January 2004

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[EDITED TO ADD: Now that I’ve upgraded to the new Moveable Type engine, I’m trying comments again. You may have to register to comment, but it’s worth a shot. 10/31/04]

Movable Type-based blogs like mine, over the last few months, have been plagued by spam bots (or people with too much time on their hands) posting spam comments in the comment areas of blog entries. These spam comments are just nonsense with URL’s attached to things about penis enhancement and homeowner loans. I’m sick of them, and there’s no easy way to weed them out of the blog once they’ve been posted, so I’m going to just turn comments OFF in my blog until MT has a new release that makes it easier to manage the commenting feature.

Just so y’all know.

But, really, this is just another example of how stupid people kill the goose. Eventually everybody will have to restrict access to what was an excellent way for people to discuss and commune with one another. Some people, frankly, do not deserve the Internet.

Mappa.Mundi Magazine – Memory Palaces

This article summarizes some very important stuff that keeps haunting me as I obsess over how to conceptualize information environments.

I read Frances Yates’ book on The Art of Memory as an undergraduate, and used it as part of a paper I wrote on Vico’s science of the imagination. Since then I keep thinking of this powerful, ancient idea of the “memory palace” and how we still use spatial representations of place in our heads, even when we’re not navigating actual “space.” (An example: when you compare the nutritional information of two snacks, you usually would hold them side by side, looking at the tables printed on their packaging. But if you weren’t able to hold them side by side in real time, you’d unconsciously list the info from product A in your head and compare it in that imagined list’s ‘space’ against product B… )

Anyway, we make these little rooms still, even if we don’t do it on purpose. We especially use them to get around websites and environments that aren’t even physical… making something physical out of them in our imaginations.

I’m about to start trying to visually model one of the largest financial services web properties in the world… and maybe I’m reaching back to this idea like an old friend, or “comfort food” — something to reassure me that what I’m doing isn’t that scary?

Anyway, I really dig the muted post horn reference toward the bottom of this article. Pynchon lives!