Professional-Lurker blog was listed as the Feedster Feed of the Day on November 13, 2005.
Professional-Lurker blog was the recipient of Best Research Based Blog High Esteem ranking in the 2004 EduBlog Awards.
The blogger is co-author of the 2004 EduBlog Awards winning paper Bridging the Gap: A Genre Analysis of Weblogs.
Joseph Fire Crow
Folk Alley: Folk Music, Traditional Music, Celtic Music, and World Music an online radio station
particularly the NPR channels.
Prolurkr's last.fm Recent Tracks
... Internetwork Ecology ...
Dover Electronic Clip Art Series (CD-ROM)
HTTrack Website Copier
Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count
Visited States (United States)
Web Frequency Indexer
The Word Meter
See Prolurker's Personal List at MyProgs
George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950), Man and Superman (1903) "Maxims for Revolutionists"
You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?"
George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950), "Back to Methuselah" (1921), part 1, act 1
Don't let fear convince you that you're too weak to have courage. Fear is the opportunity for courage, not the proof of cowardice.
McCain, John (2004, September). In Search of Courage: Finding the Courage Within You. FastCompany, 51-56.
In the search for character and commitment, we must rid ourselves of our inherited, even cherished biases and prejudices. Character, ability and intelligence are not concentrated in one sex over the other, nor in persons with certain accents or in certain races or in persons holding degrees from some universities over others. When we indulge ourselves in such irrational prejudices, we damage ourselves most of all and ultimately assure ourselves of failure in competition with those more open and less biased.
J. Irwin Miller, Chairman of the Board (1951-1977), Cummins Inc. From 1983 letter about diversity at the company.
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December 30, 2004
Arriving after dark I snapped this picture out of our window at the Sheraton. Our window looks down on the waterfront and casino. Life is good. Tomorrow we wander The French Quarter, a very good thing.
December 29, 2004
Have you ever wondered what 30 inches of snow on the ground looks like?
A friend of mine from North Vernon Indiana sent me these pictures he took during the first two days of the snow storm, thanks Trevor.
I'm very glad I'm heading somewhere warm and will be missing the great flood that is sure to come this weekend when temperatures hit 60 F.
|Amazing how deep a car can be buried in the snow.|
|Some sights are interesting and unusual in the snow. And some are just beautiful.|
|Snow is made for kids. Especially when they are warmly dressed and at least part of their head is visual above the drifts.|
December 28, 2004
I have received word that Siriporn Panyametheekul and her family are safe in Bangkok Thailand. Siriporn was a visiting scholar with us at Indiana University in 2001, where her smile and grace charmed all of us. She is now a professor of Linguistics at Chulalongkorn University.
She is the co-author of:
- Panyametheekul, Siriporn & Herring, Susan C. (Nov., 2003). Gender and Turn Allocation in a Thai Chat Room. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 9(1). Retrieved Dec. 28, 2004 from http://www.ascusc.org/jcmc/vol9/issue1/panya_herring.html
The power of the sea
On December 26, 2004 the Indian Ocean earthquake hit. This quake topped 9 on the Richter Scale, and was significant enough to effect the earth's rotation, started the tsunami that hit Southeast Asia causing a massive lose of life. Currently the death tolls exceeds 60,000 and with accompanying disease, that follows in the wake of massive lost of life, are expected to top 100,000. On January 21, 2005, when this entry was readded to the blog, the deathtoll is in excess of 170,000 from the event alone.
Donations can be made to:
- For other charities that are gathering funds check this Google search.
I have to admit that as much as I enjoy the HICSS conference and love Hawaii, it is does give one pause that we will be on an island in the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific Tsunami Museum is across the island in Hilo. Hilo was the site of landfall for a significant tsunami in 1960. Read about it here. The death toll from the 1960 wave in no way compares to the current tragedy. Though the marks left on Hilo, by that 1960 wave, are signs I will remember forever. Watching the films of the destruction and knowing I have walked, carefree, in those same places gives me cold chills.
For more information on tsunami's see:
Reading while on the road
I will be on the road for the next couple of weeks. Hopefully I can get pictures up as I go along, though that will - of course - be dependent on internet access.
I am taking two books with me to keep me occupied during travel times. First I have the Biz Stone book I discussed earlier here. The second volume, and no doubt the first one I will finish reading, is:
- Serfaty, Viviane (2004). The Mirror and the Veil: An Overview of American Online Diaries and Blogs. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
I am really working hard to keep my hands off this book so I can get my packing and chores done before I leave.
10 tech terms for 2004
ITNews has given us a fun list of The language of e-business: 10 tech terms from 2004, found via How To Blog For Fun & Profit! and their post 10 tech terms from 2004.
The list is interesting in that most of the terms are social idioms rather then new terms for technical applications. Example:
- Gatesed - If you encounter one of the unfortunate side-effects of using Microsoft technology, you've been "Gatesed." In typical IT usage, "If it Gatesed (BSOD), you were SOL."
December 27, 2004
Christmas Snow 2004 - post 2
I have been thinking about my favorite Robert Frost poem, Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening since we received all of this snow. This morning as I drive to town, for the first time in almost a week, I couldn't help but be reminded of the words as I looked at the frost on the bare tree limbs. The blues were so brilliant it was just amazing.
Consider this the morning after the rider stopped along their road.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
December 24, 2004
Who Let the Blogs Out? Biz Stone's description of blogs
I particularly like Stone's description of what a blog is.
- So What is a Blog?
- Is blogging self expression, personal publishing, a diary, amateur journalism, the biggest disruptive technology since email, an online community, alternative media, curriculum for students, a customer relations strategy, knowledge management, navel gazing, a solution to boredom, a dream job, a style of writing, email to everyone, a fad, the answer to illiteracy, an online persona, social networking, resume fodder, phonecam pictures, or something you hide from your mother? It's all of these and more.
- A blog is a collection of digital content that, when examined over a period of time, exposes the intellectual soul of its author or authors. Blogging is the act of creating, composing, and publishing this content; and a blogger is the person behind the curtain. Part social software and part web building, blogging is peer-to-peer publishing -- the future of our connected lives (pp. 33-34).
Part of this description is fairly utopian and as such more then I am personally willing to commit to. I tend to be rather jaded about the transformativity of each new technology...some will transform, and some are extension of what was happening previously and will be further extended before transformation takes place. Setting that issue aside, I do like where Stone is going with this description, as he grabs the concept that a blog is tool not an outcome unto itself. In his description a blog is very much whatever the user wants it to be...that makes sense to me much more than the idea that all true blogs are political or technical filter blogs.
Stone, Biz (2004). Who Let the Blogs Out? : A Hyperconnected Peek at the World of Weblogs New York: St. Martin's Press.
The following comment as attached to the original post on December 26, 2004 03:37 PM:
- Author: David Brake
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- url: Http://blog.org
- Comment: I agree with you that the essence of blogging is that there is no essence - it is divided into a number of distinct clusters of behaviour, and any suggestion that one kind of blogging is somehow more legitimate than another is purely subjective. That said, have you seen what Publisher's Weekly says about that book? It's the first negative review I have ever seen Amazon publish (is this a policy change?)
Since I have change to WB Editor for my desktop blogging client, I now have much better capacity to use trackback. As such I have been thinking about the use of trackback within a blog, as well as between blogs.
In this context Trackback refers to the formal blog feature that allows for a symbolic connection between the original post and a post that references it. In figure 1 you see a notation at the bottom of the post that shows 5 trackbacks, illustration drawn from Movable Type. This means that there have been five references to this posts from other blog posts.
Most often trackback is used between blogs to create connections, and conversations, that would be invisible, or at least difficult to connect, without this symbolic link. However trackback can also be used recursively within a blog to tie posts together into a thread. This allows for a finer grained connection then is available through categorization or keywording.
While I can see useful points in using recursive trackback I am wondering how the audience would perceive this usage. It is unclear to me how often the average reader clicks through the trackback indicator to view the posts that have referenced the original posting. Would they see, assuming they do click through, that the internal trackbacks create a thread or internal conversation? Or would it appear as self congratulatory naval-gazing? Are trackbacks mostly used by the writers of the posts to connect two or more websites, and therefore of little utility to those that read the blog without commenting externally?
Some bloggers use "See other related posts:" list to create the thread. By doing so they are making the listing transparent to the audience then is usually done with trackback, though this listing does use more real estate within the post then a simple trackback indicator.
Further information on Trackback is available at:
Anita Borg Scholarship Announcement
Dr. Anita Borg (1949 - 2003) devoted her adult life to revolutionizing the way we think about technology and dismantling barriers that keep women and minorities from entering computing and technology fields. Her capacity to mix technical expertise and fearless vision inspired, motivated and moved countless women to embrace the technological revolution as active participants and leaders.
As part of Google's ongoing commitment to furthering Anita's vision by encouraging women to pursue careers in computing and technology, we're pleased to announce four $10,000 scholarships for female students in the computer sciences during the 2005-2006 academic year. Two scholarships will be awarded to undergraduates, and two to graduate degree (master's or Ph.D. level) candidates. These scholarships will be awarded based on the strength of candidates' academic background, their responses to short essay questions and letters of recommendation.
Completed applications must be received no later than Friday, January 14, 2005. Finalists will be notified on Monday, March 14, 2005 and recipients will be announced on Monday, April 18, 2005.
Undergraduate Scholarship ($10,000)
- be completing their final year of studies at a university in the U.S. and graduating in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in computer science, computer engineering or related field
- be enrolled in full-time study
- maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale or 4.5 on a 5.0 scale or equivalent
- be enrolled in full-time study at a university in the U.S., in their final year of studies and graduating in 2006 with a Master's degree or Ph.D. in computer science, computer engineering or related field
- maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale or 4.5 on a 5.0 scale or equivalent
Please send a complete application packet with the following:
- Transcripts: A copy of your current academic record
- Recommendation Letters: Two referral letters from professors or academic advisors
- Resume: Include current email, school address and phone number, permanent address and phone number, major and expected date of graduation
- Responses to the following essay questions (no more than half a page each):
- Describe a programming project you completed in or outside of class that was either fun or where you felt you did an exceptional job. Describe the overall project, key technical challenges, how you addressed them and your solution. If this was a team effort, describe your contribution. What did you learn?
- Suppose someone gave you the funding and resources for a year-long project to investigate a research topic or programming project of your choice. What would your project be? What would your expectations be? How would you use it? Why?
- Describe a special talent, ability or quality you possess and how it has helped you in your accomplishments.
- What made you choose the field of computer science or computer engineering? What advice do you have for women considering pursuing a career in the computer sciences? How would you/do you encourage females to pursue technical careers?
- Describe a programming project you completed in or outside of class that was either fun or where you felt you did an exceptional job. Describe the overall project, key technical challenges, how you addressed them and your solution. If this was a team effort, describe your contribution. What did you learn?
Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship Program
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043-8303
December 23, 2004
Christmas Snow 2004 - post 1
We estimate that the recent winter storm dumped in excess of 2 feet of snow on our little country home. As of later yesterday morning we had 9 inches which is more than we received all last winter. While some spots in Indiana do get significant snow, specifically up around the Great Lakes, down in Southern Indiana where I am we rarely get much accumulation.
Neither my husband or I remember a storm like this in our lifetimes, where over 2 feet fell from basically a single storm. When I was in first grade we had a huge snow storm that forced us home from school. As I remember the snow was about chest high. Though I don't actually remember if that was from a single storm.
I snapped these pictures early this morning as a neighbor opened up our road on a front-loader. Our road is one of the busiest in the county but this morning, as we are under a snow emergency, all is quiet. Click on the pictures to see the larger uncropped version, where it is very clear how deep the snow is.
The first picture is of the west side of our yard. I snapped it on the 13th when we had our first dusting of snow. Check here to compare. I also have a picture of the same area from last winter here after a 5.5 inch snowfall.
|I grabbed this shot of our side yard after the front-loader went past. The evergreens are loaded with snow almost to the breaking point.|
|Late in the afternoon I grabbed this shot of the backyard with it's drifts. The dog was not happy that she could not run around outside today. The drifts were just to deep.|
A list of blog awards
There are a many blog awards, most privilaging male bloggers but I have tried to make sure to find some that are female oriented. So here is a list in no particular order:
- 2004 Weblog Award Winners
- The Third Annual Warblogger Awards For 2004
- The 1st Annual St. Blog's Awards
- 2004 Food Blog Awards This is the call for nominiees as the final awards have not been given yet.
- 2004 Koufax Blogging Award Nominations Open
- First annual UU [Unitarian Universalist] blogging awards Another call for nominees.
- 2004 Political Dot-Comedy Awards
- Asia Blog Awards 2004: Introduction and Rules Call for nominees. This list is interesting for it's list of requirements.
- MarketingSherpa Readers' Choice Best Blog Awards 2004: 7 Winners Named
- Philippine Blog Awards 2004
- Best of Blog (BoB) Awards 2004
- Best of Blog Awards 2004
- 2004 Australian Blog Awards - The winners are...
- Best Blogs Politics & Elections
- 2004 Best Weblog Awards: Tech Blogs
- First Annual TechWeb Network Best Independent Tech Blog Readers Choice Awards
- Announcing The First European Weblog Awards Another call for nominees.
- 2004 Edublog Awards
December 22, 2004
New Harry Potter book available for pre-order
A Year of Professional-Lurker
On December 23, 2003 I began keeping this blog, so today is the last day of my first free-standing blog's year, I had a short lived and badly kept LiveJournal blog prior to starting prolurker. As such it seemed like a good time to do a bit of reflection in preparation for the new year that begins tomorrow. I should note that I actually registered the URL and signed up with my ISP, 2Xtreme Media, in October 2003 but didn't get around to installing the software until December.
In looking at the history of the blog I have some general observations. First I had not planned for this to be a very personal blog. My idea was that the space would be used, that I didn't codify until March 12, 2004, was as follows:.
- I started keeping this blog as a way to work through ideas and as a place to write. My primary focus in my entries is on my research and finishing my work toward a Ph.D. in Information Science. This is not purely a k-log since the blogger is also a living person. Rather it is a mixed genre with features of a k-log, a filter, and a diary. I expect to post an average of twice a week, daily would become mundane for both of us as my life is basically pretty average.
In essence that is still my view of what I want my blog to be a mixed genre space where I can try out ideas and write.
Several points have played out that are somewhat different then I had not expected:
- I am posting more then I had expected, with an average of 0.9 posts per day. That is substantially different then my expectation of posting twice per week, or 0.28 posts per day.
- The blog feels more personal then I had intended. I think this may well flow out of, at least partially out of, the volume of posting.
- Travel posts generate more traffic then any other post, even after I blocked folks from linking to them directly. This amazes me since I am one of those people who head for the door when someone else pulls out their travel slides. I originally started posting travel pictures, on the site, so that family and friends could see them without me having to repeatedly narrate the shots. Go figure.
- I garner very few comments to posts. This has been discussed in previous posts including December 12, 2004.
- Most comments are garnered by trackback, formal or informal, to posts where others comment on my blog.
- The Edulog Best Research Based Blog Nomination increased traffic to the blog in far greater numbers then the total vote for all categories at the awards. Thanks Lilia
- Post preparation takes far longer then I ever guessed. Primarily this is because I believe in using the medium to maximum effect and therefore link heavily within my posts, even personal posts. It takes time to find appropriate links and to add them to the posts.
- The blog layout has evolved over time. I started out with three categories to use for posts, now I have five - two of which are from the original grouping.
- When I began this blog I read very few blogs outside my research sets.
- Yes, I can hear the "I knew it"s from the group of folks that have been fairly vocal about qualitative research methods, particularly ethnographic methods, being the only way to do blog research. May I remind the court that our dataset is now well over 2000 blogs.
I read a group of roughly five blogs on at least a weekly basis back then. Now that most blogs are available in RSS feed, I read roughly 30 blogs as they post new information and several of those are aggregators.
- Reading more blogs has lead me to be more involved in trackback communication with other blogs - my commenting on their posts - then I had ever expected. This process has increased filter posts as well.
One of the primary reasons I began the blog was to give myself a space to write and a goal to work toward, 2 posts per week. I did this because at that point writing was torture for me. I would slide into a complete procrastination mode, leaving any and all writing to the very last second possible before a deadline. Now after a year of writing here, that has changed somewhat because of blogging. I do think it also has changed after spending a year presenting at conferences and seeing that my work was very well received across the disciplines.
| December 2003 monthly totals |
Visits 124 (mostly mine I'm sure)
Pushing 9.82 Megabytes of bandwidth
| December 2004 (month to date) |
Pushing 882.26 Megabytes of bandwidth
The Future of Professional-Lurker
I expect a big change to be coming to prolurker shortly. Actually it's a two part change. First I will be upgrading software to expand functionality and make access by those nasty spammers more difficult. I will also be having the look of the site redesigned after the first of the year. The site currently runs on design defaults which worked in the early days, now that I get some serious traffic I want a better looking site. Wish I had time to do it myself but I simply do not. So if you do site design or know someone that does please let me know.
Finally I expect the topic range to center on the research and writing of my qualifying paper. That should be true until spring. Though if I have learned only one thing this year of blogging it would be that anything can happen.
Another end of the year blogosphere list
The Blog Herald has named their The Top 10 interesting people in the Blogosphere in 2004. It's an interesting list in that the trends remain the same, visibility is limited to filter blogs and primarily male bloggers. Here are some quick observations (using grounded theory methods):
- All of the blogs are solo authored
- All of the bloggers listed are filter bloggers (most posts on their current main pages are very link heavy)
- All are written by Americans or writers working from an American cultural context
- Eight are political blogs (definition of 'political' is a applied broadly here)
- Two are by blogging technical/software corporate types
- Nine are male
- The only female is introduced at eighth place with the following:
- If the award was for the most interest female blogger on the net, Cox would top the list.
The post includes a list of who they knowingly missed in the list of ten. It includes seven more blogs:
- Six are Americans or writers working from an American cultural context
- One is Australian
- One is a corporate blog produced by a blogging software company
- On the current main page:
- Four persons have posted:
- Two names appear to be male
- One name appears to be female
- One is unclear
- Four persons have posted:
- Four are solo bloggers
- All solo bloggers are male
- One blogs about Public Relations
- Two are political blogs (again the term is broadly applied)
- One is a picture blog with comment
- One is an aggregator
- On the current main page:
- All are white
- Six males are pictured with their posts
- One female is pictured
- One post is taken from a group blog:
- On the current main page:
- All are male
- Two are clearly white
- One blogger's race is indistinct to this viewer
- One is billed as an online journalism review with a stated editor, and stories from a variety of authors. (Gender and ethnic analysis of this site goes beyond the time allowed for this down-and-dirty llisting.)
So the trends we discussed in Women and Children Last hold true even after a year of blogging advancement. The privileged bloggers are primarily male, white, and American. Their blogs are filters, and are primarily political or technical oriented.
Herring, Susan C., Kouper, Inna, Scheidt, Lois Ann, & Wright, Elijah (2004). Women and Children Last: The Discourse Construction of Weblogs. In Laura J. Gurak, Smiljana Antonijevic, Laurie Johnson, Clancy Ratliff, & Jessica Reyman (Eds.), Into the Blogosphere: Rhetoric, Community, and Culture of Weblogs. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. Retrieved July 2, 2004 from http://blog.lib.umn.edu/blogosphere/women_and_children.html.
December 21, 2004
Winter Solstice - Northern Hemisphere
Today is the shortest day of the year for those of us in the northern hemisphere. I know it is technically considered the beginning of winter but for me it signals that we are more then half way through winter. You see after today the days get longer, with more sunlight hours, leading up to the summer solstice, when the entire process reverses. So for me the long dark of winter is slowly lifting as the light returns.
Yes I know we still have months of cold yet to come. Our solstice this year, in Indiana, is being commemorated with a severe winter storm that threatens to leave us with up to 2 feet (12 inches) of snow when it ends tomorrow. Once the snow ends the temperatures are expected to dive with a low of -6 F on Saturday, Christmas morning.
The picture is taken from the Newgrange & Knowth Megalithic Passage Tombs site. Give them a visit to see some very cool pictures.
December 20, 2004
Comments - None, well mostly none
I have set the future comments for posts to default on "None". I have also gone back and reset previous posts - December 2003 through August 2004 so far - if they have no comments I reset them to "None". If they have comments I closed almost all of the posts to additional comments.
Current plans are to leave posts open for comments for roughly 120 days. Now that is posts that have comments enabled, which will be many fewer posts into the future.
Hopefully this will slow down the spammers. *sigh* And make blog maintenance a simpler task.
CFP: WWW2005 Workshop on the Weblogging Ecosystem: Aggregation, Analysis and Dynamics
| CALL FOR PAPERS |
WWW 2005 2nd Annual Workshop on Workshop on the Weblogging Ecosystem: Aggregation, Analysis and Dynamics
Theme of the Workshop
The weblogging microcosm has evolved into a distinct form, into a community of publishers. The strong sense of community amongst bloggers distinguishes weblogs from the various forms of online publications such as online journals, 'zines and newsletters that flourished in the early days of the web and from traditional media such as newspapers, magazines and television. The use of weblogs primarily for publishing, as opposed to discussion, differentiates blogs from other online community forums, such as Usenet newsgroups and message boards. Often referred to as the blogsphere, the network of bloggers is a thriving ecosystem, with its own internally driven dynamics.
The cross-linking that takes place between blogs, through blogrolls, explicit linking, trackbacks, and referrals creates implicit and explicit networks which define the communities of the weblogging world. create a strong sense of community in the weblogging world. There is work underway to understand the dynamics of the weblogging network, much of which springs from bloggers themselves. The self-publishing aspect of weblogs, the time-stamped entries, the highly interlinked nature of the blogging community and the significant impact of weblog content on politics, ideas, and culture make them a fascinating subject of study.
Workshop Topics and Objectives
The objective of this workshop is to provide a forum for sharing research on the blogging ecosystem. The workshop will consist of technical papers, panel discussions, and demonstrations of research prototypes. Topics of interest for technical papers include, but are not limited to the following:
The papers from last year's workshop are available online.
Paper Submission and ReviewPapers should be submitted via email to the workshop co-chairs at email@example.com. Papers submitted to the workshop will undergo a peer review process overseen by the workshop co-chairs. Each paper will be reviewed by at least two program commitee members. Accepted papers will be presented at the workshop by one of the authors and will be published in the WWW-2005 Workshops CD-ROM and online.
Papers should not exceed 5000 words (approximately 12 pages) in length and must be submitted in PDF. Short papers (up to 6 pages) describing early research results are also welcome.
Deadline of electronic submission: March 4 , 2005
The conference will be held May 10-14, 2005, in Chiba, Japan.
The Lab for Social Computing at RIT
The Lab for Social Computing at Rochester Institute of Technology has created a wiki with social computing resources. Including information about weblogs, wikis, Internet Relay Chat, Instant Messaging, Social Networking, and Content Sharing Sites. No page for internet chat though.
They are also hosting a directory of researchers interested in social computing topics. Add yourself if you are a researcher and are not already on the list.
Added December 20, 2004 at 4:52 EST
Almost before I had my fingers off the keyboard from adding this post the subsequent CFP, I received an email from Liz Lawley, Director of the Lab for Social Computing:
- Subject: re: internet chat on wiki
- Feel free to add a section for internet chat--the current architecture is nowhere near comprehensive, and we're hoping that lots of people will participate in making this a useful site for the social computing community.
Noah and Saskia, and why this American can't watch quality television
There are times where the United States as the maintainer of distance from the rest of the world causes me more then ideological grief. Today is one of those days.
My colleague Angela (Anya) Thomas at e-selves mentioned an Australian children's television series about teens and chatrooms, in her December 18, 2004 post Noah and Saskia (Take 2), that looks like an excellent teaching tool for both how people process chatroom interactions and specifically how teens develop online relationships.
So after trying to find a purchasing route online and having no success I emailed her asking "Where can a Yank find this series?" Anya graciously sent me contact information for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Before I got that email sent Anya, apparently found a link to the ABC shop for the series, Noah and Saskia, 2 DVD Set. Of course when I click through I find that the DVD's are available only territory 4 format and is incompatible with US DVD players. *sigh* Now how does that make any sense? Wouldn't it be better to move to standardize or build a player that crossed formats? One would think in the US we would be pushing this process so that we can sell more products without the requirement of converting to a local standard.
Here is the ABC sites description of the show. If you know anything about how someone with access to only US equipment can view the show, please let me know.
- Saskia doesn't get it. All she did was go into a chat room seeking revenge on a guy who stole her music, yet what she ended up with was the most important relationship in her life. His name is 'Max', and after their first big meeting online, Saskia (aka 'Indy') feels like she's known him her whole life. Yep, the relationship is perfect - or would be if he didn't think she was somebody completely different and if Max was who he claimed to be. In reality Max is a fourteen-year-old dweeb called Noah who knows that if Indy ever learned the truth about him she'd run screaming. All they have to do is make sure that they never find who each other really are...
- "Noah & Saskia" is about a little lie that leads to a bigger truth - that who you say you are is usually who you want to be.
December 17, 2004
Changes to the blog comments...for now
In light of all of the comment spam that is hitting MT users these days and they volume of hits my own comment modules are taking, I have made the following changes to the setup of this blog and to how I will handle posts to the blog for the foreseeable future.
- I have disallowed HTML in comments
- I have disallowed auto-linking URLs
- I have set default comments off.
I will be allowing comments, on a individual post basis, for my original posts. I will probably not be allowing comments on the purely travel posts, those that are heavily picture based, since it seems these are the more heavily linked to posts. The comment spammers use external links to trace back to the originating blog and leave their comments there on the linked to post.
I regret being forced to make these changes and I hope that once the next generation of plugins and patches arrive I can re-enable the features.
In the mean time if you have comments on a post that will not allow them to be left publicly, email me.
More on Movable Type comments and comment spam in general
I've been reposting infromation related to the current run of Movable Type comment spam for the last week or so. Yesterday's at The Daily Whim not only was a great article posted on the topic, MT Plus Comment Spam Equals Dead Site, but there has been lots of very informative comments made as well. If you are using MT you need to be following this discussion.
From the original pst:
- Finally, we have Google. In fact, they are the Patient Zero of this plague. These spammers leave comments with links in weblogs because many weblogs have a relatively high Page Rank (the way Google sorts returns for any search), and by creating a link within that highly rated site, they "steal" some of that Page Rank, in hopes of increasing their own search returns for their various nefarious schemes.
- I hear those guys at Google are pretty smart, and gots lots of computers. I'm betting they could figure out a way to filter these spam comments from their index, based on keyword or URL, or even establish a common protocol where anything wrapped in a certain tag/id/class (like the whole list of comments) would have no URL's indexed by the Googlebot. Like I said, they're pretty smart, and I feel certain they could provide a solution to this.
From a comment by Adam Kalsey · Dec 12, 1:58pm to the article:
- The spam problem has gotten worse in the last year mainly because so many people do nothing about spam. Those who ignore comment spam and allow it to remain on their sites are as much to blame for the increase in spam as Google is. If spam were not tolerated on blogs, then the spam links wouldn't last long enough to be particularly effective.
- With email spam the 0.01% of people who actually respond to spam messages make spam profitable and cause the rest of us to get thousands of junk messages daily. Likewise, the small percentage of people who allow spam comments to site on their sites ensure that comment spam is a viable promotion technique.
- The simgle most effective thing a person can do to combat comment spam on their MT blog is to rename their comment script. By far, the majority of spammy comments come from bots that exist only to send POSTs to mt-comments.cgi at random hosts using random entry ids.
- Despite having a relatively popular blog that enjoys fantastic Google rankings for common search terms, I receive comparitively little comment spam. Maybe 20 spam messages slip through to where I see them each month and of those, only one or two a year actually hit the pages of my blog.
- This is due to several things. First, I renamed the comment script. I get thousands of 404 hits a day to mt-comments.cgi, so I know this measure works. Second, I have a check that ensures commenters are actually submitting my comment form, preventing the random entry ID POST attacks. Third, I reject comments from known open proxies and email-spam friendly hosts thanks to a combination of Brad Choate's DNS Blackist plugin and some of my own custom tricks. Fourth, if a comment makes it through those lines of defense, MT Blacklist does a fantastic job of preventing it from appearing on the site.
< ...snip... >From a comment by Richard · Dec 12, 10:51pm
- The only 100% effective solution to eliminating comment spam is to stop allowing comments and encourage others to write their own weblog post in response.
December 16, 2004
Comment spam load issue
The Movable Type Blog has some very important information not only for those of us who run their product to produce our own blogs, but for researchers interested in blog comments and comment spam as well.
- < ..snip.. >Over the last month, we have been devoting a great deal of resources to solving the comment spam problem once and for all and making it a non-issue, not just for us in the Movable Type/TypePad world, but also for all weblogs regardless of publishing tool. Our preference is towards solutions that scale to the entire weblog medium, not those which merely move the burden from one site to another, from one tool to another, or from spammers to users.
- < ..snip.. >In fact, we have found that there is a fairly major bug (in terms of effect, but not code size) which causes page rebuilding even in the case of a comment submission which would be moderated and hence should have no effect on the live page. This means that even if you are using comment moderation in Movable Type and even force moderation in MT-Blacklist, your server load is impacted just as if a comment had been posted to the live site. This bug has been fixed in development.
- In addition, we have found another less severe instance of unnecessary database connections which would normally be associated with dynamic pages, even if dynamic templates are not in use. This would adversely affect any customer not using static pages by adding the overhead of dynamic files on top of the normal load caused by rebuilding of static files. This has also been fixed in development.
- These two bugs are, in high probability, the causes of the extreme server loads that our customers have been experiencing under the load of a severe spam attack.
- We are currently testing these fixes both in-house and with a number of web hosts who were among the first affected by the problem. We will have these fixes released to you as soon as the testing is complete. There is no higher priority to us than making sure that our customers and their websites are protected from the effects of these malicious attacks. We expect to give you a firm date for availability of this patch within 48 hours.
Check out the full entry, Comment spam load issue, for suggestions to minimize the problem until the patch is available.
December 15, 2004
BlogTalk Downunder- CFP
Three hits for BROG at Sunbelt
Social Network Dynamics in the Blogosphere
- Susan C. Herring, Inna Kouper, Sarah Mercure, John Paolillo, Lois Ann Scheidt, Peter Welsch, and Elijah Wright
- Interest in the dynamic nature of hyperlinked corpora has recently been extended to the blogosphere, or universe of weblogs (Kumar et al., 2003). At the same time, the blogosphere is attracting the interest of social network researchers as patterns of interlinking among weblogs are found to exhibit properties of clustering, centrality, and reciprocity (Herring, et al., 2005). As yet, however, little if any research has investigated the evolution over time of social networks in the blogosphere. In this paper, we present the results of a longitudinal study of the link networks of four random blogs collected at three intervals between April and November 2004. An algorithm was created to collect a snowball sample of all blogs at one, two, and three links away from each source blog, gathering approximately 6,000 unique URLs at each time interval. The patterns of linking among the blogs in the three samples were analyzed using quantitative and qualitative methods, and the networks characterized through visualization. The results reveal changes in patterns of linking related to identifiable external events, including the United States presidential election campaign in fall of 2004. These and other observed dynamics are interpreted in terms of who and what is socially valued within the blogosphere at a given point in time.
- Herring, S. C., Kouper, I., Paolillo, J. C., Scheidt, L. A., Tyworth, M., Welsch, P., Wright, E., & Yu, N. (2005, January). Conversation in the blogosphere: An analysis "from the bottom up." Proceedings of the Thirty-Eighth Hawai'i International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-38). Los Alamitos: IEEE Press. Available from http://www.blogninja.com/hicss05.blogconv.pdf.
- Kumar, R., Novak, P., Raghavan, S., & Tomkins, A. (2003). On the bursty evolution of Blogspace. Proceedings of the Twelfth International World Wide Web Conference, Budapest, Hungary. Availabe from http://www2003.org/cdrom/papers/refereed/p477/p477-kumar/p477-kumar.htm.
Mood, Music and Friends: Mapping the Culture of LiveJournal
- John Paolillo, Elijah Wright, and Sarah Mercure
- LiveJournal is a popular weblog/community hosting service with over five million predominantly young, female users from the US. Although reported ages range from 13 to 55, and users hail from 240 different counties, users nonetheless experience LiveJournal as having its own distinct culture. How is this culture created, and is it observable in the posts and profiles of LiveJournal's users?
- To address these questions, we collected a snowball sample of LiveJournal user profiles, containing information about users' interests and friends, as self-reported and regularly maintained through a web form-based interface. Principal components analysis and hierarchical cluster analysis were used to analyze the interests and social positions of a subset of users (approximately 10,000) for whom complete information was available. The results were visualized in a series of reduced sociograms, which were used as a guide to select representative blogs for qualitative content analysis.
- The results reveal that there is a highly-structured core of LiveJournal users with well-defined and contrasting sets of interests as well as a large periphery defined by sets of contrasting, but less coherent interests. Qualitative analysis confirms the existence of these groups, and shows them to be correlated with off-line subcultural styling (e.g. goth, punk, etc.). Musical taste is the clearest correlate of group membership, while weak-tie channels of interaction relate the groups to one another.
- LiveJournal is thus a dynamic social market where youthful users craft and explore their public identities in ways that conform to off-line social categories, often through the commoditized world of popular music. The mechanisms of this process are exposed through the publicly-available profiles and posts of millions of users of LiveJournal and other weblog sites.
Revolutionary Vanguard or Echo Chamber? Political Blogs and the Mainstream Media
- Peter Welsch
- Weblogs have been hailed as a technological innovation that will revolutionize social and cultural institutions, particularly journalism and, by extension, electoral politics. However, the degree to which blogs rely on resources within the mainstream media or supplement and replace them with other sources, and the degree to which ideology or political orientation relate to such action, remain largely unexamined.
- This paper presents the initial results of a longitudinal study tracking four political weblogs: two from the top of the popular "A-List" and two selected at random from the wider blogosphere, both pairs contrasting along partisan lines. All four were tracked for one day, with individual posts being used to seed a snowball sample of websites linked to out to three tiers of iteration. The resulting collection of URLs was subjected to social network and qualitative analysis.
- Initial findings point to different patterns of linking according to the authors' degree of connectedness and their political orientation, particularly in terms of A-List bloggers' tendencies to link to blogs as opposed to mainstream media sources in their posts. These tendencies are expressed by marked differences in the shape and apparent function of the blogs' social networks, with the differences between right and left wing blogs becoming more pronounced at higher levels of iteration. Overlap between the right and left wing networks is virtually non-existent at all levels, suggesting that competing narratives are being propagated not only by individual political blog authors but through their social networks.
December 14, 2004
MovableType Comment and Trackback Spam causing major issues
Taken from Geek News Central:
- I know this site deals with a lot of trackback spam and we have our comments locked down because of the issues with spammers hitting this site and adding thousands of comments. Many of you have complained that you do not comment due to the typekey registration requirement. At this point we have no choice and until MovableType gets a viable solution that is they way it is going to have to be. Some webhost are starting to shutdown some sites because of the server loads they are causing. Jay Allen who works for Six Apart is busy improving his own code the MT Blacklist so hopefully things will approve on the comment spam arena. [PhotoDude]
Coming soon to a computer near you: Google Library
From Grand Text Auto (I added most of the links):
- The New York Times reports that Google has forged an agreement with Oxford, Harvard, the University of Michigan, Stanford and the New York Public Library to digitize and add to its database all of the out of copyright holdings of each library. The Library of Congress and a group of international libraries from the United States, Canada, Egypt, China and the Netherlands have also announced a plan to create a publicly available digital archive of one million books on the Internet. Pretty exciting news for public knowledge.
Blogging special issue CFP
This is a call for papers for a special theme issue on "blogging" to be published as a threshold issue in the journal Reconstruction. The editors of this theme issue are looking for papers/projects/manifestos on the subject of "blogging."
Theorization of the Blogosphere
Politics and/of Blogging
Aesthetics of Blogs
New Media/Communication Theories and Blogging
New Journalism Blogging
Civil Rights of Bloggers
Global Culture and Blogging
Local Culture and Blogging
Education and Blogging
Gender and Blogging
Race and Blogging
Community of Bloggers
Unrealized Potential of Blogging
Critiques of Blogging
Representations of Space/Place on Blogs
Purpose of a Unique Individual/Collective Blog
Audio and Visual Blogs
We are especially interested in the experiences, theories and perspectives of those who actually blog. Feel free to propose other topics to the editors:
Michael Benton (University of Kentucky) and Nick Lewis (co-founder of the Progressive Bloggers' Alliance and NetPolitik)
Send all queries, proposals and manuscripts to firstname.lastname@example.org
Read below about the journal Reconstruction and threshold special theme issues and their deadlines. The editors expect this issue to fill very quickly due to the importance of this subject.
Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture (ISSN 1547-4348)
Manuscripts may be written from any number of perspectives, and with any end in mind; possible sites for articulations may focus on the urban, the rural, the natural, the social, local and global "culture," politics, (auto)biography, medicine, the body, science, texts (music, cinema, literature), media (the internet, television), myth and religion.
Submissions are encouraged from a variety of perspectives, including, but not limited to: geography, cultural studies, folklore, architecture, history, sociology, psychology, communications, anthropology, music, political science, semiotics, theology, art history, queer theory, literary criticism, ecocriticism, criminology, urban planning, gender studies, etc. All theoretical and empirical approaches are welcomed.
This special issue is a threshold issue. Thresholds are about the transgressing, pushing or collapsing of boundaries; they are about the point of beginning, the entranceway and stimulation. Thus, threshold issues are dedicated to exploring an experimental theme, novel method(s) or theoretical apparatus(es) that might not normally find an audience. Rather than having firm publication dates - due to the experimental nature of their contents - threshold issues are published once a minimum number of acceptable submissions are received. If this minimum is not met by 18 months from the December 13, 2005, the approved manuscripts will be published in the next available issue of the journal.
Information on the preparation of manuscripts for submission can be found Here.
Reconstruction is published quarterly (January, April, July, and October) and is currently indexed in the MLA International Bibliography.
December 13, 2004
Angela "Anya" Thomas, the picture is neither of her personally nor is it her avatar, has an interesting post - The avatar: a moveable theatre of the self - that dovetails with my previous avatar work. She points out that:
- This continues to be a struggle I have with the idealised body culture of avatars. On the one hand I find it liberating to always appear young, beautiful, slender, and gorgeous with my avatar. Basically for me it means I can forget about how I am visually perceived, and concentrate on the social interactions. Yet on the other hand, by wearing these gorgeous avatars am I doing a disservice to females in general? Am I doing a disservice to my self? Am I setting myself up to be the subject of disgust to others when they see my grey hairs, wrinkles, and multi-curved body?
I agree that with the adolescents I have studied there is a sense of both the idealization of the "perfect" body in the humanoid avatars. However there is also an understanding that actual people rarely look like their avatars. These two ethics are constantly in conflict in that while teens would acknowledge that their chat was not the person pictured in the avatar, they would almost invariably describe the partner as having the same characteristics as the avatar - hair color, eye color, etc.
I think far more research is needed into the uses and effects of these representations.
Avatars and youth research we have both done:
- Scheidt, Lois Ann (May, 2004). Buxom Girls and Boys in Baseball Hats: Adolescent Avatars in Graphical Chat Spaces. Presented at the 54th Annual Conference, New Orleans LA: International Communication Association. Retrieved May 27, 2004 from http://www.slis.indiana.edu/research/working_papers/files/SLIS-WP-03-04.pdf
- Thomas, Angela (Aug. 1, 2000). Textual Constructions of Children's Online Identities. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 3(4), 665-672.
- Thomas, Angela (2001). Cyber Children: Discursive and subjective practices in the Palace. disClosure: a journal of social theory, 10, 143-175.
December 12, 2004
Elijah's comment ratio
Carrying on from On-blog or back channel comments, Elijah's comment ratio for the last three months - he says the cut off is arbitrary but he believe the lifetime average would be similar - is 1 legitimate comment to 15 posts.
As he pointed out, via IM, the "n" is way to low to draw any good conclusions based on either of our blogs singly or together. Ahhh how research is born.
Blog citation when found in an intervening blog
As some of my posts have percolated through the blogosphere I've thought a bit about the evolution of citation styles as we utilize new technologies. I primarily work in APA style and have edited my Reference Manager program so I have a blog entry format that prints out similar to a magazine articles citation with the addition of retrieval information. Example:
- alan (Nov. 4, 2003). BlogWondering (what the heck is a blog?). BlogShop. Retrieved Nov. 22, 2004 from http://jade.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/blogshop/archives/000282.html
The intext citation would read "Jill Walker's definitions of weblogs (as cited by alan, 2003)". Of course this assumes that the writer hasn't reviewed the primary source. This is not a style I personally like to use but am forced to when links are dead or when the original is in a language other than English.
Finally the reference list would include the alan (2003) as in the above example.
Extrapolating from this then if I am citing a blog entry using the less formal style of naming and linking found in many blogs, I should first list the material I'm citing then mention the source through which it was found. Example, for reposts of the original post:
For material that has content from both sources I would use the following:
Makes sense to me to use a citation style similar to this for consistency. Besides if I am constantly reminding my undergraduate students that they must use proper citation style then I definitely need to model this behavior in my own work, formal and less-than-formal.
Ok, now I know it' a theme
On-blog or back channel comments
Yesterday, Elijah of Geek-Guides and I had another of our on-going IM conversations about blogging. The topic...blog comments.
I have of late been growing quite tired of dealing with spam comments, as I have previously noted here. I expressed my concern with disabling comments because I would like to make the space available for discourse to take place, even if it doesn't currently happen. I find that I actually get very few legitimate blog comments in this space, right now the ratio is one comment to roughly every 10 posts - not counting spam. I believe Elijah's ratio is much higher, I'll get numbers when he is online next.
So I've started wondering if commenting is gendered. I get a few emails from female readers that refer to posts. This site is linked from websites, including blogs, that are owned by females. Is it likely that men just comment more?
December 11, 2004
New music to add to the iPod
In an earlier post, Great new music - Jen Chapin Linger, I mentioned that I had picked up a copy of 'Enjoy Every Sandwich:' The Songs of Warren Zevon while looking though the new music as Borders. I passed on buying a copy that day because Adam Sandler sings Werewolves of London. While Werewolves of London is one my favorite Zevon songs, Adam Sandler is one of my least favorite performers.
A commenter on the post let me know that Sandler's performance of the song is true to the original and not something that would make me retch. Well based largely on that comment I bought a copy of the tribute album in with a couple of other Cd's. The commenter is right, Sandler just sings the song. Actually if the cover hadn't told me who was performing I would not have guessed who it was. Which in this case is a very good thing.
I particularly like Jorge Calderon and Jennifer Warnes' version of Keep Me in Your Heart. The original on The Wind is beautiful and haunting because Zevon's terminal illness was so well known. There is no doubt in my mind that the song is a eulogy. The Calderon version shares the a similar tone to the original but benefits from Warnes' vocals that somewhat turn the song from a eulogy to a romantic love song.
Other new cd's to MP3:
- The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. I saw the original Broadway production of the show and loved it. I bought the cd to have a copy of Hard Candy Christmas, sad and sweet and often how I feel at the holidays. Here it is an ensemble piece not a solo for the lead character as it was done in the terrible movie with the same name, the movie version gets some radio air play during the holidays.
- The New Mixes Vol. 1
- Lost and Found Sound Vol. 1
December 10, 2004
EDUBLOG Awards Results
Congratulations to Lilia Efimova of Mathemagenic for winning this years vote as Best Research Based Blog. I consider it an honor for Professional-Lurker to have been nominated in the category and am flattered by the fact that my blog was nominated by the eventual winner. Thank you to all who voted.
As for the other nominated categories that included my work: Bridging the Gap: A Genre Analysis of Weblogs won for Best Blogged Paper. While Into the Blogosphere came in second in the Best Blogged Paper category and earned high esteem in the Best Overall Group Blog category, I am a co-author on two papers that are part of the book.
Check out incsub for a complete list of nominees and winners.
A blogs internal voicing
Carrying forward from my previous post Blog author(s) and genre...relationships and effects.
It appears that there are primarily three internal voicings found in blogs:
- Monologue - a single voice found within the posted entries across the blog. Monologues may become dialogues through reference to or reposting of comments, email, IM, etc.
- Dialogue - or what I have previously refereed to as "limited authors." In this configuration there is communication between all of the bloggers within the posting structure. Again this conversation may be widened through the reference to or reposting of comments, email, IM, etc.
- Group - like a chatroom this structure may have clusters that are dialogic but because of the multiple voices there is not dialogue across the entire blogger structure.
I am particularly interested in the middle voicing. Why would a set of people, I wouldn't expect there to routinely be more then three bloggers, choice to conduct their conversation via blog? I see this structure in adolescent blogs where the topic is usually their shared school or social lives. I have also seen dyadic blogs where two romantic partners blogged together, in one case they choice this route because they were a transnational couple and one partner had internet access though cafés only. I find the idea of creating a semi-permanent public space in which to carry out your conversation to be quite interesting.
I also wonder if this structure more common for KM topics rather then social ones, e.g. say in a mentor/student discussion.
"Blogs I read" changes to sidebar
I've made changes to the sidebar to reflect structural issues that have long had me thinking about the problems with blog link analysis. I read blogs two ways: 1) through HTML links, and 2) through a desktop client that gathers RSS feed.
Both are excellent ways to get to information that interests me and both have pluses and minuses. HTML links take me to the page and let me see not only the words but the over all design of the page. That includes typefaces, graphics, pictures, you name it. So when I go to the actual blog page I get a much better overall sense of the blogger and their aesthetics.
RSS feed readers do not give me that aesthetic. Very rarely they will pull in pictures attached to the post. Even when that does happen it only gives me the picture and the text, not the entire context. What RSS readers do best is give me the text fast.
Speed is of course a huge issue here. I must go to an HTML blog to see if it has been updated, a total push technology. But with an RSS reader I am told when the page has been updated, a nice move to a pull technology.
My "Blogs I read sometimes" list on the sidebar has contained blogs from each category of reading, HTML and RSS. To better display my actual "linking" I have separated the single list into two lists: Blogs I read sometimes via HTML, and Blogs I read regularly by RSS Reader. This may be an esoteric distinction from anyone not involved in link analysis. But hey it works for me. LOL
I should note that the RSS reader category will undoubtedly be inaccurate as I seem to add and remove feeds from my reader almost daily. I will endeavor update the list as regularly as possible.
December 09, 2004
A great way to tell annoying cell phone users where to get off *S*
How many times have you been stuck in an elevator, heading for the 43rd floor, with someone talking on a cell phone? Invariably they are talking in GROSS DETAIL about say the contents of this mornings toilet, their sexual veracity, or the growths that are appearing on their elderly parents persons. More often then not they are loud as well.
Well now you can let them know just how annoying they are, because clearly they don't realize this is true, by giving them a handy card for future reference. This pdf file provided by the mythical "SHHH! Society for HandHeld Hushing" aka Draplindustries Design Co. and Coudal Partners contains nine different card designs that you can print and distribute as needed.
These cards would be handy in elevators; mass transit - the subway, the tube, or the el ; or airports. *prints out a few and tucks them in her travel backpack* No more listening to stories about some unknown persons piles.
December 08, 2004
Weblog and Blog Bibliography
I've changed the title of the blog reference list to the Weblog and Blog Bibliography. Please change your bookmarks.
Blog author(s) and genre...relationships and effects
This entry carries forward from my previous post When is a blog not a blog?
I spent some time today at work, in between customers, thinking about the nexus between number of blog authors and the genre of the blog they are authoring. On the back of a GuestCheck, I sketched out two flowcharts both with their own sets of problems.
First a bit of definition of terms. All of this is rough obviously. I have to add that authorship has no relationship to comments, trackback, or aggregation in this discussion.
- A single author blog would be one that has a single allowed author - a monologue.
- Limited authors would mean two or three or so...a reasonable number from which strong conversation can grow but not so large that it become internally clustered - a dialogue. My guess is that three is the maximum you are likely to see within this type of blog, at least routinely.
- Multi-author refers to blogs which have clustered and no longer, assuming they ever did, support strong internal conversation across the author group - a cacophony.
Both of these diagrams partition out a subset of what is going on within the authorship of blogs. Let me note here that I actually think a 3D structure is "truer" to what is happening between these two concepts, as my flat diagram does not allow for recursive action and interaction. I feel I need to hash out this subsection of the puzzle before I can truly tackle other issues and develop the 3D model. With this piece in hand, as well as with my past work on audiences addressed by the bloggers, I feel I am starting to get at something.
Figure 1 implies that genre holds a more pivotal position in the equation then author numbers. While the generic figure 1 allows for each author configuration to be present within each genre it does not, of course, prove that that is so. Though drawing these diagrams did raise the question as to which genre and which author configuration are more routine across the phenomena.
Figure 2 implies an interesting question in "Does author number somehow limit or encourage genre selection?" Which is related to the implication that the longer one blogs the more personal information one releases through the blog, as we postulate in one of the BROG papers. Would there be an inverse relationship here, do larger numbers of bloggers release less personal information - thereby achieving purer genre - over time? If multiple blogger blogs are more on task, as the previous question implies, then we again return to the first question "What is the difference between a magazine and a multiauthor blog?"
The underlying issues - apophenia and jill/txt
After reading today's posts at both apophenia, jill/txt, and the posts to which they link, I've been thinking about the discussion of hard and soft social data. While the authors seem to place the blame for faulty research outcomes on the type of data acquired, I think the underlying issue is not hard vs. soft but rather one of the research design - in particular the research question, and data selection and integration - and researcher analysis.
Example: a question relating to participants social network within an online group/community would utilize network analysis within the community. Data acquisition may be accomplished via a bot such as danah describes as having been used in LambdaMOO. What this bot would likely provide is the link and the strength of that link, by capturing frequency of contact and duration information, within the boundaries of the space.
Does that tell the researcher anything about how a given link compares to one outside the boundaries? Nope, sure doesn't. So the discussion of frequency and duration of contact across the boundaries would be inappropriate. Likewise the data will not provide any measure of the emotional strength of the bond. Again any analysis that includes that component would be inappropriate.
Similarly the expectation that any research question will be truly answered in all situations is also inappropriate. While a researcher could - and I am sure some have done so in the past - dedicate their research agenda to knowing all there is to know about one person's social relations so that comparisons can be made across social contexts, the outcome would still be bounded and therefore incomplete. Assuming the monitoring began immediately it is still impossible for one researcher to be present at all times - something would slip past their view - therefore the data set would be incomplete. Likewise an entire universe of previous interactions, that impact the participants present and future interactions, would be lost because monitoring was not in place prior to the beginning this project.
I must admit I continue to be befuddled by the argument that there is one right way to analyze any or all human-related questions. To me the key is carefully framed research questions that are used in evaluating appropriate data. Readers of research reports need to apply healthy skepticism so they see flaws within the research such as inappropriate data sets, or analyzes that overstep their bounds. Additionally the reader must be aware of their own biases and work to curb them. In essence this would mean making sure that one does not torpedo valid research just because it was not done in the manner the reader would have utilized. Finally we must remember that each type of methodology gives a piece of the puzzle, neither gives the whole answer nor do they provide the "truth," further both have flaws and limitations.
Both quantitative and qualitative methodologies need be utilized appropriately and with a restrained hand. While it is often easy to believe that you are seeing patterns that extend beyond your current research question it is inappropriate to draw conclusions that are not fully supported by the data and for which another data set may be more appropriate. Too often that is what I see in the research I read.
The value of having a multiple methodology tool chest
SPAM and blog comments
I spent the morning removing over 100 spam messages. I couldn't get an exact count because they kept coming even as I was adding the URLs to the blacklist. Yes the blacklist plugin helps but it doesn't stop all of them because the crafty little buggers keep changing URLs. And for every comment attached to the blog there is an associated email message that must be reviewed, forwarded to the MT Blacklist folks if it is a new addy, and then deleted from my in-box. It ends up taking a fair amount of time and many keystrokes to manage it all.
So after spending all that time killing spam and deleting my daily quote of "this is only a test" messages, I am seriously considering removing comments as a feature. This urge bothers me because I want the option of a dialogue to be available in this space, though historically that has not been how the comments feature here has been utilized on this blog. What do you think? How do you manage this with your own blog? Let me know by comment or email.
December 07, 2004
Inaugural Edublog Awards
This morning I was checking my daily stats for the blog, in reviewing the referrer log I noticed a new URL that was creating traffic. So of course I checked it out. To my surprise and delight I find that Professional-Lurker has been nominated for the best research based blog in the Inaugural Edublog Awards. Thanks to Lilia Efimova at Mathemagenic for the nomination, her blog is also nominated for the best research based blog.
The awards are being sponsored by the incsub association: This is the incsub community site: free-for-teachers hosting support and community in using weblogs, wikis and open source CMSs. There are nominations in 10 categories. The entire poll can be reached by clicking here. Vote early and often. LOL
Vote for work I have been involved by following links and checking the linked titles. Please vote for each:
Voting closes December 10, 2004.
December 06, 2004
Fly with a Golden Eagle
You get amazing film footage when you train a Golden Eagle to carry a micro-camera during her flights. Don't even try to download this if you don't have broadband...I had trouble with a satellite connection but maybe that was because to many people were trying to access it rather then because of the ISP. Check out the film at Animal Planet.
New desktop blogging client
I have been testing a new desktop blogging client, WB Editor 2. I really like the look of the interface. No doubt it is going to take some time to get used to what it can do and how it does it. LOL
One of the main selling points for this interface is its ability to handle multiple blogs. While professional-lurker is my main blog, I also make entries to the BROG Blog and will be converting my webpage loisscheidt.com to blogging software during 2005. So finding a client that can handle multiple blogs is a huge plus and now I can get used to the interface at my own pace rather then when I make the webpage transition and am under the gun.
Now if I could just figure out how "Now Playing" works. *sigh*
December 05, 2004
A disjointed Sunday
Today has been a fairly disjointed day. We had lots of commitments after services today so I didn't get home until almost 3:00pm. Then it was a bit of work trying to refine the PubSub search and looking at the blogs it has turned up so far. Interesting list...many blogs written by adolescents and porn blogs trying to sell teens as products to adults, don't even get me started.
I did turn up an interesting group site that I am now archiving with WebZIP. It will probably have to run all night to grab the three levels deep I've requested. Should be good stuff, more on it at another time. *S*
Yesterday I went to main campus so I could run a few database searches and load the contents directly into Reference Manager. Sadly EBSCO has changed their download process and now I can't automatically load references into Reference Manager they must be saved as a txt file and imported through a filter to be added. Well of course something went wrong in the filter and all of the references loaded without publication dates or journal names. SO I have to go back and do that manually, which is a pain but is still better then doing all the data entry by hand...or so I keep telling myself. I want to have this done yet this evening so I can update the Weblog & Blog Reference List in the next couple of days.
I also need to finalize my second-review of an article for a journal. This is very good work and I can't wait to see it out in print officially so I can cite it.
Academic work is never done...never ever ever. LOL
December 04, 2004
Is it a theme?
Finding adolescent blogs, with a preference to the random
How does one find blogs that meet a specific criteria? BROG has long used blo.gs and their "random" feature to find blogs for our studies. Of course "random" is not a true random, but then when is it ever. The websites random feature is biased toward recently updated blogs and limited to blogs that can utilize pinging so that blo.gs software knows that they have been updated. But in the blog world - where a significant number of sites have a beginning post and are then never updated, and also where many blogs are updated for awhile and then fall into disrepair - bias toward active is almost a general requirement, unless of course your research questions are about dead blogs. Of course as we have added to our earlier corpus with each new study we have developed a nice longitudinal list of blogs. This is great for BROG work.
For my own work on adolescent blogs it is a bit more complicated. I need a corpus of blogs that not only are slightly biased to those that are alive and recently updated but also that are limited to blogs created by writers in a specific age bracket. I had planned on doing my up coming work by utilizing the blo.gs random feature and just weeding through to find those created by adolescent bloggers. However this methodology won't work at present since the blo.gs "random" feature is down. We have contacted the webmaster asking when the feature will be live again but have received no response to our repeated inquiries.
What is a diligent researcher to do? Of course I could use a snowball sample this would be fairly easy as we have a set of adolescent blogs in the BROG data. I could start from one of them and just merrily roll my snowball along their links until I had enough unique blog addresses to conduct my study. Of course snowball methodologies have their own issues, another issue for another post. I could also go to sites, like LiveJournal or Xanga, which are largely populated by teens and have keywording that would allow me to access blogs by this age group fairly quickly. While I do want access to these blogs I do not want to limit my research to a specific community or tool. I want a more macro view of blogging across communities, tools, and expereince levels - LiveJournal and Xanga trend toward the new user group.
Enter PubSub, PubSub is a matching search engine that allows you to enter keywords and find matches across the web. They purport to be tracking 6,762,441 total sources, 3,674,008 active sources, and 935 new items per minute (figures retrieved 09:14 EST on December 4, 2004), it should be noted that not all of these sources are weblogs rather they are total web resources. They do say they are monitoring 6 million weblogs all of whom are available in RSS or Atom...another bias. Unfortunately they don't offer a "random" feature, which would be really really nice.
So I have been, and will be continuing to, play with their keyword search features. As such I am basically developing a set of keywords that I believe will help me find my way into clusters of adolescent blogs. I've been running for several days with the following string ("teen or teens" and "high school") to no success. I've changed it today to just "teen" to test if that word is used more by adolescents or by their parents. So as I play with this it's clear I have the potential makings of a methodology paper, as well as, getting the big goals of publishable papers and a dissertation out of it.
For those of you that work with teens in your research, do you have any terms you can suggest for this quest?
I love Hawaii but people are not good to or for that beautiful but fragile place
I found this story, Rare bird falls to avian malaria, this morning on BBC's RSS feed. The story talks about the Po'o-uli, a rare Hawaiian Honeycreeper pictured at the right, one of only three known individuals in it's species to still exist on Maui. This individual was trapped last year is a rather desperate attempt to start a captive breeding program before the species becomes extinct.
If you have an environmentalist bent, as I do, I strongly suggest you read the article. I also have to underline that I read this in the BBC NOT an American newsfeed. Sad but true that as a culture American is not understanding of the value of it's non-revenue producing resources.
I'm glad they saved some genetic material from the species for potential future cloning. I'd rather have a healthy naturally reproducing flock but if that is not possible, as it clearly is not at this late date, then some future intervention may be preferable to no Po'o-ulis, or other Honeycreepers, at all.
December 03, 2004
When is a blog not a blog?
What is the difference between a group blog and a magazine? Assuming that both can be run on a blog software platform with either a two or three column format. SO what is the difference? It's clear to me that the genres change appreciably between single and multiauthor formats. Because of that I have been long tempted to say that group blogs are not blogs under the same type of definition one would apply to single author blogs. But of course that raises lots of other issues. Like what are they if they aren't "blogs"?
Does a simple two or more writers push the change? I tend to think it does but that there may be internal genre differences between say two writers and many writers. With a two writer blog it appears to be more of a conversation between the writers that we are allowed to ease drop in on. With larger numbers of writers like you see at MetaFilter it definitely feels more like a magazine then a blog.
Why does it matter? Well again the definition of a term sets the perceptual boundaries. In academics the definition can control what literature is reviewed and cited, leaving some out that might have been included under another definition.
My first book chapter has been accepted for publication - Adolescent Diary Weblogs and the Unseen Audience
- Scheidt, Lois Ann (in press). Adolescent Diary Weblogs and the Unseen Audience. Retrieved Sept. 15, 2004 from http://ella.slis.indiana.edu/~lscheidt/publishing/Adolescent_Diary_Weblogs_and_the_Unseen_Audience.pdf.
Abstract: This paper is divided into two sections. In the first section I discuss adolescent diary weblogs and their prevalence online, I situate them with their offline antecedents, and align them with offline and online performance including Langellier’s (1998) typography of personal narrative performance. The second section then uses content analysis in applying Langellier’s typology to the implied audience embedded in adolescent diary weblog posts. The content analysis of a small sample of adolescent weblogs finds that Langellier’s typography can be successfully applied to adolescent diary weblogs.
December 02, 2004
Theories Boiled Down - taken from Geek-guides.com
I thought this was worth reposting it in total from Geek-guides.com. Thanks Elijah.
Apologies to those of you that read both blogs and to those that read SLIS Blogs where both are aggregated.
- Theories Boiled Down
I think these are really cool, so I'm posting the whole message in complete form.
Author's name deleted - if you're curious, i'm sure you can google and find it.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a seminar by George Box where he discussed some of the ideas that will be incorporated in the second edition of Box, Hunter, and Hunter "Statistics for Experimenters" due out in a few months. At the end of the presentation he distributed a list of quotes from the book and I felt that many of these would be appealing to members of this mailing list. I refer those who want R-related content in messages to this group to the quote "Seek computer programs that allow you to do the thinking."
My thanks to Professor Box for giving me permission to forward these.
The following list of quotations may be used for a number of purposes. You may wish to be reminded of some of the ideas in this book. Your boss, who may not have time to read the whole book, can employ them to understand the philosophy of what you are doing.
If you use the book to teach a course some quotes can be used as topics for short essays.
Among the factors to be considered there will usually be a vital few and a trivial many. (J.M. Juran)
A process should be routinely operated in an evolutionary mode so as to produce not only product but information on how to improve the product.
Sometimes the only thing you can do with a poorly designed experiment is to try to find out what it died of. (R.A. Fisher)
The experimenter who believes that only one factor at a time should be varied is amply provided for by using a factorial experiment.
If there were a probability of only p = 0.04 of finding a crock of gold behind the next tree, wouldn't you go and look?
The democratization of Scientific method.
Designing an experiment is like gambling with the devil: only a random strategy can defeat all his betting systems. (R.A. Fisher)
Seek computer programs that allow you to do the thinking.
When the ratio of the largest to smallest observation is large you should question whether the data are being analyzed in the right metric (transformation) .
Original data should be presented in a way that will preserve the evidence in the original data. (W. A. Shewhart)
You can see a lot by just looking. (Yogi Berra)
A computer should make both calculations and graphs. Both sorts of output should be studied; each will contribute to understanding. (F.J. Anscombe)
Murphy works hard to ensure that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. With an adequate system of process monitoring, therefore, more and more of the things that can go wrong will be corrected and more and more of Murphy's tricks can be permanently stymied.
A useful type of time series model is a recipe for transforming serial data into white noise.
When you see the credits roll at the end of a successful movie you realize there are many more things that must be attended to in addition to choosing a good script. Similarly in running a successful experiment there are many more things that must be attended to in addition to choosing a good experimental design.
Iterative inductive-deductive problem solving is geared to the structure of the human brain and is part of every day experience.
What does what to what? How, with a minimum of effort, can you discover which factors do what to which responses?
Only in exceptional circumstances, do you need to try to answer all questions with one experiment.
Actions called for as a result of an experiment are of two kinds: 1) "Cashing in" on new knowledge 2) Using the new knowledge to look for further possibilities of improvement
The business of life, is to endeavor to find out what you don't know from what you do; that's what I called "guessing what was at the other side of the hill". (Duke of Wellington)*
The best time to plan an experiment is after you've done it. (R.A. Fisher)
Every model is an approximation.
It is the data that are real (they actually happened!)
The model is a hypothetical conjecture that might or might not summarize and/or explain important features of the data.
All models are wrong; some models are useful.
Don't fall in love with a model.
It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Sherlock Homes in "Scandal in Bohemia" (Conan Doyle)
It is not unusual for a well-designed experiment to analyze itself.
Correlation may have nothing to do with causation: beware the lurking variables(s)!
The idea of a process in a perfect state of control contravenes the second law of thermodynamics: thus a state of control is an unrealizable and must be regarded as a purely theoretical concept.
The design of experiments was invented by R.A. Fisher to make it possible to conduct valid experiments in an environment (agricultural trials) that was never in a state of control.
To find out what happens when you change something it is necessary to change it.
It's better to solve the right problem approximately than the wrong problem exactly. (J.W. Tukey)
Experiment and you'll see!
Perfection is not possible it's always an approximation.
Most often an experiment does not allow us to make a final decision but to see what's worth trying.
"Block what you can and randomize what you can't" can approximately justify an analysis "as if" standard assumptions were true.
The largest member of any group is large - but is it exceptionally large?
Where there are three or four machines, one will be substantially better or worse than the others. (Ellis Ott)
That conclusions reached in one environment (say from lab experiments) will apply in a different environment (say the full scale process) is based not on statistical reasoning but on what Deming called "a leap of faith". Statistical methods can reduce but not eliminate the necessary leap.
Discovering the unexpected is more important than confirming the known.
One must learn by doing the thing; for though you think you know it, you have no certainty until you try. (Sophocles)
We should not be afraid of discovering something.
When running an experiment the safest assumption is that unless extraordinary precautions are taken it will be run incorrectly.
Knowledge is power (Francis Bacon)
Show me the data!
With sequential assembly, designs can be build up so that the complexity of the design matches that of the problem.
At any given stage, the current model helps us appreciate not only what is known but what else it may be important to find out."
What Does Your Name Mean?
Ok so I'm a johnny-come-lately to the whole internet quiz thing. So sue me.
MSN Spaces blogging site - not a good first day
It seems MSN really stuck their foot into it with the release of Spaces blogging site. Lots of tech problems yesterday, the first day of operation. The Blog Herald talkes about the new site with MSN Spaces reviewed.
- Duncan Riley> This review started nearly 10 hours ago when MSN Spaces first went live, and its taken this long to complete due to the continual downtime of the site. It was originally going to be longer and in more depth, but I’d didn’t have all day and night. But I’ll try not to be biased in the review
After eventually getting through the timeouts, errors and 2 .NET accounts I finally progressed past the sign up and to the choice of two options, customise or “go to your space". I picked go to your space and was presented with the layout and editing options, similar to some Wordpress templates available
Content seems to be divided by blog, photos, “lists” and music, with a main composite page of all four.
Settings allow fairly simple choices: a tag line for the blog, how many posts, categories etc.. what is interesting is that the ability to receive trackbacks to post is set by default to other MSN Space blogs only and user intervention is required to open this setting to all. Much to Dave’s horror the ping to weblogs.com is all set at standard. In one positive the ability to email from a mobile phone is offered as a standard feature.
Customisation is limited to 15 rather boring templates with no ability to provide custom layout or CSS
Adding a blog entry is through a simple WYSIWYG interface.
Other features of the site include profile boxes and updated sites, none of which can be removed and in the case of profiles requires handing over more information to Microsoft.
Whilst some are saying that Microsoft will help grow the market, which is possible, this service will do little to provide the current and future bloggers with anything other mass produced, standardised rubbish which can be found at our test site http://spaces.msn.com/members/blogherald/
Check out the actual post for screen shots.
BoingBoing: A directory of wonderful things posted the following
- MSN Spaces = soylent green
Updated. Today, Microsoft launches their free hosted blogging platform, spaces.msn.com. What effect the service will have on Blogger, TypePad, Userland, and the like is, predictably, a subject of great debate. The service is free, and seems aimed squarely at home users. BoingBoing reader alfie checks the W3 validator site and says, "MSN Spaces seems to be completely ignoring markup standards. Well done chaps." Link. Reader Christopher Carfi hosts a discussion about the launch on his blog, here.
For materials you post or otherwise provide to Microsoft related to the MSN Web Sites (a "Submission"), you grant Microsoft permission to (1) use, copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, modify, translate and reformat your Submission, each in connection with the MSN Web Sites, and (2) sublicense these rights, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law. Microsoft will not pay you for your Submission."
"Makes me wanna yell STOP! Soylent green is people!"
Think I will personally stick with Movable Type. This way I own my posts. *w* A very good thing in my book.
Weblog and Blog Reference List
I've updated the Weblog & Blog Reference List and have linked it from the sidebar. I will note future updates on the sidebar.
Why Do We Blog?
I have an academic friend who is working on her Master's Thesis and has been incorporating the question of "Why do you blog?" into her interview structure. Maybe this post and the comments to it will give her and you more insight into this monologue we use to dialogue between ourselves.
- Why Do We Blog? from Sandhill Trek: Voice and Vision in Decision
A week or so ago I gave myself the assignment of conducting a survey for the IT Kitchen: "Why do you blog?" I asked. I like easy answers, and by asking others perhaps I hoped to find the easy answers for myself. Certainly, I thought, it would be valuable to compile insights from some of the articulate digital self publishers known as "bloggers." Little did I know it would turn into a hobby. Here are reflections from thirty-five bloggers, an even three dozen if you count me....
Check out the actual page for a nice collection of answers from a variety of bloggers that were interviewed and a growing set of comments from readers. This thread continues for several posts, also see:
December 01, 2004
Merriam-Webster's Words of the Year 2004. Number 1 = blog
It's been percolating around the net today that Merriam-Webster (MW) named "blog" their most searched for word on Merriam-Webster Online. Tonight as I coded data, for the BROG Sunbelt XXV submission, I kept thinking about the MW stated definition of the term:
- Blog noun [short for Weblog] (1999) : a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.
The inclusion of the term "blog" in the upcoming edition of the MW Dictionary is both a recognition that blogs have permanently infiltrated the cultural lexicon and that diary blogs have, at least from the perspective of the MW editors, become the dominate genre.
Blood, Rebecca (Sept. 7, 2000). Weblogs: A history and perspective. rebecca's pocket. Retrieved Nov. 19, 2004 from http://www.rebeccablood.net/essays/weblog_history.html.
A fun quiz I came across while coding blog data
|You Are a Pundit Blogger!|
Your blog is smart, insightful, and always a quality read. Truly appreciated by many, surpassed by only a few.
Not sure I get off on being called a "pundit" though. Glen Reynolds-ville here I come?
Would that it were true and not a scam *sigh*
I could have so much fun and do so many good things, and a few bad as well, with this much money. To bad these are evil people bent on preying on the weak and uneducated, or at least the pie-in-the-sky-dreamers amongst us. But it is a scam no matter how official it all sounds. Just a sampling of sites that talk about email scams:
THE LOTTERY PROMOTION COMPANY LIMITED
CHURCHILL HOUSE, CHALVEY ROAD EAST
SLOUGH, BERKSHIRE SL1 2LS
FROM: THE DESK OF THE PROMOTIONS MANAGER,
INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS/PRIZE AWARD DEPARTMENT,
REF: LW907686 AND BATCH NO: 22/457/PE.
RE/ AWARD NOTIFICATION
We are pleased to notify you of the announcement today of winners of the THE LOTTERY PROMOTION COMPANY LIMITED PROGRAMS held on 21st of October 2004 as part of our last quarter of the year bonanza.
You or your company, attached to ticket number 1416-4612, with serial number 458625 drew the lucky numbers 60-17-7-43, and consequently won the lottery in the "A" category.
You have been approved for a lump sum pay out of US$5,500,000.00 in cash credited to file REF NO: LW907686 This is from total prize money of US$16,500,000.00 shared among the Three (3) international winners in this category. All participants were selected through a computer balloting system drawn form 77,000 email address of individauls and company name at a ramdon from Middle East, Asia, Africa, Canada, Europe and North America and Oceania as part of our International Promotions Program, which is conducted annually and sponsored by major Companies in UK.
Your claims file has been forwarded to BLUE ARC LONDON LTD;
MR. FOREST ANDERSON
BLUE ARC LONDON LTD
For due processing and remittance of your prize money to a designated account of your choice. In your best interests and to avoid complications you must initiate contact within five days working permit of receipt of this MAIL. BLUE ARC LONDON LTD. will handle all matters with regards to claiming your prize. All correspondences to MR. FOREST ANDERSON, either by fax and/or email, should have this MAIL sent along with it and also, your FULL ADDRESS, your COUNTRY OF RESIDENCE and your EMAIL ADDRESS to which this email is sent, should be clearly and BOLDLY WRITTEN IN YOUR RESPONSE
with BLUE ARC LONDON LTD.
NOTE: In order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please remember to quote your reference LW907686 and batch numbers 22/457/PE in every correspondences with MR. FOREST ANDERSON. Furthermore, should there be any change of your address, do inform MR. FOREST ANDERSON. You are to keep all lottery information from the public as we will not entertain cases of multiple claims processing or compromise the privacy and security for all winners.
CONGRATULATIONS once again from all our staff and thank you for being part of our promotions program.
Ms. Lisa Jones
Lottery Promotion Company Ltd.
N.B. Anybody under the age of 18 cannot participate in this program and any breach of confidentiality on the part Of the winners will result to disqualification. Do not reply to this mail. Contact your claim agent.
*Disclaimer: This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the addressee(s) named herein. If you are not the intended recipient or addressee, you should not use, disseminate, distribute, copy or alter this email. Any views or opinions presented in this email are solely those of the author and might not represent those of "THE LOTTERY PROMOTION COMPANY LIMITED." and/or its units.
Warning: Although reasonable precautions have been taken to ensure no viruses are present in this email, the company cannot accept responsibility for any loss or damage arising from the use of this email or attachments. If you have received this electronic mail message in error, please contact the sender directly.