Monthly Archives: October 2004

More on Sinclair – Plan to air divisive film raises questions

This article gives some insight into why Sinclair is taking such a big gamble.

They seem pretty damn vulnerable. Their investors are already annoyed by this stunt. They are laden with debt and barely profitable. A hit to their revenues will be a double whammy. It will hit their stock value, the two together will hit their debt rating which will increace their cost of borrowing, which will eat further into their bottom line.

Its obvious what needs to be done.

Sinclair Broadcasting Plays Dirty Pool

Anthony has the scoop on how Sinclair Broadcasting, the largest owner of TV stations in the US, is forcing its stations into running an two hour anti-Kerry ad two weeks before the elections.

It’s a bold step for them to take and a very risky one. I’d suggest the proper course of action is to identify their advertisers and organize a boycott, then follow up by informing the bank analysts that cover them about the risk to their revenues.

The Kerry Movie

I just finished watching Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry.

It’s a good flick. I learned about Kerry I didn’t know.

I find myself wondering what a parallel film about George W. covering a similar period of time would be like. It’s hard to imagine that W had gone through nearly as much by his late 20s. Some people dismiss Kerry’s vietnam service as an political ploy, but he took real risks, he put his life on the line for something he believed in and he took responsibility for the lives of a boatfull of men. When he came back, he risked the political career he’d aspired to by opposing the war. Again, his critics deride him as an opportunist, but I fail to see any dishonor in launching a political career by strongly supporting a cause you take to heart.

What had W done at that point, how had he taken responsibility for the lives of his fellow man, what risks did he take, besides driving under the influence?

Egoclip is aggravating

egoClip – The RSS Aggregator that Prioritizes Your News

Egoclip is the first RSS aggregator I know of to apply machine learning techniques to try to automatically identify posts of interest.

I don’t know exactly how it works. I don’t even know roughly how it works.

What I do know is using it is frustrating. It happily imported my feeds from sharpreader with their folder hierarchy, but when I tried to reorganize them, I quickly found that there is no obvious UI for creating new folders.

More annoying, I can’t use the arrow keys to navigate through posts because the focus switches to the post reading pane.

There are other frustrations too, which is a shame, because taken together, they will probably be enough to keep me from investing the time in using egoclip needed to train it.

I’ll check in on egoclip in another month in the hopes that it’s good enough at being a basic aggregator to be worth experimenting with.

All of this illustrates a basic issue with any product that requires the user to make a commitment beyond purchase/download to take advantage of the product — you need to give the users something good up front to make them stick around for the grand finale. It’s really no different from telling a good story. The real payoff might come at the end, but you’ve got to keep the audience interested.

podcast directory needs a revamp

This is totally frustrating.

I downloaded iPodder earlier this week and installed it, and promptly did absolutely nothing with it — the directory of podcast feeds is nearly completely information free. It’s just a list of links with brief titles and no description, which makes it harder to find feeds of interest.

The incredibly frustrating part is that the front page of is a blog and Adam is blogging about new iPodder feeds along with short descriptions, but these descriptions don’t show up in the directory.

Clearly there is a need for some rearchitecture.

Blog Upgrades and Repairs

I finally enabled fulltext in my RSS feed.

I also installed mt-blacklist because I just took a huge hit from a content spammer who added ~60 bits of spam. I’m not sure the plugin is working 100% right — the config page says “inactive” at the top and I don’t seem to be able to turn it on. I am unable to dispatch bunches of spam with a few clicks though, which is a good start.

UpdateI figured out why I couldn’t turn mt-blacklist on, I think. The user I was logged in as didn’t have complete control over all the blogs hosted by the installation. I changed users and was able to activate.