Sound like yourself

Found this video through a link to an article placed in my Gmail next to a Steely Dan newsletter I was reading this morning. Features former Dan guitarist Wayne Krantz in a documentary on French national television where he explains that in order to sound like himself he had to let go of everything he loved so much. Beautifully said. And watch drummer Keith Carlock as well, this guy rocks big time.

And heeeeiiissssssss back!

To start off with the conclusion: I’m back. What? Yes, I’m back. So, you wrote this longish post to convince me that Tumblr rocks etc. and now you’re quitting it in favour of WordPress? Yes.

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Why? To make a long answer short, a lot of people get scared of the idea but I actually want my history to follow me. And I couldn’t fight all the Google juice my blog at WordPress has built up over the last 5 years. Google juice? Yes, the number of links from other highly influential sites to my blog causing my WordPress blog to show up high in the Google results. Something my Tumblr blog is lacking and would take a long time to built up. Quite elementary but something I overlooked when making the switch to Tumblr. My WordPress blog will live under http://www.ronaldcarpentier.com in a few days.

So although I really, really love Tumblr I’m killing it as soon as I find a way to import the content into WordPress – ideas anyone? this one isn’t working. The one thing I am going to miss most is the Disqus commenting system. Awesome tool.

Anyways, here we go again!

Time to move on

I started blogging on a corporate blog mid 2004 when I was still at Lost Boys. We used Blogger so when I started my personal blog a few months later I chose Blogger again. I think it was around 2006 when I moved to WordPress because Blogger was not innovating it’s product anymore and WordPress really impressed me with the functionalities and ease of use. And they still do until this very day.

But yet…. I seem to view this blog and the tool used to make it – the WordPress environment – as an environment that is perfectly suited for creating long-form text-based posts.  Fact is that I don’t seem to be able to find the time to create long posts on a frequent basis anymore. And that results in “a World According to Carp” that is rather dead. And it sure isn’t!

I still have ideas and stuff I like to share but I seem to have moved on to other places and tools on the Web. I am a moderate user of Twitter, photoblog using Flickr etc. but looking back the real World According to Carp has moved to Tumblr.

I already wrote about it in December 2007, and what I really like about it is the simplicity of the tool, for example the browser bookmarklet in FireFox which I often use to select text quotes that are instantly posted to my Tumblog. It supports multiple forms of content – you can post audio, video, text etc. very easily. It is also a tool which I can use in different contexts, for example on my iPhone with an app that rocks and that lets me post anything from my phone to my blog. Just last week a Tumblr app was released for Boxee which enables me to watch photo’s and listen to music from the people I follow on Tumblr. Which brings me to the last point why I love Tumblr. The community of people within Tumblr that I can follow within the Tumblr editor is awesome.

In the line of something Clay Shirky said, Tumblr lowered the costs and difficulty of publishing big time. Just look at the frequency of my posts at Tumblr compared to the frequency of posts at my WordPress blog and notice the effects it has had on me. Therefore, it is time to move the World According to Carp over to Tumblr. You can expect a lot of short-form posts, ideas, snippets and the occasional longer post like I did at WordPress. As soon as Tumblr adds the functionality to import content from other blogs I will do so and delete this blog.

I will still use WordPress for our RealMee company blog in Dutch and English – and wish the WordPress team all the best in bringing their amazing platform forward.

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One final remark. The most fun part of having a blog like this are your comments. If you enjoyed reading and commenting on it as well and are using a feed reader you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed over here. I will add a commenting system to my Tumblog during the coming days.

See you on the other side!

The power of the right question

Something I have been thinking about for quite a while now popped up again in a 12 minute interview over at Harvard Business Review with one of my favourite thinkers, Umair Haque. In the interview he talks about the Zombieconomy which is a term he coined for the economic situation we are in at the moment. He thinks the current economic crisis is for a large part the result of our inability to create sustainable value because we are focused too much on exploiting one fundamental innovation for a large period of time. This inablity is largely due to failing leadership which should push the boundaries on what is possible by asking the right questions. In his view, some examples of companies who are able to push these boundaries are Apple, Google, Tata (the Indian middle class cars), and Threadless (community powered t-shirt production). It is our inability to ask these questions which has led to the current situation.

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This remark made me think of something one of my other favourite thinkers – mathematician and physicist Robbert Dijkgraaf (Dutch only) – said on the string theory. Advance in the development of this theory is not reached by researchers giving the right answers but by people who are able to ask the right questions, i.e. to think of new realities.

Makes me think about my ability to push the boundaries: am I asking the right questions?

“Our highest-quality format”

So, the new standard on iTunes has become iTunes Plus. Files purchased at Apple’s store before this move were encoded at a rate of 128 kbps in Apple’s AAC format. With iTunes Plus, they doubled the rate to 256 kbps.

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So what? Well, this is still a lossy file format which means the quality is not as good as with the original lossless files used on CD’s for example. So, if you want to be able to replay your digital music files on a high end stereo set like I do with the best possible audio result, this is still not the way to go. I will stick with CD’s – for now – and import them using Apple’s lossless format. Do you use iTunes as well for your digital music management and want to know more about these file formats? Check out this forum and this wiki.

BTW I imported my complete 500+ CD collection into iTunes 3 years ago in iTunes using a lossy format. Wasn’t aware of the way it would limit me at the time. Ouch. Maybe this post will prevent you from making the same mistake as I did back then.

So, if someone knows about a ripping service like this one which also covers Europe, Apple Lossless and will cost me less than say $500 you will make my day 🙂 Or maybe a nice job to submit at Amazon’s Mechanical Turk 😉

The paper as the platform

The New York Times opened their archives through an API. Which means anyone with an idea can start building it. The paper as the platform etc.

And then reality kicks in: I am a paying weekend subscriber for the print edition of NRC Handelsblad which costs me 200 euros per year. I cannot even use the online archives without paying an additional 5 euros per month. Unbelievable…

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Drawing by Hugh MacLeod, Gapingvoid

Ernst-Jan, maybe one for the roadmap?!

Guard your own lifestream

I lost Aussie blogger Ben Barren a few months ago but found him again today at his new blog:

“Mad Man – Ben Barren.com: “DON DRAPER OR DICK WHITMAN I AIN’T. I WASN’T A MADISON AVENUE AD MAN IN 1963, BUT GOOGLE™ AND FLICKR™ DID DELETE MY BLOG AND PHOTOS IN 2008 SO WHY NOT DOCUMENT MY LIFESTREAM HERE; HIRED GUN / ENTREPRENEUR :)””

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It turns out that the reason I lost the guy in my RSS reader was that Google/the Google-bot killed his blog. Because it/they thought it was a splog. Ouch. He moved to his own domain http://www.benbarren.com using WordPress. In the meantime, the new Blogger/FeedBurner kahuna switched on his old blogspot account again, so he was able to tell me about his whereabouts.

Big lesson: there is a risk using and running all these social tools at domains you don’t own. Maybe I should move to ronaldcarpentier.com as well.

BTW the Mad Men series is awesome. Last summer I watched the first season on DVD with Margot. Can’t wait for season 2 to arrive on DVD as well. Apparantly, they just won the Golden Globe for best TV drama for the second time in a row.