We got seated at the local Cheescake Factory, my father looked over at the sign I had brought to prop up at the side of the table, and asked, "Does this place really have 100 tables?" while pointing at the sign.

Does this place really have 100 tables?

He thought we had been given Table #98. Nope, it was his birthday, year #98, born 3/25/1916.

The day my father was born was the last day in the life of Ishi, "widely acclaimed in his life as the 'last wild Indian' in America." When I was in graduate school at UC, Berkeley I would see the book about Ishi's life in the bookstores, as it was anthropologists at UCB who studied him and wrote his life story in 1961. The book looked interesting, but I never read it.

I never made any connection between Ishi and my father, until today. If I had known this connection back then, I would have read the book. And maybe I will now!

It's rather intriguing to me that the subtitle of the Theodora Kroeber book about Ishi was "In Two Worlds," very similar to the title I gave my blog, "Two Worlds in One." A fun kind of serendipity.

Other Events on That Day

  • Women were allowed to attend a boxing match. What match, in what city? The Internet did not tell me.

  • Henry Biederbick died on that day. He was one of only six survivors of the 25 member Greely Expedition of 1881 to the Arctic, where the team was abandoned for three years. Biederbick went on to be active in the National Geographic Society, Explorers' Club and the Arctic Club.

  • HENRY G. DALTON (Hull#713) was launched into Lake Erie on that day at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co., for the Interlake Steamship Co., Cleveland, Ohio – the company's first 600 footer. I went to college at Oberlin College, twenty minutes to the south. If we wanted to see Lake Erie, we would drive up Highway 58 to Lorain. My brother got his doctorate in Cleveland at Case-Western Reserve.

We Brought That Sign!

  • Sure enough, I had made that sign in Word and brought it in a large white envelope. "Remember, it's your birthday today, now you're 98 years old," my brother reminded him. We brought that sign.

  • Now it dawned on him why that sign was there and he got a good laugh at himself and how he had misunderstood the sign before. We were there to celebrate his birthday and that meant he was going to get a sweet dessert, some pie or cake. In fact before we left for the restaurant, he had said that he wanted to eat three different kinds of pie. Nothing makes my father happier than pies and cakes. He had been very fortunate when he selected my mother as his wife, because she made great desserts their entire marriage, most famous for her legendary cherry pie and her lemon meringue pie, with the feather light meringue stacked very high on top of the lemon. She had been gone many years and the desserts had never been as good after that.

  • My brother learned how to make the cherry pie, as we have her recipe. I talked Marcia into trying it one time, but it turned out to be a disaster. The crust was the hard part and she didn't get that part right, so you could say that she made cherry cobbler that day, not cherry pie.

Linda's Fudge Cake

  • We had tipped off the staff about what the sign meant. So after he finished eating his chicken and biscuits and asked for a doggie bag to take home the rest, three or four of the staff came over to the table with a piece of Linda's Fudge Cake, a single candle lit on top of it. Linda's fudge cake

  • Of course we all sang along to the Happy Birthday Song. Dad posed for a picture, blew out the candle, and dove into the cake. There was no doggie bag needed for any of that cake. He ate every last bit of it. We forgot to ask him whether he had made a wish, but clearly he had already gotten one wish with that piece of cake. He was 98 years old, but I bet he could take care of a piece of fudge cake just about the same way when he was eight.

  • Our father is generally quite healthy. He takes no medications of any kind. He used to use inhalers every day for his COPD, but he gave those up several years ago when he decided he didn't need them. And he didn't. He's hard of hearing, so we got him a hearing aid, but he quit using that too, so we just had to talk louder. During the dinner he told us he had only one regret or complaint about getting older, and that was the fact that his memory is very bad. His short-term memory, that is.

  • As we ate, he told us about his aunt who used to love to feed him and about how she made her own root beer and how one day the cork popped on one of the bottles, bouncing off the ceiling, with root beer sprayed all about the kitchen. Those happy times are still with him, laughing as he told the story.

  • My father has always been the story teller in our extended family.

  • When he turns 100, we're gonna ask him what his secret is for a long life, like they always do. After we got home and he had looked at his birthday cards and opened his presents, he said he would let us know after he decides whether he's gonna shoot for 104 or 105, or just what age.

  • At dinner I had told him, "Look, when I turn 98, you're gonna be 128. Who's gonna take care of us then??!"

  • Ron Chester

03/26/14; 01:55:47 AM

Well the feature is not yet released, but Dave Winer began experimenting with it on Sunday, 23 March 2014.

Red-Crested Cardinal by Sin Tech on morgueFile

At first he used a map of NYC, but in the end he settled on a map of Fargo, North Dakota for the inaugural demonstration of the feature, writing "The center is in the heart of Fargo, North Dakota. What does it mean? Not much other than it's a really cool place to name a product after."

I agree with that for a number of reasons. I remember someone in a comment once asked Dave why he picked the name Fargo for this new blogging tool and he said he liked the name because if you turn it around you get "Go Far!" Sorry, I can't give you a link for that right now. But I'm sure that was how it went.

Playing With the Map

  • Early on Sunday morning when I first discovered this new map feature, I had a lot of fun with it. I discovered I could manipulate the map with my mouse pointer, even while it was still serving as the background to Dave's note. I was sliding the map in various directions and zooming in and out. At one point I noticed Tompkins Square Park in the East Village had appeared on the map and when I zoomed in, I spotted street view was available there. I clicked on it and suddenly the street view image of Tompkins Square Park was the background for Dave's posting, and I could rotate it and move it around too! It was very cool.

  • Of course when I reloaded the page, the map reappeared, centered as Dave had specified it in his note. At that time he didn't have a link to go from his note to just the map. But in the final version in which he used the Fargo map, he added that.

  • This is a killer feature for me! When I write about visiting a place in Thailand, I will be able to put the Google map of that place in the background and with one click the reader will be able to go to the map to look around in more detail.

More to Come?

  • With a live Google map as a background, I couldn't help wondering about other possibilities.

  • Perhaps Dave could work it out for us to put a YouTube video or a grooveshark song in the background. And then could it play the music as the reader reads the note describing that particular song? I can imagine it, but I have no idea whether it is possible.

Blogging in Fargo with Fargo

  • I had already been thinking about that. Is there a blogger in Fargo using Fargo yet? Surely Dave needs to present the first who does it with some sort of recognition or prize: a certificate, a plaque, a new fishing rod, or something.

  • I poked around and found that there are definitely people blogging in Fargo. And there is even local controversy to write about there. Not to mention a (very) fetching woman (and her guy) blogging about the town. I hope she wins the prize! Another woman was blogging there in 2011, in the town she describes as "the most populated city in the 4th least populated state." Ironically her blog was called Like a Fish Out of Fargo, and now she's out of Fargo, having moved herself and the blog to Iowa.

  • I think the Fargo name is a good one, not just because of Go Far, but because Fargo seems like a small town in a bucolic setting full of ordinary good people, which aligns nicely with the idea that Dave has been developing a tool to make it possible for anyone to blog who wants to, ordinary good people.

  • This was reinforced when I realized that an independently organized TED event is held there and they once has the founder of the Little Free Library movement talk at it. Now I see that as a perfect metaphor for the growth of Fargo, with these little boxes popping up in neighborhoods all over the country, encouraging the free exchange of information in communities. Much like what the growth of Fargo will do for the free exchange of information on the Internet!

The Competition

  • But let's face it. There is competition. Say the word "Fargo" and most people think of the Coen Brothers film of the same name. And now there is even going to be a Fargo television series! But maybe that will not be the only thing people think about for long. I can remember when an Apple was something you ate to keep the doctor away.

  • Ron Chester

03/24/14; 12:02:49 AM

After my first posting about Fargo, Ron Jeffries on G+ described me as a VERY early adopter.

Cardinal by mattbowen on morgueFile

Well I may be an early adopter, but I'm certainly NOT a power user! I know there are some of those, as I used to see their postings in a Fargo River during the days of blogging with Fargo 1. Now some are doing even nicer stuff using the new improved tools of Fargo 2, while I keep it pretty simple, as I'm learning my way around this new software.

Where Are We Going?

  • I started using Fargo in July 2013. When it broke for blogging purposes, I resisted the urge to find another blogging platform. I waited because I knew Dave was building these tools because he wanted to use them himself! I figured that would mean he wouldn't give up until they were the way he wanted them, which would probably be very conducive to easy blogging. I didn't believe Dave when he apologized and said something like, "Too bad, it can't be fixed." I thought he might find a way.

  • And here's the key. He always said he wanted to produce a tool that could be easily used by writers. Not writers who were expert programmers, or expert hackers. He always encouraged help and advice from the latter, but he wanted anyone to be able to blog, if they had something they wanted to say. Anyone.

A Giant Leap Forward

  • In the past couple of weeks, Dave was posting with more and more new features in evidence. He would describe something he wanted to be able to produce. The techies would offer suggestions and sometimes we would see that he had gotten it working. Then on Saturday night (3/15) he announced the new Scripting News, the realization of a lot of these new features in Fargo.

  • His blog had become a "noteblog" and he has reserved noteblog.org (on 3/7/14) and noteblog.io (on 3/9/2014). Later he described the new format as being for writing that's not full enough to be a blog post, but too full to fit into 140 [characters.]

  • Before that, a document was discovered that described the new Fargo Bookmarklet and how to use it to easily create a linkblog with Fargo. As Dave said, this is a rarity, "a feature that has been documented but not yet shipped." It's coming in Fargo 1.51. We're on Fargo 1.50 as I write this. These were exciting peeks at what is coming down the pike for us.

  • Then on Sunday, he told us how to look at the source OPML file for this new, more powerful Fargo, as well as the RSS feed for this new noteblog. It looked far simpler than the OPML file for my first Fargo 1 blog and yet it was doing very cool, even exciting things. Such as giant background images for a day's blogging and links to other sites plopped in so easily with the bookmarklet (as many links as he wanted) but sometimes collapsed under a header line.

  • Looking back, I found that on 3 March 2014, Dave told us the Twitter rules that he was going to break with Fargo:

    • I don't have a 140 character limit.

    • I can have as many links as I want in an item.

    • I use HTML hyperlinks.

    • I don't use a URL-shortener.

  • And in his Celebratory podcast of 17 March 2014, Dave also talked about the fact that Twitter has all the links exposed where anyone can see them, a kind of ugliness they've never bothered to fix. Dave has fixed this in Fargo, which does not show the ugly links, while still providing links that work. It simply hot links from a word or phrase directly to another location on the Internet. This was an innovation back in 1992 that Twitter has not yet adopted!

  • Sounds good to me!!


  • On 18 March 2014 Dave reported on how to plop a large background image on an outline page.

  • And the same day he released Fargo v 1.51 so that people could start building their own linkblog. This is a special version of Fargo to be used just for that purpose. It is not an upgrade of Fargo v1.50 to v1.51. It is a totally separate Fargo to be used for making a linkblog.

  • And on 21 Mar 2014 Fargo v1.51 was released as an upgrade to v1.50.

  • Do I have the nerve to try out these two new features? That would be a NO, not yet. I want to clean up the way this outline is published, before venturing out in a new direction.

I'm glad I was patient and didn't spend a lot of time trying to figure out Ghost or WordPress, or even writing in Medium. It looks like the new Fargo with it's panoply of blogging tools will suit me just fine, once I learn how to use them all.

Ron Chester ☺

03/17/14; 02:35:36 AM

Sounds like I'm selling postcards, doesn't it! Nope.

White Wat in Chiang Rai

A blog that I follow posted an interesting article about Lettr, a New Digital Way to Send Custom Postcards. This sounded like a pretty cool idea. I have thousands of pictures taken during my eighteen weeks (three visits) in Thailand. It would be cool to make some postcards with some of them, for example the image here of Paula and I at the White Wat in Chiang Rai. The bottom line is $2.49 per postcard, mailed to anywhere in the world.

My Only Reservation

  • The postcards from Lettr get mailed from their printing plant, wherever that is, with a message that you've typed into their website (250 characters limit) using your photograph that you've uploaded to them. Fast, efficient, easy.

  • I was ready to GO with this idea! At first.

  • Then I thought some more about it. One of the cool things about a postcard is that it has a personal message scrawled on it by a friend, maybe even with a tiny drawing or doodle, maybe a drawn heart or X for a kiss at the end and their signature. Maybe there's an afterthought printed in tiny text down the left side to squeeze it in. It has real character! You might have to look it over for some time before you can even figure out what they said. It's a test of the sender's eloquence in a small space, the pen on paper mirror of Twitter.

  • AND it has a local stamp, one the recipient has likely never seen, if they haven't been to the country you're visiting. Selecting a cool stamp is half the fun of sending a postcard, and part of the thrill of receiving one.

  • Lettr doesn't make this sort of thing possible. Hmmmm, bummer!

Now What?

  • Well maybe there's another way. Moo cards were fresh in my mind as I had been thinking about ordering business cards from them. They seemed to be innovative and their printed products look very nice on their website.

  • But do they do postcards with photographs you send them? Yup, they do! But they'll cost too much, right? Nope, $9.99 for ten postcards and each of the cards can have different pictures, if you'd like! You can even put pictures on both sides of a card, if you don't mind mailing them with an envelope. Well, I wouldn't want to use an envelope, but just sayin'.

  • Okay, but it'll take forever to get them and cost a lot in postage! Yes and no. I checked the cost of producing ten postcards with my own images, mailed directly to me in Thailand. The cheapest cost for ten postcards is $21.24 for the printing, shipping and handling with a turnaround time of 14-19 business days. Too long for most tourists, but no problem for expats living in Thailand who want to send postcards home!

  • One year ago the cost to mail a postcard from Thailand to the US was 15 Baht, or about 46 ¢ at the current exchange rate. Maybe the rate has gone up some since then, but probably not much, if any.

  • So we have ($21.24 / 12) + 46 ¢ per card, which comes out to $2.23 per postcard. Cheaper than Lettr! And since my trips to Thailand have been lasting five to seven weeks each, it is even workable for me. And look at all the cool stamps I would have to choose from. YES!

My Life With Postcards

  • I started getting a lot of postcards at the age of fifteen, when I became a licensed amateur radio operator. Hams send postcards to each other to confirm that they had successfully made contact with their wireless signals. They're called QSL Cards in ham lingo. I had never been outside the US, but I was receiving postcards from all over the world. It was very very cool. You'll notice that the QSL card archive I linked to even has a tab for selecting images of envelopes with their colorful stamps from all over the world. Even after I went off to college, my mother continued to save the stamps I was still receiving on envelopes from all over.

  • Maybe you can have some fun with postcards too in this digital age, a nice mixture of high tech and the tradition of ink on paper. Impress your friends with your leisure time abroad.

  • Ron Chester

03/16/14; 04:45:18 PM

This morning I stepped out onto the back porch and was immediately greeted by a welcome sound that I had not heard in months. It was the first mockingbird song of the year!

Walnut tree

I have previously written about the amazing sounds of the mockingbird.

A Sure Sign That Spring Has Nearly Arrived

  • Twelve days ago, I noted that spring seemed to be arriving in Thailand, but there it was the appearance of the bright blossoms on the Pink Shower Trees.

  • Here it is the sound of the mockingbird that signals an incipient springtime. After I spotted the bird singing on top of a telephone pole above my neighbor's yard, I looked into my own back yard and realized that the walnut tree had also leafed out with new leaves, a bright green against the solid blue of the Silicon Valley sky.

  • The first day of spring is actually March 20 this year, the Vernal Quinox, when night and day are the same length. But the mockingbird is not waiting to begin his annual rite of spring. Before long I will likely be hearing him sing in the middle of the night, not just during the day, an unusual nightime sound that I never tire of hearing.

  • )

  • Ron Chester

03/12/14; 09:28:54 PM

This Lucinda Williams song showed up in my browser the other day. I discovered Lucinda Williams when she was opening for Bob Dylan on one of his tours years ago. I probably saw her three or fours time that tour and liked her a lot. Now I have a bunch of her CD's, including the one that has this song.

My Friend Astrid

  • This song always reminds me of my friend, Astrid. She lived with me and a bunch of other friends in a house in the Avenues not far from Geary in San Francisco in the early 1970's. She was a small, pretty woman with long brown hair, which she was always rolling around absent-mindedly with her fingertips. Everyone liked Astrid a lot.

  • One day she went off to work downtown and forgot to lock the front door of our communal house. Later that night I asked her whether she had been the one to leave the door unlocked that morning. To her credit, she admitted that she had been the one. I couldn't really get mad at Astrid, she was too sweet and no one had cleaned out the house, so I displayed remarkable forebearance as she stood there, her fate in my hands. But I wanted to give her a stern warning and it came to me in a flash. "Astrid, do it one more time and I'll have the lock on the door changed before you get home. You won't be able to get back in."

  • This struck Astrid's funny bone and she went into peals of laughter, with me soon joining in. Her transgression was forgotten as we both enjoyed the mental image of her key no longer working in the door, a puzzled look on her face as she tried to get it to work. Of course I thought of Astrid as soon as I heard Lucinda Williams sing the first line in her song.

Another Story About Astrid

  • Soon after Astrid moved into the house, she set her record player up in the living room. It was one of those all in one players that had a record changer for playing LP's, a small amplifier and two wires running out to small speakers. I had quite a good stereo system, but it was upstairs in my bedroom. It was nice to be able to listen to some music downstairs in the living room and dining room. Thanks, Astrid.

  • Not long after, Astrid was playing a Bob Dylan record, either "Bringing It All Back Home" or "Highway 61 Revisited," two of my favorite records. But as I sang along with Dylan, it suddenly struck me how awful that record player sounded.

  • "Astrid, all your record player does is reproduce a vague approximation of the sound on that LP, just enough so that I can mock up the proper sound of the song in my head and I listen to that!"

  • Peals of laughter from Astrid once again, this time with everyone in the house laughing along with her.

A Fine Friend, Who I Miss

  • We lost touch many years ago. But I recently heard from a mutual friend that Astrid had passed on, after a battle with cancer.

  • I don't have any photographs of Astrid and wish that I could look at one now. Those were not the Facebook days and we didn't take many pictures back then. I'm left with only my own mental images of Astrid from those two fun experiences with her. They are valuable possessions for me now. I can look at them in the same way that I could listen to Dylan sing as she played the record.

  • Astrid never failed to lock that front door ever again. RIP Astrid, I miss you!

  • Ron Chester

03/10/14; 01:28:47 AM

Cardinal image by AcrylicArtist on morguefile.com

Somehow I stumbled onto Fargo in mid July 2013. I was intriqued by its outliner, which was clever, but pretty easy to use. Soon after discovering it, its creator, Dave Winer, started talking about how you could use it to produce a blog. Of course there are tons of platforms for blogging. I had already been using two of them, Google's Blogger and Posterous, plus I was very actively posting in the Bob Dylan community on Facebook, as well as on Google+ from when it was still in beta. What would I need with yet another place or way to post things I write?!!

Posterous Went Away

  • I had been using Posterous for my Thailand travel blog. But not long after I started using it, the company got swallowed up by another and the buyer decided to shut it down. So I had to do something about moving it, if I wanted to preserve my writings there.

  • I considered using WordPress (once again), but I didn't pull the trigger. After a desultory consideration of my alternatives, at the eleventh hour, just before Posterous would go away, I moved it to Posthaven, because they offered a very simple path for moving, like a few key strokes. It was five bucks per month, after an initial free trial period (was that a year?)

  • That was at the end of April 2013, just a couple of months or so before I stumbled onto Fargo. So it was still pretty fresh in my mind. I had realized that my blog could easily be at the effect of companies wheeling and dealing on the Internet. It was not a good feeling.

Facebook Was Even Worse

  • I had even less control over my content over there. I had posted many comments on threads started by others about Bob Dylan. I was pleased with how I expressed myself on some of those threads. I had been discovering that I really enjoyed writing and if it was a subject that really interested me, I could even write at times in a rather inspired way.

  • Then one day a woman who had started many threads that I had commented on got in a huge upset with a man there and she abruptly closed her Facebook account. All those threads suddenly disappeared, along with my comments on them! Someone else got temporarily kicked off Facebook and there went all my comments on his threads too. Suddenly some of my writings began to look very ephemeral.

  • And what about all the threads that I started and all my pictures on Facebook? Could the nerds behind the curtain decide I should be kicked off too? Theoretically, yes. And from what I heard, this could come about from mis-information provided by others (enemies) and there didn't seem to be a lot of mechanisms available to appeal such actions. I was at risk and hadn't even realized it before. I began to realize what it meant when I read people saying that I didn't really own my content on Facebook and other such services.

Let's Give Fargo a Try

  • Dave Winer doesn't own my content on Fargo. I do. I really do! In fact, it's in my Dropbox account at all times.

  • Are his Terms of Service as complicated as Facebook's, full of ins and outs, and gotchas all tilted in his favor? Ummm, no. In fact, I believe he is providing a tool (for free right now) and not a service at all. As far as I know, there are no Terms of Service for Fargo! None.

  • Yes, Fargo could go away, like Posterous had done. In fact, Fargo as a blogging platform did go away for a while! But now it is back as Fargo 2. But when it returned as Fargo 2 it had the added advantage that everything was running in my browser, not on Dave's servers. Okay, I guess there is one thing that does run on his servers, but it's apparently fairly minor. I'm no expert.

  • I like being involved in something new. It reminds me of the days before the IBM PC was invented when I was using an Apple II+ to do the accounting for our multi-state sales company. Lots of new programs were coming out and there were magazines that covered those and this whole new community. There was no Internet for sharing this stuff. It was in the magazines and what you could learn at the computer stores or clubs, or by word of mouth.

  • Dave Winer is on a mission to make it possible for anyone's voice to be heard in an independent way. Not as a voice coming from a walled garden or content silo like Facebook or Google+ or all the others (where the owners and/or investors can cash in one day), but just as them saying whatever they want to write in their own independent blogs. I like that. He was one of the very first bloggers and he is on a mission to empower anyone who wants to blog with tools to do that.

    • Amplification

    • I wrote, "He was one of the very first bloggers..." because I didn't actually know the history of who did what in those early days. In the basic What is Fargo article, it says, "Winer was the first blogger, and pioneered the development of podcasting, in 1994 and 2001 respectively." Not one of the first, the first.

    • I've now learned some of that early history, which makes for a convincing argument that he was the first. Read this, which gives Winer's early blogging history, including links to his seminal articles from October 1994, which he published by Internet email to a list of his friends.

    • A helpful reader sent me a link to a Wikipedia article about the history of blogging which lists some Usenet groups that were posting things before 1994 that we see these days posted to blogs, as well as some who were posting online journals or diaries, starting in 1994. With the proliferation of things a person could do with a personal computer, it seems there were many people writing and publishing their ideas in various ways with various formats. Identifying the definitive "first" in the case of blogging is problematical, especially with a word like blogging, which seems to be expanding in its meaning as we go along. Rather than identifying the ONE who did IT first, whatever IT is, a more interesting quest might be to sort out just what defines this thing called blogging.

    • Which is what I did in my later article, Am I a Blogger? and it was Dave Winer who, for me, provided the definitive statement, with a very clear distinction about what makes something a blog, as opposed to other forms of writing.

Types of Motivation

  • People do things for a lot of different reasons. Money motivation is the common denominator of a huge amount of the activity on the Internet and it is becoming the case more and more every day. When I started using Usenet Newsgroups in the early to mid 1990's, money motivation seemed pretty non-existent. In fact, if someone did something that suggested they might be trying to make a buck, it was like someone had let off a stink bomb in the newsgroup. But now ads are everywhere. Websites are cluttered with ads. Facebook continually has ads running down its right side. Software has been written to block those ads, so now Facebook and Twitter are starting to put ads right into the news feeds of their services, where they can't be so easily ignored. There are a gazillion websites and courses that offer to teach you how you can make money from your blog.

  • I've thought of using AdSense on my blogs many times. I've taken some of those courses and visited a lot of those websites. But I haven't done it yet. That's not why I like to write. And if I turned it into a way to make some extra money, would I still like to write? I'm afraid I might not, so I haven't.

  • Above money motivation is a desire to do something for personal gain. Well making money would be personal gain, but here I am referring more to a personal sense of satisfaction at having accomplished something worthwhile, regardless of whether you made a dime at it or not. This is the good feeling you get when you have researched an area and then written words that organize and present the information in a way that is elegant and possibly useful to others. It feels good. One feels bigger, empowered, at having done something worth doing with one's mind. That is why I write.

  • Above money motivation and personal gain is duty. Here we have the people who are driven with a strong passion to take on some area and make a difference, no matter what. These are the leaders who make a difference in our world, in spite of all obstacles, barriers, difficulties and failures. They just keep attacking the problem, they don't give up. I believe Dave Winer's level of motivation as regards blogging is duty. Fargo is the culmination of tools he started working on decades ago. He seems to already have the money he needs in life. He's not trying to get rich. And his drive is stronger than seeking personal gain, it is a matter of duty. It is his mission. Listen to the fourteen minute podcast in Dave Winer's blog post about the Future of News and you may see what I mean.

I am not at the level of duty with my writing. But I really like the idea of using tools freely given to me by someone who has a mission to empower writers with the tools to communicate in an independent way about whatever it is that is an area of expertise or interest for them. Or whatever it is that pleases them about writing. No strings attached. No hidden agendas that could distort the clarity of my purpose or writing.

That's why I'm using Fargo.

Ron Chester

03/09/14; 12:57:55 AM

Infographic about Where Do People Read More

  • You may have seen this infographic before on the Internet. It showed up in my Twitter feed just a few days ago, followed by comments and retweets, expressing shock or dismay about a given country's standing. It was being kicked about in July 2013 as well, with an article in the LA Times and likely other places as well. The image gives the source, but not a URL.

  • I decided to pull the string and found the source for the data to be here and things started to get more interesting. Have a look for yourself.

    • Near the bottom, the article says the data came from "in-depth personal interviews with more than 30,000 people age 13 and older in 30 countries between December 2004 and February 2005." Between December 2004 and February 2005!

    • Hmmmm, has media changed much in the last nine years? Have people changed their media habits much in the last nine years?? Ummm, yes I suspect so. How many things have undergone as much change in the last nine years as the media? The world is always changing, but surely media has been reshaped in very big ways during that period.

    • One wonders why the PR Newswire service decided they needed to get this late breaking news out to us in June (of some un-named year). Oh well, let's play along, like everyone else did last July and again recently.

  • It is interesting to see that the source reported on data for four different media rankings, not just the one about reading. They also reported on (1) watching TV, (2) listening to the radio and (3) computer/Internet interaction (not for work), but those others didn't get their own infographics.

  • Since I'm very interested in learning about Thailand, my eye was drawn to its listing in the tables. And when you do that, you quickly see that Thailand is the overall winner, if a higher score is considered to be a winning score, BY FAR. Well we could debate that last point, of course.

    • Thailand is #1 on Watching TV.

    • Thailand is #2 on Reading.

    • Thailand is #2 on Computer/Internet Interaction (not for work).

    • Thailand is #5 on Listening to the Radio.

    • No other country comes close to these consistent high rankings.

  • My personal experience with Thailand only covers the period of 2012 - 2014. I have no experience of my own in Thailand for the three months between December 2004 and February 2005. But I can tell you what I have experienced there in recent years.

    • Certainly TV watching is everywhere in Thailand! Most restaurants have a TV mounted high on a wall or in some prominent location where it can be easily watched. Whether people actually watch varies greatly, but they at least have the opportunity. In the family homes I have visited, a TV is often on, especially in the evening. Soap operas and game shows is what you see mostly. One time we had good friends over for a nice dinner, which we ate at the low table in the living room. Right after we sat down to eat, one of the visitors popped up and went over and turned on the TV, as matter of factly as passing the salt hot sauce.

    • Very early in my relationship with my fianceé, I asked her whether she had a hobby. She did. It was reading books.

    • Smart phones are everywhere in Thailand. Like in Silicon Valley, you see people looking at them everywhere; in restaurants, parks, walking down the street, everywhere. I've gotten to know about twenty people pretty well (age 12 to 70+) and all but four are active or verrrrry active on Facebook. Of course Facebook didn't exist nine years ago, but perhaps they would have been on My Space or playing games on their home computers back then. And with recent years of prosperity, there are probably many more people who now have the wherewithal with which to buy the latest electronic gadgets.

    • Paula turns on the radio sometimes, as we drive all over Thailand in the truck. Her sister and mother turn on the radio in the morning at the family home.

  • If they were to gather the data again, it wouldn't surprise me to still see Thailand high on these measures.

  • Ron Chester

03/01/14; 04:54:12 PM

Last built: Mon, May 5, 2014 at 10:52 PM

By Ron Chester, Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 4:54 PM.