homeaboutarchivepodcastnewslettermembership!
aboutarchivepodcastmembership!
aboutarchivemembers!

kottke.org posts about weblogs

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…)

Pre-modern blogs

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 18, 2010

From the New York Review of Books blog (on Tumblr no less!), a consideration of some pre-blog and pre-Twitter writing that is bloggy in nature, including documents written of the events in London coffee houses and French cafes.

To appreciate the importance of a pre-modern blog, consult a database such as Eighteenth Century Collections Online and download a newspaper from eighteenth-century London. It will have no headlines, no bylines, no clear distinction between news and ads, and no spatial articulation in the dense columns of type, aside from one crucial ingredient: the paragraph. Paragraphs were self-sufficient units of news. They had no connection with one another, because writers and readers had no concept of a news “story” as a narrative that would run for more than a few dozen words. News came in bite-sized bits, often “advices” of a sober nature — the arrival of a ship, the birth of an heir to a noble title — until the 1770s, when they became juicy. Pre-modern scandal sheets appeared, exploiting the recent discovery about the magnetic pull of news toward names. As editors of the Morning Post and the Morning Herald, two men of the cloth, the Reverend Henry Bate (known as “the Reverend Bruiser”) and the Reverend William Jackson (known as “Dr. Viper”) packed their paragraphs with gossip about the great, and this new kind of news sold like hotcakes.

“No headlines, no bylines, no clear distinction between news and ads, and no spatial articulation in the dense columns of type”…that sounds damned familiar. (via @bobulate)

NYC typography

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 25, 2010

New Type York showcases typography found in NYC. (via quips)

The elements of the incendiary blog post

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 02, 2010

If you’re looking to drive a lot of traffic to your blog with controversial posts, here’s your template.

This sentence contains a provocative statement that attracts the readers’ attention, but really only has very little to do with the topic of the blog post. This sentence claims to follow logically from the first sentence, though the connection is actually rather tenuous. This sentence claims that very few people are willing to admit the obvious inference of the last two sentences, with an implication that the reader is not one of those very few people.

The comments are worth a read too. (thx, mira)

Update: See also Charlie Brooker on How To Report the News. (thx, christian)

Math for non-experts

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 01, 2010

Mathematician Steven Strogatz is doing what sounds like a fascinating series of posts on mathematics for adults. From the initial post:

I’ll be writing about the elements of mathematics, from pre-school to grad school, for anyone out there who’d like to have a second chance at the subject — but this time from an adult perspective. It’s not intended to be remedial. The goal is to give you a better feeling for what math is all about and why it’s so enthralling to those who get it.

More subject blogs like this, please. There are lots of art, politics, technology, fashion, economics, typography, photography, and physics blogs out there, but almost none of them appeal to the beginner or interested non-expert. (thx, steve)

Living on Craigslist

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 21, 2010

Jason Paul lives off of Craigslist and is documenting the whole thing on his blog.

What does that mean exactly? I have made some ground rules that I will be living by over the year. Here they are:

- I will start with $2,500 that I’ve saved during college
- I will have a car, a phone, a computer and cameras to document the trip
- I am not allowed to live out of my car
- I am not allowed to live with someone I know for longer than a week at the beginning of each city
- I am allowed one large bag containing clothes and a few staple foods
- I am not allowed to initiate contact with someone unless it is through an online interaction

This means, put simply, I will find jobs, housing, friends, food and other necessities entirely via Craigslist.

Update: Craigslist Joe is a documentary film with the same premise. (thx, dennis)

Online PR dos and don’ts

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 13, 2010

Lindsay Robertson’s list of guidelines for how PR people should interact with bloggers is spot on, especially the “pick eight sites” advice:

She picked the eight blogs that covered her client’s subject, TV, that she liked the most on a personal level, read them religiously, and only sent them only the content she thought each blog would be into. While the rest of the publicists in her company were sending out mass emails to everyone, hoping to get bites from Perez Hilton, Gawker, HuffPo, or wherever, this publicist focused on a lower traffic tier with the (correct) understanding that these days, content filters up as much as it filters down, and often the smaller sites, with their ability to dig deeper into the internet and be more nimble, act as farm teams for the larger ones. A site can be enormously influential without having crazy eyeballs, because all eyeballs are not equal.

Best blogs of ‘09

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 05, 2010

Worth checking out: Rex Sorgatz’s list of the 30 best blogs of 2009.

Growing Up Heroes

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 21, 2009

The Growing Up Heroes blog is collecting photos of little kids wearing superhero costumes. (thx, jasons)

Update: See also I Used To Be Younger.

2009’s best new blogs

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 16, 2009

Bygone Bureau asks a bunch of folks: what was your favorite new blog of 2009?

Detainee 063

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 07, 2009

Detainee 063 is the interrogation log of Guantanamo Bay detainee Mohammed al-Qahtani; each entry is posted to the site seven years after it was recorded (a la The Diary of Samuel Pepys).

Over the course of the fifty days, Al-Qahtani, Detainee 063, is questioned by teams of interrogators working in shifts, typically for twenty hours a day. While individual entries of the log are sometimes brutal and unpleasant to read, what is particularly disturbing about the treatment Al-Qahtani receives is its relentlessness. By publishing the log in real time, this site is intended as a kind of re-enactment — to show how mistreatment which might not appear immediately as terrible as, for example, waterboarding, can nonetheless come to amount to nothing short of torture, how by being prolonged and unceasing it can become unbearable.

(thx, ben)

Free Errol!

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 20, 2009

For some dumbcrap reason, the NY Times has redirected Errol Morris’ excellent blog about photography and the truth — formerly at http://morris.blogs.nytimes.com — to some new thing called Opinionator. They did the same with Dick Cavett, Olivia Judson, etc. Oh, all the content is still there — here’s Morris’ stuff — and permalinks redirect, but there are no author-specific RSS feeds. There is only the main feed, which started shoveling a bunch of crap I didn’t want to read into my newsreader. Come on Gray Lady, just give me Morris; I don’t care about the rest.

Update: The Times blogs are on Wordpress and with WP you can add “/feed” to any URL and get a feed. So here’s Morris’ feed…which helps you and me but not much of anyone else. (thx, mark)

Update: The Times is working on it. (thx, benjamin)

Keeping Belle de Jour’s secret

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 16, 2009

Darren from LinkMachineGo, an old school blogger, guessed Belle de Jour’s identity soon after her blog started. How? Pre-Belle, Brooke Magnanti ran an obscure Robotwisdom-style link blog and wrote in a few other online forums and Darren recognized the writing style. Not only didn’t Darren tell Magnanti or anyone else, he even set up a clever Googlewhack honeypot to detect people searching for her secret identity and tipped Magnanti off that The Daily Mail was sniffing around.

That’s Dr. Belle de Jour

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 15, 2009

London call girl blogger Belle de Jour has outed herself and, surprise, she’s a hot nerd.

Her name is Dr Brooke Magnanti. Her specialist areas are developmental neurotoxicology and cancer epidemiology. She has a PhD in informatics, epidemiology and forensic science and is now working at the Bristol Initiative for Research of Child Health. She is part of a team researching the effects of exposure to the pesticide chlorpyrifos on foetuses and infants.

(via waxy)

Summing up the 2000s

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 02, 2009

The blog You Aught To Remember is counting down all the of the memorable people, ideas, and trends of the 2000s. Some recent entries include the demotion of Pluto, World of Warcraft, the Red Sox winning the World Series, and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

How to write badly well

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 26, 2009

Writer Joel Stickley keeps a blog about how best to write badly. Here’s a snippet from a recent entry titled “Describe every character in minute detail, taking no account of narrative pacing”:

Terrence Handley shifted his weight, the weight that had been steadily increasing for the last ten years and showed no sign of diminishing, at least while his wife Marie continued to excel as she did at the design and production of delectable gourmet meat pies, and shuffled his feet restively as he waited.

Iconic photos

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 20, 2009

The Iconic Photos blog reminds me a bit of Letters of Note (and Footnotes of Mad Men). It’s one notable photo per post plus some context.

Alex Ross on the move

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 15, 2009

Alex Ross has moved his blog from The Rest is Noise to the New Yorker site. It’s now called Unquiet Thoughts.

From the desk of Mr. Jagger

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 15, 2009

You are still reading Letters of Note, yes? A couple of recent letters include Bill Gates’ infamous An Open Letter to Hobbyists — “most of you steal your software” — and a letter from Mick Jagger to Andy Warhol about the design of an album cover in which Jagger gives the impression of being the perfect client…do whatever you want and let me know how much to pay you.

Jagger letter to Warhol

Update: Jagger’s letter to MC Escher didn’t work out quite as well.

By the way, please tell Mr. Jagger I am not Maurits to him, but
Very sincerely,
M. C. Escher.

(thx, @pjdoland)

Vivian Maier, recently discovered street photographer

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 14, 2009

Vivian Maier was a street photographer from the 1950s-70s in Chicago whose extensive body of work (40,000 negatives) was recently discovered at an auction. This blog is presenting that work to the public for (I think) the first time.

Vivian Maier

(thx, frank)

Update: Blake Andrews discusses some other photographers who came late to the public eye.

The other X factor in recognition is a curatorial champion. Bellocq had Friedlander. Atget had Abbot. Disfarmer had Miller. Without their discoverers, these photographers might still be anonymous. For Maier it’s been John Maloof. An interesting mental experiment is to wonder what would’ve happened had Maier posted her own photos on a blog while still alive. Would they have the same impact? Or would they just be another series of old images from some self-promoting has-been?

Letters of Note

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 14, 2009

Letters of Note is a blog that publishes important, unusual, and memorable letters.

Letters of Note is an attempt to gather and sort fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and even emails. Scans/photos where possible. Fakes will be sneered at. Updated weekdays.

Here’s a letter from Winston Churchill to his wife to be delivered in the event of his death in WWI and the Lindbergh baby kidnapping ransom note. Fantastic idea for a blog and well done too. Subscribed. (thx, felicia)

Blogger as accidental puppeteer

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 31, 2009

Heather Armstrong purchased a new washing machine which promptly broke. After several attempts to get it fixed failed, she registered her displeasure on Twitter to her 1,000,000+ followers. The rest of the story is amusing but I enjoyed it for more inside-baseball reasons, i.e. this is how you fucking blog. Take notes.

This is where some of you are all, WTF? You spent how much on a washing machine? Don’t you know that some of us don’t even have washing machines? Don’t you know that some of us have to drag our five loads of laundry AND our three kids down to the laundromat every week? HOW DARE YOU EVEN WRITE AND/OR COMPLAIN ABOUT YOUR PRECIOUS LITTLE WASHING MACHINE.

And you can give me a goddamn break. It’s not like we said, you know what? Let’s just go spend fourteen hundred dollars today! It’ll be fun! Where can we go? An appliance store! Hurry, let me change into my diamond-studded panties and climb into our golden chariot! Have the local police shut down traffic so that we don’t have to maneuver around the little people! Also, where is Clive Owen and that blow job I paid for?

Life advice from old people

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 27, 2009

Seth Menachem takes his video camera out on the streets and collects Life Advice From Old People. Menachem is in the movie biz so he even got advice from Jon Voight and Errol Morris.

The best of Wikipedia

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 26, 2009

The Best of Wikipedia blog collects interesting entries from Wikipedia. Some recent entries include Lawsuits Against God, Missing White Woman Syndrome, and Dead Cat Bounce.

The footnotes of Mad Men

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 18, 2009

This may be my favorite new blog of the year: The Footnotes of Mad Men. Sample footnote: The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife, the tentacle porn hanging in Bert Cooper’s office. (via sandwich)

Bloggers and press passes in NYC

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 21, 2009

Gothamist’s Jake Dobkin attended a public discussion of “Rules for City Issued Press Credentials” in NYC today and took some good notes. The proposed new rules address some inconsistencies in the city’s issuing process…in particularly the denial of press passes to bloggers and other online publications.

Restrictions limiting press passes to certain mediums will be removed — in the future, online, offline, on-air, etc. will all be treated equally. To qualify for a press pass, the journalist or journalism organization will need to provide six clips from the last 24 months showing news-gathering activity that would merit a press card — that would include live reportage from police and fire scenes, public assemblies, government press conferences, or similar events.