Ming the Mechanic:
Tuesday, October 1, 2002

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Tuesday, October 1, 20022002-10-01 00:24
pictureby Flemming Funch

  • The open space of the NCN member area keeps being a puzzling creature, with a somewhat dysfunctional life. It is meant to be a meeting place, a grand central station, where assorted world changers might come by, share their stories, put up their business card on the wall, find some good people to work with, borrow a conference room, make grand plans, and go off and rock the world. A good deal of that has been going on over the years, but it also often happens that somebody will join, as if joining an organization or cause, with great hopes for what we will all accomplish together, and then will hang around talking with people in the lobby for a couple of months, waiting for things to happen, waiting for a common agenda to crystalize. And when they suddenly realize that no such thing is happening, and they're really just standing in the lobby talking with people -- they get angry, and they feel betrayed and cheated. People get into fights about what is supposed to happen in the lobby, and whether it really is a lobby, and who's in charge of the lobby anyway. And small groups of disgruntled travelers sometimes gather, with torches, looking for somebody who's fault it might be. And if it is anybody's fault, it is probably mine. I just haven't figured out yet what I'm doing wrong. People wouldn't stay upset for months if it were just a matter of bad software design - they would just go use something else. Maybe I put the wrong sign at the door. Maybe there should be a sign saying "No loitering in the lobby. Please go straight to your train or to the appropriate club lounge to meet with your group."

  • I'm reading in "Human Action" by Ludwig von Mises. I somehow ended up in the chapter on monopoly prices. The ideal presented is that, if there's a free market, everything sort of adjusts itself, and things get produced and exchanged at the most fair price. But there's the phenomenon of monopoly pricing which screws things up. It is when somebody has such a grasp on a certain market segment that they will profit more from limiting the supply of a certain good and fixing its price, than from producing and selling as many as they can produce, or as many as people want. It isn't just that there's only one supplier of an item, or that the supply is limited. It is when somebody artificially limits the market, in order to get himself the highest possible profit, rather than trying to serve the wishes of the consumers. I can think of many examples of that. Microsoft is an obvious example. The price of Windows doesn't change according to market conditions - it is kept high and distribution is kept limited to those who will pay it, in order to maximize profit. The music distribution business is another example. CDs cost so-and-so much, and if you don't want to pay that much, you can't have the music without 'stealing' it. Wouldn't income tax be another example? It is calculated to bring in what the government wants, regardless of how people value it. Well, Mises says there has to be a monopolized good which is withheld for it to be monopoly pricing, so I don't know. Anyway, he doesn't seem to have a whole lot against monopolies, other than those owned by governments.

  • Stepford Citizen Syndrome: Top 10 Signs Your Neighbor is Brainwashed. Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were both involved in the coverup around MK-ULTRA, one of CIA's Mind-Control experiments, feeding LSD to unsuspecting subjects. It sort of got off track when somebody jumped off a roof.

  • MIT has started an OpenCourseWare pilot. The aim is to put up the full curriculum and all materials for many different courses, for the common cause of shared learning.

  • Li Ching-Yuen died in 1928 in China. He was a Chi Kung master, an herbalist, and spent much of his life in the mountains. He founded Nine Dragon Baguazhang. It appears that he was born in 1678, which made him 250 years old at his death. A piece of advice from him: "Keep a quiet heart. Sit like a tortoise. Sleep like a dog. Dance like a Dragon. In this way you will attain long life."

  • I was just watching Amelie. Ah, what a delightful, quirky, life affirming film. Like it says about the plot: "Amelie, an innocent and naive girl in Paris, with her own sense of justice, decides to help those around her and along the way, discovers love."

    "I hate quotations" --Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • [< Back] [Ming the Mechanic]



    1 Oct 2002 @ 01:13 by jstarrs : A good first paragraph;, Ming, a very...
    ...clear picture of what can happen sometimes. I often question my own 'worthiness' here, given the ideas you have of the service that NCN offers and often don't think I really live up to the goal you've set.
    However, I'm wondering if you're excluding a 'natural' imperfection in your agenda. I mean, do you really expect everyone to be able to comply to the agenda you've set? I think incidences like this are inevitable, given our own human natures. We're (us you-mans) not really organized like a bee-hive and maybe you just have to admit that they'll always be a kind of unadaptable fringe or situation. I don't think you're doing anything 'wrong', I just think you're not admitting the unexpected, which is always upon us.
    Those who 'perturb' in a group, are always valuable in order to understand the group shadow and, IMHO, should be integrated as best as possible, without stopping at the mere thought that something's wrong. Just my 2 cents.  

    1 Oct 2002 @ 02:52 by jazzolog : NoShow
    Sometimes the guy one has the appointment with just doesn't appear~~~

    31 May 2002 @ 20:26 by ming : Action items
    OK, so Alana and I can work on the feedback/survey project. On the site redesign thing, hm, Scott really connects with it, so we might wait till he has time to lead it. The hard part is not so much finding a web design person. I have a kid here on the street who'd be very happy to do whatever I ask for. But we have to know what to ask for. "Highly intuitive navigation" is not something you can ask the average web designer for, and expect to actually get it. So, Scott, or me, or somebody else who feels plugged in need to play with it until they've got it right.

    1 Jun 2002 @ 18:36 by alana : You're magnetic Ming!
    Call the right ones in NOW! and they will show up. Each will come in perfect timing to do their part. Peace, Alana

    2 Jun 2002 @ 00:53 by scottj : I am up for this. What I can do is
    gradually work away at a rough design based on the core elements with the intuitive linking in place. This can sit on my webspace where it can be accessed for comments etc. Doing it this way would allow me to do some work when I am inspired and it's often possible to move forward quite quickly this way. I already of the members page done http://www.scottfoto.net/NCNxpt/untitled.html

    It looks like nothing at all but it would I think make the basic navigation a breeze for anyone. One of the key points is that all the essential navigation links occur within a 650 500 px frame making it compatible for people who use even the smaller screens. The page size would be well under 100kb maybe nearer 50kb which would mean it would download in a flash even on a 56kb connection.

    Note also that EVERY link on the members page would open in a new window enabling superfast navigation back to the members page by simply closing the current window with cmnd W.

    It sounds perfect that there is somebody into web design ready to do something. All they have to do is stick within the design parameters and site layout and let their fantasy roll........

    ---from the entry this Log: To Be Or Not To Be  

    1 Oct 2002 @ 03:06 by ming : NoShow?
    You mean Scott didn't show up for it? Yes, you're right. I don't particularly have a problem with that, though, as he seems to have more pressing things on his mind. And he doesn't sound like he wants the job at this point. And I'm now working with the young local web designer I mentioned on the site redesign.  

    1 Oct 2002 @ 03:19 by jstarrs : Round One - ding!!

    1 Oct 2002 @ 03:32 by shawa : Damn good first paragraph, Ming!...:-)
    Now - it´s much clearer - lol.
    I think Jeff´s got a point above (above the above). The unexpected might be very interesting!
    I don´t think you´re doing something "wrong" - I think that a website as ambitious as this is needs a TEAM, or a good team spirit, to pull it and make it really useful.
    Maybe that´s what we should look forward to: How, in Gaia´s name, is a "Team Net" formed (and maintained)?...(rethorical question)

    Ming, I like the new name :-)  

    1 Oct 2002 @ 03:39 by ming : The Unexpected
    Yeah, I agree that the interesting stuff is often the unexpected, the stuff that doesn't really fit in, or doesn't follow the rules. The imperfections are often the most fun.

    And, yes, it would be great if there were more of a team to work on this website. I really only started doing it myself because it wasn't quite coming together, and I was tired of asking for it. Better to act as an example and start doing it, I figured.  

    1 Oct 2002 @ 04:50 by istvan : Con-Fusion
    I like the practice of Nine Dragon Baguazhang, and joined the discussion group. Specially like their front statement:, it is simple “On this club we interact with Jiulong Baguazhang students & instructors around the world. You are free to share anything concerning the Jiulong Baguazhang system so long as it is respectful and polite. The Moderator will delete any members posting spam, / viruses, flaming, or making negative comments about other teachers or systems. Our mission statement is on the site, please read it.
    NEVER open any attachment.
    NEVER open an extension like .exe, .com, .bat, etc.”
    and practical:
    I also like the idea of Open Course Ware. I hope this practice gets popular and eventually expands to spiritual studies. The study of Spirituality belongs to the universities, while the practice of Spirituality belongs in everyday life as Religiousness.
    Yes NCN seems to be like train station, Where Trains of Thoughts are whizzing by without stopping long enough to board them. They have no signs of destination, so even if you board one you have no idea where you will end up. So the would be travelers get confused weather they might be at the wrong station forgetting where they are wanting to go?  

    1 Oct 2002 @ 07:56 by simpleman : IS IT THE STATION THAT'S FLAWED OR
    the travelers. What I mean is, we all claim to have open minds, but for some reason criticism turns into a personal attack, into an argument, into a fight, and so on, and so on. The station is not perfect, but then again what is perfect. For those of us who claim to have open minds, leave them open even when its our idea or thought being criticised. We don't have to agree with the criticism, and we don't have to fight about it.

    For what its worth, when we argue and fight we are also sharing pieces of our character, both good and bad pieces. Those bad pieces only end up being amunition for the good fighters on the train.

    In closing I'll just ask, do we want to get on trains of thought, or on an emotional roller coaster?  

    1 Oct 2002 @ 08:21 by jstarrs : "People get ready...
    ...there's a train coming, you don't need no baggage you just get on on."
    (sung gospel, like)  

    1 Oct 2002 @ 10:42 by quidnovi : Trying too hard
    You are trying too hard Ming...  

    1 Oct 2002 @ 10:42 by quidnovi : Not trying hard enough
    I don't think everyone realizes all that can be done with the WorkRooms. Have you considered putting together a WorkRoom 101 introduction somewhere that would address that issue?  

    1 Oct 2002 @ 11:38 by shawa : I agree, Francis!
    That´s exactly my experience; much more could be done - only people don´t really get it that it´s easy :-)  

    1 Oct 2002 @ 11:49 by invictus : Yeah...
    That's a good idea Francis. Really good... I am of many minds on the topic of workrooms. That is a really good idea, though. That could be a pet project for someone. Spread the word about workgroups, lord! (sung in gospel, just like Jeff's comment, except my choir has a tuba along side)  

    1 Oct 2002 @ 13:55 by ming : WorkGroups
    I think you're right. Much would be solved by increasing the awareness and/or the ease-of-use of the WorkGroups. One can do whatever one wants there. ... Hm, maybe we need just a slight adjustment in the positioning of things. Rather than NCN being a big room from which you optionally can go off and start a smaller conference room - rather it be a facility for making or visiting conference rooms, with the added facility, if desired, of sharing things with people in other rooms.  

    1 Oct 2002 @ 15:40 by bushman : Something
    that might help is instead of on the news logs, listing the total amount of comments, is cool to see, activity, but I would like the listing to include how many comments where posted that day, then it will be easyer to know which logs have gotten comments besides trying to remember what number it was at last time you where there. And when you comment to a comment, it only moves the newslog to the top, but the numbers of comments stay the same. I find it hard to know if the writer has made a comment to a comment, other than going in and looking for stuff added on after I posted a comment, and thats every log I've commented in , takes alot of time on a slow dial up the go through the top 10 logs to see if any of my comments where commented on. lol, hmm I hope what I typed above makes sence since it confused the heck out of me when I reread it, lol.  

    1 Oct 2002 @ 15:45 by ming : Comments
    Yes, it makes sense. And, yeah, I think there are better ways of showing you what is really new. With a little extra programming it might even indicate to you wherever there are comments you haven't seen. And, yes, how many are new for that day.

    I never anticipated that the newslog owners would leave comments as add-ons to other people's comments, so I guess that must be taken into consideration too.  

    Other stories in
    2012-05-03 00:04: An evolving path
    2012-01-02 13:52: 2011 Accomplishments and 2012 Aims
    2011-11-17 02:20: Your inner piece
    2011-02-01 00:05: Slow Mo Flow
    2011-01-22 18:40: Recognition
    2010-08-23 00:36: Where's Ming?
    2010-07-20 14:24: Getting other people to do stuff
    2010-06-22 00:27: Inventory
    2010-06-19 23:10: Conversations
    2009-10-28 12:31: Then a miracle occurs

    [< Back] [Ming the Mechanic] [PermaLink]? 

    Link to this article as: http://ming.tv/flemming2.php/__show_article/_a000010-000184.htm
    Main Page: ming.tv