April 2003 Archives

About media conglomeration

From the mouth of one of the horses...

NOW: Transcript - Bill Moyers Interviews Barry Diller | PBS

I actually caught this on TV the other night. It was astounding to watch. Moyers was dumbfounded by the words he heard.

The day the music ...

Well, Apple announced it's online music store, which will spark at least one cultural phenomenon and feed another: iTunes Store Sample surfing, and one-stop-free-shop for mashmixers looking for samples. Yay!!!

On another note, Madonna had the cojones to go and have her record company try to flood the file-sharing networks with a recording of her saying "What the fuck do you think you're doing?. I take issue with this in a way different than some: Profanity. Those of you know me as The Sailor are probably scratching your heads... ;)

Madonna's little voice clip is really quite scary. If I had a woman standing in front of me say that in that tone, I would be frightened. Now if we keep in mind that a huge majority of "music pirates" are kids/adolescents, and that realisitically Madonna fans are predominantly female prebubescents, I ask you: does America need this cunt to go and swear so viciously at it's children?

Hey, Madonna... Dontcha think you have way more than enough money? What don't you shut your fat fucking face already and disappear. Instead of being a greedy, power-hungry Cruella-type bitch, why dontcha do some good. If ya can't, vamoos!

Ahem yes so anyways, just on principle, if there ever were to arise such a situation where I may be incited to pay money for anything Madonna related, I promise I won't. I trust many in Internet-land will do the same.

You know you're from Quebec when

  1. You often switch from "heat" to "A/C" in the same day.
  2. You use a down comforter in the summer.
  3. Your parents drive at 120km/h through 13 feet of snow during a blizzard, without flinching.
  4. You carry jumper cables in your car and your girlfriend knows how to use them.
  5. You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.
  6. Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow.
  7. You know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter, and construction.

"A warning sign"

by ColdPlay, "A Rush Of Blood To The Head"

I missed the good part then I realised
That I started looking and the bubble burst
I started looking for excuses
Come on in, I've got to tell you what a state I'm in
I've got to tell you in my loudest tones
That I started looking for a warning sign

When the truth is
I miss you
Yeah the truth is
That I miss you so

A warning sign

You came back to haunt me and I realised
That you were an island and I passed you by
When you were an island to discover
Come on in, I've got to tell you what a state I'm in
I've got to tell you in my loudest tones
That I started looking for a warning sign

And the truth is
I miss you
Yeah the truth is
I miss you so
And I'm tired
I should not have let you go

So I crawl back into your open arms
Yes I crawl back into your open arms
And I crawl back into your open arms
Yes I crawl back into your open arms

Concentrate dammit!

I know EXACTLY where i want to be. Always have. I just, for the life of me, cannot seem to focus on just how to get there dammit.

It's all just *one* step away from me... ever so ever so ever so slightly out of my reach.

Dammit. Damm, damn, dammy damn damn.

Ah, that feels better. ;)

Wanted: Peking Duck

I haven't had Peking Duck in well over 10 years. It had completely slipped my mind as a dish I very much enjoy.

Can anybody recommend a good place to have Peking Duck in Montreal? Please? I don't think I'll last much longer...

Media protest power

From "The Prandial Post" weblog:

So the media fought back by precisely not doing what they do best. As Ansar arrived in Parliament, everyone put down their cameras and notepads and just watched him, arms folded, not reporting on the events. Then they used their press passes to get access to the main chamber and stood in silence, holding aloft pictures of Couso on which they had written "assassinated". They got a standing ovation for a minute and a half - including, curiously, many of Ansar's own party.

Beautiful! The spanish media asked questions, nay, demanded andswers in the death of one of their own. The answers were not satisfactory, and so: the flow stops.

Oh how wonderful such a display would be in a White House press briefing!

Teenaged cyborgs, moblogging and Emergence.

Link found on Smart Mobs, and quotes below lifted from the Miami Herald article it linked to.

''[Cellphones] extend the spatial and temporal boundaries of a physical encounter,'' she said, explaining that cellphones are providing a way for young people to stay in touch when they are apart.
It is far more than a mere "way to stay in touch when they are apart". That what we've been using telephones for since the start. The interesting part is how cellphones, with integrated, easy instant messaging "extend the spacial and temporal boundaries". Extend? It erases them, and not merely for "physical encounter": for direct communication. Take this:
Linked by cellphones and possessing the ability to exchange silent messages anytime, anywhere, these young people respond to each other quickly, creating the feeling of always being connected.
"Always being connected" + "always being able to communicate" = social network, and more. Read on.

Scully? Any thoughts?

This is "way out" perhaps but no less implausible:
SARS - A Great Global SCAM

Caveat lector:

The reader should reach his own conclusions on Horowitz's
credentials. His earlier books appear to cover such topics as the author's thesis that the AIDS virus was deliberately engineered and deployed by the CIA; world-saving healing modalities found in the Bible's secret codes; the "diseased" masonic Catholic Church; and how Hitler's elite continue to plan eugenic mass murder via pandemics, and world control through computer chips implanted in the hand or forehead.

(From Dave Farber's "Interesting People" mailing list.)

While we're on the topic... (RSS)

Joi Ito has gone and done it. He bought and read Ben Hammersley's new O'Reilly book "Content Syndication with RSS", Of course this means I have to run out and get it too (shame on me for not having it already!).

As Mr. Hammersley says, Ito-san nails the issue right on the head:

It's flexibility vs. simplicity. RSS 2.0 is cool because it extends the simplicity of the original 0.9x RSS with modules. RSS 1.0 is cool because there are so many things you can do with RDF. The problem with RDF is that it is so ugly to read. Honestly, this morning I wouldn't understand what I have just written. The geek inside me is now awake and I want to learn everything there is to know about RDF, bu it took a bunch of people pummeling me to get me to care, whereas plain old RSS 0.91 got me excited just looking at the code. So, I guess I'm on Dave's side in terms of keep it simple and help get it widely accepted. On the other hand, the RDF stuff really does allow a lot of the semantic web attributes that we are talking about in the emergent democracy debate and the RDF framework, once it really starts to get picked up inside of applications could be really powerful.

Myself, I've been cheering for RDF. Not out of any profound understanding of it, mind you. Just out of a very high-level overview conception I have formed over the course of some reading and conversations about it. It does seem to me to be hugely powerful, but I must say that I too tend to have my eyes gloss over whenever I actually look at the code itself. Then again, the same happens, to a lesser degree when I look at any mark up (except HTML/XHTML... after tens years of the stuff I have found myself dreaming in tables some nights!).

Anyways, yes RDF "allows" incredible flexibility, and yes it is a, forgive my french, a "bitch". The true tragedy here is that it has not been adequately picked up by tool developers, which would allow it to reap the benefits of a moderate critical mass.

Let's look at it a tad deeper though, and compare it to other "standards" out there.

And by all means, if I am way off or outright wrong in what I say, feel free to correct me!!! Karl? Ben? Aaron? Steph? Anyone! :)

Emergence: post-anarchy?

Reading the initial chapters of "Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software" by Steven Johnson, wherein, amongst many other things, he speaks of a young Engels' sojourn in Manchester, England, I am struck by a correlation of political and sociological ideas.

Johnson quotes Engels' apparent half-realisation and mild appallement in seeing what appears to have been an auto-development of social segregation in the urban "un-planning" which occurred in Manchester with the arrival and explosion of the industrial revolution. (Working class and middle class sectors of the city being almost perfectly segregated is not something a budding socialist-cum-marxist finds particularly "well and good", I suppose. However, the fact that it just sort of "happened" without any planning is not lost on the young Engels - he just doesn't see the natural ramifications: emergence in other words. He's just dismayed by it and moves along.)

Ourselves moving along, in the context of the recent thoughts of "Emergent Democracy" by Joi Ito and James F. Moore's "The Second Superpower Rears its Beautiful Head" (though I'd call it "Emergent Superpower" since "second" denotes class/rank, and "emergent" brings with it all the force of it's associated notions), as well as Ito-san's apparent strong desire for Japanese political reform (interesting how this was intended for publication in the South China Morning Post...) I can't help but to think of that other, much maligned political system, communism, and it's role as the usher for Emergent Democracy.

Some points he's missing

"The Register" writer Andrew Orlowski misses a few points, and makes some fair ones, in his article "Anti-war slogan coined, repurposed and Googlewashed... in 42 days".

To all intents and purposes, the original meaning has been erased. Obliterated, in just seven weeks.

He's referring to the term "Second Superpower", as used by James F. Moore in his recent article "The Second Superpower Rears its Beautiful Head".
Language and ideas naturally "erode" and or "morph" over time and use. Some examples: historical accounts, religious beliefs, urban myths, pop lyrics. In the arena of instantaneous multi-party communication, which is one of the qualities of weblogging (online conversations, who's only connection to time, ironically, is timestamps), this natural process is accelerated - McLuhan would say - at the speed of light.
Mr. Olowski's contention that the meaning has been "erased" and "obliterated" is his opinion, which is debatable. An inevitable result of hyper-acceleration of communication coupled with sound-byte culture is, afterall, the cliché: a phrase who's original notion and context has been lost. However, with Weblogging, it is not really lost: it is all still there, recorded. It's just a question of taking off the "Google-goggles", or any other blinders, be they technological or social. (Trackbacks, by the way, are a great way of doing this: maintaining the links in the chain.)
As with Moore, academic and historical research in this field is vapored away, as if by magic.

I agree and disagree here. While I do not know Moore's or Ito's academic, historical or scientific "worth", I too can recognize the fact that, naturally, they are not all knowing and that what they write is limited by their own experience. However, they are CONTRIBUTING to the CONVERSATION, and in many cases, starting it. This is INVALUABLE. The fact that they achieve high "PageRanks" serves all the better to get more people with other experiences to join in. Keep in mind, weblogging with this kind of intent is very young and the tools still rudimentary. We are all still in awe of how effective and fast this is now. Imagine 6 months, a year, 10 years from now - 42 days will seem like an eternity. Heck it already does!
Pew Research Center's latest research says the number of Internet users who look at blogs is " so small that it is not possible to draw statistically meaningful conclusions about who uses blogs." They peg it at about four per cent. But we're looking at a small sub-genre of blogdom, the tech blogs, and specifically, we're looking at an 'A list' of that sub- sub-genre.

What did I just say? It has only just begun! And allow me to correct: it is not "tech-blogs". We are seeing lawyers, economists, political thinkers, marketers, entrepreneurs, artists, academics etc etc, slowly but surely joining the fray. Granted, they mostly come from tech-related milieus, but this is to be expected. The term "early-adopters" applies still. Imagine if Silicon Investor offered free and easy Weblogs for all it's subscribers... Oh look! Dave Winer is now at Harvard! What's that? He's pushing the use of Weblogs there? FANTASTIC!

Criticism is welcome, preferably constructive criticism. Especially when it comes from someone who is part of the conversation. So let's have it Mr. Andrew Orlowski. When can we expect your voice, and sharp mind, to truly join the debate?

Shpeech impediment

Shometimes, online and off, I'll put on that shpecial kind of shcottish acshent that only Sean Connery sheemsh to do. It'sh shomething she and I youshed to do alot, after sheeing that Jeopardy shend.. ahem... send-up on Saturday Night Live... (S.C.: I'll take "Anal Bum Covers" for $500 Alecsh! A.T: An Album Cover, Mr Connery! AN ALBUM COVER!!!)

Earlier today, Sniffles asked why I didn't attend the YULBlog dinner last night.

My reply?

"Wash bushy"

Vienna? Conference? Blogging?

BlogTalk - A European Weblog-Conference

I am already looking into flight prices. With any luck, Adam's Moblogging conference in Tokyo is going on around then as well... maybe "kill two birds with one stone" so to speak... :)

Incompetence at the top

This leaves me speechless.

I don't know which is more impressive... Rumsfeld's arrogance and stupidty (and therefor the certainty of his defeat), or the fact that apparently, normally, an "embedded piece of the bureaucratic and operational culture " is essentailly a text document outline: the "TPFDL" (time-phased forces-deployment list). War by scripting? Makes sense, I guess.

I can see it now: over generations of military men (analysts), they develop a system (scripting language) which more or less does the trick. Along comes this arrogant wippersapper who figures he'd rather bootstrap the war and "hardcode it by hand". Oh and the R&D budget isn't what it used to be so...