Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Pseudo blog called "not traditional"

Pseudo blog
called "not traditional"

For the blogosphere, this battle is still being waged: Fictional Character Blogs vs. Appropriate Spokesperson Blogs.

I feel a Fictional Character, complete with false adventures, spurious opinions, and imaginary dedication, is the wrong spokesperson for the vast majority of businesses.

The most powerful representative is the CEO, Founder, or President.

Blog readers wish to contact and interact with real people. Think of the negative reaction to automated voice mail "press 1 for this", "press 2 for that" = customer alienation.

A real user or inventor of a product has high credibility.

The fact that no customers have complained is not sufficient justification for a marketing ploy.

Most disgruntled customers don't bother to benefit the offending company with commentary. They simply abandon them and switch to a deserving competitor.

Proof that a strategy works is not investment in it by concerned parties, nor lack of customer complaint.

The issue, the fuss is about the core values of blogging, real passion and real authenticity of real humans.

Blogs enable two-way conversations with real people, working together for a common goal: user satisfaction and company profit.

To dismiss sincere bloggers who have legitimate and carefully considered opinions about Fictional Character blogs as "traditional bloggers" is ridiculous.

Take a strong, firm stand for a core value of blogging, and you are labeled "vicious", "hateful", "trashing", and worst of all, "traditional".

Friends, beware the anti-blog bloggers who seek to advance dysfunctional blog methodologies in the name of "creativity" or "innovation". Look closely to see if there is self-justification in the name of lucrative consulting deals.

To give a client exactly what they want, then anoint it as blogologically correct is a disservice to the client and to the blogosphere.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Vaspers at Last Outpost of Bohemia

Vaspers at
Last Outpost of Bohemia

Living With Legends: Hotel Chelsea Blog

The Hotel Chelsea, since it was built, has contained most of the heart of the really signifi-cult art movements of the hardcore rads.

I, Vaspers the Grate, lived there once, for a short period, back in 1988 or so. If records are kept of all guest registrations, my name, Steven Streight, will be discovered radiating in the record.

My dream was to perform music at the Chelsea Hotel, record it, and release it to the public:

Camouflage Danse

(or: The Swimming Skeleton Keys, or: Str8 Sounds Mind Removal, or: Chuck Hickey and the Love Bites, or: Purple Potato Pie, or: The Yellow Microscopes, or: The Ceilings and Floors of Tomorrow)

"Live" at the Chelsea Hotel, NYC

I will do so someday. Until then, while I'm physically half a continent away, I can be digitally present via...

Living With Legends: Hotel Chelsea Blog

--Last outpost of bohemia--

Doesn't it just figure that the hippest spot in the visible universe also has a perfect New Super Blog, already carving out its niche in the grand and glorious Blogosphere 4.0?

There is nothing to criticize in this blog. And believe me, out of love and respect, I tried my damnedest. I shook this blog, threw it up in the air, stomped on it, kicked it around, dumped a pail of cold creek water on it. Nothing happened. It remained intact, warm, and friendly. It's invincible.

You think you'd like to jump in and start your own blog, you should have a few blogs that you like and are also high quality. Good writing, smart thinking, nice design, right intentions, usable functions, memorable title, meaningful tagline, correct methodology, comments-enabled, web-friendly text, and relevant topics.

You'll find all this and more at Living With Legends: Hotel Chelsea Blog. This art/historic/lifestyle blog does what basically all blogs, from teen diary to CEO blogs, should do.

7 Statutes of Blogging:

(1) Educate.

(2) Entertain.

(3) Debunk.

(4) Defend.

(5) Inform.

(6) Influence.

(7) Inspire.

Let's look at a few of these statutes and see how well this fine blog does at them.

INFORM: Brief descriptions of events at, or related to, the Chelsea Hotel and its residents, are presented with finesse at the Living With Legends blog.


All Tomorrow's Parties -- Nov 28 - Dec 4

Monday, Nov. 28 5:30 & 7:30 p.m.

Seamless, the latest feature documentary by fashion photographer/filmmaker Douglas Keeve ("Unzipped") revolves around competition for an award established by Vogue and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) to help up and coming young designers. Resident Hotel Chelsea fashionista Sally Singer plays herself.
Cinema Village

Monday, Nov. 28, 7:00 p.m.

The Half King reading series will feature defense attorney M. Chris Fabricant. Fabricant's book BUSTED! Drug War Survival Skills, contains illustrations by former Hotel Chelsea resident R. Crumb.
The Half King, 502 West 23rd St., NY NY

Tuesday, Nov. 29, 8:00 p.m.

Andrea Geyer: Thoughts on Spiral Land. A projection, a work-in-progress.
Hotel Chelsea, Grand Ball Room -- FREE

Tuesday, Nov. 29, 7:00 PM

Clayton Presents will be showing mid 80's Pyramid Club- Drag nights and Whispers. Dressing Room, Eichelberger, Ethyl (1945-1990), International Crysis (1951-1990), Hapi Phase, Adora Van Davonport, Tabboo, Wendy Wild (R.I.P.), Olympia, and others.
Pioneer Theater, 155 East 3rd Street, NY NY

Wednesday, Nov. 30, 9:00 p.m.

Discoteca Flaming Star & special guest Mahalchick. Glamour and glitter, anxiety and depression. Berlin-based DFS mix it up in a new performance for the people of NYC. And Mahalchick reinvents music’s avant-garde, like, every time he performs.
Hotel Chelsea, Grand Ball Room -- Free

Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 30 & Dec. 1

The legendary Patti Smith will perform a rare complete version of Horses.
Brooklyn Academy of Music

Thursday, Dec. 1, 9:00

Norman's Big Night Out presents "A Naughty Night on The Continent." The evening promises all of the guilty pleasures of the past and present with a saucy all-European flavor!
Scenic, 25 Ave.B (btw. 2nd & 3rd) $10.00

Chelsea Manifesto

Yves Klein (creator of the Chelsea Hotel Manifesto in 1961) is currently the focus of two exhibits.

A museum-quality painting survey at the L & M Arts Gallery ( "Yves Klein: A Career Survey;" 45 East 78th Street, to December 10) and seven late fire paintings made of torched cardboard at Michael Werner (4 East 77th Street, to December 23)




Elvis mounted a framed poster of Elvis, from the Vegas period, doing one of his famous dance moves. Why this is there, in the midst of all the original paintings, I have no idea. We seem to have had a slackening of artistic standards at the hotel lately—my own work is ample testament to this truth—and apparently one of our deranged dorm-denizens reverences Elvis to a fanatical degree. But I guess I can see that: he is the King, after all. I have an idea who the culprit is: there’s this guy with long black hair who goes around in jeans and a black leather jacket, an old rocker. I never have spoken with him, as he keeps odd hours, but one time an elderly lady told me he drove her crazy with a 24 hour marathon of Elvis Music on the 20th anniversary of his—Elvis’s--death. “Jailhouse Rock”, “I’m All Shook Up”, “I want To Be Your Teddy Bear”, “Blue Suede Shoes”: the nightmare begins to take form. Though the lady who told me about the infamous “Heartbreak Hotel” music marathon is notoriously prone to exaggeration, I figure anyway it’s got to be him.

I lugged the pedestal down the few flights of stairs and placed it in front of the Elvis poster, then ran back up and got three candles. These I arranged atop the pedestal, in a fitting memorial to the man who sang “In The Ghetto”.

It was my most ambitious work to date, and I was quite pleased with myself. Though the effect would certainly have been heightened had I lit the candles, it seemed like it would have been dangerous to go off and leave them burning in the halls. But after all, perhaps I should have lit them, perhaps that might have warned off the infidels, for my Elvis altar (though not the Elvis poster!) was ripped down and carted away before the night was done, and by the morning not a trace of it remained. They didn’t even bother to check the price in the catalog. It was going cheap too, I can assure you of that.

I believe art should be for everyone, and I’m sure that accounts for some of the hostility toward my work. The snobs and elites in the art world—they who would strangle the soul of true art--are just not ready for this kind of challenge to their illegitimate hegemony.

The Bastards. Everybody always puts up their art on the walls of the Chelsea—most of it good, but some quite atrocious--so I figured, why shouldn’t I put mine up too? I expected my medium, garbage art, to be respected here, if nowhere else. But genius is just not appreciated in this world, even, apparently, in the Chelsea Hotel. Maybe they think I’m making fun of the vaunted creative spirit of the Chelsea—which I am, but so what? Pretension should be mocked. Let’s not take our art, or ourselves, so seriously. My “art” is an ironic commentary on the art we find throughout the hotel, and perhaps also some sort of critique of our throwaway society. But let’s not think too hard about it, because actually I think I just drag things out of the trash for the hell of it, because I have nothing better to do. On the other hand, this may not be that far off from the reason why many people, including probably many great artists, create art.

Gallerymsg11085251382_1 But now, to get back to the pink ducks: finally, one of my creations is allowed to stand. At first someone kept knocking them down, but I kept putting them back up. This went on for more than a week. Originally I had them turned to face one another atop the transom, but finally I turned them in the same direction, and this apparently satisfied my critic’s aesthetic standards, for the vandalism stopped, and they’ve been up for about a year now. It feels good to finally have the fruits of my labors recognized—though I’m sure my poor little ducks will be knocked down and stuffed deep into the bowels of the trash from whence they came as soon as anybody from the hotel reads this. (AHCB #2)

(Next Week: No More Garbage Art)


EDUCATE: See the blog's sidebar features for historical info links and lists.

* Fiction and non-fiction set in and around...

* Chelsea Authors

* Filmmakers and Movies featuring...

* Music inspired by...

* Chelsea artists

* Musicians & Composers


Be sure to read the post "Save Your E-mail Correspondence from the Mental Hospital".

For a role model in the blogosphere, I can't think of a better blog to study than Living With Legends: Hotel Chelsea Blog.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Deep Blogology: Blog Core Values

Monday, November 28, 2005

Vasperizing the Fortune blog sidebar

Vasperizing the
Fortune blog sidebar

Let's explore the sidebar of the new Fortune blog: "Business Innovation".

[EDIT UPDATE: This Fortune blog links back to this article, but when I tried to post a comment thanking them, and expressing my appreciation for them linking to a post that is not entirely complimentary...

...their comment function doesn't seem to work. I clicked on "0 comments", but no comment form appeared.

Is their comment form broken, dysfunctional? A major problem, and a blow against credibility. But hey, it's a new blog, and Fortune's not a bad magazine. Maybe they can fix these problems soon.]

[QUOTE--with VASPERS commentary bracketed and in red]


This weblog is a companion to this year's FORTUNE Innovation Forum to be held November 30-December 1 in New York City.

[VASPERS: This is not a normal business blog, it's an Event Blog, or a Pre-Event Blog.]

Inspired by the exciting lineup of speakers and discussion topics for this event, this weblog will showcase interesting interviews, case studies and commentary on the theme of "business innovation”.

[VASPERS: What does it mean for a blog to be "inspired by" an "exciting lineup of speakers and discussion topics" in an event that has not yet happened? Would it be better if the blog were inspired by what the Fortune editors understand about the needs and interests of their audience?

I wish there were more specifics, names or industries or product types -- "exciting", "interesting" are very weak words, and "business innovation" is extremely broad and vague. Even words like "exclusive", "rare", "in-depth", or "pioneering" might be slightly better. The copywriter needs to know specifics to be able to abstract the various qualities, without giving away all the secrets and surprises.

Examples are the best approach. Fortune could think of some exclusive interviews, case studies, and commentary they plan to feature, or say they'll be similar to some well-known, celebrated articles they've done in the past.

What are the hot businesses, besides bio-tech, security, and disaster response? Who are the hot innovators, from Fortune's point of view? Fortune could even hire me to invent neologisms for them, to add some emergent buzzwording to the event, mystifying and misguiding their competitors. You can sound specific, or novel, without giving away the whole shebang. ]

Each week we will showcase various factors impacting innovation - competition, customer experience, intellectual property, and design.

[VASPERS: Specifying "competition", "customer experience", "intellectual property", and "design" as various factors impacting innovation...are these really having the most impact on innovation?

What about rising medical costs and insurance coverage, offshore outsourcing, usability, scalability, accessibility, global political shifts (especially in the Middle East), the rise of the Asian markets, the decline of American industry, the new communications channels via the internet, including blogs, wikis, VOIP, podcasting?]

The tagline for this year's FORTUNE Innovation Forum is "Innovation is Everybody's Business," and this weblog is for anyone who is passionate about innovation.

[VASPERS: I hope corporations ponder the fact that innovation really is everybody's business, since every employee can have good ideas for improvements. Unfortunately, innovation, in the real business world, is shunned, persecuted, and resisted.

In fact, the most important aspect of innovation is the fact that it creates enemies, anxiety, and madness. Paranoia sweeps through corporations when innovation, or the seeking for innovative ideas, enters the picture. Comfort zones and routines are threatened, as are some key positions.
Innovations: all businesses think they want them, most employees are too lazy, unimaginative, or weak in team spirit to accept them. Innovation means thinking, changing, doing more work, learning new systems, documenting strange procedures, and shouldering added responsibilities.

Will these issues be addressed?]


Editor: Dominic Basulto
Publisher: Marc Schiller



Case studies
Innovation trends
Product Innovation
Strategic Viewpoints
Studies and Reports
factoids and observations


[VASPERS: A baby blog, barely 8 weeks old.]

Nov 27, 2005
Nov 20, 2005
Nov 13, 2005
Nov 6, 2005
Oct 30, 2005
Oct 23, 2005
Oct 16, 2005
Oct 9, 2005

Recent Entries

[VASPERS: The topic titles, or post heads, are strangely lacking in pizzazz, not web friendly. They convey too little information, and are worded ineffectively. Notice how the titles are vague, teaser, hoping to intrigue readers with mystery.

Blog readers don't have time to play language games. They skim, scan, scoot. If an article's title doesn't clearly promise to be a relevant or beneficial topic, the reader will bypass it, eventually leaving the site to visit another blog.

If you asked me what I guessed each article was about, I'd have to admit my not being able to auger it. These titles compare poorly with the post titles of the average business, marcom, or product blog.]

"The Internet has made innovation possible in places and ways that were never feasible before"

Everything matters: Douglas Rushkoff on a new imperative for business

Do open source business models really lead to innovation?

Alpha companies and beta products

The creative class doesn't matter

Communiology: helping pharmaceutical companies map their relationships with customers and partners

[VASPERS: As if pharmas weren't creepy enough, they now use the gloomy word "communiology" for some new trick to squeeze more money out of consumers, who often pay $300 for a bottle of medicine, for which the pharmacist paid only $10.]

Open source business model winner: Contest #3

Goodness, Outside and In: Douglas Rushkoff Contest #4

What happens when good technology meets bad business?

An innovation commons in Vancouver

The blogroll ("links") of Business Innovation consists of:


Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Tom Peters

Geoffrey Moore

Clayton Christensen

John Hagel

John Seely Brown

Creating Blue Oceans



Future Tense

Virginia Postrel

Innovation Challenge

strategy + business

Seth Godin

Don Dodge

Evelyn Rodriguez


Jory Des Jardins

The Daily Innovator

Don the Idea Guy

Shel Holtz

Gautam Ghosh

Pasta and Vinegar

How to Save the World

Business Opportunities

Smart Economy


Brand Builder

Idea Sandbox

Jim Carroll

Open Business

Innovation Weblog

Zane Safrit

Diva Marketing

Putting People First

Innovate on Purpose

[VASPERS: Don't worry, you'll never see VTG on any conventional business blog's blogroll. I'm far too radical, controversial, and confrontational. Or I don't deal with the topics they focus on.]

Books the blog is promoting in their "Bookshelf" sidebar list are:

Democratizing Innovation

The Only Sustainable Edge

Blue Ocean Strategy

Creative Destruction

Out of Our Minds

The Source of Success

Brand New

The Monk and the Riddle

Under a sidebar category they call "Etc", we find:

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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Blogocombat goals and tools

goals and tools

I. Blogocombat: when?

When you are made aware of something that's wrong, evil, stupid, or mediocre, it's blogocombat time.

When you see a comment posted to your blog, that is flaming or discrediting you, it's blogocombat time.

When you read a post at someone's blog, and it's full of lies, distortions, or malevolent deceptions, it's blogocombat time.

When some entity is using scams, malware, or fraud for harm, theft, or greed, it's blogocombat time.

When some entity tries to take over the internet, to more severely regulate and regiment it, it's blogocombat time.

I'm sure you can think of many other proper and fitting occasions for blog clobbering adventures.

II. Blogocombat: why?

Typical Goals of Blogocombat:

(1) Public apology from a guilty party.

(2) Product recall.

(3) Boycott.

(4) Education.

(5) Change a law.

(6) Enforce ethical behavior standards.

(7) Warn of dangers.

(8) Expose lies, villainy, and corruption.

(9) Provide solutions.

(10) Explain what is shrouded and distorted.

(11) Champion higher values and practices.

(12) Shame the unrepentant offenders.

(13) Teach others how to spot deceit and defend against malefactors.

(14) Show other bloggers how to effectively fight online battles.

III. Blogocombat: how?

Some Tools for Online Warfare

(1) Think.

Do research, ask questions, explore the problems of the world, life, internet, whatever you're most interested in. Find a few problems you can get passionate about, and learn how they might be solved.

What are you curious about? What do you need to learn more about? RSS? HTML? Web services? Business blogging? World hunger? Racism? Web design? Find a fight and fight it.

(2) Discuss.

Have conversations at other blogs, forums, discussion lists, bulletin boards, chat rooms on the topic.

Learn how to pose queries, write topic titles, deal with flamers, show appreciation to answer providers.

Also, try talking with other people in the real world, store clerks, next door neighbors, friends, family members, hair dressers, waitresses, cab drivers, police officers, postal employees, about your favored topic.

Try to determine new angles on the topic, some unique way to look at it, or to deal with it. Or perhaps provide some historical background. How many of my readers know the first blogoid object was Tim Berners-Lee's "What's New" page?

(3) Observe.

Watch how other, more clever and smart-mouthed people defend their ideas and statements. Notice what resources are quoted to back up claims. Look at how being too strident or too meek both put a person in a bad light. Learn how more experienced blogocombat veterans use firmness, fairness, and finality to get their point across, to ultimately win the debate.

(4) Write.

Craft your own blog posts: what's wrong, how it got that way, whose fault it is, what can be done about it.

When you're not on the computer, stick your head into a book once in a while. No, not that kind of trash. I mean a classic novel, or heavy philosophy, or sacred texts, or anything well-written, but difficult to understand. Notice how carefully the great writers write. Note how they avoid using the same word more than once. Word selection is key.

Short paragraphs. Fast, breathless composing. Your readers are always in a hurry. Make it easy to read your brilliant stuff.

(5) Post comments.

Go to other blogs, especially those in the same general field as your topic, and post intelligent, relevant, enriched content comments.

You'll be adding value to that person's blog, and you'll be advancing your own ideas, or your own questions. As long as it's on topic, and not crazy sounding, there's a good chance people will visit your blog, just on the strength of that comment you deposited on that blog.

I advise against post promotion comments. In other words, don't post a brief comment, then say "I've written a post at my blog on this topic. Check it out at [URL web address]." That sounds like a spam comment, designed purely to drive traffic to a site.

Just write a really targeted, insightful, carefully composed, concise, brief comment. If what you say is smart, funny, or interesting, some readers of that other blog will try out your blog for a few visits.

If you go out on an Other Blog Comment Posting Campaign, be sure to have really good posts on your blog. Otherwise, when the visitors from other blogs arrive, they'll think you are of no value, and they'll resist ever returning to your blog.

(6) Respond to comments.

Reply quickly, nicely, and completely to all blog visitor comments, within reason. It's easy for me. But for those who get hundreds of comments per post, at least jump into that topic thread several times, to show you're paying attention to your readers.

Interact with your fans and followers. Letting comments pile up, when you could jump in there and join the conversation you yourself started, is seen as arrogant BS. Be polite to your readers, answer their questions, react to their complaints, consider their suggestions, provide solutions to their problems, show sensitivity to their opinions.

(7) RARELY: email other bloggers.

Never do this unless you have justifiable cause. If you learn of some horrible attack on the blogosphere, some dangerous product, a new virus threat, or some other super-urgent message about a vital issue, you might consider sending a very brief, to the point email to some bloggers you like.

Try to provide a link to Business Week, NY Times, CNET, C-SPAN, Book TV, Wired, Slashdot, WSJ, PC Magazine, or other reputable source.

Bloggers emailing each other is our "back channel" communication zone. But be very shy about doing this very often. Don't make a pest of yourself. Don't try to push your agenda. Just alert us about some hugely important news or information. Especially if it concerns the blogosphere in general.

When that other blogger politely replies, unless it's just "thanks", indicating the person is very busy, be sure to acknowledge their reply.

If the other blogger emails you a fairly detailed response, be sure to respond to their ideas and opinions, and if you disagree, either avoid the item, or be nice about your differing viewpoint, and don't harp on and on about it.

Be gracious, sober, informed, and short.

If background is needed, just give the links, not the supporting documentation itself. You rarely, if ever, need to send images or executables in an email.

Don't sound form letterish. Plug in a personal detail, what that blogger's last post dealt with, or a news item he or she was involved in recently.

Now...onward to Victory, vaspersians!

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Sony CD troubles continue

Sony CD troubles continue

Sony is psycho-capitalist. And it keeps getting worse for them.

Sony recently decided to imitate cyber criminals, makers of virus, Trojan, and other malware programs. They greedily decided to install a rootkit into the computers of customers who bought certain recent Sony BMG music CDs.

Check out how this large corporation is feeling the Wrath of the Blogosphere, the Voice of the Individual, and other forces revolting against Sony's unwise DRM device.

Sony's Escalating "Spyware" Fiasco


Along with lawyers, prosecutors, and furious fans, artists are joining the backlash against the label for slipping a hidden, anti-theft program into users' computers

Van Zant's Get Right with the Man CD was released in May, but six months later it still was doing better-than-respectable business on (AMZN). The album ranked No. 887 on the online retailer's list of music sales on Nov. 2.

Then news of the CD's aggressive content safeguards -- a sub-rosa software program incorporated courtesy of Sony BMG -- exploded on the Internet.

To prevent audiophiles from making multiple copies of the CDs, Sony (SNE) had programmed the Van Zant disk, and dozens of others, with a hidden code called a "rootkit" that secretly installs itself on hard drives when the CDs are loaded onto listeners' PCs.

Soon enough, hackers began designing viruses to take malicious advantage of the hidden program, and a Sony boycott had begun (see BW Online, 11/17/05, "Sony's Copyright Overreach").


Overnight, Get Right with the Man dropped to No. 1,392 on Amazon's music rankings. By Nov. 22 -- after the news made headlines and Sony was deep into damage control, pulling some 4.7 million copy-protected disks from the market -- Get Right with the Man was even further from Amazon's Top 40, plummeting to No. 25,802.

The wrath of fans killed Sony's CD copy controls, with the company pulling 52 titles off retail shelves, beginning the week of Nov. 14. But the wrath of bands could be far worse for the company -- and for efforts to protect content in general.

Singers and songwriters are increasingly expressing frustration at devices used by record companies to protect digital content from widespread theft that results when CDs are copied repeatedly or popular tracks are given away on peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, such as LimeWire and BitTorrent. Sony's misstep has been bad for the company -- and its effects could spread much further, should the consumer outcry gain traction with the recording artists who need to keep their fans happy if they want to sell records.

DROP IN SALES. In the beginning, it was cyber libertarians and outspoken consumer groups leading the charge against digital rights management (DRM). But the Sony rootkit debacle has brought the issue home even to digilliterates -- including many of the artists themselves.

"We're really upset about this," says Patrick Jordan, director of marketing for Red Light Management, which represents Trey Anastasio, former front man to jam band Phish. Anastasio's latest solo album, Shine, was released Nov. 1, just as news of Sony's rootkit was worming its way onto Internet blogs and listservs. "I'm expecting a decrease in sales," Jordan adds.

Indeed, Shine debuted with 15,000 sales its first week. But by week two, when the rootkit fiasco was in full swing, sales had plummeted to 7,000. Weekly numbers will be released Nov. 23, and Jordan is bracing for the worst. "It's been damaging, and certainly we're going to discuss that with the label," he says.

MADDENING METHOD. Recording artists as a group have been among the most vocal backers of so-called DRM schemes as a way to control online theft of music. And many such protection devices are widely accepted, because they're loose enough that they don't impede the average audiophile's listening.

A Sony BMG spokesman declined to comment for this story, but the goal of the Sony rootkit has been lost in the digital fog. The software was meant to set up speed bumps for would-be thieves, yet give consumers some of that much-demanded flexibility. In Sony's case, that meant the freedom to make up to three copies of a purchased disk and play it on multiple platforms, such as a PC or a car stereo, yet prevent posting to P2P sites or massive copying.

What tripped up the company was less its goal than the method used to achieve it. Sony BMG's content-protection scheme, designed by an outside software-security firm, was basically a form of spyware. Rootkit installed itself surreptitiously, relayed back to the company what users were doing with their Sony music, and exposed users' PCs to viruses.

THE CULTURAL CHALLENGE. Sony now is facing at least three consumer class-action lawsuits, as well as at least one law-enforcement action. On Nov. 21, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott accused the company of violating the Lone Star state's laws against computer spyware.

"Sony has engaged in a technological version of cloak-and-dagger deceit against consumers by hiding secret files on their computers," Abbott said in a written statement. "Consumers who purchased a Sony CD thought they were buying music. Instead, they received spyware that can damage a computer, subject it to viruses, and expose the consumer to possible identity crime."

But the most serious fallout from the rootkit brouhaha could be the cultural challenge to DRM. Some artists, including the Dave Matthews Band, subscribe to a "trust your fan" mentality, and have begun negotiating with their record labels to omit content-protection provisions from their CDs.

BROKENHEARTED ARTISTS. Many others are frustrated with content protections, such as Sony's, which prevent their music from being dragged onto Apple Computer's (AAPL) iPod. Apple refuses to license the proprietary iPod software to the record labels for use with any music that isn't purchased from its iTunes music-download site.

As Sony BMG and other labels release more CDs with tracks that can't be dragged to iPods, artists are hearing from outraged fans.

In response, some artists -- including Tim Foreman, guitarist for Switchfoot, whose Nothing Is Sound release was part of the Sony recall -- used a fan site to post instructions for disabling Sony content protections that prevent consumers from dragging tunes to their iPods.


I applaud Switchfoot and other musicians who take a stand against greedy record companies who will do anything to "protect" their bloated profits from the sweat and inspiration of hard working artists.

The Sony rootkit is a new low for Psycho-Capitalism, mammonism gone mad.

Boycott all Sony products until they apologize and pay for any financial losses due to malware slipping into computers and networks affected by their sleazy DRM device.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Saturday, November 26, 2005

amazon mp3 PICKS 11-05

amazon mp3 PICKS

[EDIT UPDATE: Check amazon dot com Search Music Downloads for

GEOFF BYRD "Plasti-Queen"

a song against breast implants: " need surgery to be pretty enough".]

Radio is so 1970s. Who can tolerate listening to music some stranger, with tastes unlike your own, selects?

I can't recall the last time I listened to one. Almost as long ago as when I last visited a movie theatre (1998).

Celebrate the holidays with these Free, Legal, Incredible amazon dot com mp3s.

Go to "search music downloads" and hunt for the following bands:



























































I hope you enjoy fast downloading (right click on Save Link As, to open in your iTunes) of tracks by these bands, and burn CDs that will cheer up your holiday festivities.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Friday, November 25, 2005

Mix Woe with Go

A kind Reader of VTG recently posted a comment containing the quote "Vengeance is a lazy form of grief".

Not knowing precisely what was intended by this comment, but good-naturedly accepting it as a question or a challenge, I posted a retort:


Grief is a self-centered form of mourning the loss of a personalized super-normal internalized object choice, that draws over-compensating narcissitic energies from the grandeur of the subject's myopic delusions.

In other words, grief is introspective self-pity pretending to be servile many cases.

Thus, don't "rage", rant, or ramble endlessly on your blog.

Rather: retaliate.

Retaliate...when appropriate, and...when it's for the benefit of humanity, and not just your personal convenience and self-interest.


See, most people know how screwed up management, corporations, religions, government, the self, and other things are.

Most everybody has experienced first-hand the incompetence, stupidity, and psychosis that is rampant in modern business, marketing, and manufacturing. We all have argued with inept or annoying sales clerks, department heads, telemarketers, priests, pastors, bosses, banks, and cab drivers. Right?

We all hate the frequency and empty fluff of television commercial interruptions, which usually fail to provide any reason to buy their hyped product now. Correct?

We all have seen innovation and improvement stifled, ridiculed, and condemned as "change", which podunk businesses interpret paranoically as "catastrophic attack upon easy habitual routine", or simply "more work".

We have witnessed the persecution of whistle-blowers and "lowly" worker suggestions. Like a backsliden preacher, the upperlings think that their vision is the soul of the company, when in reality that vision means almost nothing, and the true essence of the business, in association with the product itself, is the daily interactions between customer service and sales reps with the public.

What do we do?

Most people grudgingly acknowledge these problems, and feel sad.

"Yeah, I agree, that sucks." That's it.

Nearly nobody wants to actually struggle against these corruptions and insufficiencies. Very few are even willing to voice an indignant outcry or an altruistic warning. Those who do more than "grieve", those who do more than just "feel bad" about it, are rare indeed.

The world doesn't need more grieving, whining, bitterness, guilt, or remorse. It needs action, retaliation, justice, transformation.

You need to add some Go to your Woe.

Dare to be There.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Be a Savage Blogger

Be a Savage Blogger

Today is a holy day: Thanksgiving. Please be sure to do at least one thing that advances the spirituality of yourself and someone else.

I spent most of the day doing military training with the kids. The 5 year old and the 8 year old boys are brave, bloggery, aggressive, audacious, auspicious, enterprising, tenacious, vasperish.

They will engage in quick wit combat someday, like me, their predecessor.

But for now, we tromp through the woods, heroically, industriously, symbolically. I explain the metaphysical dynamics of each event. "A sticker bush is merely a problem to be solved and surmounted, not a disaster to fear or be defeated by."

The five year old swings from a vine over the creek as I push him over the cliff edge, out into space, and back again. Even if he slipped and plummeted, he'd barely get a bruise. But fully experiencing the anti-human savagery of the woods is the whole hidden purpose of the expedition.

We have to get filthy, itchy, tired, soiled, scuffed up, torn by stickers, tangled in burrs, with sappy branches slapping us in the eye. This discomfort zoning is an important part of the training. Goal = to despise softness, coddling, comfort, and ease. To hasten toward exploration, innovation, and adventure, instead.

All wounds and injuries are scoffed at heartily, "You're okay. It will stop stinging in a few minutes. This is the woods. It doesn't like us."

The wilderness is not designed for our comfort or values. It falters beneath us, cuts us with sharp needles, scratches up our faces, trips us with its debris, freezes our feet with foul stinking cesspools as we slide, unable to grab a treacherous vine, into the watery traps.

All this must be endured merrily, manfully, metaphorically. We press on.

Purpose? Go as far as you can, then return home, crossing the gulley, and up the steep hill to the dead end street car barrier, taking the ancient cracked sidewalk to our bungalow...then go right back to the starting point in the backyard, and do it again.

When the 8 year old got tangled in an unnoticed sticker bush, so that he could not move without the points digging more deeply into his leg, I came to his rescue, explaining the brevity of stinger pain, the glories of spartan-stoic courage, and the basis of the usability problems of the woods.

His tears evaporated rapidly as the cold Canadian air mass rushed against his cheeks.

"Girls like boys who are tough, fearless, curious, and have a self-induced rugged appearance, but who can also be gentle. Football players with fluffy toys," I proclaimed lecturishly, allowing ample time for spoken responses, articulated comment posting in the air. Mostly I get laughter.

He had been tunneling through thickets of brambly brush that I, being larger, tend to circumvent. Each hiker followed a similar consensus route, but also occasionally took little detours and tangents as seemed suitable to him in his individual trek.

The potential lair of a mountain lion was seen. Looked like a carved out cave, not deep, but enough for any large cat.

The rural legend of bobcats, pumas, and cougars is increasingly verified as fact: farmers and hunters hearing them scream their human banshee shrieks on the shrouded hilltops, there, just beyond the dog kennel. Dead danger-cats are showing up here and there.

And what is to be done when you meet a mountain lion suddenly, after it has stalked you for 10 minutes, slinking from bush to bush?

You must know how to stand one off, prepared and able to hurt it massively, with lightning speed and careful aim should it get too close. Cats like to play with their food, and like to kill for sport and fun. Sounds like us, doesn't it? But in this case, we're the food.

Never run, which they interpret as the thrill of the bloodlust chase. Do NOT run!

Large cats love the sport of speeding after their prey. That's what their strategy consists of: pounce and tear into the meat. Running works up their appetite, culminating in a deeply indulged, carnivorous ecstasy.

Practice keeping your eyes open for weapons wherever you are. Look for a large brick, a rusty sheet of iron, a hefty stick, a bridgework bar. I generally carry a razor-sharp Army machete. At night, that and a million candle-power halogen spotlight gun. It can blind mammals at close range, and then I'd start slicing.

Over rotten trees that crumble as we crawl over them, our feet slipping into the stinky black toilet of decaying husks and shadows below, its stench making us sick to our turkey-bloated stomachs...still, we marched on.

Half a deteriorating tree, reduced to fluff and moss, a powdery dream of a trunk, the half I was currently traversing, cracked and dropped, with me close behind it, down we tumbled on the muddy slope, into the foul sewage stream.

Found a puppet, "Woody" that we fished out of the iced over pool, set it up on a mossy log. And it, to show its appreciation, peed all down its leg and all over the place. We call him "Mr. Pee Pee Pants".

Leaf pile forts, amassed on the north side of the bungalow, were created later, with private apartments and tunnels. To see a little boy emerge from a pile of leaves that gave no indication that it contained a small fellow, that was quite a spooky sight.

Experiences like these translate translucently into savagery, strength, stamina. What every blogger needs.

Run gleefully out into blizzards, bundled up and full of joy. Ride a bicycle through a blinding downpour. Have a picnic in a hailstorm. Jump repeatedly and cheerfully off a 60 foot cliff in Racine, Wisconsin, into a strip mine lake (Vaspers did this).

Triumph over things to become more triumphalist in your blog.

Be a Savage Blogger.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate



Blog Savagery

Blog Savagery

The poor bloated blogosphere has way more Nice Bloggers than it can comfortably afford to support. They sicken its stomach. The blogosphere is wishing it could vomit out all the Nice Bloggers.

Nice Bloggers are selfish. They want everyone to like them. They refuse to get angry about anything. They will not take a stand on any vital issue.

Nice Bloggers are callous. They're oblivious to the suffering and injustices others experience. The world, to them, is fine and dandy, as long as they're doing well in it. Wait and see what happens when it all goes nuts on them, as it will, it always does.

Nice Bloggers are rotten. They've been pampered and softened into walking blobs of mindless oatmeal. They have no backbone, no courage, no authenticity. It's totally fake to reprimand someone for silly, inconsequential, imaginary details, then hypocritically smile and inquire into their personal family matters, like a trusted confidante. But this is done to save face, two-facedly, a twin and double facade.

To swallow bitter realizations, then freeze frame a mutualized smile, and act completely at ease while plotting the total demolishing of your opponent, this is blog savagery finesse.

You must know how to package a retaliation in superior strategy and total secrecy.

Blogosphere 4.0 will not be stuffed with Nice Bloggers, or bloggers who try to compromise and make peace with the MSM and other information hegemony curmudgeons. Surly, arrogant, and prone to stare impolitely at other people's tragedies, these foes to the blogosphere shall face utter and total defeat.

We're almost there already. You see it unfold with great beauty and hate. The end of The Powers That Pretend To Be.

What's needed now is a great deal more Blog Savagery.

"Savage" comes from the Latin: silvaticus "wild", silva "wood". A savage is thus someone who is from the forest, actually, to be quite frank with you, let me sally forth to announce:

savage = an unsophisticate, a ruffian, brawler, head-butter, uncivilized authenticity.

When a savage doesn't like you, you know it immediately. A savage takes a stand on every issue, and you are fully aware of what those stances are. The savage gets his message across quickly, hotly, translucently.

Can you promise your thanksgiving turkey that it didn't die in vain, that it is martyred for a good cause, for the advancement of digital savagery, authenticity, aggressivity?

I'm not saying "be a bad person". Quite the contrary. I want you, and all sentient beings, to be good. Especially: be good to me.

What I'm saying is drop the mask, the "civilized" (city-fied) style, get fired up about something, make your life really count for something with social impact, even if you affect only a few other people. So what?

If you influence only one person, in a positive way, during your entire life, your life has had great value. Some people do nothing for others, purely because it's the right thing to do. It always had to be in their unenlightened self-interest to do anything.

Enlightenment means simply seeing the Other, always, with no lapses. You suddenly and permanently realize that good is better than bad, victory better than defeat, self-control better than instant gratification, etc. But most importantly, you primarily see that you were born to serve.

Born to serve. Each one of us, with no excuses. Corporations with a genuine passion and love for a certain solution to a problem, the solution that their product provides, tend to be more successful and prosperous than companies selling a product just to make a fast buck.

Savage. The dweller among untamed wilderness. It's wildness in the best sense of the word. Ability to survive in harsh and unfriendly environments.

Are you in a hard spot?

Are you ever in hostile surroundings?

Do you ever have forces opposing you and your ideals?

Then: get savage.

Savage, of vegetal anarchy, the untamed, the other than human, the more than human.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Blogomedia vs. Blogosphere 4.0

Blogosphere 4.0

One of the major blogocombat and blogoconstructivist projects I've been working on since early 2004, now going into 2006 with even more aggression, is Blogosphere 4.0

Blogosphere 4.0 is the forced evolution of the Blog Revolution from the Information Reformation that was Blogosphere 3.0 and into the multi-media, omni-functional mega blogs of Blogosphere 4.0.

Blogosphere 1.0 was Tim Berners-Lee and others who began "What's New" pages on the early internet and then the web. It consisted mainly of simple lists of other network locations and a brief commentary on what you'd find there. Thus, the first blogoid objects, the tech/dev update pages, were Link Logs. Not "diaries" of personal trivia drivel without focus or purpose.

Blogosphere 2.0 was when it became a geek trend to put up a variety of personalized pages, still generally oriented to the subculture of networked geeks, but adding ideological asides. This is where the "smart mouthed, sharp tongued blogger" arose in all its radiant energy and finesse. Blogocombat was born in corporate blogs, that were called "online gaming forums" at the time. Business blogs, or more accurately, product loyalty mosh pits, were filled with one geek hating another geek's favorite OS, computer brand, or industrial noise band.

Blogosphere 3.0 was born with Blogger, LiveJournal, Xanga, Metafilter, Technorati, and other factors that made it possible for non-geeks to have a personal page, or more precisely a constantly expanding book of pages called a "blog". Now anyone could, did, and does have a blog. That's both good and bad. Good because each new voice added to the blogosphere is another blow against the empire of MSM information hegemony. Bad because every crap blog does its part to lower the overall credibility, usability, and information value of the blogosphere.

Blogosphere 4.0 is now forming, based on the 9 core values of blogging, the fast pace of new blogging tools and communities, and a declared and definitive Total War Against Information Hegemony by religions, governments, corporations, and MSM mainstream media. The New Super Bloggers are being trained and unleashed, with Vaspers the Grate Web Group (VTG blog, Blog Core Values, Sleialgnion, Art Test Explosion, etc.) helping the transformative process.

Nothing is inevitable except uninevitability itself. Please keep that in mind as we now ponder...

Blogosphere 4.0

This article represents a brief and necessarily tedious introduction to the vast subject of What the Blogosphere Is...and Shall Maybe Become.

The following quoted text is from Open Source Media/Pajamas Media's "About [OSM/Pajamas Media]" page, a "letter" entitled "From the founders", an explanation of what I call "blogomedia".

[QUOTE--with STREIGHT running commentary embedded.]

From the founders

"Free speech, not free beer!"

[STREIGHT: ...but free beer isn't such a bad idea, either. Free beer just might make everybody's speech a tad more free, free and easy, free and even savage.]

In 1985, that's how the Free Software Foundation first described an idealized world wherein innovative ideas would flow freely though the collaborative environment of the internet. In casting about for a term that would denote freedom, not freebies, those who followed FSF coined the term "Open Source," intending it merely as a reference to the "source" code in which they programmed. It turned out to be much more than that.

The open source ethos helped drive the great boom in information technology that made the internet ubiquitous in the 90s and led to the creation of over 20 million personal weblogs--or blogs--in the first half of the oughts. But the term "Open Source" had a ring to it, as did the idea behind it, and the notion quickly spread, leaping to other fields. Linus Torvalds, the father of the open source operating system Linux, once said, "The future is open source everything."

[STREIGHT: What about Blogger, LiveJournal, Xanga, WordPress, Typepad, etc.?

How about the reduced home computer prices, low-cost dial up connections, expanding broadband availability, net music labels, iPods and podcasting, emachines, HP printers, Best Buy, designing with web standards, Google search, RSS/Atom feeds, Firefox browser, Windows OS?

All these, and many more factors, contributed greatly to the popularity of blogs and the historically significant speed of the blogging trend. Odd that "open source" is given all the honors of begetting Blogosphere 3.0 and its organizing philosophy.]

At OSMTM (Open Source Media), we believe that to be true—that freedom, openness and transparency in media is an inevitable

[STREIGHT: Whoa, hold on right now, what "freedom"? what "transparency"? what "inevitability"?

Some bloggers are free, others write in subversive code talk. Some blogs are transparently sincere, with upfront owner identification, staff bios, working links to reliable sites, easily found contact information, topic consistency, and trustworthy endorsements/testimonials/word of blog mouth. Nothing, like I said, in the blogosphere is or will ever be "inevitable". The inevitable crumbles before the onslaught of the fiercely advanced possible.

Sure sign of sloppy thinking, this "it was inevitable" business: a hind-sighted, after-the-fact phrase.

It was not looking "inevitable" while the idealistic innovators and implementaton pioneers were wrangling with it. It didn't seem "inevitable" to investors, nor was the general public much impressed.]

result of the technological advances

[STREIGHT: It's not just "technological advances" that create democracy, free expression, independent, non-conformist thought. There has to be an underlying philosophy.

Look at Red China, North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia for technology without correct philosophy. A certain morality, a foundation for freedom and human rights, must prevail, and not just raw "technological advances".]

that have given every citizen the chance to breathe deeply of the news, thought and opinion that hovers in the ether between us.

[STREIGHT: Is that what you call what "hovers in the ether between us"?

I think we must examine and explain what this "news, thought, and opinion" really are, and why "facts, faith, statistics, research data, photos, digital art, cartoons, audio theatre, scientific webcasts, project collaborations, PDF files, music, video, podcasts, comedy", etc., are excluded from this vision of the mythical, illusory Blogomedia.]

Readers unfamiliar with blogs are sometimes puzzled by the concept, thinking that they are mere online "diaries," where egoists and sentimentalists

[STREIGHT: omission--"and political pundits, usability specialists, college students, interns, web designers, bored lovelorn teenage mall rats, scientists, economists, anthropologists, mommies, police chiefs, and others..."]

record their thoughts and feelings

[STREIGHT: how are feelings expressed but via thoughts via text via typing? Also they record or display facts, stats, figures, critical analysis, photos, digital art, computer games, podcasts, interactive devices, mp3s, etc.].

But the phenomenon of blogging is much more than that; it's the modern equivalent of the Gutenberg revolution, a way of putting not just published material in the hands of the public—but publishing itself.

Where journalists once gave us "experts say," blogs give us the experts themselves.

[STREIGHT: "experts"? maybe--plus a buttload of nincompoops, ninnies, and no-skill numbskulls.

To err in delusions of grandeur makes the blogosphere open to legitimate sarcasm and disparaging remarks. A sober assessment of the blogosphere's advantages and problems is mandatory.]

And where faceless, "objective" editorial boards once handed down opinions and endorsements, bloggers sound off, the numbers on their public sitemeters lending them unassailable credibility as voices for the rest of us.

[STREIGHT: This "numbers on sitemeters" and "unassailable credibility" are false assertions, exposing an extremist view, a fantasy blogo-utopia that cannot and will not exist, where every blogger is nice, trustworthy, ethical, sincere, charming, intelligent, and soothing. And tells you what you already understand or believe. Yawn. zzzzzzzz...

The number of hits a web site or weblog gets is no indication of value, authenticity, or trust. Many hits could have been curious web surfers attracted by hype and alienated by content, never to return. This is like judging the literary, intellectual, or moral superiority of published books by number of copies sold. Or the musicianship of a band by total CD sales.

Popularity can be based on other considerations than "credibility" or "integrity". Often, a comical writing style or prior celeb status helps a blog gain readership. Some blogs are like vanilla trainwrecks: bland performances of lonely isolates that captivate and addict with nudity, odd anecdotes, or nasty language and rantings of clinical madness.

"Numbers on sitemeters" is an attempt to convert the New Non-media of Blogs into the Old Mass Broadcast Media parameters and terminology, called "message receptors" or "market reach" by advertising, "target audience" or "pairs of eyeballs" by marketing buffs, and "butts in seats" by Hollywood.]

OSM's mission is to expand the influence of weblogs by finding and promoting the best of them, providing bloggers with a forum to meet and share resources, and the chance to join a for-profit network that will give them additional leverage to pursue knowledge wherever they may find it.

[STREIGHT: Er, don't I already enjoy such liberties and powers now, without you? And that "pursue knowledge wherever they may find it", not the most exciting user-benefit promise I've ever seen, means "pursue the knowledge we say is knowledge, which you'll find right here on our website.", does it not?]

From academics, professionals and decorated experts,

[STREIGHT: Experts are now "decorated"? all lit up like a Christmas tree? I'm an expert on blogology, so who will decorate me? Make it gothic country bubblegum style, please. Not Pink Freud.]

to ordinary citizens sitting around the house opining in their pajamas, our community of bloggers are among the most widely read and influential citizen journalists out there, and our roster will be expanding daily.

[STREIGHT: This "roster...{that is} expanding daily", what does that remind you of? The blogosphere itself perhaps?

If your blog is sucking the "best bloggers" into it, isn't this an abnormal Sub-blogosphere?

If your roster expands daily, I know for sure I won't have the time or energy to read it daily. Too many bloggers in one measly blog.]

We also plan to provide a bridge between old media and new, bringing bloggers and mainstream journalists—more and more of whom have started to blog—together in a debate-friendly forum.

[STREIGHT: A "debate-friendly forum"?

Is this a forum that's "friendly" toward debates as a concept?

Or is it a wimpy "debate forum" that is "friendly", well-behaved, sedate, boring, monotonous, limp, tiresome, snobbishly dull? The emaciated, castrated "Bloogosphere" or "Blogomedia" where everybody gets along without any harsh words or disruptive ideas. Bah!]

In the 1960's, the medium may have been the message, but in the new century, it's time for the medium to get out of the way.

Call it the blogosphere, call it citizen journalism, or call it (we hope) Open Source Media—but the next phase in the democratization of ideas has begun. Stick around, read some blogs, and come back often. Our door will be open.

[STREIGHT: How is this contrivance any different from a typical "portal page" that MSN, Google, Yahoo, etc. try to attract us to? "Start at this blog--and may your further adventures and explorations, with us as your perpetual starting point, be merry and fruitful." Y'all come back now, y'hear? Hillbilly aesthetics.

The "next phase" is not this Blogomedia utopia of sleazy MSM journalists shaking hands with stoner pizza mongering blawggers. The "next phase" will be what I declare it to be: Blogosphere 4.0 with the taste of vengeance in its sharp-tongued mouth, a massive, all-out assault on the MSM and religio-politico-corpo information hegemony.]

Charles Johnson

Roger L. Simon


Thanks to Paul Woodhouse of the Tinbasher blog for notifying me about this scandal. Who shot whose dog with a rifle?

I am the Sign pointing to the Light.

Vaspersians arise and take over the Blogosphere 3.0

(using posts, comments, emails, trackbacks, web forums, RSS feeds)

thereby transforming into the Blogosphere 4.0

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Monday, November 21, 2005

Vaspers on Veen

Jeffrey Veen is the first blog I will examine in my 7 Blogs 7 Days project.

Veen is the Director of Product Design at Adaptive Path.

[QUOTE from Jeffrey Veen blog, About page]

Jeffrey Veen is an internationally sought-after speaker, author and consultant.

He is a founding partner of Adaptive Path, a user experience consultancy focusing on the impact of design on business.

Previously, Jeffrey served as the Executive Interface Director for Wired Digital and Lycos Inc., where he managed the look and feel of HotWired, the HotBot search engine, and others.

In addition to lecturing and writing on Web design and development, Jeffrey has been active with the World Wide Web Consortium's CSS Editorial Review Board as an invited expert on electronic publishing.

He is also a columnist for Webmonkey, the author of the acclaimed books "The Art & Science of Web Design" and "HotWired Style: Principles for Building Smart Web Sites".

In 1998, Jeffrey was named by CNet as one of the "First Annual Web Innovators".

Jeffrey previously worked as the managing editor and creative director of South Coast Community Newspapers, and has been active in the Internet community since 1987.

He is a graduate of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and lives in San Francisco with his wife, Leslie.

"Drafts: What's in your folder of shame?"
by Jeffrey Veen


the habit of starting posts, writing a paragraph or two, and then trailing off. We started comparing the lingering headlines in our "Drafts" folder...:
The things where you’ve just thought of the title, but written nothing to back it up?

The momentary points of self-deluded genius that in the cold light of day you thought better of?

So I took a deep breath, opened up my Drafts, and had a look. Sure enough, an accurate record of interesting ideas that never really existed:

  • Cyclical Optimism and the "New" Internet
  • Content Types in Blog Tools
  • 54x11
  • Process and Stupidity
  • How often should you post?
  • Not Synonyms
  • The Experience of Time
  • Why is checked luggage so hard?
  • Self-centered design
  • Someone is reading your feed
  • Bending Towards Our Users

So what's in your Drafts folder?


Here is the comment I posted in reply:

Save as Draft?

That's so Old Media, so 1980s.

Reminds me of the IBM Selectric memory typewriter.

A blog is all about spontaneity, sharp tongues, and fast web publishing. While I'm all for fact checking and research, we cannot have much passion for months old drafts.

Say as much as you feel inspired to say on a topic, then call it a post, and launch it.

I save as draft only when I am adding material to the textual or image content, not because I'm "working [indefinitely, interminably] on the article".

I never have anything in draft. It all gets published, about one to four posts per day, at my various blogs.

Jeffrey Veen will be appearing at Web Design World conference, Boston, MA, December 12-14, 2005.

Here is a list of topics to be covered:

[QUOTE from Web Design World site]

Designing with Web Standards
Jeffrey Zeldman

[STREIGHT: I use Zeldman designed blog templates.]

Web design’s first decade proceeded without the benefit of standards to control visual layout, document structure, and interactive behavior.

The result was sites that worked for some people but not others, took forever to load, hid their subject matter from search engines, and contained data that could not be accessed by screen readers and mobile devices. Web standards solve these problems and more.

Jeffrey Zeldman, author of Designing With Web Standards and group leader emeritus of The Web Standards Project, will explain where the standards come from, how to work with them, and how they solve some of the biggest problems facing web designers, developers, managers, and users today.

About Interface
Kelly Goto

Interaction design is no longer limited to the web.

As design migrates from the web to mobile devices we carry and interact with on a daily basis, our approach to design and development must also shift past our somewhat limited U.S-based thinking and into a global perspective.

In this enlightening session, design ethnographer and Web veteran Kelly Goto discusses the evolution of Web, handheld, and product interfaces and their cultural impact.

Learn how companies are utilizing ethnographic-based research to conduct rapid, immersive studies of people and their lifestyles to inform the usefulness and viability of interfaces both online and offline.

Rich Interface Applications:
Sampling the Possibilities

Kim Weller

Designers and interface designers have long been frustrated limited by the constraints of HTML and primitive browsers.

The picture has gotten brighter.

With new technologies, such as AJAX, Flex, and Laszlo, you can create interfaces that look and feel more like applications and less like the Web sites of old--without sacrificing accessibility and other critical needs. Popular sites such as Google Maps, Flickr, and Gmail are changing users' views of what's possible.

In this session, you'll see more examples as we set the stage for our in-depth look at the interface possibilities behind what's often called "Web 2.0."

You'll see what works now, learn what pitfalls to avoid, and take home valuable tips for putting Web 2.0 technologies to work for you.

Developing AJAX Applications
Joe Marini

AJAX has become a hot topic in the web design community, and for a good reason: AJAX enables you to create Web applications that have nearly the look, feel, and responsiveness of desktop applications.

However, there's also a fair amount of confusion to accompany the buzz. In this session, you'll learn about the origins of AJAX and its main technical underpinnings—and you'll find out how to build your own pages that take advantage of the power of this development methodology.

Designing for Real User Behavior
Steve Mulder

What if we knew how people actually scan and read Web pages?

Or what types of page elements people are more likely to notice? Or when they really scroll or use search features?

Thanks to recent research and a ridiculous number of usability tests, we know a lot more than we used to. Find out about key user behavior patterns that will make a difference in how you design Web pages. When you design for real user behavior, your site feels more intuitive—and your end result is more successful.

Finding Things My Way: Faceted Navigation
Steve Mulder

Web navigation is evolving. Instead of forcing users into a rigid site structure we define, faceted navigation design enables users to create their own structure and their own paths through a site.

Creating a more flexible navigation system puts more control in the user's hands, which results in improved findability and better business results. Discover why facets are taking over the web, what it means for Web site navigation, and how to make a faceted interface that's intuitive and usable.

No More Tables: CSS Layout Techniques
Douglas Bowman

[STREIGHT: I use Bowman designed blog templates.]

Creating complex multi-column layouts used to mean having to nest multiple HTML tables—a technique that's cumbersome and introduces accessibility and compatibility problems. You've heard it's possible to eliminate those layout tables by using Cascading Style Sheets, but you haven't made the jump yet.

In this session, CSS guru Doug Bowman will walk you through the steps of a real-world conversion. Learn the advantages of doing away with tables, and see how to avoid common pitfalls.

Fine Typography on the Web
Dave Shea

With a technological revolution and 500 years of typographic tradition under our belts, why in the world has the Web been stuck with Verdana and Arial for so long?

There are now multiple ways to include custom fonts in an HTML document, and each has its advantages and drawbacks.

In this session, from the creator of the renowned CSS Zen Garden, you'll learn about these methods, see how to implement them, and find out when and why they make sense for your projects.

Textism: Writing, Editing, and Preparing Text for the Web
Jeffrey Zeldman

Chances are good that your Web site has words on it. Chances are even better that these words aren't doing all they could to help your users or your organization achieve desired goals.

This session will change that; it's a soup-to-nuts guide to putting the text back in hypertext. Zeldman will start by examining ways to write for the people who use your site: tone, vocabulary, and the three b's (brevity, brevity, brevity). Not a writer? Not a problem!

You'll learn how to tell usable copy from the junk your colleagues shovel at you, and how to tactfully request text that works—or edit the junk you get into usable form.

And for the designers in the house: a proper measure (or why liquid design isn't all it's cracked up to be), text preparation, and ways to get proper quotes and apostrophes, whether you're hand-coding pages or using a content-management system.

[STREIGHT: Dense blocks of text are not web-friendly. Break them up, as I have done here, into several spaced paragraphs to facilitate user skimming and scanning.

Use more bullets and asterisks, lists, bold subs, a photo of each presentor, with thumbnail of books authored.]

Creating Beautiful Interfaces with CSS
Douglas Bowman

Drop-down menus and sophisticated interface elements have traditionally been implemented using JavaScript and kludgy coding workarounds that often don't work. It's increasingly practical to deliver rich, beautiful, functional interfaces using semantic markup and CSS.

Learn how modern markup can deliver great Web interfaces that are fast and reliable.

Deconstructing... You!
Kelly Goto, Steve Mulder , Jim Heid

Top Web designers join Conference Chair Jim Heid in critically evaluating several of our attendees' sites.

Bring your pencil!

Your site may be among the ones we examine in this lively wrap-up session.

The Iterative App: From Discord to Design
Kelly Goto

Between the diverse demands of clients, bosses, engineers, and designers, Web application design has reached a new level of frenzy and discord.

You know what we mean, and so does Kelly Goto, who has refined Web process and project management to an art form.

In this session, she takes you through the application development process. Learn the behind-the-scenes techniques behind rapid prototyping, and see how to enhance your current process to include iterative usability testing cycles.

You'll also discover how to verify development requirements before you code by employing PDF prototypes and HTML click-throughs.

With a collaborative mindset and the proper process in place, design and engineering teams can work together and launch the "iterative app" successfully.

Strategic CSS Project Management
Dave Shea

Who's in charge: you or your Cascading Style Sheets?

Authoring a simple CSS file for a static page is easy enough, but the story gets complicated when you're talking about multiple pages and varying layouts across an ever-changing site driven by a content-management system.

Factor in the management of browsers and their quirks—and teams of people and their quirks—and it becomes obvious that a sound project-management strategy is necessary to make the most of your code.

Learn how to gracefully deal with legacy browser issues, handle layout and file management demands, and manage team coordination when building Web sites with CSS.

XML for Designers: From Syndication to Web Services
Joe Marini

XML has become a common technology in everyday Web development.

In this session, you'll learn how XML works, what it's good for (and not good for), and what you need to know about it as a designer to put it to good use.

You'll see how XML can be used to separate content from layout, drive dynamic interfaces, and be transformed for display in different ways, and how it enables modern Web services to function.

Better Interfaces with CSS, JavaScript, and the DOM
Joe Marini

Today's modern, standards-compliant browsers provide designers with vastly improved capabilities for creating rich user interfaces.

In this session, we'll examine ways of using CSS and JavaScript together to create pages that are responsive, intuitive, and more usable.

See how these technologies can allow users to control display properties like fonts and colors, create forms with better navigation and validation, and build pages with features like in-place editing, table formatting, and data sorting and filtering -- and that don't need to round-trip back to the server.

We will also examine ways to make use of these technologies so that even if the user disables them, the page content remains accessible.

Dreamweaver 8 Tips and Secrets
Angela Buraglia

Like previous releases, Dreamweaver 8 offers a long list of brand-new features. Indeed, each Dreamweaver release brings so much to discover that most people can't spare the time to explore every nook and cranny.

Major enhancements are usually well marketed, but the little details that can't be described in a simple marketing blurb can easily go undiscovered.

In this session, you'll hear about the little gems that get little, if any, publicity. You'll get a firm grounding in Dreamweaver 8's new capabilities, and you'll learn how to use them get your work done more efficiently.

The ColdFusion Connection:
Development with Dreamweaver

Daniel Short

Dreamweaver 8's database functionality makes it easier than ever to create dynamic, data-driven Web sites.

Haven't yet taken the data-driving plunge? It's time to start.

In this session, Dan Short ( will teach the how and why of dynamic development by building out a full-featured blogging system using Microsoft Access and ColdFusion.

Learn how to connect to the ColdFusion server through RDS, build out record sets using the bindings panel, and create a full admin interface for the blog—all in one hour.

All of this will be accomplished using Dreamweaver 8's built-in database functionality and tools you already have at your disposal.

Customizing Dreamweaver
Angela Buraglia

Dreamweaver is well known for its extensibility, with hundreds of free and commercial extensions available from the Macromedia Exchange and various extension developers.

This session takes away some of the mystery behind extensions by showing you how to create a few easy extensions of your own.

Learn how to customize Dreamweaver to help fit your workflow and make you more productive than ever. There are even a few hidden features tucked away in Dreamweaver that you'll learn how to reveal. It's easier than you think, and the productivity benefits are huge.

Flash 8: What's New, and How to Use It
Robert Reinhardt

Macromedia Flash 8 is one of the biggest updates in the history of the program.

Don't be left behind.

In this tip-packed session from the lead author of the best-selling Flash Bible and ActionScript Bible series, you'll learn how to take advantage of core features of Flash Player 8, including FlashType, the new On2 VP6 video codec, filters and blend modes, the FLVPlayback component, SWF metadata, and more.

Delivering Video with Flash
Robert Reinhardt

Flash is a more viable platform for Web video than ever before.

In this session, Robert Reinhardt shows how to effectively use Flash Video and add video to Flash projects.

Learn about available encoding, playback, and hosting options. See the difference between the Sorenson Spark and On2 VP6 codecs, and learn how to integrate video clips with the Flash 8's new FLVPlayback component.


I quote all this material from the promotional site, to give you an idea of what topics are hot in User Experience Web Design, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Web Standards, and Information Architecture.

of Jeffrey Veen blog:

(1) Clean, uncluttered, simple blog by an Information Architect/User Centered Web Designer.

(2) No "search site" functionality. No information architecture is so good that a site search tool is not necessary. Site search empowers users to be able to navigate a site on the user's own terms.

(3) No "recent posts" link, but when I clicked on "More..." at bottom of home page, I went to a page of posts by category, which was unexpected and a bit jarring.

(4) Last 5 posts:

* Clay Mankin, 1955 to 2005

* Drafts: What's in your folder of shame?

* Polar Heart Rate Monitors: Gimme my data!

* 2006 Tour de France route announced

* Invitation Nation: Getting into all the new Web apps

It seems Jeffrey is blending his interests within one blog. His sidebar blog categories are: cycling, information architecture, personal, software, technology, travel, web design.

I wonder why he doesn't start separate blogs for the separate interests.

While I feel blogologically that sprinkle in some personal interests in a business/professional blog is okay infrequently, trying to create a Blended Blog is doomed to leave many readers feeling dissatisfied with frivolity in place of practicality.

(5) Older posts are closed to comments, but this is not stated on the blog, you must attempt to post a comment, and get an error message. This is not the best way to handle this situation. Avoid making your users feel like they made a mistake, error, or unauthorized act.

(6) Sidebar assessment:


Cycling (23)
Information Architecture (14)
Personal (59)
Software (9)
Technology (71)
Travel (33)
Web Design (62)


ABOUT ME [w/9 subs!]





(7.) General impression of a tasteful personal blog, rather than a business or professional blog. Minimalistic design and limited interactivity options makes the blog seem small, slight, not substantial.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Sunday, November 20, 2005

7 blogs 7 days begins

7 Blogs 7 Days

A while ago, I announced a project called "7 Blogs 7 Days", which would be a way to examine and interact with blogs that were selected for their special purpose, rich content, unique style, or practical relevance to this audience and the aim of Vaspers the Grate.

A lot happened next, and the 7 Blogs 7 Days project was suspended, put on hold, while unexpected events, reactions, priority shifts, changed interests, extra work, disasters, opportunities, questions, problems...resulted in a different environs of action.

Here again are the 7 blogs, in no particular order, that I'll be visiting, posting comments at, and blogging about, during the next 7 days:

(1) Blog Business World
Wayne Hurlbert

(2) Jeffrey Veen

(3) Zeldman Daily Report

(4) Chris Pirillo

(5) Portals and KM
Bill Ives

(6) Blogger Buzz

(7) Living with Legends: Hotel Chelsea Blog

I will be analyzing, complimenting, questioning, and sharing the best of these blogs with you.

Now, how about you?

Are there some specific blogs you feel you ought to be visiting more often, but keep forgetting?

Can you think of 7 blogs you could start going to, and learn something from their good qualities and their mistakes?

Join me in 7 Blogs 7 Days.

Start whenever you are able.

Interact with the blog, the blog author, and the blog fan base, as much as possible during your 7 Blogs 7 Days experiment.

Even if your function is attentive lurking and transmitting information in non-blog channels, try something different. Post a comment and be prepared to engage in discussion of the topic.

Mention the blogs in your own blog.

Even a simple citation like this is perhaps:

"I've been reading the Tom Peters blog recently. If you're in management or marketing, you could learn a lot about success attitudes and innovation over there."

Let's go visit some new blogs and cheer up the blog authors.

If you see a lot of (0) comments on their posts, for God's sake, please think of some intelligent remark to post. Let them know that somebody out there somewhere is reading what they write.

It can get really lonely and depressing for a blogger to put a lot into their blog, but never get any reaction from anybody. If they suck, maybe they should stop blogging. But in many cases, valuable, interesting blogs are languishing from lack of comments, lack of interaction.

Agree, disagee, argue, praise, question, joke, do something. Make a little noise. Put your opinion on it. Enrich the content of a blog you enjoy. It's not hard, and there is no further obligation, no matter how anyone responds to your comment.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate