Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Monday, December 30, 2002day link 

 A Little Server History
picture Something got me to start reminiscing about the history of the servers and websites I've been intimately involved with. Well, it is the end of the year, so I suppose it is appropriate.

I'm writing this in my weblog, which most people read at ming.tv, but which arises from the integrated NewsLog function of newciv.org - the New Civilization Network.

I had my first website in early 1994. It was served over ftp rather than http, because real web hosting was harder to come by. I called my website World Transformation, because that sounded like a good thing I'd be interested in, and I just listed some sub-interests and some links for each. Today it looks quite similar to back then, I'm embarrassed to say, which makes parts of it very outdated now. Later in that year I got an offer of free hosting on protree.com. At the time it turned out to be THE starting place for a bunch of alternative/metaphysical sites that later made it big, like Rene Mueller's SpiritWeb. Bob Garth who was running the server had just a 28.8 modem connection, but that worked perfectly fine in those days.

When NCN happened in early 1995, the thought was that there would be a bunch of decentralized servers, owned and operated by different people. Max Sandor started the first one, which he called "Server One". A 16MHz 386 running Slackware Linux. This too had an always on 28.8 modem for the net connection. Max took care of that for several years.

At some point I took that server over, and connected it to a new T1 connection in Venice, California, in the Global Solutions Center, later Synchronicity Networks office. Many more stories to tell about much of that. The hardware got replaced since then a few times. A total sequence of about 4 servers since 95 I think, although there have sometimes been several at the same time. Once, for several months, the servers lived in a plastic box on the parking lot by the beach in Venice, which was rather strange and risky. Somebody else had moved into the premises, but the T1 connection was still on, so we drilled a hole in the wall and led the cable out to that rubbermaid storage container, which was made for garden tools or something. Luckily nobody stole it. After that, the servers moved to Beverly Hills with the T1 line for another year or so, where I worked with Julie on the Oasis TV website and other things.

Nowadays there are luckily more options. I work out of my house and have a few servers here. The current main server is now located in Irvine, California, on a T1 line at the offices of one of my clients. NCN and my own sites are on it, as well as many other good non-profit sites such as Global Ideas Bank, International Society for the System Sciences, BagelHole, Spirit Rising, Richard Hawkins' Synergetic Geometry animations, Art of Living, Unity-and-Diversity Council, CyberSangha and probably many more I'm forgetting.
[ | 2002-12-30 22:39 | 24 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 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 >

 These boots are made for walking
"You keep lyin' when you oughta be truthin'
You keep losing when you oughta not bet
You keep samin' when you oughta be a'changin'
What's right is right but you ain't been right yet

These boots are made for walking
And that's just what they'll do
One of these days
These boots are gonna walk all over you ..."

--Nancy Sinatra

[ | 2002-12-30 23:59 | 14 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 How an anarcho-capitalist became a libertarian socialist
In this article a guy named Chris Wilson describes in detail his experiences and his thought process while he is re-evaluating what kind of libertarian he is. Some excellent analysis there of some of the integral principles of capitalism.
"My experience in the work world forced me to seriously reconsider my advocacy of capitalism in any form. As I was still very committed to libertarian principles, I began to study the "socialist anarchists". (I put "socialist anarchist" in quotes, as I now consider such a term to be a redundancy -- anarchists are necessarily socialists.) I forced myself to consider the fundamental disagreement that separates Bakunin, Kropotkin, and Malatesta from Rand, von Mises, and Friedman. My answer to myself: The advocates of capitalism believe that one can sign away or sell off one's liberty, whereas anarchists do not. As a right-wing libertarian capitalist, I was of the opinion that one could enter into a morally binding agreement in which one sacrifices one's liberty in exchange for a wage. My position was that a worker would be committing fraud against the employer if he attempted to retain rights to the full product of his labor. My argument was that if an employer has a "legitimate" prior claim upon the capital being used, then he has the right to dictate its terms of use. The laborer doesn't have the right to anything more than what the capitalist agrees to give, just as the capitalist doesn't have the right to take anything more than what the laborer agrees to give. (Of course, I didn't realize in my early "anarcho-capitalist" days that capitalists almost always demand more than what the worker initially agrees to give.)

My current position is that one cannot be ethically bound by agreements that restrict one's liberty to be self-governing. It has always been my view that one cannot be bound by an agreement to be a slave. Although one can enter into a contract that mandates one to serve as a slave, one should be considered free to cease honoring that contract at any time."
What I find particularly important there is the part about whether one can sign away one's freedoms or not. So much in our current capitalist society is based on the principle of tricking people into situations they wouldn't freely choose, if they were fully informed. I agree with the writer. It isn't acceptable that one can trick people out of their liberty just by making the small print small and convoluted enough.
[ | 2002-12-30 23:59 | 3 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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