Saturday, May 14, 2005

Live from the Kids and Kites Festival

I'm down at the Chicago Kids and Kites Festival right now, at Montrose Harbor in my neighborhood; lots more photos next week when I get them uploaded to Flickr. Man, is it humanly possible NOT to love kites?

Friday, May 13, 2005

Lynch announces secretly-filmed movie

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David Lynch recently had an interesting announcement, as reported by CHUD.com: he's been working on a movie in Poland for the last two years, and no one seems to have noticed. How could this possibly have happened? I mean, I understand the general public not knowing about a current production, but shouldn't have at least one of those endless LA industry publications caught a whiff of it? Anyway, the film is titled THE INLAND EMPIRE (all-caps on purpose) and stars Laura Dern, Justin Theroux, Harry Dean Stanton, Jeremy Irons and others. The title comes from a suburb of Los Angeles (and why Lynch is filming a movie about an LA suburb in Poland is beyond me), and the whole thing's being shot on digital video.

Actually, this entire entry was an elaborate justification for quoting my favorite Lynch dialogue of all time: "Heinekin? F*** that s***! Pabst Blue Ribbon!"

Look at all them government RSS feeds!

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Did you know that the US government is currently publishing dozens of RSS feeds, concerning such things as weather, the latest news on national parks, details of drug recalls, and updates of census analysis? The Federal Citizen Information Center has kindly put together a one-stop shop of them all, for anyone who's interested. (Thanks to Threadwatch for pointing this out.)

City kite festival is tomorrow...and it's in my neighborhood, too

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Just a reminder that the 7th annual Chicago Kids & Kites Festival, presented by the Mayor's Office, is tomorrow (Saturday, May 14th, that is), from 10 am to 4 pm. And even better, it's being held at Montrose Harbor, a mere twenty-minute walk from my apartment. I'll be attending myself, and snapping a bunch of photos for my Flickr account and of course repost here; if any readers are planning on attending, and want to meet up to say hi, just drop me a line at ilikejason att hotmail dott comm. (Thanks to Chicagoist.com for reminding me!)

Okay, not everyone's crazy about Episode III

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Wary of all these insanely great reports coming out about the new Star Wars movie? Read the one by the Village Voice's Ed Halter, which includes this lovely tidbit: "Visionary, perhaps, but also super-sized, surfacey, and not slightly cheesy. In debt to lurid sci-fi novel cover art, Revenge of the Sith achieves the ultimate in what could be called Baroque Nerdism, a frame-filling aesthetic of graphic overdesign that began with The Phantom Menace and has now been jacked up to an absurd degree.... [O]ne wonders if they developed a Maxfield Parrish plug-in to get the job done." Ouch!

It ain't all weepy liberal poets writing blogs, you know

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More proof of why I laugh so hard every time the mainstream media ponderously asks "What Is A Blog?," from USAToday: Military Bloggers Becoming Popular Enough to Warrant Their Own Snarky Nickname (my headline, not theirs).

Blogger.com mulls yet more new features

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As reported by InfoWorld: Google, the owners of type engine Blogger.com, are thinking about adding some new features to the service. Among the possibilities being considered: the ability to directly upload photos to your blog from your control panel; easier controls for posting to your blog from your Gmail account (also owned by Google); password protection of blogs; and an "enterprise" version of Blogger's software that would run on a company's own server, as a way of driving an intranet or other internal communications system. (And let's not forget Blogger's brand-new "To Go" service, which lets users of certain cellphones post multimedia files straight to their blog from their mobile device.) I mean, sure, almost all of these things have been offered to users of SixApart's services (MovableType, TypePad) for years now; but let's not forget that Blogger is a free service, as opposed to SixApart which charges money. I don't mind Blogger playing catch-up, as long as they continue to offer all the caught-up technology for free.

What a surprise - crappy internet show fails to generate excitement

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Joseph Jaffe has a funny entry up at his blog right now, detailing a new series of boxing-match webcasts featuring people voted off the crappy reality show The Contender, and how he just can't get that excited about an online spinoff based on a television show that was crappy to begin with. It just proves something again that I say here a lot - that the coolest tech advances in the world won't help you a bit, if your actual content sucks.

Don't let the bastards get you down

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I remember when I was growing up, my dad having a plaque in his den given to him by his college buddies, which said "Illegitimi non carborundum," the Latin equivalent of "Don't let the bastards get you down." Well, the Wall Street Journal's StartupJournal.com has a great reminder of that up right now, detailing how most of the biggest innovations in modern history were at first greeted with scorn and ridicule by almost all who were exposed to them.

I admit, this arts center I'm trying to open here in Chicago right now is full of ideas that could charitably be called "unorthodox:" we're going to be a commercial company, for example, instead of a non-profit one; working writers will get free admission to all events, in return for donating the rights for us to publish three of their stories or poems for commercial release; many of our events are going to be organized and run by actual audience members, not staff members. And I also admit, I've received my share of less-than-flattering opinions of the business plan as well, including several declarations that such a plan will never, ever work in the real world. Even though I think it's important to seek outside opinion on business plans, this recent post at StartupJournal.com reminds me that legitimately innovative ideas really are seen as a threat by a lot of people when they're first introduced, and that shouldn't necessarily stop you from going forward with the innovation. It's a reminder all us startup people can use on a regular basis.

Is your website disability-friendly?

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Steve Rubel reports that he was recently taken to task by the American Federation for the Blind, for his blog not being friendly to the blind, which is true. (The problem? No "alt" text tags in his images, so blind people don't know what the images actually are.) Rubel apologizes, but also theorizes that the problem lies with SixApart, the company that actually runs his site, which doesn't provide a way for authors to include "alt" text in [img] tags, which is also true. Of course, let's not forget that the W3C has actually had a specification in place for awhile now regarding a special set of CSS tags for the blind, which would actually make disabled web surfing a lot easier for everyone involved...it's just that not a single browser company has actually enfolded the tags into their systems yet, which to me seems just utterly ridiculous. It's up to us to keep on top of these browser companies, if we really want to see access for the disabled become a powerful option.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Jason Pettus Healthy Reading Pyramid (TM), explained

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So, Bookslut pointed me the other day to a column by Christine Newgard, outgoing book editor of The Daily Texan, in which she uses the USDA's "Healthy Eating Pyramid" model to recommend a regular diet of good reading to others. I loved the concept but utterly disagreed with her actual choices, so thought I'd create my own - shown in graphic form in the entry immediately previous to this one, and written in a narrative style below. This particular pyramid assumes that you will read 25 books in a given year, or one approximately every two weeks; you can of course adjust the numbers pretty easily to reflect your particular reading life.

12 books read strictly for pleasure. The point of pleasure reading, after all, is to produce pleasure, which is why I recommend that half the books you read be strictly for this reason. Any genre, any style.

3 history books. Self-explanatory.

3 science books. Also self-explanatory.

2 classics. Any book over 100 years old.

2 experimental books. Define 'experimental' however you want here - experimental writing (TS Eliot's "The Wasteland," for example), experimental layout (like hyperfiction), experimental publishing (like electronic books), etc.

2 books that inherently threaten your accepted beliefs about the world. This might possibly be the most important category of all, namely because so few people actually do it. Conservative Christian? Read a Michael Moore book. Liberal sexual swinger? Read a book by the Pope. You'd be surprised by how complex your worldview can get, simply by reading a couple of books a year by authors who piss you off.

And finally, The Big Challenge. This is another important one; once a year, I highly encourage you to take down from your shelf that giant intimidating book you've always meant to get around to reading, and actually read it. Examples: Infinite Jest; the Bible; Don Quixote; the 9/11 Commission Report; Crime and Punishment; oh, the list just goes on and on and on.

That's it - happy reading! Oh, and feel free to repost that image at your own website if you want - you certainly have my permission.

The Jason Pettus Healthy Reading Pyramid (TM)



See the next entry for a full description.

Add RSS autodiscovery to your site (and it's real easy, too)

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If you're anything like me, you often will not have the exact RSS address of a website on hand when it comes time to actually subscribe to their feed; in my case, most of the time I'll simply pop the site's main URL into my "add channel" form, and simply hope that Bloglines can figure out the site's RSS address on its own. Well, here's a line of code you can add to the top of your blog's template or HTML page, if you want this autodiscovery to happen every time someone does this:

<link rel='alternate' type='application/rss+xml' title='Your site's name' href='Your RSS address'>

This is also the code that lets Firefox and Safari do their cool RSS-autodiscoveries right from the browser as well. It should be noted, by the way, that many blog-hosting services actually add this code already to your template; you should check out yours first before going to the extra trouble of adding it by hand. (Many thanks to "Blogging Business" for passing along this tip.)

Scholars: Satan's mark might actually be 616

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Yes, this is an actual news story (albeit reported by MTV): Scholars currently doing scientific work on a third-century Greek copy of the Bible are claiming that the Mark of the Beast (as revealed in the book of Revelations) is not 666 at all, but rather 616, and that the number has simply been translated wrong over the years. And here's a bit of interesting trivia as well, also from the article - an irrational fear of the number 666 is known in the medical community as hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia. (Thanks to Bookslut for pointing this out, and I loved their comment: "If you believe that Satan speaks through area codes...then Grand Rapids, Michigan just got a whole lot more evil.")

"Lost" Whitman interview discovered

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From the Associated Press: Nicole Kukawski, a junior at The College of New Jersey, recently discovered an 1888 interview with poet Walt Whitman buried in the archives of her school newspaper, that academes had forgotten existed. This in itself is not too terribly remarkable (about one lost interview or letter from Whitman is discovered every year, according to this article); what's fascinating to me, though, is that Whitman encourages readers in this interview to become self-publishers, urging them to "whack away at everything pertaining to literary life - mechanical part as well as the rest. Learn to set type, learn to work at the 'case,' learn to be a practical printer." Wow - who knew that Whitman was actually a zinester at heart?

The rise of microbusinesses

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"Small Business Trends" has this fascinating entry up right now, discussing the deceptively huge rise in the US recently of "microbusinesses," which they are defining as any business that employs five or less people, and needs $35,000 or less in startup money to open for business. Did you know that such microbusinesses now employ 17 percent of all American citizens? Wow! With all the press such megacorporations as Time-Warner-AOL-Sony-Whatever get on a regular basis, I think it's easy to lose sight of just how important small businesses are to this country's success, and of just how many people depend on such mom-and-pop operations for their livelihood. Anyway, just go check out the entry - it's really engrossing.

The next global creative hotspot - Estonia?

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The Christian Science Monitor has a review up right now of Richard Florida's new book, The Flight of the Creative Class: The new global competition for talent. For those who don't know, the "creative class" is a term Florida coined a number of years ago, to describe a group of people who I imagine are remarkably similar to this blog's readership - smart, highly educated, creative, socially conscious and technologically innovative. Such a group, he claims in his books (including not only artists but also business entrepreneurs, socially-conscious lawyers, venture capitalists, healthcare workers, educators and others) are the main force behind whether modern cities succeed or fail anymore; pick any city where things are lively and thriving, he opines, and you will find not only a plethora of the creative class living there, but also a city government who is doing things to convince them to live there in the first place.

Florida's latest book doesn't really hold that much of a surprise in its main posit - that such members of America's creative class are leaving the country in droves, and that ten or twenty years down the line we're going to have an educational, technological and creative crisis in the US unlike anything we've ever seen so far in the history of our country. What might be surprising, though, is where these creatives are ending up these days, including a big section in the book on the former Soviet states of eastern Europe. Just as one random little creative person out there in the world, I'd like to back up such a claim; the fact is, almost from the day I started my personal journal six years ago, I've been receiving an unusually high amount of emails from readers in exactly these countries, including what I consider freakishly huge readerships in such countries as Slovenia, Estonia and Romania. And what's more, these emails are almost always fascinating, and reveal to me a youth culture over there that is monumentally more innovative and avant-garde than anything going on here in America these days.

Anyway, I don't exactly agree with everything Florida says in his books (his theories on urban planning, for example, can get downright ridiculous at points), but I do think he's an intriguing writer worth reading. I encourage you to seek out his newest book yourself, if you're interested in reading about the coming downfall of the American Empire...which, whether you like it or not, is coming, and is coming much sooner than anyone here seems to realize.

KAAAAHHHHNNNNN!!! ...Er, I mean, ARRRR ESSSSSS ESSSSSS!!!

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Fellow dorks of the world unite - TrekToday finally has an RSS feed. Hallelujah!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The ultimate mint julep recipe

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For all you Southern kids like me stuck in Yankee towns: Definitive instructions on making the perfect mint julep. Print it, save it, take it with you to bars! (Okay, so I'm actually from Missouri - which as anyone in the midwest can tell you, ain't exactly a southern state. Just try explaining that, though, to people from Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan. For that matter, just try finding a decent mint julep in Chicago - it's impossible. Thanks to Saucy magazine, by the way, for pointing this recipe out.)

Indie bookstore creates legitimate community

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Wow, one of more inspiring stories about an artistic small business I've heard in awhile, from the Book Standard. Zinesters from the '80s, of course, will remember the legendary Atomic Books in Baltimore, which had to declare bankruptcy in 2000. Well, apparently two of their customers, newlyweds Rachel Whang and Benn Ray, loved the store so much that they took their wedding money and actually bought the place, recently celebrating their fourth anniversary of both the store and their marriage. And even better, the store is experiencing the kind of success it's never had in the past, basically because of the live events it's been sponsoring - karaoke nights, bizarre field trips, even a Stitch-n-Bitch type knitting group for local slackers. The result, according to the article, is that Atomic's customer base has turned from a dry statistical report into an active community, with the social aspects of being an Atomic customer now just as important as the things they have a chance to actually purchase there.

This gets me excited because this is exactly what I'm planning to do with this arts center here in Chicago I'm trying to open right now - that is, to invite our customers to be an active part of the center's operations, and to do things like lead our book discussion clubs, organize our family events, even help us book touring authors they want to see us sponsor. There's a fantastic book out there by Douglas Atkins called The Culting of Brands, which explains not only how to do such things with your own business but why it's so very important that you do so; I highly recommend it to other small-business owners who wish to create their own fervant customer communities.

PalmOne creates new product division...and it's just for me!

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And now some good news concerning PalmOne: The company is finally acknowledging that they have other customers besides corporate executives, and have retooled their product divisions to actually reflect it. All new Palm products, then, are now going to fall under one of three definitions: 1) a "handheld," for those whose primary interest is simple data-management stuff (phone numbers, addresses, datebook, etc); 2) a "smartphone," for those who primarily want to be able to enmesh this data management with their phone; or 3) a "mobile manager," for those like me who are trying to do everything with their Palms, from writing original content to taking photos, surfing the web and viewing multimedia files. Well, it's about g**damn time, man! I can't tell you how sick I am of trying to force my Treo to do all these things it was never meant to do, and look forward to the day when Palm finally has a device out that's specifically catered to high-end users like me. Now, granted, I'm sure PalmOne will find a way to screw things up, just like they have with virtually every release since the Palm Pilot III; it's still nice, though, to see the company finally acknowledge that they have a big problem, and that the frenzied high-end customers like me who used to keep them in business are rapidly abandoning them in droves. (Thanks to PalmAddict for pointing this out.)

Blackberry triumphant

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More bad news for a once-great company currently in a slow, pathetic downward spiral: PalmOne's worldwide PDA market share is down to 18 percent these days, the lowest in the company's ten-year history. And the problem isn't Windows Mobile, as you might guess - it's actually Research in Motion (RIM), if you can believe it, whose "Blackberry" line of PDAs experienced a whopping 84 percent growth in European sales last year, making it the fastest-growing craze in the EU since '80s Swedish metal bands. And even worse news for PalmOne - RIM just inked a deal to start selling Blackberries in Russia as well. Oh, PalmOne, what happened to the company I used to love so much? Oh, that's right, you forced out the guy who actually invented the device, then started ignoring your customers so you could suckle the teats of insanely rich corporate executives instead, who could care less if their PDA actually works well since it's their secretary who's actually using it. Jeez, no wonder you're losing money right now faster than a poet on payday.

Now's a good time to see Jupiter, Saturn

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As part of their regular "Nightsky Friday" column, Space.com points out that now is a particularly good time for amateur astronomers to be checking out Jupiter and Saturn; both planets are well-situated for viewing right after sunset right now, Saturns' rings are currently perpendicular to Earth (making for much more dramatic views), and of course the weather is a lot more hospitable right now for standing around outside for hours in the middle of the night. As someone who used to be an amateur astronomer myself (including the embarrassing confession that my dad and I built our own 12-inch-diameter telescope when I was in high school), I'd like to encourage those who have never done so to contemplate purchasing or building their own telescope for home use as well. Telescopes are surprisingly easy to make, and you wouldn't believe some of the images you can view through them; even the twelve-incher my dad and I built was able to see the moons around other planets, Saturn's rings, Jupiter's eye, and shadows on the surface of the moon cast by crater walls. Anyway, something to think about, for all you out there who are desperately looking for something to do with your kids besides watching yet more television.

Craigslist founder mulls citizen-journalism project

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And speaking of citizen journalism, Craigslist.org founder Craig Newmark recently admitted to the Associated Press that he's thinking about starting up such a group himself. He has no plans to report as of yet, but I think it's interesting that he's been in philosophical discussions with Dan Gillmour and Jeff Jarvis on the subject, two writers I immensely respect and read myself on a daily basis. Newmark's hope, according to the interview, is have a citizen-based "trustworthy daily political report" up and running by the 2006 midterm elections; it should be very interesting to see what comes from something like this.

'Citizen journalists' actually learn some journalism

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Now, see, this is what I like reading about: A recent convention in Nashville paired up bloggers and journalists, as a way for both groups to actually learn more about how the other works. I may dump on mainstream journalism here at this blog a lot, but the fact is that there are all kinds of things from that industry that I believe bloggers should be emulating; I did attend the University of Missouri, after all, which has one of the top-five journalism schools in the country, and it's impossible to spend any amount of time there and not have certain things about journalism rub off on you. (I mean, seriously, even the student newspaper there has eight former staff members who have gone on to win Pulitzers.) I encourage all bloggers to take advantage of situations like this recent convention in Nashville, whenever possible, and to at least start enfolding some basic lessons from journalism into their blogs: seeking out reliable sources, offering an alternative whenever you bitch about something, and always, always linking to the source material in question.

Monday, May 09, 2005

BusinessWeek responds to my complaints, unsurprisingly misses my point

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So, I got an email from Stephen Baker the other day, one of the two authors of BusinessWeek's new blog "Blogspotting," which I really ripped into here in an entry from last week. He was writing to tell me that they were addressing some of the complaints in an upcoming entry, including mine, and that he wanted to let me know about it. And I thought, "Boy, this is really great. Not only did a mainstream journalist happen to find this complaint from this unknown guy floating out there, and not only are they going to publicly address it, but he's written to tell me so that I won't miss it." And my opinion of BusinessWeek suddenly flew up a few notches.

But then I actually read the entry in question, which in a nutshell basically says, "We know some people are complaining about us, but look at all these readers we have who don't even know the first thing about blogs." Which, of course, completely misses the point of what I was complaining about in the first place. I happily acknowledge that there are tons upon tons of people out there who don't have the first idea of what blogs are, especially those who came to one for the first time because of reading a paper-based article in a conservative financial magazine. My point was that there are a number of ways the online arm of a traditional magazine can do this, including stupid and obvious ways, as well as smart and innovative ways that both gently explain the basics of blogging without making those of us who already know stuff roll our eyes in exasperation.

Think I'm an endless complainer? Actually want some examples of groups getting it right? Okay, here you go. Fast Company. Inc. Threadwatch. PSFK. Seth Godin. The Long Tail. Site-9. The Wall Street Journal's StartupJournal.com. Micro Persuasion. (Oh, Micro Persuasion!) NevOn. Gizmodo. The Harvard Business Review. All twelve of these online publications are very welcoming and friendly to tech-beginners, while still always trying to push the envelope and to deliver things that even their tech-savvy readers can enjoy. Like I said in my original entry, there are all kinds of small, complex things that come with why certain blogs get a lot more popular than others, and this is one of them - the challenge of addressing the multi-savvy nature of your audience simultaneously.

P.S. Note, by the way, that they don't actually link back to my original entry, like Mr. Baker said in his email they were going to do. Urmph.

OSCard gets snarky about Star Trek

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Orson Scott Card, author of the perenially-controversial Ender's Game (which might possibly be the creepiest science-fiction novel ever written), answers an interesting question in the Los Angeles Times (and I'm quoting from the essay here): "So why did the Trekkies throw themselves into this poorly imagined, weakly written, badly acted television series with such commitment and dedication? Why did it last so long?" And it's a pretty thought-provoking answer as well. (Thanks to Bookslut.com for pointing this out, and for always remembering that us web-bois loves our science-fiction.)

Build your own shopping-cart bicycle

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Are you an urban adventurer? Always facing a dilemma when going shopping? Why not build yourself a bike made out of a shopping cart? I'm sure there are numerous projects out there similar to this one, but here's the capper - no welding required, just some simple tools and some spare parts. Lots of photos, too! (Thanks as always to MAKE magazine for pointing this out.)

Review: Blogger To Go

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So, Blogger.com introduced a new service this week called "Blogger To Go," which allows you to send multimedia entries straight to your blog from your mobile device, without the need of a mobile web browser. Regular readers already know, of course, that I'm actually doing 100 percent of the maintenance for this particular blog (writing, editing and posting) via my mobile device (Palm Treo 600) right now, so I would naturally be thrilled by the news and want to know every little detail about it. I've been playing around with BTG for about 24 hours now, and thought I'd file a review.

Okay, so the first and most important thing to know about BTG is that it currently only works with four US cellphone carriers - Verizon, AT&T/Cingular, Sprint and T-Mobile - and that you have to use the carrier-approved address that that company gave you as part of your account; in other words, no posting through Gmail or Hotmail, et al, even if you can access these accounts through your mobile device. So for example, I'm a T-Mobile customer, and the account T-Mobile provides us is yourphonenumber@tmomail.net. The problem in this particular case, though, is that this is not a "true" email account (that is, where I could receive and send full-length emails if I wanted), but simply an SMS email-based "avatar" (that is, it's an address people can email if they want to send me an SMS-based instant message; all I can do, though, is receive the message, and send an SMS back, not a full email). The result for T-Mobile customers, then, is that their Blogger entries can only be 255 characters long, or the maximum length of their SMS messages - which kinda sucks, but is not a complete dealbreaker for BTG, in that many entries being posted on the fly are naturally going to contain such a small amount of text.

The insanely cool tradeoff, though, is that you can then also send whatever kinds of attachments your account and phone let you normally send, which will then be uploaded to your site and displayed in the entry, either as an image or a link. So if your phone can snap photos and attach them to SMSs, then boom - you got a photoblog you can instantly update while on the go. If your phone's even cooler and can record full-motion videos, then you suddenly have a videoblog on your hands. If your device can record audio files, then you've got a podcast as well. Which is cool enough if not exactly news anymore, but the killer thing is that you no longer need a desktop or laptop as a conduit; you can literally take a photo, video or audio recording from your phone while on the go, and literally send it straight to your blog from your phone thirty seconds later.

This is amazing, I think, and instantly adds a new complexity to the whole "citizen journalism" argument going on around the web these days. Now not only is every person with a cellphone a potential reporter, with a chance to record audio interviews and take live footage, but now they've all become potential transmitters as well - instead of a van full of gear with a giant antenna on the top, all you need to broadcast live now is a damn mobile. Think about how different certain situations in the world are going to be from now on, now that the people involved not only have the opportunity to record damning evidence in a sneaky way, but to actually transmit it to the public before the authority figures have a chance to even catch them. Think not only dictatorial countries with tight controls over the media, but also high-schoolers getting verbally abused by the faculty, your a**hole boss dumping on you when he normally denies it to superiors - any situation where one group is trying to control the information another group has, and to prevent them from sharing this information with others.

Not to mention, I think it's going to make both evenings out and tourist travel much different things. Blogger members can set up multiple Blogspot pages for free, for example - so why not set a special one up the next time you go on vacation? Along the way you can record random photos, videos, audio files and text entries - and with the coverage these four companies have, most of the time you can instantly post them from anywhere in the US you happen to be. Post not only the photos from your destination, but the one of the random gas station in the middle of nowhere at which you happen to find yourself, or an MP3 in the middle of the afternoon while you're bored on your roadtrip, of you and your companions just gabbing randomly. It changes the entire nature of vacation documenting: instead of the focus falling primarily on the destination and the touristy things you did there, the journey itself becomes part of the eventual story, and you're encouraged to document not only famous landmarks but also the small, sometimes instantaneous magical moments that happen along the way. And meanwhile, all your friends and family members get to follow along in real time as well, and to share these small moments at the same time you're experiencing them.

Getting started couldn't be easier; simply SMS/MMS/email your first entry from an approved phone address to go@blogger.com . Blogger then sets up a new randomly-titled Blogspot page for you, and emails you the entry code for it. If you don't know anything about blogging and don't want to know, you're literally done - just point your friends to that URL and Blogger does the rest, including automatic archives, an automatic RSS feed, and even a pretty nice minimalist template for displaying your posts. But then of course you can actually log on at go.blogger.com with that entry code if you want, at which point you can then do anything any other Blogger member can do - rename your blog, change the display, customize the archive settings, etc. And if you already have a Blogspot page to which you would like your mobile entries sent, simply tell it when you're logged in and Blogger will send the posts there instead, and completely get rid of that new page it set up for you. (As you can guess, there is also a new field in your Blogger account settings, where you can maintain this mobile address, change it, delete it, or have it point to yet another blog if desired.) By the way, if you're on one of these four systems besides T-Mobile and already know the SMS email avatar your company gives out to customers, I encourage you to post it as a comment below so as to inform other customers that might not know it.

Another Blogger To Go test

Another test of my new 'Blogger To Go' service. This was just taken 30 seconds ago, at Lawrence and Broadway here in Chicago. Ah, technology!