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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

Manager of the Wireless Future Project for IC² Institute

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

weblogsky archives

November 2003

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January 2002

December 2001

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April 2001

Email jonl at weblogsky.com


Monday, November 25, 2002
Tech Myths

David Strom in VARBusiness creates a top ten list of "tech promises that will never be fulfilled." Number one is "the paperless office," which in practiced meant that users would print everything and leave the printouts in massive piles around the printer. I'm not thinking desktop Linux belongs on the list. In fact he says that "Linux are for servers," then notes that desktop Linux is actually happening "under certain limited circumstances." Just wait. [Link]
posted by jon lebkowsky on 11/25/2002 05:17:12 AM | ~permalink~ | ~post a comment~

God is a Hacker

Stephen Wolfram argues (at Comdex) that the universe is composed of code. [Link]
"There's a broader range of [computing] things, and they don't all have to be based on CMOS and gates," the technology that underlies today's microprocessors, he said. "Systems out there in nature are already doing computations as complex as the ones that correspond to human intelligence."
posted by jon lebkowsky on 11/25/2002 04:58:13 AM | ~permalink~ | ~post a comment~

Saturday, November 23, 2002
Redesign the Internet?

Cory Doctorow on evasion of consensus at Darpa, where they were considering a plan to redesign the Internet by "tagging Internet data with unique personal markers to make anonymous use of some parts of the Internet impossible." That's a quote from John Markoff's NY Times article that Cory links. Markoff notes that Darpa's been taking a lot of heat from civil libertarians for this aspect of "Total Information Awareness," a particularly Orwellian aspect of the Homeland Security Bill. For years denizens of the Internet such as online civil libertarians and cypherpunks have been concerned over the potential for repressive government to slide along various slippery slopes to a place where we sacrifice most of our freedom and privacy, and I sometimes thought they were a little paranoid. What would have to happen for Americans to back off on their commitment to essential freedoms? Ambitious terrorist attacks within our borders seems to be the answer. In the wake of those attacks, just as the government and military feel they should be vigilant in protecting our safety, we as citizens should be vigilant in protecting our freedoms. [Link]
posted by jon lebkowsky on 11/23/2002 06:10:16 AM | ~permalink~ | ~post a comment~

Friday, November 22, 2002
Where the hell are we?

A National Geographic study shows that young people in many countries are profoundly dim about geography. The United States is one of the worst. [Link]
The study found that young Americans were the least likely among their counterparts to know that Afghanistan is where the Taliban and al Qaeda were based. Less than half the Americans could identify France, the United Kingdom or Japan on a world map. Fewer than two in three could find China on a map of the Middle East/Asia, and more than half—56 percent—were unable to locate India, home to 17 percent of people on Earth. Just half of young Americans could find New York, one of the nation's most populous states.
posted by jon lebkowsky on 11/22/2002 06:23:43 AM | ~permalink~ | ~post a comment~

Teens create antigravity machine!

Three teenagers in Dearborn, Michigan have created what appears to be an antigravity device, according to this article from the Press & Guide. This might just revive the automobile industry in Michigan, eh? [Link]
posted by jon lebkowsky on 11/22/2002 05:58:31 AM | ~permalink~ | ~post a comment~

Monday, November 18, 2002
Tom Petty Is Pissed

And so am I, dang it. Especially after reading this piece, which tells it like it is. Tom Petty got soul. [Link[
"You don't hear any more of, 'Hey, we did something creative and we turned a profit, how about that?' Everywhere we look, we want to make the most money possible. This is a dangerous, corrupt notion. That's where you see the advent of programming on the radio, and radio research, all these silly things. That has made pop music what it is today. Everything -- morals, truth -- is all going out the window in favor of profit.

"I don't think it's a good attitude in your life to feel that you have to be rich to have self-esteem. You know, I saw a billboard in New York I wish I had photographed. It was for the TNN network. It said three words against a patriotic background of red, white and blue - BIGGER, YOUNGER, RICHER. Now, I find that fascinating: 'Bigger, younger, richer.' This whole idea of being wealthy has gone too far. I never ride in a limousine, you know. I feel gross if I get in a limousine. One good thing about the Sixties was it sort of was the opposite back then. You looked silly trying to appear rich."

posted by jon lebkowsky on 11/18/2002 11:21:55 AM | ~permalink~ | ~post a comment~

Friday, November 15, 2002
PDAs in Schools

Some complain that computers don't belong in schools; I recall a recent study that showed students were learning less since computer tech became part of the classroom environment. When I read that, I figured the problem was not the presence of computers, but a learning curve as we figure out how to integrate them effectively, which probably requires a bit of thinking outside the proverbial box. This article in Wired News examines an SRI study that shows how PDAs are finding effective use in classrooms as students and teachers find creative ways to make them useful in that context. [Link]
posted by jon lebkowsky on 11/15/2002 02:23:29 AM | ~permalink~ | ~post a comment~

Monday, November 11, 2002
Intranet Usability: The Trillion-Dollar Question

From Jakob Nielsen: Useability gets less emphasis in the development of corporate intranets than with outward-facing sites, but failure to create efficient, useable intranets has a cost, and it's significant. [Link]
If we improved all the intranets in the world to the usability level achieved by the best 25% in our study, the world economy would save $311,294,070,513 per year for the sixteen test tasks alone. Adding the likely savings from company-specific tasks leads us to an estimated $600 billion in total annual productivity improvements. This level of intranet productivity is a modest goal; we could realistically achieve it with an investment of about $31 billion per year in intranet usability.

Assuming further usability improvements -- up to the very best level we found for each study task -- could save the world economy $1.3 trillion per year when we include estimated improvements in company-specific tasks.

posted by jon lebkowsky on 11/11/2002 12:07:20 PM | ~permalink~ | ~post a comment~

Saturday, November 09, 2002

For the last couple of weeks the terrific avant pop (or pop vivant, as I say in the intro) musician Stew has been holding forth in a discussion, led by Ed Ward, in the WELL's Inkwell.vue. Stew's smart, funny, and wise, and Ed's enyclopedic knowledge of pop culture frames the discussion especially well. [Link]
By total coincidence one week in 199? i was fooling with 3 or 4 books and in those books i kept running into the word "essence." And the funny thing for me was that one was a Negritude Anthology and the other was a book about Heidegger. The other was a book on Baraka's Black Nationalist phase. So i thought it was trippy that blacks got to talk about their "essence" and it was ok (empowering) but when germans talked about it it was scary. I then got to thinking about how Heidegger fucked up by thinking Hitler was somehow gonna wake the Volk up to what their essence was all about. And then I thought about how thats exactly what a "strong black leader" in the 60's was sposed to do.

Then, in the middle of a load of depressing thoughts about the dubious nature of man/womankind, i thought it would simply be funny if Martin Heidegger, in the middle of one of his lectures at Freiburg, accidentally time travelled into early 60's Harlem and found himself, in full-on lederhosen, on a corner soap box talking about essence.

I dont think the song is anywhere as good as the daydream that inspired it. But thats it.

posted by jon lebkowsky on 11/9/2002 05:11:21 AM | ~permalink~ | ~post a comment~

Wednesday, November 06, 2002
Open Source Initiative OSI - Doc7:Halloween Documents

Trick or treat! In the latest Halloween doc, Eric Raymond analyzes an internal Microsoft memo which says, bottom line, that Open Source is competition. You know, that capitalist thing where innovators can eat your lunch. You remember that, Bill? It's like what you and yours did to your competitors. [Link]
Closing, those who are familiar with OSS and Linux are favorably predisposed towards them. Linking this work with other on-point research, we can assume that in the majority of cases this reported 'favorability' is more emotional than it is rational. Given this context, we should not expect rational arguments focused on undermining support for OSS, Linux and the GPL to perform well. In the short term, then, Microsoft should avoid criticizing OSS and Linux directly, continue to develop and aim to eventually win the TCO argument, and focus on delivering positive Shared Source messages that contain transparent, audience specific proof points.

{So they're going to try to beat us up on total cost of ownership! Well, it was all pretty sane up to that point; it's nice to know our opponents are still smoking crack about some key issues. Or have they simply escaped noticing that the worst customer revolt they're dealing with is over the TCO implications of the new XP licensing scheme?}

posted by jon lebkowsky on 11/6/2002 07:47:11 PM | ~permalink~ | ~post a comment~

Monday, November 04, 2002
Smart Mobs reviewed by Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow, feet planted firmly in today's future, reviews Howard Rheingold's Smart Mobs, which explores the new adhocratic nodal multiverse still emerging, now through a proliferation of wireless communication devices. [Link]
Smart Mobs are packet-switched. Howard's book teases this out admirably. Packet-switched means that you're not reliable, you're not in control, you're not deterministic. Victorians of a certain bent adopted a fatalistic view of the universe as an utterly predictable billiard-table whose balls were set in motion by the Supreme First Mover. Smart Mobs live in an evolutionary hothouse that has more in common with the randomwalking properties of colony animals than with the military discipline of yestercenturies revolutions, cartels and governments.

Japanese schoolgirls and Finnish teenagers and Filipino citizenry and bloggers and warchalking gangs are all views into a packet-switched future. As usual, Howard has nailed the ethic, the feeling and the lightspeed futuristic frisson that he hammered in with Virtual Community and his other books, revealing the way that the world has already changed before any of us have even noticed.

posted by jon lebkowsky on 11/4/2002 07:20:50 AM | ~permalink~ | ~post a comment~

Saturday, November 02, 2002
Quantum Urban Myth?

From usenet: This post speculates whether a couple of papers on quantum physics were created as a hoax by a couple of science fiction authors who took time to master physics jargon, then created the papers as a kind of poetry in that peculiar lingo. Example: "We propose hereafter that the signature of the Space-Time metric (+++-) is not anymore frozen at the Planck scale and presents quantum fluctuations (++++/-) until 0 scale where it becomes Euclidean (++++). (i) At the albraic level we suggest an oscillation path (3,1) (4,0) excluding (2,2). We built the quotient topological space describing the superposition of the Lorentzian and the Riemanian metrics. In terms of quantum groups we evidence a relation between q-deformation and deformation of the signature...." [Link]
The journal articles make for rather strange reading (you can easily get ahold of them, because they are appended to the PDF files containing the theses). Some parts almost seem to make sense, but the more carefully you read them, the less sense they make.
posted by jon lebkowsky on 11/2/2002 06:48:27 AM | ~permalink~ | ~post a comment~

Friday, November 01, 2002
Ricardo Bello ponders Venezuela's Cyborg Festival

Following the first phase of Venezuela's Cyborg Festival, the brilliant (and hard working!) Ricardo Bello, one of its organizers, ponders the lessons of phase one. [Link]
What I thought to be an excellent art website, was a communication one, and viceversa. It all belong to one category: the ability to communicate; one urge, the will to power in the Nietzschean sense, the will to create and express yourself and get in touch with others, no restrain whatsoever unless it refers to your technical ability. I just finished Thomas L. Friedman´s new book: Longitudes and Attitudes. Exploring the World After September 11, and he is right in several ways. The end of the Cold War opened the door to a globalization system build around three balances that affect one another, and one of them, the newest and most radical of all, is the balance between individuals and nation-states.
posted by jon lebkowsky on 11/1/2002 04:16:43 PM | ~permalink~ | ~post a comment~

European Commission and Open Source

The European Commission is funding a study to determine the issues of migrating to Linux and Open Source technology. (Via ). [Link]
Microsoft's recently introduced licensing changes have added weight to this concern but Bleasdale said an even bigger issue was the rate of change that Microsoft is imposing on customers, and many are struggling to deal with it. This calls for a major rethink in computing architecture, such as West Yorkshire Police have embraced, he added.
posted by jon lebkowsky on 11/1/2002 06:17:40 AM | ~permalink~ | ~post a comment~

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.

Hibiscus by Jon L.


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)

Conversation with Bruce Sterling at the WELL's Inkwell.vue Forum

Interview with R.U. Sirius at CTHEORY

interview conducted by Yoshihiro Kaneda in conjunction with the publication in Japan, in the book CyberRevolution, the essay "Inforeal."

interview with Allucquere Rosanne Stone.

No Stone Untenured: May '98 Interview with Sandy Stone

Bruce Sterling interview for bOING bOING #9

The Tedium is the Message, Assholes: Interview (for AltX) with R.U. Sirius and St. Jude

Don't Believe the Hype (Austin Digerati Roundtable published January 28)

Why We Listen to What They Say: Interview with Doug Rushkoff

Interviews with
Doug Block and Michael Wolff

Projecting the 21st Century: An Interview with Gary Chapman

Information Junkie, an interview with Reva Basch (Researching Online for Dummies)

Webb on the Web

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


Review of Paulina Borsook's Cyberselfish, in Whole Earth Magazine.

review in HotWired of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest.

Cyber Top Ten for 1997 (Austin Chronicle, December 1997)


2001 Blues
in Rewired

What Happened to the Cyber Revolution?
in Signum

A Few Points about Online Activism in the March '99 issue of the UK journal Cybersociology

ZapSpace, published as A Fistful of DOS in the Australian magazine 21C

The Cyborganic Path from the April '97 issue of CMC Magazine

Essay: Are We a Nation? We Are Devo in The Ethical Spectacle.

Chaos Politics!

Fiction that Bleeds Truth!


Little Nemo in Slumberland (bOING bOING, February 1998)

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!

Dungeons and Draggin's: a look at the Ultima Online phenomenon

"We Do Cool Things": a profile of Austin's George Sanger, aka The Fatman, and Team Fat

The Opera Ain't Over 'til the Cyber Lady Sings: Honoria in Ciberspazio (Austin Chronicle, November 1997)

Shout Spamalam! The Austin Spam Suit

Election Notes 2000

Who Are You? Who Owns You? A consideration of Amazon's privacy policy.

Nodal Politics

Amicus Brief filed with Supreme Court regarding the "Communications Decency Act"

11.25.96 Freewheelin' in Austin

1.7.97 Cyberdawgs and CyberRights: EFF-Austin

2.25.97 VR in 3Space: Brian Park

1.28.97 Going Native in Cyberspace: Bob Anderson

3.25.97 A Parisian Spring in Austin: Joseph Rowe and Catherine Braslavsky

4.22.97 On a Rock and Roll Firetruck: Shawn Phillips

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