Archive for May, 2013

May 2013 Fargo Archive Pages

May 31, 2013 Leave a comment

May 10

  • Publishing in the past
    • I’m just wondering whether Fargo will let a fellow publish in the past. I backdated this posting quite a bit as a test. Wonder, too, if the RSS will notice it. PS. Testing Jeffrey’s script for adding a tweet link at the top of a post–a success. Now testing an informal tag+keyword search script–it works. Now testing Theron’s tag script.

Fargo, so far

May 19, 2013 Leave a comment

Just thinking out loud here. Based on my use of the Fargo outliner so far, I have this to say:

1. I tried outlines before because someone I respected spoke up for them in public for years. Until now, I never really got the point.

2. As a outliner newbie, I’m happy about the outlining functions. They seem clear and practical to me as a solo user. They bring organizing and composing into plainer view for me as a writer. The ease of web publishing is very useful, too.

  • a. Two things that would help me–maybe just me, maybe nobody else–would be, eventually, no rush, i) to have a word count option on an outline, and ii) to be able to paste in a paragraph from Word and have it appear as a single headline instead of as a bunch of headlines. Item ii is kind of big for me since I have to work in Word quite a bit.

3. For years Dave Winer has been explaining how important it is to send content to Twitter from one’s own realm, rather than to live as a writer inside Twitter. I’ve been utterly persuaded and I have to guess Fargo is heading there. This seems vital. I hope I’m reading the right tea leaves.

4. I have a very strong sense that collaboration is going to be one of the huge features here–more likely, a whole collection of features. I’m very eager to see that unfold–maybe hungry is a better word.

The Saint Joseph River masterpiece

May 17, 2013 Leave a comment

The concept: Build a group of 250 donors who will each contribute the cost of one native spring-flowering tree a year for five years. Plant care-free native spring-flowering trees in great numbers along the river in South Bend. Within a few years the flowering season for dogwoods and redbuds would become very extravagant. The river during those weeks would become a very desirable destination, among the most noteworthy sights to be seen in the region. Beauty leading to renewed community pride, new economic activity…


Native trees

  • Low needs for care
  • Longevity and high rate of survival

Spring flowering

  • Extravagance of display in spring
  • Simultaneous flowering before their leaves come out–a very fancy showing

Likely varieties

  • Dogwood
  • Redbud


  • A group of 250 donors
  • Commitment to sponsor one tree a year for five years
  • Planting costs covered by the city? By grants?

Research needed

  • Extra care needed the first year after planting? Extra watering?
  • Which particular native species are best? Which varieties of those species?
  • How to evaluate the best places to plant these varieties?

Likely or possible partners

  • City of South Bend
  • Neighboring towns along the river.
    • Do the other towns and the county handle their own projects or is it a regional project?
  • The county.
  • Botanical team.
  • Landscaping and planting team.
  • Fund-raising team.
  • Publicity team.
  • Donate-a-tree campaign can be shared by community groups–churches, youth groups, schools, seniors groups, etc.

Ways for people to feel a shared sense of pride and ownership in the project

  • Website of donors
  • Photo gallery contributed by community members
  • Annual photo or painting prize for showing off the spring flowering along the river
  • Other ways?

Strategy ideas

  • Start with one stretch of the river so the impact is visible very soon?
  • Plant somewhat larger trees from the start?

Brainstorming about other aspects of the project

  • Link to Bike the Bend or other community event?
  • Draw the concept out into neighborhoods with more trees or with front-yard displays of bulbs that flower at the same time?
  • The seed of a springtime festival of some kind?

This outline also appears in an online version that will reflect new ideas and updates, posted here. It will not display in Internet Explorer.

Will I turn into a shrewd animal?

May 5, 2013 Leave a comment

In a 2013 Indiana University commencement address, a witty and irreverent David Brooks asked that question. He considered the fate of people who take all their values from the marketplace, filling their minds, he said, with a “mental materialism” that infects every aspect of their lives. Of that sort of materialism, he said:

  • If it’s all you’ve got, you lose the ability to speak in a sophisticated moral language, you have trouble thinking outside the categories of the market. You turn into shrewd animals, crafty self-preserving creatures who are adept at playing the game and who turn everything into a game.*

A person doesn’t just shake off this disease, he implied. A person must have a contrasting source of strong values and voices:

  • So it’s important to have a counterculture. Many of us found our counterculture at university.

This is not “the counterculture” of the 1960s but the long heritage of writers and activists who provide other ways of thinking–kinds of introspection and moral reflection, kinds of commitment not limited to the logic of buying and selling. For Brooks, by reading and rereading a person can draw on elements of this heritage over the course of a lifetime:

  • And if you do, you’ll find yourself living by a moral logic that is completely different than the logic of the shrewd animal.

*These comments take place from 14:12 to 16:25 in the video.

Book, meet Blog. Blog, Book.

May 4, 2013 Leave a comment

Reading the unfolding story of the Fargo outliner in its Docs pages, the part where the “post to WordPress” feature is unpacked, I notice this sentence:

  • You can use the outliner to organize a library of posts you want to be able to access quickly.

Now, to me, that sounds like the curtain in front of a showroom window just before a new model is announced. I start thinking about what might be behind the window. Blog posts, published over weeks and months via Fargo, yet organized into something larger. A way to bring the blogger’s ramble–the best parts of it, anyway–into some kind of shape.

I’m thinking: book manuscript, tech manual, giant company report. Book manuscript.

I’m thinking:

The outliner publishes in time but organizes in space, making easier the birthing of these fraternal twins: blog and book manuscript. Via outlining, the practical, structural kinship of blog posts and book manuscript is revealed.

[…because some book projects are strengthened by the involvement of online readers along the way.]