Submit a link Features Reviews Podcasts Video Forums More ▾

Technorati adds Keyword Watchlists

Technorati, a service that indexes blogs in real-time and provides search, indexing, and link-analysis, has added "keyword tracking."
For example, say you're interested in keeping track of the recent rumor that Six Apart is buying LiveJournal. You would start by going to Technorati and typing in a set of search terms like:

("six apart" OR sixapart) AND (livejournal OR "live journal")

This will give you an instantly updated stream of posts from blogs around the world that are talking about both SixApart and LiveJournal, in a post, using a variety of spellings.

Note the results page, however - Underneath the title of the search, you'll notice a link that says, "Make this a Watchlist". Click on that link, go through the login process (or create an account if it is the first time at Technorati), and you'll get a link to that saved search to put into your favorite RSS reader.

Linkvia Sifry's Alerts) (Disclaimer: I'm an advisor to Technorati -Cory)

Ghost ship tee for your inner haunted pirate

This Ghost Ship tee sports a lovely line-drawing of a drifting, tattered pirate ship and a maritime tattoo-like anchor on the sleeve -- Yarrr! Link (via Preshrunk)

EFF helps beat RIAA in privacy for accused infringers case

EFF's helped win another victory this week! We filed a brief in RIAA vs Charter, a case where the music industry was asserting the legal right to require your ISP to turn over your information if you'd been accused of copyright infringement -- rather than waiting until they'd proven their case. The court ruled in Charter's favor yesterday, saying that just because you've been accused of infringement, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't have the due process right to privacy until you've been proven guilty.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), along with 21 other groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), and the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), filed a "friend of the court" brief in the Charter case, urging the Eighth Circuit to determine that the same strong protections applied to anonymous speech in other contexts also apply when copyright infringement is claimed but has not yet been proven. In a victory for privacy and anonymity, the Eighth Circuit determined that DMCA subpoenas could not be used to get this information.
Link

Sixapart buying LiveJournal?

There are rumors on the internets that Six Apart will soon buy LiveJournal. Details as they come.

Update: Om Malik has more:

Six Apart, the parent company behind hosted blogging service TypePad, and Moveable Type is about to acquire Live Journal, for an undisclosed amount. The deal is a mix of stock and cash, and could be announced sometime later this month, according to those close to the two companies. If the deal goes through, then Six Apart will become one of the largest weblog companies in the world, with nearly 6.5 million users. It also gives the company a very fighting chance against Google’s Blogger and Microsoft’s MSN Spaces.
Link

2005 EDGE Question

"What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?" Each year, literary agent and online provocateur John Brockman poses a single question to a wide array of scientists, futurists and other creative thinkers. Responses to this year's question are now online at Edge.org. Link

Xeni on NPR: blogs and the tsunami disaster

On the NPR program "Day to Day" this week, I join NPR's Alex Chadwick to discuss the role of blogs in responding to the tsunami disaster. From first-person accounts, to amateur videoblogging, to tech aid, to fundraising coordination, to "citizen journalism" (nod to Dan Gillmor) that sometimes pokes holes in official government-isssue accounts -- we explore online voices around the world.

Link to archived audio for this program, expanded coverage on the NPR website includes pointers to video files and torrents. Link to NPR Day to Day home. This week, listeners in Boston are hearing the show on their local affiliate WBUR for the first time -- so, consider this a shout-out to Boston.

BoingBoing traffic stats are back

Here's a note from John Battelle, affectionately known as Boing Boing's "band manager."
Earlier in the month we took Boing Boing's live stats page down (link). As we noted in our post, we wanted to grok what the program was reporting, and make sure that whatever we posted was clear and understandable.

Well, the stats are back up (link), and you may notice that we've not done much to them. There's a good reason for this - we prefer to post our stats pretty much as reported by AWStats, the log file analysis program we use. We considered filtering those numbers in any number of ways, but always ended up at the same place - statistics are subject to interpretation and judgment, whereas data is data. We prefer to give you the data, and let you do with it what you want.

We did learn a few interesting things about how AWstats works, and we did make one minor tweak to the reporting process. First, of the columns you see, only the first one - "Unique Visitors," and the last two "Hits" and "Bandwidth" can be taken at face value. "Unique Visitors" counts unique IP addresses that are hitting the site, so it's a fairly accurate count of actual humans reading Boing Boing. (If anything, its count is a bit low, as it does not account for sites like AOL which may have one IP address for thousands of unique users.) The "Hits" and "Bandwidth" columns count just about anything that moves on the site, so they are fine measurements of how "busy" the site is. But the other two columns - "Pages" and "Number of Visits" - are more difficult to understand. They are AWStats' best guess as to how many total visits a site gets, as well as how many pages are actually viewed by those visitors. These columns have always disregarded image and video files, but because a lot of our traffic comes from RSS readers, they are certainly inflated by some amount.

But how much? It's anyone's guess. We're working with Feedburner (link), among others, to figure that out, but until we know, we prefer not to hazard one of our own. What we do know is that those middle columns had been inflated by php files recently added to the site by advertisements, so we filtered those out.

We hope that posting these stats will be one small step toward the blogosphere working out the moving target of "standards" for measuring traffic to blogs - Mark Fletcher of Bloglines has done some good preliminary work (link) along those lines. As we learn more, we'll keep you posted.

ESPN website free to call Evel Knievel "a pimp," court says

A US appeals court ruled today that motorcycle stunt deity Evel Knievel cannot sue ESPN for publishing his photo online with two women above the caption "You're never too old to be a pimp."
The term "pimp" was probably intended as a compliment, the court said. But Knievel said, "What good is law in the United States of America if five or six goddamn bimbos are going to rule against it?"
Link. And, ROFLcopter! (Thanks, Jason!)

Happy Birthday, Mars Rovers

One year ago this month, Mars welcomed two new visitors: The Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. Link to JPL website with a look back. Do androids dream of electric cakes? (Thanks David!)

Googling unsecured webcams

Cleverly-aliased BoingBoing reader numlok whispers:
This is both very cool and very scary. Use this search string below with Google, and you will find dozens (hundreds?) of unsecured webcam feeds (most seem to be security cams).

inurl:"ViewerFrame?Mode="

Link. More background here.

BoingBoing reader Nick adds, "This is a Google search that gives 2000 cams instead of just 800. Pointed out on MeFi."

Update to this post with more webcam Google-hacks: Link

Online video of 60 Minutes Google seg (with John Battelle)

Here's last Sunday's 60 Minutes segment about Google, including comment from BoingBoing's John Battelle. Link to video (divx), and Link to previous BB post with details. (thanks, matthowie!)

New Creative Commons remix website

BB pal Matt Haughey sez,
We're having a party in San Francisco on Thursday night (Link), and we recently launched a remix community site that tracks samples across songs uploaded (here's a good example track: Link). We're doing a contest with Wired Magazine to launch it, where the winner of the best Fine Arts Militia/Chuck D remix gets on their next CD!
Link to CCMixter, and Link to contest details.

The future of webcomics

Joey Manley sez: "The Webcomics Examiner has posted a great panel session on 'The Future of Webcomics.' The highlight is Shaenon Garrity's story about the young Cartoon Art Museum volunteer who diagnosed himself as "Surface Six" (a reference to a section of "Understanding Comics" where McCloud describes the slow growth of a true cartoon artist -- "Surface: Six" is one of the steps along the way). Link

Graphic Novel review

The latest Graphic Novel Review is out, and it has an interview with Harvey Pekar, as well as a cover by the late Will Eisner and Gary Chaloner. Link

NYT: Blogs fact-check their own asses in tsunami debate

Another insightful piece from John Schwartz at the New York Times about unsubstantiated rumors that spread online after the tsunami (example: Halliburton must have been behind it all). Story examines how bloggers reacted quickly to debunk falsehoods as they emerged, a sort of inherently self-healing trait evident in many online communities. I was among those interviewed for the piece, but as usual, others had far more interesting things to say.
[James Surowiecki, the author of "The Wisdom of Crowds"] pointed out that there is nothing new about ill-informed rumor-mongering or other forms of oddness. "There were always cranks," he said. "Rumors have always been fundamental about the way people talk, or think, about politics or complicated issues." Instead of a corner bar or a Barcalounger, however, the location for today's speech is an online medium with a potential audience of millions.

But there is another, more important difference, Mr. Surowiecki and others say. Internet discourse can be self-correcting, with near-instant feedback from readers. What was lost in the sniping over the Democratic Underground posting was the fact that the follow-up comments were a sober discussion of what actually causes earthquakes. The first response to the posting asked, "Earthquakes have been happening since the beginning of time ... How would you explain them?"

Further comments explained the movement of tectonic plates and provided links to sites explaining earthquakes and tsunamis from the United States Geological Survey and other authoritative sources.

"Not to make fun, as I'm sure it's not a unique misconception ... but the reality is simple plate tectonics," one participant wrote. "The entire Pacific Ocean is slowly but surely closing in on itself. What happened is that the floor of the Indian Ocean slid over part of the Pacific Ocean, releasing massive tension in the Earth's crust.

"That's it. No mystic injury to the Gaia spirit or anything."

I know some folks have their digital knickers in a twist over the story's headline (Myths Run Wild in Blog Tsunami Debate), but I don't see anti-blog bias here. On the contrary, strikes me as a reasoned piece that traces how bloggers collectively sought to correct the record within their sphere of discourse. I would, however, like to point out that Mr. Schwartz totally missed the fact that an alarming number of blogs are in fact penned from corner bars and barcaloungers, thanks to the wonders of WiFi. Blowhards, unite! Link