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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
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links worth traveling
Email jonl at weblogsky.com
Friday, August 30, 2002
FLOWERS by Katinka Matson
Exceptional digital photography in a couple of online exhibitions by Katinka Matson, both featuring luminous photos of flowers. [Link]
Thursday, August 29, 2002
The Guardian features chilling excerpts from a kamikaze manual. I say "chilling" and it's not cliche... I had a few while I was reading this stuff. Wonder who wrote this stuff? Did he know about the catch? Had he encountered the kamikaze spirit of Texas drivers? Was he, in fact, a nut case? [Link]
At the very moment of impact: do your best. Every deity and the spirits of your dead comrades are watching you intently. Just before the collision it is essential that you do not shut your eyes for a moment so as not to miss the target. Many have crashed into the targets with wide-open eyes. They will tell you what fun they had.
Wednesday, August 28, 2002
You can't tell the players without a scorecard!
Having a tough time keeping track of all those 21st century corporate accounting scandals? Forbes.com has just what you need: a dandy Corporate Scandal Sheet that lists almost two dozen, including summaries of the allegations and latest developments. Take a copy wherever you go, you'll be the life of the party! "With no end in sight to corporate America's accounting mischief, keep this page bookmarked, since it will be updated often." [Link]
Tuesday, August 27, 2002
Oxblood Ruffin of Hacktivismo interviewed at Shift.com
Just yesterday I was reading something a dismissal of net.activists by Greg Knauss ("Mostly content to preachify and complain, the real-world political impact of those who know their ass from their Ethernet connector has been close to nil. There's been a lot of talk, of course -- endless, endless talk -- but precious little action. ") This morning I'm reading this interview with Oxblood Ruffin of Hacktivismo, who says "But at the same time, I think a lot of people get confused by technology and they think that it's very different than the real world." Whatever the case, it's great to see a revival of net.activism and more thinking about the meaning of democracy. [Link]
I just find it really hypocritical that the same companies that have taken advantage of the capitalist and democratic systems, and have profited hugely, are now going off and selling the fruits of their labours to dictators who are intending to choke democracy on the vine. I don't know, I think there's an ethical component that software companies are obliged to uphold and they don't seem to want to.
Monday, August 26, 2002
Shaggy War Story?
Another piece (from Alternet.org) on the controversy surrounding plans for a war on Iraq. Everybody somehow seems to miss the fact that you don't normally lay your war plans out for domestic debate and global media exposure. If there was a serious plan to attack Iraq, I don't think we'd be hearing this much about it. So what's the real story? Reading between the lines, I suspect this all staged for whatever reason... probably scare the bejeebers out of the Iraqis, destabilize Saddam's government, and lay the groundwork for his overthrow. The apparent debate within the Republican party can be orchestrated to give Bush an out when it's time to back off.
But what do I know? I'm just a web consultant.
Weblogsky via Email
Weblogsky is also published via email to a list ... subscribe by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. There was a glitch in the subscribe setup, so if you tried it before and it didn't work, try again! You can unsub by sending an email to email@example.com, natch. In both cases, you'll get a message asking you to confirm. Occasionally I'll post something that isn't forwarded to the list... evidently a glitch with blogger, so don't be surprised if you cruise by the site and see something that didn't hit your mailbox.
Friday, August 23, 2002
The Peer To Peer Paradigm
From Michael Bauwens (thanks, Michael! - a vision of social and spiritual evolution based on the peer to peer paradigm (posted, appropriately enough, on the noosphere network!) It includes a potent argument for resisting what Michael calls informational capitalism, which is resonant with the works of Free Software Foundation, Larry Lessig, and today's EFF. [Link]
Since peer to peer is functioning so well in the sphere of producing software, the pre-eminent form of social capital, and since our whole economy is becoming dominated by immaterial processes, what could be expected is that practices arising out of this new cooperative sphere would infect the total economy. This thesis is the most radically expressed by Stephan Merten of Oekonux, who calls for a GPL Society, where the principles behind the General Public License would gradually be extended to the whole society.
Wednesday, August 21, 2002
File swappers, beware!
Justice Department: Now that we've got those terrorists out of the way, we can focus on the REAL enemies of capitalism: those guys on the Internet who swap pirated mp3s! [Link]
Malcolm said the Internet has become "the world's largest copy machine" and that criminal prosecutions of copyright offenders are now necessary to preserve the viability of America's content industries. "There does have to be some kind of a public message that stealing is stealing is stealing," said Malcolm, who oversees the arm of the Justice Department that prosecutes copyright and computer crime cases.And here's more from Slashdot...
Don't Link to Us!
Via /., word of this blog of sites with stupid linking policies. Free and unfettered ability to hyperlink published pages is an inherent part of the value of the World Wide Web, which Brewster Kahle once described as "a large network book..." An increasing number of web sites are appearing with restrictive linking policies, as though a link to a page somehow infringes. Taken too far, this could bring the end of the Internet. [Link]
Tuesday, August 20, 2002
Urban Myth Defies Time!
Stories that sound like science fiction often are. A persistent story about a man who walked out his front door in 1876 onto a 1950 street, where he's struck by a car and killed, has been reported for years... but it's an urban legend based on a story by Jack Finney (who also wrote Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and if you've seen the pod people, you know he wrote nonfiction...) [Link]
"Debunking DMCA myths" and a response
Declan McCullagh of News.com on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Declan contends that the DMCA, though problematic, is not as broad as people think, and that it's chilling effect may be attributable in part to misperceptions of the law's scope. [Link to Declan's article] Ed Felten, Ed Lazowska, and Barbara Simons prepared a response from the Association for Computing Machinery and the Computing Research Association, sent to Dave Farber's "Interesting People" email list. [[Link to response]
You COULD cure spam by shutting down the Internet ... no?
From boingboing.net via Bruce Sterling's Schism Matrix Ed Felten's great web site, freedom-to-tinker.com, was shut down my his ISP, not for any kind of malfeasance on Ed's part, but because he'd been blockedby SpamCop based on one erroneous complaint.. His ISP had no choice but to shut Ed's site down because "SpamCop's policy is to put all of the ISP's accounts on the block list if the ISP does not shut down the accused party's site." With spam-blocking strategies, the cure can be worse than the disease, like lopping off your right arm to cure a bad case of carpal tunnel. Better to tag (e.g. SpamAssassin), which allows filtering and reviewing on the client side. [Link]
Why did my ISP shut me down? According to the ISP, SpamCop's policy is to put all of the ISP's accounts on the block list if the ISP does not shut down the accused party's site.
Monday, August 19, 2002
Weird story: some folks in India think they're being attacked by "a flying sphere emitting red and blue light" that leaves burns and scratches in its victims. They call it muhnochwa (face-scratcher). Investigating agents "concluded that the villagers were right and that they were indeed experiencing an extra-terrestrial invasion. " Local doctors are skeptical. [Link]
Lessig on Patents and the Internet
There's a lot of meat in this interview with Lawrence Lessig. Lessig discusses (here and elsewhere) how the possibility of innovation is threatened by evolving policies on the ownership of intellectual property, which favors control of IP by large companies... not exactly an incentive for the brilliant little guy to go out and make something grea. When a brilliant innovator does appear, he's going to trip all over the barriers tossed in his way by the Microsofts and Time Warners of the world.
The more I read Lessig, the more I know I need to read him. [Link]
Look at the history of innovation in the context of the Internet. The World Wide Web was built not by AOL or Prodigy, but by a researcher in Switzerland. Hotmail was developed by an Indian immigrant. ICQ, which was the beginning of the really persistent instant messaging system, was developed by an Israeli—or rather stolen by an Israeli from his son—and deployed outside the United States and sold to AOL for $400 million.
Do you think direct democracy might be a good thing? Then read this! Here's an example of a virtual town meeting where there are persistent flame wars. Some would say it's the medium (they lack visual cues!), but I say it's because we're growing whole generations that never learn basic civility. [Link]
... Lexington psychologist Arnis Berger sees significant differences from the Colonial era. E-mail messages lack a number of things personal encounters had in the past, Berger said: eye-to-eye contact, visual reactions, confrontation, or the chance for a retort.
Save Internet Radio
If you dig Internet radio and want to keep it alive, here's an easy way to fax your legislators and let 'em know. [Link]
Sunday, August 18, 2002
Stone's Sizzlin' Sound Samples
Carl Stone collects bits and pieces of sound, stores 'em and uses 'em pretty much the way Mozart and Chopin used strings. [Link]
"At face value, it's like Brahms doing variations on a theme by Handel, which I think is a very cool idea," he says of his process. "This is part of our whole classical tradition. Bach did that, and Handel did that, and Brahms did that, and Berg did it.
Friday, August 16, 2002
To Boldly Paint What No Man Has Painted Before
Saw the IMAX film Space Station 3-D today, so I was already thinking about space (and space-age imagery) when I noticed that Cory blogged Man Conquers Space, a web site based on a film "dedicated to the conquest of the moon and mars." The film is based on a series of articles that appeared in Collier's Magazine in the 1950s, envisioning space travel along a more aggressive time line that has ultimately played out. This film is a sort of alternate history assuming we really did follow that timeline. Meanwhile I also ran across the link below in Invention and Technology, an article about Chesley Bonestell called To Boldly Paint What No Man Has Painted Before. Bonestell led the team that made the illustrations for the Collier's article, and he made envisioning outer space the basis for his career. He was originally a special effects matte painter in Hollywood, but he was fascinated with outer space, so he created ultra-realistic paintings of space and the planets that were featured in magazines like Life and National Geographic. He worked with producer George Pal on films like Destination Moon, Conquest of Space, and War of the Worlds. Bonestell fed every kid's imagination, and it's probably a tribute to him that we're still thinking about extraterrestrial exploration and colonization. [Link]
At the zenith of American enthusiasm for space flight—the period between the end of World War II and the end of the 1960s—Bonestell’s illustrations and spacecraft designs appeared not only in print but in games, motion pictures, television, jigsaw puzzles, and toys, bringing his vision to millions of people. Over the next few decades he created more than half a dozen other books. His masterwork was undoubtedly the 40-foot mural of the lunar surface commissioned in 1956 by the Museum of Science in Boston. The painting is now in the collection of the National Air and Space Museum, which plans to restore it for display in the museum’s new annex near Dulles International Airport. But Bonestell’s favorite space picture was not one he created himself—not with his own brush anyway. It was the televised image “showing a man first stepping out there, putting his foot on the Moon. I want to tell you, I wept; tears came down my face. I was so excited and emotional about it… . It was the realization of something I had been hoping for for a large part of my life.”
Thursday, August 15, 2002
Bill Joy and Open Source
Sun's chief scientist Bill Joy dismisses Open Source, saying the OS business model "hasn't worked very well" (he prefers a license like BSD's or - naturally - the Sun Community Source License). Linux is growing than BSD at the moment, but fact is, Linux and BSD are both good, and we tend to think that licensing models are just that: models. Expect variations. The good news is that there's competition and innovation. [Link]
Joy said the SCSL, which he helped develop to cover Java and several other Sun software technologies, "fixed the flaws in the open-source licensing" by providing a better foundation for profiting off the software. The SCSL permits others to see and modify source code, but gives Sun the authority to accept or reject those changes. Sun also has the authority to charge royalties to companies shipping products using the software.
Monday, August 12, 2002
Home as Network
The MIT Media Lab has created the Media House, a house with the wires for network connectivity built into the structure. [Link]
The MIT team constructed wood beams that contained wiring to carry Internet protocol messages between devices connected to it—like light switches. To avoid competing standards in the future, the team used basic RS-485 wiring, which has a bit rate of only 100 Kbps, rather than more expensive proprietary wiring. Thanks to the researchers' clever design, this slow bit rate supplies plenty of speed for tasks such as turning on lights remotely. Gershenfeld's group and other researchers figured out that the important parts of the code for connectivity amount to just a few kilobytes. And IP-enabling a device by programming those few kilobytes costs about $1 a node—a great price.
Sunday, August 11, 2002
Saved from GI Joe
If you're not convinced yet that war has driven us insane, read this piece about the confiscation by LAX security of a two-inch plastic rifle attached to a GI Joe doll. [Link]
“I can understand them wanting to ban weapons or things that look like weapons, but surely common sense has to take over at some point.Yes, quite.
Saturday, August 10, 2002
Just a quote...
"To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair."
Thursday, August 08, 2002
Free the Mouse!
bumperactive.com is giving away "Free the Mouse" bumperstickers, and you can get a "Free the Mouse" button for your web site or blog at the Eldred vs. Ashcroft web site. While you're at it, donate to the Eldred Legal Defense Fund!
From the Department of Redundancy Department
The Redundant Technology Initiative has built a media lab from "trailing edge" technology that would otherwise bulk up landfills in the UK. [Link]
Lateral thinking and a creative approach are ideal ways to unlock the potential of redundant technology. In this way we can investigate playfully and be creative with what the machines can do, rather than being frustrated by what they can't.
Tuesday, August 06, 2002
LA Weekly: Features: The Hobohemians
Great photos and stories of contemporary hobos. I keep wondering how my consciousness might change if I made some radical change of context... nomadics, riding the rails, is one possibility, and we might see more of it, not just because our economic illusions are so thin these days, but also because freedom pulls more strongly at the heart than the security of the homestead. [Link]
Today, except for immigrant workers eager to stay invisible, few ride the rails just to get from place to place. With all the risk and potential for mishaps, comic and tragic both, walking is almost more efficient. But since the early '90s, train-hopping has been gaining ground among a new generation of tramps. The grizzled old hobos may be dying off, but they're being replaced in boxcars and on the porches of grain cars by street kids, gutter punks, dreamy anarchists and eco-warriors, train-obsessed professionals, all held loosely together by a vision of freedom as old as the nation itself, an America of movement and self-reliance, of mythic vastness and silence, of discovery, escape, rebellion. It's an America that was offered long ago and never delivered, that we're all supposed to love but not allowed to look for, that's just around the corner and always out of reach.
Collaborating with Nature (from Metropolis Magazine)
Thoughts on the potential synergies of architecture and nature in a consideration of the via Vincenzo Monti in Milan, Italy. An alternative to dystopian visions of the future? [Link]
It is a matter of balance. Any architect--or urban designer--who wants to engage nature has to be willing to give it something more than a token position. It is much like the relationship of architecture to art that is selected to decorate it versus its relationship to art that is commissioned to be a part of it. Architects have struggled with this for years. We all know how trivializing the Henry Moore placed in front of an office building is both to the building and to the sculpture, and how potentially rich the possibilities are when architects truly collaborate with artists to create works for the architecture. Why are there not more collaborations with landscape architects? Landscape, after all, is also the crafting of space and the making of form. But most of the time landscape architects arrive on the scene after all architectural decisions have been made, relegated to the tasks of either embellishing what is already there or working with pieces of land that are separate and distinct from the building and considered outside the realm of the architecture.
Monday, August 05, 2002
John Ashcroft and the Politics of the Supernatural
Is John Ashcroft's Pentecostal religion is so much a part of his thinking that it's difficult for him to separate church and state? [Link]
It's impossible to understand Ashcroft's view of the world without understanding his view of God, whom he says he "invites" into all his daily activities. And it's impossible to overestimate how deeply Pentecostal biblical training permeates his view of right and wrong -- and stiffens his spine against criticism.
Saturday, August 03, 2002
U.S. fighter pilots in Afghanistan are getting ampthetamines to keep 'em going, then sleeping pills to help 'em come down. This isn't getting attention in the domestic press (link is to a story in The Toronto Star's Star.com). The British, Candadians and others outside the U.S. are concerned that amphetamine use might've contributed to friendly fire incidents, like the one that killed four Canadian soldiers. [Link]
"I think it's long overdue that these kinds of questions are being raised. But I think that for many American reporters who know about this, it's not worth it to risk losing access to their senior Pentagon sources, so they don't report it," said Pike, a defence commentator for several major U.S. TV networks and for CTV's Canada AM.
Market Apocalypse Flowchart
This makes me dizzy... forget the four horsemen: here we have the Entity Relationships of the Apocalypse, and there's way more than four. I like the way the "dot-com fiasco" seems so tiny and quaint compared to the machinations revealed over the last few weeks. [Link]
Extreme Markup Language
Actual title: "Thinking about Markup Languages in the Context of Complex, Urgent Problems." [Link]
We look at markup languages in the context of complex, urgent problems facing humanity. The talk intends to develop a context in which the evolution of markup languages is seen as crucial to the evolution of tools capable of supporting and augmenting what Douglas Engelbart calls the Capabilities Infrastructure of Networked Improvement Communities. If time permits, a demonstration of an engineering prototype of a system aimed in that direction will take place.
Anders Mad Scientist Page
Just ran across this page of links for mad scientists – quite handy! "This page is dedicated to all Seekers of Truth, regardless of how warped the truth may be. " [Link]
Arguments for Open Source
Eric Raymond has blogged this very good overview of the arguments in support of Open Source for all (including enterprise-level) software projects. This is a response to Steven den Beste's critique. at the aptly named USS Clueless blog. [Link]
The way to solve the problem of not exposing your business logic to competitors is to separate your app into an open-source engine and a bunch of declarative business-rule schemas that you keep secret. Databases work this way, and websites (the web pages and CGIs are the schema). Many vertical apps can be partitioned this way too -- in fact, for things like tax-preparation software they almost have to be, because the complexity overhead of hacking executable code every time the rules change is too high.
Friday, August 02, 2002
The shape of the earth is changing – it's becoming pear-shaped – and nobody knows why. [Link]
Thanks for the Gravity
When Thomas Pynchon won the National Book Award for Gravity's Rainbow, he sent Professor Irwin Corey to accept it. Hyperarts.com has a transcript of the speech, as well as an audio snippet. [Link]
Marx, Groucho Marx, once said that religion is the opiate of the people. I say that when religion outlives its usefulness, then opium...will be the opiate...Ahh that's not a bad idea... All right...However, I want to thank Mr. Guinzburg, Tom Guinzburg of the Viking Press, who has made it possible for you people to be here this evening to enjoy the Friction Citation - the Fiction Citation. GRAVITY'S RAINBOW - a small contribution to a certain degree, since there are over three and a half billion people in the world today. 218 of them ... million live in the United States which is a very, very small amount compared to those that are dying elsewhere...Well, I say that you will be on the road to new horizons, for we who live in a society where sex is a commodity and a politician can become a TV personality, it's not easy to conform if you have any morality...I, I, I said that myself many years ago...But I do want to thank the bureau...I mean the committee, the organization for the $10,000 they've given out...tonight they made over $400,000 and I think that I have another appointment. I would like to stay here, but for the sake of brevity I, I must leave.
Steven Clift's Index of E-Democracy Resources
Steven Clift of publicus.net has assembled an excellent index of e-democracy resources. [Link]
EFF White Paper: Three Years under the DMCA
EFF has published a white paper on the unintended consequences of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Summary: the act
Section 1201 is being used by a number of copyright owners to stifle free speech and legitimate scientific research. The lawsuit against 2600 magazine, threats against Princeton Professor Edward Felten’s team of researchers, and prosecution of the Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov have imposed a chill on a variety of legitimate activities.
Thursday, August 01, 2002
Indian scientists found cells in air samples from as high as 41km, an altitude suggesting that they had come to earth from space. Theory is that these microorganisms were carried through space by comets. [Link]
The European noborder network oppose projects of deportation and exclusion. Activists from various nations are building grassroots cross border alliances and organizing events and cross border activities. [Link]
10.Jul.02 - About 200 people took part in the 3rd anti/border camp in Poland in Wizajny. Among the participants were groups and persons from Lituania, Balarus, Russia, Ukraine, Sweden, Germany, Austria, France, Finland, USA and Poland. At the camp there was a lot of networking and proposals for future actions; there was discussions on sexism and racism, of further noborder/actions; international noborder-action day on October 13, mobilisation to Strasbourg, anti-WEF actions and coordination of anti-NATO actions in Praha. Also there was quite good integration with local residents. The noborder camp in Wizajny was the first of a series of anti-border actions happening all over Europe during this summer.
Psychedelic music was born in Texas, and it's survived here for over 40 years. Here's a history that talks about the genesis of the 13th Floor Elevators, the first band to call itself psychedelic, the scene and how it relates to punk (punkadelic?), and what's happening now. [Link]
"I think it was the association with Tommy Hall that made me realize it was a whole 'nother thing going on, that truly new ground was being broken," Kinney says. "Everything that we did was suddenly geared in the direction of mind expansion." Hall, a Houston native, introduced Texas blues/garage rock to LSD, Eastern philosophy and the academic psychology he picked up at UT. Predating the Grateful Dead by a few weeks, the Elevators were the first band to openly refer to themselves as "psychedelic."
Time Warner: Adding Insult to Injury
In a rather remarkable instance of PR cluelessness: Time Warner is charging flood victims $300 per box for lost or damaged cable converters. Guess you can't be too generous when your stock's down to $1 and change per share (from a 52 week high of 31.32) [Link]
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