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Hello there. Ftrain is on a hiatus. People have written to tell me that I am on hiatus because I am upset that George W. Bush is the president, or because I hate the Internet, or because I am sick and dying. They are wrong. Ftrain is on hiatus for many reasons, all of them good. First, it is on hiatus because I am writing a book. This is a book that you will be able to purchase later this year in bookstores, from online booksellers, and anywhere else books are sold. It is a book about young people doing goofy things.

I will tell you about it when it is printed and in stores. My deadline is February 8, but it will not be out until some time after that. When the time comes for it to enter the stores, Ftrain will become one huge advertisement for the book.

I am also starting a full-time job in February, rather than sitting around the house in my socks. & I'm getting well underway with coding a real, grown-up version of the framework under this site, which I must do in order for the new job. Thus, I'll give away more code for building weird semantic webbish sites soon, under an open-source license, if anyone wants it. For real this time. I swear. I really want to. I won't screw it up. It will be a combination of Apache2 mod_rewrite rules, PHP5, XSLT, MySQL, and the Sesame RDF engine, and you'll need to understand all five technologies to use it. It won't have a content management interface aside from weird XML files, and it won't work at all when you start it up. You'll love that.

If you're curious, you can hear me on NPR from time to time, or read the Weekly Review from Harper's Magazine, which I write every now and then, or check out XML.com, where I'm slowly working on a series on the Semantic Web in government (which will resume in March).

Thank you for reading. You're great readers, and you've made it possible for me to become an okay writer and get a book deal, and a good job as an editor. Many of you have even given me money. I owe you all a drink. I'll start thrashing away here in February, then get back on the web content wagon for March.




Ftrain.com is the website of Paul Ford and his pseudonyms. It is showing its age. I'm rewriting the code but it's taking some time.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at ford@ftrain.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.


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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


@20, by Paul Ford. Not any kind of eulogy, thanks. And no header image, either. (October 15)

Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose. As a hobby I write. (January 14)

Rotary Dial. (August 21)

10 Timeframes. (June 20)

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out. (April 10)

Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley. (April 7)

Welcome to the Company. (September 21)

“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”. Forgot to tell you about this. (July 20)

“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. An essay for TheMorningNews.org. (July 11)

Woods+. People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately. (July 10)

Reading Tonight. Reading! (May 25)

Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford. (May 18)

Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford. (May 17)

Nanolaw with Daughter. Why privacy mattered. (May 16)

0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford. It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So: Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...) (May 13)

That Shaggy Feeling. Soon, orphans. (May 12)

Antilunchism, by Paul Ford. Snack trams. (May 11)

Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford. I'll have no one to blame but future me. (May 10)

Time's Inverted Index, by Paul Ford. (1) When robots write history we can get in trouble with our past selves. (2) Search-generated, "false" chrestomathies and the historical fallacy. (May 9)

Bantha Tracks. (May 5)

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