April 26, 2005
Well it was easy. In between commercials on Tuesday night TV, and a late night burst of extra excitement, I have moved this entire weblog into its new home, hosted very happily in a WordPress 1.5 blog. I was not sure how much would export over (actually everything did), so I hate to say this is now a forwarding address blog ( as well as a retro record of my blogging from April 2003-2005).
The first move was on the same server in May 2005; it was then moved to its own domain in January 2006.
So adjust your links accordingly- the new CogDogBlog is at:
and adjust your RSS readers to:
Did I say again how easy that is? How slick the WP interface is? How limitless the templates look and code, now that they are recognizable PHP and not obsfucated, let's go out and run 3 miles while the rebuilds chug perl?
I very much enjoyed the learning of MovableTpye for this old blog, but the time has come, and this blog has gone.
The new one will be ongoing an evolution as I learn more about WordPress, so watch out for the sharp edges over there.
I've been seeing references to something called "Web 2.0" -- was there some sort of Internet upgrade while I was sleeping? Am I out of date? (Note for new readers- this is sarcasm) I see folks are aiming to define it precisely.
While I accept, support, participate in the notion that web content as we use/see it is evolving to something more than hand spun HTML static content (a good thing), but what the heck does defining a moving target get you?
Does it mean all of the Web 1.0 is obsolete, like showing up for your high school reunion driving a Yugo? I don't think attributes define things that cleanly- there are plenty of web content that is static, may have an ampersand in its URL (??), lacks RSS (it is great, but not everything needs it), etc that is still good, valid, interesting content.
Or let's not classify, rate, value content on basis of its technological characteristics, but its informational, experiential ones.
It has a strong odor of uber jargon, but should ever I start babbling in 48 point font about Web 2.0, someone please throw this entry in may face.
Now where are the keys to my Yugo?
April 22, 2005
I just added a new feature to this blog's templates, likely the last tweak I will do as I am rather dead set on moving soon to WordPress (especially after seeing D'Arcy's demo of the flickr gallery plugin).
The new feature is a link along the front page and archive pages (and individual entries) where the line has links for comments, trackbacks, etc that says "IM this". Clicking the link will open an iChat/AIM client chat window with the URL in the chat entry area, so all you need to do is pick a buddy to share the URL with.
Stealing this from Preshrunk's entry on "Feature Creep" (who stole it from someone else, go stealing!), it is a simple matter of a link that looks like:
<a href=aim:goim?message=http://www.blah.com/blog/the/url/for/this/post">IM this</a>
where in MovableType templates it looks like:
<a href=aim:goim?message=<$MTEntryPermalink$>">IM this</a>
Okay, this is pretty low on the potential use scale, but rather simple to do for newbie template twidlers.
Like I said, waiting for MovableType to rebuild 800 posts is but one more reason to wake up and join the WP crowd (yes I will James, no need to spur me on, it's a matter of time). MT is like, so.... 2002. Tired.
When the switch happens, it will likely be a conversion attempt of the past CDB 800 posts, but sitting at a new to be determined URL, and leave this old blog as an embarrassing artifact.
Google is good. Google is great. I wish I kept better records of this, but I have vague recollections of finding some of my most favorite web discoveries at perhaps 3 links downstream of a search, or just by following a suggested link to one source and happen-stancing (random clicking) elsewhere.
So I use search most often while looking for specific things, but for discovery, it is really just the first layer of yielding primary sources. It is those secondary, tertiary, (quadriary?) exploration links that lead to the hidden gems.
So this morning, when I stumbled into something completely useful without it popping in a search result (and the fact I was not even looking for it initially), I am just compulsed to write it up at home before going into work, and will likely late for work.
So it started with an item that popped up in a few sites in my RSS reader. The April 2005 D-Lib article "Social Bookmarking Tools" by Hammond and others from the Nature Science group is an excellent read and a must bookmark-furl-spurl-delicious URL. Good beacuse it is thorough, intensely linked, illustrated, but also well written, and reads like it is written by someone who really is with it in terms of web technology:
Because, to paraphrase a pop music lyric from a certain rock and roll band of yesterday, "the Web is old, the Web is new, the Web is all, the Web is you", it seems like we might have to face up to some of these stark realities [n1]. With the introduction of new social software applications such as blogs, wikis, newsfeeds, social networks, and bookmarking tools (the subject of this paper), the claim that Shelley Powers makes in a Burningbird blog entry  seems apposite: "This is the user's web now, which means it's my web and I can make the rules." Reinvention is revolution – it brings us always back to beginnings.
We are here going to remind you of hyperlinks in all their glory, sell you on the idea of bookmarking hyperlinks, point you at other folks who are doing the same, and tell you why this is a good thing...
This paper reviews some current initiatives, as of early 2005, in providing public link management applications on the Web – utilities that are often referred to under the general moniker of 'social bookmarking tools'. There are a couple of things going on here: 1) server-side software aimed specifically at managing links with, crucially, a strong, social networking flavour, and 2) an unabashedly open and unstructured approach to tagging, or user classification, of those links.
So the article was a find in itself (and has been properly furled, actually before I read the whole thing).
It was towards the middle of the article under "Building Communities" where the authors begin to share the different ways tags and links dig into sources they have compiled in Connotea. The very first item in the list (this morning when I found it, this will change, right?) was listed as:
where the tag line was enough to hook me:
Freetag - an Open Source Tagging / Folksonomy module for PHP/MySQL applications
Now I had back of my mind (way in the back, dusty seldom visited regions) been thinking that in a second generation version of our Maricopa Learning eXchange I could see a way to add tagging as a part of the MLX system (this is on the back burner until I can wrestle enough time to finish the first generation alpha of an open source MLX).
But holy XXXXXXX! Freetag looks like it may just be able to plug in!
Freetag is an easy tagging and folksonomy-enabled plugin for use with MySQL-PHP applications. It allows you to create tags on existing database schemas, and access and manage your tags through a robust API.
This might mean I can incorporate some tagging into the MLX without having to toll code myself.
What is exciting to me, besides the value of the find, was the joy of the find. I would have likely gotten to this site from a web search, unless I did something like a specific search (which does work well, by the way). I found it by click luck.
This is what I tried to convey as the closing message in my TCC 2005 presentation yesterday... with the overload of information that we all feel, while traveling the confusing road to the future, how will you travel? With a sense of:
flickr image from http://flickr.com/photos/sabineschmidt/2507284/
or a wide eyed look of:
flickr image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/jon_pawley/8697122/
Finding by serendipity keeps me in the latter category.
PS Just the flickr search on "despair" brought a pile of serendipity-found images. See the lonliest hotdog or a dire situation. Follow the "your gone" set of images in order... Is there a mini meme of flickr storytelling? Hmmmm
April 21, 2005
Whew! An hour ago I finished my one hour keynote presentation for the TCC 2005 Worldwide Online Conference. They asked me to talk about the future, so I hit them with a whiplash induced thing I created, "Harry Mudd, Small Pieces, and that Not Widely Distributed Future":
I thought I had way too much in there, but by talking fast and skimming details I sprinted through 45 screens and 2 web demos in 45 minutes. I used my worn our Star Trek metaphor for how Harry Mudd and gang fooled Norman the Robot, then went through 10 rounds of technologies using a structure of the "Wired, Tired, Expired" feature of Wired Magazine, and threw in the closing bit of Small Technologies Losely Joined, and Rip, Mix, Learn.
Nearly all the images were found in flickr (and duly noted by URL in the screen shots).
While the entire Elluminate recorded version is already available, you need to have registered for the conference to see it. But I created a quick, perhaps not as elegant end around:
I took my screen captures I created for my planning script, and created a Quicktime slide show (5 seconds per slide):
And I captured the audio by sticking my iRiver next to my laptop and tossing through Audacity to get a 14 Mb mp3 (about an hour):
So it is not exactly synchronized, that is on your end. Lastly, I tossed together last night a wiki site for all the web references, in the vague hopes that people will add (and not piss over) the goods:
Whew, I have presentation come down... Time for a naaaaaaaaaaap
April 19, 2005
Can you believe in this age of dwindling natural resources and internet based information, that we get dumped on our door step at least 7 different phonebooks, a pile 22 inches high? I've not flipped trough a paper phone book in 4 years.
The waste is shameful and stupid.
The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity I need! My name in print! That really makes somebody! Things are going to start happening to me now.
I thought printed phonebooks went the way of the dodo bird.
April 17, 2005
Who is better? Yahoo or Google? How do they compare for specific searches? YaGoohoo!gle, which apparently started out as an April Fool's joke. is now more than a joke. Via a simple, familiar search form, this site will produce a side by side search result from the big two engines.
The author's blog offers some code to embed a search form in your own sites.
More frivolity (blog tip of the hat to Kottke) for HTTP in tha House. You submit a URL, and the web site extracts the text, combines them into 16 lines, uses a rhyming dictionary, and pops out a series of random rap-like lyrics.
Real word use? minimal. Fun and randomness? priceless.
Here is the new CDB rap....
HTTP in tha House
lyrics by: http://cogdogblog.com/alan/
barrett a nestor martinez
http jade mcli dist maricopa says
http jade mcli dist maricopa free
karan johar simply rock and
wrench and a grease gun band
accessible this form publishes no
comments php aglow
flickr related tag
solid c border right snag
coffee shop which
maricopa edu twitch
his aa degree in computer
spam for neuter
edu alan archives php march bad
JADE DOT MCLI DOT DIST DOT MARICOPA DOT EDU IN THA HOUSE
JADE DOT MCLI DOT DIST DOT MARICOPA DOT EDU IN THA HOUSE
JADE DOT MCLI DOT DIST DOT MARICOPA DOT EDU IN THA HOUSE
JADE DOT MCLI DOT DIST DOT MARICOPA DOT EDU
April 14, 2005
Although I noted yesterday that my own technical gaffs had erase all of our blog comments going back to September 2004, I did comb through the last database dump from early March 2005 and sifted out the legit comments for Sept 2004 - March 3, 2005, so the loss was the last month and a half.
It was fairly trivial with BBEdit to semi-manually sift out all the spam roach poop. There were a total of 1947 rows in the comment table of the database (for about 6 blogs, mostly inactive) and out of those, I deleted 1662 spammies, easily identified by their repeated patterns, url encrusted comments, and general stench. There were sequences of more than 150 in quick succession to a dormant blog (which is now fenced off).
And the captcha security code on the comment form is working like a dream, perfection, baby.
Next week, April 19-21, is the 10th annual Teaching, Colleges, Community (TCC) Worldwide Online Conference, or affectionately known as "the online conference from Hawaii where you do not get to go to Hawaii". I'm ramping up to deliver a live keynote session on April 21 (see below).
The theme this 10th anniversary year is "Looking Back Toward the Future":
Since the 1970s, the impact of educational technology has been relentless and ever changing. What can we learn from our past? What's hot and what's not? Where are we going? What would we like to see? Through your experiences, we ask that you remind us, guide us, and help us navigate towards the future.
Join us on our 10th anniversary of the TCC Worldwide Online Conference to share your expertise, experiences and knowledge relevant to the use of information technology in learning, teaching and academic services. This event will also be useful for novices and those interested in Internet resources for teaching and learning. It will provide a strong foundation about what's currently happening in higher education.
This might be my 4th or 5th TCC conference, and it truly is a great experience as you get to interact as much as you can with a wide range of near and distant colleagues-- and since there are people presenting, chatting, posting around the world, there is something going on around the clock.
This is the third year our office has sponsored an institutional registration so that all faculty, staff, yes students, and even administrators can participate at no cost to them. We've been able to send more than 100 each year, which is not bad (unless you consider we have nearly 10,000 full-time and part-time eligible employees, not to mention another order of magnitude of students). The individual registration is reasonable (US$77, though it is late registration now so it is US$99), and this gives you access to all presentations and archives for the year. It's not too late to sign up!
Last year, I did a live audio session while attending an NMC meeting in San Francisco (via Elluminate), so picture me holding a laptop in a hotel hallway, aiming towards the wireless hub in our meeting room, looking from at a distance like a looney having an intense conversation with his screen... and then some other meeting emptied out in the hallway with lots of chattering noise.
So when asked by colleague Bert Kimura to do a keynote session this year, I rummaged around my big pile of remixed presentation ideas and graphics, and came up with this silly title/description:
"Harry Mudd, Small Pieces, and that Not Widely Distributed Future"
Predictions of the future are easily analyzed in hindsight and ought to be skeptically questioned-- you will have to tune into this session to see the connection with an old Star Trek episode. However, author William Gibson's insightful quote, "The future is here. It is just not widely distributed yet" is the framework I use to peek at the future. So for the use of technology in teaching and learning, where is this "not widely distributed future?" I am not sure, but in this session we will take some guesses at places you may find the future. The present use of the web was visible, but not widely distributed in 1992-- is something of that scale already here? Will text messaging displace email as a communication mode? We will look at the drivers of consumer used technologies that become disruptive (digital cameras take the lead of the consumer photo market, MP3 players re-shaping the music industry). How about those multitude of technology gadget web sites? The future is there and it is not. Are small pieces of technology "loosely" joined technologies (often open source) displacing large comprehensive commercial tools? Explore hands on some of the interesting "social" and connection technologies such as "tags", RSS, wikis, podcasts, and perhaps whatever else pops up between now and the conference.
With a week to go, that is all there is right now, as I am synthesizing things up to the wire. Since it is a live session presented in the Elluminate virtual classroom, I'll be uploading a series of slides into their whiteboard, and tossing out some audio over showing web sites and such. It is recorded and saved, though made available for registered participants (see, it is worth paying!), but I'll have some fragments of content posted eventually (once the ink dries).
Arizona may not have a reputation for producing local independent movies, but Never Been Thawed may change all that. I saw the previews a few weeks ago, and could tell it would be a riot. Yup, I going by my guy and saying it is a good movie before having seen it.... Better known (or not) as "NBT", the movie is a mockumentary in the vein of This Is Spinal Tap.
Apparently, NBT takes a look at the small worlds of sub-cultures weaving everything from th eMesa Frozen Entrée Enthusiasts Club, collectors of frozen food (more value for items never thawed, hence the name) to a punk rock turned Christian rock band (they changed every f-word to "pray") to a pregnancy telephone counselor at the "Bill Clinton Crises Center" to a barbershop run by clowns to the No Choice coffee shop which serves anti-abortion protestors... well that's what I've gleaned from the previews/reviews.
It looks pretty irreverent and extremely sarcastic, so NBT is looking good to me. Dig up some more reviews, ask your local movie house to bring in NBT, or heck, take a flight to Phoenix and check out the movie.
Yeah, Never Been Thawed... an Arizona export?
April 13, 2005
Yesterday I was trying to clean out a swath of comment spam on a blog we set up for one of our college's sites, wiping directly from the database, e.g.:
DELETE FROM mt_comments WHERE comment_blog_id=XX AND comment_author like "%poker%" DELETE FROM mt_comments WHERE comment_blog_id=XX AND comment_text like "%cialis%" DELETE FROM mt_comments WHERE comment_blog_id=XX AND comment_email like "%mail.ru%"
It's kind of fun watching them go wooshing down the drain in batches like that.
Apparently one of my commands was a little too aggressive (where I took all out above a certain ID and forgot to restrict it to the one blog), and I've munged all comments since September 2004! Oh well, that's why I have hourly database backups...
Back we go into the depths of the database, armed with a wrench and a grease gun to patch things up....
Update: Gulp. My backup scripts were dying over the last 2 months. Now they are fixed. But alas, my comments going back the last 8 months was flushed. Oh well. Not important, eh? How about adding some new comments?