Monthly Archives: August 2006

Papa’s Got a Brand New Blog

Switched to this here WordPress.com blog from Blogger. Mostly because of categories. And because my academic blog is on WordPress (but hosted on a university server). The beta version of Blogger does have labels, which work better than WordPress categories. And my Blogger account has recently been allowed to switch to the beta version. So, new blog:
Disparate 2

Not sure about switching to Blogger again. It’ll depend on the possibility to integrate other Google products. One major advantage of Blogger over WordPress.com is that templates are fully customizable. At this point, the main thing for me is that Javascript can be embedded so that Technorati can be integrated directly in the template. This has been possible in the previous version of Blogger but the new version makes it really simple.

Advantages of WordPress.com, at this point include a more complete blogroll mechanism (with OPML import, categories…), more post options, pages (though GooglePages makes this point moot), Akismet, more comment moderation features, and a few more sidebar widgets. But Blogger has better penetration (which is a benefit when using a Blogger account to post comments elsewhere), the interface is less cluttered, and the whole blogging system seems more like a complete system (while WordPress.com is more of a “lite” version of WordPress). If my new blog gets more comments than this one, the switch will make a lot of sense.

We’ll see.

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Beethoven’s Fifths

JSTOR: Musical Times: Vol. 80, No. 1154, p. 257

Beethoven: “Well, who has prohibited the use of fifths like these?”

Ries: “Bless me, they are forbidden by the very fundamental rules of harmony . . . By Marpurg, Kirnberger, Fux, every theorist who has ever written on the subject.”

Beethoven: “Well, they may have forbidden them, but I allow them.”


Coffee Brewing Methods

Got this discussion going on CoffeeGeek for a while now.

CoffeeGeek – Coffee: Machines and Brewing Methods, Confessions of a Brikka Lover
There are so many ways to make coffee:

Moka pots, vac pots, Turkish pots, Neapolitan pots, press pots, drip pots, percolators, balance brewers, AeroPress, Clover, semi-automatic espresso machines, super-automatic espresso machines, manual espresso machines, pod machines…


Adding It Up

Been thinking. Yes, it’s dangerous. But it does happen to any of us.

Starting up with my own comments about Yu Koyo Peya and Jared Diamond’s Collapse. It’s no secret that Diamond’s approach often clashes with the anthropological tendency toward critical thinking. But still…
From The Matrix, Agent Smith saying that humans are a disease. The YKP on-screen message that “civilization” (however defined) is the disease. A further claim could be that a specific civilization is a disease. Fun to think about. Where does it lead us, exactly? And, really, what do we mean by “civilization” in those cases? State-level “democracy” based on the illusion of national identity and individual autonomy, and motivated by market economy? And that’s all so important why, exactly? After all, there are alternatives of different types and in different places

Haven’t read Diamond’s books but it’s quite likely that Collapse in fact describes the decline of a specific social model. Actually, to a Québécois, the recent tribute to Rémy Girard’s career makes the analogy even more salient. Some have asked what year the U.S. were stuck in. Some date between 410 and 476 would be many people’s guess. But it could be later.

It might be the end of Occidentalism. Or, simply, perceived radical changes based on a series of significant events.

It reminds me of a well-known Swiss novel and a movie made about it. English-speakers would likely think of Chicken Little. Again, windmills and shelters.
Many events are connected to these times. From the end of the Cold War to Hurricane Katrina. From a climate of terror and paranoia to the rise of Chindia. From the Washington Consensus to notions of terrorists and freedom fighters,

There’s no conspiracy. Just a bunch of loosely linked social changes on a rather large but still very limited stage.
What are we to do?

Look further than the end of our collective nose?


University Rankings and Diversity, Redux

For some reason, responding to comments on my own entries doesn’t seem to work.

Jason points out McGill University as an example of the phenomenon discussed in own of my most recent entries:

University Rankings and Diversity « Disparate

And it’s exactly the case that McG fits the pattern. But they’re not alone. Some schools in the U.S. (with pretensions of being top-notch academic institutions) are even more deeply entrenched in this educational philosophy favouring prestige over knowledge.

Ah, well…

Good thing there’s such a thing as Concordia University.


Sizing Up the Geek Crowd

Rocketboom interview with Steve Rubel

Like Delagrave and Bergeron, Rubel got it. And it goes much beyond marketing, brands, or even economy. Geeks are at the forefront of something. They have an impact. Not a direct impact on sales of a specific product. But geeks are trailblazers and, sometimes, trendsetters in the social changes which are already happening. They’re not causing the change. But they’re riding the waves of social change. Some waves will die quickly, others will carry many people to an interesting place. As in STF, creating windmills, not shelters.

This is also connected to a recent discussion I had, at a nice brewpub, with a member of Siebel Institute’s faculty. We were talking about beer geeks and their impact on craft beer sales. Not only are beer geeks like computer geeks but it turns out that there might be a clear historical relation between the Pacific Coast computer industry, the rise of latte drinking, and the craft beer revolution. As beer and coffee are among my passions, I find this link fascinating.

At any rate, this faculty member’s point was that large breweries shouldn’t care much about beer geeks as they (we) don’t drive sales of specific products. One of the main arguments here is that geeks aren’t faithful to a brand. Geeks want diversity. Beer geeks want as many different beers as possible.

It’s pretty much the same thing throughout the geek crowd. Talk about empowered “consumers”


Music, Food, Industries, Piracy

000ady6y (PNG Image, 200×125 pixels)

Noticed it in Steal This Film. A very appropriate message. Process over product. Music is not a commodity. Food does not grow on profits.

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