Repaving the Information Highway (My Lane, Anyway)

This blog has been around since February, 2006. It happened that the local paper wrote an article about some local folks that had started to blog. Providentially, the bloggers mentioned happened to be writing about topics that caught our attention; the links opened the door to the blogosphere. Fumbling with bookmarks, and laboriously working through the sites, a whole new experience unfolded. It looked like this was SOMETHING WE COULD DO!

And so it began. Xarker was the guru and community organizer that encouraged us to begin to blog. And we did.

Typepad provided the infrastructure, and showed how easy it was to create (with a lot of help in the background) a smart-looking site to serve as the binding for the words that would spring from our fertile minds and agile fingers.

For a time that was enough. But after a few years, and visits to lots of other sites, we developed an eye for certain things, and like an amateur painter, longed for the site to share some resemblance to our role models. And then came classes in XHTML and CSS, and the knowledge of FTP, and hosting. Then we understood: for the same, small monthly fee paid to Typepad for the infrastructure, we could find a hosting service that would provide us with our own outlet to the blogosphere. And, even better, WordPress would let us have, for free, any one of their thousands of templates. Which we could tinker with, or break, to our heart’s content, using our recently acquired HTML/CSS skills.

So we moved the site and changed its appearance. And we have tinkered a little bit every day (or night) ever since. Some changes lasted for only as long as it took to update and then remove. Others created catastrophic metamorphoses reversed with the help of experts. Others were good, but invisible to our loyal reader(s).

But the march continues. We’ve tried to include artful images with our posts; learning to find, manage, and insert images would be the subject of a post by itself. YouTube, on the other hand, makes it ridiculously easy to insert their material. A recent post had a bit of flash that renders a dynamic image…..who knew?

A new addition to the sidebar is the link to If you believe the future of the web is the semantic web, as we do, then you should know about people like Calais. Every post on this site is scanned by Calais and used to help them develop the next step:

We want to make all the world’s content more accessible, interoperable and valuable. Some call it Web 2.0, Web 3.0, the Semantic Web or the Giant Global Graph – we call our piece of it Calais.

The Calais Web Service automatically creates rich semantic metadata for the content you submit – in well under a second. Using natural language processing, machine learning and other methods, Calais analyzes your document and finds the entities within it. But, Calais goes well beyond classic entity identification and returns the facts and events hidden within your text as well.

If you’re a blogger, do your bit and consider letting Calais use your posts to build the foundation of the semantic web.

And today, the latest modification. But first, some background. One of the greatest Christmas presents ever was the iPod Nano we received a few years ago. Then XMRadio found its way into our cars. All of a sudden, we could listen to music anywhere. And we could buy songs! I know, the kids (and plenty of boomers) have been on this train for a long time. Call us a convert. But once converted, it wasn’t long before Pandora and RadioParadise were staples of the desktop and muted companions for the long evenings of study. Long dormant senses were revived, and music has become a larger presence in our life. The question became one of finding a way to extend the pleasure of our musical adventure to our visitors. The solution was……

LastFM provides a wonderful widget for WordPress. If we give LastFM a list of our favorite artists, they will create a library of songs. Even better, they will provide the code so that we can provide a connection for our reader(s) to the kind of music that we like. At no cost!

So, please notice the LastFM logo in the sidebar. Take a minute to listen to a song or two, and if you like the music, or have a suggestion, pass it on to us. And stay tuned for the next iteration of the never-finished and always-under-construction website of the Agricoli.



One Reply to “Repaving the Information Highway (My Lane, Anyway)”

  1. Interesting post. My wife got me a nano Ipod about a month ago. Nice. Love the car stero adapter. I like to new blog. One day I may build one from scratch but not time for that now. Capitol Hill is busy and I with it. Take care.

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