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EFF-Austin Cyberdawg Social, November 2003.
Austin: Wireless Future, ongoing project / meetings; conference (March 12-16)
SXSW Interactive, Austin (March 12-16)
Polycot helps organizations determine how to build and use effective web technologies to solve problems, build loyalty, share knowledge, and organize projects. For more information, email consult at weblogsky.com, or check out the Polycot Consulting web site.
CEO, Polycot Consulting. Polycot is a network services company: network consulting, installation and administration, as well as web solutions (architecture and development).
Member of the blog team at Another World (worldchanging.com)
Co-Founder of the Austin Wireless City Project
Associated with Rheingold and Associates, Online Social Networking
Moderator and co-administrator at the Dean Issues Forum
Writer of various interviews, reviews, essays, and articles.
President of EFF-Austin
Member, Board of Directors, Austin Freenet
Local advisor for South by Southwest Interactive
Steering Committee Member and Webmaster, Austin Clean Energy Initiative
Member of the blog team for Howard Rheingold's Smart Mobs weblog.
Cohost of The WELL's Inkwell.vue, discussions and interviews.
Webmaestro for Viridian Design
Co-instigator of Austin Bloggers
Member of Mindjack's Board of Advisors.
links worth traveling
Email jonl at weblogsky.com
Tuesday, April 30, 2002
A bird's eye view of Jerusalem via Jerusalem SKY by Deborah Natsios (cartome.org) and John Young (cryptome.org). [Link]
Each spring and autumn, a half-billion migrant birds navigate the skies above Jerusalem by their own ancient compasses, tracking magnetic fields, star rotation, and the Sun, escaping terrestrial confinement just as in the Bible and Qur’an, where birds are associated with transcendent themes of purification, absolution, and sacrifice. The man-made city remains inexorably linked to the avian nomads that populate its canopy, notwithstanding the transcendent altitudes of their empyrean habitat. When diasporic birds like the sparrow, eagle, santa colomba, and quail descend to roost or feed on flat roofs below, they leave faint vapor trails that link their skyborne infrastructures to the stone city’s upturned ribs and bones. All across Jerusalem, rooftop refuges receive vagile birds intertwined in vaporous rays of first light, sundown, and penumbra.
Washington Post has images from the new camera installed at the Hubble Space Telescope. "...part of a cosmic core sample of the sort that represents humanity's deepest glimpse into the depths of space and time." [Link]
Great idea: best travel destinations for geeks! This was sent to Dave Farber's Interesting People list. [Link]
Sunday, April 28, 2002
George Alec Effinger, author of fine, funny and compelling science fiction novels and short stories, died in his sleep Friday night. He'd been in poor health for years. He was one of those "best-kept secrets," and it follows that the many Effinger links on the web don't yield much to do him justice. Here's a short biography, and here's a discussion with Effinger from Hotwired, circa 1997.
Friday, April 26, 2002
From Kevin Werbach's weblog: Kevin's been at an Aspen Institute workshop on spectrum policy, where otherwise clueful attendees were shocked to hear that there are now 1.5 million WiFi cards being sold every month.[Link]
The conceptual shift remains difficult for many people to make. Thanks to advances in technology, we don't necessarily need any mechanism to assign wireless spectrum bands to particular companies. The "tragedy of the commons" isn't inevitable if devices are smart enough to coexist with one another. WiFi is taking off in large part because equipment vendors and users don't need to go to a service provider for permission to set up networks. They just do it.
This site tracks auroral activity as reported from various points around the north pole. You can use the maps on this page to determine where you'd most likely see the visible aurora borealis. [Link]
Thursday, April 25, 2002
Some thoughts on knowledge management from John Sumser. Agree with this: "While there are a ton of really interesting projects that try to ferret knowledge out of behavior, there are relatively few thinkers working on community level metaphors."[Link]
Wednesday, April 24, 2002
The World Ware 3 Report, "Vigilant, independent sentry of truth in the Ware on Terrorism," now has its own web site. This is a very good digest of news about the war and the politics around the war, gleaned from many sources. [Link]
After touring Jenin, UN special Middle East envoy Terje Larsen said the scene was "horrifying beyond belief," that the most heavily destroyed area "looks like there's been an earthquake here," and is permeated with the "stench of death." Reported Larsen: "I saw people using their bare hands to dig out the body of a 12-year-old boy. More than 2,000 people have been left without a roof over their heads and there is an acute lack of water and food in the camp and town." (Haaretz, April 18)
Monday, April 22, 2002
Amnesty International suggests that Israel committed war crimes in Jenin.[Link]
Kathleen Cavanaugh, a law lecturer from Galway University in Ireland, said Amnesty's charges came under three major areas: the destruction of property, the use of excessive force and its failure to protect civilian refugees living in the town.
Indymedia coverage of weekend demonstrations in Washington, D.C. 75-100 thousand protestors made the scene. Demonstrators focused on issues of the Middle East, such as justice for Palestinians. [Link} Also check out the Washington Post's piece about Indymedia... the post "gets it." [Link] (Thanks, Jonathan!)
Evidence suggests that the earth's magnetic poles are flipping. [Link]
The results, published in Nature, confirmed that the Earth's magnetic field is getting weaker. If it continues to weaken at its current rate, the dipole field will have vanished in 2,000 years. But Dr Hulot and his team also found a large area of "reversed magnetic flux" - where the magnetic field runs counter to the rest of the world's field - below South Africa and the Southern Ocean. Normally, lines of field move from the south to the north. But in this "reversed flux" area, the magnetic field lines loop backwards and head south. Under this area, the columns of moving liquid iron in the core may be rotating a little differently than they are in the rest of the core, locally weakening and reversing the magnetic field.
Sunday, April 21, 2002
Speaking of CFP, Roger Clarke has posted notes on the conference. [Link]
There's been a drift towards excessive respectability among the body of delegates at CFP. There's now a predominance of lawyers, policy-wonks and respectable hackers (as distinct from crackers). The 'less respectable' hackers and crackers who participated in conferences 1991 - c. 1995 no longer see reasons to come, because they're not reached out to by the program. Probably as a consequence, the FBI appears in smaller numbers. I regret that loss of vitality.
Bruce Sterling's closing speech at The 2002 Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy. In the immortal words of Paul McCartney, "It just goes, then..." [Link]
I can remember, back in the old days, when the cops and prosecuting lawyers at CFP used to warn us about the "Four Horsement of the Infocalypse." Those would be Terrorists, Mafia, Drug Dealers, and Pornographers. Supposedly, if computer law and order ever failed us, these four guys would be all over the Internet. Well, here it is, 2002, and Al Qaeda is using Yahoo and hotmail. They're terrorists. They're mafia. They grow poppies and sell heroin. They're Drug Dealer Mafia Terrorists. Obviously there's been a certain amount of industry consolidation here.
Environmental activists, take note: environmental initiatives passed without the informed consent of localities affected can result in the kind of situation described in this article, entitled Rural America declares war on 'green fascists'. [Link}
The tension can be traced to a decision by the federal government, which owns 82 per cent of land in the county, to turn the region into an environmentally protected region in the 1990s.
Friday, April 19, 2002
At a breakfast yesterday sponsored by Austin's new Clean Energy Incubator, someone was talking about the hassles of updating a web site that was his responsibility, and I mentioned the web log concept as a content management strategy: just drop new stuff into the blog. He asked me more about weblogs, and I was explaining what they are, and got into the potential business applications, like knowledge management... at which point he told me about a colleague's trailer trash blog. >>Poof.<< I think the subtext was How can I take you seriously when the blogs I see are so fringe culture? I shoulda got his email, so I could send him this link: MSNBC says "Business pros flock to weblogs." [Link]
“There is huge potential here,” said John Robb, president of Userland Software, a small California-based company that sells software now being used by about 10,000 “bloggers.” Robb believes the quirky, highly opinionated, personal sites that still dominate the blogging community will be an important part of his company’s market well into the future. But he sees a growing market in what he calls knowledge logs — searchable databases that can be used within a corporate environment to exchange ideas, revise documents, trade snippets of computer code and even manage projects.
Tuesday, April 16, 2002
Several members of the WELL are attending the annual Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy, which looks to be a great one this year. Certain fellow travelers have set up a world-readable forum in the WELL's Inkwell.vue... worth checking, should be meaty! If you have comments or questions you want posted, send them to email@example.com. [Link]
Monday, April 15, 2002
On the emergence front: a supercolony of Argentine ants stretching thousands of miles has turned up in Europe. Different ant beds with different queens, but the difference is that they cooperate. [Link]
Conversation Map is a visual interface for "very large-scale conversations," e.g. usenet newsgroups. I couldn't get the demos to work, but there are some screen shots on the site... got me thinking how useful it could be to visualize online social networks of various stripes. [Link]
Friday, April 12, 2002
The Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies made a commitment to open, web-based discussion with the world's citizenry – and they didn't back off when the going got rough. Hope other companies will catch the clue. [Link]
Indeed, Wade thinks the forums themselves are consistent with Shell's attitude toward its global responsibilities. "If you look at how we run our major projects, like the Athabasca Oil Sands Project, you can see the lengths to which we go to have local engagement with the communities to plan what we should do and how we should do it." Is Athabasca really a model of openness and engagement? I don't know, but I know that Wade believes it is. The forums exude a sense of confidence in Shell's vision and execution that the typical oil slick of marketing on most corporate websites simply cannot instill.
Thursday, April 11, 2002
As one who actually owned the Tom Corbett, Space Cadet View Master reel mentioned in this piece, I was sucked right into Richard C. Hoagland's mythic narrative linking the Corbett sci-fi tale to Cydonia and the face on Mars, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Werner von Braun, Walt Disney, the asteroid Eros, an exploding planet, Willy Ley, Robert Heinlein, and an extraterrestrial civilization with a grasp of hyperdimensional physics. [Link]
Tuesday, April 09, 2002
WiFi facilitates parallel discussion at the PC Forum. Is this a bug (distraction) or a feature? I personally think it's a great feature, but then, I thrive on distraction. (Thanks, Howard!) [Link]
Previously, the organizer gathered people, focused attention for the conversation, and perhaps moderated a debate or two. But now the moderator will manage multiple channels, and a good participating audience is almost as important as a good roster of speakers.
Thursday, April 04, 2002
Instant art! Take one Nikon CoolPix 990, add water. No, wait, add to water. Bake, blow-dry, then use. [Link]
Wednesday, April 03, 2002
In Telepolis, David Hudson reports on SXSW Interactive:
More proof that the web, as we knew it, is not dead! [Link]
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has started a weblog to track The Broadcast Protection Discussion Group, identified as "an obscure group of Hollywood studios and technology companies that are negotiating a "consensus" for any gadget or code that can touch the studios' product." They want to come up with a standard to prevent the kinds of innovation that give them the heebie jeebies. You know, like music played free on the radio was going to kill the record industry... or like VCRs were going to kill television. Bookmark this blog, and send the EFF some money. [Link]
Tuesday, April 02, 2002
In Salon: Scott Rosenberg lacerates the recent goofy New York Times "web is dead" feature, making Salon our "Cool Site of the Day"!! [Link]
Somehow, Times writer Lisa Guernsey equates some slowing of the Web's ability to mint instant pop-culture memes with a "lack of compelling content" -- as though the presence on the Web of every major newspaper, magazine, radio and TV show; every major government agency, most legislative bodies and court systems; nearly every significant retailer and manufacturer; and every think tank, research center and institution of higher learning were insufficiently "compelling content" compared to the supposed dearth of inane diversions crippling the Web today.
Dave Farber on Wi-Fi technology. [Link]
The biggest change is that it allows for a lot more creativity. For years, the use of wireless has been very controlled. You had companies that bought spectrum space, you had cell-phone companies that sold handsets, but there was very little opportunity to get the innovation that comes from getting a large number of people to work at finding different ways to use wireless technology.
Monday, April 01, 2002
As one who never bought the "paperless office" concept, I've been wanting to read The Myth of the Paperless Office, but this New Yorker review of the book makes its case well enough. The New Yorker
We think of all those flight strips as cluttering and confusing the work of the office, and we fret about where all that paper will go. But, as Sellen and Harper point out, we needn't worry. It is only if paper's usefulness is in the information written directly on it that it must be stored. If its usefulness lies in the promotion of ongoing creative thinking, then, once that thinking is finished, the paper becomes superfluous. The solution to our paper problem, they write, is not to use less paper but to keep less paper. Why bother filing at all? Everything we know about the workplace suggests that few if any knowledge workers ever refer to documents again once they have filed them away, which should come as no surprise, since paper is a lousy way to archive information. It's too hard to search and it takes up too much space. Besides, we all have the best filing system ever invented, right there on our desks—the personal computer. That is the irony of the P.C.: the workplace problem that it solves is the nineteenth-century anxiety. It's a better filing cabinet than the original vertical file, and if Dewey were alive today, he'd no doubt be working very happily in an information-technology department somewhere. The problem that paper solves, by contrast, is the problem that most concerns us today, which is how to support knowledge work. In fretting over paper, we have been tripped up by a historical accident of innovation, confused by the assumption that the most important invention is always the most recent. Had the computer come first—and paper second—no one would raise an eyebrow at the flight strips cluttering our air-traffic-control centers.
Interview with David Weinberger for SXSW Interactive Conference's Tech Report
Discussion with Bruce Sterling at The WELL, January 3 - 17, 2003.
Jon L. interview for South by Southwest Interactive conference's Tech Report.
Jon L. interviewed by Adam Powell (5/13/2002)
jonl interviewed by R. U. Sirius (A version of this interview appeared in The Austin Chronicle)
No Stone Untenured: May '98 Interview with Sandy Stone
Don't Believe the Hype (Austin Digerati Roundtable published January 28)
Why We Listen to What They Say: Interview with Doug Rushkoff
Information Junkie, an interview with Reva Basch (Researching Online for Dummies)
Wired to Virtual Reality: Interview with Howard Rheingold
Interview with Carla Sinclair, author of Signal to Noise
Making Movies on Cyber Location: an interview with director Doug Block (Austin Chronicle, February 1998)
Untangling the Web: interview with Gene Crick of MAIN and Sue Beckwith of Austin Freenet
Cyber Top Ten for 1997 (Austin Chronicle, December 1997)
ZapSpace, published as A Fistful of DOS in the Australian magazine 21C
Technopolitics, a 1997 essay on cyberactivism originally appearing in the Australian magazine 21C.Your 15 Minutes Are Up, Mr. Gates!
1998 Top Nine List from the Austin Chronicle!
The Opera Ain't Over 'til the Cyber Lady Sings: Honoria in Ciberspazio (Austin Chronicle, November 1997)
Shout Spamalam! The Austin Spam Suit
11.25.96 Freewheelin' in Austin
2.25.97 VR in 3Space: Brian Park