Oof – this blog has been in serious hibernation. Interestingly enough, helping my friend Melora get her blog going has motivated me to revisit this place as well. More to come…
In the span of a couple of tweets and not more than 3 hours, Sylvain and CFD went from conception to birth of Pssstopedia, a wiki devoted to archiving and memorializing the history of Internet culture in Quebec. I’ve already contributed!
Some news today grabbed my attention via Powazek: Stewart Butterfield and his fantastic crew are getting ready to release Glitch. There’s a lot more information in an article about the new endeavour: Watching the birth of Flickr co-founder’s gaming start-up.
This is really exciting news for me. I was a devotee of GNE, the pre-Flickr project from Stewart’s (and Caterina Fake’s) former company, Ludicorp, and this promises to once again take gaming down a wickedly fun road. While I don’t assume Glitch will be simply an expansion on that, having read about it and seen the intro video they’ve posted, I can already see enough of the amazingly quirky touches in this new project. I’ve never been into MMO games; but I’m very confident (read: terrified) that this one will be a very satisfying time-sink (!).
And I have to add: it makes me happy to know that this great dev team (arguably one of the greatest ever assembled, both by my subjective judgement and by any objective measure you could come up with) is back at it again.
Whoa. This month this is mikel.org turns ten (though the archives only go back to Feb 2000). I haven’t been very active on this blog in about a year, but it’s still alive and I am definitely coming back to it in the near future. Now that my company is entering a new, more mature/less startup phase, I’ll have more time for blogging.
Ten years is a long time for anything on the web to have existed, and in the blog world, it’s almost an eternity. There were already lots of blogs in existence when I started here – and those pioneers really inspired me (as well as proto-bloggers like Justin Hall) to start a blog in the first place. But it was nevertheless the very early days of the blogosphere when I got this going, and I remember those early days of blogging very fondly.
Back then, blogging was a lot closer to what Twitter is today, which is probably the most striking difference in the form between now and the early days. Remember there were no (or very few) inline commenting systems in the early blogosphere – so to comment on another blog, you had to write your own post on your own site and link back to the original post hoping that its author would notice. So – essentially the @username and RT functions in Twitter were then the state of the art in blogs as well.
Almost coincident with the tenth anniversary of mikel.org was the news (via Metafilter, where I’ve been a member for almost a decade as well) that another early blogger, Brad Graham, has died. I remember The Bradlands very very well, and although Brad and I never met (& I never have gone to SXSW, where many of the early bloggers first met), his passing brings a profound sense of loss. It’s the loss of a friend to many – but even to those of us who didn’t know him but were active in that era, he was a key member of the early community of bloggers, when it was possible to still discuss a “community of bloggers”.
Hey look at this: Seb’s Open Research is back on the air! Or should I say, on the wire? If (by chance) you still read here (and I haven’t exactly been the most prolific blogger in the last while either) and are NOT aware of Sebastien and his blog, I strongly recommend that you click as quickly as you can and check it out. Seb is one of those guys who keeps a relatively low profile compared to the “stars” – but who has a huge and entirely deserved (in my experience) reputation among the long-standing and most perceptive thinkers in the strange space described by terms as “social” and “web” and such.
Tonight when moving the last of my stuff I came across my old copy of Millennium Cabaret (and yes it’s amazing to me that the site is still up). It’s a CD that (now) doubles as an important cultural record of a scene that thrived in Montreal throughout the 90s – and stretched backwards to the early 80s, as I recall the history.
The CD is full of performance poetry – a recorded anthology put together by Ian Ferrier including a who’s who of what was once a really thriving community here. Check out the website for some clips – but the CD itself is a wonderful document. I won’t name everyone (again, check the site) but if you can find a copy (or convince Ian that it’s time to put the whole thing online), you’ll find early work by Heather O’Neill, now-Toronto-expats Buffy Bonanza, Julie Crysler, and David Jager. It also features the ever-wonderful Cat Kidd (on temporary – I hope – leave from Montreal), the dean of the Montreal scene, Fortner Anderson, and many, many more.
This morning Wired’s Epicenter blog is running an interesting piece: Five Things Google Could Do For Newspapers. There’s some pretty interesting stuff in there, but my fear is that all of the suggestions are merely handwaving unless papers deal with the real problem – they don’t actually print enough real news. Newspapers made bets in the 90s and into the 00s that served (essentially) to divest themselves of the business of publishing the news, in many cases preferring wire services for the majority of news content. What (many) newspapers have become are reprinters of wire copy padded by a myriad of opinion, editorial, and marginally ethical fluff “journalism”.
What Google should do is to set up a fund to help struggling newspapers re-staff their news divisions and a deeply discounted consulting wing to help owners – who have made the bad decisions that got us where we are today – understand that their only real commercial value springs from factual reporting.
If you’re a blogger from Montreal, it would be a great idea to come to YULBlog tonight. Patrick and Eric Demay have done a great job developing a new (beautiful) YULBlog website that will give members much more direct control over both their personal profile and their blogs. The site is being launched tonight at First Wednesday at La Quincaillerie and you’ll (likely) be able to sign up for a profile and add your blog or blogs while having a beer or two with the YULBlog crew.