: Omar and Mohammed just told me about their visit to the Oval Office this week.
They said President Bush assured them that we would finish the job this time.
They told the President that they were grateful for their liberation and that the coalition did a great job.
Bush asked them about security in Iraq. They told him that they feel safe now. They talked about hearing the news reports of gigantic explosions in Baghdad, in their city, but they don’t hear or see the evidence. It’s a big place, Iraq; the brothers keep repeating that.
Bush also went to Omar, as a dentist, and said he wanted him to fix a cavity.
Mohammed said the President understood what blogs are and their importance and they found the staff in the White House views reading blogs as part of their jobs now. The brothers said they were in the White House not just as Iraqi citizens but as representatives of the blogosphere.
: Lectures (and books and shows and other one-way sharing) are OK if you have something to say. But when you don’t, they are torture, all the more so now that we are spoiled by the ability to control and create, whether in weblogs or in Bloggercon-style conversations. Boy has the last two days been the demonstration of that: Yesterday was front-to-back dull; today was a compelling conversation. No fault of yesterday; it was just yesterday, metaphorically, too. Susan Crawford says this isn’t just about conferences. It’s about classrooms, too.
There’s much discussion of language and translation in the international sessions here, of course. Tim Oren just gave a breathtaking VC analysis of the business (which I hope he blogs because I’ll butcher it): machine translation is a tiny business ($100 million); manual translation is a huge business; the real value lies in the corpuses (corpi? translation, please) of the same text in multiple languages to teach the machines; that is quite expensive to do; bloggers could help by creating massive corpuses. Joi Ito talks about the amazing handling of multiple languages at Wikipedia and hopes we can learn from them. A wishlist here.
: Hoder is telling the story of how he planted the seeds to grow the Iranian blogosphere. Many practical notes: Veteran bloggers need to link to new bloggers to give them encouragement and traffic; the bloggers love having hit counters to compete for traffic; the instructions Hoder wrote were extremely thorough (even telling people how to right-click to save a link)….
Hoder says that in repressive countries, it is important to have external hosting so they cannot be blocked.
He urges Google to hurry up localizing its tools into Middle Eastern languages (they are concentrating on European languages and Chinese for revenue reasons). This afternoon, Omar and Mohammed will be showing the new Arabic-language blogging tool they will be promoting.
He says that blogs are very cool in Iraq and when young people date one of the first questions is, Do you have a blog?
There’s talk about the social conditions that create fertile ground for blogging; they’re different in every land. A blogger who works with Indian and Pakistani bloggers find that the people she knows far prefer social spaces over individual spaces.
Hoder says a sense of individuality is important.
: Charles Nesson of Berkman has a great suggestion: He sees the need to spread the word about blogging and the substance and conversation of what it says and takes Hoder’s suggestions about using stars and he wants to find new ways for a center such as Berkman to help and help beyond the internet. So he suggests sponsoring a talk show about blogging and its topics with Hoder on the satellite TV beamed into Iran. Love it.