Via Cam, the story of how Randal L. Schwartz got convicted of crimes against Intel. It’s sad how little law enforcement has learned about computer crime issues in the last decade; some of the things Intel apparently did are right out of The Hacker Crackdown. (And yes, it’s that Randal Schwartz.)

Everybuddy:

Everybuddy is an attempt to combine an ICQ and AOL Instant Messenger client (And maybe one day every chat protocol in existance? Is that a big dream?) into a single, fairly coherent interface.

I never got the instant messaging thing. What am I missing?

Once again, Dave Winer and I disagree. In Weblogs at the Cusp of Acceptance, Dave says (in reference to Dan Gillmor’s new ‘blog):

Last night Dan sent me an email saying that I should tell my readers that his weblog didn’t give legitimacy to the art of weblogs. That’s his opinion. I am blown away by what Dan is doing there. For me, the question is resolved. Columnists at big newspapers can do this.

I agree with Dan. The adoption of the weblog form by mass media outlets isn’t a form of acceptance, it’s a form of assimilation. One of the (many) driving forces behind many of the early ‘blogs was a revulsion against the mass market forces attempting to homogenize the web into a 24 hour virtual mini-mall. The weblog was about elevating the voice of EverySurfer, to point out the hidden variety and beauty that still lurks here and there in the nooks and crannies. Dan Gillmor is most definitely not EverySurfer (he’s having “brief private chats” with Scott Friggin’ McNealy, for Ghu’s sake!), and it’s difficult to agitate against mass market homogenization with sidebar ads.

The wide spread of the ‘blogging meme means that there is a mass of people ready, willing, and able to do the things that Dan Gillmor does for a living, and to do them basically for free, for ego-boo, for the love of the craft. If I was Dan Gillmor, I’d be starting a ‘blog too, because that’s got to be preferable to burger flipping.

The above is all of course subject to the same caveat as anytime I link to Dave W’s stuff, namely that it might be different when you look at it. See this archived entry for details.

Whew! In other “famous people with ‘blogs” news, Mike “Factsheet Five” Gunderloy has a ‘blog now too. Even a small-Kansas-town-hickboy like myself remembers that Factsheet Five was the bible|voice|cultural nexus of the self-publishing/’zine/American samizdat movement that flourished in the ’80s. In many ways, the ‘zine scene (which I was only very peripherally involved with, as a reader) presaged ‘blogs and online journals. Mike also has GeneHack on his short list of other weblogs, which pretty much made my whole day. ‘Random chattiness’, indeed!

I am going to take issue with Mike’s comments on the bottom of that page:

There seems to be a tendency towards herd behavior in weblogs. One of them will mention some new article, and before you know it, the same link shows up five other places. I try not to do that, but sometimes I succumb. Still, it’s a bit puzzling to think that with hundreds of millions of web pages, and only a few hundred webloggers, we can’t all find out own unique pages to point out.

It’s not herd behavior, although it may look like that. The analogy that springs to my mind is more than a bit self-agrandizing, but bear with me. ‘Blog authors are serving the same function as chatty people at cocktail parties. We provide topics of interesting conversation, and generally prevent those awkward pauses from lasting too long. Every so often, however, we over-hear another interesting topic-setter say something that we want to talk about too, so we might direct the conversation in that direction. It’s still relevant to many of the people we’re talking to, because they might not be paying as much attention to the other conversation leaders. Some of them are flitting around, sampling many conversation groups, and those people might notice that certain topics tend to spread through out the crowd more widely than others. Even then, thought, I think the ‘flitters’ will see different nuances to the discussion in each separate group.

I’m not sure how good that last paragraph is, but I’m way too tired, so I’m just going to leave it. If I don’t make sense, and you’d like me to explain what the heck I was trying to say, mail me (jacobs@genehack.org). Night.

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