Technorati Tags: podcasting
Wednesday, 31 August 2005
Tuesday, 30 August 2005
The spooky thing for me is that my old friends at Planetary Visions Limited spent a big chunk of the 90s making computer visualisations from satellite data of just this kind of thing - here's a year's worth of weather, so the real pictures are curiously familiar.
Sunday, 28 August 2005
Seeing them consecutively made me realise that they both are parables of how it is to be a geek in the world. The way Edward Scissorhands gently satirises Californian suburban life was much clearer now I've been living it for a while. At it's core, though, it is a classic 'geek versus jock' battle over a girl, but there is a lot of layered subtext about trying to make sense of unusual abilities in an world with other assumptions.
The father of Edward's adoptive family waxes lyrical on Ed going into business on his own "There's nothing like running your own business. I've never done it myself, but from what I gather it's the greatest satisfaction a working man can have. So I guess the bank's going to be your next step, huh?"
His loan is of course denied through blank incomprehension, and he is led into crime.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by contrast, has Depp as a post-dotcom bubble geek, with enough money to indulge his rococo taste in factory design and furnishings. It also has a darker subtext, with Wonka's paranoia about his secret formulae being stolen, and his mass onshoring by replacing the local workforce with imported Oompa-Loompa's who literally work for beans.
In both films a good, ordinary family is the path to redemption, but Edward ends up estranged and alone, making beautiful sculptures no-one sees; Wonka, by contrast, brings Charlie's family into his own hermetic world. I'm not sure if either of these is a moral ending, though.
Thursday, 25 August 2005
Tuesday, 23 August 2005
For example, here's the argument against copyright term extension reframed for different political views:
- Liberal collectivist
- The shared culture of society should belong to the people together, not to faceless corporations.
- Our ability to express ourselves freely should not be constrained by a state-granted monopoly.
- Liberal Economist
- As non-rivalrous goods with a vanishingly small marginal cost of reproduction, cultural goods reach maximum utility by being freely replicable.
- Creating property rights in goods that can be duplicated at will is inflationary, and undermines the value of real physical property that is the bedrock of a stable society.
Each of these is a facet of the issue, and a defensible position, but if you have a mismatch between the argument and the political frame of your audience, you will be met with incomprehension or hostility, and won't win for your cause.
Updated: Doc Searls and Larry Lessig debated this very issue right after the Eldred case. Doc's thoughts, Larry's response.
In answer to Doc's comment about 'Commons' putting off the libertarians and the right, I'd like to suggest 'Digital Commonwealth' as a more neutral political term.
Perhaps it was this idea of decentralisation that got Tim O'Reilly to put his publishing company in Sebastopol in the first place - and certainly they do a great job of publishing books by scattered authors.
However, if you're going to visit O'Reilly there, you need to make at least a day of it — from my house in San Jose I can get to Boston by air in about the same time it takes me to drive to Sebastopol — so Tim making a virtue from a necessity, and organising a camp there was a brilliant move. One of the strengths of Foo is that it brings in people from further afield than the Bay Area.
Conversely, being based here means that there are lots of events going on, and Bar was an example of what that clustering can do.
Which brings me back to Markoff's What the Dormouse Said, whose thesis is that it was the combination of the chip companies, Stanford, and the SF counterculture that built the computing world we live in now. They needed the physical proximity then, and going to PARC to hear from Doug Englebart and Larry Tesler about those days was fascinating.And yet, the collaboration tools they dreamed of then are now coming to fruition, in the way that I can contact friends in both camps, and others worldwide from my computer or sidekick.
I managed to get a live broadcast up from Bar camp so far-flung friends could watch and react via IRC, but attempts to get video out of Foo camp were stymied by their NAT and router. Global textual collaboration has been here for a while; adding video and audio is still a work in progress.
Friday, 12 August 2005
The man of system, on the contrary, is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it. He goes on to establish it completely and in all its parts, without any regard either to the great interests, or to the strong prejudices which may oppose it. He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not consider that the pieces upon the chess-board have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them; but that, in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might chuse to impress upon it. If those two principles coincide and act in the same direction, the game of human society will go on easily and harmoniously, and is very likely to be happy and successful. If they are opposite or different, the game will go on miserably, and the society must be at all times in the highest degree of disorder.microformats.org says:
microformats are not:
- a new language
- infinitely extensible and open-ended
- an attempt to get everyone to change their behavior and rewrite their tools
- a whole new approach that throws away what already works today
- a panacea for all taxonomies, ontologies, and other such abstractions
- defining the whole world, or even just boiling the ocean
- any of the above
The man whose public spirit is prompted altogether by humanity and benevolence, will respect the established powers and privileges even of individuals [...]microformats.org continues:
He will accommodate, as well as he can, his public arrangements to the confirmed habits and prejudices of the people; and will remedy as well as he can, the inconveniencies which may flow from the want of those regulations which the people are averse to submit to. When he cannot establish the right, he will not disdain to ameliorate the wrong; but like Solon, when he cannot establish the best system of laws, he will endeavour to establish the best that the people can bear.
the microformats principles
- solve a specific problem
- start as simple as possible
- design for humans first, machines second
- reuse building blocks from widely adopted standards
- modularity / embeddability
- enable and encourage decentralized development, content, services
I grant you, the microformats prose is terse in comparison, but I see the commonality between the two. Do read Lynne's post in full, and thank you Megan for pointing it out.