Movable Type Plugin Fun

An itch I’ve been wanting to scratch for a while is to write a Movable Type plugin which uses the Flickr API to get lists of Flickr tags. There is already a plugin which can show your photosets, but I prefer tags to photosets as a way of organizing stuff. So I figured I’d write my own.

It’s not quite ready for public release yet, but it works enough that I’ve made this test page. I was going to put it somewhere on the main realfake blog page, but I’m running out of room, so I’m going to have to shuffle everything else around at the same time.

I also played around with the WordStats plugin, the results of which which you can see here. Apparently I’m writing on the 9th grade level. That sounds about right. We went to see The Life Acquatic with Steve Zissou with some friends tonight; Bill Murray’s character says of being eleven and a half, “that was my favorite age.” Ninth grade was probably my favorite age. Most of the irksome puberty crap was over, and I feel like I had a lot of things going on. Tenth grade was actually pretty good too, but it was edging over into decadence. 11th and 12th grades had individual events and people who were bright spots, but I was definitely very much over high school at that point. If somehow I would have had my shit together to get to college early, I think I would have saved myself a lot of grief. The depression and angst I built up in those two years probably took another ten to fully de-tox.

Anyway, I was talking about a programming project… It will be fun to get it together for release. I haven’t actually packaged anything I’ve written to get it prettied up for release before, so it will be nice to give something back to the world, given how much good stuff I’ve gotten from other people’s open source efforts.

Bookforum on IP

It’s hard to work in the software field without becoming acutely aware of how ill-equipped U.S. copyright law is to cope with the digital age. I’m not sure how aware the general public is of these things. I mean, kids getting sued for downloading music gets some ink, but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg of where things are broken. This bit in Bookforum is about the most informative and balanced introduction to the issues I’ve seen.

E.T., phone home

Brian Storms Dear describes meeting Edward Tufte (E.T.), and this bit in particular really captures what bugs me about him. So lost in narcicisstic admiration for the brilliance of his own ideas, he can’t fathom that presenting information suboptimally— but in a way that people expect it— could actually be just fine.

I asked him, given how he’d spent much of this afternoon trashing PowerPoint, what did he think about VCs like Guy Kawasaki urging entrepreneurs to follow a strict 10-page PowerPoint format when pitching a startup idea? Given that he’d spent much of today’s seminar railing against the evils of PowerPoint, what advice did he have for entrepreneurs trying to communicate to VCs?

He looked up to me, annoyed. I’d asked a stupid question, I guess: wasn’t it obvious, his body language seemed to say, that the answer was to dump PowerPoint altogether? He shrugged, continuing to write autographs.

“Just give them something to read on a piece of paper,” he mumbled. “It has five times the resolution!” He went back to signing books.

I paused, wondering if he was going to say any more, but he wasn’t. So I said thank you and walked past the long line of autograph-seekers behind me, out of the huge ballroom, out of the hotel to the parking lot, and drove back to the office, to finish polishing up a PowerPoint presentation for three VC meetings over the next two days.

It reminds me of my impression of Jakob Nielsen, who I sort of met when he was speaking on a panel that a friend had put together at a Seybold Seminar. Kind of a blowhard who chased everyone in the place who had a microphone or camera. Not to say that both of them have not produced useful ideas. They’re just curious egotists who have built cult-like followings in esoteric quasi-academic fields of inquiry.

Welcome to Somerville, part 2: Sligo’s

Apparently there’s bill afoot to repeal the smoking ban in bars which make less than 10% of their income from food. The bill is doomed, and hardly worthy of notice, but the story in the Somerville Times is worth it all for this quote:

“I feel like the tips of my fingers are going to freeze and fall off. It’s colder than my ex-wife’s heart out here and, believe me, that’s pretty damn cold. That woman could turn her back on the baby Jesus and step over Mother Teresa’s dead body without missing a beat” said Michael Sindoni, a Sligo’s regular, who wholeheartedly supports Senator Shannon’s proposal.

Health concerns are not a good enough reason to ban smoking in a bar like Sligo’s, said Sindoni.

“If you’re in Sligo’s you ain’t worried about your health. I’ve seen a lot of things in this world but one thing I will never see is a person boozing in Sligo’s and complaining about second hand smoke,” said Sindoni before heading back into the pub to finish his drink.

Welcome to Somerville. Now, I swear I read something in The New Yorker just after his death about Daniel Patrick Moynihan frequenting Sligo’s while he taught at Harvard. I couldn’t have made that up, but I can’t find it now.


Duh, sort of. Thanks to the comments in this post on Accordion Guy’s blog, I’ve realized the word I was looking for last week is synchronicity. Which I knew.

But I still think what I’m getting at is a little different. Synchronicity is broader: it can be any coincidence. What I’m talking about is the sudden recurring mention or appearance of the same person, place, thing, or idea. Synchronicity, if you buy the whole Jungian schtick, is also meaningful and more or less implies some kind of intentionality in the universe. What I’m talking about can be uncanny, but not necessary meaningful. It’s a specific kind of coincidence.

Also, my idea has nothing to do with Sting.