Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Friday, June 23, 2006

  Building a lever big enough to move the world

Doc's been building a big enough lever to move the world. Now, if only enough people jump on...

I said that we'd already changed the world twice, with computers and the Internet itself.

And doc said: I had someone ask me about the Xprize "crew" shirt I'm wearing and the spaceship on it (It was the 2 year anniversary of the first flight) I said: SpaceshipOne never actually flew - it just hung in the air for a perfect shining moment, and the world moved beneath it.

That's how I feel about blogging, and yet I inadaquately expressed later what I meant about me "getting off the lever", was that what we needed was more snow balls rolling downhill. See those t-shirts doc and I are wearing? Two lovely snowballs.

I felt compelled the next day to wear my mozilla 1.0 T-shirt - the predecessor to firefox - because mozilla spent years in the woods before it finally "made it", and I got awful tired of using what levers I had to get it rolling downhill.

So I tried to talk about how many times an issue that the blogosphere has fought for has been defeated, how often a good technology got killed or thwarted in the bud like ReplayTV's commercial skip feature - or how the recent debate over "network neutrality" ultimately went down in flames, becuase if there is one thing I'd like to see the blogosphere have is a longer term view.

The cause of returning the analog television spectrum in 2009 back to the people would be one of my picks for a new snowball, as one example. That's a few years off. What sort of snowball could we build for that meme by 2008?

Or re-take the meme "network neutrality" - make it be about something simpler like "network asymmetry", or everyone having a right to their own IP address to do with as they will, or something, anything, any positive meme along these lines that sticks together long enough to survive the long roll downhill.

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  bloggercon and the emotional life

Started taking pics of bloggercon. The difference between this and supernova is like that between day and night. We're in a well lit room, everybody knows each other (more or less) and the whole conversation, is just that, a conversation.

Supernova - well... it's more like a presentation, more like a black mass with the dark priests officiating. The stage lights are so bright that the speakers can't see more than 5 rows back in the audience and everyone else is in this dark room. The TRUTH is coming down from the podium on high, and THOU shalt listen...

Frank Paynter remarked: Yea, all they had to do was have sinister flags drop down on either side of the speakers.

... and I had visions of the famous Apple 1984 commercial, I just wanted someone like Doc Searls, or the Identity Woman to come running up the isle and smash the screens.

So that was Supernova. I'm glad I went. I'm worried about the mutating memes over there. But to heck with it, I'm over at Bloggercon now and having a grand time.

The Emotional Life session has been the best chat of them all thus far - for I too, have closed up about personal matters on my blog - but I'm not prepared to talk about why, yet.

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  Is joho really working for AT&T?

What kind of Kool-Aid do they get underneath the death star?
 

  Satisfying the anti-spam vigilante urge

Okay, at some point my buddy greg had it with rogue ISP's over in asia who ignore abusive behavior by their users. And those users who go to great lengths to spam for whatever schemes they are up to. Most of these spammers nowadays seem to resort to contact-info forms so that when their whack-a-mole website goes down they can contact the fools who actually clicked on their product. Since we've had it trying to chase after these spammers, the alternate tack is to see how they like taking what they are dishing out. So greg wrote a perl script using WWW::Mechanize to fill their form with junk and submit it repeatedly. Hopefully it'll cost them some time sorting the junk from the real submissions and I can only hope I cost them more time then they cost us.

If you'd like a copy of the script it's available at: http://www.rage.net/~greg/spammerannoy.pl-txt
 

  async attendance

I messed up my back last week moving rocks from the top of my hill to the bottom. If I were to have been patient another couple years, gravity would have done the work for me, but for today, I hurt.

Driving to the train, taking the train to SF, biking to supernova, and repeating that all in reverse to get home at 10PM - to collapse until 8AM... to gobble aspirins until I felt good enough to rise to vertical a few minutes back...

so anyway, it took me forever to get it together this morning. In particular, leaving the internet bandwidth at home behind to engage in the conference there (for higher human bandwidth) - is hard.

As I am behind on the con, but everybody is podcasting live, so I'll just download all the casts I've missed this morning onto my mp3 player - from both bloggercon and supernova - and maybe I'll be in sync by the time I get to SF... If I make it as far as the car.
 
Thursday, June 22, 2006

  AntiSocial Software

You have 200 people in a room with laptops. 180 of which are running windows, 18 of which are running Mac, and the remaining 2 run Linux. Everyone (but me) has blackberries. Some have two.

I'm the guy running Linux. 64 bit linux, to be exact. My laptop probably has more ram and hard disk than nearly every machine in the room. I have my own web server on it, my own phone server, and hell, I could make it be my own access point if I could just scam a wired ethernet connection.

Now, you'd think, that maybe these 200 people would have a clue that 4 wireless access points and 4 T1s is simply not up to the load... but no...

What happens? about 50 of us get on an irc channel and start backtalking the speakers, substituting fact for hype, and sarcasm for padded phrasology - and transmitting other bits of truly important information, like the status of the Stevens Bill - and the url for a bill that actually might make a difference (http://dpsproject.com/)

BUT some other !@#!@#!@s get on 2nd life and clog the whole network - there are people around me watching inch high videos of themselves being filmed earlier - and all I want to do is get my BLOG POSTS through - a few dozen k - and I put a sniffer on the net and watch packets going to download vista of all things for god's sake and...

and I suddenly want to be a net vigilante - in the gallager sense - I want to track down the 2nd lifer and shoot the selfish bastard's laptop in the head with a dart gun marking the guy as clueless and needing a life - and wishing everybody would do that to other bandwidth offenders - to hell with network neutrality - what I want is clued network citizenship - what I want is some antisocial software that will electrocute anyone that is abusing the conference net....

... and anybody with 5 darts on their laptop gets pulled out of the conference and sent to a massage palour in the red light district, or told swimming from Alcatraz was actually a popular sport here.

....

Supernova is streaming in a Microsoft proprietary format. Nice. How Web 0.9 Beta. (at the same time it is certainly representative of the audience)

There's nothing earthshaking here, except for maybe the rumor that the guy that was going to ask AT&T's rep about the NSA's sniffing was dragged off - "I know I can pay you to turn on call block, and pay to disable my directory listing - how much do I have to pay to keep the NSA out of my private conversations?"

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  "That piano is just for show"

So I take a break from the break and the panel format, and spy a beautiful yamaha piano in the dining room. I look both ways - there's no security present - and sit down and wheel out a few of my prettiest pieces. I get a few nods and smiles from the people around me for my opener, then I roll into a basic blues, then start "Estonia", this thing in Gminor that I've been fiddling with

Then security shows up to tell me that: "that piano is not for customers, that piano is just for show."

I say, "It's an awfully nice and well tuned piano to have just for show."

He says - "well, you're obviously qualified to be playing it, but it really is, just for show."

I ask: "Is it ok if I finish this song?"

And the security man looks both ways (for his supervisor?), and agrees, politely. And I, politely, finish my song, straighten up the piano, close the lid, and leave.

This same scenario has been repeated in 75% of the hotels I've been to - someone officious comes up and kicks me off the piano. I've thought about disguising myself as Elton John or Billy Joel, but no doubt, they'd get the same treatment. Is it a conspiracy? That pianos not be played? That they sit there, inert, without life or song emanating from them, out there, just for show?

The other 25% of hotels welcome someone playing the piano - and those are the kinds of places I like to stay at. It's way too expensive for me to pay 300 bucks for hotel room - but 300 bucks for a hotel room and a couple hours 7' 10" piano rental (and free drinks) is always totally worth it everywhere I've found one. There's a hotel in San Diego that asked me to come back....

Ah, well, this hotel is full, anyway. Maybe a youth hostel will take me in.

... I'd planned on closing with "It GPLs me".

That piano - the GPL - is not just for show.

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  Bill Gates gets human

I'm feeling so mellow that I'll say something nice about Bill Gate's exit from Microsoft (aside from being snarky and saying he's picked a good time to step down.

After he got married, and had kids, he became more human.

In a recent interview, Bill Moyers quoted Oscar Wilde and said: And Gates replied:
 

  Stevens bill hung up

Stevens attempt to institute even more restrictions for everything appears to be hung up with 200+ amendments proposed for it.

Something will pass eventually, mostly likely a bolus.

(heard in #supernova)
 

  Snarky in Supernova

Probably the best part of supernova has been sitting 5 tables away from Joho the blog... sitting in the back, on irc, being snarky to the speakers. How people many different worlds are sitting in this one room, but with at least a bit of their attention elsewhere?

Thankfully, the 2nd life addict has moved on, giving the rest of us some bandwidth to post.
 

  Power to the People

Here I am live blogging the Supernova conference, noting that for once the m/f ratio is closer to 70/30 rather than my usual 99/1.

I find the plain spoken Craig Newmark of Craigslist to be the simplest and most direct and genuine speaker there is.

Quotable bits from him:

"Just get out of the way. "

"There's a guy that said markets are conversations"

"People are pretty good at things. "

"Email is for the old, IM for the young".
 
Wednesday, June 21, 2006

  The Interruption Society

From Chipper: Sent at 4:34 AM on Wednesday
 
David Täht writes about politics, space, copyright, the internet, audio software, operating systems and surfing.


Resume,Songs,
My new blog, NeX-6, My facebook page
Orgs I like
The EFF - keeping free speech in the world
Musical stuff I like
Jeff, Rick, Ardour, Jack
Prior Rants - Wireless and Wifi in 2015 - not what I dreamed of Saving wifi! Fixing Bufferbloat! Fighting the vend... Virgin Media - Fixing the epidemic of bufferbloat ... 49... and trying to find my navel Wheels down on mars! Tracking the landing of Curiosity, from Seattle spotting NEOs from around venus's orbit Asteroids as lunar orbit resources SOPA is bad news Departing France for England, then 'home'.
Best of the blog:
Uncle Bill's Helicopter - A speech I gave to ITT Tech - Chicken soup for engineers
Beating the Brand - A pathological exploration of how branding makes it hard to think straight
Inside the Internet Mind - trying to map the weather within the global supercomputer that consists of humans and google
Sex In Politics - If politicians spent more time pounding the flesh rather than pressing it, it would be a better world
Getting resources from space - An alternative to blowing money on mars using NEAs.
On the Columbia - Why I care about space
Authors I like:
Doc Searls
Where's Cherie?
UrbanAgora
Jerry Pournelle
The Cubic Dog
Evan Hunt
The Bay Area is talking
Brizzled
Zimnoiac Emanations
Eric Raymond
Unlocking The Air
Bob Mage
BroadBand & Me
SpaceCraft
Selenian Boondocks
My Pencil
Transterrestial Musings
Bear Waller Hollar
Callahans
Pajamas Media BlogRoll Member

If you really want to, you can poke through the below links as well.

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