Tuesday, June 24, 2003

The petunia's had it

Replacing RSS?. It looks like various people are working on a replacement for RSS, the ubiquitous weblog syndication format.

I look at this and think one thing:


Why do you need to replace RSS? Why do all blogging tools and aggregators need a new format? Do they really need it, or can you do it with namespaced additions to the RSS 2 spec?


[Second p0st]

Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was "Oh no, not again."  Many people have speculated that if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that we would know a lot more about the nature of the universe than we do now.

24/06/2003 07:25 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Damned browsers can't print

Could somebody please tell me, given that we are half way to 2004 in the 21st goddamn century, why I cannot print a web page without losing 50% of all the words on the right hand edge of the page.  And it's not just IE, Firebird is just as bad!

24/06/2003 09:20 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

The Smuggler

Time and again Nasrudin passed from Persia to Greece on donkey-back.  Each time he had two panniers of straw, and trudged back without them.  Every time the guard searched him for contraband.  They never found any.

`What are you carrying Nasrudin?'
`I am a smuggler'

Years later, more and more prosperous in appearance, Nasrudin moved to Egypt.  One of the customs men met him there.

`Tell me Mulla, now that you are out of the jurisdiction of Greece and Persia, living here in such luxury - what was it that you were smuggling when we could never catch you?'

[From the Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin]

24/06/2003 17:04 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

The dark side of radio romance

Signs of death.

Got lots of emails pointing to Signals from Nowhere, by Walter Kirn in the NY Times Magazine. Outstanding recollection of what Real Radio was all about in its golden age, which ended when ownership deregulation allowed Clear Channel to buy up everything:

You used to be able to do that in America: chart your course by the accents, news and songs streaming in from the nearest AM transmitter. A drawling update on midday cattle prices meant I was in Wyoming or Nebraska. A guttural rant about city-hall corruption told me I'd reach Chicago within the hour. A soaring, rhythmic sermon on fornication — Welcome to Alabama. The music, too. Texas swing in the Southwest oil country. Polka in North Dakota. Nonstop Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Jethro Tull in the Minneapolis-St. Paul suburbs. What's more, the invisible people who introduced the songs gave the impression that they listened to them at home. They were locals, with local tastes.

I felt like a modern Walt Whitman on those drives. When I turned on the radio, I heard America singing, even in the dumb banter of ''morning zoo'' hosts. But then last summer, rolling down a highway somewhere between Montana and Wisconsin, something new happened. I lost my way, and the radio couldn't help me find it. I twirled the dial, but the music and the announcers all sounded alike, drained, disconnected from geography, reshuffling the same pop playlists and canned bad jokes.

What a miserable trip. I heard America droning.

Recently, I found out whom to blame: a company called Clear Channel Communications. The mammoth buyer and consolidator of hundreds of independent local radio stations — along with its smaller competitors, Infinity Broadcasting and Cumulus Media — is body-snatching America's sonic soul, turning Whitman's vivacious democratic cacophony into a monotonous numbing hum.

No matter where a person lives these days (particularly in Minot, N.D., where Clear Channel runs all six commercial stations in town), he's probably within range of an affiliate, if not three or four, since the company buys in bulk: pop stations, rock stations, talk stations, the works. Worse, quite a few of these stations don't really exist — not in the old sense. They're automated pods, downloading their programming from satellites linked to centralized, far-off studios where announcers who have never even set foot in Tucson, Little Rock, Akron or Boston — take your pick — rattle off promos and wisecracks by the hundreds, then flip a switch and beam them to your town as if they're addressing its residents personally, which they aren't. They don't even know the weather there.

What results is a transcontinental shower of sound that seems to issue from heaven itself, like the edicts of the Wizard of Oz.

Here's a fear: That local newspapers will get just as killed as local radio, by the deregulation of media ownership. What happens when Clear Chanel or Cumulus Media buys up the local newspapers?

[The Doc Searls Weblog]

Recently I listened to Garrison Keeler reading Radio Romance.  It's a wonderful tale of the beginnings of Radio and the characters who made it great.  Clear Channel would have Ray Soderbjerg jr spinning in his grave.

But what I really don't understand is, if it's so awful, why do people listen?  After all, without listeners there would be no advertisers and ClearChannel would be dust.

So who loves this shit?

24/06/2003 19:49 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

To be or not to be?

Jim McGee: "Sites that provide no RSS feed essentially don't exist for me." [Scripting News]

Spot on.  I've given up complaining as well.  I used to email the site and hassle them about the benefits of offering me RSS.  These days I have too much shit in my aggregator already, I don't have time to ask for me.

"Welcome to the revolution!"

24/06/2003 20:00 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Birthday Greetings

Birthday low blogging. It's my birthday this week - 53! We will be indundated with visitors and blogging will be light this week [Robert Paterson's Radio Weblog]

Happy Birthday Rob!!

24/06/2003 20:02 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

The Past is the Past: Keep it there

Friends Reunited gives third reference. Watch your step [The Register]

The past is the past.  Much safer that way.

24/06/2003 20:08 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments: