Archive for August, 2007

Roger alerts us to his article on how to use solar power to make ice after a hurricane-produced power outage on the Solar Ice blog and at Conte Nast Portfolio.

It’s part of his “Dispatches from the Music Industry” contributions.

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Andie, down in Jo-burg, writes to tell us that http://sunsite.wits.ac.za/ now gives:

The SunSite server has been decommissioned.

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Not exactly our GrindCam itself, but the mind of the GrindCam — now the JOMC Cam — put there LIVE on the Playa at Burning Man by our old friend John Graham who developed the code and did the engineering for the cams.

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He’s in the Hipster section at about 53 seconds into the flick

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I think it was Art Kleps who had this insight and who wrote it down for us in the Boo Hoo Bible.

The story, my personal story, is that my car refused to start. It was in the Office Max parking lot within the sad sight of a Wal-Mart during the lunar eclipse last night — alone in the dark. The computer readout was not promising (see article below).

This morning I called the local Chrysler dealer. They said that could see the car on Friday! Today is, ahem, Tuesday. I was dispirited to say the least.

Still I called AAA and asked for a tow to the dealer. In pretty quick time, the AAA tow arrived. The guy got out of the truck and he was covered with every variety of tattoo that might offend a 50+ year old father. He was direct. “Your battery is dead.” He hadn’t even heard the car try to start. I put him in the driver’s seat. All the power equipment worked fine. “Yup, it’s the battery.” But all of the stuff works great. “I’ll jump it now.”

He jumped it and it worked immediately.

Now the car is getting its 7+ year old battery replaced.

It is a new day.

One of my horoscopes says:

You are a peacemaker now, for harmony in your environment seems more important than ever. Loving relationships, giving and receiving affection, and attracting people into your life who are good for you are very likely at this time. Enjoy your day.

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He was so obsessed with making DC the standard that he went to some pretty extreme lengths to show up Westinghouse and Tesla including electrocuting cats, dogs and an elephant — with AC of course. But there is more as Pinky explains in “Thomas Edison Hates Cats.”

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This has been one of our cooler days. Only 90 as I drove around doing errands. A short trip to Staples — 5 miles. Then to Lowes about 3 miles. Then to Office Max about 2 miles more. Perfect performance. In fact, no PT problems for almost a year. And a recent but not too recent maintenance went well.

But on coming out of Office Max, I tried to start the car. Nothing happened. We had noises but mostly that of the fan and belts. Not even a starter grind. A lot of hopping around on the dials, but the engine didn’t show hot and no lights looked odd.

I did the error display mojo and after the countdown from 11111111 to 99999999 in the odometer. I saw:
566050
Ab5 or AbS
AIrbAG

Next up a call to AAA and Chrysler in the morning.

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Brian Russell, who made a map of wirelessness in Chapel Hill, has an editorial on the front page of today’s Chapel Hill News advocating for muni-wifi and connectivity.

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Lanita Withers of the News and Record does a good summary of and gets good comments on the Skube vs Bloggers story. Included in the story are quotes from blogging J-School colleague Chris Roush, Ed Cone and Jay Rosen.

Ed Cone on Skube: “He sort of compared apples and oranges. And he didn’t do his homework.”

Chris Roush on blogs and journalism: “To me, the best blogs out there are just journalism being presented in another format. And just because it’s not being printed, does that mean it’s not respectable journalism? I’d debate that.”

Michael Skube: “I said what I want to say.” But then he goes on, changing his story as Ed Cone notes in his post.

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The Michael Skube LATimes oped saga continues just when it seemed to be somewhat resolved.

Jay Rosen’s Blowback piece just out answers Skube’s charges against bloggers handily and Jay used crowdsourcing in the blogosphere to produce and factcheck the article. It’s solid work.

But as they say in the news biz, questions remain.

Skube has admitted that he had at best a passing knowledge of the existence of TalkingPointsMemo. He said that references to TMP were added to his article by editors at the LATimes.

Based on this note at the LATimes site (not linked from the Rosen article BTW) that may be the case.

Or is it? We know, now forced into the odd task of parsing the note, that Skube agreed with an editor at the LATimes that “it would be helpful to include the names of the bloggers in [his] piece as active participants in political debate.” No telling who did the choosing and the adding from this though.

Did the LATimes editor add TPM or did Skube? Or does it matter? To the last, responsibility does matter in responsible journalism. “Mistakes were made” will not do.

Note: This blog was sourced in Jay Rosen’s article.

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Justin’s Justinsomnia blog was hacked. Undetered, Justin tracked the hack down and exposed him here on his blog. Here is the hacker’s resume and you can send him email!

And there are a lot of people Digging this (2350 as of a few minutes ago).

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From Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post in “Out of Patience”.

From Angela Gunn at USA Today in “What the bloggers did”. She gives props to LOLcats too!

In various blogs, of course, as discovered at Technorati.

A few more discovered via Google News.

And NOW LIVE
Jay Rosen’s Blowback piece in the LATimes.

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Less than I would have thought — in part because UNC is left out as their network is too restricted to qualify to be listed. Brian Russell has the Google Map Mashup here.

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Joey, who writes well and wisely about Video on Linux, alerts us to an effort to get MainActor’s code released as official development has been discontinued.

MainActor, a commercial product for video editing on a Linux platform, has been discontinued. This means that the source code could potentially be made open-source. A petition is circulating to encourage MainConcept to consider releasing at least some of their code.

A similar initiative was started by the Blender Foundation many years ago, and they successfully bought the source code for something like a hundred thousand euros, and then released it as open source.

MainActor has always been a well reviewed product, although the price tag was generally too much for many people. A source code release from MainConcept would come in the form of a partial code base, with their proprietary encoding technology removed. An effort would need to be made to replace those parts with something like libavcodec. If Blender is a good model, the process will be slow, but the potential for an active community is vast. Today Blender has one of the largest, most enthusiastic, and fastest growing user communities out there.

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Fellow traveller Larry Lamb alerts us to this NYTimes article “For Russians, Summer in the City Means a Freeze on Hot Water”. Yes there is a personal story behind that.

A few years back, Larry and I were traveling in Moscow on our way to Siberia. The MGIMO folks put us up in a spacious appartment on Leninski Prospect near the Sputnik Hotel.

There were a few things I noticed that were unusual about the place.

It was quite warm, the radiators were really puffing away. And there were no controls on them and no thermostats in the apartment. I looked out the window and noticed that even though it was 50F outside, all my neighbors had their windows open. That’s how you regulated the temperature in your rooms.

The kitchen came with a giant electric tea kettle, bigger than the British ones I’d seen. There was also a great collection of wooden spoons and the like.

The shower worked well and the warm water was refreshing. The towels were thick and fluffy and somehow made without benefit of cotton or any water absorbing material for that matter. They rearranged the moisture on your body until you could step into one of the rooms that were dry from the radiator heat.

Little did I know that all of this could be combined into something wonderful under the right conditions. But not yet.

Larry and I and others made it to Siberia and returned to Moscow. Once there Larry left me for a luxury hotel and his wife. I had a very large apartment to myself.

As I came into the apartment building, I saw a new sign on the door. It had dates that included my stay but that was all I could make out.

Once in the apartment, I learned what had happened. There was no hot water! And when water is cold in Moscow, it is damned cold–even in summer.

Luckily I had been in a banya in Siberia.

I noticed I had many of the makings of a banya here.

First I put the tea kettle on. I put towels in the sink. I closed off one small bed room and closed the windows — soon it was very hot and very dry. I took the wooden tools into the bathroom with the boiling tea kettle.

I soaked the towels as best I could with the hot water until the bathroom was steamy and the towels were scalding.

I jumped in the cold shower (no hot water to be had). I leapt out and whacked myself in the Russian style with the wooden spoons. I then grabbed the towels and wrapped myself up in them briefly. Til I was hot. Then back in the cold shower.

Now out to the dry sauna of the small bedroom for the finish.

At the end I was one of the few folks in my section of Moscow who didn’t smell from the lack of hot water.

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Cristobal gets some serious Boing Boing love from Xeni for his Effing Chart.

PJ and Groklaw get some overdue props from Frank Hayes of Computer World.

Emile gets his entrepreneurship with Knoble recognized in Fortune.

Yochai Benkler has a lot to say about cultural production in the Danish documentary, “Good Copy, Bad Copy.” As do Larry Lessig and John Buckmaster.

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In December 2005, Michael Skube wrote a poorly researched (or more properly not researched at all) oped about blogging for the News and Record (Greensboro, NC). [Oddly this article cannot be found in NewsBank or online]

Ed Cone was so shocked that he called Skube to ask him about his experiences reading blogs and found in a very interesting conversation that Skube admitted to having no experience reading blogs at all short of a couple of Andrew Sullivan pieces.

In the process, Ed mentioned Josh Marshall and Talking Points Memo. Skube owned up to knowing Marshall from print but had never heard of TPM.

Fast forward to yesterday and a new diatribe against blogs published in the LA Times. Here Skube reheats his arguments, but this time points to TPM as a place where facts aren’t checked. Only one problem, Skube still admits to not having read TPM — this time to Marshall himself.

Instead, Skube claims that his editors altered his article to insert TPM and others. Skube signed off on the article having yet to have done any of the research required to have written it.

Marshall writes about this at TPM. Ed Cone and G’boro bloggers rev up on WordUp. Jay Rosen hits hard on PressThink. Dan Gillmor has his say at Center for Citizen Journalism.

UPDATE: Jay’s piece is republished in Daily Kos with over 300 comments so far.

UPDATE: Our wonderful news librarian reports “the News & Record librarian confirmed that Skube does not permit his columns to be available in the online public archives of the News & Record.” This makes it difficult to place the articles side-by-side.

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At David M’s invitation, we went over to Rawlee to the Boylan Bash celebrating 100 years of the Boylan Heights neighborhood. Besides the great folks that we met and visited with there and the great food at the pot luck table, there was great music — and the Connells!

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The article I did on “Geocaching without GPS” for Wired’s Geek Dad blog was picked up by the Podcacher Podcast Show.

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