Back in May, I first started talking about the approaching 1,000,000th comment, which I expected to be posted on one of our three Lawrence sites (LJWorld.com, KUsports.com and lawrence.com). Some of you have even taken to talking about it.
We're now just days away from hitting the milestone and we're launching a special contest so you can guess when comment 1,000,000 will actually be recorded by our database. In discussions with some of you and amongst ourselves, we decided more harm than good would come from rewarding the person who actually clicked submit for the 1,000,000th time.
So, instead, we're giving you all a chance to predict on exactly what day and at exactly what time (down to the second) we'll cross the barrier and get comment 1,000,000. The person who guesses closest to the actual time of the milestone post will get an as-yet not totally defined prize package. We're thinking concert tickets, T-shirts, a gift certificate, maybe a mug, and something else that represents the commenting community on LJWorld.com, KUsports.com and lawrence.com.
You have until 10 a.m. Friday — or earlier if comments start coming faster than expected — to enter your prediction and register for the contest. Sometime between now and when we get comment 1,000,000, we'll launch a special countdown page where you can stay totally up-to-date on how close we are. Be on the lookout for links to that page soon. We're also considering promoting the milestone comment on the front page of our sites, once we've reached it.
Stay tuned and good luck predicting.
From time to time, classes at Kansas University or Washburn will ask if they can use our Reader Blogs for their classes.
For instance, during the 2008 elections, a Washburn political science class used one of our blog groups to enable the students to publicly analyze and debate the election's course. This week, we launched another blog group — this one for KU students in a journalism class.
These students are working on a multi-faceted project in coordination with The World Company. For about eight weeks, half the students will be working for our various media outlets. You might see their work right here on LJWorld.com. Or on our sister TV station, KTKA. Or their work could appear in the printed Journal-World, on 6News Lawrence or in our weekly newspapers.
The other half of the students, though, will be working on a project to get detailed, neighborhood-level information on Lawrence. They'll be profiling neighborhood leaders and identifying what information someone new to Old West Lawrence or East Lawrence — among others, for example — would need to become integrated with the neighborhood. They'll be posting a lot of that information to their blogs as they find it: videos of these neighborhoods, links to scheduled meetings and anything else that might be relevant.
Then, about half-way through this fall semester, the students in each group will switch, so you'll see traditional work from each half — and neighborhood-level work from each.
Eventually, we'll roll all that neighborhood information out in integrated, more comprehensive neighborhood sections, probably sometime around the first of the year.
Be sure to let me know what you think — and feel free to comment on the student's blog entries. They'll also be posting regular classwork, which is why some of you may have seen a series of reactions to an article out of Vanity Fair.
Thanks for reading.
Bob Novak died today, according to the Associated Press. He was 78. Here is his obituary from the Associated Press:
Political columnist Robert Novak, who was a central figure in the Valerie Plame CIA leak case, has died after a battle with brain cancer.
His wife of 47 years, Geraldine Novak, tells The Associated Press that he died at his home in Washington, D.C. early Tuesday. He was 78.
Novak was long known as the co-host of CNN’s “Crossfire” and had been a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times for decades.
He was diagnosed with a brain tumor in July 2008, less than a week after he struck a pedestrian in downtown Washington with his Corvette and drove away.
In recent years, he was perhaps best-known for being the first to publish Plame’ name. He came under withering criticism and abuse from many for that column, which Novak says began “a long and difficult episode” in his career.
If you've never seen a half-dozen police officers with guns drawn in downtown Lawrence, an incident this weekend gives you just that chance.
Nathan Borror, an interaction designer at Mediaphormedia, our company's software division, was above 10th and New Hampshire Friday night and shot this video of police, with guns drawn, directing three people to get out of the car after they were accused of pointing a gun at street signs and at least one person.
I'm pointing this out because weekend traffic to LJWorld.com is not as good as it is on a Monday morning, and many of you probably missed out on the video.
If you're in an office, the video has some sound, but it's not critical. The best information is in the pictures. Here's a taste of what you'll see if you watch this video:
Several of you took the time to e-mail or tweet at me about the 503 error messages you were seeing when posting comments.
I want to thank you for letting me know and also tell you we have a temporary solution in place. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say it really had nothing to do with a traffic overload.
We handled the NCAA championship traffic with no problems. The servers don't usually even break a sweat in the dog days of summer.
I did say the solution we've developed is temporary. We're looking for a permanent one and hope to have it in place soon. Meanwhile, if you see any more of the 503 errors, please do let me know.
As a group, our sites are approaching an important milestone: their 1,000,000th comment. Since 2003, we've allowed comments on one item or another, whether they're stories or places or events or videos. And in those roughly six years (the first comment I can find dates to June 2003 as a comment on Zen Zero that's no longer visible at the request of the business), we've accumulated nearly 900,000 comments.
The pace of comments has only accelerated in recent years.
In fact, we just hit comment 800,000 in January. If that pace continues, we can expect to hit one million right around Sept. 30.
And we'd like to do something to celebrate poster number 1,000,000. We're looking for your ideas.
Should we send them a book that contains a record of all of their comments? How about a T-shirt with their winning bit of wisdom? Or, maybe, we should give them some other sort of prize. What would you want?
As a brief trip down memory lane, here are some other milestones we've hit over the years.
As I compiled that list, I was amazed at how many of the posters of those older comments have been posting comments on the site for so long. And the volume of comments by some users also amazes me. merrill, sunflower_sue, I'm looking at you.
By the way, do you have any predictions on who will have comment one million?
Hi, my name is Jonathan Kealing, and I'm an e-mailaholic.
@ColonelTribune, the Twitter persona of the Chicago Tribune, passed along a link this morning to a study about e-mail usage.
What did they find? When it comes to e-mail, you are either a "day laborer" or an "e-mailaholic." Me? I'm the latter.
I send and receive e-mail at all times, day or night. Sometimes, if I wake up in the middle of the night, I'll even thumb through e-mails on my BlackBerry to make sure the world is still spinning.
Now, a day laborer, that's someone who only sends and receives e-mails between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and they can't wait for 5 p.m. to arrive and never look at their e-mail again until the next morning.
The survey was based on interviews with more than 100,000 U.S. and and European college students and staff.
What about you? I created a poll where you can weigh in on how you use your inbox.
We're reprogramming our scanner today to make sure we're receiving emergency information from as many areas as possible.
We use this a lot for car accidents and fires, but also for severe weather. The tornado that touched down in Linwood a couple weeks ago reminded us that there is an area very nearby that we can't monitor as carefully as we do Douglas County.
As we were working on that, it got me thinking about the foreign language emergency dispatchers use, the 10 codes. We have a guy in the office who can carry on a conversation using nothing but 10 codes.
But it also reminded me of this list of Douglas County dispatchers' 10 codes we evidently published back in 2000. Long before I ever got to Lawrence. Everyone needs a good dictionary though.
I also created a poll to see what others know. Take it and let me know how good you are with that foreign language, the 10 codes.
With the Big 12 Tournament kicking off today, that can mean just one thing: the NCAA Tournament is right around the corner.
We've reworked our KUSports.com bracket contest this year (can't divulge all the details yet because we're still working feverishly to get it done) and because of that we're offering a big prize to the winner: a flat screen TV, courtesy of our friends at Kief's. Come back to KUSports.com Sunday night to complete your bracket.
It'll also be the first chance to use some of the new toys we built into the site when we relaunched it. If you haven't noticed before, when you visit a profile on KUSports.com you can choose to follow that person. Previously, that's done next to nothing. But once the bracket contest starts, you should (again, still working on it here) be able to see a scoreboard customized to just the people you're following.
So, find your friends on KUSports.com and start following them.
I also wanted to point out there we're now offering final score updates via SMS and e-mail for all of the upcoming Big 12 and NCAA Tournament games. That way, whether you're in a meeting or in a class, you can still find out who's advancing and who's going home.
Of course, you can still sign up for score alerts for KU games as well. A note of caution about both lists: it can take us up to 24 hours to update our database, so sign up now if you want to get all the scores delivered to you.
UPDATE: And our winner is mom_of_three with her entry: Kansas: Flat and BrokeMom_of_three, send me an e-mail to claim your prize.News organizations from New Zealand, to Dallas to Philadelphia to Paris and countless others have been publicizing Kansas' budget woes in the past 24 hours.This is the sort of publicity that a state can only dream of — but I'm sure the folks in Kansas would much prefer the publicity were for the beautiful Flint Hills or the thrill of the Legends and the Kansas Speedway.But sometimes you have to take lemons and make them into lemonade. So today we'll be hosting a contest here on LJWorld.com to allow you all to come up with a new marketing slogan for Kansas — one that capitalizes on the current budget mess. Post your suggestions in the comments and we'll select a winner, who gets a fantastic prize. (Note: Fantastic is probably in the eyes of the beholder. But when I behold the prize, I think fantastic.)So, to get you started, we'll post one possible slogan — Kansas: As broke as you think.Now it's your turn.