Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar

Making trouble today for a better tomorrow…

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Entries Tagged as 'Metablogging'

The NY Times is doing … what?

January 9th, 2009 · 2 Comments

NYTimes Visualization Lab

Originally uploaded by jijnes

NFL polka dot stats are the least of it.

The old “Gray Lady” New York Times keeps changing her spots in ways that deliver new value–but without creating new profits to replace what got lost in the transition to Web 2.0. Just for example (reverse chronological order; this is a blog, after all) …

January 8, 2009

NY Times rolls out the latest in a series of information-busting-out APIs, this one to track individual voting histories in the US Congress. Business model? They’re free.
December, 2008

NY Times creates free “Widgets” that let bloggers et al. post NYT headlines on their own web pages. Business model? Link back to NYT pages.
August, 2008

NY Times teams up with ManyEyes to create the kinds of data images shown in the polka dots above.
… (lots more stuff …
October, 2003

The NY Times came to Dave Winer’s Bloggercon 1 (via their avatar, editor-in-chief Lenn Apcar) to hear and talk about putting blogging onto news pages.
May, 2003

NY Times letting bloggers create permalinks to articles via their Userland RSS feeds.
2002 sometime

NY Times partners with Userland to deliver news stories via RSS feeds.

The NY Times is no longer (just) my mom’s messy mass of newsprint (see below, ca 1984.) It did a great job at that, but it is now setting out to do great things in a much, much bigger World 2.0. I just hope Web 2.0 finds ways to support them in turn.

BoboNYT: My mom, with her feet up, reading the NY Times.

Tags: Editorial · geeky · Metablogging

SciFoo session about “Science 2.0”

August 9th, 2008 · Comments Off on SciFoo session about “Science 2.0”

George and Esther Dyson

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

My plan to have webfolk give “lightning” talks for scientists ended up in the schedule as 9:30 a.m. “lighting” talks.”

Nevahtheless, as Katherine Hepburn would say, an overflow SciFoo crowd showed up in Google’s “Damascus” room (seats 22) to hear Tim O’Reilly’s own explanation of Web 2.0, followed by stellar short talks by Esther Dyson (EDventure), Chris Anderson (Wired), Barend Mons (WikiProfessional), and Victoria Stodden (Harvard’s Berkman Center).

What was the premise here? As posted in SciFoo’s wiki for session suggestions:

Science Outreach 2.0? I see proposed sessions to have science “heard” by politicians (Eric W, Adam Wishart), to get more young people to fall in love with science (Chris Riley), and to get non-scientists involved in “spectator science” or “citizen science” activities (Margaret Wertheim, Jack Stilgoe, Karen James, Brother Guy).

Web 2.0 tools (blogs, wikis, social networks, web services) are great ways to reach out to non-scientists. What I’m proposing is a session on this useful subset of HOW-TO (a fairly new set of useful tools), a session where Sci Foo’s webfolk (and web-savvy scientists) might give “lightning” talks about “Here is a great web tool useful for scientists doing outreach, here is a quick demo of how it works, here is a URL where you can learn more about it.” Betsy Devine

Here are links to some of the websites that were discussed there:

  • What is Web 2.0?: Original (2005) essay by Tim O'Reilly
  • Science networking site, mentioned by Esther Dyson.
  • User-friendly online DNA comparison tools, explained by Esther Dyson.
  • Science authors can get book-tour information out to the "long tail", explained by Chris Anderson (Wired).
  • Wiki-like tool for Medline that combines language tools and authoritative sources with user input, explained by Barend Mons.
  • Victoria Stodden discussed the misfit between what copyright does and what scientists want to have happen to content they put online. To come, I hope, a link to the web-based license that solves these issues.
  • Collaboration inspiration, or how people showed up from all over the internet to help Oxford astrophysicists classify millions of computer-photographed galaxies, and a Dutch teacher named Hanny discovered a unique new astronomy object, not explained by Betsy Devine, though I would have done so if we had time at the end of the session.

George Dyson, seen in this photo being attacked by a palm tree at the Wild Palms Hotel, did not speak at my session, so this photo is somewhat false advertising for this blogpost.

Update: Jack Stilgoe (Demos) was at this session and blogged it.

Tags: Metablogging · Science · Useful

Before the Sci Foo deluge

August 8th, 2008 · Comments Off on Before the Sci Foo deluge

Before the Sci Foo deluge

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

The Wild Palms Hotel will be wilder in just a few hours, as scientists, webfolk, and other high-tech high IQs arrive for Science Foo 2008.

Frank and I are not the only people here so early. I am pretty sure I saw Neal Gershenfeld across the patio. In the Sci Foo wiki, he has offered to demo some amazingly techno inventions. If he brought a fabricator, his luggage was hugely heavy!

Astrophysicists Angelica de Oliveira-Costa and Max Tegmark get here later this morning. Fortunately, even astro-visionaries like Max don’t need to pack any universe inside their suitcases to lead a session. The universe just plain follows them around.

Chris Anderson (long tail) and Chris Anderson (TED) will both be here. I remember once sharing a dorm-room with another Betsy and a third girl named Kedzie. Getting phone messages straight was a nightmare that year, and my sympathies go out to those two Chris Andersons.

Looking forward to meeting a lot of great people and hearing a lot of incredible ideas. I see myself here as a technical “enabler”, doing some scientist-to-webpeople match-making. But this Sci Foo (SciFoo?) blogpost is already long enough.

Tags: Frank Wilczek · geeky · Metablogging · Science

Squeaky chew-toy physical theories for dogs

August 2nd, 2008 · 3 Comments

The joy of an old, forgotten photo

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

The dog of physics blogger Chad Orzel has a lot more to say about science than my little dog ever bothered to let me know about.

Chad Orzel’s dog on classical mechanics: “Classical mechanics is like a good bone. You can chew it, and chew it, and you think it’s all used up, but then you come back, and you can still chew it some more.”

My dog Marianne on classical mechanics: “Wow, I fell off the couch — again!”

Marianne would have loved virtual bunnies made of cheese.

Tags: funny · Metablogging · Science · Wide wonderful world

A pound of sugar and a pint of beer

May 13th, 2008 · Comments Off on A pound of sugar and a pint of beer

A pound of sugar and a pint of beer

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine,
photo by Amity Wilczek.

That was the daily diet of the wasp colony that built this huge paper nest in 1857.

Before you envy this self-indulgent diet, bear in mind that the wasps got their sugar dissolved in their beer.

This magnificently well-fed colony soon drew the attention of nearby wasps, who abandoned their own nests and moved in to help build the ever-growing mansion. They were welcomed “without the least show of opposition,” says the exhibit label.

So if you plan to write up the history of open-source software or BarCamp, please give appropriate credit to these pioneers.

(For more information, see a closeup of the label.) It’s now on display in Oxford’s Museum of Natural History.

Tags: England · funny · geeky · Metablogging · Science · Wide wonderful world

Geeks can haz artistic photos …

April 23rd, 2008 · 1 Comment

Geeks can haz artistic photo effects

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

… especially when geeks take photos in low light and then enhance the heck out of their dark materials.

Oxford Geek Night last night was an interesting blend of Meetup with short but excellent unconference.

The Wikipedia “unconference” article seems to have been hijacked by proponents of exactly one specific brand of (un)conference.* But I think Kaliya Hamlin captures their essence and history quite a bit better:

The name “unconference” arose to describe conferences that step outside of the more traditional model — that is, presentations selected months beforehand, sponsors buying speaking slots, boring panels of talking heads, and high fees.

Gobion Rowlands talked about his company’s science-based Flash game “Climate Challenge” — I would have liked to hear more about the Flash and less about the company, but when keynotes are chopped down to only 15 minutes something has to go. (That’s because I’m working on a Flash game right now–I bet lots of the people there are thinking of their own startups and thought Gobion’s talk was absolutely perfect.)

Jon Hicks packed his 15 minutes with really useful “steal this idea” ideas about building a website “From Design to Deployment.” He also, bless him, posted the slides (pdf).

The five–minute talks, with countdoown clock, are also cool.

Only bad thing is that there are, by far, not enough chairs. I was surprised when I got there (early) to see that very few geeks had brought their own computers. By the time the talks started, with at least half us geeks standing up for all two plus hours, I understood why the laptops had been left at home.

* Update — since I didn’t like what Wikipedia said on “unconferences,” I dredged up some references (they supported my POV) and amended the article. But who knows what you’ll see now if you click this link?

Tags: England · geeky · Metablogging · Wide wonderful world

Too much on plate?

February 22nd, 2008 · Comments Off on Too much on plate?

roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and veggies, traditional Sunday dinner in England

English Sunday traditional roast beef with Yorkshire pudding just got multiple updates–from a bright orange Mexican plate to the colorful veggies, steamed lightly to please modern taste buds.

But this photo is symbolic–not so much of what I’m eating as it is of the too-many too-tempting things distracting me from my current blog troubles.

Aside from Gilbert and Sullivan, lectures on Darwin, springtime in Iffley, work on my book, trying to set up a non-fiction writers’ workshop, and the glories of Oxford Botanic Garden, there are distractions less delightful taking up far too much time…grocery shopping with no car, just for a starter.

And then there are cross-cultural gotchas, like the dry cleaner who phoned to tell me that somehow he’d broken all eight buttons on my best jacket. He did pay for ten new buttons and sew them on free, but I did have to go find them in a tiny second-floor sewing store on a small back street.

Do less, write more–what a good plan. I plan to try that plan now.

Tags: Go go go · Metablogging

And my porch doesn’t have a business model either!

January 12th, 2008 · Comments Off on And my porch doesn’t have a business model either!

1958 dog party, part 2.

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

“My phone doesn’t have a business model. Neither does my porch. I still like having a phone and a porch because they help me meet new people and communicate with people I know. Same with my blog and podcast.”

That’s a quote from Dave Winer…thanks, Dave, and not least for sending me back to this old Flickr porch photo of mine, a dog birthday party, 1958 or thereabouts. Here’s a better photo of the same party.

My mother holds a tray of raw hamburger to treat our neighborhood dogs, because my mostly-spaniel Suzy was having a birthday.

Yes, in those innocent days before Big Agriculture discovered that cows could be fed plastic pellets and ground-up carrion, nobody had yet invented “mad cow disease.”

I guess that’s a digression–but hey, that is my blogging model!

Tags: Metablogging · My Back Pages · Wide wonderful world

Cybernauts, come to the end of the classical earth…

October 29th, 2007 · Comments Off on Cybernauts, come to the end of the classical earth…

1029GalicianClip509 The newspaper “Voice of Galicia” sounds sweet this morning, with a story by Kiko Novoa. Novoa enjoyed my account of “The end of the classical earth” and calls me “la conocida periodista estadounidense Betsy Devine.”

The deservedly well-known Galician journalist Kiko Novoa adds a quick, charming, colorful explanation of blogging:

Betsy dispone de un blog ( en el que comparte sus experiencias con los cibernautas.

Roughly: “Betsy has a blog, in which she shares experiences with the cybernauts.”

Welcome, cybernauts! And thanks to Jorge Mira Pérez for calling my attention to Kiko Novoa.

Tags: Metablogging · Travel · Wide wonderful world

Yes! People want news, not “olds”

October 19th, 2007 · 1 Comment

Corbett Court, Mitchelstown

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

Dave Winer has been improving the New York Times for as long as I’ve known him. First he convinced them to put stories out in RSS–then to let bloggers “permalink” down into their archives.

Now he’s propagating their work in a skinnied-down format he calls a newsriver, where (to quote Dave), “The stories age, and are removed after 24 hours. After all this is news, not olds. “

Playing on this, Doc Searls says news organizations should “jump in the river”:

News is a river, not a lake. It is active, not static. It’s what’s happening, not what happened. Or not only what happened.

Yes, of course readers also want well-written stories with careful analysis. But when we’re anxious to know what’s happening now, we don’t want that information slowed down and jumbled up with lots of stuff we don’t care about.

When I’m starving for a hot quick Egg McMuffin, I don’t want to wait for some Oeuf au Jambon de Ronald.

Tags: Editorial · Metablogging · Wide wonderful world