Clive Thompson returns to blogging

I’m not sure how many people noticed, but Clive Thompson — one of my favourite technology and science writers — returned to blogging this week. Clive writes regularly for the New York Times magazine, and his most recent piece was an excellent look at Twitter and the phenomenon of “ambient awareness” that such social-media tools allow, and why that’s a good thing. Clive’s blog Collision Detection used to be a treasure trove of those kinds of observations, drawn from scientific journals and various news articles, and after seven months of absence (which he says he will explain later), he is back to blogging.

In analyzing and describing complicated things, Clive has a great way of humanizing things as well, often with just a simple turn of phrase. Take one of his more recent blog posts, about a study of how flies avoid the fly swatter when you’re trying to kill them. First, Clive describes how he returned home from vacation to find his house full of flies and how frustrating it was to repeatedly miss them, and then he describes what the study says about how to avoid this problem:

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Google knows what bloggers want

Boy, does Google know the way to a blogger’s heart or what? According to the Wall Street Journal, the company is setting up an 8,000 square-foot blogging playground at the Democratic National Convention (and at the subsequent Republican convention), complete with food, massages, smoothies, a candy buffet and couches to nap on — all for the measly sum of $100 for access to the “Big Tent.” The money quote in this particular story goes to Micah Sifry of TechPresident.com, who says that there isn’t really much news out of the partisan conventions once the vice-presidential candidates are picked, but “it’s a target-rich environment for bloggers.” Especially the candy-fueled kind. Simon Owens has more on the Big Tent at the MediaShift blog.

Blogging update: still on hiatus

Just a quick note to let everyone know that I haven’t died or given up blogging. I’m still in Florida, and the sunshine and beaches (combined with a lack of high-speed Internet) have caused a decline in blogging activity. Normal service should be resumed soon.

CoverItLive looks like a worthy app

Rafe Needleman at Webware has a post up on CoverItLive, which reminded me that I’ve been meaning to write about this live-blogging tool for awhile now (and no, I’m not going to “live-blog” this post — that would be too recursive for words). The company, which is based in Toronto, used to be called Altcaster, and president Keith McSpurren gave me a look at an early version of the beta last year. I thought an all-in-one app that offered support for video, photos and chat was a pretty good idea, but it looked more than a little rough around the edges.

Looking at the most recent version of the app, the team at what became CoverItLive has clearly been working on both the look and the functionality. As Rafe notes, the software makes it easy for someone covering a live event — such as CES or an election, for example — to host a live chat, poll the readers in almost real-time, embed video and so on. Once the event is over, the entire session is saved and can be replayed, as you can see with CrunchGear’s live-blog of Bill Gates.

If I were live-blogging something, I would certainly consider using CoverItLive. The last time I did it, for a panel during the Online News Association conference last fall, I used a BlackBerry — not something I would recommend 🙂