Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Wednesday, February 12, 2003day link 

 My E-Mail Wish List
picture My e-mail program is a constant element of annoyance in my life, because it doesn't do the things I'd need it to do, and I get way too much mail for it to work right. It is Eudora 5.2, which is a fine e-mail program as it goes, but I need a whole other level of functionality. These are things I need:

- I need to keep track of my correspondence with different people. It should be easy to immediately see all prior incoming and outgoing messages in chronological order between me and a certain other person.
- I shouldn't have to create special mailboxes and filters to do that.
- Some people have several e-mail addresses, and I might have several e-mail addresses. I still want to be able to see my conversations with one person in one place, no matter what address we used, and no matter how we spelled our name that day.
- When I get a message, my e-mail program should know whether this is somebody I know or not. Certainly it should know right away whether it is somebody I've ever exchanged e-mails with, and it should tell me somehow.
- It should preferably also know if it is a known member of some group I'm in. There are 7000 people in the NCN directory. I'd like my e-mail program to recognize one of those people if they write to me, even if we didn't exchange e-mail before.
- I'd like my e-mail program to have a reasonable assurance that an e-mail really is from the person it says it is. The SMTP protocol allows anybody to enter whatever they like as sender, so I need some kind of ID mechanism built in here.
- I need SPAM recognition that I can train, like Apple's Mail program. I don't want centralized anti-SPAM blacklists, because they work badly and block things that shouldn't be blocked.
- Any message that isn't from somebody I probably know, and that doesn't have proper digital ID, should go into a totally different place than messages that are from real people.
- I need to be able to put a given message into any number of folders at the same time, without creating several copies. I need more dimensions. I want to always remember that a certain message was sent or received, so in principle it shouldn't actually leave my outbox or inbox, but at the same time I might want to file it under several different subjects, and give it various flags, and find it according to any of those keys.
- I want statistics. How many messages do I get per day, how many did I answer, how many did I send, etc.

None of those things are overly hard. Hardest part is probably the digital ID. The rest I could probably program myself, if I had a few weeks with nothing else to do, which isn't very likely. I need similar things for my Instant Messager programs. Actually I want continuity in my conversations across several different applications and platforms. Has anybody solved these things well in a program I don't know about?
[ | 2003-02-12 18:01 | 0 comments | PermaLink ]

 The Blogs of Revolution
picture Peter Kaminski on Greater Democracy:
"Do you think government could be run better?

Then how could you not blog right now?

Blogs are a combination of Revolutionary musket, Martin Luther's theses, Poor Richard's Almanack, and Paul Revere's ride.

How could you not seize a musket when offered, or hold the nail and mallet and pound your broadside onto the Wittenberg church door?

How could you not turn the crank on Ben Franklin's printing press, or swing up onto Paul Revere's horse?

Blog. Blog to your family, and blog in the communities where you hold thought leadership. Tell the world it must change, and how you think it should.

The tools of change are at hand today -- they're simple, and Revolutionary, right now. I happen to be a toolsmith, and I'm working with everything I've got to make them more powerful and more widespread, as are many others. But the time to start is now.

Blog. Blog now. Tell the world it must change, and how you think it should."

[ | 2003-02-12 21:04 | 1 comment | PermaLink ]  More >

 The Age of Connection
picture Mitch Ratcliffe:
"Individuals need to rise up and sieze the power they have always had and been urged to forget. Beyond voting, we need to organize and actively debate everything, from the sidewalks in our home towns to the bills before Congress and the ad hoc rulings from the executive branch. We need a parallel government that forces the attention of politicians back to the people and away from the monied interests.

Why would this work? Because politicians go where the power is and money is merely a proxy for power and time (because you can buy people's time or their attention through broadcast media). An active populace, a Jacksonian revival, with a thousand Lincolns spinning homely leadership, and a thousand Dr. Kings igniting our indignation toward arbitrary exercises of power by something called "the majority" would erase the proxy power of lobbyists and career representatives of big contributors and drive the return of an American dialog.

We should use the connections to establish parallel governments at every level, until the governments adopt the dialog by default, which they will do, because American government is still by people and for people at its roots. There are good people in government, and a lot of snails and weasels, too. Give the dedicated civil servant and the earnest legislator a constituency and they can change things in weeks, even days. Decisions can and will be made based on the will of the people through informed and open debate."

[ | 2003-02-12 21:13 | 0 comments | PermaLink ]

 Old Europe - or old America
picture Nice article by Graham E. Fuller.
"Think about it. France and Germany have put five centuries of wars behind them, including two devastating world wars, to form a new union with shared currency and desires to forge a broad common foreign policy. Such a step is revolutionary among ancient nation-state rivals with different cultures.

But it doesn't stop there. The European Union is a remarkable experiment - the first time in history when states have been willing to give up real hunks of their own national sovereignty in order to join a new civilizational project. Turks, Bulgarians and Latvians are begging to pay the considerable admission fee to be let in.

The reigning premises of the Union are that states must be truly democratic, they must protect human rights and civil liberties, and that war among its members should be an unthinkable option. These states see themselves as a gradually expanding community, acquiring ever new members and geographical spread - but only after they meet strict criteria. They aspire to form a new force in the world - and are well on the way. This is the first time we have witnessed the emergence of an "empire" built on consensus and common desire rather than power and conquest - hardly the stuff of the "Old Europe."

It is America that represents the "Old World." This is not a pejorative aspersion. The United States now sees itself as the benign hegemon - or policeman - of the world, undercutting any and all efforts by potential rivals, friendly or not, to cast a shadow over overwhelming U.S. power."
Good points. Europe is moving towards more consensus, collaboration, democracy, human rights and civil liberties. The United States is currently moving towards domination through force and intimidation, and the opposite of democracy, etc.
[ | 2003-02-12 23:59 | 1 comment | PermaLink ]  More >

 Monsanto Meltdown
picture The possibly most despised corporation in the world is finally hitting on some hard times.
"Despite heavy advertising and PR greenwash, despite a cozy relationship with the White House, Monsanto's image, profits, and credibility have plunged. Its aggressive bullying on Frankenfoods, its patents on the Terminator gene, its attempt to buy out seed companies and monopolize seed stocks, and its persecution of hundreds of North American farmers for the "crime" of seed-saving, has made Monsanto one of the most hated corporations on Earth.

Monsanto will likely soon be broken up, with its parts sold off to the highest bidder. The New York Times reported 1/14/03, that 'With its stock price low, Monsanto is considered a takeover target. by investment banks. and could be bought and sold off in pieces.'"
Hopefully in very small pieces. I think that is good news for the environment.
[ | 2003-02-12 23:59 | 4 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Emergent democracy happening.
Seb Paquet:
"Took part in a thought-provoking phone conference this evening with Joi Ito, Clay Shirky, Ross Mayfield, Peter Kaminski, Liz Lawley, and Gen Kanai. We talked about emergence in weblogs (is there any? how do we see it?) and its possible impact on democratic processes (could it happen? how?). We plan to follow up on this, with other phone conferences (ask Joi if you want to join us) and complements such as the Emergent Democracy channel."
Hey, don't leave me out, I'll be there.
[ | 2003-02-12 23:59 | 0 comments | PermaLink ]

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