Blogosphere: May 2011 Archives

Browsing through a copy of The Happiness Project at the airport bookshop, I encountered the phrase "aspirational clutter," the stuff you don't need but keep around because represents some project or plan you hope to accomplish (but very likely won't). Consider this a yard sale of blog entries and news articles that turned into aspirational clutter in the form of browser tabs; perhaps someone else will find them useful:

Michelle Malkin: Finding Marizela: The maddening quest for a missing young person's online/text info: People young and old, especially young, leave behind a long trail of digital tracks, but the trail isn't readily accessible when a young woman vanishes.

I have two tabs containing a friend's Facebook notes on political topics. Is it allowable to blog about someone's Facebook notes? Should what happens on Facebook stay on Facebook?

Ed Stetzer: FIRST-PERSON: The May 21 phenomenon & a lesson for all Christians: The forecast and fizzled apocalypse inspires a look back at May 19, 1780, when New England's skies turned dark from smoke and fog and many thought the end was at hand. What should a Christian do in light of the end? Be about his Father's business:

The Connecticut legislature was unsure if they should meet or go home with their families and face the end. They would have to bring in candles to conduct even the most basic business. But, Abraham Davenport (later made famous by a poem) stood up and expressed it clearly. He stood up and proclaimed:

"I choose, for one, to meet Him face to face, No faithless servant frightened from my task, But ready when the Lord of the harvest calls; And therefore, with all reverence, I would say, Let God do His work, we will see to ours. Bring in the candles!"

Davenport was not embarrassed or ashamed that the King might suddenly return. He was waiting and ready -- if this was the moment, so be it. Yet, for many Christians and churches, they have been unengaged in Kingdom work, so the return of the King is bad news -- so, suddenly, they want to "look busy."

You don't need a billboard with a date. You need a passion to live for a soon-returning Savior. I'm not the model on this by any means, but I will be here, doing the same thing I had planned because that's what I think Jesus would have me do.

I want to live ready in light of the soon return of Jesus, not acting like a nut because someone said He is coming back tomorrow. Honestly, I think that is part of why Jesus says, "no man knows the day or the hour." It's because we don't have to think, "Jesus is coming! Look busy" because we have been living in light of His return.

Timothy Dalrymple: A Letter to Harold Camping and Those Who Expected Judgment Day: "Your heart was in the right place.... You were right to believe that God will, one day, gather his children unto himself and draw history as we know it to a close.... You were right to spread the warning.... Our faith is not placed in a person or in a prediction, but in the good news of Jesus Christ.... No one knows when the end will come-so we must always be ready. ... We should remember the difference between scripture and an interpretation of scripture.... We should always beware the power of charismatic leaders and groupthink to sway our beliefs.... Finally, we should never believe that we've got God figured out...."

Hot Air: Is the Rapture schadenfreude turning sinister?: "Despite Camping and his followers being an extremely small fringe group, the media has covered this story as if the entire Southern Baptist church made this prediction."

Christianity Today: Should Christians Care about Harold Camping, May 21, & Doomsday?: A round-up of more commentary on the end of the world

Volokh Conspiracy: Nine Puzzles of Space and Time: Brain teasers involving time and geography. For example:

"I am located in one of the 48 states in the Continental U.S. If I go 90 miles in a straight line, regardless of direction, I will have needed to move my watch one hour ahead to keep it set correctly." In what state was Art?

Mark Steyn: The unzippered princeling and the serving wench: Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the special dispensations reserved for the Great Men of the Permanent Governing Class. And here's Ace of Spades' commentary on the Rights and Privileges of the Ruling Class:

The New Aristocracy isn't made by blood but by credentials. The aristocracy is "born" in each countries two or three most elite schools, and the formal induction into the class occurs in key international/financial government bureaucracies.

And then?

Then you can stop paying taxes with no fear of the consequences the commoners face, and you can forcibly rape (or, actually, sodomize) the help and know that an entire nation's aristocrats will defend you and criticize those lowly prosecutors who charge you.

It has always been the case that the nobility in one country supported the nobility in other countries, even countries with whom they were at war, because national ambition is always well, well secondary to personal ambition. Perpetuating the rights and privileges of the new class is more important to the members of the new class than any transitory policy goal.

Don Surber: They don't want you to travel: Government energy and security policy seem designed to take away Americans' cherished mobility.

John Piper: Thoughts on the Minnesota Marriage Amendment: An irenic and solid case for upholding the definition of marriage, despite the reality of sin and brokenness in marriage. Point 2 puts homosexuality in the broader context of disordered sexuality. Point 3 address the relationship between God's law and human law: "Not all sins should be proscribed by human law, but some should be.... there are many sinful behaviors that should not be illegal." Point 4 addresses the legal significance of marriage, leading to the crux of the issue in point 5:

The issue is not whether same-sex unions are permitted, but whether they are institutionalized. The issue is not whether we tolerate same-sex relationships, but whether we build on them as a foundation for society. The issue is not whether we forbid a particular sin, but whether we mandate social approval of that sin. The issue is not whether we block a sinful behavior, but whether we imbed it in our laws.

That's a few tabs cleared away....

Cloud services are convenient and powerful, but the mail, video, photos, audio, and documents we upload to them and the metadata we add to what we upload are hostage to the fortunes and whims of the provider companies.

So here's another illustration of the risks of trusting your important data to "the cloud." At any time, a web company could decide to stop providing a service upon which your site depends. Or they could simply lock you out of your account.

Google Video, the hosting service that Google began prior to acquiring YouTube, stopped accepting uploads two years ago and is now in the process of shutting down entirely.

I had 54 videos on Google Video, many of them embedded on this site. This includes my coverage of the 2008 Republican National Convention, a speech by Daniel Pipes at the University of Tulsa, the Tulsa Boy Singers' 2007 tour of Britain, plus various family videos. One of the attractions of using Google Video over YouTube was the five minute time limit on YouTube at the time.

Google has made it very easy to migrate the videos to YouTube, but I also downloaded everything, and I still have the original digital files for reupping to another service. I still need to go back through my archives and update all the embed codes and links to point to the new locations.

What I'd like to do is host the video files on my own site's server. To do that I'd need a decent embeddable video player, preferably one I can host on this site as well. Any suggestions?

Sometime ago I uploaded a few original audio files to imeem, which was about the closest thing I could find to YouTube for audio -- hosting, plus a handy embeddable player. When imeem was merged into MySpace, the files vanished. Here again, what I'd prefer is to host audio on my own site, but with a full-featured player to make them easy for BatesLine readers to access.

For several years, BatesLine used NewsGator as an aggregator of the latest headlines from favorite blogs on the BatesLine blogroll. NewsGator dropped the service, and the only obvious alternative was Google Reader. I'm happy to have the service, but I miss the greater customization provided by NewsGator.

I love Flickr (although I'm way behind on uploading photos), but here's another risk of losing data in the cloud. I'm not worried about losing my photos -- they're backed up in multiple places -- but I'd hate to lose the metadata (sets, collections, descriptions, geocoding, tags), which would take a long time to recreate.

Twitter has pretty much taken the place of my old linkblog, because it's so quick and easy to retweet an interesting link. The downside is that old tweets aren't easily accessible and very old tweets aren't accessible at all. Adding to the problem: The links in the tweets are dependent on the continued existence and goodwill of the link-shortener sites, many of which are in a top-level domain controlled by the Libyan government of Moammar Gadhafi. What I need is a way to query the Twitter API to get all my tweets, to query the APIs of the link-shortener services to resolve their links to direct, long links, and to convert all that data into some form that I can import into my linkblog database.

Cloud services will continue to offer irresistible tools that make it easy to tag, connect, and organize your data, but there's something to be said for entirely self-hosted content, where the hosting provider gives you a hard drive, a web server and a pipe to the internet, and you provide and control everything else.

If you're a blogger or a web programmer and have any recommendations, I'm all ears.

UPDATE: Two good suggestions from the comments for self-hosting video:

Adam writes:

Michael, I've had good luck with It has both HTML5 and Flash players which is good for serving video to mobile users. The biggest issue in self-hosting video is bandwidth usage. You might want to double-check what kind of bandwidth limits your hosting account has and whether self-hosting the video will impact that limit.

DavidS suggests LongTail Video's JW Player. Looks like it will handle MP3 audio as well as video, and like videojs it can handle both Flash and HTML5.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Blogosphere category from May 2011.

Blogosphere: April 2011 is the previous archive.

Blogosphere: June 2011 is the next archive.

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