The Blog Phenomenon

Last year, I read a book called Blog by Hugh Hewitt. Never mind that his views are very right of center and most examples in his book are based on issues that, at the time, I fundamentally disagreed with. However, the essense of his book was that the power of Internet blogging is such that it will eventually cause the main-stream media to slip, tumble and crash. I bought the book hoping for a unbiased opinion and insight into the blogging phenomenon, and its social and economic effects. The book disappointed me thoroughly. It did however, make an interesting point in that the power of publishing has finally come to the common man (well, if one can count owning a PC, Internet connection, and sufficient know-how a common phenomenon across the world). He is, for the most part right. The history of publishing, from the invention of the printing press to the blog, shows a marked democratization of the process. This much is irrefutable. But Hewitt’s claim that it will cause the toppling of the elite, liberal (read: left-leaning), powerful, money-making machine that is the main-stream media, was very far fetched. I do love a consipracy theory as much as the next person, but this claim of Hewitt’s, I could not quite fathom. I was, however, convinced about the power of a personal publishing platform. The ‘blog’ is only a tool that enables it. It will only be a matter of time before the next big fad/technology will replace the blog as the means for personal publishing. For those who are still unconvinced about the immense power wielded by an unwieldy bunch of writiers pecking away at a keyboard into late hours (take a look at the time of most of my posts), there a numerous stories of how the powers to be were brought to their knees by bloggers. John Kerry, IIPM, and Trent Lott are just a few examples that jump to mind.

There are plenty of blogs that have made it big. ‘Big’ is defined as having the most number of incoming links, plenty of visitors, and tons of money in ad revenue. Examples can be found everywhere on the Internet. But what I find interesting now is that some quarters are proclaiming a death-knell for blogs. The New York Magazine has a highly readable article on the issue. The WSJ has a good article too, but I will not link to it because article are only free for a few days. But the author, Jason Fry, makes a point that echos my view very well. He says, “My bet: Within a couple of years blogging will be a term thrown around loosely — and sometimes inaccurately — to describe a style and rhythm of writing, as well as the tools to publish that writing.”

The disturbing point that the New York Magazine’s Clive Thompson makes is that blogs are being snapped up the same main-stream media that once feared and dreaded The Lone Blogger. Duh! Ofcourse they are. Power is always where the money is. And since blogs have proved that they can support a revenue model, it is only natural that the main-stream media will move there, albiet a bit late. Hewitt was talking hogwash in his book. He runs a syndicated radio show that I’m sure is very much part of the media that he abhores.

In all the talk about A-, B- and C-list bloggers that are trying to make it big, everyone seems to have forgotten the blogger who blogs just because. All those on my blogroll are close friends. None of them have aspirations of making it as an A-list blogger and making millions like Engadget’s Peter Rojas did when Weblogs, Inc. was sold to AOL in a $25 million deal. We blog because we can. Because we like to. Because we enjoy it. It gives us a perverse sense of pleasure in knowing that ours in one in 29 million blogs (according to Technorati’s front page at the time of this posting) that can be accessed by anyone, anytime, anywhere. It makes us happy when someone comments on our blog. We feel likfe we’ve maybe, just for a second, been able to get someone else to see things the way we do. It is the power that comes with this feeling that will always keep blogging alive for so many of us who are even under the C-list.


So Sameer, after being denied entry to the blogrolls of WordPress, pleasantly surprised me by posting on his Xanga site today. So he has been granted permission to be back on the rolls…for now! He has promised me one post a day during the Spring quarter, when he should have plenty of time. I’d settle for one post a week. 😀

Sameer says:
a blog a day
Sameer says:
promise to u
Sameer says:
keep me honest

There is something therapuetic about writing, however terrible the writing might be. Anyway, this is the third post for today, which is way more than I ever do. So I’m signing out for now.

Sleep, Sweet Sleep

Those of you who know me have almost certainly heard me claim that sleep is overrated. Those of you who know me, also probably know that I love sleep dearly. Those of you who know me also know that I have immense difficulty falling asleep. Those of you who dont know me…? The time is always ripe!

I’ve been reading some news lately that claims a pill that is in development that will allow the body to sleep for 4 hours and wake up, refreshed. I’d trade a couple of teeth to be in the clinical trial for such a drug. I believe I have chronic insomnia, although it is probably something I should get diagnosed by an expert.

I tried to locate some of the same news links where I read about these pills, but like that dream that flitters away in the wee hours of the morning, so too have these sites. Point being — if anyone knows any more about this, please pass on information.


I’ve been listening to podcasts lately. The term has been floating around the media, web and other, quite a bit. So I thought it was time for me to dabble. I usually use my Zen Touch to listen to music while walking to campus and back. The walk can take upto 20 minutes depending on which part of campus I’m headed towards. But listening to the same few 100 songs over and over was getting monotonous. So that was another reason to start listening to podcasts.

Juice is the podcast reciever that use currently and it seems to do the job fairly well. However, I have to use a different application to synch my MP3 player with my music. Thanks to Microsofts PlayForSure, I can use WMP10 to do this. It’d be nice if I could do it in the same app, but tight coupling has generally been a hallmark of portable devices. iPod and iTunes is the best example of a this horrendous design. Sure, it works well for Apple, but for the increasingly tech-concious consumer it is an unfair expectation.

The podcasts that I currently subscribe and listen to are:
1) Engadget
2) Prison Planet
3) The World’s Technology Podcast
4) The Weekly Rundown

In my podcast travails so far, I’ve come across some absolutely terrible ones. That, I guess, is the disadvantage of having a free flow of information and media on an unregulated web. All of a sudden, the Chinese censorship doesn’t look at that bad 😀

What is a podcast anyway? Wikipedia does a good job of explaining it all. is also a useful, if a little confusing resource, for locating new podcasts. If anyone has knowledge of better software and new/more interesting audio-feeds, be sure to let me know!

First Post with WordPress

So last night, on Josh’s advice, I attempted to upgrade MovableType from 3.0D to 3.2. And as Murphy would have it, it wouldn’t upgrade. So instead of bothering trying to figure out the problems, I just installed WordPress I had been planning to migrate anyway, since I’ve heard that it has a simpler interface and the whole engine itself is easier to manage. Also, the anti-comment spam plug in is supposed to be great. So far, I’ve not been disappointed. The install went of very smoothly. It imported all my entries from Movabletype like a breeze and the configs seems very simple. I just have to work on the layout now to get it to match the rest of my site. Although, that will certainly be a work in progress seeing as how time is a premium currently. The path for the blog is now ./wordpress and I’ve made a long overdue change to the front page of the site. Otherwise all else remains the same.

Here is to WordPress! The software looks fabulous, and I’m quite happy with it so far!

First Tag Ever…

So Kaushik tagged me. What is a tag? I’ll be damned if I know, but apparently I am required to describe 8 qualities of my perfect lover. But there are also some rules of the tag.

1. The tagged victim has to come up with 8 different points of their perfect lover.
2. You need to mention the sex of the target.
3. Tag 8 victims to join this game and leave a comment on their comments saying they’ve been tagged.
4. If tagged the 2nd time, there’s no need to post again.

The 3rd rule probably will not apply to me. I don’t have 8 people who read my rants and will care to be tagged. And I certainly don’t expect to be tagged again, so rule 4 is a moot point as well. Which leaves with only 2 rules, thankfully. I’ve never been good at following

To read Kaushiks description of his perfect lover, go here.

So here goes my 8, in no particular order of importance:

1) She must have a killer smile
2) She must love music with a passion. Common tastes will be nice, but not required
3) She must be willing to try new things, and push me to try new things too
4) She must not be reluctant to having me spend money on her
5) She must be honest, open and willing to talk. It really annoys me when there is obviously something amiss, and a person continues to say “Nothing is wrong”, even when they are asked repeatedly
6) She must enjoy sports and outdoor activities
7) She must be easy to joke with (and about)
8) She must (at least pretend!) be able to hold an intellectually stimulating conversation
9) She must want to be punctual. An honest effort at being on time is appreciated
10) She must understand when something is bothering me and offer to talk about it. If I don’t open up right away, she must understand it is not that I don’t want to talk, it is just that I need a little coaxing
11) She must have an infinite capacity for cuddling
12) She must like pets
13) She must want to have fun every now and then – the kind that I enjoy! Dancing, drinking, and partying!

Okay, okay, so I know I was supposed to stop at 8, but hey, when one is writing such things and using perfection as guide, it is that much easier to find perfect traits, right?

I love you, Revathi.