Showcase Results 12/29/03

Ok folks, after a long wait, here’s the preliminary results for this long, 2-week Showcase event.
In the non-political category, Spam Town leads with 21 links for Spam of the Week. Meanwhile, over in the political category, My Word leads with 34 links for The Politics of the Lord of the Rings. And on the Alliances front, the Liberal Coailition maintains their dominance with 66.7 % participation.
As always, feedback will be accepted until 5pm PST, after which final results will be certified. Click More below for full results…
Update: It’s official. Congratulations to the winners!
Also: Remember, if you entered in the past two weeks and feel you were unduly hosed by the contest confusion, you may enter again this week (or any other week you are eligible by the ‘age’ requirement).

Continue reading “Showcase Results 12/29/03”

Showcase: The Way Forward

Alrighty then, here’s what we’re going to do about last week’s hosed !Show.
I’m simply going to extend the final vote count deadline to this coming Sunday night — December 28th. By then I should have the scans in working order and whoever has the most votes as of Sunday night will be declared the winner.
This isn’t a perfect solution of course; among other things, it means that you must ensure that your links are still there on Sunday night for them to be counted. Votes cast last Sunday that have scrolled off your front page will not count, so please re-post ’em if necessary.
Also: there are a number of blogs which submitted their entries this week. Rather than kick them out, I am going to let them continue on, but will also allow them to re-submit in a future week if they choose to, given that they may not have realized that the contest was hosed up this week. And given the troubles overall, I will also extend the same offer to anyone who joined in the first week. To repeat in more simple terms: anybody who is currently in the contest and feels they’ve gotten hosed will be allowed to enter again on another week.
In other news, those of you paying close attention may have noticed that there is a new Alliance in town — Blogdom of God. From their manifesto:
A new Alliance has been forged. The God Blogs have begun to unite. This potentially formidable force is rallying aroung the banner of ‘The Blogdom of God’. Although now a small alliance, which could be seen to be like a mustard seed, will it grow as in the parable to be a large tree that birds can nest in?
Their membership has developed rapidly over the past week, and they have 40 members at last count. So, with this Sunday night’s contest, they will be eligible to compete for the Showcase sponsorship contest.
That’s it for now; I’ll post something this weekend when I have a better idea whether the scans are back up to snuff or not…

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!
Apologies for the rather hosed-up !NBS this week. This is the first time in the contest’s history that I’ve just utterly failed to properly close out a week and declare a winner, so I ask to be forgiven this lapse. Holiday cheer has interfered with blogging responsibilities, so I hope y’all will understand.
I still don’t know what precisely is wrong with the scans, so I need to devote some debugging time to that. But I may not get to that immediately, it being Christmas and all. So bear with me a little while longer — I need to figure out the least annoying way to resolve last week’s contest for everyone involved, and right now there’s not really a completely satisfactory answer.
But hey: if you’re of the Christmas-celebrating persuasion, you shouldn’t be worrying about this crap today. (If you’re not, then ok, fine, worry about it…)
So until later: Merry Christmas!

Showcase / Ecosystem Troubles

Folks –
For some unknown reason, it looks like the scans did not run properly today or yesterday. I’ve received many e-mails letting me know that Showcase votes weren’t counted; this would be why.
Hosting Matters gets extremely edgy when I run these routines during the day (understandbly; they impact the server pretty heavily), so I am going to wait until this evening to do a full rescan.
So for now, stand by…
Update 10:45 pm: OK folks, I’m afraid real life has taken priority (fancy that!) and I haven’t gotten to doing a rescan. So we’re going to see if the scans do their magic on schedule tonight, and go from there.

Happy Hanukkah

Happy Hanukkah, all!
Not being a bear of the Jewish persuasion myself, my celebrations will be limited. I did, however, pick up some Ale (The Chosen Beer) as my beverage of choice for the evening, so that must count for something.

TTLB Forums Open: Call for Ecosystem Proposals

OK folks, a new section is now open for business here at TTLB:
In particular, I’ve opened the forums to provide a discussion space around the project to expand the Ecosystem as an open source project networking many “sub-Ecosystems” focused on particular weblog communities.
In the forums section, you’ll see one forum specifically dedicated to gathering input from people interested in participating in the project, either as developers/coders, or by running a sub-Ecosystem of their own. And while I was at it, I created a forum for Ecosystem feature requests, and one for general TTLB / Ecosystem chatter.
Take a look, post your thoughts, and thanks!

Showcase Results 12/15/03

It’s Monday, and that means it’s !Show time.
In the non-political category, we seem to have a clear winner. the Shadow of Mt. Hollywood has a commanding lead with 13 votes for the post Cheating and the Academic Transaction.
In the political category, though, things are a tighter, but with an unfortunate twist. It’s Craptastic! leads with 45 links to the post What is the Point?, with Anti anti war close behind with 42 links for The War in Iraq will be a success.
But. As far as I can tell, Anti anti war did not cast any link-votes for any other contestants in the Showcase, thereby not living up to their obligation as a contestant. I e-mailed them — twice — on this issue over the weekend, but I now appear to be getting delivery failure messages to the address provided on their blog. But regardless: unless I am proven wrong and they did vote for other contestants, they are not eligible to win this week even if missed votes are found to raise their total above It’s Craptastic!. Sorry, but that’s the rules. (And if I’m just plain missing the votes they did cast, then my apologies!)
As for the alliance contest: the Alliance of Free Blogs put up a valiant fight and delivered 55.8 % participation, but the Liberal Coalition remains triumphant with 84.0 %.
Feedback, complaints, and issues accepted until 5pm today as always, after which final winners will be certified. Click more below for full results…
Update: It’s official. Congratulations to In the Shadow of Mt. Hollywood, It’s Craptastic!, and the Liberal Coalition for winning the week.

Continue reading “Showcase Results 12/15/03”

HP’s Disintegration

On a lighter note, there’s something extremely, deeply wrong in the fact that HP is using The Cure’s Pictures of You to sell digital cameras.
I’m just sayin’.

President Saddam — Again?

During the buildup to the war, and since, many who opposed the war declared it an “illegal” action and a violation of international law.
Now that he has been found to be alive, I’d ask this to those who considered this an illegitimate war: will you now stand up and demand that Hussein be placed back in power? He was, after all, the “legal” ruler of Iraq.
And if not, why not?

Saddam Captured Alive: Weblog Reactions

Saddam Hussein has been captured in Iraq. I’m still waking up and not suitable for rational commentary yet, other than a simple “YES!” when I heard the news. So here’s a quick roundup of the word around the blogosphere, by vague sure-to-be-argued with groupings:
(Update 12/16/03: OK, I’m done updating this post; what you see is what you get.)
Our Men & Women in Uniform
Baghdaddy reports: “There is such celebrating among the general population, that the spirit of Baghdad has changed to one of jubilation…. The celebratory fire, and the smiles on everyones faces is reminisent of the victory scene at the end of Return of The Jedi, when the Death Star was destroyed signifying the end of the Empire.”
Boots on the Ground predicts: “The Iraqi people won’t be afraid anymore, I think they’ll finally stand up and fight against the Fedayeen. This is definitely a serious blow to the terrorists morale. I doubt the terrorism will stop, but it will make an impact on how they think. I think the Iraqis will also be more bold in helping to put a stop to the terrorists and Fedayeen.”
Hardtack and Havok: “TO THE TYRANT NEVER YIELD”
Mudville Gazzette:: “[G]et ready, for the next time a US Soldier dies over there a media storm of “we’ve lost the war” coverage will exceed all previous attempts. It will “prove” that all Iraqis hate us, not just Saddam.”
Trying to Grok: “I’m off to bake a “Suck it, Saddam” cake, as I promised in August. Photos to come…”
Blackfive: “I am so proud of our soldiers. 600 soldiers went in to capture a man who is responsible for the terrorist attacks on our troops, the deaths of their friends and comrades. They captured him without a shot.”
Chief Wiggle’s reaction is short, simple, and echoes my own.
Thanks to Citizen Smash for the use of his blogroll, who has now weighed in himself, desribing a conversation he had with an Iraqi while he was deployed:

“A few months ago in Kuwait, a local man shared his thoughts on the subject. “When you get Saddam,” he told me, “you give him to us.”
“We know what to do.”

Argghhh!!!: “And the saddest part of this all, aside from the cost to the Iraqi people, is that the first thought of the Dwarfs was: “Oh shit, how the hell can we spin this?””
Warbloggers & Fellow Travellers
The Command Post is all over the established media.
Jeff Jarvis is focusing on Iraqi blogger’s reactions (good idea)!
Amish Tech Support: “For the Queen to use… doo-doot doo-doot doo-doot doot-doot-doo-doo…”
Winds of Change: “Saddam Hussein ain’t comin’ back. And he’d better get used to that disheveled look.”
On the Third Hand: “Yeeeeeeeeeeeee Haaaaaaaaaaaw!”
Meryl Yourish: “Crack your best bottle tonight and drink a toast to our armed forces.” But wait! Meryl has more.
Jane Galt is ahead of the curve and has actual analysis already: “Now the question is “What should we do with him?” The answer, of course, is “try him”. We want Saddaam to be seen as a criminal, not a martyr, not a victim of overweening US power…”
Wizbang: “This makes me glad I woke up early this morning…”
Dean Esmay: “We got him. Yeah. Good morning. So why don’t you tell me why this is so cool?”
Oxblog: “PREDICTION: Guerilla attacks will intensify for about a month before they start melting away.”
Acidman: “The “Butcher of Bahgdad” proved to be a complete coward in the end. The man who murdered hundreds of thousands of people when he was in power was found hiding in a “spider-hole” and resembling a complete wretch as he burrowed like a rat in the dirt.”
!Insta: “Hmm. Let’s ask him about the Atta thing, and see how cooperative he really is.”
Pejman: “…when captured, he looked scraggly, dirty and pathetic. Thus the appearance. Thus the man. How fitting that he should be brought so low.”
Blogs for Bush has another roundup of blogosphere reaction similar to this one.
PseudoPsalms sings a little Michael Jackson (!!!) and says “How sweet it is.”
Alilison Kaplan Sommer: “Now they just showed the video — the hole in the ground in the Tikrit basement where Saddam was hidden, and the pictures of Saddam himself being examined by a doctor. His beard is big and bushy and about three-quarters white and the rest black. He kind of looks like a scary anti-Santa Claus from hell. ”
The Commissar: “So Militaristic Hegemons have captured glorious Comrade Saddam. Great man had grown beard. Had $750,000. Hiding in hole in house near Tikrit…Religious comrades may say prayer for Saddam, and for Howard Dean.”
Captain’s Quarters says “This should put a stop or at least severely dampen the “insurgency” in Iraq. Without Saddam as either the symbolic or operational head to their efforts, and with the vast majority of Iraqis opposing the actions of the Fedayeen, it should be rather easy to roll up the rest of their operation.” and has more coverage.
Jessica’s Well: “Even Qusay’s 14 year-old son went out fighting in a hail of gunfire, but the modern Saladin goes down without firing a shot. ”
Poliblog: “…the argument prior to today that it was a good thing that Saddam was out of power was hardly changing the views of those oppossed to the war in the first place. Indeed, when that point is raised, it is typically dismissed as “sure, it’s a good thing, but was it worth it?” and I don’t think that Saddam’s capture will change that response very much by the vast majority of people who were supporting Dean prior to today.”
For my own take on the news, I have a very simple question for those who opposed this war as illegitimate and illegal.
Patio Pundit: “I turned on the TV to watch Face the Nation but couldn’t figure out why Dan Rather was guest hosting….HEY….that guy looks like…”
Hippercritical: “We rejoice with you brothers! This is not the end. It is just the beginning!!”
IMAO: “Consolations to the press and to the Democrats. I guess you can use the line, “Well, you still don’t have Osama!” but I’m not sure how well that will go over (I’d probably punch you).”
Evangelical Outpost: “If anyone wonders why liberals are not taking seriously when it comes to foreign policy one has to look no further than their pessimistic attitudes towards Saddam

MT-Macro Plugin

Just finished installing Choate‘s spiffy MT-Macro plugin. It’s powerful stuff, allowing you to do regular expression matching on your blog to save on the typing. At the moment, I’ve set it up to let me type little macros like ‘Eco’ in my posts and have it replace it with a nice HTML link to the Ecosystem, but it can do a lot more complex things than that. Check it out!

Fight the Man, Brothers!

Let me just say that I stand in solidarity with my black brothers and sisters and condemn barbaric practice:
For the first time in 33 years, New Jersey is allowing hunters to thin out its burgeoning black bear population. Animal-rights activists have assailed the six-day hunt, arguing that the state should sterilize the bears instead. How, exactly, does one sterilize a black bear in the wild?
Answer: One doesn’t, unless one wants one’s own cojones to serve as a light snack for said bear.

Showcase Results 12/8/03

Preliminary results are in, and it appears Bananas has a solid lead in the the non-political category for the post Vegan Marshmellows Roasting Over an Open Fire. Meanwhile, on the political side, dangerous liberty has pulled ahead with Al Franken on Book TV.
And for alliances, the newly-formed Liberal Coalition comes out of the gate strong, leading the contest with 71.4 % participation.
Feedback/challenges/issues will be accepted until 5pm PST, after which time the results will be finalized and official winners announced. Click ‘More’ below for full results…
Update: OK folks, there were a few missed votes in the auto-scans, but even with those corrections, the outcomes do not change (I have adjusted all link counts and alliance stats below to match the final counts). So it’s official: congratulations to Ripe Bananas and dangerous liberty — and to the Liberal Coalition!

Continue reading “Showcase Results 12/8/03”

Weblogs As Miserable Failure

The latest prank making the rounds in the weblog world is an effort to ensure that a Google search on “miserable failure” turns up pages on George Bush (See Newsday). So far, it seems to be working rather well.
I think I can credibly claim to have functional sense of humor, but I just don’t see much funny about this particular joke. All too often, people delude themselves into thinking that if they keep repeating a falsehood over and over again, it will come true: and here we see that philosophy taken to its logical conclusion. Nevermind argument and reason: let’s just say it’s true, and that’s sufficient.
There is something fundamentally wrong about weblogs being used to such a purpose: in a medium which allows anyone to express their own ideas and logic, this isn’t an argument: it’s just a rude noise. Using your weblog to hack Google like this is like using a master’s paintbrush to scrawl obscene graphiti on the bathroom wall. Sure, you can do it, but aren’t there better uses for the instrument?
And yes, I do find the very nature of the hack objectionable: Google is a big corporate entity and I’m just a fellow with an odd weblog directory, but they are engaged in the same enterprise as I am: mapping the territory of the Internet. They do it for profit, I do it for fun, but the task is the same. So I feel something of a shared offense to see their system gamed, just as mine has been. If you’re going to act like a thirteen-year-old coughing “bullsh*t!” to drown out an argument he doesn’t like, that’s fine, but would it be too much to ask that you do it in some way that doesn’t require you to mess with other people’s stuff?
And ultimately, can’t you make any better argument than this to prove your point? Or more precisely: can’t you make any actual argument at all?
Update: This is a nonpartisan gripe, by the way. This and this are equally stupid as the original Google-bomb.
Update with second thoughts: I take that back. The sites above actually contain arguments which at least attempt to prove their point, which lends far more credibility to the entire exercise, so I withdraw my snipe at them…

Liberal Coalition Is In The Game

A few days ago I for feedback on how many members the Liberal Coalition should be required to have before being allowed to compete in the New Weblog Showcase sponsorship contest — I tossed out 15 as a starting point, and 20 was quickly arrived at as a consensus number.
Well, the Coalition has just added its twentieth member, and so it seems official: they are now eligible for the Showcase sponsorship contest. I see no reason not to allow them to compete in tonight’s count, so if they continue their present lead, they’ll have their logo at the top of the Showcase next week.
Congratulations to the Coalition on its swift growth, and good luck to all in tonight’s contest!

Spring Cleaning in December

OK folks, promised, I put some serious effort into cleaning up the Ecosystem data this weekend, and major progress has resulted.
I have actually now gotten through the entire queue of change requests, and have also improved the self-service interface a bit to include better data validation (which makes it much easier for me to sweep quickly through the changes on the back end). In addition, I’ve done some surveys through the data to try to identify and eliminate duplicate weblogs (usually due to moves off Blogspot), and cleaned out quite a few of them.
Now, there were definitely some change requests that I wasn’t able to figure out, and almost certainly some that I just plain missed. So at this point, I’d ask for your help: take a look, and if you see a change you wanted made that hasn’t happened, please resubmit it. And please, use the ‘notes’ field on the request form if you’re doing anything but requesting the simplest of changes — it really helps me to hear exactly what you’re trying to do.
I’ve cleaned out the links database and kicked off a nonscheduled rescan which is running right now, so for the next few hours you’ll see screwy data on the individual weblog details pages. I’ll update here when it is done.
But once that’s complete, we should be in pretty good shape. Not perfect, by any means, but a heck of a lot better than it has been in a long time. So as I said: take a look yourself, as I’d welcome assistance in tracking down further areas where we can clean up.
Update 12/7 11am: Scans are done, all data should now be as accurate as it’s going to get — until you tell me what else needs changing!

I’m a jerk!

No, not because of the recent flap. But because I completely overlooked good fellow gesture of bestowing upon me the Tiger Blogotarian Award several weeks back.
Please accept my apologies and my thanks, Tiger: it is most certainly appreciated. I did take note of it at the time, but somehow following through and posting an acknowledgement got lost in the shuffle.
In addition to my award “for having created and continued maintenance of the Blogosphere Ecosystem,” Tiger also awarded the following honors:
Pixy Misa “for his assistance in providing web space and sites to worthy bloggers.”
Dean Esmay “who was instrumental in assisting many to leave blog*spot and create MT sites.”
Kevin Aylward “for always lending a helping hand.”
Thanks, Tiger!

Ouch. No, really: Ouch.

Not to be a complete whiner or anything, but I’m my ass kicked in the “Best Higher Beings & Mortal Humans Ecosystem Level Blog” category over at Kevin’s 2003 Weblog Awards.
Dead last, it would appear, in a field of 20. It’s, er, a little embarassing…
Update 12/6 am: OK, a little better. Up to #16.

Liberal Coalition Launches

Please welcome the Coalition to the blog alliance neighborhood:

The Liberal Coalition is a new blogger alliance founded to raise the visibility of left-leaning blogs in the Ecosystem and help enhance the liberal/progressive message in the blogosphere.

Founded by NTodd, formerly of the League, the Coalition plans to join the sponsorship contest for the New Weblog Showcase and seeks to promote their members work and ideas, but they have also pledged:
Our alliance is dedicated to the written rules and unwritten spirit of the TTLB Ecosystem, which means no member will engage in any activity that will artificially inflate individual or alliance rankings based on links or traffic (e.g., massive multilinking, multiple Site Meter counters, etc). We recognize that the TTLB ranking system is just a game, but all games have rules, and circumventing, bending or abusing those rules makes the game no fun for anybody.
Bless their little hearts.
One point I do need to make a judgment call on, though: what should the minimum membership requirement be for an alliance to join the contest? It has to be something, as if there is no requirement tiny mini-alliances would be able to sweep the contest every time (given that it is done by percentage of voting members).
I’m tentatively saying 15 members should be a reasonable minimum, but I’m open to feedback.