Archive for September, 2004

I’ll be very briefly in NYC on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning (9/21-22) for the Wired sponsored Creative Commons Benefit featuring David Byrne and Gilberto Gil.
I’ll be staying at the uberhip W Hotel with the Commoners and I’ll have a little side trip to Conde Nast (publisher of Wired) and perhaps up to Time, Inc.
With luck, I’ll hook up with ibiblio alumni and friends whilst up there. The big question is can I dress hip enough to be allowed to stay in W. Is black still in in NYC?

The Concert will be webcast LIVE at 8pm EDT Tuesday September 21.
So if you can’t get to NYC, you can still see the show.

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David McConville did his dome thing at Burning Man.

In the meantime, the media, local and international, can’t get enough of Ruby! Locally, she won a Village Pride Award given on the occassion of the one year anniversary of her local political group-blog, orangepolitics.org. Internationally, she had her letter read on the BBC Newshour.

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International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Avast, mateys! International Talk Like a Pirate Day sits on the horizon like a drunken parrot. Awk! Arrg! Thar she be lessen a fortnight away! Sunday September 19!

Prepare with these great ibiblio resources these songs, this book, this book, and The Queen of Pirate Island and this ship.

And check out this great Blackbeard site.

Bones in the Paris Catacomb Photo from the Catacombs of Paris (WebMuseum) by Craig A. Merriman.

And use this non-ibiblio resource for your typing (thanks to Greg Cox).

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John Perry Barlow: His blog, his Homestead at EFF, his recent Reason interview, his famous Declaration of Cyberspace Independence (1996), some Barlow lyrics (mostly recorded by Grateful Dead).

The Well today at Salon.

Howard Rheingold’s HotWired (today’s not anything like the HR version), then Electric Minds, thenBrainstorm Community.

Robert Putnam, Ray Oldenberg, Ronald Burt, Marc Granovetter, Walt Disney and others are listed our readings section.

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I’ve always thought it interesting that back-to-the-earth hippies ran Howard’s beloved Well, so I usually include links to the Farm Community, the Farm (is there a difference?), some of its history, and a bit about the founder, Stephen Gaskin.

Then again we have the engineers and bureaucrats who were critical to the growth of the Internet in particularJ. C. R. Licklider and others.

The National Institute of Health’s National Library of Medicine has one of the best history of the net sites — beginning of course with the telegraph.

I have to point out that despite a 10 year opportunity to correct errors, Howard didn’t creditCommunity
(Gemeinschaft) and Society (Gesellschaft) to Tonnies (he says Durkheim for some reason)
.

Tempora Heroica has been supporting MUDding for over 10 years and still is going strong. There is a history there to be written for sure.

Before we get all excited about William Gibson or Bruce Sterling, let’s remember Vernor
Vinge’s True Names
is really The first cyberpunk/cyberspace story. It
has obvious and predictive links to MUDs, IRC and virtual worlds.

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I was teaching during the panel yesterday that was called “Is Google Good” — I swear I read it as “Is Google God?” so did Justin Watt when he posted to the attendees.

This reminded me that when I was at FOO Camp this past weekend with several Google and Gmail folks. Candidly one recalled the two Google corporate commandments: Don’t Be Evil and Don’t Suck. Now that Google is a publicly held company (sorta I think the founders and friends are still the majority by far), the Googlist wondered just how long they could continue without sucking — 6 months, 6 years, 60 years? Of course, he was hoping for the 60 years, but opined that all companies will eventually suck.

Talk turned to times when Apple (whose folks were also in attendance including some serious ex-Applers) did and did not suck.

Is there a meantime to sucking measure (M2S) once a company goes public?

I refer you to the Second Law of Thermodynamics

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Today, we had two UNC faculty members, who have become public intellectuals via blogging or at least noticed beyond their specialities and this school, visit our class. The idea here is to see how knowledge capital and social capital can be expressed in the blogosphere by very different folks doing different kinds of work (intellectual work but yes work too). We were also hoping for and got interesting personal stories and opinions. Opinions for bloggers! I’m shocked! One thing to notice immediately is how passionately both feel about their writing and their engagement with the blogosphere.

Cori Dauber’s blog, Ranting Profs, is aimed at ‘media coverage in the war on terror’

Eric Muller’s blog, Is That Legal?, started out as random musings of a law professor — not necessarily about legal matters — but recently has been taken over by his research area — Japanese Interment in WWII — after a more than just lively run in with author Michelle Maklin.

Both have drawn on their readers for more information (knowledge capital) and support and references and other outlets for their work (social capital).

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Doc has the slides to the talk that he gave here at UNC last week online now. Warning: they are in PPT.

I came home to find Ruby spread across the local paper. Seriously the picture (which Ruby scanned for us to see) is not at the paper’s site and not quite the same online. It takes up almost all of the space above the fold in the features section of the Chapel Hill News. The story is all about Ruby’s group blog, orangepolitics.org

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Blogs that talk about FOO Camp

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Spent some time having Jim Lussier of Norwest Venture partners show me the legal music sharing/personal radio project, Mercora, that he’s involved in. Nice community feel that I wish iTunes had. You can see what’s playing where, see profiles of members, see their playlists, listen in, chat and/or email and/or blog about the music and with members. Even pays SoundExchange as the RIAA requires.

Then dropped into a presentation of Engineering Biology which ended with a discussion of the Library of Science and of licensing DNA technologies by Drew Endy of MIT Biology. Very powerful arguments presented about releasing biology for patents and from publishing restrictions. Ended up wondering if DNA research or protein research is more to the point for immuniology. True proteology is way behind DNA research now but moving from DNA to the proteins that DNA might make makes sense to me.

2 am EDT and I’m fried. Bed time for East Coasters. Tomorrow out of here by 8 am PDT

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List of All Friends according to Slashdot is:

an extension to email that lets you send out address book data without compromising your privacy. LOAF appends a hash-like data structure to each outgoing email, and collects similar attachments from the people who write to you. These files can be queried to see if they contain a given email address, but they can’t be reverse-engineered to reveal the list of addresses used to construct them. LOAF lets you check whether someone emailing you for the first time is a complete stranger, or appears in the address books of some of your trusted correspondents. And as a decentralized application, LOAF offers an interesting alternative to current social networking sites like Orkut or Friendster.

The idea is to share your contacts with your friends via a hash of your addressbook. The hash uses Bloom filters. In fact, the social networking aspect is less networking than sharing who you trust as having sent you email that you’d like to read. You don’t have to network socially to do this really; it’s more about getting rid of spam. no central server so that’s nice. procmail can filter on incoming. but outgoing using pine, you fake sendmail to do the hash attachment.

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Dale Daugherty says the aim of Make is to address the home shop and hacks on grey market etc.

Andrew shows off gameboy advanced hacks by using a linker (which you must buy overseas at 100 -150$) but he wants to talk about creating one yourself. He’s after not illegal behavior but emulation for classic games including superniteendo and sinclair etc. even infocom games like Zork.also donkey kong.
You can electronically tune your car with this even. Much excitement over using GBA for that.

How to make almost anything and not kill yourself
– Raffi Krikorian (at MIT) is the TA there. MIT returns to its roots. oddities discussed including scream delayer.

Open Source car and/or source forge for hardware desired. (MIT folks excited about this).

Tom Anderson shows off a tube amp for guitars. It is loud and makes noise so it’s a success.

Pages from Make circulate. Ariel Photography from Kites. cheap lightings tricks.
Soldering and Desoldering.

James Duncan does 3D printing using chocolate as the material. Legos used to make the device.
800$ of Lego and 60$ of chocolate plus a funnel. He only used about 200$ in Legos and was tic-ed about

Saul was the Lego fellow at MIT but he somehow offended them and they will not build chocolate printer. Another fellow build a lathe that will carve candles and another to scrape toast.

A general moan and whine about the way Lego packages their products.

Is Make Popular Mechanics married to Wired?

Peter Mui is sitting beside me. He was shooting off 1 liter bottles using water and air pressure delighting all the kids here. He has a great launching pad too.

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Kathy Sierra (see earlier post) is talking about how her Java books became the best selling Java books. and their newest title in the HeadFirst series that she and Bert Bates created.
Drawing from Neurobiology (work on learning and increasing memory), game design, advertising and marketing, psycology, learning theory and entertainment, she and Bert redesigned books to add emotion (so to aid memory). How does the brain work to prevent memory? most of brain chemistry is dedicated to preventing long term memory she says. Brain wants to keep non-life threatening material out and to let life-preserving material in. long memories are from insults and other passions. straight facts fall off the skull thanks to brain chemistry.
Their books have been acused of being comix, but they are not (says I).
(speaking of emotion — lunch was various grilled wursts and salad. i remember it well)
Game designers (she holds up the book Flow and Chris Crawford’s “The Art of Interactive Design”) why do we keep on just one compile away. seeing the end very very close. a challenge with a solution close at hand keeps you at it. basically the programming zone. game designers are the masters of this. levels in games and rewards pull you along.
learning theory and cognitive overload. knowledge must be a co-creation. the learner must be engaged in building knowledge.
marketing etc. using sex? can you say learning java servelets will get you sex? no bud swedish bikini team for o’reilly books.She cites the Substance of Style. Donald Norman also on style and on emotions. lovemarks the future beyond brands. even Tom Peters has a DK book out.
A move from formal language to conversational gives a 40% improvement in performance.
elearning book – imbedding text is better than a caption. a caption is better than a textual reference.
Culting of Brands
Their book was designed with cliff hangers, incomplete information etc.
Reviewing the reviews for love. mentions of the word “love” first names used to identify or name the authors (instead of last), number of exclamation points (no greater than 2 in a row count tho), reviewers say more about themselves using “I” during the review.
Looking to create the preceived “I rule.” in the reader. not to impress the reader with how smart the authors are.
Could this be the Java version of Jacques Derrida‘s Glas for Geeks?
Her talk also made me think a bit about Vladamir Mayakovski and the wonderful museum in his honor in Moscow. And while I’m on it, McLuhan’s collage designed books like War and Peace in the Global Village.
Next book will be on design patterns due out soon.
Why’s (Poignant) guide to Ruby

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Link to Jason Cole’s wiki chould be here, but it keeps breaking and requiring a login. He led the session. in part a talk on using Moodle instead of Blackboard

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Software engineers like to blog at leasr for now, Sun, Microsoft, IBM, 6 apart, amazon, google (internal) after buying blogger, infoworld, ebay, mozilla, yahoo. all represented. as well as external personal blogs.

microsoft has strong email list tradition and are less like to go to blog (scoble). Bray says same about Sun. wikis get great talk from everyone for project groups in particular. (sun, microsoft, google says greg stein). social text does groups not blogs says ross mayfield. shift logs are good for blogs (in disney and military). when does the honeymoon period end and people drop off.

bray says public blogs are in your face more than private email. sun went from 30 blogs to 700 on opening blogs.sun.com. searching sucks says danyel fisher — except for google (greg stein agrees).

Blogs are of the moment and a public archive as opposed to email. nuggets more important that threads? if so discoverable blogs are great. importance of blogspheres gone on about. go lyceum!

policies? Sun policy: executive decision to free the masses. schwatrz (CEO) tells tim bray to lettem go til lawyers panic. will snow installed blogs.sun.com. now the lawyers want a real policy which they need to have for SEC awareness, trademark, etc. and how do you handle stupid behavior.

start the blog and start the policy about the same time or blogs will be delayed or trouble will happen (the last if no policy, the first legal delays because lawyers don’t have blog experience and fear it too much). does say steve balmer have very different liabilities from a contract programmer — of course. how to make a policy then. Yahoo says PR is worse than lawyers. PR folks want to kill bloggers who break their message. Engineers want authority by speaking to the weaknesses as well as strengths.

tale of tivo vs media center at MSFT discussed. how do bosses accept networking outside the company. corporate loyalty vs craft loyality comes right back up.

MSFT does have an internal list that watches the blogs (neighborhood watch for blogs?). keeping your blog external allows you to move with the craft rather than be held in the knowledge management tar pit? or does encouraging the open environment create loyality? MSFT says yes they got a couple of guys from APPL because Apple did not let them blog or be public. person brand (read reputation) vs corporate brand (read some). Negotiate for the right to blog. Steve Gilmore does this.

Small company is told by their PR advisors to blog and so get their message and personalities out and to help build relationship.

career limiting moves

war stories

personal vs corporate (multiple blogs)

application areas

internal or external? (why does internal suck so badly)

best practices

1) let your management know what you are doing (IBM, Sun and MSFT advise.)
2) get your peers to document best practices (Ross Mayfield) MSFT and Sun do this
3) read before you right
4) be generous with your links
5) be soft to competitors (says Scoble of MSFT) not everyone agrees. “civility is the luxury of those in power.”
6) manage disagreement and work it out internally first. don’t blindside your collegues
7) email etc have the same problems so use the discussion to create policy
8) write what you know
9) comments or not? inconclusive

individual blogs often prefered over group or team blogs. some say team/group blogs are training wheels for individual blogs. tim bray says voice is the stuff!

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Tim is setting up to talk to some energetic yet drowsy people about learning from the book market.
In the meantime, I check out Microsoft’s Channel 9 where you can listen in to engineers as you could listen in to pilots in the old days. Also of course the blogs of MSDN.

Tim is talkng about how BookScan (sorta like SoundScan) tells fairly accurately the sales of their top sellers by surveying top book sellers (amazon and borders are 16% of market each in US). Tim also uses some open source software that looks a lot like smartmoney’s map of the market to map various categories. He also crawls Amazon in smoe way that I missed but we’ll see that live in a few minutes,
computer book sales are off 15% so far this year from 2003 and the seasonal track looks nearly identical. why? no new tech solutions hit the market (no significant ones that required significant new books).

Why doesn’t Google do more with Zietgeiss (sp)? asks Tim. Stock prices of tech match nearly book sales trends on those topics. Java books tell about Sun stock for example. Not a leading indicator but a matching indicator.

This stage says Tim is the period of cleaning up on an ongoing basis the ontologies. the ontologies need to be clean and repositioned constantly (?) now.

Note that Java sales are dropping while C# is gaining and PHP is climbing sharper yet. Python is more or less flat after a little bleep up. PERL is flat despite no new developments in PERL in a long while (this is actually good for PERL. This is when looking at the language dimension.

msql and sqlserver are cleaning Oracle’s clock. postgress well very small.

applications servers chart is so small and with so few books that even one book changes the chart. basically not a good trend measure.

java vs .net .net rose above java in 4th Q of 2003 and remains higher. Note that intro books sells better as the market matures. Much discussion on this chart with lots of Java appologists

Market shift from reference to tips and tricks and intros. why? references are better done on the net.

microsoft leads open source despite OS upturn. apple spikes are each new release (as you might expect). who are these buyers? CS students, professionals, whatever. Note the number of CS majors worldwide are shrinking could this be a contributing cause?

Shapes of the curves for $$$ of sales looks a lot like Lotka’s curves.Photoshop books make money! Mac OS X or windows XP does about half. Java and C/C++ have identical curves! C# mostly sells only 4 or 5 profitable books.

but programming language sales show an 70 – 30 split between propriety — if java is considered open source. without java on either side they are equal.

In ad words on Google, Java rules based on charges.

See also Tim’s Treemap

What other sources of data might be used? Want ads? Blog entries? Free docs online? rural vs urban? price sensitivity. idiots are cheaper then dummies.

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Up at 6ish PST. Walk down to the showers with Andy Oram,O’Reilly editor from Boston. There is an in-building shower, but Andy and I found the outside camping feeling showers. Three shower stalls smaller than many coffins. The sorta porta-johns of showers. The water works for about 1 minute then quits til you shove it again. All fiberglass and not all that warm. Perfect for the camping experience. Andy complained a little about the size of his shower. Tall people and wide people will appreciate them less than I did.

Coffee. Works better when all the parts are in the airpot.

Sleeping on the floor when you are very very tired is not so bad even once you have reached a certain age.

Geeks are up early and doing email and blogs. Reading their spam to each other as if it were unique. I too am guilty. (pictures later I promise maybe).

Tim kicks off the morning with a session on “What the Book market tells us” at 10 PDT so we have a couple of hours to show off our limited social skills and casual approaches to hygene.

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Before I start in let me point to Seamus Heaney’s wonderful appreciation of Czeslaw Milosz in the Guardian, called “In Gratitude for All the Gifts”

Next, Yes I can stay awake for 24 hours straight. I did it. not meaning too. but nonetheless. FOO Camp is full of folks to talk with including several from across the years.

Dale Dougherty who I met as the Web was beginning when he was starting GNN for O’Reilly and who is now starting a mook/bagazine (not my terms) called Make, a kind of how-to do things techie rag. Basically a high quality quarterly paperback to be sold as book as the old American Heritage series or more locally to NC as the Red Clay Readers.

Dan Woods who I knew at Nando.net and who is now an O’Reilly author.

Wendy Seltzer who is an EFF lawyer (an seems too ambigious a word for Wendy).

Kathy Sierra
and her husband Bert Bates who I met on my first trip (I think) to Boulder’s Conference on World Affairs and who are now doing the HeadFirst series of books for O’Reilly.

Danyel Fisher who works with Marc Smith on Social Software and the like at Microsoft Development.

Chris DiBona once of VA now of Google.

Sam Ruby of IBM Emerging Technologies who lives right in Raleigh and who I met earlier this week at Doc’s talk.

Paula Le Dieu of BBC New Media who is looking at ways to make all of the BBC archives available on the net.

Brad Templeton who founded Clarinet and who is now with EFF. Ten years about almost to this day, I had a long email dispute wth Brad about how to do radio on the net — specifically WXYC which became the first 7/25 simulcast station (despite Brad’s misplaced fears). Brad remembers that he was right at the time considering the state of the Net. He wasn’t.

A good talk/session on Gmail led by Chris Uhlik (with help from Chris DiBona) started last night at 11 PDT and was interesting enough to keep me up much too late in the EDT sense. What would you like Gmail to be? What API should be provided?

During this talk a person (whom shall remain nameless and whose employer shall also remain nameless) was posting a critique (internal or external?). I didn’t mean to peek but I from what I saw it was a bit unfair. Like a Demo blogging the Repubs or the reverse. Offhand remarks seemed to be taken as ways to show how unsmart the Goolists are. Or maybe to reenforce the smartness of those who are less open. Any how the “not everyone is a programmer so why consider APIs a solution?” at the center of the critique. I’m of the “APIs are better than what was get from some companies” school.

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We’re in warm and dry Sebastopol after a slow drive up 101 from SFO. Very slow and not intentionally so. We did stop for a lunch at 3:30 EDT for lunch near Union Square at Sears Fine Food (pictures to come).

Sebastopol is a small but very California town. Old drive in burger places but also Whole Foods and Bikram Yoga and Starbucks as well as a Crystal Shop that is not selling the kind of wedding presents you’d buy in Graham, NC. I will have pictures up later from the Camp which is growing even now.

I think the FOO Bar is getting ready to open and the afternoon is underway. So far the swag is lovely even if the campers are as lovely as you could expect.
One surprise is that Pamela Jones of Groklaw was scheduled to be here. Neither Fred nor I have even seen Pamela. But the new news is that she’s still in NYC. Flash: she emailed Fred a couple of hours ago.
More soon.

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We just had our monster meeting of all 400 folks who report to the Vice Chancellor for Information Technology to hear the new reorganization plan. There are still many things to be settled but the place is on its way to being more fully integrated and more fully functional.
That observed, Fred and I are off to FOO Camp in Sebastopol for a week end of sleeping on the floor and talking tech. Interesting and very smart people will be there, but I will be there too. I’m hoping that some of their brain cells will rub off on me.
This is an excellent example of social networking (class pay attention) of the type that Peter Coclanis was discussing only yesterday. Note that the O’Reilly folks have used a wiki so that we might all contribute to the discussions and social life in advance. Also many of the attendees have blogs and use them as one might use a business card to introduce themselves.

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