Seesmic Doubts [en]

[fr] Le texte et la vidéo sont fondamentalement différents. Je ne pense pas qu'il soit possible de "recréer" un dynamique comme celle de Twitter avec du contenu vidéo.

So, now that I’ve discovered what [Loïc](’s startup, [Seesmic](, is about (thanks to [Ben]( [twittering his tests](, here is my initial reaction to [reading about it on Techcrunch](

> I’m not certain a “video-based Twitter” is a viable concept: the huge difference between video and text is that the latter is scannable, and that’s precisely what allows the presence/flow dimension in Twitter. You can “keep an eye” on a stream of text, but can you “keep an eye” on a stream of videos? Also, it takes much less time to keep up with a stream of text than with a stream of videos.

Me, commenting on Techcrunch

Now, not to say that Seesmic is doomed (that would be a bit pretentious of me) — and I haven’t checked it out directly — but I do want to go on record saying that the dynamics created by Twitter and other flow/presence apps with text cannot simply be transferred to other media.

If it turns out I’m right, I’ll be able to say “I told you so” — and if I’m wrong, nobody will care. 🙂

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Teenagers and Spelling [en]

[fr] Pour moi, la dégradation constatée de l'orthographe des jeunes a principalement à voir avec le fait que leur pratique d'écriture a maintenant le plus souvent lieu dans des espaces "non normés" (c'est-à-dire en-dehors du milieu scolaire et "des adultes", où "écrire juste" est important). Les SMS font bien entendu partie de ces pratiques d'écriture, mais son caractère "court" a plutôt comme conséquence l'apparition d'abbréviations très tôt dans l'écriture des jeunes, plus que la "perte" (!) de notions grammaticales ou orthographiques.

Here’s a case of “comment or post?” where I first commented, but now am thinking that I would rather have posted. So I’m reproducing [my comment]( to danah’s post titled [dystruktshun of inglesh as we no]( (I know it’s in my [comments page]( and embedded in the sidebar of the blog, but I need to remember that many of you read this blog through RSS):

> As a French teacher, [I was asked this question]( (are blogs destroying our children’s spelling?) a couple of years back. My take on it is that compared to 15-20 years ago, most of the kids’ “writing activity” goes on in uncontrolled environments. When I was at school, if I wrote, it was usually at school. With pressure to have correct spelling, or I’d have to correct it / get a bad mark. Or I’d be writing a letter to my Grandma (better check the spelling there too).

> Today’s teen spends most of his/her writing time on IM, in e-mails or text messages, or in blogs/SN. Peer pressure to “write correctly” can’t really be said to exist.

> Text messaging has brought to them abbreviations. I remember discovering (stupefied!) that one could abbreviate words when I was in 9th grade (tjs=toujours, bcp=beaucoup). Now, kids know all these — and many more “bastard abbreviations” (jta=je t’adore) that might make our older skin crawl.

> I’d say that there are two ways in which teens’ writing today is “modified” by their writing habits:

> – peer spaces (“uncontrolled” regarding “proper writing”) => funky spelling and disregard for “grammatical rules”
> – length limitation (SMS) => abbreviations

One thing I wanted to add, which is “somewhat related”, is that historically, spelling stabilised when the printing press came into use. That explains why in French (and English too, for that matter) written spelling can be so widely different from pronunciation: the oral language has continued to shift, but our spelling has remained frozen. (If I’m saying stupid things here and you know better, let me know — but as far as I remember my linguistic courses from university this is how things happened.)

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If You Missed Hearing My Voice… [en]

[fr] Quelques mots au sujet de la différence entre contenu audio et textuel, de ma tentative de m'organiser à la GTD, et mes aventures avec Apple.

Here’s [another pretty crappy audio post]( [5min49]. I promise I’ll try to get better at this content-wise.

Today’s related links:

– [Podcasting and Beercasting Thoughts](
– [Suw]( and [Kevin](
– [43folders](
– [photos of my GTD stuff](
– [The Apple Situation](

Tickler File and A-Z reference

Stuff I’ll blab about next time:

– RSI update (podcasting++)
– chronic vs. acute pain
– Odeo and related stuff (audio comments?)
– things that are on my to-do list (like upload tons of photos to Flickr)
– … (anything you’d like to hear me speak about?)

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Call to WordPress Plugin Developers [en]

Call for help to WordPress plugin developers. I have a bunch of hacks and modifications I’d like to turn into plugins, but I am unfortunately as plugin-challenged as ever.

[fr] Un descriptif des plugins que j'écrirais pour WordPress si je ne faisais pas un vilain blocage sur le sujet. Ne vous gênez pas si vous voulez contribuer!

If I was fluent in WordPress plugin coding, here are the plugins I’d write. If you feel like coding one of them yourself, or helping me get it done, you’re most welcome. Carthik has already pointed me to Plunge into Plugins, which I will have a close look at once I’ve finished writing this post.

Of course, if you know of a plugin which does precisely what I’m describing here, leave a link to it in the comments!

Keywords plugin

This would be a pretty straightforward one:

  • add a “keywords” text input to post.php
  • save the value of that text input to a custom field called “keywords”
  • add those keywords as an HTML meta tag on the individual post pages.
Excerpt plugin

This one would also be pretty straightforward, as all it would do is add the “excerpt” field to the “simple” post.php layout.

Customize post.php plugin

This would be more complex, but allow for more flexibility than the previous plugin. I don’t yet have a clear idea of how to make it work, but the basic principle would be to allow the user to select which fields should appear on the post.php page. Instead of having “simple” and “advanced” controls, this would add the option to have “custom” controls and define them.

TopicExchange plugin

As far as functionality is concerned, this plugin would do what my TopicExchange hack did:

  • add a “trackback TopicExchange channels” text input to post.php
  • store the space-separated list of keywords in a meta value named (e.g.) ite_topic (one record for each value)
  • for each value, trackback the appropriate TopicExchange channel
  • display the trackbacked channels (with link) on each post.
Bilingual plugin

This would be a clean version of my language hacks:

  • add a small “language” text input to post.php (with a default value)
  • add an “other language excerpt” textarea, which posts to the corresponding custom value
  • display the “other language excerpt” at the top of each post
  • provide a function to return the post language, and the other-excerpt language (so it can be declared in a lang attribute, allowing the use of language-dependant CSS formatting, in addition to being semantically correct)
  • if this is not already possible with the date function in the WordPress core, provide an alternative date function which will format the date correctly corresponding on the language of the post
  • optional: figure out a way to adapt text like “comments”, “categories” etc. to the post language; make the plugin usable with more than two languages.
Smart Linkroll plugin

I love the way ViaBloga manages blogrolls and would love to see a plugin for WordPress that does the same thing. In ViaBloga, you simply enter the URL of the site you want to add to your links. ViaBloga then retrieves the title, description, RSS feed address, and even (yes!) a screenshot for the site. No need to fill in fields manually anymore…

Wiki-Keywords plugin

I haven’t through this through yet completely, but it seems to me that a plugin which would add wiki-like capability to WordPress, like ViaBloga does with keywords, could be an interesting idea to explore.

Technorati plugin

This is really a simple one: add a function which will allow easy display of the Technorati cosmos of each post, like I have done manually for this weblog.

On the subject of multilingual blogging, Kevin Marks has some interesting markup suggestions I need to look at more closely.

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