Friday, March 31, 2006


It's the Little Things

What's my favorite new site that adds clear value to my life? For all those sites that don't have an RSS feed, it gives you updates when a web page has changed. If you're like me, you spend way too much of your time returning to messageboards, blogs, and schedules (your favorite musician) to check status when there has been no change. For me, that's history. Don't be blogwhipped. Whip that blog!

Update: I was thinking earlier today how cool it would be if you could filter results based on keywords. For instance, suppose you only want to keep track of a few people on a message board or want to filter out an annoying poster. Well...Feedwhip added that feature today.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


Government Eavesdropping Part 5

There's a major underreported story in Seattle and it has nothing to do with a sensational house party massacre. This potential evidence appears as the DOJ responds to Congress that it believes the President is above the law. Where's Barbara Jordan when we need her to spank another President and send him behind the woodshed? This is not a question of privacy or civil liberties. This is a question of whether the people will accept lawlessness of the government.

From U.S. News and World Report:
Justice Department lawyer Anthony Coppolino tried to convince the judge that handing the document to the FBI for safekeeping would in no way compromise it
Safekeeping spying evidence with the spies? That sounds a lot like something out of a movie or Spy vs. Spy from Mad Magazine.

Update: From an older U.S. News article:
The searches, if they occurred, were anything but deft. Late at night on two occasions, Nelson's colleague Jonathan Norling noticed a heavyset, middle-aged, non-Hispanic white man claiming to be a member of an otherwise all-Hispanic cleaning crew, wearing an apron and a badge and toting a vacuum. But, says Norling, "it was clear the vacuum was not moving." Three months later, the same man, waving a brillo pad, spent some time trying to open Nelson's locked office door, Norling says. Nelson's wife and son, meanwhile, repeatedly called their home security company asking why their alarm system seemed to keep malfunctioning. The company could find no fault with the system.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Google Maps Meets Stuffopolis

Bruce Sterling spent a few minutes in last week's talk about the Internet of Things. He quoted Warren Ellis: "There's a middle distance between the complete collapse of infrastructure and some weird geek dream of electronically knowing where all your stuff is." Sterling made up a word (or tag or theory object...) spime in 2004. The objects represented below don't have chips or GPS, so they're not actual spimes yet. Nonetheless, over the last couple of years, this "inventory voodoo" has helped us geeks and friends of geeks keep track of our things.

Here's a snapshot of where my stuff is around the world right now. Each marker is a friend. Click on a marker and you see what stuff they have. Space. If you hover over an item, it says what day the request was made. Time.

Of course, what's shown above is typically private information. To protect the innocent, I asked permission last week from my friends to use this data and I also did the coordinate lookup by zipcode instead of full address. Then, I cut and pasted the HTML from Stuffopolis into this blog entry.

You might notice that many of the items have been out for a year or more (there's survivorship bias here. we don't see items already returned). The beauty is that it doesn't matter. Neither party needs to worry about getting the item back right away. It can always be recalled if necessary, but usually, the item can go on a long sabbatical. Boundaries are collapsing. (Although, the privacy settings on Stuffopolis are strict by default.)

Update: I've had some people ask me whether this is feature is available on Stuffopolis. The answer is Yes.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


I Have Been Tagged: 7

Tagged by Ashley.

7 things to do before I die:
1. Travel: Florence, Galapagos Islands, Cuba, Alaska, India, Brazil, and Montana
2. Break 100,000 on Defender
3. Ice skate in College Station, Texas
4. Liberate the Muppets
5. See Shoeless Joe Jackson, Pete Rose and J.R. Richard (i.e. real baseball players) in the Baseball Hall of Fame
6. Be a square on the Hollywood Squares
7. Meet the Gnomes of Basel

7 things I cannot do:
1. Advertise
2. Watch golf, post-1980's men's tennis, NFL, MLB, or NBA
3. Drink dark roasted coffee
4. Use the Force for attack
5. Eat in a restaurant with bad music
6. Eat sausage kolaches on a deep sea fishing expedition
7. Pay attention to a TV weather forecast

7 things I say most often:
1. They barred me for being too good a player.
2. Only if the opportunity cost does not exceed ROI is the proposition sound.
3. Are you going to Hippy Hour?
4. Yeah, I'm bringing the XBox/Halo.
5. We're raging.
6. Let me play devil's advocate.
7. [Insert town] is a Potemkin village.

7 books I love:
1. Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace
2. The Red Queen
3. Evolution of Cooperation
4. The Future of Money
5. I Remember Atticus
6. The Social Construction of Reality
7. Unix Network Programming

7 movies I can watch over and over again:
(As a twist, I'll do quotes from memory)
1. "Stocks may rise and fall, utilities and transportation systems may collapse."
2. "60% of the time, it works every time."
3. "She tried to sit in my lap while I was standing up."
4. "It's a wonder you're still alive."
5. "That's like me saying Touchdown here isn't very intelligent because I beat him three games out of five the last time we played chess."
6. "Kermit, does this film have any socially redeeming value?"
7. "Corporate decisions are made by corporate executives."

Friday, March 17, 2006


Sunday Night Happy Fun Armageddon Hour!

CNN will be going head-to-head Sunday night with the Discovery Channel in visions of armageddon and disaster! While CNN's is a gloomy Peak Oil take on the future, Discovery's is slightly more optimistic with a tornado destroying Dallas. I would tune in just to see that, but as a special bonus, my friend Don's house was the filming location for the Dallas family's house. I will have to hunt down a TV Sunday night and put a call in to the Countdown to Armageddon Whiskey Support Team.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Make No Decision Out of Fear

mp3 of Bruce Sterling's talk (coverage). On the way out, I overheard some in the crowd who were so buried in denial that they complained that it was negative. Consistent with the reaction is this post. It's like they can no longer distinguish between real life and TV.

I met up with people later that night at the Digital Convergence event for some great conversations and food. I still don't understand what digital convergence is about (Is it like Snow Crash?) but they threw a great party.

Monday, March 13, 2006


Current Events

If you want to get caught up on current events, I've found no better analysis than here.


SXSWi 2006

Life is good. I was introduced to Nancy White earlier today. I've been on her mailing list since November. This was right after attending Jimmy Wales interview of Craig Newmark (coverage). Then, after attending about a minute of a panel which I had been tricked into because it had an interesting title, I called an audible and escaped to one which I knew would be of substance, Peter Morville's (author of Ambient Findability). Peter mentioned Podzinger which does speech to text so that you can perform a search on an mp3 file and seek to the position where a phrase is. I haven't tried it yet. I liked Peter's observation that we are "designing the legacy systems of tomorrow." Went home for a bit and then went to the Cedar Door for Bootstrap Austin and then to the EFF-Creative Commons Party where I was happy to meet Craig Newmark and we talked about Rushkoff's new book. Craig got an advance copy. I'm expecting some pretty big parties tomorrrow.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Siskel and Ebert Videos

There are some funny Siskel and Ebert videos at Bedazzled! (the blog's subtitle is a Snow Crash reference) Especially the one about Protestants and Yuppies. Classic.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


The Big Guy: How Tom Delay Stole Congress

Another promising documentary. DeLay spokeswoman Shannon Flaherty:
I haven't seen it and really don't plan on hanging out with a bunch of liberal activists at a house party in Austin to catch a sneak peak
In other news, Stanhope will be in Austin again at the end of the month (3/26-27 @ Club DeVille). Both should be good fun.

Update: I realize I mispelled 'Buy' in the title but it was not practical for me to fix it...

Friday, March 03, 2006



AMY GOODMAN: Arundhati Roy, what about the visit to the memorial for Mahatma Gandhi?

ARUNDHATI ROY: Well, you know, the memorial for Mahatma Gandhi is now becoming a favorite visiting spot for all kinds of war criminals. You had Ariel Sharon go there. Then you had the Burmese dictator go there. Now, we have Bush...

audio, video and transcript here.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Web 2.0: Big Brother Is Us

Web 2.0 seems to be the big Internet buzzword and I'm pretty sure no less than 1000 definitions have been offered. I'm throwing my cute definition into the hat today: Big Brother Is Us.

Last year went by particularly quick for me and I spent at least a few hours trying to account for time, especially tying personal events to dates. I remember hearing a story about 10 years ago that the CEO took a camera with him everywhere so he could take a picture every day to help him with this. So, a few months ago, I realized that I could use the little trail of breadcrumbs I have left all over my Web 2.0 applications to help me figure this out. While this was helpful to me, as is often with profound insights, this left me with a slight sense of dread.

The most popular of the Web 2.0 applications are popular because they have an almost zero concept of privacy. The user is left with having to make decisions about his privacy for every action rather than having suitable defaults or profile choices. So, among application developers, there is a lot of pressure to remove or obscure privacy options from users. Thus, we have Web 2.0 applications.

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