Archive for March, 2005


Monday, March 28th, 2005

You are spending a few days in Budapest and decide to get some souvenirs. You walk down the most famous tourist street (Váci utca) and browse the shop windows. You wonder: should it be an embroidered tablecloth or maybe a plate with a sketch of the Parliament? Neither quite makes sense for your home so you keep on looking. And voila, look no further: a little plastic Hitler figurine. Just what you needed. And so he is not lonely, you can get another guy with an armband sporting the swastika.

Welcome CT visitor

Thursday, March 17th, 2005

Welcome frustrated CT visitor. We’re sorry that our provider pulled the plug on us. If you’re looking for interesting things to browse, check out the links I’ve featured on past issues of E-LIST. IT-related and conference links are usually at the top, political material follows, and most lists end with links to how-to’s, fun and miscellaneous suggestions. Enjoy. In the meantime, we’re working on getting CT back up and running as soon as possible!

Reminder: blog panel this Friday

Thursday, March 17th, 2005

This is just a reminder that if you’re in DC and free at 8:30am on Friday morning then it would be nice to see you at the following panel tomorrow. There should be plenty of time for general discussion.

Can Blogs Influence Public Policy?
Friday, March 18, 8:30am
Location: Monticello-West Lower Ballroom, Wyndham Washington Hotel (directions)

* Tyler Cowen, George Mason University (Update: unfortunately Tyler Cowen won’t be able to make it.)
* Henry Farrell, George Washington University
* Eszter Hargittai, Northwestern University
* Amy Sullivan, The Washington Monthly, Princeton University

* Discussant: Jeff Weintraub, Lehigh University and University of Pennsylvania

Click here for other panels of possible interest.

New E-LIST Archives

Sunday, March 13th, 2005

In December 2001, I started an email distribution list, “Eszter’s List“, with links to what I considered interesting Web sites and occasional musings on whatever I felt was worth a comment or two. I had been inspired by Phil Agre’s Red Rock Eater News Service. Phil sent out great batches of URLs. Of course, today, with millions of bloggers taking part in something similar it all sounds trite. But I continue to maintain the list – granted, the traffic has been extremely low recently -, because many of its subscribers don’t read blogs. There is still something to be said for the push aspect of email. Of course, for all I know, every one of the 500+ subscribers is just deleting my messages. But judging from the feedback, people still find it useful.

I have been trying to figure out a good way to archive the links. I used to post them on a Web page, but that was tedious. Eventually I realized that it would make sense to apply the convenience of blogging software to my list. I have set up the archives of the list using WordPress. Now it’s easily searchable. Previously that feature required a login.

Enjoy. And keep sending me interesting links!

Where to host your Web site

Sunday, March 13th, 2005

UPDATE (3/17/05): In light of the recent troubles CT is experiencing due to Dreamhost, I should add that the following recommendation only holds for sites with modest traffic (i.e. less than thousands of visitors/day).

Recently several people have asked me whether I have recommendations for a hosting service. I have blogged about this before, but am happy to post another note. (No, I don’t expect all of my friends to be reading this blog religiously, really.) I use Dreamhost and have been quite happy with it. (Truth in advertising, if you sign up through that link I get rewarded. So if you do sign up with them after doing your bit of research, please consider using that link.)

Dreamhost offers three hosting plans. Their basic plan should meet most people’s needs. (People whose needs would not be met by their basic plan would not be asking me for hosting recommendations, that’s all I’m saying.) The basic plan comes with a free domain registration, which is nice. I speak from experience when I say that Dreamhost is quite good about domain registration and domain transfers. This is relevant in case one day you decide to change registrars.

Regarding their hosting services, they offer more goodies than most people – again people who would be asking me for hosting recommendations – will ever need. But it’s nice to have the options, and they still charge less than many other companies that provide fewer services. Their responses to customer support questions are quite good and usually within 24 hours. They offer one-click installation of WordPress (the blogging software this site uses) and phpBBForum plus some others.

With the basic plan, you can get up to 600 (!) POP/IMAP email accounts. You can also create an unlimited number of email aliases. (The latter is great for controlling spam.) You can also create an unlimited number of mailing lists and announcement lists. (The former is for discussions, the latter is for one-way communication with a list of people.)

They have a St.Patrick’s Day sale right now, which triples the amount of disk space and bandwidth you get. (The former has to do with how much space you have to store material, the latter involves the amount of traffic on your account.) This comes down to 2400MB of storage space and 120GB of bandwidth. Although it’s true that we can never have enough space, 2400MB is a LOT of space.

For the geeks in the audience, I am also happy to say that Dreamhost is one of the few hosting services that gives you shell access and supports Pine. Yes! It’s awesome (I know, I’m such a geek).

I suspect many of you reading this are thinking: “That’s all very nice, but I don’t need such a fancy plan.” I understand. However, as I said above, simpler plans are rarely cheaper, in fact, they are often more expensive. I did a lot of research last Spring to figure out where to host my sites and Dreamhost came out on top.

I should add that if you just want to reserve some names and redirect a URL, Active Domains is a somewhat cheaper option at $10/name. However, since a basic plan at Dreamhost comes with a free registration and most people who are not quite at my geek level are fine with that, this may not be very helpful. Also, I once experienced a significant outage with Active Domains so I’ve shifted all of my important domains over to Dreamhost. There are probably options even cheaper than this, but that’s really only for reserving a name without much else.

Sociology & the Internet mini-conference at the Easterns

Saturday, March 12th, 2005

For the Eastern Sociological Society meetings next week, I organized a mini-conference on Sociology & the Internet. The following three panels are part of this mini-conference.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Can Blogs Influence Public Policy?

* Tyler Cowen, George Mason University
* Henry Farrell, George Washington University
* Eszter Hargittai, Northwestern University
* Amy Sullivan, The Washington Monthly, Princeton University

Discussant: Jeff Weintraub, Lehigh University and University of Pennsylvania

Friday, March 18, 3005

Information Technology and Public Policy

* Regulating E-Commerce: Domestic Sources of State Power and the Role of State-Private Actor Relations, Henry Farrell, George Washington University

* Sociological Impacts on Web Site Accessibility: Why won’t it help to build a better software tool?, Jonathan Lazar, Towson University

* The Impact of Technology on Work-Life Balance, Leslie Cintron, Washington and Lee University

* Worldwide Data Documentation Standards and the Future of Social Science Research, Grant Blank, American University

Discussant: Timothy Shortell, Brooklyn College

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Digital Inequality

* Does The Digital Divide Explain Racial Differences in School Achievement? Caroline Persell, New York University

* Explaining the Diffusion of Broadband among Internet Users, John Horrigan, Pew Internet and American Life Project

* Media Use and Inequality in Access to Information: Does the Internet Level the Playing Field? Steven Shafer, Princeton University and Paul DiMaggio, Princeton University

* New Dimensions of the Digital Divide: Differences in Young Adults’ Use of the Internet, Eszter Hargittai, Northwestern University and Amanda Hinnant, Northwestern University

There is one more Internet-related panel at the meetings:

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Social Interaction via the Internet

* Harnessing Social Interaction: How We Use the Internet to Shape and Control Interpersonal Contact, Mary Chayko, College of Saint Elizabeth

* Ethical Dilemmas in Web-based Qualitative Research: The Case of Online Message Board Communities, Laura West Steck, University of Connecticut and Tamara Smith, University at Albany, State University of New York

* “Rupert Rocks and Ali’s Awful”: Analysis of Viewers’ Favorite Players on Survivor and Big Brother, Beth Montemurro, Penn State University and Colleen Bloom, Rutgers University; Sharon Gerczyk, Penn State University

Great pastry

Wednesday, March 9th, 2005

The Hungarian Pastry Shop in New York is my favorite pastry shop in the U.S. While in the city last week taking in The Gates I stopped by with a friend to try some of their goodies. We had some poppy seed strudel, a chocolate pyramid, a lemon petit-four (they have that in three other flavors as well) and a rum ball. They were all very good, but the rum ball was especially amazing.

This is a very pleasant coffee shop. You order at the counter, go find a seat and a few minutes later the drinks and pastries are brought to your table. They have free refills on coffee and hot water, which is all self-served close to the counter. The space is a bit dark, but this does not seem to deter many many people from reading and studying there for hours.

I wish we had a pastry shop like this in my area.

Great blog design

Tuesday, March 8th, 2005

This blog has a fun design. You can tell I used to be a Mac user way back when. I am afraid my undergrad students probably would not appreciate the design as much as I do. When I presented to them the New Yorker “On the Internet, nobody knows that you’re a dog” cartoon in my Internet & Society class, I asked how many recognized it. At most one or two students raised their hands. I thought it was almost a clich&eeacute;.. but no, to them it was a novelty.

Project Gutenberg

Tuesday, March 8th, 2005

It is nice to be reminded of great online resources. Via comes a link to the Australian Project Gutenberg outfit. Project Gutenberg (U.S. link) is a collection of eBooks available online for free. These are books that are now in the public domain and volunteers have prepared them for online availability. Over ten thousand works are on these sites, they’re worth a look!

The Gates

Monday, March 7th, 2005

I did something spontaneous the weekend before last and flew to NYC for less than 48 hours to see The Gates. I was very intrigued by all the reports I had read and the pictures I had seen so I wanted to see the park in person. It was a wonderful experience. Although pictures can’t possibly make up for being there, here are some photos in case you haven’t seen enough of them already. I have noted my favorites with a bold border.

Share your tagged bookmarks

Sunday, March 6th, 2005

The new service Wists brings us the option of creating a public list of bookmarks with tags. The tagging feature resembles tags in Flickr. I guess it all sounds a lot like although I have never used that service so I can’t really say. Wists certainly looks better though.

I’ve started putting up a few links. I’ll be curious to see if it’s a service I end up using much. (There are so many things I have sort of tried over the years only to abandon them usually sooner rather than later.) Browsing others’ links is one way of finding potentially interesting sites. The service allows creating private bookmarks as well (handy for all those private baby blogs I started following lately). Unfortunately, it looks like the site is already attracting a type of spam. After all, what are the chances that someone would post bookmarks to so many individual items at one particular online store?

UPDATE: I’m told the many links to individual store items are on purpose.

[via Nick Denton]