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Blogs, hm, seem a lot like conferences …

Original post made by Jay Thorwaldson, editor emeritus, on May 30, 2006

Some years back, 1977 to be a bit more precise, I ventured a daring prediction to a class of Stanford seniors who wanted to learn how to write news stories.

This story contains 1365 words.

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Comments (18)

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Posted by Bob Harrington
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 31, 2006 at 8:42 am

Cudos for the new Palo Alto Online format and the Town Square concept. I was hoping to find some editorial oversight on content to protect Town Square from being hijacked by a few strident voices as occurred on PA-ComNet and in the Daily News under its former editor, thereby rendering those forums places to avoid for the rest of us. There are so many bright, knowledgable members in our community that ultimately must feel comfortable sharing their ideas and insights to make Town Square the powerful community builder it could be.

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Posted by Enoch Choi
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 31, 2006 at 9:05 am

What is your RSS feed? I'd like to promote it. We're trying to continue your pioneering internet work at Palo Alto Medical Foundation...

Web Link

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Posted by Frank Bravo
director of IT, Embarcadero Media and webmaster of Palo Alto Online
on May 31, 2006 at 10:03 am

Frank Bravo is a registered user.

We are doing some final testing on the RSS feed. It should be available by the weekend.

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Posted by Bill Johnson
publisher of the Palo Alto Weekly
on May 31, 2006 at 10:15 am

Bill Johnson is a registered user.

Response to Bob Harrington: We are acutely aware of the challenge we face in creating in Town Square a "safe" atmosphere where residents can engage in thoughtful discussion.

We will be carefully monitoring the postings and will not hesitate to delete posts, lock discussion threads or even block IP addresses if necessary to maintain a civil and respectful environment. We pledge our best efforts and encourage users to help us in spotting problem posts.

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Posted by Joanna Holmes
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 31, 2006 at 10:04 pm

I'm excited about Town Square, and I look forward to Jay's and other writers' blogs. There is no shortage of things to blog about in this city, and I think Town Square is going to remind us all what a small town PA really is.

I also applaud the Weekly team for their bravery in taking on this project, because I see their commitment to careful monitoring, and we know that's no small undertaking.

Good work, PAW team!

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Posted by Alice Smith
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 1, 2006 at 1:05 am

How many of us have our own blogs? I do but don't go up there very often. My son in law's blog (chuckcurrie) is a touchstone for liberal Christians. Whilst he was in divinity school, he received course credit for his daily dialogue and commentary. He has become well known and consequently, cynically, Fox News recently asked him to debate on radio some rightwing conservative to rally the far right against him. My blog tends to rant about national issues, though it is called Granny's Nook. It started as a place to let family and friends look at photos without having to send huge files to show off my winsome grandkids.

With so much to read already I wonder that people will have the time to look, let alone comment.

Regards Alice

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Posted by Jay Thorwaldson
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 1, 2006 at 12:51 pm

Thanks, Joanna. We'll do our best to keep it dynamic, timely, interesting -- and safe for a broad range of people to share ideas, views, news and their own slices of history. Palo Alto definitely has a small town feel, in a good sense. But as with many small towns, new arrivals or those who haven't paid attention to local issues, people and politics can feel shut out. By having someplace to find out about local history and how it affects our lives today, perhaps TownSquare can make it easier for more people to feel part of that small town at the core. -jay

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Posted by Jay Thorwaldson
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 1, 2006 at 2:20 pm

Jay Thorwaldson is a registered user.

Alice Smith asks the same question I've been pondering for a long time: If we all become publishers who will be readers? We might have a virtual Tower of Babylon with everyone yammering (intelligently and with great sophistication and style) and no one listening, or being quite sure whom to believe about what -- or know who had hidden interests or motives.

But in a community where many people know each other the Internet, blogs and other aspects can help sustain contact between people with busy lives. And, if properly approached, can help us understand issues, define concerns and perhaps resolve issues we all face in a community or region.

-jay (editor, Palo Alto Weekly)

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Posted by WorriedParent
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 1, 2006 at 9:46 pm

All of (or most of us) heard / read the stories regarding a stranger approaching the children of Addison Elementary. Its a scary thought. When our kids are in school, we expect them to be *safe*. Ofcourse, this holds true as long as they stay inside the campus and not venture out on the streets.

But we have to remember, kids need to use the restrooms, kids are entrusted with the job of carrying the attendance sheet to the office - for one reason or other - child(ren) get out of their classrooms and are gone from the classrooms for some time.

Think about it - during the school hours, how many people have an access to the campus? Plenty! In the elementary schools that I have seen - there are quite a few people hanging around after the school is in session. These are parent volunteers, these are parents who are socializing, these are neighbors who have brought their young child just to see the happy and jolly kids, there are grandparents who have come to see off their grandchildren ..

Don't you think the school should have two gates that get locked down right after the school is in session? All the human traffic, once the gates are closed - should be directed through the office, where the person would have to state a reason (and maybe id himself/herself) before being let into the campus. Now .. I can see some people raising the question of - if there are locked gates, what happens in case of an emergency? I am not talking about padlocks, these should be electronic locks that we see everywhere - which will sound an alarm when opened. In case of an emergency - well, let the alarm sound. During other times, this alarm will alert someone in the office.

The school district will definitely argue about needing more $ to hire staff to monitor the traffic during the school hours. Well ... this is a small price to pay for the safety !

What do the other parents think ?

Thanks !

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Posted by Very Tas
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 3, 2006 at 11:51 pm

Congratulations on starting this blog. It's got a good start - respectful, with good comments. It will help to nicely leverage your print presence, and provide a real time outlet for community information and opinion.

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Posted by Jeb Bing
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2006 at 5:40 am

As a follow-up to your projectionsnearly 30 years ago about how many of us will be receiving our news and other material via the Internet, you were right on when it comes to more global information. Still, even today, except for blogs such as yours and, of course, the oline editions of local newspapers, I think that local readers, particularly, still depend on the print media. Printing out news or advertising pages is becoming ever more costly, so we read the global, national and regional media online, but now, even more, like the convenience and feel of the local paper for movies, garage sales, police reports and, of course, local city and school government news.

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Posted by enoch choi
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 17, 2006 at 12:20 am

Love the addition of Diana Diamond, but still no RSS feeds? Backfence launched, and although activity on their site pales in comparison (5 articles in last 2 days), they have better technology in place (photo sharing, etc.) And active RSS feeds.

Web Link

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Posted by frank bravo
director of IT, Embarcadero Media and webmaster of Palo Alto Online
on Jun 17, 2006 at 4:16 am

frank bravo is a registered user.

We ran into a delay with the RSS feed before I left for a convention. It is working, but we need to refine it further before I released it to the public. If you want to send your e-mail address to me at webmaster (at) PaloAltoOnline (dot) com, I'd be happy to send you the link to what we have so far.

We also had photo sharing in place prior to launch, but we decided to hold off releasing it to the public for the time being. If you notice, there is a 'hole' in the list of categories at the top of the page. That's where 'Photos' will be when we activate it.

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Posted by ed bierman
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 22, 2006 at 8:54 pm

You were and are a prophet, Jay! Wasn't for you, I don't think I would have this groovy job at PAMF.... We are with you on blogs, visit ours at Web Link

ed b, webmaster at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation

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Posted by Debbie Kurland
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 1, 2006 at 6:30 am

Thanks, Jay, for sharing this bit of Palo Alto history with all of us. I started laughing when you mentioned "the carbon paper in the typewriter". We have come a long way from those days. I remember working as a secretary while my husband was in law school, and oh, how I struggled, with a head-set for dictation, white-out, and mimeograph machines!! (and I am not even THAT OLD).

I shall enjoy reading your site and maybe even commenting. Debbie Kurland

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Posted by Richard Adler
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jun 20, 2007 at 9:48 pm

Jay --

Whatever happened to PA-ComNet? I used to attend its meetings which were quite lively and informed. Did the group just fade away?

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Posted by Bambi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm

Hum nothing since 2006?

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Posted by John Hargis
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 2, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Hi, Jay!

Never been on a blog before...Hope this is a proper way to communicate with you.

Within the last couple of weeks, I rented a sewer snake at AAA Rentals on 5th Avenue in Redwood City. The guy behind the counter asked for my driver's license and before I realized what was happening, he scanned it into his computer and my license appeared on his screen. (I have not had that experience before, and it didn't feel right, so I went back later and they agreed to delete my license.)

This new business practice seems to be "crossing a line" of some kind and I thought you might not have heard of it.

Hope to see you at the Moonlight Run!

John Hargis

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