Archive for August, 2005

Guest Blogging on Blog for America

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

Earlier this evening I was invited to post a blog entry about my Katrina blog on Blog for America. It’s currently on their homepage; the permalink is here. -andy

Move Over Pat, Here’s Katrina

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

It’s amazing how the buzz around a particular story can change so quickly. Just last week we were all talking about Pat Robertson’s rhetorical kerfuffle; now, the focus is clearly on Katrina.
It doesn’t take a statistician to know this, of course. In case you have any doubts, though, here’s a Blogpulse.com graph plotting how the decline in discussions around Pat Robertson and the skyrocketing of discussions around Hurricane Katrina. It also shows that the Robertson story, even at its peak, doesn’t hold a candle to the amount of blog chatter regarding the storm and its aftermath.
robertson/katrina graph
As much as I’d love for the Robertson story to drag out, it’s time to focus on helping out, saving lives, getting people the information they need to help their families. Pat can wait. -andy

Update on Katrina Aftermath

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

It’s been about 30 hours since I launched the Katrina Aftermath blog, and the response has been phenomenal. We’ve had almost 50 blog posts so far, including telephone podcasts, email and video. Meanwhile, Yahoo! and several major newspapers are linking to the site, so I’m getting as high as 2000 page views an hour. Not a bad start.
I’ve also added several new resources to the site. In the right nav bar, you can find a link to a photo feed of missing persons, as well as Craigslist’s feed of lost and found people. Below that are Flickr photos generated from a Katrina photo pool, as well as several relevent tags.
Anyway, I’ll probably be posting more on that site than here for the next couple of days. And I encourage you to join me – anyone can post text, audio or photos to the site. All the instructions are in the right column on the homepage. -andy

Hurricane Katrina Mobcast: Share Your Thoughts Now!

Tuesday, August 30th, 2005

I’ve just launched an open blog and mobcast for people interested in following the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina:
http://katrina05.blogspot.com/
The blog is set up so that anyone can post a blog entry, podcast or photo to the site. I’m particularly hoping that residents of the Gulf Coast will be willing to call in and let people know how things are going for them. Similarly, anyone who would like to share ways to help out, or wishes to share their thoughts on the hurricane, may post as well.
Here’s how to participate.
Post a blog entry:
Send an email to katrina2005.comments @ blogger.com. The title of your email will be the title of the blog entry, and the email body will be the blog entry body. If you don’t want your contact information, you should remove your signature file. Attachments will not be posted.
Record a podcast:

  • Dial 1-415-856-0205
  • Enter login 515-515-5555
  • Enter PIN code 2005, then the # key
  • Record your message
  • Press the # key to save, then the 1 key to post

Post a photo:
The website is collecting photos from Flickr.com that are tagged with the word . Simply log on to Flickr (or create an account), upload photos, and use this tag. Photos appear in the right column of the blog’s homepage.
I’ve also set up a “tag-o-rama” inside the right column of the blog. It displays links to relevant key words like hurricane, katrina and new orleans, linking to tagged content from Technorati (blogs), Flickr (photos) and del.icio.us (websites).
Please feel free to share this information with anyone who might be interested in participating. -andy

Fight Animal Cruelty: Join Bloggers for Animals

Monday, August 29th, 2005

On September 10, I’ll be joining thousands of other animal lovers for the MSPCA’s annual Walk for Animals on Boston Common. MSPCA, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, is one of the oldest humane societies in the US. This will be the the 25th annual Walk for Animals, and they hope to raise $250,000.
To do my part for the event, I’ve created a new walking team called Bloggers for Animals. I’m hoping that some of my fellow bloggers in the Boston area will join me for the walk on September 10. Participating costs only $15. You’ll get a free t-shirt, and if you’ve got a pet, you’re more than welcome to bring them on the walk. I’m also hoping you’ll help me raise $1000 for the walk. (And if we can raise more than that, even better!) Even if it’s just a few dollars, every dollar will help animals live, safe and happy lives.
If you’d like to join the Bloggers for Animals team, please visit our team homepage and join our walk team. Or you can make a donation. Like I said, every dollar will help. So whether you’re able to join us as a team member, donate to the cause, or both, your participation will be most welcome. Join today! -andy

FTP Comes to the Rescue for CNN’s Hurricane Katrina Coverage

Monday, August 29th, 2005

Just a few moments ago on CNN, reporter John Zarella filed a story from New Orleans, which is currently being hammered by Hurricane Katrina. The footage was somewhat grainy, as if it had been shot live via videophone, but it featured cutaway footage from various parts of the city, so it was clear it was an edited package.
When the story ended, CNN’s Daryn Kagan explained that network executives had given the order for TV crews not to use satellite trucks – they could get blown over on top of the crew – so reporters in New Orleans could no longer use live satellite feeds to connect to the network. Instead, she said, “CNN is now using a technology called FTP” to get footage from New Orleans. John Zarella and his team uploaded the video package over the Internet so they wouldn’t have to file it outside with a satellite truck.
The way Kagan explained it, she almost seemed to be suggesting that CNN was embracing some bleeding-edge tool that’s making connectivity possible for reporters in the middle of the storm. Rather, they’re using one of the oldest tools available to Internet users. FTP, or file transfer protocol, has been around for decades. It’s simply a tool that allows a person to upload or download a file between their computer and a server located somewhere else on the Internet.
Not unlike the way ham radio became a major tool for people caught in the middle of last December’s tsunami, journalists are now reverting to some of the most basic Internet tools to ensure they can file their stories in a timely – and safe – manner. -andy

Che Guevara’s Family Threatens Lawsuits over Photo Use

Monday, August 29th, 2005
che berets

Che-emblazened berets for sale in Havana

There’s a Reuters story today about that famous photo of Argentine-Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara. A pop culture icon in its own right, the photo was taken in 1960 by Cuban fashion photographer Korda. He didn’t published the photo, but gave away copies of it to an Italian publisher seven years later, who went on to print millions of posters upon Che’s death.
Since then, the photo has become one of the world’s most famous t-shirts. It’s been lampooned in a New Yorker cartoon, depicting Che sporting a Bart Simpson t-shirt. Reporters Without Borders used it in campaigns protesting the treatment of journalists in Cuba. Supermodel Gisele Bundchen modeled underweared stamped with the famous pic.
The families of both Che and Korda are not amused. Over the last five years they’ve filed successful lawsuits to block the use of the photo in ways they feel run counter to the spirit of Che, and now they’re planning to file more suits around the world.
I wonder, though, if they will attempt to curtail the sail of Che-ware in Cuba. When Susanne and I visited four years ago, Che souvenirs were everywhere. The crafts market in Old Havana was dominated by Che chic – berets, china plates, posters, postcards, medallions. I can understand Che’s family been upset about liquor and lingerie companies using his image as part of their capitalist marketing campaigns. But do they feel the same way about the Cuban government using the image to collect US dollars from Che-crazy tourists?

Chaucer the Orange Tabby Needs a Loving Home

Saturday, August 27th, 2005
Chaucer the tabby

Chaucer needs a place to call home.

Susanne and I were visiting the Petco in Cambridgeside today, and we met the most wonderful orange tabby named Chaucer. Chaucer is beautiful cat who is recovering from a horrific attack in which someone poured bleach on him. He received burns on 25% of his body. Thankfully, volunteers at St Meow’s, a Cambridge no-kill facility, rescued Chaucer and nursed his wounds. Apart from a few patches where he’s still healing, he’s looking healthy and happy. Now he just needs a new home.
We have actually seen Chaucer twice at the Petco in the last 10 days, but today was the first day we got to know him. He is so sweet and loving, we would do anything to take him home ourselves. But because we already have two cats and our lease won’t let us take in a third, our hands our tied. But we were so touched by Chaucer that we decided to post this message today.
We have no affiliation whatsoever with St. Meow’s. We’re just doing this because we met a beautiful cat in need of a caring family and want to help out in whatever way we can.
To learn more about Chaucer, please visit this web page. You can also contact St. Meow’s directly at 617-767-6294 or saintmeows [at] comcast.net.
If you’re looking to bring a pet into your life and you live in the Boston area, please pay Chaucer a visit.

Get Me a New Wire Service, ASAP!

Friday, August 26th, 2005
eric at a bar

Does he look like a news editor to you? Believe it.

Yesterday, E&P ran a story about the Associated Press and its plan to launch a wire service targeting the 18-to-34-year old demographic. The new service, called asap, will take advantage of the AP’s massive infrastructure to put out stories in various media formats, including text, photos, audio and video.
“Nobody else is already everywhere,” asap head Ted Anthony told E&P. “We have all these people doing interesting things all over the world.”
Along with the obvious fact that this is a newsworthy development, it gives me the opportunity to play proud big brother, as asap’s news editor will be none other than Eric Carvin, who until recently was the overnight news supervisor at AP headquarters. (I’ve known about this for a little while, but being a good brother I resisted giving into my inner blogger and spilling the beans before they were ready to talk about it.)
Way to go, Eric. Knock ‘em dead and take no prisoners. Unless they ask nice – otherwise it might upset Mom. -andy

The Robertson Effect

Friday, August 26th, 2005

Ever since Pat Robertson made his assassination remarks about Hugo Chavez, it’s been a real hoot reading the reaction from blogs around the world. The day the story broke, CNN’s The Situation Room was able to find only one blogger who supported Robertson’s comments. Meanwhile, as anyone who reads Global Voices knows, bloggers from Bolivia to Bahrain have had their say on the controversy.
This seemed like a great excuse to go over to BlogPulse.com and plot some charts to see how the Robertson Effect was playing out throughout the blogosphere. Plotting a graph to see how the phrases “Pat Robertson,” “Hugo Chavez” and “assassinate” have been used in blogs over the last two months, you get these dramatic results:
blog chart with spike for this week
As you can see here, the phrase “Pat Robertson” takes a massive leap over the last few days. Interestingly, there only 2/3rds as many references to “Hugo Chavez,” and even less so for “assassinate,” even though both terms make impressive spikes of their own. This seems to suggest that a number of recent blog postings dealt specifically with Robertson’s anti-Chavez remarks, while a great number of posts were just anti-Robertson posts without direct mention of the event. Perhaps a number of bloggers posted the initial controversy, then continued to post more general comments about Robertson after that.
While playing around with the BlogPulse graphs, I also plotted the same three terms on a six-month scale. Here are the results:
blog chart 2 with spike for this week
The results, as expected, are similar, but notice the unusual bump in the number of posts related to Robertson back in early May. I wondered what could have happened that week, so I poked around a bit on some news archives. Within a minute or two, I discovered that Robertson made some remarks suggesting that liberal judges were a greater threat to the US than terrorists:

If you look over the course of a hundred years, I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that’s held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings. I think we’re going to control al Qaeda. I think we’re going to get Osama bin Laden. We won in Afghanistan. We won in Iraq, and we can contain that. But if there’s an erosion at home, you know, Thomas Jefferson warned about a tyranny of an oligarchy and if we surrender our democracy to the tyranny of an oligarchy, we’ve made a terrible mistake.

Way to go, Pat. No wonder there was a spike in the blogosphere.
There are few guarantees in life. But Pat Robertson putting his foot so deep in his mouth that he tickles his own tonsils is certainly one of them. -andy