Critical Section


Friday,  04/25/03  10:25 AM

There are few things I really hate, but one of them is applications whose uninstallers don't work.  I recently tried Synapse, a new music player which supposedly "learns" the music you like and suggests playlists.  I didn't like it - too much of a beta, I think - so I tried to uninstall it.  Well, the uninstaller didn't work, so I ended up using Explorer and Regedit to find "everything" and clean it up.  What a pain.  Why don't developers just use a standard installer like InstallShield or Wyse so they get working uninstallation for free?

Actually one of the things which turned me off about Synapse was the smugness of the GUI.  "Like, we're so cool, and we know we're cool, don't you think we're cool?"  No, I don't think you're cool; your app is sucky and your uninstaller is broken.  Back to coding, please.

Back in Iraq is back!  Back in the U.S., that is.  Christopher Allbritton is the reporter / blogger whose readers raised enough money to send him to Iraq.  He has come back and the experiement is ending.  Overall I enjoyed his writing but I didn't find it dramatically different or better or unusual compared to "the media".  In the end he was one guy in one place, and could only reports things he saw from where he was.  The advantage of the media is they have many people in many places, and can report from all over, giving some perspective.  Of course each media outlet has a spin, so then you have meta-media like the Command Post which integrate over all sources (including independents like Christopher) to give the big picture...DNA Helix

Today is the 50th anniversary of the discovery by James Watson and Francis Crick of the double-helix structure of DNA.  This comes only days after the publication of the first human genome.  Dr. Watson: "The pace of discovery is going unbelievably fast."  Dr. Crick: "Did we appreciate how important DNA was? Yes we did."

It is interesting the way memes replicate through the blogosphere.  I have been thoughtful about this all along, but it was really borne in on me when my Tyranny of Email article crested a wave.  Now, more recently, the silly "Fehlervorhersagefreude" meme is making a wave of its own.  I recently found a great post by John Hilar called The Tipping Blog, which relates blogospheric meme propogation to The Tipping Point, Malcom Gladwell's terrific book about how ideas propogate in the real world.

I'm not going to do Malcom's book justice, but essentially he observes that ideas are spread by people, and that all people are not the same.  Certain people behave in ways that cause them to be especially important in the spread of ideas:

  • Connectors - People who know lots of other people, and spread ideas rapidly.  They are important because they connect different groups of people together.  In the real world these are people like stockbrokers, tennis pros, and hairdressers.  In the blogosphere they are people like Glenn Reynolds and Chris Pirillo.
  • Mavens - People who are subject matter experts.  They are important because their opinion is respected.  In the real world these are people like technical experts, religious leaders, and media columnists.  In the blogosphere they are people like Dave Winer and Steven Den Beste.
  • Salespeople - People who persuade other people.  They are important because they reinforce a point of view about something: "this is cool", "this is bad", "this is important".  In the real world these are people like politicians and newscasters.  In the blogosphere everyone is a salesperson!

There are a relatively small number of connectors, mavens, and salesmen, but they are the gatekeepers for ideas.  The rest of us are simply the consumers.

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