August 2006 Archives

Article about Joi in strategy+business

The Ambassador from the Next Economy

“Joi interprets in deep ways; he’s a profoundly lateral thinker, and therefore he connects the dots better than most,” says John Seely Brown, author of several eminent books on business innovation and the former director of Xerox PARC, the renowned Silicon Valley research center. “He is a hacker at heart, in the best sense of the word. Not only does he go deep, but he also tends to build, or he collects builders around him.” Joi in strategy+business
Photograph by Vern Evans

Geotagging citizen media

Picture 1-4

To keep my mind occupied the last day or so, I have been thinking alot about how Flickr's new Map functionality might affect the whole "citizen journalism" scene.

Alot of people around me have been talking geo for years, and always with that pure geeky "but it would be sooo cool" angle. "Yeah it would," I'd think, "can't wait to see it." With Google Maps and the ensuing "mashup craze", it really was just a matter of time. And of course Flickr Maps is just one more step forward. It's just another beginning. It'll be a BIG beginning though.

Over at GlobalVoices, I am quietly simmering on redesign plans and I am putting alot of attention on "how can we create more better [sic] context for people who come to the site? How can we add to the experience using all the tools we now have at our disposal?" Maps of course figure VERY prominently. Basic ideas like "show the country who's page you are on now on a map."

"How about, on that map, we pinpoint places mentioned in the article?"

Flickr Maps might allow us now to say "show us pictures taken around the places mentioned in this post."

This really is just a start. Now that Flickr has done it, all the other media sharing sites are gonna scramble to figure something similar out. And they don't need to be under Google or Yahoo's wing to do it either. That's why APIs are great.

Going to India

Picture 1-1

I am going to Delhi, India in December for the Global Voices annual meeting. I started researching the trip this evening. First question was "ok, so where is this city exactly..." ;)

Obviously I am not going to go half way around the world and stay only two days. Some "hanging out" is in order. A few days early in Delhi to acclimatize and push back jet lag a bit. And then what? Three possibilities, none of them mutually exclusive: Mumbai, the Himalayas or a beach on the Bay of Bengal.

I should also start getting my ear used to the language(s) and learn a few basics.


Flickr: Import EXIF GPS information from your camera

Automagically import GPS information as geo data

Some cameras can store GPS (location) coordinates in a photo's EXIF header. If you like, Flickr can use that data if it's available to place your photos on your map automatically.

Shall we import that information when a photo is uploaded or replaced?

Yes please, that would be lovely.

Flickr Maps

Flickr map, Montreal

"Lots" indeed. Go nuts.
Montreal area

A little SQL help, again, please? ;D

This seems to work usually and I am always super grateful for any help.

I need two queries to a standard WordPress 1.5.3 database for

1- list of the IDs and names of categories that have been posted to in the last X minutes
2- list of the IDs and names of authors that have posted in the last X minutes

Obviously, my lazy brain just can't wrap itself around the JOINs needed. The first one is more complicated as you need to go through the 'categories' table, the 'post2cat' table and the 'posts' table to check the 'post_date' and compare it to the current time - X minutes.

This is for Global Voices Online. I run a CRON to render JSS files every X minutes and no point in re-burning a file if it isn't updated right? ;)

Pretty please?

Guess i was just tired yesterday. Had some fun figuring out the author one myself this evening:
    U.ID AS id, CONCAT(U.user_firstname,' ',U.user_lastname) AS name
    users AS U,
    posts AS P
    user_level > 0
AND P.post_author = U.ID
AND P.post_modified >= '2006-08-25'
AND P.post_status = 'publish'

Now I do the categories one.

UPDATE 2 (10 minutes later)
    C.cat_ID AS id, C.cat_name AS name
    categories AS C,
    post2cat AS PC,
    posts AS P
    PC.category_id = C.cat_id
AND P.ID = PC.post_id
AND P.post_modified >= '2006-08-25'
AND P.post_status = 'publish'

"UK and US companies sold mobile phone tapping equipment to Vietnam"

Reporters sans frontières - Vietnam:

Reporters Without Borders has learned that a British company, Silver Bullet, and a US company, Verint Systems (a subsidiary of Comverse Technology), sold equipment for intercepting mobile phone calls to the Vietnamese intelligence services. The source of this information, the UK-based Jane’s Defence Weekly, said a subsidiary of Israel Aircraft Industries acted as intermediary in some of the sales.

“We are appalled to learn that our phone calls with Vietnamese cyber-dissidents have been monitored with equipment provided by European and US companies,” the press freedom organisation said. “Coming a year after it emerged that Yahoo! cooperates with the Chinese police, this new case reinforces our conviction that telecommunications companies must be forced to respect certain rules of ethical conduct. In particular, they should be banned from selling surveillance equipment to repressive governments.”

The sales were revealed by Robert Karniol in an article headlined “Vietnamese army enhances mobile phone monitoring” in the 31 October 2005 issue of Jane’s Defence Weekly (JDW). He said the London-based Silver Bullet had recently sold two P-GSM stations (portable mobile phone listening devices - see image) to Vietnam for $250,000 each. Elta (a subsidiary of Israel Aircraft Industries) and Aikap Group, another Israeli company, acted as intermediaries in this transaction.

The JDW article said the equipment sold by Silver Bullet complemented similar equipment provided to Vietnam in 2002 by the US-based company Verint Systems. Verint is a subsidiary of Comserve Technology, a telecommunications company quoted on the Nasdaq exchange whose former boss, Kobi Alexander, is wanted by the FBI for securities fraud and is a fugitive from justice.

Reporters Without Borders tried to contact Silver Bullet and Verint Systems yesterday, but nobody in either company was available to comment on the JDW article. The organisation found information about the P-GSM interception system on the Silver Bullet site yesterday, but the site was down this morning.

The JDW article was picked up yesterday in the newsletter published by an organisation that defends the rights of Vietnam’s Montagnard people.

Mobile Media Conference 2007 call for papers

My mobile, wireless, nomadic, policy, geo wonk friends... check it out.

Various forms of mobile media have been imagined for sometime, and are now a reality: mobile Internet, new forms of mobile text, mobile music, mobile film and video, mobile games, mobile learning, mobile media for the workplace, videotelephony, and mobile television. This relatively short history of mobile telephony is concurrently marked by the shift of the role of users from consumers to active producers – and mobile media is being heralded as a new site for consumption, democratic expression, individualism, citizenship, and creativity.

In this international conference we aim to comprehensively analyse and debate mobile media – exploring its emerging structures, features, practices, value chains, producers and audiences, delving into its social, cultural, aesthetic and commercial implications, and debating its futures.

The conference will feature leading scholars including Genevieve Bell (Intel), Stuart Cunningham (Queensland University of Technology), Shin Dong Kim (Hallym University), Leopoldina Fortunati (University of Undine), Leslie Haddon (London School of Economics), Angel Lin (Chinese University of Hong Kong), Dong Hoo Lee (Incheon University), Rich Ling (Telenor), Shin Mizukoshi (University of Tokyo), Raul Pertierra (Ateneo de Manila and University of Philippines), Misa Matsuda (Chuo University) and Judy Wajcman (Australian National University).

We also invite papers on all aspects of mobile media, including, but certainly not restricted to:

* what does it mean to talk about mobiles as media?
* how do we map and theorise the transformations underway with mobile platforms, applications, and networks?
* mobile art
* mobiles and photography
* emerging cultural and narrative forms for mobiles (such as mobile films and videos)
* intersections between mobiles and Internet technologies
* wireless technologies and cultures
* mobile television, radio, and other kinds of broadcasting
* video calling and communications
* sexuality, intimacy, and mobile media
* mobile media and national or regional cultures
* subcultures, minority cultures, majoritarian cultures, and mobile media
* how do issues such as gender, sexuality, disability, socio-economics, cultural and linguistic contexts continue to inflect differing practices in the far-from-even-and-even terrain of mobiles?
* mobile media and political economy
* mobile gaming
* what are the implications of mobile media for our concepts of culture, communication, and media
* mobiles, community, and public sphere
* mobile media, place and space
* ramifications of mobile media for creative, cultural and media industries
* challenges of mobile media for policy, regulation, and legislation.

Abstracts of 300 words are due by 31st August 2006 (please send copy of abstract to both organizers).

Open Data Movement talk in Helsinki

For the last two weeks I have been dying for an excuse, any excuse, to be in Helsinki right now. The announcement of Matt Biddulph's Aula talk today comes a full 48 hours too late for me to do up and go. Flights went from $1,200 to $6,000 (cause I'd want to go tomorrow morning and not stay a week.)

My personal tragedies aside, I am very pleased and intrigued by the fact that the Aula folks, and entourage, are peeking into Open Data. Though, from the write up it sounds more like Open Content they are talking about...

Around here, Michael and a bunch of a bunch of folks have been organizing Civic Access:

Citizens for Open Access to Civic Information and Data (CivicAccess) is a group of citizens which believes all levels of government should make civic information and data accessible at no cost in open formats to their citizens. We believe this is necessary to allow citizens to fully participate in the democractic process of an "information society."


  1. To encourage all levels of governments (county, municipal, provincial, federal) to make civic data and information available to citizens without restrictions, at no cost, and in useable open formats.

  2. To encourage the development of citizen projects using civic data and information

Making civic data and information freely available to citizens is important because:

  • Citizen participation in decision-making is fundamental to democracy

  • Good decisions are made by informed citizens

  • Quality civic data and information are fundamental to keeping citizens informed in an "information society"

  • Taxes have already paid for civic data and information; therefore these should be made available at no cost to citizens

  • Citizen projects using civic data will generate innovative solutions to social, economic and environmental problems

  • Citizen projects using civic data will allow citizens to creatively plan their communities

  • This is what a democracy looks like!

In this context, Open Data refers to such information as government activities (like "TheyWorkForYou" and "OpenSecrets"), geographical data (hello all you geo wonks, salivating at Google Maps. Can you imagine what geographical resources your government, which you pay for, has access to?), and in combination with Open Content--cultural objects, like BBC archives, all the way to local event listings...

Sorry, distracted by work.. but you get the picture right?


I've been back from Tokyo for 2 months now. Funny, it feels far far longer than that; more like 6 months.
I've eaten japanese-style food once. (it was my favorite place. I was so disappointed.)
I've not watched a single japanese movie. (if you knew my movie diet of the last few years, you'd know how odd that is)
I've not listened to any japanese music. (at least not consciously)
I've not spent any time with any japanese friends here. (sorry Tigre!)

and I am miserable.

and I didn't realize it until I walked into my neighborhood patisserie where the theme from Lady Snow Blood was playing.

"I know this. I recognize the words. It's that other world... what are you doing here?"

I've set my player to feed me tracks by artists similar to Towa Tei, Cornelius, DJ Krush, Fantastic Plastic Machine, Yellow Magic Orchestra... Pizzicato Five... ahhhh... a bit of happy. I'm going to go eat some fish tonight, and dream... and scheme. Ceci ne durera pas!

"George Galloway Savages SKY NEWS"

George Galloway on Sky
(SKY is apparently the british equivalent of Fox News, both Rupert Murdoch properties. Rupert also owns MySpace now. Beware, the brainwash machine expanded by a couple million more brains... very narrow brains mind you... ;)

Erasure of memory, loss of history, point of view with interests-backed agenda. Manipulation of medium and message, hence what most people today call reality, long ago ceased being an art and is now a fully mechanized business operation.

Matt Jones has a great little doodle in the banner of his weblog which depicts Umberto Eco saying "Lying about the future makes history*", which is certainly true. The reverse is true as well though: lying about history makes the future.

*Though the actual quote is "Lying about the future produces history."

Borisu in Korea

Gallery Borisu-Seoul
Karl found this gallery/café in Seoul.
In Japan I am sometimes called "Borisu". It's a written language thing.

Voting with money

Zephyr got in touch with me today to ask about helping out with some UI for an organization she's now involved in. Poking around their site, I found this screencast showing how to use a site called "" to find out who has been making what kinds of contributions and to whom, in U.S. election campaigns.

While not surprising, the information it presents is eye opening. Just click through the "Sector" overviews and marvel at the divisions of who donates to whom, when.

That said, the data is there; it is publicly available. It could however use some massaging and some highlighting and some contextualizing and pre-chewing for a wider audience (make it something someone can broadcast, not something some small group of people have to look up if the thought of doing so strikes them.)

Please do check it out.

Lebanon solidarity protest, Cairo

Lebanon solidarity protest, Cairo
Originally uploaded by madmonk.

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez expelled Israel's ambassador. Here a protester in Cairo offers her thanks and support


Mike Pinkerton, developer of Camino, who now works for Google and doesn't seem so enthused about it all, says:

So did you ever notice how most people nowadays start new thoughts or interrupt discussions with "so"? I wonder how that started. Pretty much everyone I know does it, be it west coast or east coast. Wonder if it's an American thing.

Yup. Absolutely. I do it ALL the time. I learnt it from Joi. No joke.

So, I was thinking...

So is the new like.

I spot WiFi from the corner of my eye

I've toted around for years various WiFi detectors and sniffers, to find Wireless Internet access as I roam around. They ugly, clunky, totally utilitarian dedicated devices that resulted in my actually getting a connection only a small percentage of the time. Plus, the were only useful, when they worked, when I really need to pull out the portable computer for whatever reason on the spot and that was really really rare.

However, I've now had this WiFi enable mobile device for a bit over two or three weeks and I find myself constantly wondering if I have WiFi access at this moment. So I can upload this photo, or video, or audio, or send this email, you know?

So I spent part of my evening searching the web for WiFi detecting jewelry. Granted I didn't search very hard, but I found nothing. It seems much of the pieces to make something neat and discreet still comes in too bulky a size and with to great a power draw to make it worthwhile: WiFi antennas and logic-boards are still quite big and polling for signal is a battery killer. Add to that wiring, capacitors and LEDs and it's no longer something you want on your wrist or around you neck.

So my dream is of a light-ish, rubbery wristband (à la "Livestrong", only wider, more substantial, which it would probably have to be anyways to accommodate all the tech embedded in it, or perhaps more akin to the Stark-Fossil watches), red (for protected, WEP etc, detected WiFi) and green (for unprotected, i.e."open" detected WiFi) EL wire, whose intensity would increase with signal strength. Multiple frequencies detected of either open or closed Access Points could be rolled into just a single stimulus for the EL, but having both closed and open WiFi in one's surroundings would result in a yellow glow from the wristband.

That would be cute.

What would be most practical however is if this were a feature of the mobile device itself, which already has the WiFi antenna, the battery and the supporting software platform. I would love for the back of my next Nokia to glow pale blue when I walk into an open WiFi hotspot's radio signal.

An example of the little stuff I love doing

"Recent comments" list in the sidebar of a weblog.



Yeah, it takes more space, but it is apprehensible. There is more data, but it is better chunked and spooned out, reducing the amount of decoding you need to do (as it is already done for you, using HTML, CSS, PHP and SQL ;)

There is SO much Cog.Psy. in UE.

Audio moblog halted

Since I got this Nokia N80 with WiFi, I've felt the very strong urge to use it to do multi-media mobile logging, and alot of it. Like, every moment of the day... ;)

Yes. Mmmoblogging. Deal.

Anyways, so I thought it would be easy enough to use the Recorder software on this thing to record myself pontificating on tawdry platitudes (or, more interesting perhaps, conversations with friends) and upload via email whenever I'm in WiFi range.

Problem 1: "Recorder" only records for 60 seconds, and saves in a format (AMR) I cannot seem to find any sort of Python-based transcoder (MP3/AAC) for. (Python because the mail2entry script on my server is in Python.)

Solution: Alon Software's "Dictaphone". $25 and I have to wait for S60v3 version. Already emailed inquiring. :p

Problem 2: Aforementioned moblogging script is specifically made for image moblogging, insuch that it creates thumbnails (involved process!) and eventually will include Aaron's filtrs.

Solution: A phonecall (yes, I actually called someone. amazing ne?) to Francis, the maintainer of the moblog (can you believe he refuses to give me shell access to his server?!), essentailly begging him to ASAP make a version of the script which will allow me to post audio files to another weblog setup. Any day now. ;)

So I get home and figure "well, if yer gonna do this, we should do it properly and cover as many bases as we can in one dev push." That means I need to spec it out, outline it, UE diagram it... UML... etc... ;)

Any day now. :p

To save Bethune

Bethune and the gull
EastSouthWestNorth: Extraordinary Chinese Sayings, 1840-1999 - Part 1:

When the Chinese Communist leaders found out that Dr. Bethune was ill, they ordered a full-scale effort to save him. Zhou Enlai issued a secret order to the party underground in Shanghai to obtain penicillin and other essential medicines not available in the interior. The party underground leader had no choice but to look up Shanghai's big triad boss Du Yuesheng (杜月笙) for help. Du stared at the shopping list and did not say anything for a while. The party underground leader got anxious and slowly articulated one word at a time: "If Mr. Du can help, we promise that we will always remember this." Du Yuesheng sighed and said: "This list of medicine will be difficult to procure. This is a lot harder than the little things that I have helped you on previously. But if a foreigner was willing to risk his life to come here to help us Chinese fight the little Japanese ghouls, what can we Chinese say? Please proceed to the Huangpo River tomorrow night to pick up the material. Let us say that all related expenses will be donated by me."

(photo by Ella)

Every day, in the morning*

Edi Singt Solo

Edi Singt Chor

Lieber Boris,

wir haben zwei Fotos von Edi gefunden. Vielleicht sind sie
interessant fuer Dich.
Lass mal wieder was von Dir hoeren. Der Dutzi (Erhard)
war bis heute bei uns, er sagt Du bist haeufig in Japan.

Herzliche Gruesse, auch an Sophie



*Leo Kottke - Jack Gets Up


Everyday in the morning when you get up and you crawl out of bed
And you crawl out of bed and you crawl out of bed
Everyday in the morning when you get up and you crawl out of bed
And you look at the moon where the window is
And the stars shine, and the stars shine, and the stars shine

Everyday in the morning when you get up and you crawl out of bed

And way down below in the sun belt
And the telephones, and the telephone, and the telephones
And you look out the moon where the window is
Everyday in the morning when you get up and you crawl out of bed

And some of us breathe in the brown ground
Where the worms clown, where the worms clown, where the worms clown
Way down below in the sun belt
Everyday in the morning when you get up and you crawl out of bed

And every night when you lay down
You fall flat, you fall flat, you fall flat
Some of us breathe in the brown ground
Everyday in the morning when you get up and you crawl out of bed

So we're all asleep in the same dream
In the snort fort, the snort fort, the snort fort
And every night when you lay down
Everyday in the morning when you get up and you crawl out of bed

Santa Claus modified snow peas
On the sun roofs, on the sun roofs, on the sun roofs
So we're asleep in the same dream
Everyday in the morning when you get up and you crawl out of bed

If you look in the mirror it's your father's face
And the thin grin, the thin grin, the thin grin

It's Santa Claus pulling up snow peas
Everyday in the morning when you get up and you crawl out of bed

And there's tears in the bank and the credit card
In the back yard, in the back yard, in the back yard
If you look in the mirror it's your father's face
Everyday in the morning when you get up and you crawl out of bed

And once in a while when the wind blows
And the heart winds, and the heart winds, and the heart winds

There's tears in the bank and a credit card
Everyday in the morning when you get up and you crawl out of bed

But there's lint in the pocket and a breath mint
Or a car key, or a car key, or a car key
Once in a while when the wind blows
Everyday in the morning when you get up and you crawl out of bed

And your kid has a face like a walnut
From the ice cream, from the ice cream, from the ice cream

But there's lint in the pocket and a breath mint
Everyday in the morning when you get up and you crawl out of bed

Everyday in the morning when you get up and you crawl out of bed
Everyday in the morning when you get up and you crawl out of bed


This morning I received a parcel from Toys'R'Us. It was my copy of ElectroPlankton. What a treat.

electroplanktonTrying to relax on the couch this evening, I noticed in one of the modes you could turn on a display ("A" button) which indicated the angle at which you had tilted the leaves on the plant which cause the little thingies to bounce around just so and make nice sounds.

I immediately cleaned up my angles. ;)

	\150 /45
	\150 /55

"This would make a great ringtone," thought I.
Plugged the Nintendos DS Lite into the Powerbook, sparked up GarageBand, fiddled and fuddled a bit... et voilà.

To note: most of GarageBand's "Instruments" were syhtesisable based on the input. I guess they are filters? This sounded real mean as "Guitar -> Modern Rock." Imagine if you could get MIDI out of this thing?

Here they go again

"Ok Go" just raised the bar...