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Wednesday November 28, 2012

My Mac configuration

system preferences iconAbout a year a go I switched from Windows to Mac, and I haven’t looked back since. I started with a Mac Mini, switched to an Air when I moved into a house and didn’t want to be tied to a single desk spot with my computer, and upgraded again when I realized I needed 500 gigs on my machine so I could have my music and photo libraries onboard and a larger screen. My current machine is a 2010 15” MacBook Pro bought used on ebay. I upgraded it to 8 GB of memory and a 512 GB SSD from Crucial. I use this computer at home and as my main computer at work every day. Here’s how it’s configured (this is pretty much the order I’d re-install stuff if everything got wiped clean):

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Tuesday November 20, 2012

Blah. Nothing new last week, nothing new this week. I’ve been writing other stuff. The first thing is up now at The Atlantic: How Partisans Fool Themselves Into Believing Their Own Spin. I hope you to enjoy it. And by the way, the Twitter account is alive and well for you to enjoy, here.

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Saturday August 25, 2012

BTW, CM is kicking it on Twitter this weekend re. #isaac and you should to follow along.

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Tuesday August 21, 2012

What's up with my car?

car scar

So, this happened. I walked out of my work the other day to go to lunch and saw that the left rear tire on my car was flat. It actually wasn’t too much of a surprise, because I had a flat on the right rear a couple of months ago. I live in Edgewater across the street from a construction site, and they love sprinkling nails and screws into the street. I guess what happens is that I drive over one leaving the house and cause a puncture that drains the air over a couple of hours, so that I have no trouble getting to work, but after a few hours it’s flat. Point being, I know the drill.

I bust out the works: under the floor of the trunk there’s a toolkit with a screwdriver, a peculiar jack contraption, and a bunch of other stuff. The spare is attached to the bottom of the car in a peculiar German-engineering sort of way, and is actually removed from the inside of the trunk. I pop off a little circular piece of plastic by the rear wheel where the jack attaches by plugging into a semi-circular hole (again: German engineering). Before jacking up the car I set the emergency break and loosen the bolts on the wheel by inserting the tire iron into each one and jumping up and down on it, because it’s considered best practices at any place that works on your car these days to overtighten the bolts.

Then I jack the car up and take the bolts all the way off to discover that the (aluminum) wheel has bonded itself to the (steel) hub. I dealt with this exact situation a couple of months ago when I had the other flat, at which point I tried tapping it around the rim, banging on it with a 2-by-4, putting the bolts back on — but loosely — and lowering it and driving back and forth a few feet, all to no avail. Ended up calling the three A’s that time, who arrived and got the wheel off before I had a chance to see what the proper technique. The point being here, is that I’m officially screwed.

This is the point at which my mind officially went soft. I’ve had the chance to process this and try to figure out what the hell I was thinking, and as best as I can figure it’s that, ok, this is an automatic, right? It’s in fucking park, which means you hardly ever even use the emergency break because, like, the fact that it’s in park means the front wheels don’t move, and all the emergency break is doing is keeping the rear wheel from being able to be turned, which right now is totes not helping.

So, I reach into the vehicle and disengage the parking break.

Well, you know how this movie ends: the front wheels roll, the jack gently bends, and the left rear wheel comes gently down, which hallelujah unsticks it from the hub and causes it to pop off. It sort of gets wedged underneath, so that the wheel and tire, now sticking out at a weird 45-degree angle, are the only thing between the bottom of the car and the ground. This is the, what do you call it? The oh-shit moment.

But actually the way out of this is clear: you just need another (a real) jack to jack the car back up, and you can put the spare on and drive off in victory to World Wide Tire up the street.

(An aside about World Wide Tire: these people are kings among men. They’ve got a divey little shop next to like a creepy halfway house on US-1. Years ago I had a slow leak in a tire and I took it to Firestone, where they told me I needed a new tire because the puncture was was in the side of the tire. I had them fill it up and told them I’d be back later in the day and went to World Wide, where I explained that I needed a tire because I had a leak in the side of mine. They waved off Firestone’s assessment and patched it in about five minutes. $10, and that tire is still fine a year later. I went back a few months ago because my tires are almost bald thinking I’d get a news set, and they refused to sell me anything. “You’ve got six months left on those tires, minimum.” I’d kill for a mechanic that was as honest and good. (King Automotive in Wynwood may be close?))

But where do you find a jack suddenly in the middle of Hollywood? Well believe it or not, I look across the street and in the parking lot of the Publix I see one of those flat-bed trucks pulling through. I run over just as he’s ready to pull out back onto Hollywood Boulevard heading towards the beach and I wave at him with both arms. Do tow trucks even stop if you wave them down, if they have someplace they’ve already been summoned? This one did, and rolled down his window. It was a really high truck, and really loud, and I couldn’t really hear what the guy said back to me as I explained what happened (and he had on these wrap-around sunglasses with the multicolored reflective lenses, so maybe he wasn’t even looking at me) and that I just needed a quick jack. But I gather that he had just gotten a call and needed to be somewhere pronto and where was my car. I pointed across the street, and he said he’d come back if he couldn’t find the call(?) (maybe meaning after he was done?).

But so I thank him and I’m walking back over across the street but then I see him pulling in behind me. Which is totally awesome. He pulls in, and he’s, like, perpendicular to the row of cars, with the back of the truck just barely clearing the back of my car, and he busts out the jack. And admires my handiwork, by the way. All I can do is shrug and laugh. Whatever. He jacks the car and pulls my jack, which is twisted and useless now, and I run inside to grab a twenty to give him, and when I get back out he’s got the spare on there and discovered that it’s flat too, which is odd considering I just used it recently for the other flat. “I’ve got air,” he says, sighing, and adds that he’ll just tell (his next call) them he had to stop and use the crapper. He busts out this brand-new looking, perfectly coiled orange hose and attaches one end to something on the truck. It’s leaking from the valve, and pretty fast. I tell him I just need to get down the street to the tire place. “Ok, I’m going to fill it up as high as I can, but you’d better hurry,” he says. We throw the flat wheel, the jack, and all the other crap into the car and I thank him and he’s telling me to hurry. I jump in the car, and he opens the passenger seat and throws in the big metal contraption that holds the spare to the bottom of the car. “Alright, thanks!” I yell as he slams the door, and back out. Huge metal scraping sound, and I have no idea what that just was. I pull back forward and hop out the car to survey what just happened, and I don’t really remember what my exchange with the guy was. There’s like an extra bar at the back of the flatbed that can come down and out and tow an extra car when there’s another one on the bed itself, and the way he parked it stuck out just far enough that the side of my car scraped against it as I pulled out. There’s of course no damage to the truck at all, so the parameters of the situation haven’t really changed, and I’m back in the car and off.

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Tuesday July 31, 2012

Sorry, I just couldn’t hang with the minimalist view, and in a tear of resizing the last few weeks of images and reverting the last few weeks of changes last night, we’re back to … something. I need to fix the photo-story view, and I think I’m going to widen out the column ala B&F and fiddle with fonts over the next few days, but otherwise here we are. Comments welcome.

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Friday July 13, 2012

Hey y’all: The iTunes link for the Critical Miami podcast is up. Subscribe now! Listen and de-cogitate! Full steemz ahead!

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Thursday July 5, 2012

The camera solution

Last week, Marco described more or less the exact problem I’ve been having: we both have an amazing camera. In fact, we have the same one: the Canon 5D Mark II. But we’ve both found ourselves using an iPhone as our primary camera. The reason is simple: modern iPhones have very good cameras build in, and the 5D is a beast to carry around all the time. Marco has been going back and looking carefully at his photos, and realizes that, “photos from the iPhone 4, and even from the 4S, don’t hold up. They look fine on a 3.5-inch screen, but they look terrible on my big desktop monitor.”

I’ve got an additional problem now: a blog that benefits from me having a decent camera with me all the time. The iPhone camera works fine for certain kinds of blogging (I took the downtown school board banner photo with it), but it just doesn’t have the same level of detail, is useless in low light or backlight, and is pretty much impossible to crop and end up with something usable. I actually went back to Pinecrest Gardens with my 5D for this post.

Marco’s solution is to make a concerted effort to use the 5D more. That may work for him, but I’ve made that effort plenty of times, and it just doesn’t work. It’s really heavy for something that you carry around in addition to everything else. Pancake lens or not, it’s too big to fit into the medium-sized bag I carry most of the time. Too, it’s hard to shoot with in places where people are iffy about cameras, not only because of the size but because of the prominent shutter sound. No way you’re sneaking it into a concert. (I actually have a pocket camera that I’ve used for this. It is small enough to carry around all the time, but it makes photos that are on par with the iPhone. The only advantage it has is a wide-angle zoom.)

So what’s the solution? A new camera of course. Something that’s small enough to carry around all the time, big enough to demand to be used over the iPhone, and that’ll take top-notch photos. I give you the Fujifilm X100. It’s got a large sensor, a non-zoom lens, 12 megapixels, and it’s bigger than a pack of cigarettes but smaller than a sandwich. Depending on your monitor, this picture may be about actual size (it’s just under 5 inches wide). At almost two years old it’s a bit long in the tooth and in danger of being replaced with something better in a few months. But I got a good deal on it. We’ll see how it goes. With any luck it’ll be small enough to wear around the neck or in a bag almost all the time, easy to sneak into places, able to be operated without the screen being on, silent, and take amazing photos. Hopefully I’ll be able to get into the habit of carrying it everywhere and using it instead of reaching for the phone. Stay tuned.

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Monday June 18, 2012

The Social of the Media

facebook This is just a brief note about what’s going on here at Critical Miami. Housekeeping. Boring shit.

So, first of all, I realize that nobody has time to check in with a friggin blog every day. This is why I have set up some handy social media things which you can use to follow Critical Miami in whatever way you like. Hooray!:

Now listen up! Eyebrows have been raised at the large type and lack of sidebar on this site. I am going for a new-fangled, mobile-friendly thing, inspired by this Zeldman post and redesign. (His fonts make my fonts looks small!) I have moved some of the stuff that was in the sidebar (and links to the social media feeds) to the footer at the bottom of this very page. Your input in all of this is welcome. Links to archives and a search box will be comeing soon, but let me know what else you miss and generally what you think. Note also that I am seriously considering converting the comment system to Disqus, so thoughts about that pro or con are welcome.

Finally, I want to thank everyone for reading. This site has been offline for longer than it was alive, and the fact that I can come back and immediately have so much positive reaction is incredibly gratifying.

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Sunday June 17, 2012

Correction: In the Photography of the Miami Herald building is “not allowed”? post, I got the link to Carlos Miller’s blog wrong. The story of the other link is here. Apologies to Carlos, and bigups to sloppy blogging!

Update: And here is Carlos’ post about my post and the incident. Carlos contacted a couple of Herald reporters, and it sounds like they were disturbingly nonchalant about the whole thing. Some people have stuck up for the security guards in this situation, and I absolutely agree that the problem is with head of security or whoever set the policy, and the managers of the paper who allow it to continue. Total bullshit, and yes, we should go down there with cameras. Name the day.

Update: Facebook discussion.

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Monday September 1, 2008

Hey, after more then a month off, I made a post at the new place, about the Hurricanes and whatnot. Just letting you know. Been a long time, and I have some aspirations of beginning to do stuff over there on the regular.

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Monday June 23, 2008

That's all folks

I guess this is as good a time as any to make it official: I’m putting this ‘ere website on the bloggy mothballs. I’ve been giving this a lot of thought, but the truth is that the decision isn’t an intellectual one — I’m sort of just over it. With the pink accents, the paisley background, the local news: it’s all gotten a little restrictive. The truth is that I started this site because I thought there was a need for it, and today the need is well covered by dozens of excellent sites, from Covert Overt to Miami Art to TM and EoM, and they’re all held together by Rick’s daily grind. I just don’t have desire to keep up with it all anymore.

SO. Thanks to everyone who’s been checking in regularly over these three years. It’s been a ton of fun, and the support has been really really overwhelming.

Where we’re at as of now is this: I have a new thing, More Blog about Buildings and Food, that I’m putting together. It hopefully will be more open-ended, less locally-obsessed, and more infrequently updated then CM, but will hopefully also dovetail pretty well. I still owe you a slideshow of FOOD from the Georgia/Florida trip, and that’s going to pop up there in the next day or two. I also have a Twitter lest you forget, and you should totally subscribe to my updates. Further, friends and people that I actually know should get their own Twitter accounts post-haste. (No eye-rolling. You’ll thank me later. And btw, I’m reforming myself and will be regularly checking voicemail and e-mail from now on.)

My goal is to keep Critical Miami up in perpetuity. I’ll probably make some final adjustments to the linkroll, and some other tweaks becoming of a defunct blog (ie archives easier to access, etc.). That’s about all, folks. Hope to see you at the new place.

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Sunday June 1, 2008

Home safe & sound. Thanks to all for the good wishes, and for keeping tuned. Blogging resumes tomorrow, with all the trip show and tell and whatnot. Meanwhile, welcome back our weather map, in honor of the first day of hurricane season, and see the twitter updates resume their modest old spot on the sidebar. Unless they keep slowing down the site, in which case maybe gone for good. Also, bear with me while my handlebar-numbed hands reaccustom themselves to a keyboard. It’s been a long ten days.

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Tuesday April 22, 2008

Parabolic

Just passed the third anniversary of this’ere blog (that’s right — old enough to be your blog great-granddaddy), and so I was looking at some site stats, and the above graph struck me. We’re looking at page views per year, and while the numbers may be impressive, the trend is not. Extrapolating the numbers for 2008 out, we get 4,257,150. In other words, the difference between 07 and 08 is smaller then the difference between 06 and 07. That’s all kinds of bad — slowing growth, a gradual leveling off of readership.

On the other hand, this is all a bit of an oversimplification. Growth happens in fits and spurts and most of those come in the second half of the year, for whatever reason. And while my stats program doesn’t track unique IP stats (arguably a more accurate indication of readership), they have been growing more dramatically: 54,522 last May, 210,437 in March. Who knows what it all means.

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Thursday April 3, 2008

YAY!: Article about the March gallery walk in OceanDrive by Brett Sokol with photos by me! No word on when my Bigshot Photojournalist certificate will be mailed.

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Saturday March 29, 2008

Updates

SO. Everything should be working much better now, and hopefully my web host will be happier, too. Please report anything unusual.

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Thursday March 20, 2008

‘n i’m out: I’m leaving for a couple of days for a bike trip down to the keys. No idea how it’ll go, or how far I’ll get. No regular updates until Monday, but I’ll be Twittering from the road, and I’m adding the updates to the top of this page. You people in the comments behave yourselves.

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Thursday February 28, 2008

A number of people gave me shit for not posting today. Ahh, the love.

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Tuesday February 19, 2008

Search query report graph: 1: jessica alba, 2: jessica alba beach, 3: critical miami, 4: drug money stacks

Critical Miami Search Query Report: I got a chuckle out of this, the graph of search terms that brought folks from Google for the month of January. And, note that CM doesn’t even show up in the first 100 results for jessica alba. Drug money stacks ranks a distant 4th.

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Thursday February 14, 2008

“Doesn’t the list basically include every fucking condo in Miami?” Cue the fucking confetti and the fucking fanfare, because with those immortal fucking words Duran becomes commenter #10,000 in the history of this fucking site. How about that?

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Tuesday February 5, 2008

Oh, hey people: Steve’s site, Klotz as in Blood is DOWN. Some sort of DNS problem. I’m working on it. Update: Back up! Beer for me!

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Sunday January 13, 2008

Xobni outlook add-in for your inbox

Some sort of cool Outlook plug-in. It’s free, and if I refer two people I’ll get access to the closed Beta, so sign up!

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Thursday January 3, 2008

BTW, we’re on a 1-week comment holiday here at CM — all old posts are open for commenting for the next week (ordinarily, comments close after 6 weeks).

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Monday December 31, 2007

CM links graph

Critical Miami represented as a graph: Our man R. created this image, generated by Websites as Graphs, which represents all of the outgoing links on this here web page as a series of clusters. Explanation here, but the money shot is the annotated version at flickr, which explains what each cluster actually represents. Judging the accuracy is beyond me.

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Thursday December 27, 2007

Blogroll

Um, actually, I’m not sure what that means. But anyway, I made you something for Christmas — a re-shuffled right column, with links to other blogs. I had a whole complicated categorized system, and just simplified it at the last minute, so the whole thing is still pretty rough and in progress. Suggestions welcome.

Also, and this should go without saying: light posting for the rest of the week.

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Monday December 10, 2007

BTW, the two articles below are showing excerpts, because they were too long. Click “See full article” at the bottom of each for the whole thing.

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Friday November 30, 2007

The tropical depressions live satellite map has been retired as per due to because of the end of hurricane season. See you next year, map! On a personal note, with the notable exception of Dean, the season was a bit of a let-down. Here’s to a more exiting season next year. (And more rainfall.)

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Sunday October 7, 2007

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Valid CSS!

In preparation for tomorrow’s post, I did a little housekeeping, fixed some nagging problems, and presto: this shit is validating. For now. And only Transitional. But I’m getting serious about this. U: A few extremely minor other changes are lurking. Let me know if anything looks broken.

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Friday September 7, 2007

My pal Mr. Leif went to meet Bill Clinton yesterday, and got his picture both in the Herald and the Sun-Sentinel. Nice work, celebrity baby! Update: 1,200 photos from China.

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Thursday August 30, 2007

I don’t know if anyone besides me cares about this, but CM search results now direct to a page with a regular article list, rather then article titles+an excerpt. I think this makes stuff much easier to find on the site, and bridges the gap between tags and the search function. And since we haven’t done this in awhile, please to use this post as a place to vent other frustrations w/r/t the CM interface.

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Tuesday August 21, 2007

Problems with the CM main computer; posting will be nonexistent light today.

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Wednesday August 15, 2007

2 Live Looks gets the grand profile treatment from the Herald’s Jaweed Kaleem, including photos of the guys in action and a narrated slideshow. Congrats. (Oh, and I get quoted.)

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Monday July 30, 2007

Truth that throws some meat to the dogs is no less worth telling for doing so

Indulge me:

Truth that throws some meat to the dogs is no less worth telling for doing so.

That’s what I said here, much to everyone’s amusement. And admittedly, it’s a pretty twisted formulation, constructed under the influence of alcohol (TWI?). Be that as it may, it’s sensical, and I’m sticking by it. And so let me explain:

  1. “Truth” — this is a noun, the subject of the sentence. It means “A true statement . . .”
  2. “ . . . that throws some meat to the dogs” — in other words, making the statement satisfies a group of people that is really not worthy of being satisfied. Not an unheard of colloquial expression.
  3. “ . . . is no less worth telling for doing so.” — making the statement satisfies a group that is not worthy of being satisfied. However, that fact ought not to prevent its being made.

In other words: “Be honest, even if your honesty gives satisfaction to someone you don’t particularly want to give satisfaction to.” I may be convoluted, but I’m not gibberishizing.

Update: This line is to live on in infamy: it’s [slightly mis]quoted here.

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Tuesday July 24, 2007

MB-D80 My used Nikon stuff for sale on ebay: MB-D80 grip/battery pack, SB-400 flash, and MH-18a charger. All gently used and available to a good home, and yes, I did kvetch about getting my D80 stolen in every single listing.

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Miami Beach defends crappy new lifeguard stands

New Times Miami illustration by Mike Gorman

Illustration by Mike Gorman, New Times.

While I was sleeping, last week’s New Times quoted me as saying “Whoever thought this piece of shit up missed the spirit of the originals by a mile, and should be kicked in his patriotic balls.” It accompanies this article by Janine Zeitlin, which defends the new lifeguard stands as cheaper, and opens, “Tourists love ‘em. So say Miami Beach city officials.” Well duh, they haven’t seen the originals. “With art deco, everything goes.” Um, don’t even get me started. People come from all over the world by the millions, as much for the beach as for anything else, and you’re justifying your cheapness while spending lavishly on park overhauls, Washington Ave. “beautification” (as if anybody cares about Washington Ave.), and tax refunds. The lifeguard stands should have been restored or recreated according to the original designs. And Scott Timm should have said so when asked, not begged off because the stands are not technically in the historic district.

Anyway, the quote (“Ript from the blogs,” not in the online version) provides a link to the photo (where the above quote is from). NT also helpfully linked to my Sun-Sentinel website writeup (so did Elad, thanks) and a recent weekend todo. Wow.

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Friday June 15, 2007

Yay: The Google embargo has been lifted. Attention Google visitors: Critical Miami is safe.

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Monday June 11, 2007

Badware

It has been brought to my attention that Critical Miami has been flagged by StopBadware and by Google. All I can say at this point is that I’m operating on good faith, and nothing malicious that may be happening is a result of anything I’ve deliberately done. I’ve appealed to the respective authorities for help in tracking down and eradicating whatever problems exist, but I also need your help — if anyone’s noticed any peculiar behavior out of this site lately please use the comments. Hopefully this is all a misunderstanding; watch this space for updates. (Thanks to everyone who pointed this problem out.)

Update [6/11/07, 10 pm]: Requests for help have been filed at StopBadware, the Textpattern forum, and Dreamhost tech support.

Update [6/12/07 8:11 am]: Aha! The answers are coming in. It appears that CM was, in fact, hacked! Along with 3,500 other Dreamhost customers (curse Dreamhost — maybe time to switch?). Information at Dreamhost’s blog and numerous other sources. I’ve removed the offending code, and will keep an eye on the situation, so CM is now once again safe for your computer. Watch this space for information as it develops. In the meantime — alternate hosting suggestions?

Update [6/12/07 8:45 am]: I’ve gone through all the various domains and sites I host, and sure enough, the offending “iframe” code was in every single index.php and index.html file. I’ve variously fixed or yanked down all the sites. The first sign of this was when Steve’s blog disappeared last week (so no, Steve, it wasn’t your fault (for once) — sorry), because it seems that in some cases the script that’s doing the hacking replaced the files rather then appending (which of course makes it much easier to spot). I’ve also changed my ftp password. The good news is that Steve’s files were not re-infected over the last week, so hopefully this was a one-time thing. Stay tuned.

Update [6/13/07]: The coast is clear. The malicious links have all been removed, and StopBadware has been notified, so the block that Google has placed on CM should be lifted whenever they get around to reviewing the case. Thousands of sites were hit with the same code, this one coincidentally was crawled by Google in the week or so the the code was there. Meanwhile, this code (essentially, it loaded hidden versions of other web pages, which may have included malicious javascript) has been all over the place, so everyone is encouraged to update their anti-virus definitions and do a thorough scan.

Update [6/15/07]: Yay! The warning has been removed from Google. It’s still listed at StopBadware, which is odd since I the appeal was submitted through them.

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Monday June 4, 2007

Critical updates

site stats: 274945 page views in May I spent most of the day Sunday neck-deep in code and stuff like this, trying to make you a new and improved Critical Miami. I mostly got done the more “coding” type stuff, and left the sorting/data decisions for another time, because I can officially only use one half of my brain per day, and I need to do this geek-out stuff during my rare forages into sobriety. Anyway, here’s a summary:

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Thursday May 31, 2007

Welcome New Times readers

newtimes best of cover Oh, so it occurred to me that some new folks might be dropping by to check the site out, and maybe they could use a little more then an MF-bomb to get oriented. I’d say the best way to get a sense of the site is just to skim through in reverse chronological order. When you get to the bottom of the page, click “Older articles” to go to the next page, and so on. Click lots of links (open them in new windows/tabs so you can find your way back).

If you’re particularly interested in a subject, you can click its tag at the bottom of the article or in my super-retro tag cloud (thing in the sidebar with different-sized words) to get all the articles with that tag. (Tags only go back a little over a year right now and are a bit of a mess, which I promise to fix this weekend. I’ll fix the archive pages, too. Maybe even the stinkin’ blogroll.) Too much work? Here are some recent favorites:

For stuff from before that, check out the year two wrap-up, which has links to some of the better stuff from the last year. You know, reading the Best-of award, I can’t help but think the NT’s poked around some of the oldest pages, from back in April 2007: “You’re as likely to find updates on major construction as anecdotes about visits to offbeat ethnic eateries.” Look: Earth day, 2005, and La Vraie Difference.

Stop by tomorrow, when CM will tell you how to run your weekend. Oh, and I still think New Times should bring the “best blog” category. My unofficial pick for best blog: Transit Miami.

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Wednesday May 30, 2007

Best Miami website, motherfuckers

I’m not quite sure I’m believing my eyes, but Miami New Times’ best of 2007 is out, and Critical Miami took ‘Best Website’. I guess w00t and thanks are in order. The operant link may be my rant from last year, wherein I embarrassingly whined about not winning the award then, and further complained about the lack of a ‘best blog’ category. But if 54 references aren’t enough, let me spell it out: I love you too, guys. (I’m also glad that NT noticed the commenters here, who’s contributions are just as important as mine for making the site worth visiting. Thanks.)

Update/PS: I’m sure the print version is perfect, but your online listing doesn’t technically include a hyperlink. And the Biscayne Times award doesn’t even include the name.

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Friday May 25, 2007

Special Note! (or, 'Memorial Day Weekend')

Urp! I was away from computer thursday evening and friday morning, hence you have no idea what to do with your weekend. Please to consider going down to random clubz on tonight friday saturday and sunday nightz and digging the hiphops weekend. Elsewize help the ACLU by coming down anyway and keeping an eye out for Miami Beach PD (love you guys — most of the time!) from whatever overzealous crackdowns may have been handed down. ktnxbi.

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Wednesday May 9, 2007

Panel homework

In preparation for tonight’s panel, I’m reading and re-reading recent work by my fellow panelists. Here’s what I’ve got:

OK, sorry, I’m getting a little carried away venting my frustrations with these publications’ websites. I’m not addressing the writing; these are obviously all fine writers, I just hate to see good work be put into crappy packages. Anyhow, see you there at 7 pm.

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Monday May 7, 2007

I'm on a panel this Wednesday

conversations with miami

Joanne Green of the New Times, Omar Sommereyns of the Sun Post, Anne Tschida, Elisa Turner of the Miami Herald and I will be doing a panel on arts writing in Miami, and media in general, at Locust Projects this Wednesday. Stop by and say hi.

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Wednesday May 2, 2007

Critical Miami is blocked under AOL’s “safe browsing” software.

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Monday April 16, 2007

A commenter suggested this.

Any takers?

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Sunday April 15, 2007

Twitter (in the side bar). Don’t expect this to last.

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Wednesday April 4, 2007

Blah: The internets were down at CM headquarters when I got back yesterday, and Atlantic Broadband can’t get anyone out until Saturday to look at it, so light posting continues. Their service is generally excellent, but it’s a bit irritating, since because they use independent contractors to do the installation, there was no problem setting that up for the weekday evening of my choice. (Site stats have been pretty strong the last couple of weeks — maybe sporadic posting is the way to go.)

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Monday March 26, 2007

On 'Critical'

When the whole Carnival Center thing happened, I remember being sneeringly asked something like, “what qualifications do you have to be a critic, anyway?” Well, for the record, I have none (nor do I agree that writing about thing should be left for so-called qualified professionals). But the question has stuck with me, and from time to time I’ve introspected about what I meant by the word ‘critical’ when I named this site. It really breaks down into about four distinct meanings, which I consider to have the following order of relative importance:

  1. There is an almost slang-like sense in which the word was used in the late-80s/early-90s to mean ‘important.’ See also “crucial.” It turns out that this corresponds roughly to the first definition of the word in Webster, but for me the word still has a casual connotation. Also, to the extent that critical=important, it’s writing about important things — or things we pretend are important because they’re fun to argue about — not that the site itself is supposed to be important.
  2. The critical thinking sense. In other words, writing for the sake of the fun of picking apart ideas. Plus: “How can I know what I think until I see what I say,” a quote so good it variously gets ascribed to W.H. Auden, Raymond Carver, Oscar Wilde, Richard Hugo, Winston Churchill(!), Graham Wallas, and E. M. Forster (the latter is apparently correct). I hadn’t gotten to write a whole lot since college, and picking localness as a subject gave me a wide field of topics to work with. (Well, and plus there was no Miami omniblog at the time — had SotP been around, I doubt I’d have started.)
  3. The “writing negatively about things” sense. Because it’s fun to criticize things, even if you couldn’t do it any better yourself. Heck, sometimes it’s important to. I think this is the sense that people get first when they hit the site — note the Metafilter link, and the Destination Blog kiss-off: “not critical enough.” Hmph.
  4. Finally, the “writing judgmentally about cultural stuff” sense. I actually try to tread lightly when I do this, and again, I don’t claim any particular qualifications. But what’s the big deal, anyway? We all go look at, listen to, and do stuff, and it’s only natural to talk about whether we liked it or not, and why. There’s no persuasive reason why this should be left to professionals.

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Monday March 19, 2007

Year two wrap-up

I’m off to Bogotá for a couple of weeks, and even though the two-year CM anniversary (cotton!) is a month away, let’s do a recap of the more prominent articles some newer readers may have missed. Chronological:

Whew! I guess I need to do that more often then once a year. Here is the previous list (and yes, Haardvark is going on 4 years without getting updated). Other then that, don’t worry, there are a few articles pre-written and scheduled for the next two weeks. Otherwise, I’ll see you on April 4th.

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Thursday March 15, 2007

Correction: madebythem says: “You mention a space that had a big opening with a boy with neon orange briefs. I would like to let you know that that space as well as the show was is in no way related to the Moore Space. My friend and I wrote a proposal to get the space and decided to have a show with no theme, flyers, invites or any sort of publicity. It would be great if you could correct your update in order to prevent any sort of misunderstandings with the good folks at the Moore Space.”

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Friday February 9, 2007

In SunPost, Erik Bojnansky quotes my snippiness regarding the South Florida Art Center’s SuperStore. He also quotes Wormhole and a couple of SFAC artists, who express unhappiness all around. Vague light is shed on the center’s financial situation, but no numbers.

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Sunday February 4, 2007

About the ads: I recently got an e-mail from Google nudging me to put one of these big ads on my site. “The medium rectangle is the most demanded size among our brand advertisers,” they say. So I’m trying it out. One silver lining out of this is that it forced me to clean up the CSS a little, and some of the mistakes that made the margins a little off in IE6 are now fixed. The bad news is that I had to widen the sidebar by about 50 pixels, and it looks a little out of balance now. Complaints? Update: The black BG will be up for exactly 24 hours unless there’s overwhelming support for making it permanent.

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Friday February 2, 2007

Wayback Machine entry for Critical Miami, circa May 2005. Masthead and right sidebar appear broken, but everything else is where it should be. There are no links to other blogs because, with the exception of Babalu and Infomaniac (which I didn’t know about yet) and Artblog (linked) there were none.

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Wednesday January 24, 2007

Miami Dade voters ignored the advice of blogger Critical Miami yesterday and voted to give the mayor broad new powers as a strong mayor.”

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Saturday January 13, 2007

Little changes at big Critical Miami

I need your suggestions and complaints, but yes, I’m fiddling with the site lately. The little ad in the navbar doesn’t seem to be displaying anything relevant, so it’s probably not going to last long. The calendar thing, which I made myself, seems to be working about like I’d want, except I need to make a custom navbar for the calendar items. Links have temporarily disappeared because there were too many, but they’re coming back in some way or another. I’ve been using tags for awhile, but haven’t gone back to tag all the old items. Nonetheless, I need to switch to “clean URLs” to get my tags recognized by Technorati as tags, and that happens as soon as I publish this post.

Things will break. Please let me know. Comment on this article with broken things as well as general complaints and suggestions. Thx.

(The problem with clean URLs is that while old links will still work under the new system, links created under the new system will not work under the old system should switching back be necessary. Hence my stress level — I’ve tried this before and eventually had to to go back, and broken links to CM are still out there.)

Update!

Yep, the consequences are unpredictable. For expample, there’s now a Calendar page, as well as an article page and a linklog page, none of which work in a way that particularly makes sense. Suggestions as to what these pages should do are hereby solicited. Maybe refer to Waxy links for guidance (not to mention some kick-ass links.

Update:
For those following that sort of thing, http://www.criticalmiami.com/atom/ and http://www.criticalmiami.com/rss/ now work. Click the buttons at the bottom of the navbar or the subscribe button in your Firefox address bar.

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Thursday December 14, 2006

Looks like The Dirt hasn’t posted anything in awhile and — wait, WHAT?! Critical Miami got a namecheck in New York magazine?? w00t to that shit, plus my eternal public thanks to anyone who can send me a scan of the full page with said reference. Update: Here’s the “oh, SNAP!” link: New York Travel, Miami. Since The Dirt is dead, and MB-Miami is strictly coasting on the coattails of the worldwide MB empire, does this mean that Val and I are the big men in town?

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Monday December 11, 2006

Fuck Microsoft

usage chart -- summary below

I just installed Internet Explorer 7 on my work computer, and it made the bullet points on the CM navbar lists disappear (this after all the hoops I jumped through to make CM look reasonable under IE6). I have no intention of upgrading on my computer at home, so the odds of this getting fixed are pretty slim.

IE users, listen to me — you’re perpetuating bad stuff by not switching to Firefox (on Windows). There’s a reason why the phrase “internet explorer is evil” returns more then a million hits on Google. Switch to Firefox. You’ll be doing right by yourself and by the whole world. Feel free to use the comments section to tell me why you don’t want to.

Update:
Let me just dispel one misconception: it’s NOT Firefox that’s messing up websites.

We have these things called standards, which are a consistent set of rules for how a web browser is supposed to work. Smart people from all different places put them together. You’ve heard of a “standards compliant” browser? Firefox is one (it’s not perfect, but it’s 99% right). Safari is one. Opera is one.

With Internet Explorer, Microsoft chooses another way — to do whatever the fuck it wants. Accept some of the rules, ignore others, and implement still others in a way that’s deliberately different. There are ways to make a website look right in all the browsers, but they require workarounds, hacks, and other standards-violating tricks on the part of web developers.

Any internet search on this topic will bring up thousands of rants by people who build web sites about how terrible this is, the “evil” link above is just one extreme example. Putting these workarounds means that building a website that looks good in the major browsers can take twice as long as it otherwise would or more.

So, web developers are unhappy, but regular people don’t need to care, right? We can just use whatever browser’s best for us, right?

No. This hurts everyone, because it raises the bar to putting something on the internet, and keeps information away from all of us. To the extent that it’s difficult to build a good website, it’s largely Microsoft’s fault.

There is a slight learning curve for someone switching to Firefox, but it’s worth it. And not just because you’re supporting the people who are doing the right thing, and snubbing the people who are doing the wrong thing: Firefox is a better browser, too. It’s more secure, and it has better features — as evidenced by the fact that Internet Explorer 7 “borrows” many features from Firefox (and still doesn’t implement them very well).

I would suggest that when Windows asks you to download IE7, you download Firefox 2 instead (use the link above).

Microsoft can get away with this because a lot of people use Internet Explorer, so web developers have to cater to it. But fewer people are using it every day. In the comments, R. links to a usage graph for Europe. Above is a graph for Critical Miami so far in the month of December. I say everyone else should consider getting with the program.

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Tuesday November 28, 2006

Yesterday was a record-breaking day, with over 10,000 page views, I guess because of the “Blogger Deletes Comment!!!“ post (which, incidentally, was post 1001, so two milestones there for CM). But since I’m sure very few people are still following that thread, I thought I’d point out Manuel A. Tellechea’s comment, which says something very interesting and important, and is quite eloquent, too. Everyone should go read. Less importantly, I feel compelled to point out that you are currently reading a comment about a comment about a comment about a comment about a comment. My friends, that’s five levels of meta-ness. Update: as though on cue, Kottke shows me I’m an amateur, easily finding seven levels of meta-ness on del.icio.us. Oh well.

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Friday November 10, 2006

Critical Miami status

Looking at this post from last year, and looking at how things have changed. It’s a graph of search terms (from October, the last complete data set) that people use that land them here; there are fewer entries on the graph because there are actually more seraches, and as each slice gets proportionally smaller it becomes impossible to show them on the graph. So here’s a table version:

301 critical miami 25 alabama jacks
132 miami ink 23 miami ink tattos
70 miami performing arts center 21 money stacks
64 nancy spungen 20 watson island
56 ticket clinic 19 ticket clinic miami
47 carnival center 18 bodies miami
46 miami blog 17 miami carnival center
35 uli herzner 17 gil dezer
30 carnival center for the performing arts 17 carnival center miami
29 miami blogs 5090 [not listed: 3,278 search terms]
29 johnny winton

Observations:

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Sunday October 22, 2006

6/10 A few ‘meta’ things to point out:

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Monday October 16, 2006

Driving with Mr. Alesh

I’ve been out of pocket the last few days, sick and in bed. Here’s a video I made a few days before, driving down an unnamed street in south Broward, among lots of police activity. I’ll tell ya, though: trying to film and control the ol’ vehicle is like driving drunk, or driving and talkin’ on the celly. Anyway, I hear there’s been some sports-related controversy lately, but I stay out of that. More bloggin’ soon.

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Thursday October 5, 2006

Python eats aligator and pops: the one year aniversary. Good times.

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Wednesday October 4, 2006

Look: the remaindered links (aka “news bytes”) now indicate when they have comments! Thanks to Rick for the suggestion.

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Friday September 29, 2006

Sometimes a comment really hits home, and provokes a lot of reflection, as this one, suggesting “wow, alesh why don’t you tell us what you ate last night.” Not a bad idea, and so here pleased to be presenting: i eat food, my new blog. Updated probably maybe twice a week or so, and sporting a design which I consider to be an homage to Preshrunk, though with more red.

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Tuesday September 26, 2006

The funniest thing I’ve seen so far today: In a recent online poll, 81% of the respondents thought online polls should continue. (Rick thinks I’m a spoilsport to suggest that online polls are a waste of time, even “just for fun.”) Update: Everyone agrees that I’m an ass for “making a big deal” out of this. See Fanless and the entire argument in the comments. BTW, I like to “click on buttons and look at graphs” as much as the next guy, and in that spirit I offer a link to the implicit association test at Harvard.

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Thursday September 21, 2006

I submitted my old wind energy rant to Digg. 3 diggs so far!

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Wednesday September 20, 2006

Strange pods

Bass museum park plant 1

In the field next to where the old Miami Beach library used to be, by the Bass Art Museum, there are these amazing huge old trees. People often hang out under them, reading, and generally frolicking. A couple of weekends ago I was one of those people, and took this photo of one the weird pods that fall off the trees (here is the other part; there was also a white, fleshy bit—it’s amazing what grows in the tropics during the summer wet season). Anyone know what these are called?

Also, after much fiddling and experimentation, I have what I believe to be working links to add CM articles (just the ones with titles) to del.icio.us and Digg, for those who like to mess with those services. It makes me feel like I have a real blog. Would someone let me know whether they work (hint: experiment with an article you actually think is worth linking to; ie not this one)? I’m also trying to get my tags (still experimental for now) to work with Technorati tags. Any other services anyone uses that I might should try to set up?

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Tuesday August 8, 2006

Attention Miami bloggers! After this, I want to have some sort of ability to communicate. If you didn’t get a message from me this morning, e-mail me. This message will self-destruct.

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Monday August 7, 2006

Um, no, sorry, the Miami bloggers will NOT be gathering

I got a weird e-mail link to this weird invite yesterday, and I ignored the living shit out of it. This morning, when Christian and Rick have posts about it (and so do probably a bunch of other bloggers I haven’t looked at yet – Fanless is my first stop when he has a new post, and Rick is comprehensive, hence my checking there to see if anyone else noticed it), I dug it out of my inbox trashcan and took another look.

So, yes, hi guys! I agree with Rick: this is a great idea. I also agree with Rick that it’s mainly great at getting your restaurant, vineyard, or whatever it is, some inexpensive publicity. Clever.

But no. You don’t get to throw the big party where all the Miami bloggers finally get together. Too many of us are anti-corporate, some of us are adamantly anonymous, and most of us have an aversion to the 33139 zip code. I have hung out with a few of the Miami bloggers, and I’m sure we’ll have more things where more of us get together. But when it’s organized by some out-of-town corporate interest, I don’t think I’m the only one who’s going to be able to find something more interesting to do.

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Saturday August 5, 2006

Had trouble getting on Critical Miami in July? Here’s why.

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Wednesday July 19, 2006

Yes, the site has been down intermittently for the last couple of days. Dreamhost claims that the problems are all cleared up now. Thanks for your patience.

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Monday July 17, 2006

Tweaked

First of all, appologies to Internet Explorer users, who have been suffering on and off for weeks with a misbehavin’ left column. Now use that big button on the right to get firefox anyway.

I hate change as much as the next guy, but it was time for that three-column layout to go. Actually, the navbar is going to split into two little columns again, but nevermind for now. What we have, then, is a slight layout change, with a few other little modifications:

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Saturday July 1, 2006

A midsummer night's navelgaze

graphalicious

We’re halfway through the year, kids! And since there’s so many new folks reading, a mid-year review seemed like something to do. There’s been some “does anyone read my blog?” speculation going on lately, and I’m pleased to say that the answer is ‘yes.’

Whatever. In lieu of congratulations, please send acerbic letters to Republicans (before I start to sound like this guy). Meanwhile, here follows a somewhat absurdly replete ‘best-of’ from the last 6 months (and see Critical Miami year-end chin stroking for a similar treatment of 2005) in forward-chronological order:

January

February

March

April

May

June

As a parting thought, I might point out that my favorite blog of all time hasn’t been updated since November of 2003.

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Thursday June 29, 2006

New Times Broward ran my crazy Mercedes photo.

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Monday May 15, 2006

Critical flickr

w

In another life, I decided to do a photoblog, and had all the wealth and fame that comes with it, all with a minimum effort. Oh, well. In the interest of at least some approximation of that, I’ve begun to upload a few of my snapshots to flickr. Think of it as a more visual, less narrative side of CM. And do whatever else you’re supposed to do on flickr – tag, comment, etc.

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Sunday May 7, 2006

Tweakz

aventura mall

The big state-of-the-art redesign is still pending, but meanwhile, there are some small changes afoot. As always, reader input is appreciated (disregarded: sometimes; ignored: never).

More to come . . .

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Thursday April 27, 2006

Right back at ya, SunPost

sunpost cover Tiffany Rainey’s article on Miami blogging is out in this week’s Sun Post. A pretty great rundown of some of the more prominent local blogs, illustrated by the totally awesome Chris Meesey.

During the art blogging panel, and in a few other conversations I’ve had with journalists, the supposed merging of blogging and journalism comes up often. But the conversations I’ve had with Tiffany, and other journalists, lead me to believe that the opposite is true: what I do looks a little like journalism, but the process is almost the exact opposite. Journalists are usually assigned stories (maybe sometimes they suggest them, but still there is editorial input at every stage), do a whole bunch of research, place phone calls, gather facts, and present a balanced piece that conforms to a previously established format and length. I, on the other hand, write about whatever the hell I feel like, at whatever length I want, and my research, if any, consists of a google search. I could count on one hand the number of phone calls I’ve made to gather information for CM. More then that, though, there is a distinct lack of planning about the whole thing – the average length of time between an idea for a post and the “publication” is maybe an hour. My saving grace is being able to cast a wide net – everything from personal experiences to a long-ass list of RSS feeds (some of which are extremely secret) makes it relatively easy and fun keep finding stuff that’s interesting to me to write about.

Oh, but and so I wanted to talk about the SunPost… I first read the Post a few years ago, when it was sort of shit. It was around the same time CM started that I noticed it getting more fun to flip through, and my first post about it was back in June of last year. Since then much of the Post’s core reporting staff has turned over, and the new team, consisting of Tiffany, Omar Sommereyns, Rebecca Wakefield, and Alfredo Triff (the latter three are all, curiously, New Times transplants), along with a few others, are pushing the rag in a new direction, more community-oriented then the New Times, yet much hipper then ‘straight’ newspapers. The paper has also expanded it’s reach (previously, it was limited to only a few sections of Miami/Dade), and updated its look (some fancy design firm thing).

What’s missing is a modern web site. I’ve railed on about the lack of proper permlinks on numerous past occasions, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg – the Post’s site insists on attempting to duplicate the feel of reading the “real” paper, sacrificing the benefits of the web. And no RSS feed? Give me a break: the Herald has close to 200 different feeds. But whatever; they’ll figure it out, and the SunPost will continue to be an asset to the community.

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Thursday April 13, 2006

Uno

graph

Oh, by the way, today is the first aniversary of this’ere site. I started CM because at the time there was no Miamist, no Metroblogging Miami, and no other Miami based blogs of that sort. Today, there are dozens, and there’s a Miamist and MB-Miami (though they both blow), so technically, there’s no more need for Critical Miami. Nonetheless, though, I see no reason not to keep it up so long as it’s fun.

In honor of the anniversary, some changes are happening. Nothing drastic, but you may notice some things moving around over the next couple of weeks. To get you started, there’s a “one year ago today” feature in the left bar (thanks to Mary on the Textpattern forum for that one). The big thing will be that the Tuesday linkfest will be exploded and scattered throughout the week, ala kottke.org. There may be a slight design overhaul. The archives will be made easier. That sort of thing.

This would be a good time to kick in any suggestions, gripes, pet peeves, or advice you may be harboring. Thanks for reading.

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Friday April 7, 2006

Artblogging panel

The panel was fun. There was a little of an information gap, but overall, my worst fears were not realized. To wit: I wondered, since the five of us are obviously articulate in writing and perfectly fine expressing whatever we need to on the blogs, whether there would be about this forum that would add to that. The answer turned out to be “yes.” And while I’m sure there were moments that were painfully dull for the audience, there was also some good back-and-forth. The library didn’t close promptly at 8 pm as was threatened, and so the conversation was allowed to run its course very naturally. One of the questions that came up afterwards was “so what do we do for part 2”? The answer seems clear to me now: different bloggers!

One of the points I found myself making was how different blogging is from journalism (this was particularly apparent during a great chat I had with Omar Sommereyns and Tiffany Rainey of SunPost at the post-panel chowdown at Parilla): a journalist starts a story with an idea, then goes to gather the facts through phone calls and research, then fits it into the space allocated, and into a fairly well defined “story arc.” As a blogger, my approach is almost the reverse of this – I start with experiences that I’ve had, and things that I’ve done or thought because of my personal interests, then fit them into posts; in a sense, the “idea” for the post comes last. I can write as much or as little as I want, and I can do it whenever I want. So, well, it’ll be interesting to see where this stuff is 10 years from now, when blogs and newspapers have gone through whatever integrating they’ll go through, and the percentage of human beings with blogs has plateaued, and this stuff’s place in society is established and not feared.

Oh right, the panel… Well, KH and Alfredo got into a little back-and-forth with Franklin, but there was too much love for real sparks to fly. Helen Kohen was a great moderator; she approached it with the freshness of an outsider (who, as a journalist, did her research!), and was very good about passing the [proverbial] mic around.

Oh, and so Rebecca Carter liveblogged the first hour of the talk (and summarized much of the rest) at Greener Miami, and I think caught much of the more interesting content (the photo above is also hers). Nice work, Rebecca! Meanwhile, over at this Artblog thread Jack gives his assessment at comment #18 (note to Jack: at the dinner after the panel, someone suggested checking Artblog to see what you’d said about it, so we all saw your comment moments after you posted it, about an hour after the end of the panel).

Update: KH has some reflections here and here.

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Wednesday November 9, 2005

Critical Miami in the news

This is all stuff we meant to tell you about yesterday, but plumb forgot. Critical has gotten mention at the Blog Herald for making fun of Miamist, and at Bloggers Blog for our crack post-hurricane coverage. The graph above shows search terms on the blog for yesterday. Finally got up a new about page (the old one is here). And, oh yeah, our shit is now validating (still working on the CSS though). Also, since your humble author is starting work at MPAC Monday, we’re yanking their picture off the masthead (yeah, yeah, it’s not really a masthead, whatever). One of these days that picture is going to rotate . . .

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