Rough Type: Nicholas Carr’s Blog: Seven rules for corporate blogging

Rough Type: Nicholas Carr’s Blog: Seven rules for corporate blogging

For some reason Carr’s polemic against corporate blogging strikes me as a troll. Take on the most visible corporate blogger – Scoble – make a list, buck the conventional wisdom that corporations must blog, and then wind it up by suggesting that comments be disabled and the lawyers called in.

As it is pointed out in the comments — Scobelizer is not the Microsoft official blog, it’s Scoble’s personal blog, he just happens to have the balls to talk about work in it.

I do not talk about work here. Would I behave differently under the corporate banner? Sure.

You Can’t Go Home Again – Thomas Wolfe

I’ve been working my way through Thomas Wolfe’s last novel, You Can’t Go Home Again, for the past few weeks, reserving it for flights to and from North Carolina as a way to while away the time. I just finished it and feel a sadness for having done so, somethingI haven’t felt for some time from a piece of literature.

The old cliché of the “Great American Novel” comes to mind; Wolfe avidly pursued it, as no one has before or since, and in places, actually quite a few places, he manages to write it. His descriptions of New York City during the Great Depression rival, and outrank Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. His Whitmanesque elegies to the vastness of America, the rawness of the countryside, the power of the cities, the perspective an expatriate has of the nation looking homeward from a Europe poised on the brink of war, is a very fine thing indeed.

Time has not treated Wolfe well. Fitzgerald, Faulkner and Hemingway held their own through the decades following this Golden Age of American Literature, but Wolfe fell by the wayside, his reputation perhaps diminished by the perception that he was highly edited (by the legendary Maxwell Perkins at Charles Scribner, then Edward Aswell at Harper), unstructured, and completely autobiographical. The balls of the man, who threw his hometown of Asheville, North Carolina to the world, naming names as it were, in his first novel, Look Homeward Angel, is amazing, the quintessential proof that a novelist makes no friends in mining the stuff of his or her own life and relations in building their masterpieces.

There are so many great passages, so many great lines, it is staggering to consider that Aswell assembled You Can’t Go Home Again from an eight foot packing case of notes and 35 notebooks. The sadness of the conclusion and the foreknowledge of Wolfe in the conclusion, in predicting his own death, is wrenching:

“Something has spoke to me in the night, burning the tapers of the waning year, something has spoken in the night, and told me I shall die, I know not where.”

And so he died at the age of 38 of tuberculosis.

Some more Chatfield

Churbuck.com » Part 7 – The Reminiscences of Captain Thomas Chatfield

Coming to the end of his first, and very successful voyage as Captain, Thomas returns to the Sea of Okhotsk to rescue Uncle Bethuel, who wintered on Elbow Island in Shantar Bay. I’m on page 88 of the 162-page typescript. Tomorrow, he returns to Cotuit, hangs up his harpoon, and the tale shifts to the Civil War.

Laptop mechanix

I’m proud of myself. I Newegged a new 60 gb Hitachi 2.5″ 7200 rpm drive, swapped it into a dead Lifebook p2040, reinstalled the OS, drivers and apps, and voila, a classic subnotebook is alive again, on its way back to school with my daughter, who justifiably regards it as a sweet PC.

It did eat up most of Saturday, but hey, waste not want not, and I didn’t manage to croak the system with some March static electricity.

I loved this laptop when I owned it. 12 hours of life with all the batteries installed. A little pokey due to the Transmeta Crusoe — but it has a trackpoint, good DVD playback, and nice bells and whistles. Plus it’s little.

Auto-optimization

I may be dreaming here, but why couldn’t a metrics system such as Omniture be integrated into a CMS such as Interwoven, and based on rules, automatically shift traffic down predetermined paths?

Example: if a vendor is driving traffic through banner URLs and paid search to landing pages, and if there are multiple instances of those landing pages as part of a standard A-B/multivariate suite, why couldn’t the “winning” page begin to receive the majority of the clickstream as it wins out over its alternatives? The metrics system would need triggers that would run against a rules engine, modifying in real time the destination URLs to funnel traffic to the appropriate page.

It would seem the human interaction in the production-analysis-placement chain is the weakest link in the flow. I need to think more on this one and see where it goes.