Inside view

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A little over a month ago, just before Web Directions North, John Allsopp asked me a few questions over email about what I’ve been thinking and doing lately. Digital Web Magazine was kind enough to publish the exchange between us. A few friends have emailed me, having discovered the interview by other means, asking why they never saw mention of it here. Somehow, amid preperations for the conference, then ultimately, my back injury and cancelled appearance, I never got around to mentioning the interview.

If I were to write an extended update here that covers my recent life, technology that interests me, and the issues I’ve been mulling over, it would consist of the same answers I provided to John. Thanks, John, for taking the time and interest to ask the questions. And thanks, DWM, for publishing my responses.

February 27th 2007 personal

By: Paul

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Thanks for your help. I had no idea! And it’s so much easier to get these tips succinctly from you rather than trying to read through the entire “official directions” looking for the pearls.

February 21st 2007 Uncategorized

By: Brian

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Great tips! For as much time as I spend on the web, I only knew about three of those tools. I look forward to saving much time (and agony) with your tips. Thank you!

February 21st 2007 Uncategorized

By: jody

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Thanks for the great tips. I like for finding the best link spots. Aaron’s got a great set of tools at

February 21st 2007 Uncategorized

Insult to injury

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Last week was supposed to be a big week for me. As John Allsopp put it, I had been lured out of a self-imposed retirement from speaking, and was scheduled to appear at Web Directions North in Vancouver. I was really looking forward to speaking again, along with seeing old friends, making new ones, and the general camaraderie experienced at events like that.

Alas, for some reason, that wasn’t to be. On a fine Sunday morning before the conference, I bent over the sink to spit out some toothpaste, and felt a shock of pain go through my lower back. I instantly told myself, “oh, it’s nothing. just a twinge of pain. it will go away in a minute.” But it didn’t.

Cam and I waited out the injury, hoping the pain would subside and magically heal itself, and I would be able to medicate enough to fly to Vancouver on Tuesday morning, and attend the conference as planned. Over the next two days, my back got progressively worse, until I could barely move or sit up in bed without excruciating pain.

Long story, short, the pain continued all last week. And I had to cancel my trip to Vancouver and plans to speak at and attend Web Directions. I tried to fight off the depression and the negative thoughts. But the disappointment I felt was huge (and still is). I was forced to miss out on the opportunity not just to speak again, but to hear so many great speakers at once, and to reconnect with friends I hadn’t seen in over a year. Not to mention the snowboarding in Whistler after the conference.

This is the fourth time in the last two and a half years that I injured my back to the point of debilitation and forced rest. I have a bad disc in my lumbar region. Doctors told me after first injury that I might be forced to deal with it the rest of my life. Physical therapy helps immediately after the injury. But after the pain subsides, I tend to forget about the exercises and the stretching and the fact that my body is not perfect.

If I am to make a difference in the future health of my back and my body, I must make changes to my daily routine. The treatment I learn after each episode must be folded into the strands of my life.

I really don’t want an injured back to prevent me from doing anything or going anywhere else.

February 14th 2007 personal

Xerox’s Subsidiary PARC and Powerset: Natural Language Processing Deal

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It is time for another one of those whacky claims: Powerset believe that they have the technology to better improve search engine results. ‘Natural Language Processing’ – Good?

February 13th 2007 Uncategorized