Narrative link ramble.

Saturday, January 7th, 2006

The World Wide Web at its best is, of course, webby. That means that everyone who says something should also thing about the relationships between what they are saying and what others have to offer. That means links, which must be maintained and nurtured, and boy, I wish I could give this page the maintaining and nurturing it deserves. I think I’m lucky it’s here at all. I suppose it might be smart of me to cleverly embed in this page’s metadata the times it’s been updated (in 1995, then maybe 1999, then maybe 2004, then maybe late summer 2006…), but all I’m sayin’ is, it has a tendency not to be fresh as today’s headlines.

And a ‘narrative link ramble’ is increasingly anachronistic, because it was, at first, more than a decade ago, a page of explanation of how this web thing works…and it never discussed the Ted Stevens memorial network of tubes at all, go figure.

I start, by tradition and with pride, at my brother’s web page…that would be James Burns. My brother is a graphic designer, an animator, a compositor…in fact, one of his single most impressive traits is that he manages to make the most of any new technology that’s thrown at him, figuring it out in about 20% of the time it takes me.

My sister Leslie Burns took a while to get going on this whole web page thing, but she quickly surpassed her brothers in terms of depth, frankness, and timeliness of content. Her personal site has more than you’ve ever wanted to learn about her, her ideas, and general world view. Her professional site is, well, professional, even if it seems to be a repository for car parts. And it too now contains a blog that is a must-read for photographers and other creative people who try to make a living marketing said creativity. And now she’s a published author, having distilled a lot of her wisdom into a paperbound, easy-to-carry form.

Now, let us move on to the wider, wider web.

There’s no more serious a place to find good–and often hilarious—writing than in my friend Nancy Nall Derringer’s salon. Her day-to-day thoughts, and those of a fine cadre of commenters, are available at…ask for it by name.

Then, there’s this site that’s most frequently edited in a cozy office about 12 feet above my head…the daily thoughts and images of one Sammy Smith at She is a wise woman, a fine photographer (although she’s as happy blogging about images I’ve shot as she is her own), and her daily entries sometimes have a subtle minimalism that belies a pile of intense thought bubbling just beneath the surface.

One of these days, Wade’s Wunnerful Web will have something useful on it. Wade’s someone I’ve known from my college days at the The Ohio University Post, and since this page has been updated over the many years, maybe I have to admit here and now that it is indeed somewhat useful.

And although her name has been all over the internets for years (but sometimes referring to, well, another Karrie), only now is there one true domain for the essential design and architecture writer Karrie Jacobs. She was the first in a considerable string of people I’ve met who have inspired me by their talent, intelligence…and friendship, and in the case of Ms. Jacobs, that happened back at the dawn of time, when we both were 15.

Ah, humor. Web pages are a great form of escapism, and humorous web pages are even more deserving of celebration. Take The Onion, an almost too-devastating parody of the news of the world, and I’ve always enjoyed Harry Shearer‘s very personal take on the news–his ‘LeShow’ can be listed to in RealAudio right off the web.

But I find it way more useful these days to listen to MP3 streams of Public Radio stations (and others)…which are a bit trickier to find unless you turn to, which, through some serious Perl textlifting, publishes an interactive schedule of what shows–not just stations, shows–are on at a given moment in a given format (Quicktime, Windows Media, Real, or MP3.) Given that you can just listen to MP3 streams in iTunes or Quicktime Player on your Macs, why not?

So lately I’ve been listening (and supporting) WUNC in Chapel Hill, KUOW in Seattle, KCRW Santa Monica, and, well, I’ve been listening to the BBC on NRK Alltid nyheter in Norway, which carries the BBC World Service when they’re not busy speaking Norwegian.

But you want serious journalism? Well, both The New York Times and The Washington Post have exemplary web sites, as does NPR and CNN. But the place most of my real journalist pals get the dirt is Jim Romanesko’s MediaNews column…with Don Fitzpatrick’s ShopTalk a close second.

The site I check most frequently (as a Mac person) is Ric Ford’s Macintouch. But for practical, nuts-and-bolts (sometimes very technical info as to the inner workings of Apple’s fine OS X operating system, please visit MacOSXHints. Also highly thought of: Macfixit.

Deep down, though, I want to tune in to the purest geek zeitgeist, and I guess the place for that is ‘/.’–that is, Heck, it’s not commonly known, but I keep a small journal of minor tech successes (and setbacks) on their site.