20 September 2012

The Dirt Bites the Dust

An obscure anniversary received no attention this week, as Mig Greengard's The Daily Dirt Chess Blog passed the one year mark without a single new post. Once a front runner for best blog in the chess blogosphere, its last post, Svidler's Black Attack, was dated 17 September 2011. Like nearly all of The Dirt's posts, the last one attracted hundreds of comments, 886 as of today. Ignoring a few comments from spammers, most were from the same knowledgeable chess fans who had stuck with The Dirt for years, making it the beacon for chess discourse that it was.

The only activity on the home page now is a feed from Chessninja's corner of the twittersphere. As any hardcore follower of chess news will likely agree, tweets are no replacement for posts, just as snacks are no replacement for meals. So what happened? One of the next to last posts, Just Like Starting Over, gave a few clues. Aging blog software, based on Movable Type, had something to do with it:-

Can I tell you how much I'm not looking forward to doing a new install and moving all the content over? MySQL or not, it's going to be a nightmare.

But an even bigger role might have been played by 'The Manuscript':-

This is the book I've been writing for the author trio of Garry Kasparov, Max Levchin, and Peter Thiel on the financial crisis and the technological stagnation of the US and global economy. It started out as a manifesto on innovation and our publisher, WW Norton, convinced us to be more ambitious and to expand the scope to history, economics, politics, and social factors. It's been a huge amount of research and work, plus wrangling three very smart, very busy people for input.

Amazon.com's page, The Blueprint: Reviving Innovation, Rediscovering Risk, and Rescuing the Free Market • Garry Kasparov, Max Levchin, Peter Thiel, gives the publication date as 12 March 2013, but I've seen earlier dates on Amazon. I found one other page, also from a year ago, Max Levchin And Peter Thiel: Innovation In The World Today Is Between 'Dire Straits And Dead' (Techcrunch.com), that mentioned the book was 'expected to be published in March 2012'. That page is worth visiting for the video discussion with Levchin and Thiel, sans Kasparov.

If innovation really is dead, then Twitter is the number one suspect for its untimely demise. I'd much rather have The Dirt and its legions of loyal followers.

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