Digital notes and errata

The Ingenues, an all-girl vaudeville band, serenading the cows in the University of Wisconsin Dairy Barn in a scientific test of whether the cows would give more milk to the soothing strains of music. Via the Wisconsin Historical Society’s photostream.

* Last night I managed to keep my attention span in one place long enough to read the nine page article on microfame over at New York Magazine. I giggled and sputtered when I read the title “Prairie Ho Companion”, but felt that the piece was more of a guesstimate-of-a-how-to about what I’m calling “flash” celebrity: people who aren’t famous for anything lasting, noticed only for being noticed. That’s the context missing from the piece. I think that microcelebrity is actually something quite different, and it would have been nice to see that distinction as well.

* Don’t miss this excellent post by Ariel Waldman about privacy and security. It’s less focused on users and consumers than networks, but the topics affect everyone and there’s a lot of good food for thought. Plus, Bruce Schneier is on the panel she discusses, and I love his blog.

* It was brought to my attention this weekend that every Boing Boing post (except one) with my name in it is gone. It might have happened a while ago, and no, I have no idea what’s going on. How do you even ask someone about something like that? Personally, I never delete posts for any reason so I just think it’s really weird.

* Best article title: Congress pats itself on back as it caves on telecom immunity. It’s a great article, too.

* Comcast’s screwing of heavy bandwidth users is being spun in the lamest way possible in the press. To wit: Online bandwidth hogs to be cut off at trough? Because using more bandwidth — for whatever reasons, video, podcasting, torrents — means you’re “extreme” or greedy. This kind of spin in the issue is to me, reminiscent of sex-negative journalists writing about the Armory purchase. The judgmental attitude is needless when all I want is the information.

* I loved this Laughing Squid guest post by my old, dear friend mikl-em and you will too: Consumer Reports’ Vintage Test Photos.

Update: My notice of being erased by Boing Boing has been noticed. It was blogged by Valleywag, put on Digg and posted about here, among others. Seems to me like it’s a lot of work to erase over 100 posts, and I’ve never heard of a blog (especially a big blog) ever doing something like this. Especially quietly and with no comment. I think it’s weird. Something tells me it won’t be “boingboinged”.

Update 2: We’re all still awaiting news that Boing Boing’s servers got eaten by termites. Until then, the podcast with me in it has been erased, and here’s another stinging post about what it all means.

Update 3: Follow-up post, still no answers.

Update 4: More to read about blogosphere reaction to the Boing Boing deletion, most especially the post William Gibson Completely Deleted from BoingBoing Archives (also seen @ worship the glitch).


  1. What did violet DO (whether right or wrong) to piss off those people? I also used to be a regular boingboing reader but in the last year I’ve found the tone increasingly self-satisfied and the posts increasingly boring. The series of scans from Popular Mechanics? Yikes. And Xeni’s travel pictures? Mediocre photography at best. Sorry, I feel bad saying it, but it’s true.

  2. Don’t worry too much about Cory. I hear they’re working on a piece about a steampunk Disney Makezine award for reading “Little Brother,” shortly after which the entire blog will implode under its own weight into a massive, self-referential singularity.

  3. aw shux, thanks! appreciate the plug. is fun throwing kindling on Scott’s fire, and I have a few more cool (I think) ideas in the worx. I’m also posting a bit more at which has been largely dormant for ages.

    distressed about the 2xboing stuff. that’s bad juice man. I am hoping that the pattern we think we see is just misleading, that it’s some other pattern of which yr posts are a subset. But frankly, I’m not seeing it. I see posts that are older. I see posts that seem likely to be more explicit or potentially offensive (Cup-‘o-Pussys! Vintage Christian Sex! Shitting Pope! Chimp Sex! Squid Sex!). I haven’t seen any other posts with the same page not found behavior of your posts.

    UNTIL! I just did. I don’t know what it means, but there are three boingboingboing podcast links that are similarly broken…

    Only one of those mentions you as a guest in the description. So the question is: what do you, Q Burns Abstract Message, and “game developer Jane McGonigal” have in common? unless of course you were also in those episodes (#12-13)??

    btw, as you probably noticed, your name does appear in comments on numerous pages, like…

    Whatever this is it’s annoying and unsettling. The term “you bastards!!!” comes to mind. Hope there is a reasonable explanation, but right now it’s bugging me too, sister!

  4. @violet – Sometimes when I’ve had comments on people’s blogs disappear, and I’m pretty sure it’s an error rather than deliberate, I email the person saying something like “You seem to have a bug in your blog anti-spam software, my comment got deleted, I’m sure that was just an error rather than intentional, so you might want to check your settings”. Again, though, that’s not me being cute, it’s when I think that’s what really happened.

    Generally, when a mass-delete like that happens for deliberate reasons, the delete-ee has an inkling of why it happened. Perhaps “I didn’t think they’d take it so far”, but still not a total unknown.

    It’s POSSIBLE, just conjecture, that this is an anti-spam cleanup run amuck. But in that case I’d think the Boingers would just say so, and so lack of response from them is odd. It’s all very puzzling.

    Anyway, I read about it on (not the most reliable of sources), someone submitted it to and it’s climbing,

  5. @ Seth — I agree. when I made this post I’d been emailed about it over the weekend and wasn’t sure what to do. asking why they’d taken the posts down seemed accusatory, so I figured I’d make a statement calling attention to it — at the very least — rather than being silent while still trying to figure out how to address something so bizarre. I figured that was the most open and accountable way for me to address the questions and rumors, while still not knowing what the hell is going on (and being not sure what the right thing to do is in a situation like this). I mean, I’ve never seen a well-known blog take down so many posts in a mass deletion without a peep — let alone that it seems to be about me. plus, I thought I was friends with Boing Boing, so it feels incredibly awkward.

  6. Wow … You have indeed been put down the memory-hole.

    But regarding “How do you even ask someone about something like that?” – Oh, maybe “There’s some silly stuff in the press about a feud, people are writing to me about it, and let’s quash the rumors, so what’s up?” – would that work? Note I’m bad at politics.

  7. I stopped trying to keep up with boingboing several months ago, the signal to noise ratio exceeded my tolerances. Weird indeed though that they’d remove old posts without a word.

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