Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur

March 6, 2002

My troubled new PowerBook G4 remains with Apple’s tech support, but after a relatively painless attempt to get a live customer support representative on the phone, I was able to learn what the problem is. It seems the logic board needs replacing, and they’re fresh out of replacements. They can’t even give me an estimated time of completion.

As you can imagine, I’m not too pleased. I was really looking forward to playing around with the new system, and I’m getting tired of iCab crashing and bringing down the whole computer. (Don’t get me wrong; I love iCab. But it’s not as stable as it could be.)

If it takes too much longer, I may complain. Just as soon as I determine who to complain to. #

Are weblogs journalism? Does it matter?

There’s been some discussion among the big-name webloggers and a few newspaper and magazine columnists about whether or not weblog authors are journalists and what sort of influence will weblogging have on print journalism.

I suspect that the true answer is “it depends”, but that doesn’t make exciting stories.

There’s been a ton of stuff on this subject (weblogs love talking about the nature of weblogs), so I’m not even going to try to gather a representative sample. Joe Clark has helped clarify the underlying concepts of weblogs and journalism, concluding that weblogs, at the very least, are sources, and several authors, such as David Weinberger, have recommended Andrew Orlowski’s examination of weblogs. #

More Google scams

Whether or not weblogs influence journalism, it seems clear that they greatly influence web searches. Why? Simply because weblogs, no matter their nature, contain lots of links, and Google uses links to determine the “quality” of a page. (In short: the quality of a page depends on the quality and quantity of pages which link to it.)

About a year and a half ago, we started hearing of ways to fool Google. The trick is to create lots of sites that appear real, but actually exist only to link to your site. Google, not being human, assumes that this represents actual interest in the page in question. Since then, the technique has moved beyond pornography and been taken up by paranoid pseudo-religions.

It turns out that operating multiple, heavily-interlinked web sites isn’t necessary if you can convince enough weblogs to help you. Weblogs have a disproportionate influence on Google, because they update frequently and reinforce each other. An idea—especially a funny or interesting one—can spread to dozens or hundreds of weblogs within hours. What will happen if people try to harness this power? One could argue that “Google Bombs” pose a threat to Google’s ranking technology, but I wouldn’t get too worried. The very nature of this technique makes it less useful the more people try it. (via Doc Searls) #

More LotR

I re-watched The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings a few weekends or so ago, and I still like it. In my previous review I mentioned a few things that bothered me, but of all of them, I’m starting to think the changes regarding Moria annoy me the most. In the books, Moria is established as a scary place as soon as it is mentioned, and Gimli has come to Rivendell, in part, because all contact with Balin’s colony has been lost. In the movie, Gimli cheerfully suggests they go through Moria, where his cousin Balin rules, only to discover Orcs everywhere. As far as I can tell, they made that change so they could show Gimli’s grief on-screen, but it’s just so unnecessary.

Still, the movie is very faithful compared to other novel-to-film adaptions, and one can argue that this faithfulness helped it succeed. (Yeah, yeah; that article’s a month old. I’m still cleaning out the link sack.) Certainly, the fact that it’s the first of three movies (or, rather, the first three hours of a very long movie) doesn’t seem to have harmed its box office. #