May 292008

Sorry for the extended pause. That busy-ness I earlier referred to has not yet abated (soon, though, I hope… I miss having enough mental cycles to write).

But I do now have a new post, only it’s over at the old Great Change blog. I realize that I still have a few things to add to that story, things which I don’t really want to mix up with what I’m trying to create over here. (Well, when I can get to it…)

 Posted by at 9:39 pm
May 042008

I apologize: I’ve been terrible at posting updates lately. My excuse naturally is that’s it’s been a hectic and jumbled bunch of weeks. For instance there’s been some travel, lots of work stuff, and I’ve also been teaching swimming lessons again on the weekends. I do love the teaching — I can hardly believe this is my 20th year doing it! — but this spring I’m doing it at TWO pools, which means that every week both my Saturdays and Sundays and most of the writing and/or recovery time they’d otherwise afford me get consumed.

One of the pool’s classes will wrap up in about two weeks though (the other’s will in June) so hopefully by then I’ll have more time for posting, which will be opportune since on May 20th I’ll be attending the third Bay Area Blawgers event. This time it’ll be held at Berkeley, co-sponsored by the Santa Clara High Tech Law Institute and the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology.

Details as posted on organizer Eric Goldman’s website:

When: May 20, 6-8 pm
Where: Goldberg Room, UC Berkeley Law School. Directions and parking.
Who: Everyone is welcome, but this event principally will cater to active legal bloggers. Bloggers and friends who have said they plan to attend include: Tsan Abrahamson, Jerry Bame, Robert Barr, Larry Downes, Eli Edwards, Bob Eisenbach, Cathy Gellis, Eric Goldman, Beth Grimm, Greg Haverkamp, Cathy Kirkman, Kimberly A. Kralowec, Ethan Leib, Cathy Moran, Joe Mullin, Deborah Neville, David Newdorf, Dana Nguyen, Aaron Perzanowski, Elizabeth Pianca, Mark Radcliffe, Colin Samuels, Jason Schultz, Tim Stanley, Stacy Stern, John Steele, Kevin Underhill, Fred von Lohmann, J. Craig Williams and Cicely Wilson. (This list will be updated as new blawgers and friends RSVP).

As in the past, the first hour will be a structured round-table discussion and the second will be for shmoozing. I really enjoyed the previous events, and if you are in the Bay Area and either like reading legal blogs (you’re reading this one, right?) or writing them you probably will too… RSVP to Eric Goldman ( if you’re interested in attending.

It’s also good for an hour of general CLE credit, which I find particularly exciting, seeing how although this will be my third Bay Area Blawgers event, it will be the first where I’ve been eligible to earn it…

 Posted by at 9:13 pm
Apr 032008

This year for April Fool’s Google announced their “Custom Time” feature for Gmail that lets users to send their emails … before they sent them.

In other words, Gmailers can roll back the timestamp so it looks like their email was sent on time. They are, however, only limited to 10 of these a year, lest “people to lose faith in the accuracy of time, thus rendering the feature useless.”
Of course, this announcement was just an April Fool’s joke — or was it?

I’m writing this post for the benefit of anyone trying to reach me. I’m not sure where the breakdown has been occurring, but lately I’ve not been getting some of the email sent to me. Or if I do get it, it’s three days after it was sent. Even the US Postal Service can beat that kind of speed.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 8:50 am
Feb 252008

The 148th edition of Blawg Review is out, at Brad Trout’s BlawgIT blog. It always seems to work out that the weeks Blawg Review is hosted by cyberlawyers, I end up talking about something else… In this case I sent in my Kosovo post, as I’m interested in getting feedback on it from a wider audience. It is a little sad, however, that my “I need a husband” post did not get picked up yet again. After all, I still don’t have one, and how will I ever if the blogosphere isn’t constantly reminded that I’m looking?

 Posted by at 11:36 pm
Jan 282008

Blawg Review #144 is up, over at Kevin Thompson’s Cyberlaw Central blog.

For those unfamiliar with Blawg Review it is what’s known as a blogging “carnival.” I don’t know who came up with the name, “carnival,” which always struck me as kind of ridiculous, but the idea behind them is nice. Bloggers are hard at work all over the blogosphere, creating their posts, but what fun is it to write if no one ever comes by to read what you’ve written? Blog carnivals help solve that isolation problem by creating meta posts that contain links to lots of other bloggers’ posts, thus providing them with much-needed exposure.

In the case of Blawg Review, various legal bloggers sign up to “host” an edition of Blawg Review, released on Mondays, which contain links to some of the best posts from other legal bloggers the previous week. Bloggers who would like to be included can either nominate themselves, or hope that someone else might have nominated them (Blawg Review likes to encourage people to nominate other bloggers who’ve written things worthy of attention). It’s also possible that the host may include posts that he himself has seen over the previous week sua sponte, as they say in the law.

I myself have long planned to participate in Blawg Review in order to help attract readers and raise the profile of my blog, but I never really got around to it. Jeremy Blachman as a host did once link to me sua sponte, as did the mysterious figure (and very nice albeit anonymous guy) known as the Blawg Review Editor, but this week marked the first time I’ve ever managed to get it all to come together, having an appropriately meaty post to submit and remembering to do so before the deadline.

The understanding among Blawg Review participants is that when the new edition comes out you provide a link to it. I’m not sure it’s a strictly enforced policy, but it certainly seems like the neighborly thing to do. And there’s no real cost. If you like my blog, you may well like any of those other blogs linked from it. And an edition of Blawg Review is not just a page listing a bunch of static lists — Blawg Review editors are encouraged to use their creativity in how they present the work of their peers. This week’s, for instance, used Lord of the Rings as a vehicle for tying together these links. One page to link them all…

 Posted by at 9:35 am
Jan 232008

If you’ve been checking back here incessantly you may have noticed some changes as I’ve begun to wrangle the cryptic mess that is MovableType 4.01. Now that I’m getting into it I’m beginning to understand it a little better, but it’s still extremely unintuitive and/or poorly-designed outright. I just can’t wait until MT4.1 comes out — and the upgrade manages to destroy what I’ve finally managed to figure out…

While I wish I had been able to get the blog all set and ready to go before announcing the move, I really needed to start publishing to it in order to have something to work with. At this point though I think many of the major decisions have been worked out. I may still tweak the stylesheet, but I’ve decided I can generally live with this one without making too many changes. The biggest pending decision is whether the front page should have two columns or three. At the moment I only have enough content for two and the third column is blank, but I wasn’t happy with how it looked when I set it up to only have two columns, like the old site has. I was sort of surprised by this: my writing tends to be dense, so I thought that if it appeared in a more narrow column it would force too much scrolling. But on retrospect I think downward scrolling is better than forcing the eye to scan nearly all the way across the page. Even I found the amount of words I was forcing myself to read that way to be intimidating. Instead the smaller column makes my paragraphs look like much more manageable bites. So, now it will be a question of how to fill the third column. I have some ideas, but no time frame for trying them out, as I’m not sure when I feel like scheduling in the inevitable frustration pursuing them will inevitably cause….

As always, feedback is welcome, but I think at this point I’m pretty much good to go.

 Posted by at 10:17 am
Jan 212008

In launching this blog as I have I have committed the cardinal web development sin of releasing a live site before its construction is complete. For that I apologize and point an accusatory finger at SixApart, makers of the MovableType platform I’ve been using since 2003, for having released its 4.01 product before sufficient documentation was available to support it. Persuaded as I was by their hype of how wonderful it would be I had gone ahead and upgraded to it several months ago. Doing so was generally not a problem for my pre-existing blog as all the templates and styles I’d made for it when it ran on version 3.x still worked, but when it came to launching a new blog it made sense to use the new MT 4 templates and styles in order to be able to take advantage of all the snazzy new features SixApart was bragging about it having.

Unfortunately it was impossible to figure out how to in any sort of timely way. The 4.01 system is very different than the 3.x systems, and it’s pretty confounding. My choice then was either to continue to blog at the old site, which I felt I had outgrown, while I tried to figure out how to build the new one out over here, or go ahead and move to this new forum where I could write with my new voice — and then beg for the forgiveness of my readers for the inevitable UI changes I will inevitably inflict upon them as I figure things out. Obviously I opted for the latter avenue, and so I want to apologize in advance for the extensive changes that will likely take place over here over time.

The upside to this decision is that you all have a chance to weigh in with what you might want or not want to see in the new design. Let me know if there are any sites you particularly like or find usable, and I might be able to adopt some of those features if they’ll work for me. A few “improvements” over the last site are already in the works, like using the “extended entry” feature to break up long posts so that the front page won’t seem so dense. I’m also going to try out using the “tags” feature instead of relying so heavily on categories. The upside with tags is that its easier to assign multiple topic labels to each post, and it will be easier to draw them out of the database when wanting to see what I’ve written on any particular one of them.

Otherwise I suppose everything that you currently see could change. I do kind of like the blue color, so perhaps I’ll use it in the final palette, but I may switch back to two columns, or move things around, or add features or get rid of features, etc. Sorry, I know this is a very, very user-unfriendly thing to do to one’s website, but it’s the best I can do for right now. At least while I’m not playing around with HTML I should be able to focus on my writing, and isn’t that what’s really important? Besides, with the new site my RSS feed finally has carriage returns. Hooray for legibility! So, please, go ahead and subscribe!

(And let me know if anything seems to not be working. I’ll try to fix that stuff first.)

 Posted by at 10:53 pm
Jan 212008

Welcome to my second blog, “Statements of Interest.” My first was “The Great Change – Turning Cathy into a Lawyer,” and I imagine I may sometimes link back to items within it, but now that I am decidedly a lawyer it’s time to move on to a new forum where I can speak more clearly in my shiny new lawyerly voice.

Like the other blog, this will generally be a law blog, or “blawg,” if you like (or “jurnal” if you’re French…). My favorite thing about becoming a lawyer has been getting to reflect upon this thing known as “the law” — how it works, why it works, or even how and why it doesn’t. I enjoy contemplating these issues, and a blog is a great place to share what I come up with.
Particular areas of interest to me involve technology policy, which covers such matters as “cyberlaw,” copyright law, privacy law, and free speech. I care about civil liberties generally and will often focus on them even when they don’t directly implicate technology, but the reality is that in our digital age they have become increasingly inextricable.

Meanwhile there are other areas of the law that interest me too, and so it’s likely I’ll also cover such topics as tort law, contract law, international law, poverty law, or even the basic processes and impetuses behind the creation and enforcement of law generally. Yet I refuse to limit myself to only these serious, legal topics. There’s too much else out there in the world that’s interesting. Indeed, that’s why I have titled my blog as I have, as “Statements of Interest.” Science, religion, news, language, politics, pop culture, travel, me… If there’s something interesting to talk about, then it’s fair game for this blog.

No matter what I talk about, however, it will still always be said through the voice of a lawyer. I do not have any current wish to pursue a legal practice through my blog (please note the disclaimer: I am not your lawyer, nor am I here to dispense legal advice), but there’s nothing I can ever say or do that won’t be informed by the significant training and education I’ve incurred as part of my legal profession.

Non-lawyer readers should not fear that my being a lawyer will necessarily make me stodgy and dry. I may have stodgy and dry days, and for that I apologize in advance, but being a lawyer generally means that I’ll be able to think and write more clearly than I might have done before becoming a lawyer. Becoming a lawyer has made me come to require a certain precision from the world, but I think that’s generally a positive thing. Being able to sort through things that are muddled is important, because often that’s what needs to be done in order to start making things better.

On the other side of the coin, lawyer-readers shouldn’t fear for my ethos when I explore non-lawyerly topics. It’s still the same lawyerly brain, but it would be an extremely boring one indeed if it was all business, all the time. Everything valuable I have to offer as a lawyer is of value only to the extent that people — all people, even non-lawyers — want to receive it. And who wants to listen to someone boring? Rest assured, no matter how silly the subject I may tackle, the knowledge base and analytical reasoning of a lawyer will still always be on offer.

Just hopefully that of an interesting one.

 Posted by at 5:06 pm