Monday, July 14 2008 @ 03:51 AM
Don't have an account yet? Sign up as a New User
Lost your password?
Guest Users: 10
STORIESNo new stories
COMMENTS last 2 daysNo new comments
There are no upcoming events
last 10 posts
Monday, July 14 2008 @ 03:51 AM
As of July 14, 2008, Candleblog has relocated to candleboy.com. Please update your bookmarks, links and/or feed subscriptions. It's the same blog, written by the same guy, but it's got better blog guts at the new home. The 2,326 posts at this url will remain up indefinitely for posterity and for my own research reasons. Please email me <email@example.com> with any questions. Candleblog is dead. Long live Candleblog.
Friday, July 11 2008 @ 06:10 PM
I was going to wait until Monday to announce this, and the "official" launch won't happen until then, but Candleblog is moving. I've been done with GeekLog (Candleblog's engine) for a long time now, and after four years, I'm finally biting the bullet and jumping ship over to Wordpress (oh, the mixed metaphors). The final straw (hee!) was the release of Firefox 3, which not only rendered Candleblog's left sidebar all wrong, but it also broke my ability to use the quick link functionality in the post editor -- not that it's Firefox's fault -- I'm sure the problem lay somewhere within the bowls of Candleblog and it was just above my pay grade to fix.
The new Candleblog will live at a different url, but never fear, it's a really easy change to make. Instead of www.candleboy.com/candleblog, you will find the blog at www.candleboy.com. Yup, it's the root directory, baby! The blog is up now but there isn't really any content there yet. But as of Monday, it will be the official new home of Candleblog. w00t!
I'm leaving this GeekLog site up for posterity (though I'll kill all of the user accounts, etc. and close commenting) so all of the permalinks will remain intact. I'll add a top post sending folks over to the new digs.
In the meantime, please help me out and peruse the new site, test it out, and report any problems or design shenanigans to me.
Regular commenters take note: all comments at the site go into moderation the first time. Once one comment has been approved, the next should post automatically.
Fellow bloggers: please go ahead and update your links and blogrolls to reflect the new address.
Everyone else: please bookmark the new site or, even better, subscribe to the feeds!
See you over at the new house!
Thursday, July 10 2008 @ 08:50 PM
UPDATE: Gerry Canavan (who is not a narcissist) has posted some more thoughts over on his excellent linkblog.
This is funny. I've been busy this week and while I've been looking at the web and finding lots of good, linkable bits to blog about, I haven't really found the time to sit down and gather them all in a linkdump. Well now here I am at work on a Thursday night -- covering for a coworker -- and it's slow and have the web here and I'm all set to post some links for your collective amusement, and I see that Warren Ellis has called for an end to linkblogging. As Gerry Canavan wrote when he saw Ellis' post, "thanks a lot, y'all, it's been fun."
Yeah, I've got to call good ol' Warren out on this one. I actually think his assessment of the function and place of linkblogs is basically right, but his conclusions are all wrongity wrong wrong. Ellis writes...
One of the few sane responses to this explosion of production [on the web from 2001-2007] was to assume the role of curator. ... The two most famous examples of same are Jorn Barger’s Robot Wisdom (est. 1997) — Barger is said to have coined the term "weblog" — and Mark Frauenfelder’s Boing Boing (est. 2000 as a weblog, previously a print magazine est. 1988).... The latter, in particular, has spawned countless imitators, all deeply involved in doing the web-work of 2001-2007 — sorting out all the weird crap that’s out there and re-presenting it in some kind of ordered and aesthetically or politically filtered manner for our consideration.
I think this is basically right. There's so much content out there, it's sometimes hard to know where to begin looking for interesting, worthwhile stuff. Google, Technorati and other search filters help, but these tools by themselves lack an essential quality for curation -- taste. Google can help you search by words and phrases and secondarily by popularity, but its not discriminating -- it can't tell you what's "good." This is where linkbloggers come in. They're out there on the web looking at lots of stuff and linking to what they think is worth sharing -- what they think is "good." There are all sorts of different linkblogs. Some are group blogs (the afore mentioned Boing Boing, Metafilter), some are individuals who comment extensively on what they're linking to (Gerry Canavan, Accordion Guy, Candleblog), and some just post links without any comment at all (Web Zen, Dear S, the late great Gravity Lens ).
Linkblogs are actually my favorite kind of blog. They give me what I want from the internet, by which I mean: they give me everything that's interesting. If the links are presented in an entertaining way, so much the better, but it's the function of curation that is key. Here's where Ellis goes off track...
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could stand up now and say, okay, these are the post-curation years? The world does not need another linkblog. What is required, frankly, is what we’re supposed to call “content” these days. When I were a lad, back in the age of steam, we called this “original material.” Put another way: we like it when Cory and Xeni are the copy/paste editors for the internet, but we like it better when Cory writes a book and Xeni makes an episode of BoingBoingTV.
I think Warren may be projecting a bit here. He is a writer, after all, and a linkblogger himself -- a particularly popular one. Do you suppose he's beating himself up for "wasting" so much time blogging when he could be, you know, writing? If so, he should cut himself a little slack. I know his blog more than his writing, but it certainly seems like he's very prolific. To address his point, sure, it would be great if all of the writers and filmmakers and artists would procrastinate less and spend more time creating their art, but does Ellis really think the only thing keeping Cory Doctorow from writing twice as many books is Boing Boing? Speaking as a content creator, I can truthfully say I've used Candleblog as a procrastination tool before -- in fact, one could make the case that I'm doing that very thing right now -- but before I had Candleblog, I found other avenues for my procrastination. The problem isn't my blog, it's my will to work.
Also, not every linkblogger is a content creator -- many are just smart people with good taste. What should these folks do to occupy their time that is better than linking to things they think are interesting?
I loves me some Boing Boing. I read it every day. The Boingers are indeed partially responsible for the form that Candleblog has taken, and some not insignificant fraction of the outgoing links that get posted at Candleblog were found at BB. Still, Candleblog is not a BB clone. As interested as I am in copyfight and cool gadgets and steampunk culture, the Boingers' interests and tastes only reflect my own so much. And as distinct from Boing Boing as Candleblog is, I'm positive there are scads of linkblogs out there that are much more so. I read about a dozen blogs regularly and at least half of them are linkblogs of one shade or another. I don't only read BB because BB doesn't cover everything I'm interested in. There are occasional duplicate links (this is pretty rare, actually), but even these are presented in different ways and often offer more persectives on a given item.
Ellis goes on to make the (correct) point that it's easier than ever for content creators to publish their works (using pre-fab tools like tumblr) and it's also very easy to get your content linked to (precisely because there are so many effing linkblogs) so, one infers, we should all stop wasting our time linking to stuff and start creating some content.
In his last paragraph Ellis admits that these ideas are "not fully baked," probably realizing there's a problem in the logic above: i.e., if we content creators all stop linkblogging and start creating original content because it's so easy to get said content linked to, what with all the linkbloggers, there would then be fewer linkbloggers (because they will have all stopped blogging and started creating) and it would be harder to get your work linked to. Or something.
Anyway, following his call to end linkblogs, Ellis promptly posted a selection of links -- more evidence that he doesn't really believe the things he writes.
Monday, July 07 2008 @ 12:30 PM
I'm shooting a piece for Technology Review Magazine tomorrow in Hanover and one of the subjects of the piece is "reality mining," which is my new favorite digital culture term. Here's a description from an April Technology Review piece on the subject...
Reality mining, [MIT professor of media arts and sciences, Sandy Pentland] says, "is all about paying attention to patterns in life and using that information to help [with] things like setting privacy patterns, sharing things with people, notifying people--basically, to help you live your life."
Researchers have been mining data from the physical world for years, says Alex Kass, a researcher who leads reality-mining projects at Accenture, a consulting and technology services firm. Sensors in manufacturing plants tell operators when equipment is faulty, and cameras on highways monitor traffic flow. But now, he says, "reality mining is getting personal."
Within the next few years, Pentland predicts, reality mining will become more common, thanks in part to the proliferation and increasing sophistication of cell phones. Many handheld devices now have the processing power of low-end desktop computers, and they can also collect more varied data, thanks to devices such as GPS chips that track location. And researchers such as Pentland are getting better at making sense of all that information.
Of course any technology that literally tracks our movements and behaviors is going to have some significant privacy issues to consider, but much of this data is already being collected and just not used for anything interesting.
I suspect I'll know a lot more about this tomorrow after the shoot. I'll post a link when the video goes up.
Saturday, July 05 2008 @ 01:27 PM
I've been busy all week and this long weekend is turning out to be busier than I'd expected too! I actually am spending a lot of time these days on blog-related projects, the fruits of which will be unveiled soon. In the meantime...
Everyone wish Flameape a happy birthday!
And then go check out this hilarious video (found at Digital Digressions - probably NSFW)
And on this July 4th holiday, Boing Boing has graciously given us two polar opposite views of the pursuit of liberty on the 'net. First, check out John Perry Barlow's July 4th ruminations on the inalienable right to know and our modern struggle with liberty. Then, read about how the Iranian government is considering legislation that would put bloggers to death for "disturbing mental security in society."
Wednesday, July 02 2008 @ 12:24 PM
It's a short week for me and I'm looking at a nice long weekend ahead but right now I'm crazy busy. Just enough time for some quick links to get us over the hump.
Monday, June 30 2008 @ 07:39 PM
Here's a quick video that Emily shot yesterday of Devo co-founder and filmmaker, Gerry Casale, critiquing my short documentary about political blogger Steve Benen, Digital Pamphleteer. The batteries ran out on the video camera in the middle of the talk so we only have a minute of it or so.
Casale reminds me of Lewis Black and Jello Biafra's new wave love child.
Click here to watch the video.
Monday, June 30 2008 @ 12:48 PM
UPDATE: Just after I posted this I checked the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival blog and noticed that Digital Pamphleteer won the Best Short Documentary award at the festival! Can I get a w00t?
We're finally home, and we're happy abut it. Here's a quick snap from yesterday's filmmaker feedback session with Gerry Casale. He more or less held court with an audience of about 20, including three filmmakers he was specifically giving feedback to...
We have some video of the session too but the AA batteries on the Flip video camera died so I can't post that until I replace them. He had complimentary things to say about Digital Pamphleteer -- though they were really more complimentary to Steve than to the film, but he did say I did a good job of presenting what it is about Steve that's compelling.
One of the other filmmakers there was terrified of his film getting pirated online and an interesting discussion about the internet ensued, with me being the standard-bearer of the the-internet-is-a-filmmaker's-best-friend line of thinking and the San Francisco-based horror director getting hot under the collar over the idea that he won't be able to get distributors interested in his film if it becomes available online. I'm not sure he's right abut that -- particularly if it's just available as a bit torrent or in chunks on P2P networks -- but what was funny is that he kept talking about how he wanted "bloggers" to write about his film to help get it known and generate buzz. Uh, the only way bloggers are going to get excited about your film is if they can watch it somehow. There was a weird disconnect there and his temperature started to rise when I challenged his (clearly deeply ingrained) beliefs on the subject, so I didn't push too hard.
We got some vegan cheesesteaks for the road before leaving Philly at about 5:30pm. We had a good time, but we're happy to be home.
Saturday, June 28 2008 @ 09:59 PM
Saturday, June 28 2008 @ 08:36 PM
We're enjoying things in Philly as best we can despite some bad news from back home. We're missing our friends and looking forward to hugging them a lot.
Today was our American civics day, visiting Independence hall and the National Constitution Center. We snapped this shot as evidence that we were here. You can see a tiny Independence Hall just to the right of my head in the distant background...
Apparently, America's first everything was in Philadelphia -- the first hospital, the first prison, the first soda pop, the first lager, the first photograph, the first cheesesteak sandwich, the first yellow fever outbreak...
Speaking of yellow fever, yesterday we did some more macabre sight seeing, taking in Edgar Allen Poe's house and the famous Mütter Museum of medical oddities.
And last night was my film's screening at the Arbol Cafe, an outdoor venue -- think the Radio Bean with a large patio. This is the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival's first year and so some slack is to be afforded them for not exactly having their ducks in a row. I think they have the right idea for a festival -- it's very indy -- the venues are bohemian and laid back and all within walking distance of each other, the staff is young and hip, and the program is both a little edgy and a little serious.
That said, last night's screening was kind of a nightmare. First of all, the projection got my film's aspect ratio wrong and the technical staff was stumped about how to fix it. I've had years of film festival tech experience and I'm confident I could have stepped in and fixed the problem, but I was sensitive about being a prima donna filmmaker -- I'd already made them stop the film so they could get it right. In the process it became clear to me that the techs had not tested the media at all -- in fact they had not touched the DVDs until literally 30 seconds before show time. After it became clear that the aspect ratio was going to stump them, I said "it's good enough" and had them proceed, not wanting to hold up the show because my 7-minute short was the wrong shape.
As it turns out, I was the lucky filmmaker last night because the disk that the feature was on wouldn't play at all in their deck. The filmmakers were cool about it but I would have been pissed. This is why you test the media 30 minutes before showtime, so you can deal with the issue before there's an expectant audience sitting in seats waiting for the show to start. It's also why you have backup media for all films. You're better off showing a 3rd generation VHS tape recorded in EP than showing nothing at all.
There was also a VERY small turnout for the films, but that could have been program-specific and also due to the sticky heat. Next year will probably be much smoother. In general, I like the feel of the festival and what they're doing. They just need to work through some kinks.
Tomorrow we may check out the Eastern State Penitentiary before heading over to the event with Gerry Casale. Then we have along drive home.
...the online journal of Vermont filmmaker, Bill Simmon. Bill uses Candleblog as a repository of pop culture ephemera, amusing anecdotes and anything else he thinks is web-worthy.
fun words to say in a vermont accent