Archive for August, 2003

Blog vs. Online Journal

After I wrote about the AOL Journals announcement, my lone reader forwarded this AP News article to me.

A snippet from the article:

And unlike blogs, which are dated musings on certain subjects and often carry links to similar blogs, online journals are designed to be more like a coffeehouse, where a community regularly gathers, building friendships and connections as they share personal details.

I don’t understand this distinction between a blog and an online journal. Many blogs have a community of regular readers. With the comment feature and trackback features that are enabled on many blogs, the readership community can easily build friendships, build connections, and share personal details.

Many people use newsreader-style tools to read blogs through RSS feeds. Some blogs even have RSS feeds for their comments. A blog can be a very interactive way of communication.

I also don’t understand how an online journal is more like a coffeehouse. In a coffeehouse, people can gather and communicate in real time with each other. This sounds more like the equivalent of a chat room to me than an online journal.

Is there an aspect of online journals that I am missing? If you can clear up my confusion, please submit a comment.


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Hardware vs. Software

I love this entry from Raymond Chen. I’ve added his blog to the links on the main page of this site. It’s the one called “The Old New Thing”.

I wonder if the major manufacturer he mentions could have been IBM? Probably not. I wouldn’t put it past Compaq or HP to produce hardware on the cheap. I’ve owned models from both companies in the past and have typically experienced flakiness in the performance when making hardware changes. I’ve also worked on a number of IBM PCs and have never had a problem with flaky performance.

I suppose “you get what you pay for” is applicable when you’re buying any kind of electronic equipment.

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There are two celebrations in my family today.

My parents are celebrating their 37th anniversary.

My grandmother is celebrating her 79th birthday.

Congratulations to both!

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More on viruses

My wife, who’s probably the only reader of my blog, sent this link to a John Dvorak article. Like many others, I don’t think that a computer license is practical.

However, he also bashes Microsoft a few times for having Windows defaults that don’t help. One of the examples he gives is that extensions of email attachments are hidden. Allegedly, this makes it too easy for users to click on what they think is a spreadsheet but is really a PIF or an EXE file. I would argue that many (maybe most) users of Excel wouldn’t know that a PIF or an EXE extension is not a spreadsheet. These users would still open the attachment.

If you doubt this belief, look for all the stories on the web of stupid things people do because they don’t really understand how their computers work. Why do we have to put warnings on irons that say “Do not iron clothes while wearing them”?

Raymond Chen writes about Windows 95 testing where users just sat in front of the computer doing nothing because the button on the bottom of the screen said “System” instead of “Start”.

A friend told me a relevant story. He was helping a friend of his upgrade the RAM in his computer. He opened the case and took the old RAM out. His friend, with wide eyes, asked him if he had just lost all the programs on his computer. I’m not surprised at the number of people who don’t know the difference between volatile RAM and non-volatile hard drives.

I wonder how many mechanics make fun of programmers who bring in an engine that was allowed to run on no oil?

As much as we would like to protect us from ourselves, it’s just not possible, no matter what John Dvorak thinks.

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Sobig problems

I’ve been receiving a spate of emails on my home account that are generated from the Sobig worm. It does seem to have reduced the number of other spam messages I typically receive each day.

I wonder if some of them are coming from this receptionist.

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AOL Journals

Yesterday, AOL announced the launch of their new subscriber service, AOL Journals. I don’t understand why they chose “journals” for the name. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to use the standard term “weblog” or “blog”?

The cynical side of my personality remembers what happened to Usenet newsgroups after AOL became popular. Before AOL, the newsgroups were populated by a small contingent of technically savvy people who mostly carried on productive, intelligent discussions. After AOL became popular, most of the newsgroups I read became useless due to a decreased signal-to-noise ratio.

I wonder if introducing AOL members to the world of weblogs will have a similar effect. Will AOL Journals be a mass of mindless postings? A good argument could be made that we already have a mass of mindless postings — including on this blog.

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Wedding coincidences

My youngest brother was married today in Akron. Congratulations to Paul and Autumn!

The reception was at Todaro’s Party Center. We found out shortly after we arrived that another wedding reception was taking place later. The time of the reception was a little in doubt because the groom had a commitment at a local golf course. If you follow golf, you’ll know that I’m talking about Ben Curtis.

As we were leaving around 11 pm, Ben and Candace were doing the “Chicken Dance.” Perhaps they’re doing the “Hokey Pokey” now. The bride and groom did not arrive until nearly 9:30, so I’m sure they’ll be going quite late into the evening.

I snapped a couple photos of their limo as I left the reception.
Limo with flash
Limo without flash

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