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Miscellaneous Monday

I’m running a tad short of time today so I’m taking the easy way out. Mama Kat and others have been touting the LinkWithin widget, so I decided to give it a try. The installation was easy. Just click on the “get this widget” link below and follow the bouncing two step ball.

Now being a techno geek at heart, my real goal was to see if it does a very good job of picking posts out of the archive to link with. Given that I often have a hard time finding the post I want to link to even when I know the wording of the post, this blog could be a challenge to the LinkWithin heuristics. (And see, you just knew I couldn’t resist using heuristic, just like I had to use canonical the last time I talked about search.) By looking at what it does and what the LinkWithin site says, it’s pretty clear that they do a crawl of your archives and then select matches to the current post from the archive posts. Since it takes them some finite amount of time to do that initial crawl, I’d expect that one would see changing selections with each refresh until the crawl was done. I’d also expect that there is some degree of randomness in the selection, so that each display of the blog might get a different set of links displayed.

When I installed the widget, I immediately started a series of refreshes in other browser windows. The earliest refreshes did indeed return pretty much random stuff, but later displays sometimes seemed a bit more on topic. I’m still undecided about the true effectiveness of the links suggested. My experience thus far is that the proverbial “10,000 monkeys typing on 10,000 typewriters for 1 million years will reproduce hamlet” type of randomness seems to be at the forefront in the selection process. If that indeed remains the case over the coming days,  the lifespan of the widget may very short here.

So that is where you all come in. I’m going to leave the widget enabled through the rest of this week and then post a poll to see whether it stays or goes. (Anyone with the widget installed interested in running a multi-site poll?) So pay attention and be prepared for a quiz after class! {*grin*}

How do you chose blogs to follow/read?

I always find it interesting to discover why people choose the blogs they follow and/or read regularly.  In my case, I have three general criteria, the order of which is subject to mood and whim.  I suspect that others have very different criteria.

One of my criteria is humor (even unintentional).  I am a big fan of those who can poke fun at their day to day lives and the oddities of modern life.  Given that I have a writing style that is stiff, formal, and pedantic – you might say I enjoy reading the opposite of what I write. {*grin*}
Another criteria is decent writing skills.  By that I mean that sentences are well formed, nouns are used appropriately, and verbs exist.  I am old enough not to enjoy blogs written in the style of texts or matchbook stenography school adds. I.e., if u cn rd ths, u cn mk $.
Yet another criteria is true geekiness or nerdiness.  Given I have spent most of my  adult career involved with science, technology and software development, I have a deep fondness for most things geek.  I am not, however, a big fan of “gadget of the day” blogs.  I have entirely too many gadgets already.  I would like to see the development of a master gadget – one the size of a modern cell phone with a pop-out full size keyboard, an IMAX sized holographic screen, the computing power of a supercomputer, and 3 days of battery life.  Oh, and it should weigh little and cost less. Got one for me? {*grin*}
A final criteria is regularity.  I like a blog to have at least a couple of entries per week.  Otherwise I tend to loose my understanding of the style and skills of the author.  That continuity is critical for my enjoyment of most blogs, since they build on a sense of history and shared disclosure of experience.
I have been reading and following blogs since they first came of age, but until this beast have resisted the temptation to have a public non-technical blog.  Now you get to suffer for my lack of will power!  The list of blogs I follow and/or read is constantly changing.  When I find a blog that I like, I usually then investigate the blogs the author follows.  My investigation is somewhat trivial, consisting of reading the last three posts and then making a yea or nay decision to follow or add to my reader list.  Any time the posts from any blog seem to be less interesting over a week or so, it then gets pruned from my reading list.
How do you chose the blogs you follow/read?

Start of the end

This is nothing more than an initial blog post to see if I have a clue about how this interface works. Pretty much content and thought free (somewhat like my mind most days).

Just to establish some cultural bookmarks here:
USC just lost to Oregon State – let the battle for number one resume.
The lawn mower is giddy-up-gone – so guess how I’m spending the weekend?
Fall approaches – when will the first freeze arrive?