Posts from December 2002

Beware: The season of lists

Beware: The season of lists is upon us
: But not all lists are bad (see the post below). Some lists are merely about bad things.

Marc Weisblott lists the year’s 10 worst blogs, including himself in the list, and topping it off with the obligatory poll (no write-ins allowed). I’m still considering my vote as I think my lucky stars I didn’t make the list.

Top Web Design Mistakes of

Top Web Design Mistakes of 2002: No. 11
: Paying the slightest attention to Jakob Nielsen.

: In the comments, Oliver says: “I never get the anti-Nielsen feelings. In my web development efforts, his stuff is more right than others 80% of the time …”

I reply:

Just look at his site: not only ugly but unreadable: no sense of how to use size and emphasis, no sense of the need to have a focal point, no effort to help guide the user/reader/viewer/consumer. His design is the perfect representation of his attitude: arrogance.

Since you asked….

Christmas 2002: Snow is falling

Christmas 2002
: Snow is falling here now; the earth is white against the dark. The children are in bed with their dreams. Santa is on his way. The church service is over. The candles are dark. The presents are out. The stockings are hung. There’s beautiful music still on TV. And there’s still a little wine left in my glass.

And I sit here wondering whether it feels like Christmas yet.

I think back to last Christmas and know that much has changed. Last year, so close to September 11th, I was a mess and only now do I know how much of a mess I was. A few weeks ago, I took our son to one of our holiday traditions: a road production of A Christmas Carol. It’s warm yet cheesy. Still, last year, at every emotional cue, I was practically weepy. This year, I was just me again: stiff stuffed into those little theater seats. Last Christmas eve, I had the same problem in our church service during practically every hymn: they tore into the soul. This Christmas eve — tonight — I was simply worried about finding my bass notes in those same hymns.

Is Christmas returning to normal or have I grown a callous around my soul?

Last Christmas, I mourned the 3,000 dead of September 11th and feared for the future. I wrote in this weblog (in archives that have mysteriously disappeared):

So 2,000 years ago, we are led to believe, strife and suffering in the Holy Land led God to send his only son to Earth to wash away our sins and give mankind the hope of a new beginning.

Now, exactly 2,000 years later, at this Christmas, there is still strife and suffering in the Holy Land and it has spread the world around, escalating to nothing less than a World War against terrorism and evil now being fought at our door.

Yes, this is a depressing thought — not exactly the gift you were hoping for this Christmas.

It would seem as if we’ve made no progress in all this time. In fact, it would seem as if we’ve made things even worse. And if we are left still with sin and suffering and without hope, then perhaps God also made a mess of things or did what He did in vain. It can look like that.

But stop there. Now is the time — if there ever were a time — to look at what Christmas actually means. And I come to believe that Christmas is not about the light — the star, the gifts, the warmth, the virtue — but instead about the contrast, about the dark around it. Christmas is about the need for hope among the hopeless, virtue amidst sin, light in the darkness….

So Christmas is not lessened this year because it is a bad year. No, precisely because it is a bad year, Christmas is more needed, more meaningful. For Christmas is a time for the future — for our children and for hope.

This Christmas, we mourn the death of my wife’s father, a wonderful man sorely missed.

I don’t know whether I’m having trouble igniting Christmas because of that or because of that callous grown over the last year and a few months.

I’ll probably know by next year.

Right now, I just look forward to tomorrow morning as much as my children do, in their dreams. I can’t wait to share in their joy, the greater gift than our presents.

For Christmas is still Christmas for them.

I hope Christmas is still Christmas for you and yours.

Merry Christmas, my friends.

New VLOG address…: The good

New VLOG address…
: The good news is that Glenn Reynolds linked to my latest VLOG. The bad news is that Glenn Reynolds linked to my latest VLOG and it being video, the bandwidth choked like Trent Lott saying he supports affirmative action.

But I found another place to serve the video (and I’m investigating other sources).

Sony has a neat (if too neat) site called Screenblast that offers 50 megs of free storage and unlimited bandwidth. That is the good news. THe bad news? The site is as difficult to navigate as Trend Lott’s morals.

But here is an address for my video showcase that should work. Go there and click on the MEDIA 2002 link and you will (I hope) get the video to which Glenn so generously links.

I’ve disabled the link to the vlog on my server temporarily; will reactivate it as soon as the server can breath again.

(I repeated this post above)

A new vlog: The year in blogs and media
: I just put up another vlog that combines my view of the year in blogs with Glenn Reynolds’ (below) with the item about old radio (below). I’m still experiimenting to find the right voice for these vlogs and that’s why I’m using material I’ve already put online in print.

Please use this vlog showcase address: www.screenblast.com/buzzmachine. Alternately: I put up both a high-bandwidth version here (on a page that — thanks to my HTMLing son — now includes links mentioned in the VLOG and an embedded media player) and also a pretty cruddy low-bandwidth version here.

: For the script of the vlog, click the “more” linke below.

(more…)

The future: Glenn Reynolds —

The future
: Glenn Reynolds — who better? — looks back at the year in blogging.

And what a year this has been. Blogging passed from its founders and their tech interests into a wider world, thanks to 9.11, with more bloggers, more interests, a larger audience, and greater influence. Blogs played a part in our post-9.11 world and will forever be part of that record. They played a part in politics, most notably the Lott story. And they are beginning to play a part in media, showing a new relationship to the audience, giving the audience a new voice, finding new ways to create media.

At the end of his column, Glenn looks to the future with a generous tip of the Instapundit fedora to vlogs and mobile moblogging.

What’s clear is that the professionalization of journalism