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An old rigid civilization is reluctantly dying. Something new, open, free and exciting is waking up.


Monday, January 13, 2003day link 

 Information sharing is more secure
eWeek reports how Harvard researchers have found that companies that share sensitive data about network attacks and security breaches are less attractive targets, and more likely to have protected themselves. They also think the change towards information sharing will be driven by insurance companies, who will offer lower premiums for companies that share.
[ | 2003-01-13 15:07 | 1 comment | PermaLink ]  More >

 Lyrics Browsing
picture How come there isn't a database that links song lyrics up with music files? I can guess that there's probably some stupid legal reason why not. But it would be quite handy if, when I play an MP3 or other music file on my computer, or anywhere else, if the lyrics were just a click away. Sure, most song lyrics are somewhere on the net, but I'd like it to be an integrated function. Instant Karaoke. I usually don't pay much attention to lyrics, because I can't hear most of what people sing.

When I was a teenager, sitting reading sci-fi comic books with one of my best friends, we were listening a lot to The Who's "Armenia City in the Sky" and the rest of the album "The Who Sell Out (Heinz Baked Beans)", all of which had great meaning to us at the time, evoking intriguing futuristic dream worlds, and I would have the chorus part stuck in my mind for years. Now, looking at the lyrics, and seeing what the words actually are, it makes absolutely no sense to me. And doesn't even sound the same. And we weren't even on drugs or anything. But even shared perception can be a quite subjective thing.
[ | 2003-01-13 05:02 | 17 comments | PermaLink ]  More >


Sunday, January 12, 2003day link 

 Who's the biggest threat to world peace
TimeEurope has a poll that asks readers which country poses the biggest danger to world peace in 2003 - North Korea, Iraq or The United States. That is not a hard question, and the voters are pretty clear on what they think. After I and 73,000 other people voted, the standing was 10.4% for North Korea, 16.6% for Iraq, and 73% for The United States. For most Americans, that's probably a shocking result, or it gets dismissed as bogus, but that is probably because of the scarcity of balanced world news within the United States.
[ | 2003-01-12 23:14 | 19 comments | PermaLink ]  More >


Friday, January 3, 2003day link 

 Blogging events
I haven't yet succeeded in making it to one of the blog meetup events in L.A., but hopefully next time. And here's another upcoming blogger event I'm planning to attend, from Reverse CowGirl:
"right now, i'm thinking a lot about blogs. blogs, blogs, blogs. blogs all the time around here. currently, i'm co-producing, with technophile Beverly Tang, a panel on blogging that will take place on February 1st at Miltos Manetas' Electronic Orphanage under the Rhizome banner. cyberfille Xeni Jardin will be moderating. the current line-up thus far features the likes of Mark Frauenfelder, Doc Searls, and myself. two other panelists are still being virtually hunted down like e-dogs in the cyberstreet at this time.

i would like to find someone who is alternoblogging. vlogging. audioblogging. moblogging. blogging-as-art. photoblogging with no words whatsoever ever. blogging in a newish way that pushes at the boundaries of the medium. and, they have to be in LA on 2/1. do you know of anyone? it was nice to hear from Jeff Jarvis, Howard Rheingold, and Joi Ito. but, i would like to hear about an alternoblogger too."
Well, I wish I were an alternoblogger, broadcasting my experiences in 3D feel-o-rama wireless reality, at least some of the time.
[ | 2003-01-03 04:16 | 12 comments | PermaLink ]  More >


Wednesday, January 1, 2003day link 

 Samuel Pepys Weblog
Very strange. Samuel Pepys, the renowened 17th century British diarist, now has a weblog. That is, Phil Gyford has imported Pepys' diaries into a Movable Type weblog format. And, not enough with that, now he is arranging it so that, from today, one entry is being posted each day, corresponding to the same date in the year 1660. And the weblog is even syndicated with RSS. It feels strange to read it, across all that time, as if it is happening today.
[ | 2003-01-01 23:58 | 14 comments | PermaLink ]  More >


Monday, December 30, 2002day link 

 Mother's Milk vs Nestle Corporation
picture Baby Milk Action is a non-profit organisation which aims to save lives and to end the avoidable suffering caused by inappropriate infant feeding. Baby Milk Action works within a global network to strengthen independent, transparent and effective controls on the marketing of the baby feeding industry.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 1.5 million infants die around the world every year because they are not breastfed. Where water is unsafe a bottle-fed child is up to 25 times more likely to die as a result of diarrhoea than a breastfed child.
A marketing code was introduced in 1981 to regulate the marketing of breastmilk substitutes. Companies continue to violate it. Nestle is one of the biggest violators, aggressively marketing breastmilk substitutes in developing countries. See Nestle Boycott Campaign. Nestle distributes information in developing countries that promote artificial infant feeding and discourages breastfeeding. Nestle distributes free samples that last just long enough for the babies to be weaned off their mother's milk, after which they'll have to pay for Nestle's products, and, as mentioned above, if the water isn't safe, they're many times more likely to die. The company has a lot of blood on its hands by now.
[ | 2002-12-30 23:27 | 12 comments | PermaLink ]  More >


Saturday, December 28, 2002day link 

 Blogging from Baghdad
picture This fellow is apparently writing his weblog from Iraq. He doesn't quite seem to be a native, but it is nevertheless a good look into how it is to be there.
"You learn to deal with the scheduled blackouts, you know when they are and for how many hours. But the last couple of days have been really bad. Very erratic, they turn it on and off whenever they like. We just freeze and thaw then freeze again. It has been very cold for the season and it is expected to get colder. The prices of kerosene heaters have gone thru the roof. There is a local factory, state owned, which manufactures these heaters, 130,000 Iraqi Dinars a pop. But buying one requires approval from the general manager. Don't ask. I can't figure why. It wouldn't be called bureaucracy otherwise.
Now take your newly acquired heater and stand in front of the company's building, someone will offer you 200,000 Iraqi Dinars for it within a minute. Look for it in the shops you will find it for 260,000 ID. That's free market economy isn't it? I decided it was cheaper to bring down an extra blanket."
When NATO was bombing Beograd I was chatting with a Serbian friend there online, while it was happening and sirens were going off, etc. That really gives a different perspective on things. You can't just generalize a population into some abstract symbol of an enemy when you can actually talk with them and we're friends. I hope some more people in Iraq can be online.
[ | 2002-12-28 15:58 | 3 comments | PermaLink ]  More >


Tuesday, December 10, 2002day link 

 Search Google before you commit suicide
From Cory Doctorow: More from Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, speaking at Supernova:
"People who are thinking about committing suicide search Google for 'suicide.' Depending on what they find, they may or may not kill themselves. There are businesses that depend on the kind of results that searchers get from Google, but that's very secondary compared to searches like 'suicide.'"
What they would get is this. Which is good. But is that because these were automatically selected as the most authoritative references on suicide, or did Google cheat a little and manually select these as the best to show? What would happen if the top page happened to be a collection of grisly pictures of people who killed themselves in spectacular ways?
[ | 2002-12-10 16:47 | 21 comments | PermaLink ]  More >


Monday, December 9, 2002day link 

 Supernova Conference
picture A conference on our decentralized future is going on in Palo Alto right now. I would have liked to be there, but the price was outrageous - $1000 per day. Anyway, all the big names and visionary techies in weblogs and online collaboration are there as speakers and panelists. And that makes it rather interesting to follow, as all those guys are sitting with their WiFi connected laptops and updating their weblogs in close to real time. You can see an automatically updated list of them here, thanks to trackback technology that keeps track of who links to what. Doc Searls is saying many good things. I'm not sure what it adds up to, other than that there's obviously a lot of energy in the air, and decentralization and peer-to-peer and collaboration and anything wireless is good.
[ | 2002-12-09 22:16 | 11 comments | PermaLink ]  More >


Saturday, December 7, 2002day link 

 Information and Experience
picture One thing John Perry Barlow pointed out is that people today often are unable to differentiate between information and experience. For example, the murder rate has been plummeting all over the U.S. for the past 20 years or so, and it is statistically very, very unlikely that you will be murdered. But the news media is reporting as if it is an all-pervasive problem. And a great many people will act as though it is, walking around every day being afraid of being murdered, despite that they live in a peaceful neighborhood, mowing the lawn and going to the store like everybody else, and nothing violent ever happens there. Their experience is totally different from the information given, but yet they believe the information, because it is delivered with a certain intensity.

Same thing with war in Iraq. Most Americans are in no possible way actually endangered by whatever weapons Saddan Hussein controls half-way around the planet. But the news tells them that it is a very real and imminent danger. So they go around being concerned about it, trying to think of solutions, as if it were really a part of their lives. The information is taken for real, even though their experience doesn't back it up in any way.

People forget to validate the information. I'm not just talking about validating and verifying the sources of the information, in terms of being good information sources. But simply that you check with your own life whether it fits with your experience. Does it match what I'm seing in front of me in my life? Not what I'm seeing on other channels, not what I hear people talking about, but what I'm actually seeing, hearing, feeling as actual events in the real world in front of me.

In all my life, I can only think of one person that I met, superficially, who later on got murdered. In that case by a family member. That's a very, very low percentage based on all the people I've met. It doesn't match up with the information the TV news gives me, that it is one of the biggest problems in my world.

Another side of the issue is that for many people, the information in the media might be preferable to the real thing. My 16 year old son is quite inclined to express that he finds it pointless to go to some event that he can watch on TV. Why go to the circus or to the Grand Canyon, if a TV show can get all the best shots, and edit it into a snappy format that never is boring, and where you don't have to drive for hours and stand in line. Is information better than experience? I think not, but many kids in the video game generation might have a different idea about it.
[ | 2002-12-07 16:50 | 20 comments | PermaLink ]  More >


Wednesday, December 4, 2002day link 

 Advice for new webloggers
Several of my good friends are trying to get around to starting their weblog, but have a hard time finding the time and courage to get going. Here is some good advice from Ross Mayfield from the Ryze Blog & Bloggers tribe:
"They say you play soccer the way you are. I think blogging is similar to this self-organizing sport. You blog the way you are.

When confronted with the chronological format of a blog, the pressure to post is at first extreme. How do I start? What if I don't keep it up? Does this go on my permanent record? But the reality is there is no shame in an empty calendar. Post daily, weekly, monthly or occassionally. You blog when you can.

The question that is most personal is what to blog. As one blogger said, "Find a topic and own it." Finding focus is a sure time saver, but it also contributes to the medium, as its one of specialized voices. The more you post on your domain the better. You blog what you are.

The other part, indeed what this tribe is about, is community. When you have others reading, others you know, their feedback and their own posts spark your own. You don't blog alone.

Make a little plan on how you will start, just begin and you will find your rhythm."
I guess what mostly can be intimidating is if one feels the pressure to produce posts very regularly, like every day, or one feels a pressure to share parts of oneself that one maybe isn't ready for. And, as he says, you can really post whenever it fits your rhythm. And you can post whatever makes sense for you. It doesn't have to be super-smart or super-personal or anything. And in the NewsLogs in NCN it should be even more gentle for you than in most other places, as you don't have to reveal it for the whole world right away, and you have a supportive community around you.
[ | 2002-12-04 16:38 | 7 comments | PermaLink ]  More >


Saturday, November 30, 2002day link 

 Metalogue
What's a metalogue? I don't think it is in the dictionary. But a prologue is something one says in the beginning, to introduce something. An epilogue is something one says after the main action, as a sort of conclusion. A monologue is a prolonged presentation of some kind, spoken by one person. A dialogue is an exchange of ideas between two or more people. I suppose a metalogue would be talking ABOUT things that are happening, from a somewhat elevated perspective. Actually I think most weblogs I read are metalogues. They try to connect up some dots, try to discover clues in information and events, and try to connect that up with something bigger or deeper. Where are we going? What does it mean?
[ | 2002-11-30 01:01 | 20 comments | PermaLink ]  More >


Friday, November 29, 2002day link 

 Technorati
technorati.com is the best site I've seen sofar for showing who links to who's weblogs. Well, mainly I'm interested in who links to what on MY log, mostly to see which stories worked well, and to discover new friends who are exploring similar topics. The other sites that attempt to show connections between weblogs have sofar not shown me much more than I already knew, but in my technorati listing I right away get to know some new people. And it is great that in this world, plagiarism is flattery. And a way of voting. I copy somebody else's story, and somebody else copies my copy, and that shows that all of us found it important and interesting.
[ | 2002-11-29 23:59 | 3 comments | PermaLink ]  More >


Wednesday, November 27, 2002day link 

 A nest of piracy - aka a LIBRARY
Jon Udell says: "I was shocked to discover a nest of pirates yesterday, operating brazenly right here in my hometown. They were gathered in a large nondescript building, reading and talking quietly and in some cases listening to music. Some kind of social club, perhaps? Yes, but with a profoundly subversive theme: "sharing" content. This establishment houses large collections of books, magazines, audiotapes, videotapes, CDs, DVDs. And it "shares" these with its patrons. I watched in amazement as people left the building carrying armloads of these content assets, which they "borrow" without paying a nickel to the copyright holders. It's frightening, really. Who knew?"
[ | 2002-11-27 22:29 | 6 comments | PermaLink ]  More >


Monday, November 25, 2002day link 

 Your mail may not go through
An informal test shows that 11.7% of legitimate e-mail isn't going through, because of over-eager spam filters. I can attest to that. There's around a hundred mailing lists on my server, and one of the things I do for a living is to write programs that manage newsletter mailing lists. As a server administrator it is a continuous battle against being blacklisted or filtered out for lots of invalid reasons. Spam filters will often act very inconsistently, and stop a certain newsletter going to some people, but not to others.
[ | 2002-11-25 15:30 | 3 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Creative Commons
picture picture picture picture Creative Commons is an effort to facilitate the reuse of creative work, specifically by providing more flexible licenses that people can attach to their writings. Instead of having a blanket "Copyright (c) All Rights Reserved" message, which essentially means: "Don't do nothing with my stuff, unless I specifically tell you to", the authors can choose a license that specifies in advance what they're willing to share, and how. Many people will happily let their stuff be shared, if they're just acknowledged for it, or if it is for non-commercial use, or some other simple requirement. If these kinds of uniform licenses are used, it becomes MUCH easier to create shared resources on the Internet, in that you can do it automatically, rather than having to negotiate with every single copyright holder.
[ | 2002-11-25 15:15 | 9 comments | PermaLink ]  More >


Sunday, November 24, 2002day link 

 From Weblog to Moblog
Justin Hall has an excellent article about what might happen when weblogs go mobile. Potentially we might bring more of our lives into the story. Just about all cellphones can do text messages now, and the new generation have built-in cameras and can send and receive multi-media messages.
A weblog is a record of travels on the Web, so a mobile phone log ('moblog'?) should be a record of travels in the world. Weblogs reflect our lives at our desks, on our computers, referencing mostly other flat pages, links between blocks of text. But mobile blogs should be far richer, fueled by multimedia, more intimate data and far-flung friends. As we chatter and text away, our phones could record and share the parts we choose: a walking, talking, texting, seeing record of our time around town, corrected and augmented by other mobloggers.

[ | 2002-11-24 23:18 | 13 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Covert Iraq oil business
Excellent article with many references, by Larry Chin, Online Journal. The U.S. imported 290 million barrels of crude oil from Iraq in 2001, at below market rates, because of U.N. sanctions. The US was "the main market for Iraqi crude" according to the Middle East Economic Survey. It seems a lot like the threatened war is simply an attempt to eliminate Russia, France and China from the competition from the oil there, and to put the U.S. oil companies in complete control of the resources.
[ | 2002-11-24 15:53 | 11 comments | PermaLink ]  More >


Friday, November 22, 2002day link 

 Corporate interests try to kill public domain
Washington Post: Free Web Research Link Closed Under Pressure From Pay Sites. The Energy Department has shut down a popular Internet site that catalogued government and academic science research, in response to corporate complaints that it competed with similar commercial services.. Dan Gillmor says, and I agree, "The correct word for what has happened here is 'theft' -- because the government has allowed private interests to steal from the public domain. The claim that this was done to save money -- a paltry $200,000 a year -- doesn't even begin to pass the smell test. This was an arrangement on behalf of corporate interests, and an absolute thumb in the eye to the public. It's as if the book publishers persuaded communities to shutter public libraries..."
[ | 2002-11-22 04:48 | 2 comments | PermaLink ]  More >


Wednesday, November 20, 2002day link 

 10% of the world online
Numbers from the U.N. predict that 10% of the world will be on the Internet this year. Growth is fastest in Asia and Africa.
[ | 2002-11-20 23:59 | 1 comment | PermaLink ]  More >



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