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kottke.org posts about weblogs

Game of Thrones food blog

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 17, 2011

The Inn at the Crossroads is a blog dedicated to exploring the cuisine of George R.R. Martin’s Fire and Ice book series, from which HBO’s Game of Thrones is adapted.

The Queen took a flagon of sweet plum wine from a passing servant girl and filled Sansa’s cup. “Drink,” she commanded coldly. “Perhaps it will give you courage to deal with truth for a change.”

On pagination navigation

posted by Jason Kottke   May 10, 2011

Sippey posted a brief item on pagination navigation on “river of news” type sites, comparing the opposite approaches of Stellar and Mlkshk. I thought a lot about where to put those buttons and what to label them. There’s no good correct answer. For example, “older” usually points the way to stuff further back in the timeline that you haven’t read, i.e. it’s new to you but old compared to the first page of stuff…are you confused yet? I focused on two things in choosing a nav scheme:

1. The Western left-to-right reading pattern. If you’re in the middle of reading a book, the material to your left is a) chronologically older and b) has already been read and the material to your right is a) chronologically newer and b) unread. From a strict data perspective, a) is the correct way to present information but websites/blogs don’t work like books. b) is how people actually how people use blogs…when a user gets to the bottom of the page, they want to see more unread material and that’s naturally to the right.

2. Consistency. Once you add page numbers into the mix — e.g. “< newer 1 2 3 4 older >” — it’s a no-brainer which label goes where. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the reverse: “< older 4 3 2 1 newer >”.

Also, I do whatever Dan Cederholm does. (But dammit, he does the opposite on his blog! Hair tearing out noise!!) That said, I like Sandy’s suggestion of getting rid of the “newer” button altogether:

We put “Older” on the right, but did away with “Newer” altogether in favor of a link back to page 1. If they want to go back to the previous pages, people can use their back button.

http://mlkshk.com/p/212C

Or maybe put “newer” at the top of the page? Still a waste of screen real estate? Anyway, once I figure out how I want to do infinite scrolling on Stellar, those problematic older/newer buttons will go away. Huzzah!

Queen of All Me Media

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 24, 2011

Dooce gets the NY Times Magazine treatment this weekend. More than anything, reading it made me nostalgic for a certain short period of time where people could write personal blogs intended to be read by more than just family and a few friends without worrying about money or a “personal brand”. God, those were the (clearly unsustainable) days…here’s the new reality:

Amy Oztan, who blogs at SelfishMom.com, is particularly transparent when it comes to her sponsors. She has a lot of them — companies who pay her, in money or in product, to advertise on her site or to mention them. Oztan has an entire section explaining how she makes her money, including an extensive index of tabs she uses to alert readers to the economics of everything she writes. It starts with Level 1 — “The product or service mentioned was provided to Amy free of charge (or at a considerable discount not available to the public)” — and goes up to Level 13: “This is a sponsored post. Amy was compensated to write this post. While Amy’s opinions in the post are authentic, talking points may have been suggested by the sponsor.” In between these extremes are compensation for inserting links to a certain Web site, attending an event or administering a product giveaway. Which pretty much explains why, between daily witticisms, she so regularly describes how she offered Kleenex to the woman next to her at a conference or placed her HTC HD7 Windows phone on the tray table next to her when she lucked into an empty row on her last plane trip.

Movable Type sold to Infocom

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 21, 2011

Six Apart Japan, Movable Type, and the Six Apart brand will be acquired by Infocom, a Japanese IT firm.

We are happy to announce that Six Apart KK (SAKK), a Japanese subsidiary of SAY Media, has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Infocom, a Japanese IT company, as of February 1, 2011. As part of this transaction, SAKK will assume responsibility for the worldwide Movable Type business, and the Six Apart brand.

We at SAKK are very excited to continue our investment in Movable Type, the Movable Type Open Source project and the worldwide community of developers, publishers and bloggers around the world that use Movable Type.

This depresses me. (via waxy)

Fake Criterion films

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 08, 2010

Favorite Tumblr of the week: Fake Criterions, featuring mockups of Criterion films that would never get made. For example:

Criterion Toyko Drift

Note: a surprising non-fake Criterion is Michael Bay’s Armageddon. Well, it does feature Steve Buscemi and Oscar winners Billy Bob Thornton and Ben Affleck. (thx, george)

Kim Jong-il looks at things

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 01, 2010

A collection of photos of Dear Leader looking at things: corn, your desktop, wheat.

Kim Jong Il looking

Actually, I can’t recall seeing a photo of Kim doing anything but looking at stuff. (thx, steve)

Civil War blog

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 02, 2010

Disunion is a new NY Times blog that will be covering the events of the Civil War in “real-time” as it happened 150 years ago. From one of the first posts about the last ordinary day:

[November 1, 1860] was an ordinary day in America: one of the last such days for a very long time to come.

In dusty San Antonio, Colonel Robert E. Lee of the U.S. Army had just submitted a long report to Washington about recent skirmishes against marauding Comanches and Mexican banditti. In Louisiana, William Tecumseh Sherman was in the midst of a tedious week interviewing teenage applicants to the military academy where he served as superintendent. In Galena, Ill., passers-by might have seen a man in a shabby military greatcoat and slouch hat trudging to work that Thursday morning, as he did every weekday. He was Ulysses Grant, a middle-aged shop clerk in his family’s leather-goods store.

Great idea. The Times started publishing in 1851 so their archives should have a ton of stuff related to the war. (via df)

Sicha and pals are Awl in (and other puns)

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 25, 2010

Nice little piece by David Carr in the NY Times about The Awl, a small batch blogging concern owned and operated by Choire Sicha, Alex Balk, and David Cho.

“My friends keep talking to me about how they want to start a Web site, but they need to get some backing, and I look at them and ask them what they are waiting for,” Mr. Sicha said. “All it takes is some WordPress and a lot of typing. Sure, I went broke trying to start it, it trashed my life and I work all the time, but other than that, it wasn’t that hard to figure out.”

And the Pursuit of Happiness

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 15, 2010

Maira Kalman’s lovely illustrated NY Times blog about American democracy is now available in book form.

Roger Ebert talks with Errol Morris

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 17, 2010

Roger Ebert recently sat down with Errol Morris to talk about his new movie, Tabloid, and a bunch of other stuff. The interview is presented as a series of eight YouTube videos. In this one, he talks about how he got started writing his blog for The NY Times and how that helped him get over his 30-year struggle with writer’s block:

He’s working on a seventeen-part article about a murder case for the blog. Seventeen parts!

Sesame Street on Tumblr

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 14, 2010

They’re posting classic clips from past shows.

Zuckerberg and Style Rookie and Dyson

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 13, 2010

The New Yorker has a trio of interesting articles in their most recent issue for the discerning web/technology lady or gentlemen. First is a lengthy profile of Mark Zuckerberg, the quite private CEO of Facebook who doesn’t believe in privacy.

Zuckerberg may seem like an over-sharer in the age of over-sharing. But that’s kind of the point. Zuckerberg’s business model depends on our shifting notions of privacy, revelation, and sheer self-display. The more that people are willing to put online, the more money his site can make from advertisers. Happily for him, and the prospects of his eventual fortune, his business interests align perfectly with his personal philosophy. In the bio section of his page, Zuckerberg writes simply, “I’m trying to make the world a more open place.”

The second is a profile of Tavi Gevinson (sub. required), who you may know as the youngster behind Style Rookie.

Tavi has an eye for frumpy, “Grey Gardens”-inspired clothes and for arch accessories, and her taste in designers runs toward the cerebral. From the beginning, her blog had an element of mystery: is it for real? And how did a thirteen-year-old suburban kid develop such a singular look? Her readership quickly grew to fifty thousand daily viewers and won the ear of major designers.

And C, John Seabrook has a profile of James Dyson (sub. required), he of the unusual vacuum cleaners, unusual hand dryers, and the unusual air-circulating fan.

In the fall of 2002, the British inventor James Dyson entered the U.S. market with an upright vacuum cleaner, the Dyson DC07. Dyson was the product’s designer, engineer, manufacturer, and pitchman. The price was three hundred and ninety-nine dollars. Not only did the Dyson cost much more than most machines sold at retail but it was made almost entirely out of plastic. In the most perverse design decision of all, Dyson let you see the dirt as you collected it, in a clear plastic bin in the machine’s midsection.

Things Organized Neatly

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 30, 2010

A collection of photos of things organized neatly. If only life were like this.

Fidel Castro has a blog

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 27, 2010

And here it is. He’s written 40 entries about capitalism and 44 about the blockade. (via @tcarmody)

Best sites for film criticism

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 20, 2010

An annotated list of the best film criticism blogs. (via the house next door)

Blogging the periodic table

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 13, 2010

Sam Kean is blogging the periodic table of elements over at Slate.

Starting today, I’ll be posting on a different element each weekday (the blog will run through early August), starting with the racy history of an element we’ve known about for hundreds of years, antimony, and ending on an element we’ve only just discovered, the provisionally named ununseptium. I’ll be covering many topics-explaining how the table works, relaying stories both funny and tragic, and analyzing current events through the lens of the table and its elements. Above all, I hope to convey the unexpected joys of the most diverse and colorful tool in all of science.

If you like that, Kean has written a whole book on the topic.

Are blogs dying?

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 07, 2010

The answer is yes, sorta, and no.

People are not tiring of the chance to publish and communicate on the internet easily and at almost no cost. Experimentation has brought innovations, such as comment threads, and the ability to mix thoughts, pictures and links in a stream, with the most recent on top. Yet Facebook, Twitter and the like have broken the blogs’ monopoly.

Pepsi blog on nutrition?

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 07, 2010

ScienceBlogs has added a blog about “innovations in science, nutrition and health policy” sponsored by Pepsi to their roster. Posters to the blog will include Pepsi research staff. Some of the other bloggers on ScienceBlogs are not happy.

However, that said, I am completely mystified by ScienceBlogs’ latest development: adding the PepsiCo “nutrition” Blog. How does ScienceBlogs expect to maintain their (OUR) credibility as a science news source (we are picked up by Google news searches afterall) when they are providing paid-for content under the guise of news? Further, I cannot imagine what sorts of credible nutrition research PepsiCo is doing that they can or will actually talk about publicly, nor can I possibly imagine any “food” corporation actually caring about promoting public health. PepsiCo is a corporation, not a research institute, fer crissakes!

(via @tcarmody)

Time’s best blogs of 2010

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 28, 2010

On the list are kottke.org favorites like Hilobrow, The Sartorialist, Shorpy, The Awl, and Roger Ebert’s Journal.

Seminal webzine archives back online

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 21, 2010

After nine years offline, FEED Magazine republishes its archives.

Welcome to the archives of the web magazine FEED. Launched in May of 1995, it was among a handful of “webzines”—as they were once called—in existence then. FEED tried to re-imagine how we would read and write in the digital age even as we dedicated ourselves to the craft of writing, a craft we were perfecting as green writers and editors ourselves.

We also convinced a handful of published authors to contribute. Hence, FEED was billed as the first Web-only magazine to feature “established writers.” But its ultimate legacy may be the collection of writers who published some of their earliest work at FEED, and who then went on to luminous careers: the novelist Sam Lipsyte, Wonkette’s Ana Marie Cox, media theorist Clay Shirky, New Yorker music critic Alex Ross, Talkingpointmemo’s Josh Marshall, and many others.

One of the pieces that FEED published was an early look at weblogs by Julian Dibbell. (You have no idea how much it bruised a certain naive blogger not to have been mentioned in that article. Perhaps there’s been a certain “I’ll show ‘em” element to this person’s blog ever since. Or so I’ve heard.)

You’re either repetitive, bored, or urgent

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 18, 2010

Google breaks down mobile device users into three categories: repetitive now, bored now, and urgent now.

The “repetitive now” user is someone checking for the same piece of information over and over again, like checking the same stock quotes or weather. Google uses cookies to help cater to mobile users who check and recheck the same data points.

The “bored now” are users who have time on their hands. People on trains or waiting in airports or sitting in cafes. Mobile users in this behavior group look a lot more like casual Web surfers, but mobile phones don’t offer the robust user input of a desktop, so the applications have to be tailored.

The “urgent now” is a request to find something specific fast, like the location of a bakery or directions to the airport. Since a lot of these questions are location-aware, Google tries to build location into the mobile versions of these queries.

This works for general web users as well. Blogs do well when they appeal to repetitive now and bored now users, but the really effective ones target all three types at once. Somehow this is related to stock and flow.

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 09, 2010

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a collection of imagined definitions for useful contemporary phrases. My two favorite recent entries are the McFly effect:

n. the phenomenon of observing your parents interact with people they grew up with, which reboots their personalities into youth mode, reverting to a time before the last save point, when they were still dreamers and rascals cooling their heels in the wilderness, waiting terrified and eager to meet you for the first time

and especially contact high-five:

n. an innocuous touch by someone just doing their job — a barber, yoga instructor or friendly waitress — that you enjoy more than you’d like to admit, a feeling of connection so stupefyingly simple that it cheapens the power of the written word, so that by the year 2025, aspiring novelists would be better off just giving people a hug.

(thx, john)

High-brow World Cup blog

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 08, 2010

The New Republic has started up their World Cup blog again.

This spring, we recruited Aleksandar Hemon to write a monthly column about soccer and encouraged him to write without pandering to a broad audience. And that’s the same spirit that we’ve embraced for this enterprise. Our cast of bloggers is filled with many eminent novelists and journalists (and a Deputy Mayor of New York City). They will write about the spiritual and metaphysical aspects of this tournament, I’m sure. But they will also write about tactics and players and coaches. They have a green light to be as wonky as they want.

Self-delusion

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 07, 2010

You Are Not So Smart is a blog about self-delusion. There are recent entries on the Dunning-Krueger effect, fanboyism and brand loyalty, and the misinformation effect.

The Misconception: Memories are played back like recordings.

The Truth: Memories are constructed anew each time from whatever information is currently available, which makes things like eyewitness testimony unreliable.

(via mr)

FiveThirtyEight goes to the NY Times

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 03, 2010

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight is licensing its content to the NY Times for the next three years.

In the near future, the blog will “re-launch” under a NYTimes.com domain. It will retain its own identity (akin to other Times blogs like DealBook), but will be organized under the News:Politics section. Once this occurs, content will no longer be posted at FiveThirtyEight.com on an ongoing basis, and the blog will re-direct to the new URL. In addition, I will be contributing content to the print edition of the New York Times, and to the Sunday Magazine.

The Times’ own Media Decoder blog notes that the deal is similar in structure to the arrangement Freakonomics enjoys at the newspaper: more of a rental than a purchase. I believe Andrew Sullivan has had similar deals at the various publications at which he’s blogged. (thx, nevan)

Marina Abramovic Made Me Cry

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 27, 2010

Marina Abramović Made Me Cry is the Tumblr blog of the moment.

Abramovic sits at a table in silence, and museum guests can sit across from her and stare. Some people couldn’t handle the heat.

Long-form journalism

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 26, 2010

Longform.org is collecting some of the best long-form journalism available on the web. See also Instapaper’s editor’s picks and @longreads on Twitter. (thx, yehuda)

Quitting the internet

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 08, 2010

James Sturm, fearing he’s addicted to the internet, is going offline for four months. He’s blogging about it (via fax and phone) for Slate.

Even when I am away from the computer I am aware that I AM AWAY FROM MY COMPUTER and am scheming about how to GET BACK ON THE COMPUTER. I’ve tried various strategies to limit my time online: leaving my laptop at my studio when I go home, leaving it at home when I go to my studio, a Saturday moratorium on usage. But nothing has worked for long. More and more hours of my life evaporate in front of YouTube. Supposedly addiction isn’t a moral failing, but it feels as if it is.

Beautiful software

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 24, 2010

For my future reference: Well Placed Pixels, a blog highlighting beautiful software. (via df)

My interview on The Pipeline

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 23, 2010

I try not to do too many interviews these days (they tend to get in the way of actually getting stuff done), but I was pleased to be interviewed for an episode of Dan Benjamin’s Pipeline podcast.

They discuss blogging for a living, general vs. niche blogs, content longevity, making the transition to full-time blogging, how taking a break (even for a week) can affect traffic, finding links, guest bloggers, the good and bad of comments, and more.

(Christ, is that my voice? I *was* just getting over a cold…)