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• Small Pieces From 2002-04-06 •

I’m not yet deep enough in to SPLJ to be able to comment with any real usefulness on the substance of the argument. With two kids, four and two, who has time to read? I’m coming at this book in my own small pieces – a handful of pages at a time on the subway ride home or last thing at night.

But this is far from a bad thing. As it turns out – I need and want to read the book this way. Tom Peters on the jacket copy says it right: “This is a book to savor. Not to speed read.” Walk, slowly, through a small set of paragraphs. Stop. Re-read. Pause to grok in fullness.

So I can’t enter the discussion on content and thesis yet. But one thing I can say, is that the writing is startlingly beautiful. When Weinberger blogs, he blogs like the rest of us – scrambly, scribbled stream of consciousness stuff. But when he writes, man does he write. There is an economy of structure, a light touch that would make Jane Austen proud. Diamond bright sentences stop me in my tracks:

“The facts of nature drop out of the Web.”


“Time like that can spoil you for the real world.”


Even when the language lists close to lyrical, the images still strike with surgical precision:

“We’re falling into email relationships that, stretching themselves over years, imperceptibly deepen, like furrows worn into a stone hallway
by the traffic of slippers.”


For a warm Sunday hammock somewhere, I could immerse myself and draw deep draughts of David’s deliberation. Absent such leisure, I’m content to sample in small pieces, loosely joined. A book to savor, indeed.

Loosely joined by michaelo13:46 UTC

• Small Pieces From 2002-04-04 •

Happy happy joy joy

*tiny jiggy dance steps*

My review copy of SPLJ arrived today (thank you, David), and I’m utterly hooked. Even though I had already read almost the entire text online as it was being written; the ink is still clearly mightier than the pixel.

Not deep enough in to provide any penetrating comment or feedback as yet, but I love the fact that four pages into the darn thing he’s already dropping palindromes and quoting Monty Python’s “Ann Elk” sketch. Perfect. This is after all a book about the Web which, as we all know, is a medium (place? thing? groupmind?) almost entirely composed of Python quotes and word games.

For the record, I already like it so much, I’ve even bought a copy. Actually two – both Chapters and Amazon emailed today to say it’s on its way. I’m getting Weinberger atom spam.

OK. Dodging off to finish reading Larry Weber now, before I permanently flip my Weinberger groupie bit.

More l8r.

Loosely joined by michaelo04:42 UTC

• Small Pieces From 2002-04-03 •

Pardon my changing the subject, but since I promised about ten days ago to have my review of SPLJ in a day or so, I thought it about time I actually posted my take on David's book.

Now, go back to what you were saying. I'm catching up from my Holy Week backlogs, and this conversation is fascinating.

Loosely joined by AKMA23:45 UTC


A group blog certainly can be said to be a locus of multiple viewpoints and idea development. But when one gets to blogthreads, what I've heard David say is that he would like to see a way to capture the back and forth that occurs between blogs. This is something code perhaps will attain, but so far has not. Bond talks about the need for better blog aggregation, alluding to "hive mind." (I'll respectfully take this opportunity to distance my view from any such formulation.) What David and others seem to be wishing for is a means of capturing, spatializing, the development of perspective and ideation on the fly, as it were. Not having the slightest idea how that would be accomplished, I've naturally blogged about it here.

Loosely joined by tom18:57 UTC

Well, a group blog like this where you get multiple viewpoints, and idea development.

Maybe 'clusters' puts it better than 'centres'; the ideal of a University is a community of scholars and a centre of knowledge in that sense. There is a Senior Common Room feel to someof Dave and AKMA's extended meditations...

Dave has referred a lot to blogthreads recently, where debate goes back and forth betwen two or three blogs, rather than in an ad hoc one like this one.
The summary of teoma vs google's ranking algorithms was interesting in this context. Google ranks pages globally by incoming links, then winnows for keywords. Teoma winnows first, then examines links only between the winnowed pages. Google is looking for centres of trust, whereas Teoma is looking for centres of domain expertise.

Teoma fails my solipsist test though - I'm number 1 for Kevin Marks on Google, and nowhere on Teoma.

Loosely joined by Kevin Marks07:50 UTC

• Small Pieces From 2002-04-02 •



There are a couple of revolutions happening right now in the weblogging world. Social writing and idea development - true joint authorship in a truly distributed way. The development of highly voiced centers of knowledge that will twist the org chart around new axes. Grassroots person-to-person journalism that substitutes multiple viewpoints for the pretense of objectivity. D. Weinberger on frontwheeldrive.

After reading this, I blogged about dumb media takes on blogging. But David's sketch raise further fascinating questions: e.g., the notion of "highly voiced centers" - are they always "centers" of knowledge, and what sort of centrality is this? Then, substituting "multiple viewpoints for the pretense of objectivity" prompts one to ask, where do these multi-views occur? Are they not between rather than in web sites? If that's the case how can one cite, or point to them? If they are in no particular place, what does that say about the place-ness of the Web?

Loosely joined by tom21:47 UTC

There is an evolutionary biology theory that the reason we have such large brains compared to other animals is for dealing with issues of whom to trust and share with - cheater detection and fairness are very important.

That this works online is because we are human online. With the Thomas Pacheco site, I was initially sceptical due to the number of online scams that revolve around sick children, but reading the site dispelled this. Once Elaine and Gary vouched for it too, that reinforced my trust.

Loosely joined by Kevin Marks20:32 UTC

b!X writes:

What's the Internet for? To move bits. What's the Web for?
To connect us.

Nicely put.

You'll still be assailed on technical grounds - email isn't the Web but it's a severely important type of connection - but I really like the clarity of your formulation.

I also really like your entire article (is that what we call them these days?), b!X. I sometimes point out to audiences that the reasons we trust strangers' sites on the Web are the same reasons we trust people we've just met: we make a quick judgment based on their "voice." Can we be fooled? Absolutely. But more often than not, we're not fooled and our trust (or mistrust) is warranted. (Malcolm Gladwell wrote a terrific article a couple of years ago about research into how accurate our snap judgments are. If I weren't sitting in an Internet cafe in Beijing I'd go surfing for the reference...)

Loosely joined by David13:42 UTC

• Small Pieces From 2002-04-01 •

FYI, while not specifically about the book, my latest entry on my new "long-form" weblog does make use of bits of the book as part of talking about trust.

Loosely joined by The One True b!X01:57 UTC