The Real Paul Jones

Accept no substitutes

Learning from Luis of Living in a World Without Email

Paul, · Categories: #noemail, General

Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez, IBM Social Media evangelist, has been living in a world without email for three years. He presented a bit about what he learned — so far — from his experience as a mind map called “Email is where Knowledge Goes to Die”. I’ve learned a lot from @elsua already and so far am following in his steps closely even tho I had no idea of his good preceding work before yesterday.

There are a few differences between Luis and myself. Luis has been living in a world without corporate email; I’ll be trying something broader. Luis has some integrated IBM tools, like Lotus Connections, to rely on as alternative communications; I’ll be using only those openly accessible to anyone on the open internet. Luis hasn’t really spent most of his adult life developing and using email; I started with a proto-email system in 1977 (more on my own experience developing email, BITNET, and the Internet in later posts).

The Oatmeal hates Email too

Paul, · Categories: #noemail, General

These are some of the reasons that I plan to divest from email beginning June 1, 2011.

Email for collaboration?

Good Bye Email (or is that E-mail?) – I’m divesting

Paul, · Categories: #noemail, General

Giving up email beginning June 1, 2011. You will be able to reach me on Facebook and on most socialnetworking sites as smalljones including Twitter, Gtalk, AIM, Skype, Quora, Hunch, LinkedIn, DropBox, YouTube, XtraNormal and here on this blog

My calendar is on Google Calendar as smalljones@gmail.com You can pick a time there and schedule your best time to meet face to face.

I’ll probably be on freenode too

Internet Addiction – Not : One Year Later

Paul, · Categories: General

About a year after a poorly researched piece by Tara Parker-Pope on Internet Addiction in the Science Times section of the NY Times, a more perceptive and better researched piece by Virginia Heffernan appeared in the Opinion Pages today.

Heffernan quickly identifies Kimberly Young as what sociologists would call a “Moral Entrepreneur” only slightly removed from con man Harold Hill of the Music Man. Hill sells his 76 trombone remedy to River City as a cure all but in particular a cure for the folk devil — pool (We got trouble right here in River City). Then Heffernan points out the differences between passions, interests, habits and addictions through the story of steampunk Gabriela.

About a year ago, I did a talk not unlike Heffernan’s for the Morehead Science Center (slides below). We covered much of the same ground but some of you may appreciate the pictures of various “addictions” that I dug up and the references to serious studies of addiction claims, happiness or alienation claims and the aspects of Moral Panics, Folk Devils and Moral Entrepreneurs.

SXSW themes Gamification, Anon. vs Authenticity, Location(still), NetNeutrality(sorta), Open Gov, DataViz, MySpace 3.0

Paul, · Categories: General

I was in Austin last week holding a Core Conversation at South By Southwest (aka SXSW) Interactive in Austin Texas. SILS was well represented with panels featuring Ryan Shaw and Evan Carroll. Also attending was Adam Rogers who is now a Library Fellow at NCSU. Several of the News21 folks from the J-school were there as well.

There were 20,000 attendees at the conference which was well-covered by media if in a fairly superficial way. As the subject says, I saw the main themes as Gamification, Anon. vs Authenticity, Location(still), NetNeutrality(sorta), Open Gov, DataViz, MySpace 3.0 A bit about each.

Gamification is an inane term for adding the “game layer” to any use of technology be that education, eating out, taking trips, partying, purchasing anything, or just passing time on Facebook. New startup SCVNGR’s boy wonder and Mark Zuckerberg wannabe, Seth Priebatsch, gave a well received — if snarked at — keynote pushing the subject into the stratosphere and remarked on here in the Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/pda/2011/mar/14/sxsw-2011-scvngr-seth-priebatsch Just say Games it’s much less painful than “funware.”

If you follow the link to the Guardian, you’ll see that Priebatsch’s talk was turned into a poster by Oglivy Notes. This may remind you of work done a conferences like PopTech (by AlphaChimp http://www.alphachimp.com/poptech-art/ ) or Royal Society for the Arts etc (RSA Animate http://www.youtube.com/user/theRSAorg). Oglivy had illustrators/sketchers/cartoonists at many of the talk and those large posters were changed into limited print runs (I have a few) and are also available online here: http://ogilvynotes.com/

One of the key tensions covered was that of Authenticity and vanishing but important Anonymity. Facebook Connect seen as the champion of authenticity (carp as you will) and on the other end 4Chan as the champion of anonymity. A keynote by 4chan’s moot aka Christopher Poole took on the Zuckerbergification of identity and is described here at ComputerWorld http://blogs.computerworld.com/17966/anonymity_zuckerberg_wrong_says_4chans_moot_sxsw?ud Note the story at the link includes an Olgivy Note poster.

Location as service, as a way to target services, as a way to game. etc was still big everywhere including journalism and advertising. Gowalla which adds games, interacts with existing location apps like Facebook Places, Twitter, Foursquare, and Tumblr spent a lot of $$$ to get their name out to attendees. They’ve also partnered with Associated Press and others to gain a presence on several college campuses. See http://gowalla.com/sxsw to see how they present themselves and their gamification badges.

Senator Al Franken gave a very well attended talk on Network Neutrality. Covered here by TechCrunch http://techcrunch.com/2011/03/14/techcrunch-interview-senator-al-franken-talks-net-neutrality-and-his-morning-workout-routine/ ending with the memorable call to action:

“Let’s not sell out. And let’s not let the government sell us out. Let’s fight for net neutrality. Let’s keep Austin weird. Let’s keep the Internet weird. Let’s keep the Internet free.”

Franken was followed by a series of Network Neutrality sessions including an intimate conversation with Master Switch author Tim Wu.

Open Government whether as a term on its own or affixed with a 2.0 or 3.0. Kicked off by Tim O’Reilly’s fireside chat and his support of Code4Gov and other Open Government initiatives. http://blog.opengovernment.org/ for some happenings in that area.

I’m late in this report to be mentioning Ryan Shaw’s data visualization panel which filled a very large room and gathered a lot of attention far beyond the Humanities information being visualized as the example. Journalists in particular were quick to pick up on how the geo-temporal issues in visualization could be generalized. http://www.geotemporalviz.org/ for some of the presentations (I have more links some place).

As you might guess, several trade show companies were trying to justify their staying over for the Music week as well. To that end, many had an Interactive pitch and a Music pitch in reserve. One of the more interesting to me was WebDoc which assist in threaded multimedia conversations. The Music pitch: fan created material can easily be curated and presented with official band or label material. http://www.webdoc.com/ Fans and bands and anyone else can also easily Perez Hilton-ify their photos for example (If you don’t know what I’m talking about you are living a better but too safe of a life).

A conference this large has much more going on, but I have the schedule, some Olgivy Notes and a sharp memory in case you have any questions for me. http://sxsw.com/interactive

I can also chat about how the official Journalism sessions were mostly retread of older sustaining and perplexing topics — bloggers vs journos, pay walls, citizen journalism as being mediaActive, Googlization (at a time when Facebookization is on a lot more minds), etc.

Peace out,
Paul

Internet Evolution at SXSW (March 15)

Paul, · Categories: General

Our Core Conversation at South By Southwest Interactive aka SxSWi, “Internet Evolution: Hyperconnected, Hyper-real,” will be held on Tuesday March 15 at 11 am. Joining me will be Janna Anderson @jannaq the organizer, Chris O’Brien @sjcobrien of San Jose Mercury News, and Mike Nelson @MikeNelson of Georgetown University.

Our Video-based class in the Chronicle of Higher Education

Paul, · Categories: General

Jeff Young did a nice write up about our Video-based course from the fall of 2009 in the current issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education

More later.

Andy Warhol’s Empire

Paul, · Categories: General

This evening I took part in a recreation and reshowing of Andy Warhol’s eight hour epic film, Empire (1964). I wasn’t there for eight hours–who could be on a snowy day in December–, but I was at the Varsity Theatre for about an hour of the showing and the related simultaneous events which included a variety of experimental music performed live in front of Empire (which is silent) and readings from The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (1975).

I read Chapter 9 – Economics from the Philosophy book. It’s very funny Warhol take on money and on being and not being rich ending:

I don’t feel like I get germs when I hold money. Money has a certain kind of amnesty. I feel, when I’m holding money, that the dollar bill has no more germs on it than my hands do. When I pass my hand over money, it becomes perfectly clean to me. I don’t know where it’s been—who’s touched it and with what—but that’s all erased the moment I touch it.

The showing was curated by Rich Cante of UNC’s Interdisciplinary Program in Cinema and the event co-sponsored by the Program in Cinema and the Ackland Art Museum.

Net Neutralities

Paul, · Categories: General

NCREN Community Day Panel on Net Netruality with Tucker Jones

The end of last week, I spoke at two different venues about Net Neutrality trying to make the case and to help clarify what the suggestions that we sent to the FCC earlier.

I was to be on a panel at North Carolina Research and Education Network’s Community Day. I almost missed it tho. The dentist put me in the x-ray room and left me there for far too long. No the x-ray wasn’t on the whole time, but I couldn’t just run out through those lead lined walls. Luckily the event was being held at the North Carolina School of Science and Math. Tucker and I were in touch via Twitter as were Mark Johnson, the panel organized, and Joel Dunn of UNC – Greensboro. I gave Mark a warning of my delay. I sent some of the material that I planned to reference to Joel. And the two to them drafted Tucker to join the panel using my materials and whatever rants discussions about Net Neutrality he could remember having with me. Then they billed him as @smalljones2.0.

He did a fine job as you can see here (start at about 1:06 into the stream)

—–

The next day, I joined UNC Law’s Andrew Chin and UNC System attorney David Harrison on a panel about Internet Regulation for the UNC Scholars Program. I had been handed some great material by accident by some of my panel members from the day before — unintentional on their part — “Give us the right to sell tiered, metered services or illegal music traders will kill your grandmother!” They meant that telemedicine should have some sort of engineered preference over day BitTorrent, but things quickly degenerated into hysterically outrageous rhetoric. The result is this brief Prezi:

Tales of Beatnik Glory – Charlotte edition

Paul, · Categories: General

Friends with whom I helped run an underground paper in Charlotte NC in 1968 and 69 will be on the Charlotte Talks show on WFAE tomorrow, Wednesday November 10 at 9 am.

Charlotte Talks says:

The Inquisition
In 1968 a few young men at East Mecklenburg High School began publishing a magazine out of a shed in one of their backyards. They called it The Inquisition and those boys made what some folks say is history. The liberal content of the paper – promoting civil rights, opposing the Vietnam War and more – caught the attention, and the ire of much of Charlotte’s authority figures. What happened next became fodder for legend. It was the first case in America where the free press and the first amendment came in conflict with simple zoning laws. Our guests today argue that the court case involving The Inquisition and its editors help blaze a trail for the entire southern underground press movement. We talk with two of the original editors of The Inquisition and a writer researching their story.

Guests
Suzanne Sink – English Instructor, Author of an essay on The Inquisition story
Lynwood Sawyer – Former Editor/Writer, The Inquisition
Russell Schwarz – Former Editor/Writer, The Inquisition

Watch the Fountain with producer Eric Watson

Paul, · Categories: General

The Fountain

Tuesday November 9

7 pm – showing of The Fountain and discussion with Eric Watson.

Where: Howell 104 UNC Campus

Inside ‘The Fountain': Death and Rebirth (scenes from the making of The Fountain)

Watson interviewed about producing The Fountain by Daniel Robert Epstein.

With director Darren Aronofsky, Eric Watson produced his first feature, π, in 1995 in New York City. The film debuted at the Sundance film Festival in 1998 and earned Watson an IFP/West Spirit Award nomination for Best First Feature. It also earned praises from Robert Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times as “a study in madness and its partner, genius.”

Equally impactful is his film Requiem for a Dream, lauded by Rolling Stone as a movie “no one interested in the power and magic of movies should miss.” The film earned Watson another IFP/West Spirit Award nomination for Best Feature and was named one of the Top Ten Films of 2000 by The New York Times, Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly.

Watson began his career as a Broadcast Communication Arts major at San Francisco State and continued with Motion Picture Production at the American Film Institute, where he was awarded the Mary Pickford Scholarship for Excellence in Producing. At AFI, Watson first met and collaborated with director Darren Aronofsky and cinematographer Matthew Libatique.

Watson is currently developing several projects including the film, What’s Wrong With Virginia, starring Liam Neeson and Jennifer Connelly, and written by Academy Award Winner Lance Black (Milk, Big Love). He is also working with writer and film producer Susannah Mills on a collaborative narrative project intended for a Web audience.

Identifying the Internet (for the FCC)

Paul, · Categories: General

Seth Johnson (in Silicon Angle story with full Scribd post), David Reed, David Weinberger and others (listed below) have made a strong response to the FCC’s notice of proposed rulemaking, “Further Inquiry into Two Under-developed Issues in the Open Internet Proceeding.” The group of IT luminaries answer with their own On Advancing the Open Internet by Distinguishing it from Specialized Services. Not only worth the read but essential to our communications, commercial, and social futures.

The response is (so far) signed by:
(Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.)

Bill St. Arnaud, Green IT Consultant, St. Arnaud-Walker and Associates Inc
Scott Bradner, Harvard University, long time IETF and ISOC participant,
ARIN board member and Network World columnist
Dave Burstein, Editor, DSL Prime
Kenneth Carter, Senior Research Fellow, Columbia Institute for Tele-Information, Columbia Business School
Robin Chase, CEO Meadow Networks, co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar, member, Dept of Commerce National Advisory Committee for Innovation and Entrpreneurship
Gordon Cook, Editor and publisher of The Cook Report on Internet Protocol, Technology, Economics and Policy since 1992
Bob Frankston, Telecommunications Analyst and Visionary
John Furrier, Founder Broadband Developments, Inc; and Founder Editor of SiliconANGLE.com
Gene Gaines, Gaines Group, telecommunications engineer, Open Internet activist
Robert Gregory, BSEE UCB, I.T. Director for a non-profit human services agency, and BSD, open source and IP network evangelist since 1980.
Dewayne Hendricks, CEO, Tetherless Access
Paul Hyland, CTO, Digital Operations, Education Week; member, USACM Council
David S. Isenberg, Ph. D., Principal Prosultant(sm), isen.com, LLC, former Senior Advisor to FCC Omnibus Broadband Initiative, and Author, “Rise of the Stupid Network”
Seth P. Johnson, Information Quality Specialist
Paul Jones, ibiblio.org and University of North Carolina
Dean Landsman, Digital Strategist/Connectivity Consultant. President: Landsman Communications Group
Jon Lebkowsky, President, EFF-Austin
Andrew Lippman, Sr Research Scientist, MIT Media Lab, associate director
Michael Maranda, Co-Founder, Chicago Digital Access Alliance
Sascha Meinrath, Director, Open Technology Initiative, New America Foundation; Co-Founder, MeasurementLab.net
John T. Mitchell, Interaction Law
Steve Mossbrook, Founder and CEO, Wyoming.com
Bruce Perens, co-founder of the Open Source movement in software
Tim Pozar, Telecommunications Engineer and Community Broadband Activist
David P. Reed, Ph.D., Participant in the original design of the Internet Protocols and well-known expert in network and computing architecture
Clay Shirky, Interactive Telecommunications Program, New York University
Jay Sulzberger, Consulting statistician
Robb Topolski, Adjunct Technologist, Open Technology Initiative, New America Foundation
Brough Turner, Founder, netBlazr Inc., co-founder & former CTO of NMS Communications and of Natural MicroSystems, open spectrum advocate and lecturer on 3G/4G wireless
John G. Waclawsky Ph.D., Technology Advisor and Consultant, Chicago and Washington
David Weinberger, Ph.D., Senior Researcher at Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society

October Unsurprizing

Paul, · Categories: General

Plenty of speaking and teaching but not much posting here this month. Working backwards:

Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont. Book event/poetry reading. Fly Leaf Books. Chapel Hill, NC – October 30

Secrecy, Privacy, Transparency and Publicity for the Elon Law Review Symposium – October 29

Social Media Use & Misuse panel with Fred Stutzman, Will Cross and Anne Klinefelter – October 28

Communication for Social Change seminar (JOMC guest lecturer) – October 27

Open Source Licensing: The Basics, The Benefits, The Buzz Cyberlaw class (UNC Law School guest lecturer) – October 26

Visualizing Copyright: Debunking Open Access and Copyright Myths about Film and Visual Media. Invited moderator. Open Access Week. UNC Libraries. October 18

“Computers changed my life” Invited speaker. Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Carol Woods Retirement Community. October 4

Jones receives IBM Faculty Research Award

Paul, · Categories: General

From the School of Information and Library Science news site:

IBM logo from WikiCommons

IBM logo from WikiCommons

Paul Jones, director of ibiblio and clinical associate professor at the School of Information and Library Science and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, has received a 2010 IBM Faculty Award for $29,000. The Faculty Awards are competitive international awards that recognize full-time professors who have made significant contributions in their field.

Jones is one of 95 award recipients worldwide and one of only two recipients from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Patrick Dreher, chief domain scientist for cloud computing at the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI), was the other.

“It is an honor to receive this award and to see the School and the University receive industry support and recognition,” Jones said. “Keeping a good relationship with IBM helps provide faculty members opportunities to collaborate, gives graduate students opportunities for research and internships and gives graduates from our programs job prospects.”

The IBM Faculty Awards are given annually to foster collaboration between IBM and researchers at leading universities worldwide and to stimulate growth in the areas of computer science and technology. Candidates must be nominated by an IBM employee with common interests.

SILS Dean and Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor Gary Marchionini was the last person in the School to receive the award in 2006. He said he used the money for video-retrieval research, which also helped support a doctoral student with her dissertation.

“They don’t give these awards to just anyone,” Marchionini said. “It is a feather for the School and a feather for the research team. It is an honor, and I’m thrilled for Paul and ibiblio. He has been doing this work for years now, and it is great to see him earning greater recognition.”

Jones said the award money will be used to hire graduate research assistants to help with the virtualization of ibiblio.org, and to help with travel expenses related to conferences and trainings for research advancement.

“This is essential because virtualization is in a big time of turmoil, and we need to maintain strong collaborations with our partners,” he said. “Typically I can send people to important meetings, but this is a time when the state budget money is not there. It is very important to show up once a year and present the results of our work at conferences.”

Net Neutrality on WUNC this Tuesday at noon

Paul, · Categories: General


WUNC Logo

Listen to the show here.

At high noon on Tuesday, September 28, James Boyle (Duke Law and The Public Domain author) will be discussing Network Neutrality on WUNC’s The State of Things. The crux of the discussion will be over whether all bits, servers, protocols etc are equal as Vint Cerf (inventor of the Internet Protocol) has said or whether carriers and ISPs should be able to offer tiered services giving higher priority to certain sites, protocols, services, etc as Bob Kahn (inventor of the Transmission Control Protocol) has held.

One way that the debate has broken is that services like Google, Microsoft, Facebook etc are pro-NN (in many cases) and ISPs like AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner Cable would like to sell you and the servers different rates of access at differing prices.

Rather than argue here — time for that is Tuesday — I’m posting a few resources:

Please feel free to suggest additional (non-astroturf sources).

These from Fiona Morgan:

Word Detective – Cackalacky

Paul, · Categories: General

For some time now, I’ve been part of a loose group of seekers trying to find the origin of the word Cackalack or Cackalacky or Kackalack or some variation thereof.

Calalacky Hot Sause sticker

@radiomayonnaise alerts me that Word Detective is now on the case. Here. Dr. Connie Eble, Dr. Glenn Hinson, and in particular Bonnie Taylor-Blake offer good information but no final answer.

Bonnie pushes the documentation date back to Kathleen Kimball’s play “The Meat Rack” in 1972. It should be noted that although the line in the play refers to South Cackalacky and Charleston in particular, that Kimball was living in Asheville, NC when she wrote it.

One thing that Dr Eble and Bland Simpson and I were able to recall but not document is that during the mid-1960s both Bland, who was living in Coastal NC, and me, living in Charlotte, heard the term Cackalack used. Those who used the term in both cases were enlisted men — Marines from Jacksonville or Soldiers from Fayetteville — who were unhappy about being stuck down here in Cackalack.

I’ve seen no written evidence of this usage, but would love to hear/see anything anyone finds.

Upcoming panels and talks

Paul, · Categories: General

I’ll be speaking, panelling and/or moderating at these events in the near future.

Thursday September 23- Preservation North Carolina 2010 Conference

The Future of Online Preservation
Learn how the web and social media are influencing the way we do the work of preservation — and what changes may be ahead — at this round-table panel. Glenn Perkins, PreservationNC.org; Paul Jones, iBiblio.org/UNC-Chapel Hill; Gary Kueber, Endangered Durham; John Morris, Goodnight Raleigh; and George Smart, TriangleModernistHouses.com.

Monday October 4 – How Computers Changed My Life series at Carol Woods Retirement Community

Monday October 18 – Open Access Week at UNC

Panel on Images, Access and Copyright

Thursday October 28 – Carolinas Chapter: American Society for Information Science & Technology

Panel on social networks uses and misuses

Friday October 29 – Elon Law Review Symposium on Transparency, Secrecy and the Internet

Several of the nation’s top scholars in Intellectual Property law, technology and the Internet will gather on October 29 at Elon University School of Law to explore how the Internet impacts public access to information and how society balances the desire for increased access to information with the need for secrecy, privacy, and control.

ibiblio receives $50,000 donation

Paul, · Categories: General

ibiblio, the public’s library and digital archive, has received $50,000 from the Beal Fund of the Triangle Community Foundation on behalf of Lulu.com. Lulu.com is an open publishing resource that helps authors distribute their work for profit and helps buyers find the content they need. The gift was made to support ibiblio’s continued growth as one of the Internet’s largest public libraries.

“Public libraries serve the needs of our society that can’t be served through the markets,” said Robert Young, founder and CEO of Lulu.com. “The value of ibiblio is that it stores content and cultural icons that people don’t know how to monetize. Without storing such content, they may disappear from human experience.”

ibiblio.org, which will celebrate its 18th birthday in October, was one of the first Web sites on the Internet. It historically has been a pioneer in a number of areas, including Internet radio. Today, ibiblio is home to one of the largest “collection of collections” on the Internet and hosts nearly 2,500 non-software related projects.

“All the giving to ibiblio helps us reach out further and touch more people,” said Paul Jones, director of ibiblio and clinical associate professor at the School of Information and Library Science and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “We process anywhere from 12 to 16 million transactions per day on ibiblio.”

Jones said the $50,000 gift will be used to help ibiblio staff with upcoming projects, including a recent move in data centers and a shift to cloud computing.

“This gift comes at a very pivotal time for us since it will assist in our transition to a new, more affordable data center, which will ultimately save us thousands of dollars every year,” Jones said. “We are grateful to Lulu.com and to the Foundation for the generous support they’ve provided.”

 

About ibiblio:

ibiblio.org is one of the world’s first Web sites and largest “collections of collections” on the Internet. It is a conservancy of freely available information, including software, music, literature, art, history, science, politics and cultural studies. ibiblio.org was formed as a collaboration between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s MetaLab, formerly known as SunSITE, and the Center for the Public Domain in September of 2000. At UNC at Chapel Hill, ibiblio is supported by the School of Information and Library Science, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Information Technology Services, the UNC at Chapel Hill Libraries, and the Office of the Executive Chancellor and Provost. ibiblio is housed in the School of Information and Library Science located in Manning Hall on the UNC at Chapel Hill campus.

 

Follow-up stories:

Lulu’s Young donates $50,000 to ibiblio by Alan Wolf in .biz blog at News & Observer

Young Helps ibiblio aim for the Clouds. by Alan Wolf in News & Observer (Technology Section print edition text).

Online Library Receives Major Grant by Aaron Keck of 1360 WCHL

NC’s Triangle Community Foundation awards $50K to ibiblio by Alan Maurer of TechJournal South.

The Social Network (preview)

Paul, · Categories: General

Last night — Thanks to Columbia Pictures and the Carolina Union Activities Board — about 400 UNC folks, mostly undergraduates, got a preview screening of The Social Network. Afterwards, I moderated a Question and Answer session with the screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, the lead actor Jesse Eisenberg and two part player Armie Hammer. The audience was enthusiastic and responsive to the movie and the panel.

Our second question was: “Is it okay if I come onto the stage and hug all of you?” Then she did. Okay not all of us on stage — all but me. Sorkin smiled as the hugger returned to her seat and said “Nothing like that happened at any other schools.” “We’re very friendly here and we love you,” I told him (off mike).

The movie tells the story of the founding of Facebook through the eyes (mostly) of ousted co-founder Eduardo Saverin. Mark Zuckerberg, the coder the idea man the one still holding a 51% stake in Facebook, is seen as a highly flawed and tragic character. Most tragic toward the very end.

I can’t say much more without spoilers, but the dialog, the pacing, the well-drawn characters are what you would expect from a writer like Sorkin and a cast like the one assembled and directed by David Fincher. I will say that Justin Timberlake does an outstanding acting job as Sean Parker.

Later I imagined a different and truer movie. Not one that was informed by Saverin who constantly made wrong business choices (I can say no more), but one that looked at the most interesting character in life and in the movie — Sean Parker. Many things could have sunk Facebook — in fact Parker mentions a few in this interview with Ashton Kutcher:

But Parker managed several things almost unheard of in tech startups: he secured $1/2 million angel investment while keeping Zuck at 51% ownership, he managed to keep adverts off then added only in relatively unobtrusive ways (putting privacy issues aside. timing here is everything), he took the site international, he gave Zuck confidence to drop out of Harvard and more.

This interview from Vanity Fair (October 2010) with Parker gives you a taste of the complex successful and iconoclastic character that could have been in the movie.

The movie was a great, smart and often funny drama and well worth seeing — beginning October 1 in most theatres.

See also: The New Yorker profile of Mark Zuckerberg (September 20, 2010). No tragedy here.

CyberInfrastructure and Kittahz!

Paul, · Categories: General

I’ll be part of CyberInfrastructure Days at NCSU tomorrow and Wednesday, speaking at 8 am on Wednesday (Yikes!). We’ve been asked to do brief (about 10 minutes) introductions to subject and the issues that are emerging around them. I’m to speak on Search. Here are my slides — NOW with Kittens!