Archive for May, 2004

Bloglines

I’ve never used a feed reader (a program that shows when blogs are updated); until recently almost all the blogs I read were related to developments of the Mozilla web browser and Henrik Gemal maintains an excellent site showing which Mozilla blogs have been updated.

Lately, as I’ve started reading more blogs, checking them has become cumbersome, so I looked at a few feed readers but I use a few different computers so I really wanted a version of Henrik’s webpage that could be configured to look at any blog I chose. The solution is Bloglines. It’s simple and efficient.

Why I don’t (often) read my girlfriend’s blog.

At the moment my girlfriend, Em, and I are studying in different places in the UK. This involves a lot of train trips (the reliability of which seems to have got a lot better recently – touch wood!) and a lot of phone calls (Thank you Orange Everyday 50). Emma has a blog (which is about to move to a new home). I don’t (regularly) read it which might seem a bit surprising.

As the cliche says: “Communication is very important”, if I read Em’s blog I feel it would cause two problems. Firstly, Em might be tempted to write things that would better be discussed aloud if I’m the intended audience. I was saying in my last entry that blogs are really good vehicles for two way communication between an MP and their constituents but weblogs have serious problems for chat between a girlfriend and a boyfriend. A blog imposes an author/reader relationship rather than “peer to peer” communication.

The first problem could be mitigated though, we could discuss it and agree to conciously not write entries with subtle (or not so subtle) messages for each other. The second problem is that it would probably reducing the amount of talking we did. Because we live in different places, much of our chat is a recounting of the events of the day. If we’d already read that on each other’s blogs we wouldn’t have those conversations or any of the topics that branch from them. I don’t know what we’d talk about instead but I suspect it would be briefer.

I said that I don’t regularly read her blog, I do sometimes, partly because she plays a lot with the CSS and javascript that define the look of her page, and I like to see what she’s done and partly because I sometimes get the urge to see what she’s writing about. It means that I’ve usually spoken to her about the events in her blog before I read about them. I don’t read it very often and I don’t read every entry so hopefully Em doesn’t write it with me as the intended audience, mitigating both the problems.

Em is sitting her finals at the moment (which definately cuts down the amount we talk), if she’s reading this then good luck in your exams Em.

Politician’s blogs and more EU Anoraking

I’ve been reading a few political blogs recently, including Tom Watson and Richard Allen. I was going to write an entry arguing that more MPs should write blogs; they provide their constituents with an unrivalled amount of information about their representatives. It turns out that Clive Soley has written about it already. (He writes MPs (as in the plural of an MP) as MP’s; is that correct?)

My MP has a website but he doesn’t maintain it himself and it shows; there’s not the personal thoughts or the two-way communication. A side effect is that our politicans would be more tech-aware and might do more about software patents. I wrote a letter to my MP and he wrote a “nice” polite reply back but I got the distinct impression that he wasn’t outraged by the situation. Knocking Tony Blair’s door down to lambast him about the fiasco doesn’t seem high on his To-do list.

Richard Allen points out this nice summary of the EU constitution which I hadn’t seen before which was the original point of this entry before I went off on a tangent. At the debate I went to a lot of people were whining that the (foreign-owned) media would make the referendum unfair. The BBC seems to cover it in a positive light often enough and when somebody (anybody!) starts to make the case for in a organised, serious way it’ll get plenty of coverage.

In other news, I’ved been fiddling with the internals of Firefox recently, trying to alter its user interface a bit but all this XUL and XBL etc. is confusing, I think I might need to find a tame hacker to e-mail a few questions but more about that else-when.