Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Monday, May 26, 2003day link 

Mitch Ratcliffe mentions the new correspondences.org that he's one of the originators of. From the mission statement:
No one can tell a story better than the people who participated in events. Whether you witnessed a crime, suffered a catastrophe or sat through a performance, you've got something to say about that experience. That's the essence of journalism. Our experience is that, tempered by editorial hands, those stories are the meat of existence from which we can all learn and in which we can share, no matter what the background and beliefs of the people involved might be. Sharing our stories makes life matter. Keeping to ourselves, accepting the stream of commercial messages into our homes and lives is only one way to live in a connected world, and Correspondences.org wants to give voice to the other, egalitarian way. Read and listen, watch, think and comment. Act through your intelligence, not just your choice in the supermarket.

We're supporting text, photographic, audio and video submissions -- all you have to do is send a message to have your account established and you'll be on "staff." We won't be able to pay you, but we will vouch that you have an outlet to publish through in order to qualify as "press" whenever possible. We make no warranties and will act to remove libelous material, but virtually anything goes as long as it is your honest reporting or opinion about what is happening in our world -- remember that you own your own words, with all the responsibilities that go with that power to speak, to publish, to broadcast.
Now that is intriguing. It shouldn't really be. It should be obvious that people who are *there*, who experience something newsworthy, will report on it. And, of course, anybody can make their own weblog and say whatever they want. But there still seems to be a general scarcity of in-the-field reporting from regular folks who don't just have an axe to grind. What I'd be most interested in would be the really matter-of-fact stuff. You know, "I was at ___, and I saw ___, and I heard ___ say ____". The kind of stuff that would counter-balance the spin of the corporate media.
[ | 2003-05-26 13:48 | 4 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Spam filtering
Spam is an overwhelming problem for my e-mail inbox. I get maybe 20 spam messages for each message I really should get. I'm considering switching to using the Mail application on Mac, which has excellent features for training it to recognize spam and not spam, but it seems awfully slow, and I'm not sure if it otherwise is suited for my large amount of mail. So I'm considering whether I should have something running on my server that filters the mail before it gets to me, and which I can train. I find the traditional tools, which use centralized sources of spam blacklists, totally useless. In part because I have some experience with the ways they are created. Often the over-zealous maintainers will block large IP ranges for questionable reasons, and much legitimate e-mail is lost. So, I'm looking for something I personally can train.

BBC News has an overview article about "Bayesian filters", which appears to be the most effective approach right now, able to recognize up to 99.9% of incoming spam, based on the filters you train it to have.

I'm particularly interested in crm114 which appears to be an open source package I could use on one of my servers. Not that I don't have anything else to do, but the spam problem is driving me crazy.
[ | 2003-05-26 15:11 | 6 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

picture From Creative Commons, a feature article about Sal Randolp, a New York-based artist who has launched a series of intriguing open source creativity projects. One of them is OpSound, which applies the idea of open source and copyleft to music production. Musicians contribute sounds to a sound pool. Others can take sounds from the pool, mix them, use them as is, give them away, sell them, or whatever.
"Opsound is in part an attempt to apply some aspects of open source software's example in the context of music. Like software hackers, musicians are very often motivated by the pleasures of making, and the desire to share their work with others. The way the music industry operates does offer the possibility for a small number of musicians to make a great deal of money, but it doesn't function well for the vast majority of people who are making music. The current situation of the music industry begs for alternative structures to be invented and created."
She also says, however, that many artists still have a disconnect in how they think about copyrights, implicitly thinking copyrights only exist to protect them personally, not realizing that it also stops them from building upon anybody else's work. It takes education to show people that everybody, including the artist, typically has much more to gain from free sharing than they need to be afraid of losing. Simple free sharing allows and inspires others to distribute your work for you, and it will reach many more people much faster.
[ | 2003-05-26 16:49 | 0 comments | PermaLink ]

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