Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

How Security Police Say “Sorry”

This is from today’s Kuwait Times. I know you are all dancing for joy that journalist and blogger Bashar Al-Sayegh is free, and we as a blogging community can all celebrate his release.

His arrest was a mistake.

It says so in the article. Pay attention! You have to read carefully, because security police speak a language all their own.

This is how they say “I’m sorry. It was a mistake.”

Responding to calls to dismantle the state security department, Rujaib stressed that the department was very vital for any state. “It forms the eye that never sleeps in protecting the nation’s security, in political, social and economic fields,” he explained, pointing out that it existed all over the world.

Asked whether Sayegh’s arrest was meant to convey a message against the freedom of the press, Rujaib stressed that press freedom was fully observed, yet reminded that journalists could be arrested for other reasons. “Meanwhile, police officers could be arrested for any reason as well,” he added, underlining that no violations took place during Sayegh’s arrest. On whether he believed that the issue had been politically motivated by some MPs, Rujaib said, “I am a security official and a politician should answer this question.

Do you think he is implying that there might have been another reason? Does it sound like deflecting blame? I think he is saying “We screwed up. We’re sorry.”

August 22, 2007 Posted by | Blogging, Bureaucracy, Community, Crime, Cross Cultural, Kuwait, Language, News, Political Issues, Privacy | 7 Comments

Bekir L. Yildirim Weighs In

This is another comment on the issue of Turkey Blocks WordPress. I really like it when, no matter which side the commenter weighs in on, their comments are to the point, well reasoned, and well presented. See for yourself:

Knowing a bit from the first hand experience with the Turkish judicial system and the bureaucracy , I blamed primarily the system in this ostensibly minor event turning into a saga. It appears now that there is enough blame to go around including possibly the WP which I held blameless so far (see for ex. “WordPress banned in Turkey: a case of throwing the baby with the bath-water“).

Perusing through some of the comments on the matter it appears that some of the commenters have an ax to grind with Adnan Oktar (a.k.a. Harun Yahya) . They make his an issue of creationism versus evolutionism, which it should not be. The position Matt seems to be taking is that it is a free exchange of information in the internet , as parti of fundamental right of free speech.

This is certainly a view held by many including myself in principle. However the matter gets a bit thorny when you get into the limits, boundaries of the exercise of such right. That is why we have caseloads before the courts dealing with issues such as slander, defamation, libel, trademarks, copyrights and so on, -some of which are involved in this case. I am not going to attempt to sort out all the legal and moral issues and heir ramifications in this case. All I am trying o do is to invite all concerned to differentiate between personal dislike for a person, or opposition to his views on certain matters and justice.

I understand the predicament Matt and WP finds themselves in. They see the issue as an undemocratic justice system and an individual with strong arming the system to demand immunity from criticism. They are taking a stand on the side of the free speech. I urge them however to go beyond that reflexive behavior and engage in a bit deeper analysis of what Edip Yuksel is doing , and whether he is going over the bounds vis-a-vis the free speech. He has made a name for himself for attacking various religious persons, institutions and values sacred to others. I do not contest his right to be wrong , but I am also cognizant of the fact that WP does render judgement on suitability of the content of the blogs. The method Edip Yuksel is employing , specifically targeting another individual, and inviting others to abuse the blogging system with multiple blogs directed at the same purpose should also be questioned. WP cannot judge the veracity of all accusations in millions of pages of content, however it can place certain limits such as selection of blog names etc, as it does in the terms of service it is offering. Edip Yuksel and others should also be mindful of the fact that they have the right to free speech but exercising it on WP is a privilege.

August 22, 2007 Posted by | Blogging, Bureaucracy, Crime, Cross Cultural, Free Speech, Turkey, Uncategorized, WordPress | 5 Comments

Days Weeks and Months Stats

WordPress knows what it is doing, and knows what WordPress users want. They know what I want even before I know I want it.

Like sometimes I might idly wonder “I wonder if every month my readership builds?” but I don’t even wonder enough to write to WordPress and ask them to do it. But they read my mind, and they do it anyway!

So today WordPress has introduced a new feature Days, Weeks and Months. (They called their article Good Charts Come in Threes). When you are looking at your day-by-day statistics, you can also click on Weeks or Months and see the broader trends.

Has my readership been growing? Yes, but it’s not a steady upward curve. I had a huge peak in December, with all the Thanksgiving and Christmas recipes.

And those old favorites are still racking up the numbers!

Christmas Divinity Candy gets a respectable number of hits every month, along with Mom’s Fruit Cake Recipe and Mayonnaise, Aioli and Rouille.

When I blog on social or political issues, I get a huge number of hits for a day or two, and then maybe one or two a month, as people look for specific articles later.

A big all time stat builder, however, and a big surprise to me, was Tudo’s Vietnamese Restaurant in Pensacola.

The Robin Pope Safari series:

Hiking with Robin Pope in Zambia, Part 1

Hiking with Robin Pope in Zambia, part 2

Hiking with Robin Pope in Zambia, Part 3

Hiking with Robin Pope in Zambia, Part 4

I wrote that series back in October, when I had been blogging barely over a month, and no-one noticed. Then, all of a sudden, in June, someone spotted it and published it in their newsletter. How did I know? All of a sudden this obscure series had hits that climbed as I watched. How funny.

What totally strikes me as funny is that the immediate response is no indicator of the long term response, and so I am also very thankful to WordPress that you can click on a specific post and track it’s popularity over it’s life-history. That’s where you find the above surprises.

And I still really like the ability to take a look back over the previous seven days, and the previous 30 days. The posts YOU think are the best are not always the posts with “legs”, i.e. the posts that will continue to get hits long after they are published.

WordPress, Woooooo Hooooooo. You totally ROCK.

August 22, 2007 Posted by | Blogging, Communication, Customer Service, News, Statistics, WordPress | 3 Comments

Embed Your Google Maps – EASY!

I am totally wow-ed! Did you know that the Google Earth and Maps team has its own blog? I am blown away.

The most recent entry today is YouTube-style Embeddable Maps. How cool is that? Maps you embed are clickable, dragable and zoomable. The step by step instructions are given. Woooo Hooooooooo!

Here is where to go:

Google LatLong Blog.

You’ll be having fun for days!

August 22, 2007 Posted by | Adventure, Blogging, Geography / Maps, GoogleEarth | Leave a comment

New From Google Book Search!

You know, big guys make me nervous. Sometimes, they get a monopoly, and throw their weight around, making you and me pay more for less and less service.

Not Google.

I love Google. I love Google searches, I love GoogleEarth, and oh man, I love Google Book Search. And this is so totally cool – look what they are coming up with now!

Google Book Search in Google Earth
Monday, August 20, 2007 at 11:54 AM
Posted by Brandon Badger, Product Manager

Did you ever wonder what Lewis and Clark said about your hometown as they passed through? What about if any other historical figures wrote about your part of the world? Earlier this year, we announced a first step toward geomapping the world’s literary information by starting to integrate information from Google Book Search into Google Maps. Today, the Google Book Search and Google Earth teams are excited to announce the next step: a new layer in Earth that allows you to explore locations through the lens of the world’s books.

Now when you turn on the “Google Book Search” layer in Google Earth (found in the “Featured Content” folder in the “Layers” menu), you’ll see small book icons scattered around the globe. When you click on one of the book icons, a pop-up balloon will display a snippet of text from one of Book Search’s public domain books that references that location. You’ll also find links to the Google Book Search page for that snippet so that you can learn more about what it has to say about the city or town.

For example, let’s say that you’re interested in Detroit, Michigan.

You can find out more by clicking here.

Have fun!

(Sorry, can’t write more! Have to go do some book searches! Thanks, Earthling!)

August 22, 2007 Posted by | Adventure, Blogging, Books, Geography / Maps, GoogleEarth | Leave a comment