Faster history, faster democracy?

A mostly political Weblog.
March 15 2005 6:16 AM

Faster History, Faster Democracy?

Plus--Who cares who runs Disney?

(Continued from Page 4)

Weak! Advantage: AOL ... [Microsoft doesn't own us anymore!--ed. They actually never interfered even when they did own us. I attacked Windows XP. I got a lot of techies suddenly offering to help, but that's all.] 2:15 A.M.

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Trust-busting: Hugh Hewitt, in his distressingly pre-emptive book Blog, says "the blogosphere is about trust." It is? I don't read Hewitt 's blog  because I trust him. I read it because he's smart, makes arguments I want to hear and tells me things I want to know about. And I'd rather have a blogosphere filled with readers who need to be convinced than with readers who trust. ... Bloggers didn't bring Dan Rather down because they were trusted. They brought him down because they had the goods on him. ...

P.S.: Of course, it's the "trust" argument that allows Hewitt to conflate the emergence of blogs with the conservative revolt against a distrusted media elite. That's part of what's happening. But isn't it clear that in the long run (contra Jonah) the medium is more important, by at least one degree of magnitude, than the current semi-dominant message? Blogs empower individuals and small groups to broadcast their ideas to the world and interact with others around the world. If the ideas of those individuals are conservative, and not reflected in the older-technology media, blogs will empower them (even if only a small part of the population actually trusts them). The right wing revolt against the MSM is just one sub-story in the arc of the new technology's impact. ... Update: Alert reader D notes that even at the level of simple information-gathering, the blogosphere as a whole can be a mechanism for getting closer to the truth even if no one blogger is particularly trusted. All the information gets out there, fast, there's an argument, and a rough consensus forms. That's what happened with Rather. ...

P.P.S.: Hewitt makes a point I hadn't heard before about the newfound ability of respected authorities--such as religious scholars--to maintain their positions of leadership by engaging in a continuous blog dialogue with their followers. The Sistani model! But what a burden. If you were a respected authority you used to be able to get away with maintaining a meaningful silence. Now you've got to be blogging in your own "unique voice" about every little thing that comes up, or else some ambitious lesser authority who posts more frequently will steal your flock. ... 2:31 P.M.

Monday, March 7, 2005

Email Shocker--kausfiles On Your Side! kf's crack I-team spoke with AOL spokesperson Nicholas Graham and AOL Postmaster Charles Stiles about the problem we MSN/Hotmail people have had emailing AOL customers [see below ]. 

AOL's version: AOL says it blocked only messages--several million of them--that Microsoft mistakenly routed through a new server, a rerouting that created two problems:

1) The new server stripped each email of the sender's individual "x-originating IP address" and substituted the server's address, with the result that "5 to 10 million messages" looked like they were coming from a single previously unknown sender.

2) The server lacked a "reverse DNS" record. Don't ask me what that is--it apparently works like a return address and is an important security feature.

At the same time there was an unexpected surge of millions of messages coming from Hotmail to AOL. Faced with an avalanche of emails without personal IP addresses from an unknown server, AOL decided to "close the door" on them and send then back.

Sounds plausible enough. Over to you, Microsoft. ...

P.S.: The story is also looking like maybe less of a big deal than I'd thought it was. AOL's reps called it "hiccup" that will be "resolved very soon"--i.e. by Microsoft!--because it's in both companies' interest to do so. ... I know I haven't had any problems since I blogged about it! If your problems have been miraculously fixed too, let me know and I will shift into full Sullivanesque Gloating Mode. ... Update: Microsoft's  lame response. ... 10:06 P.M.

Don't trip over the unopened LAT on the way out: Just when you were thankful you'd read the last credulous introductory profile of CNN CEO Jonathan Klein that takes his hack spin at face value--a point you probably passed about a month and a half ago--comes the Los Angeles Times with ... a credulous introductory profile of CNN CEO Jonathan Klein that takes his hack spin at face value! ... Except this profile's longer, with more hack spin (and more hack spin)! ... It seems Klein want "to push the coverage 'beyond the headlines'"! ... He's bringing "'synergistic' energy" to the network! ... Joe Hagan of the NY Observer had more a more skeptical stance back on January 17. ... But, you know, if the Los Angeles Times hasn't covered it, it hasn't really happened yet, has it? ... The Times reports that CNN producers "say they like what they're hearing from Klein"! Yes, they say that. But do they like what they're hearing from Klein? I'm not so sure. Times reporter Ned Martel makes virtually no effort to assess Klein's now-assessable "storytelling" strategy. ... Actually, Martel doesn't even try to explain what Klein's strategy is beyond substanceless BS. ("[H]e wants on air talent to connect to stories, not just deliver them." ... "Any business that forgets about its customers is in big trouble.") ... OK, there is one buried paragraph saying that "within the network, people find it curious that Klein would 'hang Tucker [Carlson] out to dry.'" That's it for criticism, though. ... P.S.: Is it significant that, in fact, Klein's much-cited "storytelling" concept isn't even mentioned? Has CNN already junked it? ... P.P.S.: Suddenly the LAT strategy of preventing Web users from actually reading its showbiz articles (by hiding them behind a subscription firewall) is beginning to make sense. It's a damage-control mechanism! ... 6:12 P.M.

TODAY IN SLATE

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