Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Def Leppard in Sacramento

What with being sick and preparing for Thanksgiving, I completely forgot to post about my most recent mini-vacation. On Nov. 10 I flew to Sacramento with a friend to see Def Leppard (yes - *again*. I've now seen them 17 times.). The show was great (of course), though I could have done without the drunk guy behind me yelling in my ear during most of the show.

Afterward, we waited near the backstage door for the band to come out. It was a long wait in cold weather - but worth it for the pictures and autographs.

And in case you're wondering... no, I will never grow up :-)

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents

Wow - two posts in one night. If I keep this up, people will think I have too much time on my hands! But I couldn't resist sharing this e-book. As I skimmed through the Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents, I felt very lucky to be an American. I certainly have my differences with the current regime in DC, but at least I don't have to use proxy servers and cryptography to speak my mind.

The first half of the Handbook covers the basics of blogging, including ethics and promoting your blog. Aimed at bloggers in repressive countries, the second half provides lots of information on how to thwart censorship and blog anonymously. Fascinating - and a good reminder of how much we Americans take for granted.

Amazing pictures of the Dead Sea

Imagine a man reading a newspaper while floating in the water - with no air matress or life jacket. Terragalleria.com includes some stunning photos of the Dead Sea, including the Biblically infamous pillars of salt and the aformentioned man with his newspaper. You can download the pictures as wallpaper or order prints.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Posting something online? Read the fine print!

If you've been online very long, you've probably heard the following advice: Don't post anything online that you wouldn't want to read on the front page of the New York Times. Well, I've been online since 1991, so you'd think I'd have internalized that bit of advice. But I got a surprise reminder today.

I didn't post anything awful, and it didn't appear in the Times. Here's what did happen: This morning I got an email from a colleague, congratulating me on a letter to the editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education. That would be a routine bit of correspondence except for one important point: I never wrote a letter to the editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education! I did, however, submit a short posting a couple of months ago to Colloquy, the Chronicle's online forum for discussing issues related to higher ed. I hopped over to the Chronicle site, and, sure enough, there was my posting, edited a bit and presented as a letter to the editor (see http://chronicle.com/weekly/v52/i12/12b01701.htm if you're interested; it's a response to an article by a conservative librarian, accusing the library profession of liberal bias). A little more digging revealed the following statement on the Colloquy page: "All submissions may also be published as letters to the editor in print."

I don't mind my posting appearing as a letter to the editor, but I wish I'd paid more attention and noticed this statement beforehand. Then I would have taken a bit more time with the post, as I would anything I intended for publication.

The lesson? Read all fine print before posting online, and assume your words may crop up in unexpected places. And a note to the folks at the Chronicle: It would be nice if you'd label which letters are really Colloquy postings, so people would understand why they are less polished and formal than one would otherwise expect.

Wired News: Real Story of the Rogue Rootkit

Bruce Schneier at Wired News has the best take I've seen yet on the Sony copy protection nightmare. Unlike most stories in the mainstream media that focus on the copy protection software itself, Schneier gets to the critical part of the story: If some small, no-name firm installs it, it's malware; if a big media company installs it, it's a legitimate application. Infuriating - and scary.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Web Moments That Changed the World

Take a walk down online memory lane with Web Moments That Changed the World, a list from the Webby people with commentary from online luminary Bob Rankin. What a decade it has been!