Archive for April, 2009


Shirky Debunks Blogging Bubble: Is There Any Marketplace The WSJ Can’t Misreport?

In “America’s Newest Profession: Bloggers For Hire“, a dubious piece published at the Wall Street Journal “Microtrends” blog, former Hilary Clinton campaign strategist Mark Penn added no victories to his resume but maintained the WSJ’s status as king of business reporting organs.  Given the publication’s total failure to report on the realities of the economic downturn until its own desks were on fire, that was nothing to be proud of.

Along with co-author E. Kinney Zalsene, Penn upheld the Journal’s best traditions of junk research and hugely inflated valuations passing as gospel — only instead of credit markets, Penn misreported and grossly overvalued the bottom line of the blogosphere itself, spreading the hilariously wrong idea that the average blogger is making thousands of dollars a year “publishing their opinions”.

Called in by Xeni Hardin at Boing Boing to clean up the mess was the great author and internet analyst Clay Shirky, whose essay is here.


Sequel Pro: About The Right Speed For A Beta Nerd


I’m on a sysadmin-type project right now, building a new LAMP server out of a Linode VPS and Gentoo distro.  It’s pretty cool – Linode is awesome, fast as hell, and can be a great way to leave decrepit hosting services like SlowDaddy behind in the dust.

Most of my nerd friends recognize that I’m not an alpha nerd.  I don’t write code, I master arcana only grudgingly, and I am often ridiculed by alpha nerds when I ask dumb questions.  I think this makes me a beta nerd – a kind of second-class technologist, appearing to most civilians just as obtuse and scornful as an alpha, but who will never be accepted as a peer by the alphas themselves.

One of the reasons for my second-class nerd status is that I like my luxury items.  Take dealing with a MySQL database.  Working with one using the command-line interface is an irritating hassle to me.  Alterately. the web interface du jour phpMyadmin is also a bad fit.  I prefer to use a GUI client across the internet. In the nerd world, this is tantamount to wearing water wings to a swim meet, but we all have our burdens, I guess.

For the Mac, I found that the older open-source GUI client for MySQL, CocoaMySQL, was abandoned by its original writer and maintainer.  It was picked up by a couple of Australian developers and rechristened Sequel Pro.  I ran into the guys on the Freenode IRC channel #sequel-pro and helped to squash an import bug.  I have to say I’m thrilled with the program and look forward to many happy months of beta nerd query-wrangling with it.

Quit rolling your eyes, alphas.

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rob [at] warmowski [dot] com

@warmowski on twitter

Rob’s Bands

Rob Warmowski entry at Chicago Punk Database
1984-89: Defoliants
1991-94: Buzzmuscle
2001-05: San Andreas Fault
2008- : Sirs
2008- : Allende

Rob at Huffington Post

April 2009