December 30, 2005

Something stinks here

Posted in Politics at 5:44 pm by antonello

The Justice Department is investigating who leaked the NSA / FISA information to the press. Presumably this is somehow equated to the Plame scandal. That stinks of something political particularly becayse the DOJ had to be pushed to investigate Plame initially. Also, if Alberto Gonzales is sure that the president’s actions are defensible by the Constitution and/or 9/11 legtistlation, why is so important it is invesigated at all? I suppose the argument must be that the leak endangered national security. Maybe there is merit to that: certainly telling Congress would have endangered national security. Wha-hunh?

The President overstepped the executive branch. Whether or not this transgression is criminal is important. Punishing he or she who revealed this information is despicable.

Makebot

Posted in Technology at 3:23 pm by antonello

via John Battelle, Makeblog and Phillip Torrone present makebot.  combining RSS / IM and potentially mobile technology is pretty nifty.

Tagging Up, continued

Posted in Technology at 11:49 am by antonello

A couple weeks back, I wrote in response to John Battelle’s question “will tagging ever work?” I was thinking of this question when I read on Daily Kos a couple days ago this entry that the big man had some words about tagging best practices.
Now, a digression for some background: a while back, dailykos introduced tagging as a way of simplifying the process to find something on the gargantuan site. For a political site, this makes a lot of sense. An example, a user will often want to see what people are saying about a particular topic. Let’s take Jack Abramoff as an example. First the tagging is going to improve the effectiveness of the search. Secondly, if a user is looking for posts on “Jack Abramoff” they can pick out the term on the All Tag page or click on a tag at the bottom of a post. Clicking on the tag “Abramoff” brings up all the posts filed under this tag. The user is presented the most recent discussion where Abrahamoff is mentioned. A section on the right sidebar highlights similar tags.

Back to the discussion at hand: kos had this to say about best practices for tagging:

A reminder, since many people are misusing the tags. The big thing to keep in mind when tagging — they are a search tool. What do people search for? Issues, people, and races. Tags should ALWAYS address one of those three.

Looking at the All Tags page, one can sympathize with Kos’ dilemma. The number of tags has proliferated, many are very similar to one other, others are not descriptive and then there is the simple problem of too many. Kos’ encourages people to adhere to some simple rules to make tagging more effective.

Inherent in his statement is a major problem with tagging: try as we may tagging can and does spin out of control. The sheer volume of people on kos has made this user-generated taxonomy unwieldy. People tend to be flippant with tags (the number of times I’ve used “fuckhead” as a tag is a sad reflection on my inner fury). An editor can go someway to making tagging simpler and less redundant, but it is a massive scheme for a site of this size. There is also room for automated aggregating solutions, like del.icio.us, to give a snapshot of a community’s online zeitgeist, but you’ll always have the problem of people who don’t participate.

I am skeptical of the effectiveness of tagging on dailykos because the number of people make it extremely difficult to ensure that tags are legible, standard and descriptive. Kos needs users to police themselves, which is always a sketchy propostion . A buddy of mine was saying to me yesterday, users are only going to do things which they see an immediate benefit.

I’ll be interested to see what Kos does next to deal with this problem
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December 28, 2005

Oh the wonder of it all!

Posted in Baseball at 2:41 pm by antonello

Raffy ain’t never getting into the Hall of Fame without $14.50 and a validated parking pass.

New Yorker International Fiction Issue

Posted in Literature at 11:25 am by antonello

I’ve been working my way through the winter fiction issue of the New Yorker.  First, big ups to an excellent Adrian Tomine cover.  Second, as always, excellent critical work.  Third, man, that fiction doesn’t do it for me.  All respect to the top tomatos over at America’s finest magazine, but the trend of contemplative stories just ain’t floating my imagination boat.  I should emphasize this has nothing to do with the “international” part of the fiction, it’s the fiction part.  The stories in this collection had a similar tone, slow to build, small actions, tense relationships, etc.  More later.

Bush’s reading list

Posted in Politics at 10:34 am by antonello

These sort of things always confuse me.  Are these articles for real?  Is it just a PR stunt?  Do people actually care?

December 27, 2005

Carrying a Millwood Around Your Neck

Posted in Baseball at 12:02 pm by antonello

Millwood, 5 for 60?!  I guess I could see the 12 mil a year – it’s been a players’ market this offseason – but 5 years?  That is so 2001.  Paging Mike Hampton, please come to the main overpaid desk.  No Mr Hampton?
Millwood had a great ERA last year, but his peripherals weren’t great.  He will probably give the Rangers 200 IP which ain’t shabby, but I doubt we’re going to see a performance like last year repeated throughout the life of this deal.  He’s had two very good seasons (1999, 2002), one good year (2005) all mixed in with some ok but not awesome years.  And he’s turning 32.

December 22, 2005

Wink launches

Posted in Technology at 5:02 pm by antonello

Another entry into search wars, Wink searches across people-generated tagosphere. Om Malik hits on some of the points I was talking about the other day, namely will users ever catch on to tagging in a major way? He says:

I think it needs a behavioral change on part of “searchers? who have become accustomed to simply typing their queries and then trying to figure out where to go. Sort of like bad cell phone coverage : we go used to it.

His other point about one major drawback with very accurate search, fewer page views & less advertising dollars, is a very important one.  I think Google recognizes this one too, hence the move to add more places where people are exposed to ads (gmail, gmaps, etc.)

Damon continued

Posted in Baseball at 2:36 pm by antonello

The futility infielder had less kind words to say about the signing.  I agree with him that signing a 32 year-old centerfielder at a rather large annual rate is a sign of a bad moon rising trend that the Yankees habitually fall into.  But, the talk over the last couple of weeks regarding viable alternatives for centerfield, Jeremy Reed (3.4 WARP3) or Jason Michaels (4.4 WARP3), for examples, was usually centered around giving up a bunch from the Bombers side, up to and including Robinson Cano (5.0 WARP3), Chien-Ming Wang (4.1 WARP3), or Scott Proctor (do i have to: .6 WARP3).  Proctor would not be much of a loss, but giving up Cano and/or Wang for centerfielder of that quality would not be worth the trade-off.  So Damon brings an expected 5 or so wins this year, (which are also taken from the Red Sox), and the Yankees hold on to two valuable young things.  I would have loved to see a younger, long-term, better fielding alternative, but this was the best deal available.

December 21, 2005

Johnny Be Good?

Posted in Baseball at 3:18 pm by antonello

Damon signed on up for the 4-year, $52 mil “deck of cards” deal, apparently very popular in this year’s Yankee front office (see Matsui, Hideki). I would have preferred a shorter deal at a higher yearly salary, a la Furcal. At the end of this contract, Damon will be 35, undoubtedly more useless in the field than he is now. That smacks me as familiar. But why?

Clearly Damon wasn’t going to for less than 4, though, and the Yankees did need a centerfielder. The first two years will be great – I see a drop-off in year 3, a millstone come year 4. So it goes. I am much more comfortable now that Bubba won’t be the first option. The first third of the lineup looks stronger, faster and more productive. (ed note: Damon will lead off, because he’s a “traditional” lead-off hitter, but when our untraditional lead-off hitter, Ole Boy Derek, has a .386 OBP, I’d go on unorthodox any day.)

Cliff Corcoran over at Bronx Banter makes a some pretty good points in favor of Johnny D – a potential power spike, pretty good defense (until last year), and taking him away from the Red Sox. As do Larry Mahken and SG at Replacement Level Yankees Weblog.
But Damon’ll have to do a bunch to wipe that grand slam he crushed off Javy Vazquez in Game 7, ’04.

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