Okay, Just ONE Bloggies Plug…

L:ast year, I was nominated for the 2004 Bloggies. I lost to the 800-pound gorilla of the blogosphere, BoingBoing, but the getting nominated for “Blog of the Year” (presumably for the “New Girl” story) instead of “Best Canadian Blog” was a big honour.

Nominations for the 2005 Bloggies

close tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. If you could nominate

this blog for “Best Canadian Weblog” (or perhaps “Lifetime

Acheivement”?), I’d appreciate it.


Know Any Cheap Places to Stay in Montreal?

Prentiss Riddle wrote in a comment to this blog:

Other than a friend’s apartment, do you know of any good cheap places

to stay in central Montreal? I’m flogging my network for contacts who

might be able to advise me about affordable lodgings for a conference I

want to attend there in a couple of months.

The conference will be the Information Architecture Summit held

March 3-7 at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, 900 Blvd René Lévesque O,

Montréal. Rooms there would be CA$200/night. I’d like to spend more

like CA$60/night as close as possible to the Fairmont. Proximity is

more important than comfort. (When I go to conferences I like to be

nearby so as not to miss out on all the informal networking. Not to

mention the occasional nap. 🙂 )

Can any Montrealers help out here?

[P.S. Blvd René Lévesque? VIVE LA RUE DORCHESTER!]


Rock Paper Scissors Spock Lizard

Remember this scene from The Simpsons?

Lisa (thinking): Poor Bart. Always chooses rock.

Bart (thinking): Good ol’ rock. Nothing beats that!

There comes a time when you know someone so well that you can always

tell which item they’re going to play in “Rock Paper Scissors”. For

that moment, I recommend Rock Paper Scissors Spock Lizard. The rules for the game are quite simple, and summarized below:

Graphic: Rules for 'Rock Paper Scissors Spock Lizard'.

Note that with five possible “hands” you can play, each “hand” can beat

two others and can be defeated by two others. I’m rather fond of “paper

disproves Spock”. Academia can be so cruel.

[Cross-posted to IndieGameDev]


Quick-Claiming Your Blogware Blog in Technorati

Graphic: Technorati logo.Graphic: Blogware logo.

Quick Claim

The fine folks at Technorati have made it

easier for users of Blogware-based

blogs to claim their blogs. They’ve incorporated a new system, Quick

Claim, which is the fastest way for a blog owner to claim a blog in


Before Quick Claim, claiming a blog in Technorati required going to the

Technorati site, specifying which blog you want to claim, copying some

claim code, pasting it into the template of your blog and then waiting

for the Technorati servers to scan your blog for the claim code. The

claim code was a way of establishing that you were truly the owner of

the blog — otherwise people would be claiming ownership of the Top


Quick Claim lets you claim a blog quickly: after specifying the blog

you want to claim, you provide the login information for your blog.

Technorati then communicates with your blogging software and confirms

that you own the blog.

Claiming Your Blogware Blog Using Quick Claim

Here are the steps involved:

1. Log into Technorati using your Technorati login


Go to the Technorati site,

If you have a Technorati account, you can either click the “Sign In”

button at the upper right-hand corner of their main page or go

directly to their Member Sign In


If you don’t have a Technorati account, you can sign up for one — it’s

free — at their Member Sign-Up


2. Click the “Claim Blog” link.

You should see the “Claim Blog” link about halfway down the page. Click

on it to go to the “Claim

Blog” page.

If you don’t see the “Claim Blog” link, look for the “Claim Weblogs”

tab naer the top of the page.

3. Enter the URL of the weblog you want to claim.

Enter the URL of the blog you want to claim in the “Claim a Weblog”

form. You don’t have to include the “http://” part.

The screenshot below is from an actual claim I’m making. It’s for IndieGameDev, Tucows’ new blog for

independent game developers, and yes, it’s a Blogware blog.

4. Enter your Blogware credentials.

You will be taken to a page where you will be given a number of options

for claiming your weblog. The option at the top will be the “Quick

Claim” option. To Quick Claim your blog, enter your Blogware username

and password into the fields provided in the “Quick Claim Your Weblog”

form and then click the “Quick Claim this weblog” button.

5. Wait for Technorati to Confirm That You Own the Blog…and

That’s It!

You will have a short wait while Technorati contacts the Blogware

servers and confirms that you own the blog. Once confirmed, you should

see a message like the one below:

If you follow the “Claimed Weblogs” link shown above, you’ll see a list

of all the weblogs you’ve claimed. It will include the weblog you just


Quick Claim is possible thanks to an XML document format called RSD (Really Simple Discoverability), and I cover that in the more technical version of this entry, which appears in my tech blog, The Farm.

In the News

Outsourcing Your Scrapbook and Your Duty as an Aphid of the Industrial Age

Sign of the times: Here’s a piece that appeared recently in the Arts and Life section of the National Post:

According to scrapbooking business maven Sue DiFranco, there are big

bucks to be made assembling scrapbooks for busy, stupid rich people.


she doesn’t exactly put it that way, but on her Fun Facts Publishing

Web site she explains that you can earn between $50 and $150 an hour

scrapbooking, with virtually no set-up cost. Some people, she says,

prefer to “hire out” their scrapbooking, much like they would pay

professional organizers or house cleaners, rather than learn how to do

it themselves.

If you’re wondering why anyone would need a

professional to assemble a scrapbook, it’s time you woke up and smelled

the rubber paste.

In middle-class homes, scrapbooks are the new

measure of domestic adequacy. If you just stick your photos in

chronological order in magnetic albums, well you might as well be

leaving your children down at the laundromat while gambling away your

afternoons. Any responsible mother wanting to hold her head high at the

PTA should be spending at least $50 a month (some people spend $50 a

day) and her spare hours (between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m.) documenting,

cropping, matting, embellishing, hole-punching and stamping little

doodads all over the family scrapbook.

People who don’t have the time, money or “talent” to

scrapbook are hiring others to do it for them — for thousands of

dollars. Even if you’re talentless they’ll hire you, according to

DiFranco. She advises, “Don’t question your own ‘scraptistic ability.’

Most clients actually prefer the look of simple layouts. And because

they’re not scrapbookers themselves, they won’t be comparing your work

to anyone else’s.”

What an ideal client base.

There’s no way that someone else, given a shoebox of your 

photos, clippings and other mementoes, could possibly create a

scrapbook that would capture their meaning — at least not without

consulting with you extensively. Would a scrapbooker possibly know that

the pack of matches from Ben’s Smoked Meat in Montreal means infinitely

more to me than the photo of me and the then-girlfriend at Lollapalooza

’95? That the grey dog was my first pet and the black dog belonged to a

girlfriend? Or that the mini-bar bill from the no-longer-existent

Holiday Inn behind New City Hall goes with the letters from the sisters

I was dating, each without the other’s knowledge?

(Hey, I was 19, and if you thought you could get away with it, you’d do it too.)

A scrapbook put

together by someone else might be nicely arranged, but it would be

bereft of rhyme or reason, free of nuance or meaning. It would merely

be a vanity coffee table book, a sort of trophy whose raison d’etre

would be so that you could brag that you had one.

“What an ideal client base” is what the RIAA, MPAA or Bill Gates

would say after reading the National Post article. These guys prefer to think of you as consumers rather than customers. The distinction, as Doc Searls often likes to point out, is an important one. He says

that as a consumer, vendors see you as an “aphid of the industrial

age”; a creature whose primary role in the scheme of things is to “gulp

products and crap cash”.

Any creative activity — and yes, scrapbooking falls into this category

— is the sort of thing that they wouldn’t like. If you’re creating,

you’re likely not consuming, and hence you’re not  perfoming your

designated function: crapping cash. That’s why they think you’ve only licensed and don’t really own the music and movies you bought. It’s also why they’d like set limits on what your computers can do. It’s also why you and your SMS messages are to blame for the box-office failure of their crappy movies rather than say, the movie being crappy. And finally, it’s also why they want to lock pieces of your own culture away from you and keep it for themselves.

The saddest thing is that people are beginning to buy into their

consumer aphid role, and it starts with outsourcing your scrapbook.


Surely This is a Sign of the Apocalypse

Photo: Dog in a litter box.

This is wrongness on the same level as Manties (“panties for men”).

[via Defective Yeti] Holy crap, they’re now making kitty litter for dogs.


Aim High, That’s What I Always Say! [Updated]

At Albert M. Greenfield Elementary School in Philadelphia, they’re either brutally honest or lowering expectations:

Photo: School hallway showing banner for Albert M. Greefield Elementary School: 'We made adequate yearly progress in 2004'.

The slogan works just as well for Future Shop. Click to see the original photo’s page.

Update: The original photographer has been found, so I can now attribute the photo: it’s Mike from Satan’s Laundromat.