April 2003

Collective note-taking with Hydra

After looking at Kottke's comments on the hydra use at etech and the notes I see a potential for a lot more, I am thinking a cross between a real time wiki and instant messaging. Being a relatively recent convert to instant messaging and a slow typer I have always been annoyed how they always follow time thread instead of thought tread. IMO I should be able to indicate what one is replying to so as to create threads in the conversations. Hydra being totally free form allows this almost like an IM Wiki.

Living without Word

Yesterday I had a discussion with a friend about the fact that I must be nuts not to have MS Word installed on my computer. I am probably among the 0.01% of professionals that don't have Word on his computer, I don't even have a substitute like open office. The reason I don't have Word is not because it is a Microsoft product but rather because it's useless to my needs.

I very rarely need to produce paper documents. Most of my reports to clients are published straight to web where they can live a more useful and dynamic life than a paper document. Almost all my correspondence is email. That leaves just a couple of paper documents a month and for those I use indesign an application that produces beautiful document and leaves me in control.

So the only down side of not having word is that people tend to send me word files. Most of those I can safely crap and the few that come from clients I can have converted by friends or colleagues.

Back to active posting

I guess the big news is that I finally quit smoking. This meant that my brain has largely been mush for the past month, I have been crawling up the walls unable to keep my concentration long enough to post a coherent thought.

Also difficult to handle have been my mixed feeling on the war in Iraq. On the one hand, I am still totally against this war but now that it has started can only hope for an American victory. In the US some people are already claiming victory. but the military campaign was always going to be a push-over. Now starts the hard part, creating a stable secular democracy in Iraq. I don't even know it's possible, I sure hope so, because the alternatives are scarier then Sadam.

But my biggest frustration has been the demise of journalistic responsibility. Seems like journalism has been reduced to reporting what others say without ever analyzing it.

The silver lining has been the internet, it looks like it is working as designed and routing around stupidity. I have been amazed by the amount of interesting stuff about the war that has been floating to the surface via the weblog community. In the coming days I will try to catch up by posting some of those links.