Notes from underground

يارب يسوع المسيح ابن اللّه الحيّ إرحمني أنا الخاطئ

Archive for the tag “humanities”

SA Blogging Awards

Just got a message to say that the SA Blogging Awards close today. I didn’t realise they had opened because Telkom had reduced our bandwidth without informing us, and so we were without Web access for four days. Not that it makes much difference, because the SA Blogging Awards are just as narrow-minded this year as they were last year.

The categories to enter have been simplified this year, and are as follows:

  • Best Business / Political Blog
  • Best Entertainment / Lifestyle Blog
  • Best Environmental Blog
  • Best Fashion Blog
  • Best Food & Wine Blog
  • Best Music Blog
  • Best Photographic Blog
  • Best Science and Technology Blog
  • Best Sport Blog
  • Best Travel Blog

Please choose a category which best fits your blog.

None of my blogs, nor any of the blogs I regularly read, fits into any of those categories. The organisers seem to have a very blinkered view of human life. Or is is just me?

As far as I can see there are huge swathes of human life and experience (which is what most blogs are about) missing from the list. I think quite a large number of the missing ones are covered by the H*U*M*A*N*I*T*I*E*S. As, of course, are the categories in Digg, which I avoid for the same reason.

I really think that blogging awards thingies should not be run by technogeeks. For them things like art, literature, history and religion simply do not exist.

Is there anything else you can see that has been left out?


SA Blog Awards 2010

SA Blog Awards – Home:

The 2010 SA Blog Awards is scheduled for its annual process of nominations and voting this year are as follows:

* Nominations Phase:2nd August 2010 to 27th August 2010
* Voting Phase: 1st September to 17th September 2010
* Winners announced on 25 September 2010 at the annual awards ceremony provisionally at the One & Only hotel, Cape Town.

If you know any good South African blogs that you would like to nominate for the award, you can nominate them here.

I must confess that I have a problem with this, as most of the South African blogs I like don’t really fit into any of the categories provided. The organisers provide an exceedingly narrow range of categories, which exclude the vast majority of the blogs I read. There are no categories for art, literature, religion, culture, society and so on. Yet another example of the ignoring of the humanities in “mainstream” culture.

They could at least have provided a “none of the above” category, or a “general/misc” category, but I suppose that’s the problem of running an event with commercial sponsorship — the categories are determined by what interests the sponsors rather than by what interests bloggers and blog readers.

askSam 6.1

I’ve been using the askSam database software for 17 years, and this year my wife bought me an upgrade to the latest version for Christmas, and I’ve been playing with some of the new features.

If you are doing any kind of research, askSam is one of the best tools for keeping your notes and documents in order. It’s a freeform text database that lets you find anything you put into it, and also allows you to have fixed fields for sorting.

I started using it when I persuaded the university departments I was working in to use it for journal abstracts and a terminology database. I’d read reviews of it in computer magazines, and it sounded as though it would be one of the best tools for the job. It was.

Back then it was the DOS version.

It was easy to get started using it — you simply tossed information in and it would fish it out again. But to get the best out of it required quite a lot of learning, and to learn to use it I tried it out on different kinds of applications — making notes from books, genealogical research, keeping track of correspondence, keeping a log of various activities. For all of these things, it worked very well.

Back then we also used the XyWrite word processor, and XyWrite’s formatting was done using codes similar to HTML markup, so it was easy to produce askSam reports that were fully-formatted XyWrite documents. Reports could be imported into e-mail for sharing information. It worked just as well for exporting data to web pages.

For a long time I resisted the Windows version, but the new version has several features that older ones did not. One of them is the ability to import, link to and attach documents. So you can use it to keep track of word processor documents, PDF files and the like. It handles MS Word documents, pdf files (text only) and RTF files as well. It is somewhat limited in not handling Open Office files, for example, though those can be exported to rtf of pdf format.

If you do any kind of research, especially in the humanities, and want to keep your research notes in order, I definitely recommend askSam. I’ve found it useful for genealogy research, theological research and articles (keeping notes for my MTh dissertation and DTh thesis) and much more.

If this sounds like the sort of program you could use, you can read more about it (and download a 30-day trial version) at the askSam web site.

Amatomu add religion category

Amatomu have added a “religion” category to their blog directory/aggregator.

This is an improvement, because before it wasn’t clear where blogs with a religious dimension should be categorised.

There’s still a gap though, because the existing categories don’t leave much room for society, culture, arts and books. “Religion” could fit into that wider category, but not all of those things fit under religion.

Still, it’s a lot better than Digg, where the humanities are left out altogether, and yet the rather narrow range of categories that remain are split into great detail. On the whole Amatomu is doing pretty well, and does better than Technorati in my view. It’s the best tool for finding South African blogs and what South African bloggers are saying, and keeps getting better.

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