Prague Dog Eat Blog

Changes at expats.cz; tips on getting a zivnostensky list

Jan 25, 12:38 (Filed under: Web watch, Other )

Expats.cz got a very nice facelift. My only complaint is that all the html is exposed in the signatures. Other than that, Martin Howlings – the hardest-working man in the .cz business – has given his baby a wicked upgrade.

While going through old threads that I’ve been a part of (a great new feature – makes finding a member’s posting history dead simple), I came across one that should be of use to anybody who is thinking about getting their Czech business license – that is, a “zivnostensky list” (never ever EVER call it a “zivno” around Czechs, it seems to give them a rash). My contribution is lengthy and somewhat dated as things are different for us Canucks now that the Czech Republic is an EU country, but it is supplemented very nicely by several helpful posters (plus one wee troll).

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The need for change at Wikipedia; Prague message boards

Jan 16, 13:33 (Filed under: Web watch )

If you’ve ever used Wikipedia, you’ll probably find this article by Larry Sanger, the site’s co-founder, quite interesting. The articles that provoked him to write the piece are also pretty good reads. However the first one, written by Robert McHenry, is surprisingly bitchy coming from the former Editor-in-Chief of Encyclopedia Britannica. I wouldn’t expect someone so obviously learned to use a public restroom as an analogy to Wikipedia.

Even if you’ve never been to the site, you may be interested in what Sanger has to say about the havoc that trolls and their kind have been wreaking on the Wikipedia message boards:

There is a certain mindset associated with unmoderated Usenet groups and mailing lists that infects the collectively-managed Wikipedia project: if you react strongly to trolling, that reflects poorly on you, not (necessarily) on the troll. If you attempt to take trolls to task or demand that something be done about constant disruption by trollish behavior, the other listmembers will cry “censorship,” attack you, and even come to the defense of the troll. This drama has played out thousands of times over the years on unmoderated Internet groups, and since about the fall of 2001 on the unmoderated Wikipedia.

I spend a fair amount of time reading threads at Prague’s two major expat community boards, expats.cz and prague.tv. Most consist of healthy debate or are fairly informative, or at least entertaining (though not to the point where I’m ROTFLMAO – I’m just not skilled enough to type when I’m rolling on the floor laughing my ass off. LOL is more than sufficient when something makes you laugh out loud, IMO.)

Then there are threads that have a sense of Jerry Springer about them, thriving on anger, sensationalism and flat-out stupidity. Fortunately they are in the minority, and expats.cz and prague.tv, have taken measures to minimise, if not eliminate, aggressive behaviour.

I’ve been involved in a few flame wars myself, just like anybody else who has opinions and lots of time to spend as part of an online community. While I will always have opinions, I sure as hell don’t have time to spend bickering with pathetic losers who spend the greater part of their days winding people up, scaremongering, and just being plain nasty online. And I’ve certainly devoted more than enough time to talking about them here.

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The Onion celebrates Martin Luther King Day; Czech Hip-Hop

Jan 15, 07:00 (Filed under: Web watch, Culture )

The January 12 edition of The Onion is a theme-based issue devoted to black-white relations in America. Not exceptionally hilarious, but a lot of thought-provoking articles. The highlight of this issue, for me anyway, is an excellent interview with famed hip-hop producer Rick Rubin – a man who helped make the genre the phenomenon it is today. A classic example of ‘can’t judge a book by its cover’ – Rubin looks more Skynyrd than Snoop. But he’s responsible for introducing LL Cool J, Public Enemy and countless other hip-hop legends and stars to the world.

Speaking of hip-hop, a producer friend of mine, Richard James, once told me that he can’t get into Czech rapping because the rhymes don’t flow as sweetly as they do in English or French. While I’ve heard some pretty impressive work by the country’s top hip-hop artists – most notably Peneri Strycka Homboye and Indy & Wich – I have to agree with him.

However, the main problem I have with Czech hip-hop isn’t with the lyrical content or flow. There’s an urgency, playfulness and passion that Czech rappers can’t seem to convey as well as their English (especially American) and French counterparts can. The latest PSH single, Praha, for instance, does not move me at all – though that’s mainly due to the fact that the song doesn’t have a hook.

For a second opinion, check out this amusing, though dated, review of Indy & Wich’s MY3 (at the bottom of the page).

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