Yule log

Today is the tenth anniversary of the coining of the term “weblog.” Happy Blog Day!

I was disappointed, though, to see that the guy who coined it has such a narrow and dogmatic view of its application:

1. A true weblog is a log of all the URLs you want to save or share. (So del.icio.us is actually better for blogging than blogger.com.)

2. You can certainly include links to your original thoughts, posted elsewhere … but if you have more original posts than links, you probably need to learn some humility.

3. If you spend a little time searching before you post, you can probably find your idea well articulated elsewhere already.

But “log” sounds so much more masculine than “journal,” doesn’t it? Captains keep logs; journals are for wimpy writers. People who are arrogant and presumptuous enough to think they have something new to say, and that the world might care if they do.

As it happened, I started the day by cutting up a white pine tree that had blown down across the driveway. I was singing the log song the whole time! O.K., not really. But I did enjoy my walk back up the hollow through three and a half inches of new powder. And with close to two inches of packed sleet underneath that, the sledding was excellent, as I discovered this afternoon.

tree mouth

Coincidentally, it’s also Via Negativa’s own fourth birthday. That’s a lot of water under the, um, log.

RSS and email subscribers: Please click through to view the Log video.

29 Replies to “Log”

  1. But that’s the thing about inventors, they rarely envisage how their invention will be applied in the future; they have a blinkered vision. It’s the same with people who coin expressions, once they are out in the big bad world, who is to say how the general public will adapt their expression to suit their needs. We need both kinds of vision, the vision to see something that isn’t there and the vision to see where that something could go once it is.

  2. I like the intra-blogging serial continuity. If today’s white pine across the drive-way is the answer to the question asked by the whining-gears-in-reverse of yesterday, what is the meaning of a sleet storm the day before? Each day explains the day that precedes it.

  3. In *nix systems, log files are written by programs (not Captain Kirk), with the most recent notations at the top. Server software reported problems and activity with files called “weblogs.”

    The regular reports of new links discovered from “Robot Wisdom” were very useful in the days before rss feeds and sophisticated search engines. (In the mid-90’s Web search engines did string searches–nothing more.) These days, with a feed reader, you make your own weblog. (Which, as you’ve noticed, is interesting enough to share with other people.)

    At the same time, in the early and mid-90’s, a lot of people were publishing their diaries, poems, fiction, and other “blog” content on their web pages, using Listserv mailing lists and other non-WWW Internet software to build communities of readers and commentators. I followed the adventures of an aspiring screenwriter/temp worker in Los Angeles, and a friend called my attention to a large community of fetishists discussing their sex lives (definitely not work-safe, so I didn’t read much). These people named themselves in small communities, and wouldn’t have picked a software-derived name, as they knew they were writing literature.

    I guess the software developers merged these two things (and others, including visual artists) with software both camps have found useful. It’s like grouping poets, journalists, and instruction-manual-producers as “bookmakers.” (Oh–that lets in an even more distant activity.)

  4. Thanks for the well-wishes (is that a word?). I wasn’t going to post about it this year until I stumbled on the coincidence, which I hadn’t been aware of.

    Jim – Yeah. I read somewhere that Edison never envisioned that his recording machine would be used for music; he insisted it would be of most value in the office, for taking dictation. So of course his company went out of business after a few decades.

    Bill – Well, that’s why we can never really trust the mind. It wants to over-interpret everything.

    Rebecca – Thanks for the history lesson, most of which was new to me. I was a late adopter of the internet compared with most bloggers, I’m sure – I didn’t get online until 1997. I do remembr my father, a reference librarian, describing the internet to me back in the late 80s as the most perfect working model of an anarchist system he’d ever seen. That was a few years before anyone thought of trying to monetize it, I think.

    As for “bookmakers”: I think what we make are scrolls rather than books. Profane Torahs, with all the hyperlinked apparatus of the talmuds already attatched. Though actually I am content to consider myself a content provider – that’s what I would put on a business card if I had one.

  5. I’m loving the log video; how in the name of Log did you stumble upon it? Happy blog-birthday, too. You started blogging a few weeks before I did, so I guess it’s almost that time of year for me, too.

    I’ve never been very interested in what blogs are “supposed” to be; I just care about my own & the ones written by people I find interesting. When you fly completely under the “cool trends” radar, you’re free to do whatever you like with the technology, even if all you do is basically play around with things you like.

  6. Lorianne – I just Googled “Ren and Stimpy” and “log song.” The faux commercial was a regular feature of the show, which I used to watch at my buddy Jim’s house on Saturday nights while we drank beer and waited for “Headbanger’s Ball” to come on at 11:00.

    Amen on your second paragraph!

    Peter – More links to what? I know I’ve fallen behind on “Best of” links…

  7. Happy b-log b-day!

    I love the feed into my email at the crack o’ dawn every day–my mornings would be poorer without your schtuff and V-Neg.

    (Yes, I had too much coffee at work, so. Must. Stop. Goofy. Trunkations. Now.)

  8. Lori – I like V-Neg. Like V-neck. Makes this old gray blog sound kinda sexy! Thanks for being here. Or being in your email. Whatever.

    Joel – Yeah, like a hairball – exactly.

    Karen – Thanks. Sorry for the explosion, but hey, I do post the odd death metal video in my del.icio.us links (Gleanings From the Web, in the front page sidebar), so it’s not like my questionable taste in music and entertainment is any secret.

  9. Ren & Stimpy…of course! I’ve seen only bits & pieces of R&S, so I wasn’t aware of their faux commercials. But yes…I’ve enjoyed the complete absurdity of the Ren-&-Stimpy-ish bits I’ve seen, so it’s perfect. I always liked the Slinky jingle, so why not parodize it?

    And neither Ren & Stimpy nor Headbangers Ball surprises me a whit, Dave. But then again, I know you’re not really an intellectual, you just play one on the Internets.

  10. Happy blogday, log man, and let many more roll down the cybernetic aisles, all crackly and sparkly with poems and pictures and videos and live podcasts, even of you singing the log-song. Let the celebrations begin and continue!

  11. everyone wants a log! I know I do. It’s a great little blog you have. Nothing else is quite like it. Happy anniversiblog day, what’s left of it

  12. Thanks, y’all. I appreciate it.

    Lorianne – Did I ever mention that Slinky is manufactured right down the road from me? A minor point of local pride, not quite up there with the Penn State Nittany Lions.

    Natalie – Maybe I should record “Rawhide,” just for you. “Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’…”

    quiet regular – Anytime you’re ready, you know I’ll come over and help you set up your very own log.

  13. Belated happy logging. I *love* Ren and Stimpy. One of the things that gives me hope about your country. Particularly “Happy happy joy joy” (which has unfortunately been removed from YouTube) but would be entirely appropriate for your logversary :-)

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