New York Yankees, the Microsoft of baseballOct 27 2009

Greg Knauss on how the New York Yankees are like Microsoft.

But, wait... Two-thousand was -- the last time the Yankees managed to win a championship. And it was awfully close to the last time that that Microsoft managed to produce a version of Windows that anybody cared about. And, hey, both the Yankees and Microsoft have long histories of dominating their professions, and of using that dominance to run up huge payrolls with -- let's be honest here -- a near-decade of lackluster results.

It's an uncanny resemblance.

A breakdown, by height in inches, ofNov 28 2007

A breakdown, by height in inches, of all the stuff that appears on the 1.5+ feet of Toys R Us receipt received with the purchase of a single item. I like to imagine Greg sitting in his office with a ruler and terminal window running vi recording all the results.

Virtual book tours, the origins ofSep 02 2007

Today's NY Times covers virtual book tours, the increasingly popular practice of book authors touring blogs instead of touring the non-virtual bookstores of the US and staying in non-virtual and expensive hotel rooms. From the article's midst:

[Booktour.com] was founded by Chris Anderson, the editor in chief of Wired and the author of "The Long Tail"; Adam Goldstein, a 19-year-old sophomore at M.I.T.; and Kevin Smokler, a publishing expert credited with creating the first blog book tour. That was for "Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers" by the science writer Mary Roach, in 2003. Since then, Mr. Smokler said, "It's become de rigueur for public relations to include blogs and online media as part of regular touring."

kottke.org was one of the tour stops for the Stiff book tour (here's the entry) but I also participated in the first blog book tour more than a year earlier, for a book called Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard, written by Greg Knauss and published by So New Media, a small publishing concern lovingly run by Ben Brown and James Stegall and now, sadly, defunct. The Rainy Day Fun... tour was the inspiration for Kevin in putting together the later tour. Not sure why the Times indicated otherwise.

And if you want to go back before most people were aware of these blog thingies, author M.J. Rose recalls participating in a virtual tour circa 2000:

So the NYT finally did an article on Author blog tours, which if memory serves, some of us have been doing for a quite a long time... in 2000 I did one that included Salon and BookReporter.com and a few other places that updated regularly and operated the way blogs do even though then we didn't call them that.

Update: So New Media is still going strong...just their old domain is no longer working. (thx, greg) And hey, Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard is still available ($5!) and still funny. I'm planning a re-read now that I'm a total bastard and soon-to-be toddler wrangler.

Writers and editorsApr 18 2006

Upon my return to civilization last week, Greg Knauss wrote up some thoughts he had after doing the remaindered links here for two weeks. His thoughts, reproduced in full:

Over the past two weeks, David Jacobs, Anil Dash and I have attempted to reproduce (in some halting way) Jason Kottke, while the actual Jason Kottke was in rehab on his honeymoon. The attempt, on my part at least, has been an abject failure. Or haven't you noticed all the crappy links with "GK" at the end of them? Go-kart magazines? What the hell?

Like most of the disasters I've had a hand in, I've got a theory that both explains what happened and exonerates me. Ducking responsibility sounds better if you put on academic airs about it.

The theory: There are two kinds of bloggers, referential and experiential. Kottke is one. I, now two weeks too late in realizing this, am another.

The referential blogger uses the link as his fundamental unit of currency, building posts around ideas and experiences spawned elsewhere: Look at this. Referential bloggers are reporters, delivering pointers to and snippets of information, insight or entertainment happening out there, on the Intraweb. They can, and do, add their own information, insight and entertainment to the links they unearth -- extrapolations, juxtapositions, even lengthy and personal anecdotes -- but the outward direction of their focus remains their distinguishing feature.

The experiential blogger is inwardly directed, drawing entries from personal experience and opinion: How about this. They are storytellers (and/or bores), drawing whatever they have to offer from their own perspective. They can, and do, add links to supporting or explanatory information, even unique and undercited external sources. But their motivation, their impetus, comes from a desire to supply narrative, not reference it.

There's nothing here to imply that one type of blogger is better than the other. There are literally thousands -- OK, hundreds... OK, at least a dozen -- of both kinds that are valuable additions to the on-going conversation/food-fight/furry-cuddle that is the Internet. My point is that Jason Kottke is a very, very good referential blogger and I am a very, very bad one. And I'm sure I wouldn't have trouble finding a link that expresses this sentiment (many, many times over, with varying degrees of vehemence), but I'd rather say it from my own experience:

Welcome back, Jason. You've been missed.

After reading Greg's thoughts, Meg reminded me that Rebecca Blood had made a distinction between filter-style and journal-style bloggers in Weblogs: A History and Perspective. If you want to generalize outside the realm of weblogs, they're both talking about the difference between writers and editors1.

At a party a couple of years ago, I was talking to Nick Denton and he was puzzled by the number of bloggers who were getting book deals and told me that "the natural upgrade path for bloggers is from blogging to editing, not to writing". As Greg and Rebecca note, that doesn't apply to everyone, but it sure describes what I do here. kottke.org has always been more edited than written. I've never particularly thought of myself as a writer (I get by, but I wish I were better), but I do pay a lot of attention to how the writing is presented and contextualized...how the overall package "feels".

[1] And if you want to go even further out on the metaphorical gangplank here, the writer/editor dichotomy compares well to that of the musician/DJ.

Over the past two weeks, David Jacobs,Apr 13 2006

Over the past two weeks, David Jacobs, Anil Dash and I have attempted to reproduce (in some halting way) Jason Kottke, while the actual Jason Kottke was in rehab on his honeymoon. The attempt, on my part at least, has been an abject failure. Or haven't you noticed all the crappy links with "GK" at the end of them? Go-kart magazines? What the hell?

Like most of the disasters I've had a hand in, I've got a theory that both explains what happened and exonerates me. Ducking responsibility sounds better if you put on academic airs about it.

The theory: There are two kinds of bloggers, referential and experiential. Kottke is one. I, now two weeks too late in realizing this, am another.

The referential blogger uses the link as his fundamental unit of currency, building posts around ideas and experiences spawned elsewhere: Look at this. Referential bloggers are reporters, delivering pointers to and snippets of information, insight or entertainment happening out there, on the Intraweb. They can, and do, add their own information, insight and entertainment to the links they unearth -- extrapolations, juxtapositions, even lengthy and personal anecdotes -- but the outward direction of their focus remains their distinguishing feature.

The experiential blogger is inwardly directed, drawing entries from personal experience and opinion: How about this. They are storytellers (and/or bores), drawing whatever they have to offer from their own perspective. They can, and do, add links to supporting or explanatory information, even unique and undercited external sources. But their motivation, their impetus, comes from a desire to supply narrative, not reference it.

There's nothing here to imply that one type of blogger is better than the other. There are literally thousands -- OK, hundreds... OK, at least a dozen -- of both kinds that are valuable additions to the on-going conversation/food-fight/furry-cuddle that is the Internet. My point is that Jason Kottke is a very, very good referential blogger and I am a very, very bad one. And I'm sure I wouldn't have trouble finding a link that expresses this sentiment (many, many times over, with varying degrees of vehemence), but I'd rather say it from my own experience:

Welcome back, Jason. You've been missed. -- GK

For the next couple of weeks whileMar 30 2006

For the next couple of weeks while I'm away, Greg Knauss will be posting remaindered links to kottke.org.

GuestsMar 30 2006

I'm going to be away for a couple of weeks, but my pal Greg Knauss is taking over posting some remaindered links while I'm gone, aided by special guests David Jacobs and perhaps even Anil Dash.

Greg was the very first guest blogger here on kottke.org (and perhaps the first guest blogger ever anywhere) back in March of 2000 when I went to SXSW and they didn't have wifi at the conference (nor did I have a laptop). Good times, back then.

When I get back, house on fire.

Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard Book Tour 2002Mar 25 2002

Hello, and welcome to the first stop of the virtual book tour for "Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard," the surging juggernaught of virtual book tours. My name's Greg Knauss, and I've commandeered kottke.org today to pester you into dropping six bucks for a big wad of dead tree. Jason will be back tomorrow, ma'am, please put your shirt back on.

"Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard" is a collection of stories about kids -- birthing them, caring for them, confusing them for your own petty amusement -- that originally appeared on An Entirely Other Day. There are plenty of good reasons to buy a book composed of Web pages -- several of which revolve around bathroom accessibility -- but I'd like to start with a reading, to give you a flavor of what you'll find inside:

[Cough. Clear throat. Sip water. Read aloud. Lament my ineptitude at producing MP3s, and rue this lame substitute.]

Imagine how much better that would have been on paper, away from your computer, outside in the sunshine without all that pesky money weighing you down! Yes, "Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard" makes the perfect gift! Unless the person you're giving it to has children, in which case it will make them cry.

We're scheduled to begin the question and answer portion of the event here, but I'd like to say a few words to those of you who haven't been convinced to buy a copy by the reading:

C'mon, you weenie! It's only six bucks! If you don't want a book about kids, look at the rest of the So New catalog! Buy something else! Buy "Help Wanted" or Words! Words! Words! or "The Brick." Or Little Engines, which isn't even from So New Media. Or buy Macros, or back issues of Beer Frame, or, God, something other than another freakin' Grisham novel. How many of his books have you read? Six? Eight? Can you even tell them apart anymore? Here's a hint, sparky, the youngish white male lawyer is the good guy! You dropped six bucks on that, why not spend it on something that isn't extruded from the ass of the publishing industry like crap from a horse overdosed on Metamucil? Instead of your next Big Burger Value Pak, how about you grab an apple and some independent media? Huh?

And, now, Q&A:

You're a complete hypocrite, aren't you?

Yes. Total. Today at lunch, for instance, I'll be finishing "A Painted House" over a Western Bacon Cheeseburger.

But you still want me to buy your book?

Oh, yes. I did -- I bought six copies. You should, too.

Six is an awful lot, don't you think?

Yes, you're right. So I'll cut you a deal: order in the next ten minutes, and I'll only make you buy three.

These aren't real audience questions, are they?

No. It turns out that the Web is about as interactive as a box of cereal. But if you've got a question, please mail it to greg@eod.com, so I can answer it when the "Rain Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard" book tour pulls into Stating the Obvious tomorrow morning. See you there!

Except for you, ma'am. No, you can't camp here until Jason comes back. Yes, I'm sure he'll like the embroidered pillow. And, please, put your shirt back on.

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