Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Monday, April 18, 2005day link 

 The flying cars are coming
picture CBS has a feature on the status of flying cars. I only knew about the Moller Skycar, which they mistakenly thought is a new entry. He's probably the veteran in that arena. But there are several other promising projects, apparently. Like the Air Scooter, which is vertical take-off ultralight thing. Not exactly as comfy as the Skycar, but it might happen sooner. And the CarterCopter, which is a little plane/helicopter combination, which already flies. And there's Skyblazer, but that doesn't seem to be much more than a concept. Alright, the Moller Skycar still seems to be what looks most like a flying car that actually, sort of, can fly at this point. And what we really need is anti-gravity. That would make it much easier.
[ | 2005-04-18 18:57 | 10 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Participatory Culture
Participatory Culture Foundation:
Announcing a new platform for internet television and video. Anyone can broadcast full-screen video to thousands of people at virtually no cost, using BitTorrent technology. Viewers get intuitive, elegant software to subscribe to channels, watch video, and organize their video library. The project is non-profit, open source, and built on open standards. Today we're announcing the project and releasing our current sourcecode. The software is launching in June.
[ | 2005-04-18 19:15 | 0 comments | PermaLink ]

 Prison and the Net
picture Yahoo News: Inmates in U.S. using intermediaries to escape into Internet, about how some prison inmates succeed in getting a voice on the net, by passing messages on to others who post them on websites.

I right away get to think of my friend Bruce Lisker. And it is sad that he isn't mentioned there. Bruce is in prison for life for the murder of his mother. A very brutal murder. She was beaten with a steel bar, strangled and stabbed. In upscale Sherman Oaks, close to where I used to live. He didn't do it, though. His Dad didn't think he did it. Nobody in his family believes he did it. I don't think he did it. But he was the first person on the scene, and her blood got all over his clothes as he tried in vain to revive her, while he was waiting for the ambulance. And at the time he was a doped out 17 year old loser who indeed was hanging out with the type of people who would do such a thing. It was easy to believe he would be the guy, and a crooked cop did a sloppy investigation and covered it up. It shortly became very clear to Bruce and his Dad who actually did it, but that person has since committed suicide. And Bruce is having trouble getting his case opened up again. He's been in prison for 22 years now. He's today a decent, polite person, who writes poetry and has learned computer programming and studied the law.

I helped him put up that site. It was since taken over by somebody else and I'm no longer hosting it, and it seems to look exactly like I left it. I don't even know how to get hold of Bruce. I haven't spoken with him for several years. The inmate e-mail address, which normally would print out e-mails and send them to him, is no longer working. But I'm pretty sure he didn't go anywhere.

At the time the main way he could contact me was to make a 15 minute collect call once per week or so. Which would be interrupted every minute by a recording announcing that one is speaking with a prison inmate. Anyway, that's how he orchestrated his website, and by having documents sent to me.

It was fairly odd. In part because he had never ever been on the Internet. He studied Cobol programming in jail, but they're not allowed near anything that's on the net. So he hadn't actually seen a webpage in real life. He had read about all of it in magazines. But it is a little difficult to have a sense of it when you've never seen it. Nevertheless, it was an example of what the articles talks about. Getting some kind of voice on the net, having a website, translated from phone calls and letters and legal documents.

The fact that he isn't one of the people mentioned in an article like that, and that 60 Minutes never got around to doing a feature on him, and the fact that he's still rotting in jail, is an indication that it doesn't necessarily go anywhere, even if one gets one's place on the web. Nobody's linking to that site. Other than me, by having mentioned it here previously. The only other existence Bruce has on the net is a contact ad from inmate.com, with an e-mail address that isn't working.

It can be hard to prove one's innocence if nobody's listening.
[ | 2005-04-18 19:50 | 5 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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