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kottke.org posts about Jason Kottke

My year in cities 2009

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 29, 2009

Not sure why I’m bothering to do this list for 2009 as I didn’t really go anywhere, but here it is for posterity:

Waitsfield, VT*
New York City, NY*
Boston, MA*
Orange, MA*
Springfield, MA
Nantucket, MA

One or more nights were spent in each place. Those cities marked with an * were visited multiple times on non-consecutive days. Here are my lists for 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008.

Y2K, no big deal

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 17, 2009

I contributed a short essay to Newsweek’s 2010 project for the Overblown Fears list: Y2K.

Despite the media hype, the biggest story about the Y2K computer bug is that nothing happened. Trains didn’t spontaneously derail. McDonald’s didn’t roll back to turn-of-the-century pricing (no Happy Meals for a ha’penny). And the banks didn’t lose all of our money; we’d have to wait another eight years for that.

Farhad Manjoo recently did a 2-part piece on the lessons of Y2K for Slate.

Minna Kottke

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 21, 2009

Hello everyone. I’d like you to meet Ollie’s little sister, Minna Kottke.

Minna's first day

Big yawn! She was born at home (on purpose!) early this morning; mother and baby are resting comfortably. I am weakened by an unrelated sickness but proud and happy. Ollie can’t stop talking about her. “Minna! Minna!” He’s going to be a great big brother.

So, things are going to be a little slow around here for a bit, especially the rest of this week. Starting next Monday, I’ll be joined by a part-time guest editor for a couple weeks. But more on that later. Now: sleep.

Some of my favorite books

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 04, 2009

The Week asked me to choose a selection of my favorite books for this week’s issue. I’ll take any opportunity to recommend Tom Standage’s The Victorian Internet.

Even though it’s a history of the telegraph, this book is always relevant. The rise of the 1830s communication device continues to be a fantastic metaphor for each new Internet technology that comes along, from e-mail to IM to Facebook to Twitter.

Spark interview

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 17, 2009

There’s a short interview with me about what I do on kottke.org on this week’s Spark radio show on CBC. There’s also an uncut version of the interview that runs about 20 minutes which includes many delightful false starts and ahs and ums. What can I say, I’ve got a face for radio and a voice for print.

Layer Tennis tomorrow

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 09, 2009

Tomorrow at 3pm ET: Layer Tennis match between Jennifer Daniel and Jillian Tamaki with commentary by some guy named Jason Kottke. What is Layer Tennis?

Two competitors will swap a file back and forth in real-time, adding to and embellishing the work. Each artist gets fifteen minutes to complete a “volley” and then we post it to the site live. A third participant, a writer, provides play-by-play commentary on the action, as it happens. A match lasts for ten volleys.

Update: Here’s the match preview.

Speaking at the Dot Dot Dot Lecture

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 27, 2009

On March 11, I will be joining Jen Bekman (of 20x200), Nicholas Felton (of those cool personal annual reports), and Rebekah Hodgson (of Etsy) at the next Dot Dot Dot Lecture. We’ll be talking about curating, aka that thing I do for a living.

Curatorial strategies are spilling out of galleries and museums and into our everyday design practices. As emphasis shifts from designer to consumer, the vital role of designer is often that of mediator, shaping ideas and content created by others into another user experience. How have these new pivots changed the role of designer from one of artisan to one of curator? Four lecturers speak to curation as a way of design life, and how their audiences learn from, are inspired by, and gain insights from it.

Come for the Felton, stay for the Bekman, and don’t mind me, my talk’s only 10 minutes long. (Actually, I just noticed that they’re “sold out”.)

My year in cities, 2008

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 29, 2008

For the fourth year in a row, a list of all the places I visited in 2008.

Waitsfield, VT*
New York City, NY*
Boston, MA*
Orange, MA*
Springfield, MA
London, UK
Paris, France
Buffalo, NY
Binghamton, NY
Cedar Rapids, IA
Nantucket, MA
Las Vegas, NV
Washington DC

One or more nights were spent in each place. Those cities marked with an * were visited multiple times on non-consecutive days. Note: We didn’t actually spend the night in Paris, but we were there all day so I threw it in there. Here are the lists for 2005, 2006, and 2007.

Personal light cones

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 02, 2008

When I was born 35.2 years ago, a light cone started expanding away from Earth out into the rest of the universe (Minkowski space-temporally speaking, of course). Thanks to updates from Matt Webb’s fancy RSS tool, I know that my personal light cone is about to envelop the Zeta Herculis binary star system, located 35.2 light years from Earth in the constellation Hercules.

With a mass some 50 percent greater than the Sun, however, and beginning its evolution toward gianthood (its core hydrogen fusion likely shut down), Zeta Her A is 6 times more luminous than the Sun with a radius 2.5 times as large. Nevertheless, the star gives a good idea of what the Sun would look like from a great distance, in Zeta Her’s case 35 light years. The companion (Zeta Her B), a cooler class G (G7) hydrogen-fusing dwarf with a luminosity only 65 percent that of the Sun and a mass about 85 percent solar, orbits with a period of 34.5 years at a mean distance of 15 Astronomical Units (over 50 percent farther than Saturn is from the Sun). A rather high eccentricity takes the two as far apart as 21 AU and as close as 8 AU.

Hercules is of course named for the Greek hero, Heracles. Next up is Delta Trianguli, another binary star system, in about two months.

My yearbook photos

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 17, 2008

If I travelled through time for the purpose of attending high school, here’s what my yearbook photos would look like:

Yearbook

Make your own at Yearbook Yourself. The 1988 photo approximates what I looked like in high school. (via merlin)

Clusterflock’s Deron Bauman did an interview with

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 20, 2008

Clusterflock’s Deron Bauman did an interview with me the other day over IM and posted an edited transcript. This seems to be the bit that everyone is pulling from the interview so I will as well:

Other times, it’s not so fun running a visible site. Some people are determined to deliberately misunderstand much of what they encounter in life. Sometimes I have a hard time realizing that that’s their problem, not mine.

kottke.org is ten years old today

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 14, 2008

Three cities, two serious relationships, one child, 200,000 frequent flier miles, at least seven jobs, 14,500 posts, six designs, and ten years ago, I started “writing things down” and never stopped. That makes kottke.org one of a handful of the longest continually updated weblogs on the web…something to be proud of, I guess. The only thing I’ve done longer than kottke.org is sported this haircut. (Perhaps not something to be proud of…the hair-in-stasis, I mean.)

Being a digital packrat, I have screenshots of all the past designs the site has had. When I started, the posts were actually hosted on another site of mine, 0sil8, that I’d been doing since 1996. I didn’t know at the time that kottke.org would eventually kill 0sil8. This was the first design (full size):

kottke.org, initial design, 1998

It’s a little misleading because there’s only one post shown on the page…there were usually more, displayed reverse chronologically. The stars were a rough rating of how well that day had gone called the fun meter.

When I moved the site to its own domain after a few months, I redesigned it to look like this (full size):

kottke.org, circa early 1999

The aesthetic was influenced by the pixel grunge style of Finnish designer Miika Saksi…you can see some of his older work here. The font in the navigation is Mini 7Silkscreen was still several months away at that point. The fun meter is still present as is the all-lowercase text, a house style I thankfully dropped a few months later. The cringeworthy writing took a few more years to iron out…if it ever fully was.

This one’s still my favorite; it turned a lot of heads back in the day (full size):

kottke.org, circa late 1999

With dozens of spacer gifs and five concentric tables, it was a bitch to code. There was also a capability to modify the look and feel of the site…you could choose between this design, the older design pictured above, and a text-only version. Inline permalinks were introduced on kottke.org in March 2000 and subsequently the idea was spread across the web by Blogger.

But it only lasted for about a year. In late 2000, I swapped it for this one (full size):

kottke.org, circa 2000

The familar burn-your-eyes-out yellow-green makes its first appearance. I never really meant to keep it or for it to become the strongest part of the site’s identity. After this design launched, I cycled through a few colors (the old yellow, blue, red) before getting to the yellow-green…and then I just got lazy and left it. For 8 years and counting. The post style underwent several changes with this design. In June 2002, I switched to Movable Type after updating the site by hand for four years. Soon after that, I added titles to my posts. In late 2002, I added a frequently updated list of remaindered links to the sidebar. In late 2003, the remainders moved into the main column and have become an integral part of the site. I also started reviewing movies and books around this time…kottke.org became a bit of a tumblelog.

In July 2004, I refreshed the design a bit…tightened it up (full size):

kottke.org, circa 2004

After about a year, I changed it again to the current look and feel (full size):

kottke.org, circa 2005

Sorry, that got a little long…there’s a lot I didn’t remember until I started writing. Anyway, I didn’t intend for this to become a design retrospective. Mostly I wanted to thank you very sincerely for reading kottke.org. Over the last ten years, I’ve poured a lot more of myself than I’d like to admit into this site and it’s nice to know that someone out there is paying attention. [Cripes, I’m choking up here. Seriously!] Thanks, and I’ll see you in 2018.

My Year in Cities, 2007

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 01, 2008

Here are all the places I visited last year…much less travel than in previous years. Having a baby will do that to your schedule. For a few months there, I don’t think I left a 20-block radius of Manhattan.

New York City, NY*
Rochester, VT
Anguilla
Boston, MA*
Orange, MA*
Waitsfield, VT*
San Francisco, CA
McMinnville, OR
Portland, OR

One or more nights spent in each place. Those cities marked with an * were visited multiple times on non-consecutive days. Here are my lists from 2005 and 2006.

Just a gentle reminder: I’ll be commenting

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 12, 2007

Just a gentle reminder: I’ll be commenting on today’s Layer Tennis match between Chuck Anderson and Steven Harrington. Things get underway in just under an hour (3pm ET).

Ollie Kottke

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 06, 2007

Dear internet, I’d like you to meet Ollie Kottke.

Ollie Kottke

Some vital statistics: He was born on July 3 just before 1pm, weighed about 7 lbs., 2 oz., loves to eat (and then sleep), is O.K. (ha!), dislikes sponge baths, unfortunately doesn’t have any descenders in his name, both mom and baby are home and doing fine, Ollie is not a particularly popular name right now (and is not short for Oliver), and I’ve never been quite so content as when he fell asleep on my chest yesterday and we snoozed together on the couch for an hour or so. A little slice of heaven.

Also, I’m going to be taking about two months of paternity leave from working on kottke.org. I’ll probably post a few things here and there when I can, but it won’t be a priority by any means. I hope you all have a good rest of the summer and that you’ll find the site again when I start back up in the fall.

Update: Meg has a post up too and there are photos on Flickr.

Line items under “Skills” in my future

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 27, 2007

Line items under “Skills” in my future resume: refreshing all feeds, making things unbold, tab management, pressing cmd-z, scrolling, and posting to the future.

Working from home today…I’ve got ye

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 20, 2007

Working from home today…I’ve got ye old webcam on for awhile this afternoon.

kottke.org is 9 years old today

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 14, 2007

On March 14, 1998, I made the first post to this little site. And I’m still standin’ (yeah yeah yeah). Here’s to 9 more years. Actually, I’ll settle for making it to 10. Baby steps.

In addition to my regular duties on kottke.org, I’m editing Buzzfeed today. Stories so far: Bracket Madness, Sweet Sweet Passover Coke, and 2007 Movie Season. More to come this afternoon.

And if that weren’t enough excitement for one day, it’s also Pi Day. (Whoa, the Pi Day web site uses Silkscreen!) I bet the Pi Dayers are really looking forward to 2015 when they can extend the fun to two additional decimal places.

Google Apps

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 22, 2007

The NY Times today:

On Thursday, Google, the Internet search giant, will unveil a package of communications and productivity software aimed at businesses, which overwhelmingly rely on Microsoft products for those functions.

The package, called Google Apps, combines two sets of previously available software bundles. One included programs for e-mail, instant messaging, calendars and Web page creation; the other, called Docs and Spreadsheets, included programs to read and edit documents created with Microsoft Word and Excel, the mainstays of Microsoft Office, an $11 billion annual franchise.

kottke.org from April 2004:

Google isn’t worried about Yahoo! or Microsoft’s search efforts…although the media’s focus on that is probably to their advantage. Their real target is Windows. Who needs Windows when anyone can have free unlimited access to the world’s fastest computer running the smartest operating system? Mobile devices don’t need big, bloated OSes…they’ll be perfect platforms for accessing the GooOS. Using Gnome and Linux as a starting point, Google should design an OS for desktop computers that’s modified to use the GooOS and sell it right alongside Windows ($200) at CompUSA for $10/apiece (available free online of course). Google Office (Goffice?) will be built in, with all your data stored locally, backed up remotely, and available to whomever it needs to be (SubEthaEdit-style collaboration on Word/Excel/PowerPoint-esque documents is only the beginning). Email, shopping, games, music, news, personal publishing, etc.; all the stuff that people use their computers for, it’s all there.

When you swing a hammer in the vicinity of so many nails, you’re bound to hit one on the head every once in awhile. Well, I got it in the general area of the nail, anyway.

My Year in Cities, 2006

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 21, 2006

Last year I listed all the places I visited during the course of the year. My friend Zach already posted his 2006 list, so following his lead, here’s mine:

Waitsfield, VT*
New York City, NY*
Boston, MA*
Albany, NY
Austin, TX
Tulum, Mexico
Valladolid, Mexico
Chicago, IL
Orange, MA
Napa, CA
Minneapolis, MN
Cameron, WI
Linz, Austria
Salzburg, Austria
Innsbruck, Austria
Zurich, Switzerland
Camden, ME
Rochester, VT

One or more nights spent in each place. Those cities marked with an * were visited multiple times on non-consecutive days. Less travel than last year, thank goodness. Where’s your list?

Over the past two weeks, David Jacobs,

posted by Greg Knauss   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

The year in cities

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 11, 2006

Following Hanna’s example, here’s my 2005 in cities:

New York, NY*
London, UK
Austin, TX
Paris, France
Boston, MA*
Blarney, Ireland
Ballylickey, Ireland
Waterville, Ireland
Dingle, Ireland
Ennis, Ireland
Etna, NH*
Los Angeles, CA
Orange, MA
Nantucket, MA*
Woodstock, VT
Rochester, VT
Las Vegas, NV
Hong Kong*
Bangkok, Thailand
Saigon, Vietnam
Waitsfield, VT*

One or more nights spent in each place. Those cities marked with an * were visited multiple times on non-consecutive days. Somehow, I did a lot more and a lot less traveling last year than I had anticipated. And just for fun, let’s make this a meme! Blog your list of cities and get your friends to do the same. It’ll be fun.