accidental reset


I was trying to get Bloglines to synch with NetNewsWire today, and somehow my Bloglines subscriptions all got marked as read--taking me from ~2000 unread items to zero. (And the sync didn't work, either--only a fraction of my subscriptions actually seem to have properly updated in NNW. Feh.)

On the plus side, it was remarkably freeing to have all that unread stuff disappear. It's not like I was ever really going to catch up.

And it helped to compensate for the misery of having spent 2+ hours going through email on my non-MS accounts, which I've neglected shamefully since starting my sabbatical. (If you want a fast response from me, you should use the MSFT address. If you don't have it, you should call me. If you don't have a phone number for me...well, that's how I'm staying sane these days. Sorry.)

It's amazing how much more angst and petty politics there is in the academic environment. It's probably because as a temporary employee I'm spared many of the slings and arrows of MSFT politics. But that's not all of it. Some of it is really that academics--who often spend their entire professional lifetimes working with the same small group of people--really do have an uncanny ability to drive each other crazy. It reminds me a great deal of the way my kids interact with each other. At the moment, I'm very very glad that I'm here and not there.


There's a story that Henry Kissinger once said (possibly apocryphally) that faculty politics are so fierce because the stakes are so low.

The only thing I've found as petty is user group politics. OK, that and blogger feuds.

*Nobody* compares to academic infighters. Our chief competitors are bloggers. Bloggers, and user groups. Our *two* chief competitors are bloggers and user groups. And mailing list denizens. Our *three*...


I've heard the Kissinger quote in the form "Academic politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so low," but I haven't seen an authoritative source for it. The closest is this speech, in which Kissinger says "I formulated the rule that the intensity of academic politics and the bitterness of it is in inverse proportion to the importance of the subject their discussing."

(I assume that the "their" at the end of the quote above was a transcription error...but I pasted it verbatim despite the error.)

I have to do that with Bloglines occasionally. Sites like the The Register will accumulate hundreds of stories very quickly if I'm away from the computer for a few days, and I just can't keep up sometimes.

Actually, I wonder if you hit "A" while you had the site up. With their new access keys, that would display all unread items.

I used to have the same problem, but I decided to drop every single feed I didn't care about, and to drop the feed too. All of a sudden, I actually have free time to get stuff done, and I stay on top of the feeds I actually do care about.

Of course, it kinda nags at you that you're missing stuff, but give me a few months and I think I'll have that problem solved. (I'm working on an RSS reader with a Bayesian classifier to figure out what's interesting and what ain't, so you don't feel so guilty about leaving stuff unread, since you already know it's probably not interesting. Also comes with grouping for related posts, kinda like Gmail's thread grouping.) Of course, all that depends on how much of a slacker I am.

Also, we miss you at RIT and such!

I've created automatic RSS feeds for each of my blog's categories. That way, readers can subscribe only to the subjects that interest them and ignore everything else, avoiding (or at least reducing) information overload.

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This page contains a single entry published on October 17, 2005 11:00 PM.

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