July 17, 2008

"Life Trumps Blogging"

"Life Trumps Blogging" - on blog-vacation this week and into next week.

An apropos cartoon:

Pearls Before Swine: and yet somehow the world goes on

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 07:00 AM | Comments (3)
February 01, 2008

This Post Is Not About Microsoft Buying Yahoo (sort of, meta)

It feel likes there's an obligation for every tech/media/SEO related blogger to opine on this event, and it's not wrong - but wow, is this a classic case where the number of people trying to say something far outweighs the number of useful things there are to be said. Thus I will say that.

Sometimes I muse that news-gathering sites really need the opposite of a "find similar" function. As in, "DON'T show me any more items similar to this one, I've already seen it and I'm tired of it".

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 11:59 PM | Comments (4)
May 21, 2007

Walt Crawford (Cites & Insights) is "exploring new possibilities"

Walt Crawford, of Cites & Insights fame, is "seeking a mutually-beneficial situation":

Ever thought you or one of the groups you work for or with could use a Walt Crawford?

Here's your chance.

The RLG-OCLC transition will be complete in September. I've received a termination notice from OCLC, effective September 30, 2007.

I'm interested in exploring new possibilities. For now I'm trying not to narrow the options too much.


If you have acquaintances who are unlikely to see this blog, within groups that work for/with libraries, publishers, vendors, search-engine makers, consortia, what have you - where you think I might be a good fit, I'd be delighted if you told them about this.

[If this isn't on the top of some buzz-tracker, there is no justice in the world]

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 06:17 PM | Comments (1)
March 27, 2007

"Life Trumps Blogging", iteration N

Posting will be light/echolinkish in the next week. I have too much real work to do, and I should think further on the fish-or-cut-bait decision I keep putting off (about shutting down versus going for higher levels).

If anybody is waiting for me to weigh in on the recent bogospheric mob scene, I'm taking discretion rather than valor (email me if you're one of my journalist friends, but I'm not jumping into the hurricane - I don't like blogging. I really don't.).

Life trumps blogging. At least it does for most sane, balanced people. -- Walt Crawford

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 05:10 PM | Comments (4)
December 22, 2006

Playing Five Things You Didn't Know About Me Meme

Eszter Hargittai tags me with the chain letter, err, "Five Things You Didn't Know About Me Meme". OK, I'll play:

1. When I was a senior in high school (Bronx High School Of Science), I placed eighth in the nation in the Westinghouse National Science Talent Search (that was probably the high point of my failed ambition to become a mathematical physicist). There's even a picture of me with the other winners in an old Discover magazine (I almost had an opportunity to tell off then Vice-President Bush, but it didn't materialize).

2. I've never shaved my beard or moustache. I've trimmed an errant strand or two with scissors, but nothing more. When people occasionally ask how long it took to grow my beard, I answer "All my adult life". It's not for a religious reason. But ever since it began to grow, I've always thought it a positive feature, and never wanted to remove it. I may change that one day, but so far not.

3. I have a metal rod in my right leg, repairing an injury from a car accident. This gives me the minor pseudopower of being a metal-detector-detector. It really can set off airport security. So I always know when the screeners have metal detectors on high, as opposed to lesser threat levels. So far, I've never had more than minor delays, but it can be annoying when traveling or going into high-security buildings.

4. I spent some months using a wheelchair as part of recovering from the above-mentioned injury. One really does get treated differently when in that position.

5. I've never taken a formal class in computer programming (my degrees are Math and Physics). I went into programming because it was job that was far more congenial than other options, e.g. substitute teaching (no offense meant). It both allows one to sleep late, and not wear a tie, two critical conditions for me. The occupation description I use, "Consulting Programmer", is a nod to Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective.

Now I have to not break the chain, err, find five other people, who I presume haven't already played. Given that this is a holiday weekend, let's make this some love for linklorn:
Karen Coyle, Elisabeth Riba, Dave Rogers, Matthew Skala, Michael Zimmer.

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 05:47 PM | Comments (8)
August 26, 2006

Blog Vacation/Slowdown - some posts after Labor Day?

There will hopefully be a few big posts after Labor Day as I clear out some material, but the next week looks like an excellent time to to take some blog-vacation. In fact, while I'm not shutting down entirely quite yet, the recent blogging-as-fraud discussion had an unintended consequence of making my blog continuation even more precarious. That is, given that it raised my profile among A-listers, the obvious defense of oligarchy would be to trash whatever I wrote. Since someone like me never, ever, wins against an A-lister, almost by definition, I'm not inclined to write my fingers to the bone on posts which are:
1) doomed to not be read, and 2) then to be used as justification as to why I'm not worthy of being read (having gone through the trashing process quite a few times, I know it well - as the old joke goes, if I walked on water, the slam would be I couldn't swim). I'd rather just not play the game at all, and save my time and energy.

Blog not quite dead yet, but I think there's been another turning-point. sad face

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 12:00 AM | Comments (7)
August 21, 2006

[Off-Topic?] - Why All The Website Search Traffic? [Solved]

[Update - never mind - found]

The search traffic to my site skyrocketed this evening (Aug 21), for reasons I'm curious about. Did an A-lister mention my name somewhere, but misspell it? (FinkELstein, not FinkLEstein). If anyone knows the reason, please let me know, I'm extremely interested (sethf at-sign sethf.com, or you can post a comment below).

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 11:24 PM | Comments (5)
May 13, 2006

Still A Few Bugs In The Bogosphere Meme-Tracking System

techmeme algorithm flaw

I ought to try to figure out what's causing this, and how much fun I can have with it, before it gets fixed. In case the problem isn't obvious, in reality the Electronic Frontier Foundation and IPcentral are NOT discussing a post from my puny Z-list blog.

And here I was, feeling unhappy given the few dozen other readers the post had garnered, especially given the effort it took. Now I'm told it leads the discussion. That must be true, the computer says so! :-)

[Update: Looks like someone involved might have dropped by. Maybe I shouldn't have written this post. Oh well, at least I got a chuckle out of it.]

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 01:47 AM | Comments (2)
January 01, 2006


1. Blog less. smiley image

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 01:40 AM | Comments (5)
September 27, 2005

Blog Vacationing Again

I'm taking another break, while I finish a paper on Google and society, do a little SEO consulting, and look into setting up something for only my Google material (I definitely need something before that audience goes away because of any, umm, other material I write ... - and non-Alisters have to niche specialize in this conversation-market, unless the sound of your own voice makes you happy).

Back sometimes next week (first week of October), barring anything important.

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 05:05 PM | Comments (3)
September 08, 2005

Back From Blog Vacation

Back from blog vacation. Interestingly, I seemed to have gained more subscribers recently by NOT posting. Maybe I should do it more often ...

I'm still uncertain as to how much to continue to write. But there's several backlogged items where I think I-should-finish-the-series-of-that-topic.

Upcoming (not necessarily in this order): Belated analysis of the horrible recent Blizzard / BnetD reverse-engineering loss, Cites & Insights 5:11, an essay involving a well-known library-related person, and perhaps Gooooogle.

I keep thinking I should set up a separate site for the Google material, as I have a sense there's an audience for it that, numerically, is almost entirely uninterested in DMCA / censorware / Internet freedom / net politics / "unedited voice". Google analysis also has the richest risk vs. reward ratio of anything I've ever done.

Oh, I have nothing much to say about Hurricane Katrina. My few relevant net-related thoughts would likely just get me in trouble with some A-listers. And for the rest, I suspect I'd just be one of those ranters "pounding on a greasy spot on the pavement, where used to lie the carcass of a dead horse."

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 11:55 PM
August 21, 2005

Blog vacation

I'm on blog-vacation, probably until September (not a physical vacation, but my free time and net access is minimal because of home repairs). I'll be back at least once for an essay regarding the vacation, and then we'll see.

Update 8/23 - I did a quick post on the size study, since a new version was in the news, and I'm checking email, but again, posting will be very, very, light at least until Labor Day.

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 10:50 PM
June 29, 2005

Grokster aftermath

At the risk of continuing somewhat "meta" items, every time I've had the notion to write a substantive long post on the Grokster decision, it's seemed inadvisable. Remember, general blog punditry (overall, to a first approximation) selects for appeal, not accuracy. That is, barring some external constraint (e.g. newspaper journalism is to a large extent riding the coattails of a product bought for fish-wrapping and puppy-training, or at least classified ads and horoscopes), there's sadly little point to being right rather than popular.

There's a few different aspects conflicting in the overall filesharing issue:

1) Conventional music business models (copyright) are under stress from copying technology changes.

2) These changes have a positive side in new means of distribution.

3) These changes have a negative side in new means of distribution.

I doubt a Supreme Court of Solomons would be able to easily resolve all of it, especially in one case. In dealing with these changes, there are existing-company businesspeople who would reflexively do the equivalent of suppressing a cure for cancer so they could continue to sell quack medicines. There's wannabe-company businesspeople who would love to make a quick buck any way they could, and don't hesitate to wrap themselves in cause of innovation as a PR strategy. There's an army of promoters and hypesters of all stripes.

It's intellectually lazy to write "a pox on all your houses". But, on the other hand, my writing much against the conventional civil-libertarian wisdom will only get me flamed.

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 11:53 PM
March 21, 2005

Launch (OurMedia), Cites (Insights), (A) Lists, (Censorware) Study

A quick round-up post of links that, for one reason or another, should be made:

1. JD Lasica sent:

After nine months of planning, designing, coding, hair-pulling, and more coding, Ourmedia.org is launching this morning.

Please check us out:

More about our long odyssey, and what it may mean, at my blog:

I'll add my puny contribution to help the launch, with whatever tiny 'rank/'rati/'pop I can provide.

2. Walt Crawford has released Cites & Insights 5:5. Read it for the section on:

Broadcast Flag and Grokster

... If you think about it, the broadcast flag rulemaking is rather extraordinary. It's not about broadcast quality, interference, channel allocation, or any area you'd expect the FCC to regulate. Instead, it's about what happens to digital broadcast material after it's received--an area that would seem well outside FCC's jurisdiction. ...

[Update HTML version "Locking Down Technology"]

3. Jon Garfunkel - "Bloggers from the A-List to the Z-List".
Funny take on the various hierarchies ("The Be-list. Or more precisely, the Wanna-Be list." ... "The H-list is for those members of the A-list who are affiliated with Hahvahd, since one entry in this list isn't enough for them. " ... "The Why-list. Why is the blogosphere so self -focused? "). Many. many, amusing links.

4. Internet Filtering in the United Arab Emirates in 2004-2005: A Country Study".
Sigh. What might have been ...

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 08:06 PM | Comments (2)
July 19, 2004

Nashua Telegraph : "Practicing law isn't such a crime"

The Nashua Telegraph has an editorial today, involving my essay "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" - it's a lawyer joke :

Practicing law isn't such a crime

As long as there have been lawyers, there've been lawyer jokes. Popular blogger and Internet freedom advocate Seth Finkelstein makes that point in an insightful analysis of the famous Shakespeare quote he posted back in 1997.

Somebody read me!

[OK, it's an echo - forgive me.]

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 10:13 PM | Comments (1) | Followups
June 04, 2004

Frank Weltner (JewWatchCom) replies

Frank Weltner, who is responsible for the "Jew Watch" site, has taken issue with my report:

"Jew Watch", Google, and Search Engine Optimization
http://sethf.com/ anticensorware/google/jew-watch.php

I believe in these circumstances, netiquette permits me to post his letter below. In the spirit of journalistic fairness, I'll let him have the last word.

Date: Fri, 4 Jun 2004 20:44:02 -0700 (PDT)
From: Frank Weltner <frankweltner[at-sign]yahoo.com>
Subject: your idiot article
To: Seth Finkelstein <sethf[at-sign]sethf.com>

I read you article which seems to puff with your own self-pride. Of course, you knew little about which you wrote.

If you had any brains, you would have figured out that Jew Watch was put on the web in 1998 and not really changed much. A look at the Way Back Machine on www.archive.org would verify this.

BTW, 1998 was BEFORE Google was even conceived. And, since Jew Watch was not altered, how could it have artificially "triggered" an unfair advantage.

Now, Wikipedia, on the other hand is using new blogs to artificially gain some unwarranted exposure which it does not deserve. Under Google's own rules, such interference in order to just influence placement, would indicate that Wikipedia should be tossed out for interference with the Google algorythm.

BTW, Jew Watch is authoritative, honest, and scholarly. Your usual Jewish sites are mostly opinionated little hack religious sites demonstrating ingrown brain waves and nothing more.

Jew Watch gets very few hits from Google. Google really doesn't affect its traffic alot. Did you think it did? You were wrong, again. Millions visit Jew Watch every year. It has had a tremendous effect on world opinion.

No one goes to Google to type "Jew."

I never did.

I never knew it was number one on Google for 3 years until I started seeing my name in the NEWS. Why? Because I am not the type of person who visits Google and types "Jew." Very few do. As Google said, the number of hits on "Jew" before the stories got into the press were nothing.

What's the matter? Does the truth about the Jews who murdered of 65,000,000 Christians in Russia and the rest of the USSR bother you being aired in public, where your tribe's blood-drenched Bolshevik brothers are pulled up from under the dark rock where you were hiding them for so long and their vileness and evil displayed in total sunlight to the masses of their victims, which you hoped would not occur?

Ahhh. Well, that's too bad. You Jews killed my Slavic relatives. You must take the heat for it.

Want the names? Trotsky (Bronstein), Yagoda, Kaganovich. For others, check Jew Watch. You will be amazed. Lots of names. Lots of dates. Lots of places where they heartlessly massacred white little boys and girls with blonde hair and blue innocent eyes.

How about the Jews that murdered the Tsar and his little white son and daughters, all of them innocent kids who had done nothing? Oh, that was very Jewish of you. Your red star of David was on your hats as you slaughtered those kids. And, of course, Rothschild, means "red star", and he changed his name from Bauer to rothschild or "red star"/"red flag".

You little neo-Bolshevik, you. Still killing girls and boys in Palestine, aren't you? Yes, and you do it while you call all of us a bunch of haters and racists.

Tisk. Tisk. You are the racists and haters.

Just to prove it, I bet you married a nice little Jewish girl, didn't you, instead of a Negro? Yet your little brother Murray Rothstein alias Sumner Redstone, owner of CBS and MTV spends alot of his wealth trying to get white girls to marry black guys. How come you Jews don't do that? After all, if race means nothing to you, which your Jewish owned papers and TV networks say all of the time, how come you always seem to marry a nice Jewish girl? Couldn't be because you are so racist, could it?

No. I didn't think so.

So pathetic.

You pathetic person.

Frank Weltner, Librarian

"You can fool some of the people some of the time, but with the truth before them they can no longer ever be fooled." -- Frank Weltner

Have a nice day as a member of the little tribe that kills and kills and pretends to be the victim.

So pathetic.

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 11:59 PM | Comments (3) | Followups