Getting a Read on My Readers

People who have read Workbench for a while are probably wondering whether this has become a political weblog. My site has always emphasized what I'm working on at the moment, and I'm currently developing the LAMP web application that runs the Drudge Retort and serving as an unofficial geek advisor to the Alan Colmes Radio Show.

As a consequence, I've been eating, breathing, and sleeping politics for weeks. I may be taking it too far; I dreamed about Michelle Malkin last night, and all we did was argue about her supernatural ability to communicate with Casey Sheehan.

No vigorous spankings to correct her misguided political views. No suggestive remarks that referenced her desire to be subjected to internment. We played Hardball. A subconscious is wasted on the wrong people.

I have a big open source programming project that I'm hoping to release next week, which should bring technology back to this technology blog.

In the meantime, I'd like to offer free books to people who can answer a question for me: Why do you read Workbench? Technology? Politics? Jacksonville news? Raw sex appeal? International incidents involving domain name registration and the papacy?

I have extra copies of every one of my books except for Radio UserLand Kick Start. I'll give one to 10 people who take the time to comment on why you're here (as long as I can mail it to you for under $10). There are books on Java, Movable Type, FrontPage, and Windows XP. You can pick the book -- the best value, both in terms of retail price and metric tonnage, is the 840-page Sams Teach Yourself Java 2 in 21 Days, 4th Edition).

Any wiseguy who asks for a book written by someone else will receive a copy of Teach Yourself SunSoft Java WorkShop in 21 Days, a book that went out of date because of a Sun software upgrade about 10 minutes after it hit the shelves in 1996.


I began reading Workbench on a regular basis(I popped in infrequently and never felt the need to comment) as a result of "International incidents involving domain name registration and the papacy" and have stuck around because the political injections here and there are actually respectful.

Retort is no place for non leftists unless you plan to bring a possee at one time. The cacophany of liberalism drowns out any meaningful discourse. It is true I have not been that frequent a Retort reader since it went blog-style but I suspect that makes it worse.

I also dig the random "Prom Night Poker Parlance"-type entries as well as read the tech entries to have a modicum of cocktail party conversation with the IT and other related computer people in my life.

Last but not least, leftist though you may be, I respect the calm you bring to your ideology. Most liberals I know tend to foam at the mouth.

I started from either SpoFi or Winer's regular linkage but stayed because I like the tone of voice you write in. Plus, the occasional monkey flying in. I'm curious, though, why you mention having written a book on WinXP but then not listing it on your books page. Also, there's a still market in 2005 for a book called How to Use the Internet? Wow.

How to Use the Internet, 8th Edition is the Windows XP book I referenced. It covers the basics of Internet use on an XP computer for complete beginners.

I think I started reading around the transition, and haven't found a particular reason to unsubscribe since. (ross at

I discovered you were working on Radio Userland Kickstart. I'd been trying to document the ins and outs of Radio for some months at that point.

Then I stuck around because I'm fascinated by premature gray-haireds. Kidding. I stuck around because I like some politics, some tech, some pop culture, on the weblogs I read. Preferably with a snappy writing style.

If I win a book I would love the Moveable Type manual.



I started reading your sight because your mix of interests match mine. I've spent 25 years using technology in business and politics -- you seem to be doing the same.

I can't remember the source of my orginal link to you -- maybe it was Cantor or Winer. Nonetheless - you write well, reason well and entertain to boot (dry wit is always the best!).

Course, I'm still unsure as to how my comment defending Ron Martz stirred up his first wife ... but, that's life!



I started reading due to linkage from Winer during the Pope thing. Good job on that, I might add.

I stayed because I saw the writing on technology stuff, and your references to UNT. I am also a UNT alumni, and if I have my math right, you left just about the time I started, with maybe an overlap of a year or so. I received my degree in CSCI there.

I like your stuff on technology and programming. I am least interested in your political stuff, but still scan it. I follow your blog using Bloglines.

If I win, then the Java book would be great. If all out of Java books, then pass on me and move along to someone else. Thanks.

I found your site through a post on Sharkbitten ( about your papal domain registration. I started subscribing at that time and have found your technology posts very interesting. I'm currently learning Java in my all-to-spare spare time. :)

Oops... that should be "all-TOO-spare spare time." I really can spell... I swear! :)

I never have any idea what you are talking about when you get all geeky, but you sound intelligent, so I read Workbench to borrow the odd phrase, so I too, can sound programming-savvy. (That is what you do, right?)

For instance, I might say:

" 'With the impending release of Atom 1.0,' I decided to 'compare today's RSS 2.0 specification to the one in July'. It has indeed been 'sparked in no small part by the implicit endorsement of RSS 2.0 by Apple and Microsoft.' One can only imagine if we had 'done this before with RSS, weblogging, XML-RPC, and podcasting.' Also, I would like 'One of those hats.'"

I am a real hit at parties.

Thank you.

You're scary good at that, Draz. Try to work in a few references to object-oriented programming and the ternary operator. Chicks dig it.

Well, I already have one of your books, even though it took well over a year to get it (not that I don't highly appreciate it - it's just I can't miss the chance to take a stab at you). And I'm not jonesing for another. Just felt the urge to comment.

I'm sure you know I came here from your evil bastard child website, and that I have been sadly addicted for years. That, and the fact that seeing you on TV made me want to offer you hot steamy monkey love. I understand your wife won't allow it, but it was just a thought.

Still, I thought you should have sent Ptah something insulting like "How to use the Internet". Heh.


I am a chick. I am also catholic and have no interest in Hot Steamy Monkey Love, which, as you know, is a venial sin. If I have a chance, I would like the XP book please.

If this is survivor-Cadenhead, give DRAZ some immunity mojo. You can put it on my tab ;)

I think I should get one of your books for covering your ass that week on cruel while you were busy with real life and the kids. ;)

Remember me, Rogers? :D

Cruel brought me here. Your random posts on odd things from a road in Louisiana to reasoned politics keep me reading. I'm a programmer, but not in the realm of things bloggish or atomic, so that's generally not why I read. And as a fellow Floridian (but not Jacksonvillite), I like the semi-local flavor, too.

Keep it up!

The first time it was because I knew you when, but now it's because you're as liberal as they come without being insane, rabid or susceptible to conspiracy theory, you do your homework, and you know a lot of cool stuff that I don't. And because I'm hoping you'll post a picture from your time as a thong-clad hot dog vendor in Key West.

I read the site for its diversity. One day you are keeping your finger on the pulse of florida culture, the next day chatting with Dave Winer about RSS and the day after that getting all psyched about your new glasses. keep it up!

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. It's funny to see so many people compliment this weblog's lack of focus. I always figured that was a problem.

Send me an e-mail with your mailing address and choice of book, and I'll mail 'em out this Friday.

Also let me know if I should include an autographed photo, and whether you'd prefer the nude or semi-nude version.

I won't say anything about that, but the lack of focus is certainly part of the charm of Workbench.

What a motley crew of visitors this place has, there's a little bit of something for everybody.

I just haven't quite reconciled all this diversity to what I thought was your credo:

"All who sell vermicelli must belong to the guild of vermicellari."

I mean, it looks like you're dispensing a lot more than pasta.

What other guilds do you belong to?

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