Dual Loyalty

As writers and bloggers are so fond of saying; you couldn't make it up. You don't cross the Iron Curtain and come out without scars ...
· Jozef Imrich, Survivor of the Iron Curtain Crossing

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Everything in the universe goes by indirection. There are no straight lines.

The silence of snow has a quality that most of us crave. Everything is softened, dirt, rubbish and scarred landscapes are smoothed over, made ageless, as the flakes fall. The Peloponnese grew olives when they weren't making war. Fat black Kalamata olives and Spartan warriors, the best the world had seen. And Corinthian columns - they invented columns to hold up temples.Flitting across the water like dragonflies: Like beggars, we must patch the universe as best we can

Wedding-Night Nerves Roads To Happiness
At the end of every life is a full stop, and death could care less if the piece is a fragment. It is up to us, the living, to supply a shape where none exists, to rescue from the flood even those we never knew. Like beggars, we must patch the universe as best we can.

This claim could stand as epigraph to Cold River …

I have nearly all my flashes of inspiration (such as they are) when I'm doing something else - talking to someone, cycling, putting the clothes on the balcony to dry; [Maybe it is all about the old adage that sex sells. Perhaps all of us, especially the punditocracy, really are puerile adolescents at heart. When love and work collide: hanky panky at the World Bank-y ; O m' god. I'm having a serious attack of Irony Overload. This is no joke. In the last few days, the news has been saturated with extreme instances of Natural Irony. It's dangerous stuff. Left unchecked, you know, IO can progress to Morbid Cynicism (MC), which is terminal. The cases to which I refer are not your run-of-the-mill family-values preacher caught pants-down with a male prostitute. These are more colorful, more exotic performances. Paul Wolfowitz, World Bank prexy and ferocious campaigner against corruption and nepotism, "directed" that his very own girlfriend or house mate or whatever she might be called, be hired at a handsome tax-free salary at a State Department agency where she's to be guaranteed superior evaluations and inordinately large salary increases. It's a variety of cronyism that we can call "nepotistical irony." Consistency Is For Other People ]
• · Too crazybusy for smelling the roses? Then bring your BlackBerry to bed Almost everyone is too busy. We are all running faster and faster on our pointless, addictive wheels of busyness and we have become inefficient, frazzled and fractious. We are so busy responding to random demands we are losing sight of the things that matter. We have stopped thinking and are wasting our lives. Blogging to Build a Community; The appearance of blog-advertising agencies is giving Malaysian bloggers a chance to cash in through online advertising. King Island filled with working bees and bloggers

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Leaders are formed in the fire of experience.
– Carlos Ghosn, CEO, Nissan Motor Company

Bob Dylan Turned evil 66(6)last week ... I have to admit to something I do not know whether I can actually say here: Coflict is a bit like cooking at least in terms of temperature range. If the temperature is too hot (shouting like Ian Faulks or showing deep depressed aggression like Bob Lorraway) everyone gets burned; too cold and you have to stoke the fire or nothing gets cooked. I am always willing to dive into the conflict and transform it. Like the sun and the tide, conflict is a powerful force that only fools like Ian and Bob pretend to have mastered ;-) I love to drop a pebble into a pond and then follow the ripples out and see where they take me. There are people on either side of the pond who have absolutely no relationship to each other, except they’re joined by this ripple. Most people are happy just to show the pebble hitting the water I prefer to follow and swim the cold river of strange inhumanity … As George Santayana in the publication Life of Reason (1905) said Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it

As the Seattle PI puts, Debbie Macomber isn't known well, just read well, and she may be the least-known best-selling writer in the Northwest. They say she has 70 million copies of her books in print. One driver of her success: Macomber has a mailing list of 75,000 readers. These are not lists I have bought; every one of those readers has been in touch with me personally. Every city I am going to, I send out postcards to everyone on my list in that city and neighboring ZIP codes. I have a staff of three who help me with that. So I'm bringing a lot of people into the bookstores where I appear. Port Orchard's Macomber isn't known well, just read well

Reviving Literary Revolutions: Truth and common sense CAN prevail Why Not a Bestseller? Game of nods and winks
Denver Post writer Douglas Brown's proposal for JUST DO IT, about his adventures having sex with his wife at least once a day for 100 consecutive days, has become quite the blog bait.

The enduring line comes from NY Mag's Vulture: "what a great stunt-based book concept, like A.J. Jacobs, but with sex." While enjoying the attention, agent Daniel Lazar at Writers House notes that the blogs have focused on "the two salacious paragraphs of a 60 page proposal that the editors already know is really about marriage and falling madly in love with your spouse again, even after years together." (We've deleted all references to a word that would make our mail get blocked by your servers.)

• Messy Life and odd links ;-) Proposed Vulture; ["We are making an exponentially greater impact on the market. Just imagine seven hundred new titles a year hitting the shelves with one logo rather than twenty-one different logos. If nothing else, we are affecting the perception of the retailers who stock the shelves Eliminating Imprints Helps ; FEW things strike fear into the human heart like a receding hairline, but a path-breaking study released overnight points for the first time to a genetically-based remedy for hair loss. Resources For Entrepreneurs ]
• · Chicago Tribune article discusses ethical aspects of lawyer blogs Bringing clarity to the regulation of lawyer blogs in Kentucky by launching this blog as a "test case" early last year. See Update: How Kentucky's Attorney Advertising Commission is now treating blogs by Kentucky lawyers. The article was apparently prompted by the proposed changes in New York's rules on attorney advertising, which appear to place significant restrictions on lawyer-authored blogs. The Federal Trade Commission has criticized the proposed regulations. The Tribune article reports that, "there were so many public comments to the proposals that the state extended the deadline by two months, to Nov. 15."
Blogs and Liars; HE origins of the spectacularly successful Macquarie Bank model started, paradoxically, in a dud investment in the privatised Loy Yang power station in Victoria. The investment was housed in a fund known as Infrastructure Trust Australia, established in December 1996, that underperformed the market.
But in a hallmark sign of Macquarie Bank persistence, the fund was renamed
Macquarie Infrastructure Group in 2000 and became a prominent investor in a series of
toll road operations. If your place is anything like mine …
• · Vicki Jayne, Management (New Zealand), March 2007, pp.54-59. As a profession it’s still in junior league. At a performance level - project management still depends too heavily on its natural ‘heroes’. How best to build consistent performance management success? People process & performance - how to get the recipe right?, ; Globalisation is a bit like Australia's film or Australia's water crisis - we can see it is going to accelerate but we don't know what to do about it. The antipodean egos have landed;-)
• · · When The Prince of All That Is Evil Matthew Saville knows a thing or two about sticking to his guns; I hold journalists who spend half an hour asking me about my work and then devote all their article to my girlfriend in complete contempt Brendan joins the big time
• · · · You need to carry in these books and put them on these tables.' Our inventory is a reflection of the community Title Wave Books; It's completely surpassed anything I expected We'll only sell out if someone offers us enough money. Things have been looking up for Australian film. Two years ago, Wolf Creek, Little Fish and Look Both Ways all carved a niche at the box office. Cine of the times
• · · · · Last year, it was Kenny, Jindabyne and Ten Canoes. Then, at Christmas, came the phenomenon known as Happy Feet. Made in Sydney with Hollywood backing, director George Miller's penguin musical was an international hit and won an Oscar for best animated feature. Film; Art
• · · · · · Phillip Adams wasn't always my favorite columnist. His views on celebrities are not mine, and I was reminded of that one Saturday. Why celebrity portraits are just fake art ; ON September 7, 1943, Rudolf Vrba saw something that astonished him. Given who he was and where he was at the time, his capacity to be astonished should have been long exhausted. Vrba, a Slovakian Jew, was a prisoner at Birkenau, by far the largest of the component camps that made up Auschwitz. It was at Birkenau, housing as it did crematoriums II-V and their accompanying gas chambers, that more Jews died at the hands of the Nazis than any other place. By then it was already on its way to becoming the largest cemetery on earth. Window on the ghetto

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

On my very birthday Google Moves Towards Unified Search and an emotional Philippa Yelland described the first moments of her dramatic reunion with her missing children as like meeting strangers ...<
Google has announced it is making steps towards a universal search model that aims to search all Google’s content sources and deliver an integrated set of results. It has also updated its home page design and is testing out a new experimental search service. On my very birthday Google Moves Towards Unified Search

While River of Amazon Plays Apple's Song Amazon, the hugely popular online bookshop, has unveiled long-awaited plans to launch a music download service to rival market leader Apple … Amazon said it will sell "millions" of digital music tracks in the MP3 format, free of the copy protection technology that limits where consumers can play their music. Sleeping giant of digital music awakens

Going going Real Estate Virtual
An internet real estate site in Australia is breaking new ground.

Called sellmycastle.com.au, it forces real estate agents to compete with each other to sell a property. The web site was founded by Dan Winblad, who discovered this selling idea in Sweden. He noted that the seller puts up details of the property for sale on the site. The property's postcode is automatically matched to real estate agents in the area and they get an email alert. They have to make bids on fees and the price of the property and the seller makes the choice. The sellmycastle.com.au operator gets 10% of the agent's commission when the property is sold. The web site gives smaller real estate agents a chance to compete with larger groups

• The Australian Financial Review, Page 51 17/04/2007 Swedish import woos agents ; [; ]
• · If you have ever had doubts about the power of imagination and the power of icons to evoke emotion, this incredible sculpture will silence them. At 20 meters high with a wingspan of 54 meters it soars from its grassy hilltop as a beacon for the skills, the achievements and the stubborn courage of the people of the North-East. Move over Rio. Hello Gateshead... The Power Of Icons; You might have caught up with a list of predictions made in 1900 by the Ladies' Home Journal. Our passion for speed is captured by the prediction that English will be a language of condensed words expressing condensed ideas. We call it texting. Our love affair with takeout food is predicted in detail – they just got the delivery system wrong. Pneumatic tubes never made it... Looking Into The Future
• · When I joined Saatchi & Saatchi, I knew I had to have at my side the most inspirational person I could find in this new world of ideas and creativity. That this person was Bob Isherwood turned out to be one of the most amazing strokes of good fortune I've had in my life... Honoring Bob Isherwood; Honoring Dr Cope
• · · Australian companies are starting to twig that Web 2.0 isn't just the latest trend for designing web pages - it can be a vital business tool. It's web take 2.0

Friday, May 11, 2007

It is heartening to know that the media organisation Reporters Without Borders ranks Australia below Ghana, Bolivia and Bosnia in the international pecking order of media freedoms, but we still can link to budgets and parliamentary debates …Rudd fires back over schools Rudd the builder plays it safe for ALP
AS is the tradition in Australia's oldest parliament, the Speaker-elect, Richard Torbay, had to be dragged to the chair by two MPs in a theatrical display of anti-tyrannical modesty. But he made little pretence of resisting. Mr Torbay, the first independent speaker in modern parliamentary history appointed by a Government with a clear majority, proudly took his seat yesterday amid warm applause from both sides of the chamber. Dragged to the chair FROM potato peeler to political powerhouse, Richard Torbay's evolution prompts comparisons with the proverbial cream that has risen to the top

Can we change the heart of politics? Time to show abc of manners in the bearpit
He hit the ground running when he joined the national broadcaster.

Back in early 1990s Mark Scott looked around the parliamentary cafeteria in late 2000 he looked around at the former ABC site in Brisbane and was struck by the number of young women in the crowd, their faces lined with concern. It didn't take long before the question was asked. It was the question his wife, Briony, had put to him only days before. "Would you let your daughters work here?" It was more daunting than the protest of 50,000 people he had faced down as a 26-year-old political staffer for one of NSW's most controversial ministers, Terry Metherell. And it was more confronting than being the Fairfax executive at the centre of a messy union dispute, which resulted in The Age newspaper not getting out on AFL grand final day.

ON the face of it, Mark Scott could easily be seen as the ABC's worst nightmare, but then he exchanged glances with Paola Totaro and other angels who helped him to get through the landmines Divine provenance: Aunty's 'nightmare' new boss generating goodwill Story worthy of archiving for Google on Scott
• Aunty's latest boss is its most surprising one yet - an evangelical Christian who's fluent in management-speak. One year into his tenure, Mark Scott talks to Caroline Overington about his big plans for our cultural behemoth Scott of the ABC ; [Now that Ian Faulks took retrenchment from NSW Parliament expect another Sunday profile soon about chief od staff in some office other than Paul Gibson's Sunday Profile ; ABC internet advertising attacked Glenys Stradijot of The Friends of the ABC fame has condemned the prospect of advertising on the national broadcaster.Ads … ]
• · NSW Parliament network manager Neil Dammerel, whose face has been around for many years in the corridors of power, said the government department has always taken extraordinary measures to ensure the privacy and integrity of its information and this agreement "sets a new precedent" for data protection. NSW Parliament gets managed security ; SHE'S been in the "bearpit" for just one day, but the newly elected Opposition frontbencher Pru Goward reckons it's the most male-dominated and "ruthlessly sexist" place she has ever worked. Ruthlessly sexist place she has ever worked.;
• · AUSTRALIA'S biggest media companies have formed a rare coalition to fight a steadily declining level of free speech they say has seriously eroded Australia's democracy. Matthew Moore; More battles rage in the war against freedoms It is heartening to know that the media organisation Reporters Without Borders ranks Australia below Ghana, Bolivia and Bosnia in the international pecking order of media freedoms. We've slipped two spots to No. 35, equal to Bulgaria Richard Ackland

Friday, May 04, 2007

Google faces a brain drain as high-flyers it has made super rich fly the nest … When Dennis Crowley and Alex Rainert, quit Google earlier this month, their parting shot caused a stir. The young dotcom entrepreneurs, who met at university in New York, had sold their Dodgeball social networking website to Google in 2005 - some estimates put the deal at $30m (£15m). But for them, two years with the Californian internet group was enough. "It's no real secret that Google wasn't supporting Dodgeball the way we expected," said Mr Crowley, in a terse statement on his website. "The whole experience was incredibly frustrating for us." The decision to quit, he said, was "tough" and "disappointing". It highlights Google's growing problem of retaining financially independent staff Money can't buy you loyalty

Generating ink Rupert raids Wall Street Journal, not many casualties (yet)
I pretty much saw everything in the 20 years I spent clerking and libraring at NSW Parliament House: shady deals, dubious preselections, Kerry Packer’s voice coming from the speaker in Ministerial offices, AVOs. Some of the shenanigans were reminiscent of "Dynasty," the 1980s soap opera about a wealthy family.

And to your left or right - Mark Latham said it first in his diaries:
Thursday 11 March 2004: “... trekked out Cavan to meet with Lachlan Murdoch and John Hartigan. They wanted a get-to-know you opportunity, so the Evil Empire must think I’m a chance. No harm in turning up to see what they are up to. Paul Kelly was right about this duo: lacklustre and over-rated ... Two main political issues: AWAs and Foxtel. Murdoch’s company has the highest number of AWAs in the country; all their journalists are on individual contracts. Hartigan pressed hard for me to drop our policy dedicated to their abolition, but I told him there was no chance of that.”

• It is my understanding that I was born in Kezmarok Crikey’s Blogwatch …The end of 'he said-she said' journalism?; [Editor David Patterson has a parody offering letter in the New Republic from an agent shopping a memoir by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, I DON'T RECALL Fake Memoir On Offer ; Curiously enough, fruit has popped up into the Australian political debate quite frequently in recent years. Fruit in modern Australian politics ]
• · Since coming to office, Peter Costello and John Howard have flogged off almost everything that wasn't bolted down, including the Defence Department headquarters at Russell Hill, something you can't imagine the Americans doing with the Pentagon - Singapore's rich splash out with a vengeance
Singapore owns more of Australia than Australia; Not everyone is happy about the enclave's plan to lure the super-rich and their bankers Robber barons calling Singapore home
• · He will tell a story that I think will make people's hair curl. But he's been waiting a long time to tell this....And he'll also say---this is a very important part of this---that, on the question of what would happen in Iraq after the invasion, the CIA pretty consistently warned, 'You have trouble ahead. You will not be able to unite this country. Sunnis and Shiites are gonna be 'at daggers. Making Your 'Hair Curl: It's Heart to Heart crossed with Devil Wears Prada ; Most people in America want an easy read. I call it McFiction - books which pass right through you without you even digesting them. I don't mean a book that has two-syllable words. I mean chapters you can read in a toilet break. Happy endings. We are more of a TV culture, and that is a hard thing to go up against for any writer The great unknown
• · · "The prospect of a buyout by News Corp would not be good for the newspaper, its employees or for the people who rely on the Journal for information Failure looms for Murdoch's $5bn offer to take control of Dow Jones ; Last year Dan Wickett, a former quality-control manager for a car-parts maker, wrote 95 book reviews on his blog, Emerging Writers Network (emergingwriters.typepad.com/), singlehandedly compiling almost half as many reviews as appeared in all of the book pages of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In recent years, dozens of sites, including Bookslut.com, The Elegant Variation (marksarvas.blogs.com/elegvar/), maudnewton .com, Beatrice.com and the Syntax of Things (syntaxofthings.typepad.com), have been offering a mix of book news, debates, interviews and reviews, often on subjects not generally covered by newspaper book sections. Are Book Reviewers Out of Print?
• · · · I’ve got more time than I have money, motivational speaker Mick Hager says. So when he decided to try to boost sales (and, in particular, the Amazon.com ranking) for his upcoming book, he took an inexpensive but labor-intensive route. He spent 300 to 400 hours, but just $180, in his bid to drum up sales. How One Author Tried to Boost His Amazon.com Ranking ; Amazon is offering an exclusive two-page excerpt from Khaled Hosseini's forthcoming book… Of more interest, the site has also posted 15 short pre-publication reviews after querying their top 100 reviewers in early March for their appraisals. A Thousand Splendid Suns PS - Amazon Fools Them Again - Wall Street was prepared for a lackluster Q1 earnings report from Amazon, and instead the e-tailer announced better than expected results, with sales of $3.02 billion, up 32 percent, and improved earnings of $145 million, up 38 percent from a year ago.
• · · · · The news comes as Israeli police fly to Australia to question billionaire businessman Frank Lowy about a racketeering scam started by former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert.

For a number of years Levy was Lowy's top UK rent boy and was reported in the UK press as having earned over $600,000 in kickbacks from Lowy's mobster cartel business dealings. Cash for peerages cops focus on Lord Levy and the 9/11 massacre; Joshua Gliddon 06/01/2007 The Australian Financial Review, Page 6
There has been controversy about a Microsoft project. In early January 2007, Microsoft sent a free gift to some 90 bloggers around the globe. The company sent each blogger a free Acer laptop computer loaded with Microsoft's Vista Ultimate operating system. The idea is that each blogger will review the Vista Ultimate system and post a review on his or her blog. Bloggers are gaining in influence and have real power. Critics argue that Microsoft should have disclosed details of this project earlier, to ensure that it was not seen to be trying to "buy" the support of bloggers Blogger takes free laptop in his stride

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Among the many philosophies I want to share with the world in May is the philosophy of reading and blogging… I guess I’ve always been a blogger waiting to happen. I am fond of the phrase uttered by the NY based countryman of Slavic fame Andy Warhol. Who is not aware of his oft-repeated comment, that one day everyone would be famous for 15 minutes? Well today the slavic inspired can of soup saying is rather rusty. Like most Media Dragons who swam the Cold River I too hope make a relevant observation. In Technorati age - every man, woman and child in the world will one day have his or her own blog! No longer does a person with a cause (or a grudge) have to write for a newspaper or make friends with a magazine editor to foist strong opinions on fellow humans. All it takes to become a blogger is about five minutes, and it’s mostly free. The search engines love blogs because of the freshness The truth is that the book and newspaper businesses share the same dreadful fear: that people will stop reading.... In the past, newspaper executives understood the symbiotic relationship between their product and books. People who read books also read newspapers. From that basic tenet came a philosophy: If you foster books, you foster reading. If you foster reading, you foster newspapers Book Prizes awarded; Everybody, every Good reader, that is, Loves Media Dragon: Is Google Love Too Powerful? ; Coffee Books looks hot and makes us look cool ; Out of the parliamentary dust, the promise of higher and higher heavens … Sweat

Ranking World Search Engines Grant Traffic, Not Love
I dont think any one blogging and ranking service shows the whole picture.
Technorati Ranking - Provides the number of links from blogs to other blogs, and is the most commonly referred to blog ranking system. It relies on quantity of links from other blogs combined with the number of blogs doing the actual linking.

Alexa - Measures the number of visitors to a site based on Alexa toolbar installations on peoples computers. The data tends to favor the type of blogs were ranking, but can be easily skewed and is more accurate for the most popular sites out there.
Compete - Uses the number of unique visitors to a site based on USA visitors only. This data is also based on a panel like Comscore. Unfortunately this data is for the the USA audience only. It also only attempts to rank the top one million sites, and a few of the blogs in these rankings had no data in Compete.
Quantcast - A newer entry to the data sites, Quantcast measures site traffic by analyzing data provided by ISPs and various partners. They also allow website owners to put their code on your site so they can more accurately report your data. They also provide some other cool data about your site if you do this, and it can be very handy if you need to provide demographics to advertisers. A few blogs in these rankings also had no Quantcast data, so Id recommend they ad the Quantcast code to make sure they get ranked.
Google Pagerank - Yes, I know Pagerank is just a number and doesnt mean anything, but I think everyone can also agree that a site with a pagerank of 7/10 has a higher link authority than a site that has a 4/10. What that means for search results is irrelevant for these rankings, its more of a way to try and get some link authority into our data.
Yahoo Links - Googles link: command doesnt provide a full set of data, and were using Pagerank already, so I used Yahoo! Search to get a more full set of links to a site. Why do this when we have Technorati? Well, Technorati is only tracking blog links, while Yahoo is getting links from any type of site.

Web Revenue Blog Rankings ; [Always make sure the top post on your blog has unique content that is attractive to a first time visitor. Bloggers write a lot of different things, including personal rants, news, link lists and lots of content that directs visitors to other resources and sites. While this is great, it can have massive effects on new visitors who stumble onto your blog; after all, the first thing they get to look at is the top post. The main homepage of your blog will be the strongest page for rankings and branding, as well as offering the best opportunity to win new subscribers and visitors. 10 Rarely Used Tips to Supercharge Your Blog ; How Google Blogsearch Ranks Your Posts...
In Their Own Words! (or Not) ]
• · If in offline there is no such thing as bad publicity, then in online there is no such thing as a bad link. There are those in the marketing fraternity who are becoming sceptical about the power of citizen journalism and that brands can build equity using the blogosphere.Well it is true that for every blog worth reading, there are a myriad of drivelling diatribes that are simply a waste of good electrons. The growth of blogging as quasi-intellectual pastime has almost been its downfall. Blog search engine Technorati buys Personal Bee Never underestimate the power of blogs ; Google has removed paid links that advertised seemingly legitimate Web sites but actually tried to install nefarious programs on PCs. The links were displayed as "sponsored links" after visitors entered specific queries into Google's search service. Clicking the links would ultimately go to a legitimate site, but by way of another site that attempted a "drive-by installation" of password-stealing software Miscreants placed the links using Google's AdWords service for advertisers
• · Power on Mark Cuban: You Are What Your Search Results Return (And So Are ... ; Which Blog Search is Best?
• · · As the blogosphere continues its meteoric rise security measures need to be implemented … Anyone who has participated in the blogosphere in the past two months knows the troubling story of Kathy Sierra, a prominent blogger who was the victim of online threats that included violent sexual acts and murder. When the harassment spread beyond her own blog to two others that were affiliated with other prominent bloggers, Sierra became so terrified that she canceled an upcoming speaking engagement and took a hiatus from blogging. The difference is, with 70 million blogs in existence today and 1.4 new blogs created every second, according to blog search engine Technorati, there are just more people participating in online discussions, and "the more crazy people you've got reading them, the wilder the whole blogosphere can become," says Richard Silverstein, who advocates for a peaceful approach to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his blog. According to Derek Wood, vice president of clinical operations at PsychTracker, a journaling site for people with mental illness, the harassment comes in two general forms: trolls and cyberstalkers. Fighting spirit Five ways to defeat blog trolls, cyberstalkers ; Real estate agents like Keith's diligent blog entries -- up to three or four a day -- were pushing the magic buttons of search engine Google, which ranked Keith's blog near the top ... Brokers in Blogsville
• · · · In a new book, former Sydney Morning Herald pictorial editor Michael Young recalls his humiliation at the hands of John Alexander, now PBL chief executive An editor spoiling for a fight