Monday, May 02, 2005


Holy See, Holy Do
I'm getting a lot of comments like this one by Concerned Canadian:

I think it would be in your best interest to use this site to better humanity. Use it to donate to some sort of Catholic charity, or use it to write about the history of the Catholic church. Cashing in on it would be very typical, and if you have any personality at all, you won't want your 15 minutes of Internet media fame to be seen as typical.

I haven't decided what to do with thebenedictxvi.comdomain -- my goal was to keep it away from pornographers, not grab a domain for some kind of papal superstore.

But now that my weblog has 120,000 new readers, just counting yesterday, I'm using the opportunity to promoteModestNeeds.org, an organization that's like a charitable eBay: They match up donors with people who have short-term, under-$1,000 emergencies (such as repairs to the family's only car), helping them get out of the crisis.

SmartMobsdescribes how the charity got started in 2002:

The founderKeith Taylorbegan Modest Needs by giving 10 percent of his $350 a month earnings as a way to return a no-strings kindness paid to him when he most needed it. He told me,"Those who need help can always ask for it at Modest Needs, absolutely for free. How much money we raise matters less -- to me, anyway -- than simply providing a vehicle for human kindness."

Here's thelatest donation-to-expenses reporton Modest Needs from GuideStar and the charity'sfull financial statistics, for people who want to research the group before contributing.

Supporting Modest Needs
A funny thing happened today:Modest Needsreceived more than five times the normal donations from people coming fromBenedictXVI.Com.

I'd like to think it has something to do with my understated good looks, which were revealed to me in an e-mail from aToday Showviewer this morning. But I suspect that people are simply gratified that I am not a pornographer.

I will never be a pornographer, so please keep helping Modest Needs.

I sent an e-mail to Pope Benedict XVI'snew e-mail addresstoday asking if the church wants the domain. I am concerned that my"Subject: Free Domains"email might not get through the Holy See's spam filters.

While I am waiting to hear from the Vatican (which has to be the strangest phrase I have ever written in my life), I am donating the pope domains and my site's ad revenue from this crazy week toModest Needs. I'm working together with founder Keith Taylor to host them. His unique one-emergency, one-family-at-a-time charity has helped1,500 individuals and familiessince its launch in 2002.

Thanks, everyone. And to answer the questions from Tina in Fort Myers, Florida: 1. Clubman Art-Rim glasses. 2. Yes that is my real hair. 3. No I will not send you a lock of it because it would be a great color for your guest bedroom.


I tookBuzzword.Comoffline for several hours this morning to compact the databases and perform some other server maintenance. I'm tempting fate by saying this, but so far, so good.

We're nearing the one-year anniversary of the server, which became the home for 3,000 longtime Weblogs.Com bloggers last June. I have some ambitious plans to mark the occasion, but for now my priority is to keep theactive bloggersrunning smoothly and bring all of UserLand'supgradesonline.

UserLand has a new version of Manila, the software hosting these weblogs, inbeta release. There are a bunch of new features, among them a better way for bloggers to manage visitor comments and trackback.

Scripting the Future
Dave Winer turned 50 today, and he asked for links toScripting Newsin lieu of presents.

I've had a chance to get to know Dave in recent years, first through his work and then through his visits to Northeast Florida, an area he prowled as a kid with his uncle, theGreat VavaVoom.

VavaVoom lived in Crescent Beach, a laid-back town south of St. Augustine, back when it could still be described as a"hippie commune."Today, suburbanites like me are scaring them off, subdividing the bucolic area into the kind of well-manicured, community covenant-ruled neighborhood that the feds shipped Steve Martin to inMy Blue Heaven.

Dave's had a unique impact on the technology that drives weblogging, creating or cocreatingRSS,XML-RPC,OPML, and theMetaWeblog API; developing the web content management softwareManila,Radio UserLand, andFrontier; and evangelizing the strange idea that millions of people would be blogging.

I can't decide whether he's prescient or he just makes his predictions come true by dragging the rest of us along. A May 1999 post he made to theXML-DEV mailing listshows how far ahead he saw this stuff:

RSS is an XML-based format that represents what we in the Frontier community call a"weblog". It's frequently updated site that points to stories on and off-site, that identifies an audience and feeds links to them. Until RSS came along the only format people were using was HTML. RSS changed that. ...

We're doing easy to use software to develop and maintain weblog sites, and of course they will all aggregate using the next generation of RSS and today's RSS. Who knows in what perverted ways this content will flow around the net? I'm totally looking forward to the creative chaos that's coming!

Back then, I thought weblogging was a fad that would receive aWiredcover story and an ignominious fate, likepush technology and the Zippies.

Shows what I know. Here's to another decade of perverting the flow of content around the Internet. Happy birthday, Dave!

Virgin Mary of the Viaduct
I received an e-mail from someone affiliated with theVirgin Mary viaduct, the Chicago highway underpass that has alife-size water stainresembling the mother of God. They wanted advice on setting up a web site.

I'm a firm believer in the idea that all religious iconography that develops naturally upon either surfaces or food should have its own site. This is exactly the kind of thing for which the Internet was invented.

Because of the visual nature of the underpass and the community that has developed, the ideal place for its web presence isFlickr.

Flickr's a terrific photo-sharing community that was recently purchased by Yahoo for 5.2 bajillion dollars. You can create an account for free, upload your photos for public viewing, and add tags that describe the subject of the shots.

Every time I find myself on Flickr, I get lost in the photos, most recently in the work of Justin Hankins. His pictures of theBridge of Lions,Night of Lights celebration, andIntercoastal Waterwayare some of the best shots I've seen of St. Augustine.

Flickr photos can be grouped into sets and viewed as slideshows. Somebody should hire Robin Jean, the photographer doing thisRockstars set, to take column mugshots for newspapers.

Everybody Carl Jung Tonight
Avoicemail messagereceived last week:

Hey, it'sMancow, we're trying to get you on the radio show here. It's an Illinois guy, he probably knows this show. But he got the pope's web site. And the story is he's going to turn it into a porno ...

I didn't get this message soon enough to return his call. I suspect that if he heard my actual plans forBenedictXVI.Com, I would have been a great disappointment to him.

WashingtonPost.Com reporter David McGuire wrote afollowup storyyesterday about how the domain has been donated to the charityModest Needswhile we await the Vatican.

I'm glad that Modest Needs founder Keith Taylor was able to put something together so quickly April 21 -- 90 percent of the 410,000 visits to BenedictXVI.Com were made by Sunday morning, and traffic has slowed to around 9,000 visits a day. (Taylor may be seeing more traffic directly on the charity'sBenedictXVI.Com page.)

Jacopo di Trani, the owner ofBenedict16.com, offers aJungian analysisof why he seeks financial reward and I chose the approval of my Catholic grandmother:

I think that C.G.Jung will say that Cadenhead primary function are his"thoughts", and his last function are his"sensations", and that my primary function is my"intuition", and my last function are my"feelings". I think (do you agree?); so it's very predictable that from all this popedomain-story I'll earn more and more cash than he will ever get . Even if he was the first (he registered his domain the 1st april, against my 14 april), even if he is the most famous (but not in czech sites!), and even if search engines give more traffic to his domain than to mine. I have only a better brandable domain and more real hair - but I'll get more cash than you, Rogers. It's only logic.

I can't address his theory. I majored in journalism -- the only way I would've learned about Jung was if I interviewed him for the school paper. In retrospect, I should have spent less time skipping classes in college to watchGeneral Hospital.

But I will concede the point about his hair.

Extended Pings in Weblog Pinger
Dave Winer addedRSS supportto Weblogs.Com this morning, making it possible to send an extended ping message to the service that includes the address of a site's RSS feed.

This will make it easier for services that are built atop Weblogs.Com, such asTechnoratiandGigaDial, to incorporate RSS feeds.

I haveextended my pingerto support this new feature.

Weblog-Pinger, an open source class library for PHP, can send update notification pings over five XML-RPC services that monitor new weblog content.

You Heard It Here First
Without interviewing me, Jacksonville TV newscastFirst Coast Newsreported Thursdaythat I was selling the domain:

While the World Wide Web might not be a priority for Pope Benedict XVI, one local man hopes someone will think it's worth some cash to him. Roger [sic] Cadenhead of St. Augustine registered the domain nameBenedictXVI.comalong with other potential choices before the Pope selected his name. Cadenhead wants to sell it to the highest bidder.

This was news to me. I had been telling all reporters the exact opposite, as the original story in Tuesday'sWashington Postattests:

Reached on his cell phone, Cadenhead said he hasn't made any decisions about what he'll do with the domain, but he vowed he wouldn't be pawning it off to the highest bidder.

"I never really registered it with the intent of making money, and I think to crassly auction it would be a sin of some kind. ..."

Five hours before the newscast, BenedictXVI.Com wasdonated to the charity Modest Needswhile we wait to hear from the Vatican, as I wrote on my weblog.

A First Coast News producer e-mailed me for an interview at noon, but I was unable to call him back -- I haddisconnected my phonebecause I couldn't say no to female TV producers.

Interestingly enough, I can see exactly what the station read on my web server, because the office computer the producer used to e-mail me requested several web pages Thursday, including these:

  • 9:58 a.m.: Thefirst papal weblog entry, which stated"I don't think there's any speculative potential in these domains"
  • 10:09 a.m.: TheWorkbenchhome page, where thetop entrystated"my goal was to keep it away from pornographers"
  • 12:24 p.m.: The BenedictXVI.Com home page, which at the time displayedthis page, where I explained that I"registered benedictxvi.com to prevent a pornographer or online casino from getting it"
  • 12:24 p.m.: Myfavorite photofrom my10th wedding anniversary cruise
  • 1:17 p.m. and 2:04 p.m.: The same BenedictXVI.Com home page

All told, that First Coast News computer made 115 web page requests before the newscast, also checking out mybio,books, and thetelevision categoryof my weblog.

I don't know how thestationcould have reported something false that contradicted several pages they viewed on my server and so much other press coverage. My only consolation is that the story wasn't delivered by Donna Hicken.

All-Podcast, All-the-Time Radio
A San Francisco radio station is going to start airing nothing but user-submitted podcasts beginning on May 16. The station, which calls itselfKYOU Open Source Radio, will broadcast on 1550-AM/San Francisco and the Internet.

Submitted podcasts must be 60 megabytes or less in size and can be in any format. The categories on thesubmission formdemonstrate how strange this is likely to be -- traditional fare like news, sports and politics is mixed with over-the-road trucking, sex and wiffleball.

This could be one of the great wheels-off radio experiments of all-time -- at least until earnest liberal San Franciscans fill it with local community news, activism and independent music.

The station sounds like a good opportunity for Jacksonville webloggerTodd Smith, who devotes his site toAmericana musicand has a Saturday morning show about the music on alocal college station.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home