The Aardvark Speaks : essence, effervescence, obscurity. Established 2002. A weblog by Horst Prillinger. ISSN 1726-5320

March 2007 Archive

March 04, 2007

Nothing broke during the past seven days, at least nothing that was really important. A small piece of plastic broke off my desk when I accidentally kicked against it, but it doesn't seem o be important, and you barely notice it's missing.

Once again I noticed that "rare" is an overused term when applied to used records. Why is it that some record dealers all have he same nondescipt albums in their "rare" box, and then you discover some really rare, much sought-after items in their special offers box? Do they even know what they are selling? What happened to the term "expertise"?

Yes, I haven't been blogging much lately. Neither have, I noticed, many of the people who started blogging around the same time that I did and that I used to keep contact with. Are we floating on similar brainwaves that are telling us "no use blogging" these days? Or does our non-blogging exert negative vibes on our respective blogs? Who knows. The increasing number of inactive weblogs around me in the blogosphere will, however, be one of the things that I will use in my paper on weblog applications for libraries, which I've finally started to work on more seriously.

At any rate, my readership is once again dropping significantly as a direct effect of non-blogging. I understand this completely; after all you people want to be entertained.

Other than that, the good news is that something nice has happened which I can't tell anybody yet until next week, and the not-so-good news is my father has his operation scheduled for Wednesday, and as if that wasn't scary enough, I have a rather scary (less scary than my dad's operation, but still scary enough) birthday coming up. I'll keep you informed.

Posted by Horst at 01:48 PM | Comments (6)

March 12, 2007

Messages from the Lost Continent has been shortlisted for the 2007 Lulu Blooker Prize.

Which means that we're in the top 6 of 34 submitted fiction entries. Which is pretty cool. Thanks to my co-authors for making this possible.

If you still haven't read the book, this could be an incentive to order it now and help us cover some of the costs (we're still about €400 short -- basically, this means we'll have to sell some 150 more copies). As Amazon has once again decided to remove it from its catalog, I recommend ordering from instead.

Posted by Horst at 04:03 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

March 24, 2007

Okay, during the days when I didn't post anything I safely made it into my 41st year, and, more importantly, my father made it out of hospital.

Posted by Horst at 09:44 PM | Comments (1)

March 27, 2007

There's this virus going around that affects your entire ear, nose and throat region, but not everything at once. It affects one section per day really painfully, and then the next day it has moved on to the next section and hurts there. I never went from a tonsilitis to a laryngitis to a common cold in three days. The interesting thing about this virus is, (a) you know why ear nose & throat doctors are, well, ear nose & throat doctors, and (b) you can actually feel how these regions are connected. Quite painfully so, actually. It's like applied anatomy, only you don't need anyone to explain the actual items to you because every day a single one of them hurts, parts that you never even knew existed in your ear nose & throat region.

Laryngitis, by the way. Come to think of it, I never used to have it before I started teaching. And ever since I keep having it more or less irregularly, I'm not sure if one day with a really sexy voice is worth several days of pain and several days without a voice. So this current virus with just one day of pain was something of an improvement.

Posted by Horst at 09:43 PM | Comments (5)

March 28, 2007

A paper that I'm currently writing has me thinking about weblogs again. One, the diminishing posting frequency on weblogs all around me (and, let's admit it, here too) has led me to believe that the golden days of weblogging might be over. Sadly, I'm not saying this as somebody who jumped the hype, but as somebody who started a website only to discover that he was actually writing a weblog. It therefore struck me as some kind of surprise when only a few days ago, I stumbled across two article, the first of which claims that weblogs are the ideal marketing tool, and the second says that weblogs are becoming increasingly relevant because webloggers are apparently "investigative multipliers". Um.

Anyway, in this paper I am trying to single out strategies for using weblogs in libraries, despite the fact that I see their importance dwindling. Today, I wrote some 1200 words on the significance on comments and trackbacks, and noticed how their significance seems to have changed.

Even Dave Winer, the controversial semi-guru of weblogging changed his position between 2003, when he claimed that comments were a defining element of weblogs, to 2007, when he says that they're not really all that important.

So what about the interactivity, the writer-reader communication interface? Was the fact that a weblog allowed on-the-spot discussion of a topic not one of the things that made weblogs different from the rest of the web-based applications?

I am wondering what sidelined comments (and trackbacks, by the way) so much, and the main suspects seem to be two things:

First, comment/trackback spammers, who forced many bloggers to switch off or at least restrict access to the comment and trackback functionality. Whether the subsequent sidelining of these functionalities is the result of rationalising this decision or whether it stems from the realisation that blogs can survive without them is open to discussion.

Second, wikis and other forms of interactive web publications may have taken over this functionality from weblogs as they seem to be more suited for discussion.

But overall, the interconnection between weblogs seems to have become looser. People have been removing or reducing blogrolls, comments are often not available, and as a result the often cited "community" quality of weblogs seems to be waning away. I guess part of the reason for people losing interest in their own blog is that they are finding fewer interesting other blogs due to this symptom.

I also may be totally wrong here. If you wish to add your 2 cents, the comment space for this weblog entry is open.

Posted by Horst at 10:04 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

March 29, 2007

A thriller entitled Das Geheimnis des Buchhändlers ("The Bookseller's Secret"; the actual English title is The Bookman's Promise). The caption on the back reads: "Loving books can be deadly."

What nonsense. Booksellers do not love books. At least no more than pimps love their prostitutes. It's commerce. It's about money. Or sometimes it isn't because I've repeatedly had to deal with booksellers who couldn't care less if the ordered books arrive at the library or not.

Booksellers loving books is just a cliché, and a pretty bad one too. It's almost as bad as librarians reading books.

Posted by Horst at 11:09 AM | Comments (9)

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