Monthly Archives: June 2005

Playing with Outlook 2003

I have been playing around with Outlook 2003 in an attempt to get all my email addresses sorted out so that I regularly check them all. Previous attempts to use Thunderbird have failed as I found the way it handles multiple email address clumsy and confusing.

I use Gmail for most of my personal email and am quite happy to leave that as web-based so I can get to it all wherever I am. That leaves the email for this blog, the webmaster addresses for Palimpsest and this site and my Palimpsest email address. None of these get used regularly, maybe a couple of mails a week, but I do need to keep on top of them as often they are queries or requests or help.

These have all been set up in Outlook now, and it works fine. All the messages get downloaded to the inbox and then the ones I keep I sort into relevant folders.

I have just created a new email address though, using the davebriggs.net domain, called lists, which I am going to have all my mailing list susbcriptions sent to. This works on Outlook now too, but has the unfortunate effect of completely clogging up my inbox. I had a look at setting up filters to get certain messages downloaded to certain folders, something I had managed in Outlook 2000 fine, but just couldn’t figure it out in this new version. Will have another go tonight.

Wikitorial

LA Times ‘wikitorial’ gives editors red faces

This is quite funny, and serves as a warning to any organisation jumping in feet first to a new technology without fully considering the likely implications.

It was the boldest of innovations. A chance for the mainstream media to strike back against the upstarts of the online world. On Friday the Los Angeles Times – an unwieldy broadsheet newspaper – launched its “wikitorial”, an interactive device allowing readers to contribute to and rewrite its editorial column.
“Do you see fatuous reasoning, a selective reading of the facts, a lack of poetry?” asked an introductory article in the paper. “Well, what are you going to do about it? You could send us an e-mail … But today you have a new option: Rewrite the editorial yourself.”

Trumpeting the experiment as “a constantly evolving collaboration among readers in a communal search for truth”, the paper admitted that it faced potential disaster: “Like an arthritic old lady who takes to the dance floor … the Los Angeles Times is more likely to break a hip than to be hip. We acknowledge that possibility.”

At the end of a 1,000-word editorial about the war in Iraq, online readers were invited to “Click here to Wiki this morning’s editorial”.

But by Sunday, readers were met with the following statement: “Where is the wikitorial? Unfortunately, we have had to remove this feature, at least temporarily, because a few readers were flooding the site with inappropriate material.”

Hot and flustered, the arthritic old lady had left the dance floor.

The wikitorial took its lead from the website wikipedia.org, an encyclopaedia on the internet written by volunteers. The name comes from the Hawaiian term “wiki wiki”, meaning quick or informal.

The wikitorial started with the first users posting modest amendments to the editorial just hours after its publication.

By early morning, readers were inserting a tone that was more shrill than the high-minded balance of the original: “The Bush administration should be publicly charged and tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

At 9am, the editorial was erased by a reader and substituted with another. Bizarrely, the new version echoed the position of the original.

By mid-morning, the editorial had been replaced by the more reductive “Fuck USA”.

By lunchtime, the founder of Wikipedia got in on the act, “forking” the editorial into two pieces, representing opposing viewpoints.

“I’m proposing this page as an alternative to what is otherwise inevitable, which is extensive editing of the original to make it neutral … which would be fine for Wikipedia, but would not be an editorial,” wrote Jimbo Wales, who advised the paper on its experiment.

At 4am the paper’s managing editor got a call from the office. Explicit images known as “goatses” had appeared on the wikitorial page. The experiment was terminated.

But the paper remains undaunted. “As long as we can hit a high standard and have no risk of vandalism, then it is worth having a try at it again,” managing editor Rob Barrett said.

Michael Kinsley, opinion editor of the LA Times and the founder of the online magazine Slate, defended the wikitorial. “It’s a cool thing, this wiki business and you think there’s got to be some way it’s useful,” he said. “I thought, what the heck, let’s do it.”

The wikitorial, with modifications, will probably return, he said. “We said it was an experiment. We were embarrassed a bit, but we took it down and we’ll come right back.”

The old lady just can’t keep away from the bright lights.

New Parsnip at last

Yesterday I finally got round to writing another piece of Parsnip, the thoroughly inept fantasy author.

They raced through the arid desert land which was what Zamora was comprised of, mostly. There were some nice bits but they were all on the coast. The two intrepid mercenaries had to go as fast as possible. They weren’t sure just when the news would come through that they were there, but when it did, those orclins and harbingers would be all over them, like a nasty rash you might pick up from a disease-ridden whore in the fetid city of debauchery that is Muckdanton. While Huth drove, he and Pedro exchanged tales of their lives so far.

“So, Pedro, how did you come to be in the service of Bogg-Ryder, the warrior Queen of Zlup?”

“Heh. That’s a tale, believe me. When I left Technocollege, I worked for a while with Blei-dorian, a jester who knows more than he is comfortable with. He was jestering then for Bogg-Ryder’s father, Marsh-Bender, and I used to help out, you know, wiping down the audience and picking up the limbs after each show. When Blei-dorian left to take part in the Eter-Tele show Jester Love Island, I was assigned to be Bogg-Ryder’s bodyguard. It was great work, and she came to really trust me, which is why I am here now. She wants to make sure this job gets done, and that you are safe. Let’s just say she would like to see the Tadotian uprising work.”

“Blimey! Right, well. It’s good to know we have some support. I knew her and Frek Necktuck, the Chancellor of the Blaartian ruling Council, didn’t get on, but that’s pretty amazing news! Hang on, what’s that ahead?”

Pedro engaged his megavision goggles and peered forth through the windscreen.

“Crikey!” he exclaimed. “A huge army of orclins on the horizon! The Praelector, acting on behalf of Gaxor, must be aware of our presence and sent these bastards to try and stop us. You have battled these bad-boys before, Huth, and survived. What should we do?”

Lack of Action

Not a lot going on here I am afraid. This is entirely due to the fact that I don’t have internet access at home, and now I do much of my web browsing through FeedDemon it’s a bit tricky doing stuff at work. But will try to make at least a post or two a day from now on.