The Real Paul Jones

Accept no substitutes

The complete & total evil of Email Trees explained in animation – #noemail

Paul, · Categories: #noemail

Business Practices That Refuse To Die (but should) via Kevin D. Jones of Decog Yourself

Thanks to Sebastian Schäfer

Blogs vs Email: the inforgraphical explanation #noemail

Paul, · Categories: #noemail

From Germany, Harald Schirmer explains how email causes pain which blogging can abate. Click on the image for his full contribution and full explanation. Very well done. Blogs vs Email

Revisiting Pasts – 1968 & 1983

Paul, · Categories: General

I somehow missed Charlotte Magazine‘s September feature about the Charlotte of 1968. A turbulent year for the city, the nation and the world. And for me. I was graduating from East Mecklenburg High and headed to NC State. In a nice sidebar, the principals and perhaps a bit of the principles of The Inquistion are featured. A nice picture of Lynwood Shiva Sawyer and Tom Wilkinson — Tom has his own feature this month in the same magazine (see previous post).

Tom Wilkinson and Lynwood Shiva Sawyer

I missed a lot of what was going on in Charlotte at that moment, but thanks to working on and with The Inquisition a lot of it is still familiar and enduring — some in a good way, like having a context when talking with Adam Stein who was one of the founders Charlotte’s first integrated law firm.

In 1983, a bunch of us began to meet with poet Ann Deagon who was looking to turn her project Poetry Center Southeast into a statewide service group for all writers. By 1985, we were an official 501(c)-3 organization called the North Carolina Writers’ Network. The apostrophe and its placement seemed very important at the time as I remember. Judy Hogan was the first president with Georgann Eubanks and myself serving as vice presidents. I eventually left the vice presidency and the Board of Trustees for a couple of decades and recently (2008 I think) rejoined the Trustees.

Now the Network has 1200 (dues paying) members. 200 of those members were in Wrightsville Beach for the Fall Conference, a gathering that moves around the state to a different site each year. We began with an annual conference in our first year with our first director Robert Hill Long and I setting up folding chairs someplace in Durham for many fewer people.

It was great to see what current director Ed Southern and his staff have done with the Conference and the Network.

North Carolina Writers Network

Music, poetry, etc.

Paul, · Categories: General

On Saturday afternoon, I sat in on Tom Arnel’s Placeholder Show on WCOM-LPFM serving parts of Carrboro and anyone streaming the show. Tom asked me to put together a playlist on some theme — my choice. About 8-10 songs. I decided to do a set of songs by and about Roma aka Gypsies mostly in the Balkans and in France mostly influenced by jazz, pop, dance music and even alternative sounds.

Gypsy Queen by Van Morrison
My Gypsy Auto-Pilot by Gogol Bordello
Carolina by Taraf de Haidouks mixed by Bucovina Club
Me la Kamav by Vera Bila
Losing My Religion by Dolapdere Big Gang
Gypsy Rover by Roger McGuinn
Hierachie by Carmen Maria Vega
Runnin’ Wild (Course Movemente) by Django Rheinhardt
Hora Staccato by Taraful Ciuleandra and Maria Buza
Gypsy by Charlie Parker
Romani by Turkish Gypsies from Gypsies of the World

On Sunday, I picked up the MC job from Jerry Eidenier at Saint Matthews Episcopal Church in Hillsborough for Favorite Poem III. The twice yearly series is based on Robert Pinsky’s Favorite Poem Project. Parishioners being a poem — not written by themselves or relatives or friends — to share with each other. For this event, the poems were:

“There is a Community of the Spirit” Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi as translated by Coleman Barks

“A Few Words on the Soul” Wislawa Szymborska (trans?)

“Barter” Sara Teasdale

“The Second Coming” W. B. Yeats

“Soliloquy of a Spanish Cloister” Robert Browning

“The Journey” Mary Oliver

“Departmental” Robert Frost

“The Poems of Our Climate” Wallace Stevens

“A Word” Emily Dickinson

“Provide, Provide” Robert Frost

#noemail and two old friends

Paul, · Categories: #noemail

Reconnections with two old friends with #noemail connections this morning.

First Paul Gilster writes about not being able to go #noemail in the News & Observer. He has nice things to say (and mentions me and the #noemail life I’m leading), but as I comment:

Paul,
Why be negative?
it’s not quitting email, it’s communicating in better ways. #noemail is saying “I’m here but I don’t live at my desk” “I’m social when more appropriate” “Say it quickly and be direct” “Less covering your rear at work by CCing your boss at every move; work it out your self” “More sharing” and in the end a richer life.
As for email, it was adequate for the needs of the late 20th Century.
We don’t live there any more.
Peace out,
Paul

Paul is doing great work about space travel at Centauri Dreams. Perhaps he’s seen ibiblio – the movie.

Second, my ole pal and running buddy, Tom Wilkinson, who does no email and no social media is featured in Charlotte Magazine telling his tall — but also true — tales in “The Entertainer: the Backstage Live of Tom Wilkinson.” No page can contain Tom’s talking and animated presentation, but this is a good tribute and a good primer. Email could not do him justice, but maybe YouTube or Vimeo could.

Tom WIlkinson in Charlotte Magazine Credit Logan Cyrus

Chapel Hill reads Green Eggs and Ham

Paul, · Categories: General

During Festifall a couple of Sundays back, Chapel Hellians visiting the Chapel Hill Public Library table and bus took time to read Dr Seus’s Green Eggs and Ham (in front of a green screen). Familiar faces and voices are there including the Mayor and at least one member of Council.

RTP180 – 20 Years (of ibiblio) in 5 Minutes (more or less)

Paul, · Categories: General

Luckily the slides have little to do with the words being spoken. The 60 slides in 5 minutes are illustrative of the variety of content hosted on ibiblio.org. The 60 projects represent about 1% of our holdings and relationships. The talk was part of a series of lightning rounds at The RTP Foundation on September 17, 2013, called “RTP 180: All Things Open Source”. Thanks to the RTP Foundation for putting the event together.

I posted the slides in an earlier article, but there they are again:

Email Gets Failing Grades. I speak for #noemail

Paul, · Categories: General · Tags:

#noemail is stylish. Who knew? Courtney Rubin reports in this past Sunday’s NYTimes Style section “Email Gets Failing Grades”.
I’m quoted as:

Paul Jones, a professor at the University of North Carolina, does not think they should have to.

“E-mail is a sinkhole where knowledge goes to die,” said Mr. Jones, who said that he gave up e-mail in 2011. It was a radical move, not least because Mr. Jones helped write the code for the university’s first e-mail program 30 years ago. “I’m trying to undo that sinful work,” he said, joking.

E-mails to him receive an automated reply: “Goodbye E-mail, I’m divesting,” plus some 20 ways to reach him. About the only person frustrated by this, he said, was a department head who wanted to know “how will you possibly read our important departmental announcements?” Mr. Jones said with a laugh.

But in his quest to eliminate e-mail, Mr. Jones may have a surprising obstacle: students. Canvas, a two-year-old learning management system used by Brown University, among others, allows students to choose how to receive messages like “The reading assignment has been changed to Chapter 2.”ť The options: e-mail, text, Facebook and Twitter. According to company figures, 98 percent chose e-mail.

My responses here later.

20 years in 5 minutes and #noemail at Duke

Paul, · Categories: #noemail, General

I had a great time this Monday at the RTP Foundation taking part in 5 minute talks on open source projects called “RTP 180: Open Source All Things.” While I talked — slightly over my 5 minutes, I’ll admit — just over 60 slides representing about 1% of the projects currently hosted at ibiblio.org passed by on the screen at about 3 seconds each. That could have been a little fast for some people, so I’ve reposted those slides here:

On Wednesday, I took the #noemail message to the Duke Libraries as “Imagine Life without Email” where one former ibiblian and current Duke Libraires developer taunted me by sending an email in my presence with not one but two attachments. Will is, of course, the source of his own pain as Oscar Wilde observed “We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.”

Slides from that talk are here (note that Is Good doesn’t trust Google Docs but I assure you this link is fine):

Another, topical, view of a Paul Jones

Paul, · Categories: General

From the US National Arrrrr-chives the now annual appearance of:

It’s “Talk Like a Pirate Day” and don’t fear, we’ve got pirates in the National Archives! Here’s a caricature of “Paul Jones the Pirate.” This is a copy of a circa 1779 engraving found within the Records of the Office of War Information.

The Pirate Paul Jones

Space Travelers and ibiblio.org

Paul, · Categories: General

Space travelers informed by ibiblio are now on the UNC School of Information and Library Science’s Vimeo channel.
Like if you like.

Remembering Seamus Heaney (April 13, 1939 – August 29, 2013)

Paul, · Categories: General

Seamus Heaney

We were lucky and privileged in the course of Seamus Heaney’s live to have crossed paths with him several times. First when he agreed to be part of an early experiment in putting poetry on the WWW by not only granting us the use of some of his poems, but he agreed to record his readings of those poems himself with the help of Harvard’s Poetry Room in the 1994. Heaney had not yet won the Nobel Prize at that point. That would come the next year when his work was cited “for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past”.

Certainly the poems he chose for the Internet Poetry Archive are exemplars of that sense of beauty, depth and exaltation.

Heaney returned to Chapel Hill in May 12, 1996 to deliver our commencement address.

To send off our graduates into their new lives, he quoted from a ballad he had heard whilst growing up in Derry in which a young woman was going off into the world leaving on the 12th of May. There was much wise reflection in his interpretation of that ballad in the context of commencement, but I recalled and recall now the final verse which is a hopeful send off for graduates and for Heaney himself:

                          So I bade them all good evening
                               and there I hoisted sail,
                          Let the best betide my countryside,
                               my fortune never fail.
                          Then night coming on, all hopes being gone,
                               I think I will try elsewhere,
                          at a dance or a wake my chance I'll take
                               and leave Magherafelt May Fair.

Seamus Heaney at the Internet Poetry Archive.

Preferred Chat System – #noemail

Paul, · Categories: #noemail

Preferred Chat System from XKCD

Visualizing a life with #noemail (and pre-#noemail)

Paul, · Categories: #noemail

MIT’s Daniel Smilkov, Deepak Jagdish, and César Hidalgo have created a great Gmail metadata visualization tool called Immersion. The first thing that Immersion does is map your email interaction networks in a nice interactive way. You can see networks emerge, strength of ties (via number of interactions), isolated mail bombers (usually listservs or alerts), and relationships easily and beautifully.

For me this is particularly nice as you can control the time periods that are mapped. So I mapped my email interactions for the three years before I quit email, then the two years after having stopped doing email, finally the past month of #noemail (this past month).

Mail networks pre-#noemail (3 years)

Mail networks pre-#noemail (3 years)

Mail networks since practicing #noemail (2 years)

Mail networks since practicing #noemail (2 years)

Mail Networks in the past month #noemail (June 2013)

Mail Networks in the past month #noemail (June 2013)

The Story Behind the WWW Hypertext 91 Demo Page and UNC and me

Paul, · Categories: General

We’ve gotten a lot of nice coverage of my rediscovery of perhaps the earliest World Wide Web pages this past week.

Fact is that those pages — Tim Berners-Lee’s Demonstration Page for Hypertext 91 and my own personal page — have been on the net almost continually since they were developed and/or modified on my NeXT cube during Tim’s visit to UNC in the late Fall of 1991 on his way to San Antonio and the ACM conference in December 1991. While the pages have moved from server to server as we upgraded, the pages mostly worked just fine even in modern web browsers without modification. True, there are HTML tags that are strange to us now: DD, DT, DL, NEXTID, and a requirement that each A link have a NAME field. (place view-source:http://ibiblio.org/pjones/old.page.html and view-source:http://ibiblio.org/pjones/old.paul.html in Chrome to see the old school html unrendered).

But how did those pages get created and how did they end up in Chapel Hill on my NeXT in first place?

Wide Area Information Servers and the WWW gateway

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Judd Knott and I led a network services research group at UNC in the Office for Information Technologies. Among the projects we developed was an internet bulletin board service that allowed access to all kinds of software for information sharing, Free software (as in Freedom), USENET News, Gopher, etc — even email. LaUNChpad quickly had hundreds of users and allowed us experiment in a living world and in the process contribute to information access in a small way.

We were often implementers of access protocols and very early software releases. One particular project really caught our interest; Wide Area Information Servers (WAIS), a Z39.50 database searching software suite, was being developed at Thinking Machines, Inc (a company mostly out of MIT that included Brewster Kahle who would later found Internet Archive). We, Jim Fullton in particular, quickly became a participant in development of a free and robust version of WAIS (wais-8-b2) in the spring of 1991.

Not long after, Jim made contact (via one of the hypertext newgroups) with Tim Berners-Lee of CERN who was interested in developing a gateway between WAIS servers and his project modestly called The WorldWideWeb. By about September, Jim and Tim had something working although not ready for general use. By October, Tim announced the gateway.

On The Way to Hypertext 91

Not long after, Jim got email from Tim saying that he was submitting a paper on what was now called more briefly WWW at the upcoming Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) conference Hypertext 91 in San Antonio in December. Tim made plans to stop by UNC and visit with us before going on to Texas. He was confident given the immediate acceptance of WWW on newsgroups and as seen in his logs that he would get a good speaking slot at the conference.

A few weeks later, we learned differently. Tim’s paper had been rejected. But he had been offered a spot to demonstrate the WWW. Only a couple of catches. There was to be no Internet connectivity at the conference. And as Tim’s demonstration required a NeXT computer, he would have to bring his from Europe. Tim was intrepid and soldiered on.

A Call to an Expert

Anticipating Tim’s arrival, I called a nearby Computer Science department. The voice at the other end had heard of Tim’s project but was not impressed. He immediately recited what he saw as deadly problems with the WWW:

  1. Links in hypertext must be bidirectional. WWW’s are one way only.
  2. WWW servers aren’t aware of each other and there is no inter-server communication.
  3. All WWW servers are equal. There should be a concept of hubs.
  4. WWW servers don’t keep state. They are completely unaware of their previous interactions.
  5. It’s obvious that whoever wrote the hypertext engine doesn’t understand SGML. This HTML is done all wrong.
  6. Finally, he’s giving this away for free. That means it has no value at all. We have our own version and a strong licensing partner.

I didn’t take Tim to meet with the person who owned that voice.

Tim Berners-Lee’s visit to Chapel Hill

When Tim did come to visit, he already knew that I too had a NeXT just like his. He stopped by. We talked about WAIS and WWW and beer and he pulled out a floptical drive (NeXT pioneered a read-write optical disk in a case. No one followed). I installed Tim’s graphical browser on my NeXT. Tim talked me through using WWW by using a copy of his Hypertext 91 demonstration page.

There was, as you see now, a link to the WWW< >WAIS gateway for searching a database in the next room. When I clicked on the link, my information request first went to CERN in Switzerland then back to UNC to search the database. The results then left UNC for Switzerland where html was added and then the results sent back to my NeXT.

Tim showed me how simple and easy editing and creating a WWW page could be. First he showed how straightforward editing was by changing “demonstration” to “demonfdgfgstration.” I created my own page and added a link to an FTP site in Denmark that hosted a sound collection among other things. I wanted to see if the NeXT and Tim’s WWW browser would be able to pass the sound to a player. I think it did, but I really can’t remember if it did.

Beers near English Scholars

That night, I invited Tim, Jim, Judd and others working on our project to my home. My wife, Sally Greene, was having a bunch of her friends, all PhD students in English over as well.

The geeks and literature folks didn’t really mix. The geeks were out on the deck in the warm North Carolina fall night. The scholars were in the kitchen. I think some of the talk inside was of “Afternoon, a Story” a hypertext composition by Michael Joyce. Someone was interested in how current theory impacted (yes that word) and was impacted by hypertext. No one had actually experienced hypertext other than Apple’s Hypercard though. Yet just a few feet and a few drinks away…

My NeXT, Proceedings from Hypertext 91, The NeXT Book

World’s Oldest Web Page (I have it)

Paul, · Categories: General

Links for now. Story later.

Sources:

X-Post Meet Your New CEO; Your Kid – #noemail

Paul, · Categories: #noemail

I”m delighted that the slide deck from our webinar made it into a blog post by Luis Suarez called Meet Your New CEO; Your Kid.

Luis recounts some of his motivations for beginning to Live A Life Without Email over five years ago. The speculates about our futures at work, at home and in the world. Looking at our kids is a good way to learn the ways of an evolving world — even if one lesson is to start forgetting what you’ve always found useful and helpful.

Luis includes this video of kids evaluating their current social media (SnapChat, Tumblr, and Whisper.sh are not mentioned)

Be sure to read his post.

Information Overload Research Group Webinar #noemail

Paul, · Categories: #noemail

Yesterday, Luis Suarez (IBM Europe), Robert Shaw (Blue Kiwi & ATOS) and I did a webinar for the Information Overload Research Group on “How can business survive without e-mail at all?”

The webinar is captured here by Charlie Davidson of Attensa (and IORG). Nice moderation was provided by Marty Bariff of Illinois Institute of Technology.

The slides I created for my part of the talk are here:



G+ Community for Living a Life Without Email – #noemail

Paul, · Categories: #noemail

Luis Suarez (not the European footballer but the one of IBM Europe fame) has started a Google + Community for Living a Life Without Email moderated by Paul Lancaster (Sage UK), Alan Hamilton (Social business evangelist, IBM UK) and myself.

Join us for more #noemail insights with a global and social business twist and look for #lawwe (Living A World Without eMail) and #noemail on most social networking sites.

#noemail encouraged by Harvard Business Review

Paul, · Categories: General · Tags:

The title says it all Give Up Email Altogether
Read and heed.