Weblog Clustering

The reason I get all all excited about weblog clustering is that the “winner-takes-most” aspect of the log scale graph is NOT what is most interesting about weblog networks.
If it were, then the net would be like network television — a few top broadcasters, and an infinite number of passive viewers.
It’s not. The weblog network is a mesh of communities with overlapping and shifting memberships; each subcommunity has its connectors and popular voices.
When we focus on identifying the “most central node” of the network, we turn a world with multiple centers into a hierarchy.

LOTR Commentary

On Fellowship and Two Towers by Renee Perlmutter via Dorothea Salo.
Two interesting points about divergence from the books:

  • The book is overflowing with honor; the relevant scenes in the movie were exchanged with something else. In the book, Eomer makes his decision despite “the letter of the law”, based on his judgement of Aragorn; Faramir does not hesitate for a second, faced with the temptation of the ring; Aragorn stays loyal to Arwen throughout the books – however tempted he is by Eowyn, he does not flirt with her, hug her, or give her false hope. And Merry and Pippin’s resistance and courage…Gimli… the Ents.. all gone comic relief. Comic relief, a more comprehensible fare than honor, for how can persons choose the righteous cause unless they are persuaded or threatened or exiled, unless they have no other choice? They cannot, according to TT the movie. But we, who love the Indo-European epic, may know otherwise.
  • “It has SEXY ELVES. Elves are not supposed to be sexy. Magnificent, blindingly beautiful, frightening maybe; but not sexy.”

  • Not to mention this priceless cartoon.

    City Blogs

    In a comment on the post below, Howard Greenstein refers to nycbloggers, a site that aggregates New York blogs. I love the map that locates NYC bloggers by proximity to subway stops.
    Relates to a conversation I was having with Peter Merholz about sites for local blogs, which he writes about here. One of Peter’s insights is that blogs are a great way to report trivia that gets bypassed by traditional media: “I’d love to know that I ought to avoid the intersection of Sacramento and Oregon because there’s a massive pothole.”
    The comments to Peterme’s post include links to other regional blog sites, including Los Angeles and the UK.

    Blog communities

    Ross Mayfield writes about some nifty work by Valdis Krebs to map the network of relationships at Ryze, an online business networking group, and the weblog tribe on Ryze.
    Here’s some more analysis that would be really interesting:
    a) identify clusters of blogs — blogs that share a number of blogroll blogs in common (first filter out the most popular blogs).
    b) use text analysis to identify the topics the clusters have in common by identifying words they use much more frequently than average.
    This would identify groups of New York bloggers, Java bloggers, warbloggers, etc. Groups wouldn’t be mutually exclusive; lots of people would belong to more than one cluster.
    Blogrolling.com exports blogrolls in RSS and OPML format, so that might be a workable dataset. They have 6915 blogrolls with 108278 links.
    The math to do this is pretty far over my head — so this one goes out to the Lazyweb!

    How people use email

    From a comment to Mitch Kapor’s Chandler weblog.
    1. People are more efficient when related messages are grouped together and the groups are in rough priority order.
    2. People want to be able to see all their “to-do” messages — ones that they need to read, respond to, or act upon — easily.
    3. (or maybe 2b). When a message has no more pending actions, people want to remove it from their list of “to-do” messages.
    4. People want to execute actions with one or fewer clicks.
    5. Old messages are a valuable resource.
    6. The faster and better a Search tool is, the less important it is to file messaages.
    7. Fuzzy-logic or “scoring” filters are much more accurate than the “sudden death” filters that most email clients now have.
    8. Most people won’t customize their own setup, but are usually willing to import customizations that other people have made.
    9. Messages that are to you and only you are usually more important than messages where you’re one of many recipients.
    10. Some people (e.g. customer service reps) answer the same questions over and over, but computers are not quite smart enough to be able to figure out which response is appropriate.
    and MORE