October 2004 Archives

Headed out

Bopuc Heading Out

to Chinatown for a Pho. Decided to take the camera along and play with some long exposure shots (something I have wanted to do... pretty much all my life...)

Some very nice results. This narcissistic one being just the first test.

Little SQL help please?

Hoping one of you can help me out with this...

Say I wanted to have a list of the 10 most frequent commenters on this weblog, sorted by number of comments each has left, and selected by the commenter's email address. Can I do this with just an SQL query or would I need some PHP logic as well?

And, of course what would either look like roughly? I'm thinking SELECT DISTINCT and a COUNT in there somewhere?


Thanks in advance.. cough...



"When things line up"
- Boris Anthony
Pixels on pixels, Computer screenshot




I don't wanna have to shout it out
I don't want my hair to fall out
I don't wanna be filled with doubt
I don't wanna be a good boy scout
I don't wanna have to learn to count
I don't wanna have the biggest amount
I don't wanna grow up

Well when I see my parents fight
I don't wanna grow up
They all go out and drinking all night
And I don't wanna grow up
I'd rather stay here in my room
Nothin' out there but sad and gloom
I don't wanna live in a big old tomb
On Grand Street

When I see the 5 o'clock news
I don't wanna grow up
Comb their hair and shine their shoes
I don't wanna grow up
Stay around in my old hometown
I don't wanna put no money down
I don't wanna get me a big old loan
Work them fingers to the bone
I don't wanna float a broom
Fall in love and get married then boom
How the hell did I get here so soon
I don't wanna grow up

- Tom Waits

Sa photo préfèrée

Picture 1

The Prairies, looking west, MB, 1858
Humphrey Lloyd Hime
1858, 19th century

Mono no aware - 物の哀れ

"Je l'ai toujours sur moi", avait-il dit non sans quelque g√™ne, comme s'il était puéril de garder constamment près de soi ce que l'on a de plus cher..." - "Mokusei!", Cees Nooteboom

Process through adaption

Continuing on my current theme of "data management", let me share with you an example from my own experience.

I mentioned a few weeks back how overwhelmed I was by the size of my MP3 collection.

McLuhanists, and others surely, will often cite how disruptive any new medium can be in our lives, viscerally even, until we learn to "deal with it". (What constitutes a "medium" is ascertainable by applying the McLuhan Tetrads, something I very much want to explain in english sometime.) Also, it seems we are in a situation where we are creating mediums faster and faster and with greater and greater disruptive effects, at a pace we are essentially unable to cope with. But I digress. But it is relevant! Anyways...

So, my MP3 collection.

I can identify three distinct phases in my archival methods for MP3s, each corresponding roughly with changes in available technology. I say roughly because while yes new technologies had evident impact, later on there was not only more MP3s around but also more technologies (apps, protocols, methods) and each had different absorption rates in my digestion of them. Heeee!

Phase 1 - Discovery (or Willy Nilly)
Oh my god. This is SO cool.
Going back to my old archive CDs I see that starting late 1998, I start having a folder called "mp3" into which I literally would just dump mp3 files. The files would be named with the track and artist name. ID2-3 tags were barely present and if so, hardly used really. Each of my archival CDs from that period was named after a character from whatever book I was reading and I figured that was plenty of a mnemonic device to remember that "Archive CD Jacopo Belbo" had a copy of "The Dukes of Hazard" theme song. We're talking maybe a dozen or two mp3s per archive CD. That worked for about a year.

Phase 2 - Hunter Gatherer (I start building a home)
Whoah, I need to put this stuff somewhere I can find it.
Napster hits like a hurricane. We all spend hours and days hunting for individual tracks, making little piles, renaming files and scrubbing ID3 tags. Every now and then a friend drops by with a full album ripped directly from a CD. Blessed be thy name. Alphabetized folders containing /artist_name/album_name/tracks*.mp3. I haven't added to that archive in over a year and it sits at about 17Gig. (The previously mentioned blog entry was about my malaise of trying to figure out how to incorporate all my new stuff into my old scheme.)

Phase 3 - We're all in this together (The Village)
Hey, do you have X? I can send you Y... it's sorta like Z.
This is where I am right now. All the mp3s I've amassed over the last year (36Gig - notice the increase in volume) sit in an a hierachy which begins with a folder named for *where I got it from*.
Notice I still keep trying to keep everything neat in artist/album folders. Thing is, my work is greatly reduced now, because I either get them already like that, or the ID3 tag information, which was entered in a distributed fashion by all the other mp3 sharers in my social network, is correct and I can easily rename stuff programmatically if I need to.

So again, my malaise from a few weeks back was because I was trying to shoehorn my new reality into my old system. Realizing the ground has shifted allows me to just accept that I need to stick with this new system. For now.

So what's next?
Well, it hasn't started yet, but I imagine something like last.fm figures. Information like "who" recommended a track and "why" and "how" will supplement the "where from".

More freeform and shared taginess is something I'm also very interested in seeing applied here... if 200 listeners "categorise" track X or artist Y as "indie electro laptop rap rock", who am I to argue? And why would I? I'll have a way of finding it easily.

Sidenote: I am one of those iTunes users who has selected to disable that software's "Keep Music Folder organized" feature, because I like doing organization on the filesystem level. Again, the malaise comes from being in a situation where that is becoming less and less feasible. I will have to give up eventually I suspect, but not until the management applications catch up to the shifted ground themselves. In this case, iTunes would need to be tied into my (future, networked) AddressBook... ;)

Identites and celebrity

"Madame Hollywood"
Felix Da Housecat

Everybody wants to be hollywood
The fame, the vanity, the glitz, the stories
One day I'll become a great big star
You know like the big dipper
And maybe one day you can visit my condo
On the big hill you know like 9-0-2-1-0

Just imagine my face in the magazine
People analyzing my look, my body or
Any plastic surgery.

You know like the big dipper
And maybe one day you can shake
My hand on the planet Hollywood

You say I'm not underground
I'm rich, I'm famous, I vanish, I'm glitz
I am the story, I am the star
You know like the big dipper

Sex, Drugs & Rock n' Roll
It's Over
I decide it's over

Everybody wants to be hollywood
And maybe one day you can visit my condo
On the big hill you know like 9-0-2-1-0
Oh Yeah

Without you, am I nothing

Out of over 200 Gigs of data (not counting OS and application files), I would be hard pressed to find a single file that is not in one way or another associated to someone other than me.
(Someone may represent a person, a group, a company, my company, me, a webservice, a bot... any entity with at least one interface I can communicate with.)

Not a SINGLE one.

Current filesystems were designed in the computing age. Whether mainframe or standalone, the idea was you create a file and store it. Filename, date created, date modified.

In the communication age, things have to change. I've heard alot of talk of next-generation filesystems which are coming up but not nearly fast enough. I, and many people I know, are literally drowning in data. Drowning because we do not have the tools to efficiently manage it. The malaise and disorientation are evident. Subdued, subtle, yet evident. (Yes I am referring to YOU. And me. We've been acting "strange" these past few years haven't we?)

Before computer networking, the computer was an extension of two things: memory and processing. Fifteen or so years ago we gave computers eyes, ears and mouths. Over the last 10 years we've been learning how to use those eyes, ears and mouths. But without context (metadata!), we merely swim in an ocean of information we are hard pressed to do anything with. (Mostly because through these extra eyes ears and mouths, we are exposed to and generate far more data than with just our own set, in the "real world".)

We have these external memory & processing devices which we can now use to communicate, but we do not yet use them to help us manage that communication.

A simile.
A newborn child discovers he has this sense that perceives light. It spends a few weeks learning how to use this organ of sight; learns how to focus, move that focus around, etc. Great! Lotsa neat globs of color! But then something better happens. Context. That familiar smell, that familiar sound... the scent, heartbeat, voice of someone... oh! those are near when this particular set of color blobs are near! They must be connected!

The memory and processing has kicked in and created an association. (The single strongest association in all of our minds; the bedrock of our perception of reality: the parent. But I digress.)

We have learnt to use our externalized eyes and ears and mouths, and we've tried to manage the data they perceive by trying to store and process as much of it in our internal minds. But it is too much. And it will get "worse". We NEED to have the external systems that are our computers, help us process some of it. With context and associations. Some requiring our intervention, some done programatically. A balance of logic and fancy.

To those who say "but we are externalizing too much!" I say: Sure. We've been doing it since we invented written languages. We then proceeded to create technologies to manage the effects of written language, which handle some of the information overflow for us. Hello, bookshelf and library index cards.

Now we have extended our senses, so we need to extend our processing of their perceptions.


I want tags on everything. I want everything to be a tag. Or I could say, I want everything to be tag-able and want everything to be able to BE a tag.

Any document, picture, file, bit of data... I want to be able to associate it to any other other document, picture, file, bit of data.

This picture is associated with this contact. This document is associated to this client. This mp3 was sent to me by so-and-so, so I associate it to him/her.

I dunno... ctrl-dragging anything onto anything else immediately associates the dragged to the dragged-to.

I want to set up the ability to attach tags automatically as well. Some things CAN be taken for granted. For example, an mp3 sent via iChat from Anders IS FROM ANDERS. Remember that you stupid goddamn computer! Why do I need to create taxonomies and directory structures to keep this meta-data, meta-data that is not systematically *attached* to that data.


À la table voisinante

Ce que j'aurais dû dire.

"Pardon, mais vous pourriez vous taire s'il vous plaît?


"Oui, s.v.p. fermez la. Non seulement polluez-vous l'air public de ce restaurant Dim-Sum avec votre voix fade et nasale, et vos aires de mélodrame, mais vos propos sont également na√Øfs, à peine considérés et bien franchement stupides. À la fin, vous nous emmerdez, mon ami et moi, ainsi que votre pauvre invité qui s'éfforce de sourrir au travers de vos conneries... chose que vous ne réalisez pas parce que vous √™tes tellement sûr et confortable dans ce petit monde qu'on vous a donné ce matin dans le Journal De Montréal."

Autrement, c'etait une sortie Dim-Sum fort agréable.

How am I not myself?

- Do I bring my own chains?

- We always do...

I ‚ô• Huckabees

[this is aaron]

Because, while I can respect it, Aaron's quiet, "I'll be over here" demeanor drives me batty sometimes, I am going to take license and point out his freshly published résumé.

While I'd love to expound on how he's actually publishing his résumé, via XML and all sortsa crazy parsing voodoo, I'm afraid I haven't the slightest clue. So I'll just point you to his CPAN profile.

I'd *really* like to go on with some real "Happy-Happy Joy-Joy boosterism" of Aaron, but I'm not sure how much he'd let me get away with. ;)

Someone give this supremely intelligent and gifted man some work, lest I start a company just for him!

Hrm. ;)

email UI

email has been much on my mind again lately. The fact that no email reader (client, MUA, etc) does things the way I'd like is frustrating, and many powerusers I have spoken to agree...

This evening I hooked up with Karl again, and over some green tea and a sticky thai rice desert with mango, we discussed, amongst other things, email UI. For the nth time. Semantic Web ideas were fresh in our minds as Karl had given a presentation on it and RDF earlier this morning.

Now in researching for this post I remembered and retrieved two email projects which actually DO much of what I want. However one was merely an IBM research project (they do SO MUCH awesome stuff at Big Blue!) and the other is, well, temperamental. I will mention them again later after I have described what I have in mind.

So, imagine this:
You don't manage your email anymore into folders/hierarchies. Your email client just stores everything into a dated space - like weblog archives, "/2004/10/21/21.14.49.mbox" - just to keep things nice and structured, in small parcels so as not to choke the OS and the Indexing mechanisms, and to have unique IDs for and URIs to every email.


The email client gives you a few configurable view options:

  1. Smartlists (Entourage has always had this, and it is coming in Apple Mail.app 2.0)
    Smartlists would filter based on rules you derive from data already part of every email your client archives. Date sent, Date recieved, status, presence or absence of attachment, junk-mail headers, etc...
    "show me all unanswered email from the last 3 days"
    "show me all emails with attachments" (this becomes a pseudo filesystem - Cory would love this)
    SmartLists are basically saved searches for known/established meta-data and character strings.

  2. AddressBook/LDAP integration/contact-based aggregation + analysis
    i.e. a list of all contacts, whom you have email to/from, sorted by most recent/frequency/volume + Bayesian(/Bloom?) filtering/learning/weighing (don't show me this contact, drop priority on this sender)

  3. Unlimited and customizable TAGS (à la del.icio.us/flickr... the current sweethearts)
    You assign tags to emails by maintianing a list of them and dropping emails onto the tags you want to associate them to or using the existing filtering tools - instead of sending it to a "folder" assign it a tag or two or three. (Filters could also influence weight...)
    Filter: incoming From: karl -> montreal, quebec, canada, french, friend, +10
    Filter: incoming From: joi -> tokyo, japan, english, friend, client, +10
    Filter: incoming From: mom -> family, guilt, -5

    The killer feature of this is you can have emails in multiple "categories", whereas previously with folders, you had to come up with a taxonomy - which needed revision every few weeks as your situation/sotial network/needs evolved - and place your email within it. Each email could only be in one folder...

  4. Thread arcs and thread highlighting
    I think most recent email clients do the thread highlighting, but only one I know of (GNUmail.app!) implements "thread arcs". With all the above display possibilities, the odds that all or even some emails which are part of a thread are displayed in the same list are slim, making thread highlighting marginally useful, if not outright useless.
    A thread arc (IBM Technical Research Paper PDF), on the other hand, appears in the individual email's display, and shows you that a) this email is part of a detected thread, b) where it is positioned in that thread AND c) allows you to click through the thread history.

Sounds good, no? I think so.

Ok, so I mentioned a few existing developments which have some or much of these features, as well as some of the plumbing.

IBM "Remail"
Remail does much of what I described above and more (calendars, IM...). Instead of tags, it does "collections". Similar concept. As far as I can tell, it is purely an internal research tool. Someone should learn from what IBM has learnt and DO IT.

Zoe is interesting for a number of reasons, but equally uninteresting... The good and the bad are as follows:
a) flat hierarchy
b) indexed / fully searchable (Lucene)
c) Contact sourcing
d) Plays nice with various outside stuff, Mail.app, Entourage, FTP, Blogger, RSS, etc...
a) Web-based app (u'd think this was good but eh...)
b) in neverending and sporadic development
c) a PITA to install and use properly
d) the developer is a bit of a character I've heard...

Funny thing is that zoe was trumpeted all over as "Google your email" over a year ago. Then Google unleashed GMail. And GMail does tagging...

Other worthy mentions:
Ludovic hasn't updated the main news page recently but the changelog for the "nightly builds" for the most recent one shows he's still working on his very nice MUA which runs on Linux, OpenBSD, FreeBSD and Mac OS X.
Awesome research project for visualizing "email landscape" and "email social network". Not only stunning but useful for the above mentioned Contact listing/visualizing.

p.s.: Yes I've mentioned much of this in the past. Goes to show how important email is to me. ;)

Ping me

So I was thinking about how I could be notified of the continuation of weblog comments threads I'd participated in. I don't want that stuff in my email. I want an RSS feed I can check once in a while.

I thought "hey, I have a URL... ping me!"
I figure... I leave my name, my email address and my URL.
I figure... I could tell your weblog to notify me for each of the next 3 comments made to that entry right there.

So I am thinking... "how could we implement this in Movable Type?"
We need two things. Something that sends pings and something that can receive/store/publish them. Hey! MT has both of those things! The TrackBack mechanism! In fact all weblog tools have that now!

A quick, rough and dirty way to set up the receiving end (my end) would be to create another "weblog", create an entry and note it's TrackBack URL. Futz out some custom templates (don't need much... an RSS feed to notify me, an index of most recent pings and monthly archives... if that), and we're ready to receive.

The "other end" - the sender - is trickier. MT would need to be hacked or patched or plug-in'ed... Basically, and depending on how we'd architect the User Experience, the comment mechanism would hand off a URL to the Trackback mechanism which would send a ping to it.

If we want we could do all this with some sort of authentication, centralized à la TypeKey (add a field to my profile called "Ping Address"), decentralized with public and private keys (no one is doing this yet. why?)... or we just keep trusting each other. Cough.

Now, here I go off a bit further. Atom. Atom is more than a syndication format, it is a publishing framework. It can be used to retrieve stuff and push stuff out. So instead of sending me a Trackback (a non-standards-body-regulated, loosely and poorly implemented... standard...), send me a ping in Atom, to my Atom "interface". Hey! Guess what! MT has that too!! (I think...?)

I mentioned the ping thing to Ross and Joey at Blogware/Tucows the other day. Ross didn't even need me to finish my sentence he was already all over it... "I was looking for something neat to do with our new ping interface!" Of course Blogware can implement this easily, in one shot, seeing as they are totally centralized.

Can someone explain to me why I had the good sense to drink an espresso at 11pm. No sleep tonight!

(p.s.: this framework could be used for many more communication applications: email style asynchronous exchanges, alerts from services such as Technorati, etc... )

Note to self

Eat more yogurt.

I'm an Iraqiii in New Yooork

Truly silly IM conversation with friend Steven who is of Iraqi descent. We often joke like this, tongue firmly in cheek, well aware of how sad it really is...

Sv: going to NYC on friday
Me: nice! what for?
Sv: "get away" ;)
Me: sweet!
Sv: just for the weekend
Sv: need to clear my mind... haven't been myself lately
Me: stay away from times square then... surreality ground zero...
Sv: hehe yeah i know... i want to redo my cityscape panoramics, get a 360° of the city from the empire state
Me: "hey, you! arab boy... whatcha doing takin pics of NYC from up here??"
Sv: hahaha
Me: :p
Sv: "Canadian is thrown off Empire State Building after bloody misunderstanding."
Me: erch
Sv: You just have to know how to handle these security-guard types...
Sv: Wear a big puffy jacket with your arms inside, and run in circles yelling "ALAHUU ACKBAR!!!!"
Sv: :D

Hrm. Maybe I shouldn't post this...

Olympus iPod competition


I don't particularly care but thought I'd scoop this little item I found on a french gadget website out of Tokyo:

Akihabara News : toutes les nouveautés High-Tech du pays des Sushis:
Alors là, ils m'ont entendu ... la VACHE Olympus nous sort des produits de fou avec un design de feu, commen√ßons par le :
Qui n'est pas moins qu'un APN/iPOD/PMP de 20 Go avec un écran VGA de 3.7" et un APN de 1.2Mpix ... La b√™te sera compatible Mp3/WMA et Mpeg4 (Vidéo). Avec pour taille 109√ó21√ó73mm et 210g.
Passons au MR-100 qui lui est un iPOD like avec un HDD" de 1.8 5Go, bien sûr compatible Mp3 et WMA.
52√ó14.9√ó90mm pour 100g

(Pour les fran√ßais: pour comprendre pourquoi il dit "la VACHE Olympus", faut lire la tirade que nous a fait l'auteur dans son entrée précédente. ;)

So, what are you looking at exactly? This thing is a 1.2 Megapixel camera, 20Gig "Personal Media Player" supporting MP3, WMA and MPEG4... yes, video.

I'll wait for the rumored 60Gig color iPod myself, thank you very much... Though, hey another camera !!!


The months go by as days.
The days, are as long as weeks.
The nights...
the nights they are neverending.



This photo caused me much trouble today.

My Powerbook has had a fever for about a week. The whole area around the power input and the CPU were flaming hot and the fans were on fulltime. This afternoon I decided to investigate...

The truly odd thing was that if I logged in as another, freshly created user, everything was fine. No overcycling of the CPU, no heat, no fans. As Joi said: "must be some process you are running..."

So I compared the ps -auwx output of both users (myself and the fresh one). I pared down mine to the point of it being identical to the other's. Yet, logging in as myself started up the fans.

I downloaded an application that displays the temperature the 4 thermostats built into this machine are tracking. I was hitting 60° C around the CPU! Ouch! I needed to see what the hell was cycling the CPU so much! Thanks to Adriaan for reminding me OS X ships with "Activity Monitor". We were on the road to discovery at this point.

Pow! Finder is sucking 95% CPU resources!! What the hell is going on here? (Keep in mind I had rebooted multiple times by this time, reset PRAM, flushed all my caches, done all the regular maintenance tasks...)

So in Activity Montior, I "inspect" the Finder. Nothing outstanding... until I hit the "Open Files" pane. A short list of very "systemy"looking files but there at the end... what da? "~/Desktop/IMG2345.JPG". I go check what that is. It's this picture. All three megs of it.

I quickly renamed it and voilà. Finder immediatly drops back down to 0.00% CPU use. A minute later the fans stop.

The only explanation is that when i had first pulled the picture off my camera and viewed it in Preview, I had rotated it to take a look and then closed it without saving. This caused some kind of snafu. The proof that something went wrong in this is that when I opened it in Photoshop today, it was rotated, but not in Preview.


Some of my favorite geeks

... have been mightily busy!

Aaron finally fixed his "I-roll-my-own-thank-you-very-much" weblog and immediately posted about some of the wikkedly neat stuff he's been toying with over the summer. del.icio.us widgets, SVG maps, RDF, let's-see-what-happens-when-I-hook-this-up-to-this data combinatorial wackiness.

Dav hacked up a J2ME bluetooth gps mo-pho-weblogging doodad so he can track Mie... hehehehehe ;)
(Speaking of J2ME... Aaron mentioned something about a J2ME-Atom implementation... hmmmm.)

Francis and I just "got the keys" to our new very own super duper 1U rackserver running Whitebox Linux. w007! I have some plans for that baby that I have yet to nag him with, which I am sure is fine cause he's got some of his own. Aside from becoming an email ninja, setting up and installing the email system for some University in Ohio over the summer, and doing various contract programming jobs, the chicgeek also created Spamity, an online webtool for checking stats on your server-installed anti-email-spam systems (such as SpamAssasin, AMaViS, RBL, RHSBL).

Ado is working so hard that I can't spark up ecto to post a blog entry here without having to download an update. Annoying? Sure. Appreciated? definitely! (As Ado himself... hehehehee) He's also been working on APIs for some folks, but I'm not sure I can mention that here...

Michael and his group at Ile Sans Fil cranked out "Wifi Dog", a "complete and embeddable captive portal solution for wireless community groups or individuals who wish to open a free HotSpot" which, combined with location-specific and community-wide media servers is finally making sense to me as a truly awesome idea. Making locally created (CC-licensed?) content easily available on WiFi hotspots makes alot of sense. Mike's also turned me on to TikiWiki (try the demo) (hate to nutshell it as such, but think Drupal + wiki + steroids), and is gearing up to provide implementation services to academia. (Hats off to you my friend.)

Guys, big "thumbs up" to all of you! :)

McLuhan Festival

Mark Federman at the McLuhan Program (UofT) JUST posted about the McLuhan Festival that started yesterday...

Either I was asleep or someone should have mentioned this earlier... Mark... ;)

It's on for a week so, um... if I can bloody finish this project from hell.. I think a road trip is order... Ken, you still have that couch for me? ;)

Comment Preview Javascript

Aim Steve Jsrift

To see what we're talking about, try typing a comment on this entry...

[Merci Karl!]

In my box

Here I am in my box.
My box contains many smaller boxes.
These smaller boxes contain memories, waiting to be forgotten.
Here I am in my box, a memory waiting to be remembered.

What Barry Says

I don't care who barry is, this is RIGHT ON the money:
What Barry Says

An un-apologetic criticism of US foreign policy and The Project for the New American Century. Animation follows the dialogue, giving visual poignancy and weight to Barry's words. The propoganda-esque style of the motion graphics further re-inforces the message. Is this a conspiracy theory? Far from it.

Here are places to download it (24 Meg QT .mov):

Watch it now. Show it to everyone you know!

[Thx Leonard!]

Tail wagging

As Joi links to me from his entry on Chris Johnson's Wired article "The Long Tail", I figure I should riff a bit on what I see in all this and why I reminded him of Momus' excellent "Pop Stars, nein danke!" article.

[This will mostly only make sense if you've read both articles and are mildly insane, like me.]

So if you look at this chart, way past the right most end of the "tail"... that's you and me. That's you and me and our friends who are in local bands, making our own electronic music/videos, writing poetry, taking pictures as hobby, etc. We don't actually figure on this chart, but we could if the numbers were stretched and the criteria slightly adjusted.

Right, so it is not only getting easier and easier to produce stuff (*cough* micro content), but it is getting easier and easier to share it as well. Also, it is getting easier and easier to aggregate it and more importantly "communitize" it, i.e.: "check out what I just found that you may like".

In Momus' article he speaks mostly of the indie music scene in early '90's Britain, which is an awesome example, even today, or rather more so today because everything he more or less predicted, or rather "saw happening", is happening or has happened. "Democratization of means of production and distribution."

"In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen people." Provided those 15 people aren't your mother and your closest friends and that your stuff is actually of some appreciable quality, those 15 people may, just may, tell their 15 people about it... and so on.

(Legally, this is another place where Creative Commons makes ridiculous loads of sense, by the way.)

Following me?

One of the effects of all this is a fragmentation of culture, or micro-cultures if you will. If we look at western music classifications and their associated groupings, gone are the days of "I'm mod, I'm a rocker, I'm punk, I'm a rapper, etc." At this moment, the kids are saying things more like "well, I am into band x and y, but every now and then I'll listen to d..." There are of course still general lines of exclusivity that some less insightful people stick to... "But you listen to x! How can you possibly like d!?!" A-ny-ways. Xenophobia is hard-wired into lack of education/experience/knowledge/exposure.

All of a sudden I am reminded of U2's Bono yelling onstage during the Achtung Baby tour of 1992: "Is this rock 'n roll?! Is THIS rock 'n roll?!" And "good taste is the enemy of art."

You'll notice I am drifting further and further away from business model aspects. That's just because I am way more interested in the philosophical/sociological/cultural and metaphysical aspects... but I'll spare ya.

Oh! Let's go back to that first graph and reinterpret it, for my purposes, as signal/noise x audience ratio. The X axis is signal -> noise, the Y is number of "listeners". The better the signal (less noise), the more people tune in. Takes alot of work/talent to produce a good signal, right? But hey some folks listen to the noise, hoping for some good signal here and there. God bless mom, she loves all my noise. So do a handful of friends. As I get better at producing signal with less and less noise, network dynamics pretty much guarantee more listeners. And so I move left on the graph.

DJ Dangermouse at Web2.0 says:

Mashing is so easy. It takes years to learn how to play the guitar and write your own songs. It takes a few weeks of practice with turntable to make people dance and smile. It takes a few hours to crank out something good with some software. So with such a low barrier to entry, everyone jumps in and starts immediately being creative. I don't understand why that is illegal.

Right now, it is damn hard to get to the point far enough left on the graph where hobby/interest becomes an economically sustainable endeavor. That's because that point lies on the other side of such things as "the music industry", "the publishing industry", "the movie industry", "the blogosphere" *cough*. In the world of distribution-via-atoms (CDs, DVDs, books, magazines, movie theaters), these barriers were erected naturally by the economics of the undertaking. As these economic barriers slide right due to electronic dissemination/distribution (hello everyone from McLuhan to Negroponte and countless others), my barrier to feeding myself from my signal gets smaller.

And oh god are the barrier profiters fighting tooth and nail to keep those barriers to the left of that graph! Cornered animals they are.

This has been a high noise ratio rambling. Thank you for tuning in, SETI.

Rant mode

I am in rant mode.

I have 3 weblog entries sitting here in draft status and they are all meaningless, pointless rants, of no interest even to me.

I am treading water in a wading pool. Ridiculous.

What about love?

Love is all you need...

Parole for Mark David Chapman?: Cory Doctorow: Mark David Chapman, the loony who shot John Lennon in 1980, is up for parole.
An online petition calling for Chapman to remain in prison for the rest of his natural life has been signed by nearly 2,000 fans - and includes angry threats to Chapman's life should he be freed.

Somehow... this doesn't sit well with me. What was Lennon's position on incarceration? Even where his own life is concerned. Just wondering. I have no opinion either way on this specific case.

[Cop out update message]
I had intended to update this entry with the thoughts I had about the issue after first posting it, but you guys beat me to it and really, eh, we agree, and I just don't have the time... Sorry. So here is what I had started writing as an update. Your comments are basically what I was gonna say though... :)

Upon more thought, here is what doesn't sit well with me. What you or I may consider adequate punishment for murder aside, here is a man who faces additional punishment due to the celebrity of his victim and the act itself.

First let us look at the folks actually riled up by this and signing the petition. Are they doing so as a political act to express their belief in life-long imprisonment for murder, or is it out of an egotistical sense of "you robbed me of one of my favorite musicians" (plain revenge)?