"SCRUZIA" ... a very infrequently updated weblog ...


Oddly news

A legal firm in Florida had an ad comparing themselves to pit bulls. The Florida Supreme Court ruled that it was an affront to the legal profession. [via Reuters' "Oddly Enough"]. My take on the story was to wonder why PETA hasn't sued that firm, for the way it demeans a particular breed of dog. (* RubyURL is like TinyURL; this one should expand to Reuter's horribly long URL that may or may not even be a perma-link. )


gmail as a social networking site

Cryptic thought of the week: Orkut is a diversion. gmail is the social networking site that actually matters to Google. (I posted some similar thoughts to an internal weblog pilot system at my employer's site, some time last year. It included the wonderful phrase "-ster"-crazy. As in Jason Kottke going "-ster"-crazy about keeping up with those labor-intensive social networking sites. (Well, I thought it was wonderful when I made it up.)) Short version: social networking sites are a fad, a means to a meat-space end. In order to get long-term extractable social networking data from the customer base, a SN operator needs to be able to get that data from things that its customers do anyway, every day. Like, say, sending and receiving email. The links may not be the same quality as the explicit ones that users create on SN-Sites, but who's to say which ones are actually more meaningful? The ones that are created self-consciously, or the ones that reflect how people's communications really work?


Misspelling folksonomy

I don't really like the term "folksonomy", mostly because it's not a taxonomy: not hierarchical, not tree-shaped. Chris McEvoy suggests "usersaurus". And Tom Coates says that the first time he heard the term, he really thought it was spelled "fauxonomy". I think I'll adopt that one, and hope that it at least becomes an acceptable alternative spelling.


QOTY -- 43 Folders

Quote of the Year (2004): "Be careful not to let doodling on your pretty map replace the important business of walking the actual territory. (See the end of Merlin Mann's GTD summary for 2004.)


Sparklines and Edward Tufte

Out of the blue, I was thinking Friday today about those little word-sized graphics that I read about many months or years ago. Had some vague recollection that it related to that guy who "wrote the book" about visualization. Napoleon's march to Moscow -- that guy. Well ... it took more google-power than I thought it would to restore the name "Edward Tufte" to my mind, and even then it took some time to track past that to confirm that my vague recollection was correct -- it was indeed Tufte who wrote about what he calls "Sparklines" or "Wordgraphs". It's related to my weblog table of contents ideas from last year ... which in turn were inspired by the outstandingly unobtrusive navigation system exemplified by Textism's http://www.textism.com/writing/ Evolution of Writing, where what looks like a decorative row of dots along the top is really a navigation mechanism. For weblogs, what I wanted to do is make it a row of dots and bars, like for example .....|.||||.||....|||||....||..|||| where
each bar indicates a day with entries, and each dot is an empty day. That way you get an instant visual clue about how active the weblog has been, in a very small screen-space. And the bars are direct links to the entries, and they should have tooltips that consist of the titles of those entries. Anyway, more experimentation is needed. I think it was the little graph at Mind Hacks today http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/2005/01/spike_activity.html that triggered this minor mindstorm. (Posted via email; I'll go back and fix the URLs later.) (Or not. The post-by-email attempt got a weird error message returned from bloggers postfix email processor.)


EDUCATION as tsunami death prevention

It's hard to understand how many reports I've heard on the radio in the past couple of weeks, where survivors say things like "the water went way out to sea, so I brought my children to the beach to see it". Before we spend a shitload of money on technological warning systems, how about a half a shitload of money spent on education? Why is there anyone in the world who doesn't realize that if the ocean goes away, it'll come back, worse? Yes, we need to do a hell of a lot now, for relief and rebuilding, and yes, an eventual global techno warning system will make sense. But before that can be built, it sure makes sense to me to do some serious education, to make sure that EVERYone's first response to seeing the ocean go away, is to run like hell for high ground.