You never know who may be reading

If Bork Had Blogged: The Opportunities and Dangers of Lawyer Blogging

So plenty of lawyers, understandably, need a stress-reliever and a place to be creative, and want their blog to be that place. My advice for those lawyers who feel the need to really vent online: perhaps an anonymous blog is the way to go.

Even anonymous bloggers probably want to be careful with what you post. You may not be as anonymous as you want to be and your words will reach beyond your intended audience…

RSS-enclosed Song of the Week

I’ve moved the MP3 of the week semi-feature from the main blog here over to the sidebar (under the current listening headline.) The advantage to this is that it now has its own RSS feed, which includes the song of the week as an RSS enclosure. If you’re reading this and use a news aggregator that supports enclosures (from what I can tell, NetNewsWire doesn’t), let me know if it works as it should.

More on RSS and Comments

Not long after I posted about the theoretical discussion aggregator, Brent Simmons released the latest NetNewsWire beta, which includes support for the comments tag in RSS 2.0. I’ve added the comments element to my RSS 2.0 feed. I think that the comment item borders on being completely useless. All it does is point to the link where comments could be posted. That may be useful for sites that use an external comment system for their blog posts, but many of those sites use Blogger and have no RSS feed anyway.

This feature does nothing to show how many comments are attached to each post, allow one to read the comments alongside the post in the aggregator or post new comments. I may try adding an experimental feed that includes the text of posted comments alongside my original post.

On the other hand, Jesse Lawrence is thinking along the same lines and he’s started to build a message board system built around RSS. Very cool.

Grades matter

Grades really do matter. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher requires all hires, including lateral partners, to rank near the top of their class in law school. They recently turned down a lateral hire with $7 million in portable book because he didn’t make the grade. Ouch.

[a mad tea-party]

Is there any good way to point out the excessive status-consciousness and insecurity that pervades the entire legal profession?

RSS Sucks! Where’s my discussion aggregator?

As I was writing the previous post about how sites without RSS feeds don’t lend themselves to regular reading, I realized that RSS is only half of the equation. While RSS makes it easier to read many feeds, it needs an equivalent to let us manage discussions. If the Internet is about communication and conversation, RSS on its own isn’t enough. RSS is one way, from writer to reader. It makes blogs, news sites and announcements more convenient and accessible than the web browser.
Online, people do communicate with others. One-on-one conversations happen over email and IM. Many-to-many conversation occurs on email listservs, usenet groups and in web forums (including blog comment systems and message boards.) What we need is the equivalent of RSS and the news aggregator for discussions. For this post, I’ll make up an acronym and call it RSC (for Really Simply Conversations), just because I like making up acronyms. For all I know, there may be some acronym that serves this purpose already.
Web-based forums, e-mail listservs and usenet groups are all imperfect. Web-based forums, bulletin boards and blog comment systems have no passive notification system. They all require users to visit them actively to check for new posts. Listservs either clog up email inboxes, force subscribers to write filters to keep list messages separate from personal messages or require multiple email accounts. While Usenet is meant for discussions, I don’t know if it would have grown and survived even if it hadn’t been raped and pillaged by spam. Usenet worked well when the internet was smaller, but has largely been replaced by mailing lists and web boards.
An RSC client would allow one to subscribe to both entire sites and individual discussions. It will give users the option to thread discussions, ignore some users. In general, it will make it easy for people to participate in conversations with groups of people online and for users to manage a number of those conversations, just like RSS makes it easy to manage reading a number of web sites. Instead of just a news aggregator, I’d like to have a news & discussion aggregator.

RSS Rules!

The Shifted Librarian: The “Me” in Media

but the Corante crew just doesn’t want to give up the RSS feeds, so I don’t read a single Corante blog. Which is a real shame, because I hear they’re quite interesting….

As I’ve pulled more feeds into NetNewsWire, it’s become more and more useful and essential to my daily information diet. What I find also happening is that frequently updated web sites without feeds are becoming increasingly irrelevant and invisible. Opening NetNewsWire and scanning new headlines is simply a more elegant way of handling daily browsing than sequentially visiting a gaggle of sites. Sites that I might otherwise read daily, like Copyfight, get passed over in favor of the more easily accessible.

I am thrilled that two of my favorite bloggers are moving off Blogspot this week. Adam Felber has a spiffy new home with Movable Type, and Jeff Cooper plans to move. In terms of aggregation, Blogspot is largely a black hole. Few people who publish using Blogger have feeds, since the system does not automatically generate those feeds. Since most users of Blogspot are untechnical, Blogspot should automatically generate RSS feeds. Already, LiveJournal provides feeds for all its users (add rss/ to a livejournal user’s URL.) Even better, Blogspot should provide feeds with the full entry in the feed by default. They could even put their ads in as an item.

The State of the Union will be… Intoxicated

Adam Felber: The State of the Union Drinking Game (2003 Edition):

Updating the game for this year was a bit despressing, because there’s so little that truly needs updating. The economy is still slogging through mud, the pervasive stink of corporate collusion and corruption is still being sidestepped by the denizens of the White House and politely ignored by most of the press, and we are still fighting the evil-doers in the Middle East (yes, as a very wise man once crooned, the “names have all changed since you’ve come around/ But those dreams still remain, and they turn around…”).

So the amendations to the Drinking Game are largely cosmetic, relecting rhetorical shifts in Bush’s patter more than any real change or progress. But it’s still a civic duty to watch the Address, and this is still the best way to do so while avoiding fits of rage and despair. So choose your poison, gather round the telly, and play….