The Real Paul Jones

Accept no substitutes

fact check .org .com errrr…

Paul, · Categories: General

Getting a URL slightly wrong isn’t all that embarassing unless you are, say, the Vice President of the United States during a nationally televised debate.
Last night, Dick Cheney challenged John Edward to learn the facts about Haliburton from factcheck.com. If you, like many of us rushed out to check the facts, you would have been redirected to “Why We Must Not Re-elect President Bush: A personal message from George Soros”.
If you, then tried to go to factcheck.org and if the connection didn’t time out because of overload, you would have found this message:

“Cheney wrongly implied that FactCheck had defended his tenure as CEO
of Halliburton Co., and the vice president even got our name wrong. He
overstated matters when he said Edwards voted “for the war” and “to commit
the troops, to send them to war.” He exaggerated the number of times Kerry
has voted to raise taxes, and puffed up the number of small business owners
who would see a tax increase under Kerry’s proposals.”

You would have also found the article that Cheney was trying to point to:

Kerry Ad Falsely Accuses Cheney on Halliburton
09.30.2004
Contrary to this ad’s message, Cheney doesn’t gain financially from the contracts given to the company he once headed.

But if you had tried Factchecker.org, you would have found “The Vice-Presidential Debate: Dick Cheney’s House of Lies”.

Rotatin’ at the End of Cyberspace

Paul, · Categories: General

Tonight I spoke to the local Rotary Club. I believe that I was as exotic an item to them as they were to me. Not to make value judgements in either directions, but let’s just say I am a member of the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists and not many of my hosts, no matter how gracious or how scientific, are likely to join any time soon.
I spoke on the “End of Cyberspace,” that is that the idea of cyberspace as separate from our daily lives has ended, that we use cyberspace to common ends, and the cyberspace no longer ends at the computer, but in our cars, refrigerators, and cell phones. Unlike the thoughtful Sally Greene who always speaks from extensive and accurate notes, I tend to speak from vague suggestions of notes along with references to various numbers and facts. Most of the emperical cover for this talk was provided by reports from the Pew Internet and American Life Project especially the recent reports by Deborah Fallows “The Internet and Daily Life” and “Data Memo on Search Engines”.
There were many good folks there including many I admire especially Dr. Ron Hyatt, Bill Groves who was my boss when I wrote the original SunSITE proposal, Jonathan Howes former mayor of Chapel Hill and current Rotary President, and Bruce Runberg who introduced me.

Edson, Coffee, Apes

Paul, · Categories: General

A friend in South Africa reminds me why I love the poet/fableist/word-cartoonist Russell Edson by referring to this poem:

Ape and Coffee

Some coffee had gotten on a man’s ape. The man said,
animal did you get on my coffee?

No no, whistled the ape, the coffee got on me.

You’re sure you didn’t spill on my coffee? said the man.

Do I look like a liquid? peeped the ape.

Well you sure don’t look human, said the man.

But that doesn’t make me a fluid, twittered the ape.

Well I don’ know what the hell you are, so just stop it,
cried the man.

I was just sitting here reading the newspaper when you
splashed coffee all over me, piped the ape.

I don’t care if you are a liquid, you just better stop
splashing on things, cried the man.

Do I look fluid to you? Take a good look, hooted the ape.

If you don’t stop I’ll put you in a cup, screamed the man.

I’m not a fluid, screeched the ape.

Stop it, stop it, screamed the man, you are frightening me.

Sunday of the Arts

Paul, · Categories: General

Brunch with poet/radio-producer Susan Davis and playwright/judge Paul Bogas and their friends, finger-style jazz guitarist Howard Morgen and his wife vocalist/teacher Estelle.
Had to miss out on Festifall though.
E. M. Adams lecture in the Humanities and Human Values by Doris Betts.
Reception for the Carolina Union Performing Arts Series at the Peacock home.
Notes and links will be filled in later this evening.

Sky Captain surprises

Paul, · Categories: General

Without giving anything away about the computer-generated film, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, let me say that this film is the best advert for Adobe AfterEffects ever made. If some one had told me that a multi-million $$$ film that I would actually like a lot could be made with only 26 days of actors in front of blue screens (no not the Microsoft blue screen of death) and a lot of work with Adobe products, I would still be laughing had I not seen Sky Captain.
Not only that but I would have never guessed that the fantastic new technologies for the film were off the shelf Adobe filters for the most part. Thanks to the trivia posters at IMDB for letting all this out and more.
I thought that Laurence Olivier was dead for example but there he was in the movie and in the credits. I saw him! I swear!
There is much more, but I’ll have to say that this is a beautiful movie. Comparing it to Indiana Jones is a big mistake. This movie is more about textures, focus, color and the like than anything from Spielberg.

the Future of Music = 1 hit and 12 b-sides?

Paul, · Categories: General

I was among the select few at the Future of Music in the Triangle talk this afternoon. Too bad we were few, because the panel and discussion were top notch. We were select however with musicians and geeks heavily represented. The panel was taped so it should be made available in a short while.
Rather than summerize, I point you to the tape (once it’s online, probably at the Independent Weekly site). I was caught up in the various takes by Tor of Yep Rock/Redeye, a label/distributor; by plucky punk rocker Dave who does it for love; by Cesar C who wants to be sure that he and his crew are in a position of power when negotiating with labels; by Whitney B who has more experience in the belly of the beast than most anyone around; by Jennifer who can explain why the Creative Commons license is perhaps a stopgap until real copyright change might be made; by Fred who can actually quote the Sampling license; and of course by Fiona who put it all together and asked great questions.

Is iTunes the only thing we have standing between us and being forced to be CD with one hit and 12 b-sides? Or is the album, the LP, which rose from hit collection with filler to concept container (Tommy more than Whitney’s fav Led Zep 2 from the same year — 1969) still a viable form?
69 Love Songs comes closest to anything that brave and experimental in the CD era for me. Few of the extended CD live up to the versions of the vinyl sitting on my shelf.
But no sooner than the talk had ended, Danny Hooley writing in the News and Observer reminded me that the concept album is having a rebirth in releases like Green Day’s American Idiot, but also in the long gestated Brian Wilson Smile.
I was asking Tor what was up with Nonesuch how come it was such a good and interesting label recording all kinds of eclectic stuff. The NYTimes Magazine answered with a long write up on Nonesuch. Turns out that Nonesuch is album/concept/tone oriented as are the bands it signs.

The measure of ibiblio

Paul, · Categories: General

Late this afternoon, after a good meeting with Steve Kleiman and Kimberly Melvin of NetApp, I went with Fred, Josh and TJ to the CS department to hear my SILS collegue Dr. Cathy Blake give a talk about her research in datamining in text databases (articles on breast cancer and on impotence for her testing but hopefully, and it seems from her presentation, generalizable to other subjects). Her Information Synthesis approach was the basis of her dissertation. Thanks to her clear presentation, I think even I get it.
One unexpected and pleasant outcome of going to listen to Cathy talk was a discussion with Don Smith and Jasleen Kaur stopped us to chat about their network analysis work. They have been looking at TCP traffic, timeouts and drops on traffic outgoing from the UNC campus network. As you may know, dear reader, ibiblio.org accounts for about half of that traffic. But our per cent dropped traffic while only about 1% is 10 times that of the rest of campus (theirs being a paltry 0.1% except for residence halls which are capped to control the pressure that traffic from those machines would put on the campus backbone.) Why do we drop so much more? Because we too cap our traffic, reluctantly but of necessity, especially on the machines that distribute large high demand files that are available elsewhere on the Net such as Linux distros and our SourceForge mirror as well as the music, for which we encourage the use of BitTorrent (actually BitTorrent would be great for all high demand large files if we can train folks to use it — OSprey?).
But what is most interesting is that the above are only guesses; we have no assurance (or insurance) that our kernel level traffic shaping is doing exactly what we want it to do. We have some pretty good evidence based on performance and the shapes of the traffic charts, but Jasleen and Don could tell us a lot more and in doing so would aid their own research. At least that’s what we all decided. I think we have the basis of some interesting research partnership tied to the public service mission of ibiblio.org. Update: John Reuning sent me the how-to link for the ibiblio QoS set up.
Don and Jasleen’s next research plan has to do with long haul connections grabbing large files. We’re up to be measured there too since folks in Uzbekistan need their Gentoo!
A separate pleasure was a chance to agree with Ketan Mayer-Patel that watching Chan is missing is one of the best ways of understanding the complexities of the Chinese-American cultures in the Bay Area. And it’s a wonderful film to watch too.