December 2004 Archives


Overnight, I moved this site to a new, way faster server. This will allow me to start building on it again. In the move I decided to ditch my photo galleries because, well, I didn't like them and they took up over 500 megs of space. Sorry, The Web, for the URL rot. I will rebuild a newer one soon. Also it seems I bungled my SQL export and many many UTF-8 encoded characters got messed up. I'll fix the easy ones shortly, but I fear the two or three instances of japanese characters are lost... sigh. Well, we see.

I switched to Adium for all IM. I was using Proteus and iChat, but it seems iChat was the source of some strange behavior, not to mention a resource hog. It'll take some getting used to...

My flight to Tokyo was paid for this morning. Here I come. A month in Tokyo and 3 weeks in Vancouver. Excited is an understatement. Anxiety has moved into the pit of my stomach as well, as I don't have a clue how I am going to pay for all this. Hehehehe.

Chatting with Soli - yes, THAT Soli - with whom I will be staying for part of my Vancouver leg, he sent me this photo of the view from his window:
Solis View

Yes, well... aren't I the lucky one? ;)

On a side note, instead of working on client projects the last few days, I've started developing a PHP-based tool to make comment management in Movable Type easier. So far I have used it here, on Joi's and on Smartmobs and, though rough around the edges at this stage, it is a godsend. I will release a package once I've cleaned it up.

All the best to you all in the new year!

MT-Blacklist SNAFU

I just caught MT-Blacklist doing something really nasty. And I caught it doing it repeatedly:
When submitting a checkmarked list of comments from Movable Type's comments list to MT-Blacklist for processing, MT-Blacklist only properly grabs the first comment ID, and seems to go grab a totally random second comment from the database. In one test, I even submitted three comments, and only had 2 listed in Blacklist (the first being right the second being one from 4 months ago...)

This is VERY bad. I despam hundreds of comments a day on my various clients' weblogs. For me to accidentally delete valid comments is totally "not cool".

I've emailed Jay and hopefully we can figure out what the problem is. In the meantime, check your list twice... ugh, no pun intended.

(This was seen using MT 3.14 and MT-BL 2.03b)

UPDATE: Jay quietly released MT Blacklist 2.04b the other day. Looking though the files and sorting by modified date, I notice the changes made affect the link which appears in MT - the one you click on in Movable Type's Comments listing screen. I suspected the JavaScript it uses to be at fault for this nasty behavior, following my incorporating it the other night into a little project I am working on myself. Anyways, thanks Jay!

Note to self: read mt-blacklist forum announcements before saying silly things.
2.04b does not address the aforementioned issue. I just ran a diff to make sure. :p

Input output, part 1

I've been thinking a lot lately about this thing we call the personal weblog, especially the evolution I see, working exclusively on other people's, in how they are used and how their owners want to use them. It comes down basically to output and, increasingly, input as well.

For this scenario, there are two "actors": the individual and the group, or, the weblogger and the network. Me and you; the self and the other:

me and you

From my point of view, everything I put on the network is output, and everything I acquire from the network is input:

me and you talking

(This is why we say it is a conversation. Also notice how I consider The Weblog to be an extension of me - or more precisely, several aspects of me - and The Network as the aggregate of all of the extensions of you... as well as the product of any and all interactions thus produced. But that's another fight.)

This entry is output. Every picture in my photolog is output. Every picture I put on flickr is output, every song I listen to, as tracked by audioscrobbler, is output, every URL I tag in is output.

Every comment and trackback you all leave here (or anywhere I have left something) is, to me, input. Every technorati cosmos linkback is input. Every picture from my contacts in flickr is input. Every profile recommended song is input. Every weblog entry of yours that I read, be it in my RSS aggregator or my web browser, is input. Every grouped, inboxed or otherwise found URLs on is input. Every red dot on the map locating my visitors is input.

I could go further and say that every email and IM I send is also output, and that I receive, input... but that is out of the scope of the interaction paradigm I am concerning myself with here. It needn't be, but I'll leave that there for now. It is however just an interface thing.

That's a lot of microcontent to keep track of, and if we consider microcontent to be the atoms of "The Web 2.0", then there are also the electrons of those atoms, metadata, to think of. And just like electrons, it is the metadata that can help us bind it all together (amongst other things).

All of this is happening in our web browsers and RSS aggregators. Take this "weblog" for example. Weblog entries, photolog "moblog" entries, links, my 10 most recent flickr pics; all there, and I haven't even integrated my list, my URLs, my technorati cosmos, etc... On the RSS side I have crammed in all the output I generate locally, to the dismay of some of you.

My clients, and myself included, not only want to share more output, but we also want to keep track of more input, some of which we also want to share, and some that doesn't necessarily need to be. As something of a web interface designer, this all presents me with a very real problem, one that needs a solution. This is what I will try to address here in part 2. Stay tuned! Hah!

Kon'nichi wa!

1 AC 111V 12JAN Montreal/Vancouver   	0800  1031
2 AC   3V 12JAN 3 Vancouver/Narita  	1340  1655
3 AC   4V 09FEB Narita/Vancouver  	1900  1100
4 AC 194V 23FEB Vancouver/Montreal  	1100  1844

Happy merry


"Je ne discute pas le principe, je dis simplement ceci: ce n'est pas le moment."
"I am not disputing the principle, I am simply saying this: now is not the time."

Canadian public geo-data copyrighted and sold by the government

Some cool folks, working on a cool project, are looking for some reliable geo-data for Canada. Place names and GPS coordinates, mostly. So I turn to Natural Resources Canada of course, the governmental body that has this stuff.

The first shocker is that they want $100 for the text file "product" we could use. Ok, I figure, theoretically my taxes cover their activities in this field but hey, $100 is not so bad for the level of apparent quality of the data.

But oh my... the terms of sale are outrageous:

1. The End-User acknowledges that the Data is protected under the Copyright Act of Canada.
Why? This should really be public domain. We paid for it already, and it is meant to serve us.
2. The Data is licensed, not sold, to the End-User for use subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement. The End-User owns the disk(s) or tape(s) on which the Data is recorded, but Canada retains all ownership interests in the Data.
Same as above. Why is it "theirs"? Isn't the Canadian government, essentially, "us"?
3. The End-User shall use the Data only on a single computer. The End-User must obtain a supplementary licence from Canada before using the Data in connection with systems, multiple central processing units, computer networks, or emulations on a mainframe or minicomputer.
Uh, hello 1973? The age of the standalone computer is looong gone.
4. The End-User may make one (1) copy of the Data for the purpose of backup only, which copy may not be used except in the event that the primary copy is damaged, destroyed or lost. The End-User shall reproduce on the backup copy the copyright notice appearing on the disk(s) or tape(s) on which the Data is recorded.
Gee, thanks for caring.
5. Except as provided in Article 4 above, the End-User shall not duplicate or reproduce the Data, in whole or in part, in any form or format whatsoever without the prior written consent of Canada.
Yeah right. Copy, paste. Try to stop us.
6. The End-User shall not sell, loan, lease, distribute, transfer or sublicense the Data or otherwise assign any rights under this Agreement to any third party without the prior written consent of Canada.
The fact that they are charging for this stuff makes this understandable... but that self same fact is itself not. In other words, I don't see why, or how, they can charge for this data AND hold us to these terms. Is National Resources Canada a business? If it is, why is it a governmental agency? What am I missing here?
7. If the End-User wishes to make any other copies of the Data for internal use, written authorization for such copies must be obtained from Canada prior to any copies being made and a royalty fee will be charged for each additional copy of the Data made by the End-User.
Yes big brother...
8. The Data is provided on an "as is" basis and Canada makes no guarantees, representations or warranties respecting the Data, either expressed or implied, arising by law or otherwise, including but not limited to, effectiveness, completeness, accuracy or fitness for a particular purpose.
Hah. After all that, and a hundred bucks, you don't take any responsibility for the quality of the data. C'mon get serious.

I dunno. Smacks me as wrong.

ecto on special


In the spirit of Christmas, we are offering a special 30% discount on purchases of ecto between December 20th and 26th, 2004! Get it while it lasts!

If you blog, ecto is THE app for composing and managing your entries locally. Adriaan keeps adding awesome features without, amazingly enough, cluttering up the interface. If you're a novice or a power-user, ecto is super user-friendly and feature rich. A rarity.

Disclosure: Adriaan is a good friend of mine and as such I help him out where I can with ecto and related stuff as well as try to promote this great piece of software.

Update: Ado just pointed me to the original announcement of the birth of ecto and I realized it's already been a year!!! Bravo!
("Heh... only a year? Feels like eons...")

Capsule mansion


Boing boing just linked to a gallery of pics of the Nakagin Capsule Tower - Ginza, Tokyo - which was mentioned in that book I rambled on about a few weeks back (in a post titled "Boids").

Cid 2891685

I much prefer our Habitat '67 by Moshe Safdie.
(Of course, socio-cultural and space considerations are vastly different between the two...)
(CBC radio archive of an interview with people who lived in it. Originally broadcast Oct.25th, 1967)
Google search for Expo Habitat 67

Keep track of your comments with

Mike from Ile Sans Fil says:
mtl3p: Oh, and in case some of you haven't though of it yet

I'm putting all of comments that I make on delicious. You know, when you comment on someone's blog and then forget to check back. Using it for forums as well. It's a nice way not to loose track of all of that IP (I'm not saying that it belongs to you).

I wish I had a category here called "Genius". Goddamn brilliant, Mike.

Firefox share grows 35% in a month...

Firefox's Share of Browser Market Grows 34 Percent in One Month, According to WebSideStory:

The U.S. browser usage share of Firefox, the upstart Mozilla-based browser that has become a champion of the open source movement, has grown by more than a third over the past month, according to the latest independent study from WebSideStory (Nasdaq: WSSI) (, a leading provider of on-demand Web analytics. In the one-month period from Nov. 5, 2004 to Dec. 3, 2004, Firefox's online usage share grew from 3.03 percent to 4.06 percent. This compares to a gain of 13 percent during the previous month, from Oct. 8 to Nov. 5. WebSideStory is a recognized authority on global Internet user trends and has been since 1999. The company's sample size consists of more than 30 million daily Internet users from more than 200 countries.

Great! I just wish I could get it to run on my machine... :p

Anyways, efforts like their 2 page New York Times ad can only help. Congrats all around and a tip of the hat to Jon Hicks for his awesome logo, which is getting hella exposure.

Communication in Evolution: Social and Technological Transformation

An Interview with Derrick de Kerckhove
Director, McLuhan Program  
conducted by Álvaro Bermejo

AB: In spite of its totalising ambitions, can the Net develop a new Humanism, a new Enlightenment?

DdeK: Maybe, but Humanism and Enlightenment may not be the right models for the moment. The Net is really trying to provide as many people as it can reach with access to as much useful information as can be accessed. The Net is proposing a completely new modality of memory and information distribution. We are all in the aristocratic situation that Moliere described when he said: “A gentleman is someone who knows everything without having to bother to learn anything”. This is the natural condition of the new humanism.

AB: In 1962, when Man landed on the moon, we believed that in the near future we would be sleeping in the Jetsons' folding beds, and living in apartments shaped like flying saucers. Forty years on, our dream is to live in a log cabin on the shores of a lake, nuclear energy frightens us as much as do fossil fuels, and children in the Third World are being called Jonah, Rebecca and Moses, as in the Old Testament. Are these transitory tendencies or rebellion against the System?

DdeK: McLuhan invented the tetrad to explain just this kind of phenomenon:

  1. every new medium extends a human property (the car extends the foot);
  2. obsolesces the previous medium by turning it into a sport or an form of art (the automobile turns horses and carriages into sports);
  3. retrieves a much older medium that was obsolesced before (the automobile brings back the shining armour of the chevalier);
  4. flips or reverses its properties into the opposite effect when pushed to its limits (the automobile, when there are too many of them, create traffic jams, that is total paralysis)

So it is conceivable that new media will tend to evoke or recall much older human situations. Lifetsyle commercialism takes advantage of this without knowing anything about it. Some people start a trend without really thinking that they are, let say “Downshifters”, that is, people who would rather take a cut in salary to get out of the rat race and spend more time with their family, or in the country home with or without electricity, or “survivalists”, who believe in turning back into self-defense, not trusting civil society, or electronic hermits, people who live in total human isolation, but are hyperconnected via television, radio, the Net, SMS and what have you. In all these cases, all it takes is a handful of people with a discernable plan or attitude, for some clever advertising executive to spot it and turn it into a fad or a fashion. The next generation of media, based on quantum computers will bring back the age of spirituality and mysticism well beyond anything the New Age philosophy could achieve because it will supported by authentic scientific pretensions.


AB: In your books, in between the irony and the revelations, one senses a powerful call for a change of paradigm. What would be key to a new identity?

DdeK: The change of paradigm will depend on the third phase of electricity, the quantum phase. We have already absorbed the analog and the digital phases, and the quantum computer is already at a more advanced stage than the digital computer was when John Von Neumann began developing its architecture in the late forties. Today, we are at the post-Galilean moment when matter and science once solid are turning to liquid again. We may be getting back into a new kind of quantum cosmology where man is again at the centre of the universe, not as the centre of physical matter, but just of the information we have developed about it.  As quantum physicist Erwin Schrodinger put it:

Our perceiving self is nowhere to be found within the world-picture, because it is itself the world-picture.

The key to the new identity is what I call “selving”, that is the self in progress, in becoming, as in quantum physics where “things are not, they merely tend to be”. The new identity is in perpetual formation and reformation at the moment of use and on line it is fluid and aggregative as when people meet and change their perceptions of each other during the meeting. I sometime suspect that screens were invented only for the purpose of allowing several persons, minds, identities to meet and share thinking and speaking at a distance. The new connective thinking system is the screen.

A read well worth the time and attention and concentration.

Quick thought on copyright

Posted this comment chez Joi:

Copyright is a product of egotism and greed.
It is of the utmost arrogance to think that we own anything, let alone something so abstract and fleeting as "an idea".
Copyright was created because the socioeconomic model that forced it into existence made no other provisions for the sustenance of the artist and thinker. The legal entities known as "corporations" piggybacked on it and now control it outright. Corporations control culture, the product of art and ideas, to influence the markets they reap financial benefit from.

The moment you externalize any thought, in whatever shape you do so, you are sharing. You relinquish any and all "ownership". No, that is not a legal precept. It is a philosophical one. The philosophers always win. Always. ;)

Tags... no! Semantics! No! Ontologies!

Or something like that...

I've been ranting about tags, Ado spoke of APIs, Leonard digs in with facets and triplets, and surely there are looooads of other people talking about all of this, and have been for a long time.

Right now I want to point y'all to this Google Translation of Karl's recent answer to my tags rant. Charmingly enough, Google's french is about on par with Karl's english hehehehehe... (Sorry man couldn't resist. You know I'm kidding! ;)
Please please please, if you are interested in this topic at all, read it and make the effort to get through it. The translation is rough but passable.

So, Exhibit A:
Joi Ito's tags (on the right). What a mess. ;)
More to the point, he has 141 "tags" in his self-maintained taxonomy. Before I go on...

Exhibit B:
Flickr's top 150 tags. Looks cooler but that's not the real difference. Nor does it solve the same problem Joi has, and the rest of us soon will have...

Let's look closer, first at Joi's tags. You'd assume that a taxonomy maintained by one person would stay reasonably redundancy free:

5 cc , 2 creative_commons
2 conference, 1 conferences
1 gadget, 1 gadgets
1 health, 1 heath <- Typo!!!
4 japan, 2 Japanese, 6 japanese_culture
2 movie, 1 movies
1 photography, 5 photos
1 society, 3 sociology
1 stupid, 1 stupidity
1 tech, 1 technology
1 terror, 1 terrorism
9 politics, 3 us_policy, 16 us_politics

And my favorite alphabetical grouping:
5 sex, 5 sharing_economy

This is problematic on many levels. First of all, Joi has to type each tag every time he wants to attach one. That means increased chances of typos or slightly different "way of tagging" (e.g.: CC, creative commons). This in turn increases the number of tags in the soup, as well as reduces chance in finding a match when searching later (e.g.: "I would have sworn I tagged that CC... why isn't it here?" 5 minutes later... "Oh! I tagged it creative commons!" C'mon folks, the computer ain't helping us that much if we still have to think... ;). It also reduces the chance of "matching up" with other people's tags. And that's also part of the point of all this isn't it?

Now, back to Flickr's top 150. "Oh mighty Flickr! Show me all pictures in New York City, New York, U.S.A!" "Boooonk"... NYC? New York? NuYawk? What about York? Manhattan?
(Some intrepid souls are tackling this right now. Bless em.)

animal? or animals?
autumn? or fall?
cat, or cats? (funny, the dog doesn't have this problem...)
I could go on... the redundancy is three to four deep for some terms.

Ontologies, relationships between information, context. The exponents of flat hierarchies would have you believe that "a rose is a rose is a rose" and that "a rose by another name is still a rose". What they forget is that you don't *know* what a rose *IS* until you've seen it, touched it, smelled it; heard that when given to a lady, especially in bunches, it is a romantic gesture; felt the crunch of a dozen roses on your wallet; had a thorn rip into your lip... now THAT's a rose.

One does not learn in a vacuum. One requires context and one must have something one can establish relationships with. Children learn by establishing relationships between information: "mommy says these orange things are called carrots and if I eat them my eyes will be healthy".

"The New York Times is reporting on Fallujah, which looks like this according to the moblogged pictures from there on Flickr."
Cough and cough.

(One more cough... *someone* familiar with XMLHttpRequest-DOM stuff should look into how Livesearch is being implemented here and there and perhaps figure out a way for folks like, oh I don't know, say Flickr, could implement it for easing tag entering. All it takes is a little array of the top 3 to 400 tags...)

I was gonna say something like "Tags are the alphabet's last-ditch effort to bring the electric nature of cyberspace under it's linear perspective thumb! We must not allow this to happen!"... but then you'd most certainly take me for a nutcase. ;)


Discovered amongst the tracks of the recently mentioned Blogothèque compilations (go go go grab it!!! Junkie Brewster's rendition of "Like a prayer" alone is worth the download!) is a gem called "We shall overcome".

Here is the video version.

Gustav, who finds herself in Vienna, Austria [ ‚ô•!!! ] put out an album called "Rettet die Wale", a tongue in cheek play on translation, the way I love'em, meaning "Save the election"... Wale is german for election... Save the whale... save the election.. get it? get it? hah! Brilliant.

Great song. Listen to the lyrics closely.

This picture


made me cry. For a long while.
Thank you.

Tags, ontologies, community and feedback

"Com' follow me now!"

Thinking hard about tags - the new black as Ado says - and various conversations I've had recently, mostly with Karl, about ontologies, explicit relationships (hah!), etc.

Say I have a bunch of files that I have, one way or another, already tagged with pertinent, non-private, information.
Say I share that information and/or file with a community style site.

For many of my files - most in fact -, there already are ontologies, as I've mentioned before. On the FileSystem/OS level, such things as Date Created, Date Modified, File Type - could be useful; on the Applications level, well, for instance iTunes (or any MP3 player for that matter) has a very clearly defined ontology: it's called ID3... ID3 TAGS, people!

Let's stick with the MP3 example for now. I'll do pictures after.

Most of my music has pretty clean ID3 tags: artist name, track name, album name, star rating, genre... Ah genre. Tricky thing trying to categorize music. Wouldn't want to be responsible for what happened to Curt Cobain, you know... "Don't pigeonhole my music man!" Anyways. So, iScrobbler watches iTunes and tells AudioScrobbler/ what I am listening to.

I am too tired to do a TCP dump so I don't know what iScrobbler is telling the mothership exactly but I would like to think it's sending MORE than just artist and track name. The ID3 spec makes room for lots of information, but let's stick with the aforementioned four, since things like "Track number", "Track length" and their ilk are too contextual (which album it's off of, how the track was encoded) to be really useful in a "sharing environment". So, I assume Scrobbler is only relaying track and artist names. This is already problematic due to typos, misspellings, differing entry methods - "Cat Stevens", "Stevens, Cat", "Caht Stebenz" - but can be moderated...

Similarly, if Scrobbler relayed the genres and ratings *I*, and everyone else, set for tracks, not only would they have a potential headache on their hands, but more importantly, they would have some VERY valuable information. Cynics in the room are already screaming "yeah, valuable to music companies!", but I rather think "yeah, valuable to music lovers!".

So here's what they do. First, capture and relationally store all ratings.
"1,275 out of 134,548 listeners of 'Wild World' give it 4 stars."
"264 out of 45,843 listeners of 'Cat Stevens' give him 2 stars."

For record companies, clear metrics - for music lovers, clear indicators of quality...

Then, genres. This is where it gets interesting. Store ALL incoming genres associated to tracks, but only actually 'ascribe' the, say, 5 or 10 most frequently attributed.

Next, open it up for community editing, Wikipedia style. Wikipedia proves that if you provide the community with a valuable resource of authoritative enough information, the community will roll up its sleeves and tend the garden.

But it's not valuable enough, not authoritative enough... until you open it up even more...

Ontological APIs. KABLOOIE.

"According to [ your friends | your 'musical neighborhood' | Scrobbler ], this track has been tagged to be of the following possible genres..." If you find one you agree with (betcha ya will!) you pick it, if not, you enter your own, which gets sent along back to the Ontology server... Feedback loop.

[Hrm... Imagine CDDB was open like that... holy cow.]

Ok, pictures now. You KNOW I'm gonna say Flickr. I'm also gonna say EXIF and Fotonotes. And tags tags tags tags...

There's alot of talk about the shift from top-down enforced hierarchies to the bottoms-up (hihi!) "folksonomies" and I'm thinking "How nice! We've gone from fascism to marxism! And it took all of... 3 months!"

Democracy, people. Create loose, general ontologies, and let community leaders manage them... In Flickr's case, how about simple stuff like "color", "person", "place", "food", "cat", "dog", "stupid cousin"...

Or how about less simple stuff, like full geographical ontologies - city names, capture device ontologies - camera make and model.

The argument that is sure to erupt is "why? if everyone just tags everything, it'll all be easily findable anyways!" Wrong. Relationships between data - subject verb object - grammar - some structure is always needed, and here we have an opportunity to get in in the middle and do it right...

Otherwise, as Karl says, we will go from an ocean of files to an ocean of tags, and no closer to home.
(Google translation of Karl's entry. Beware. It's almost as good as if he'd written it in english himself... ;)

7:30am. Shall I sleep or just stay up now?


Amazon: 'Do Android Crows Fly Over the Skies of an Electronic Tokyo?: The Interactive Urban Landscape of Japan (Architecture Landscape Urbanism)' (Akira Suzuki)

Do Android Crows Fly Over the Skies
of an Electronic Tokyo?

The Interactive Urban Landscape of Japan
(Architecture Landscape Urbanism) 2001
- Akira Suzuki

Picked this little gem up at the CCA bookstore the day I attended the Devices of Design symposium. I bought it purely for the cover and intriguing title. Glad I did!

A book about Tokyo architecture and urbanism, Suzuki starts off with "The number of mobile phone subscribers in Japan already exceeds 60 million". Hooked me from the start. ;)

A short, oddly bound tome (each recto/verso page is one sheet folded in half and bound... a terrible waste of paper and feels very strange in the hand), one quickly goes through the 72 pages of texts, pictures and illustrations. We are led through a quick historical tour of such things as the traditional "yojōhan" 4 1/2 tatami mat room and its social role as the cha no ma - living room - to the splitting of the nuclear family, the advent of the one-room mansions and capsule mansions, the spread and ubiquity of the conbini - convenience stores ("twenty thousand stores in Greater Tokyo alone, or one for every one thousand five hundred residents"!), the cultural forces that brought about these developments, and of course the cultural changes these developments brought about.

Once we've understood that, things get... cyber. Starting with the mass adoption of televisions at the time of the 1964 Tōkyō Olympics, which shifted the seating arrangement in the cha no ma from one where family members faced each other around the central table to the corner where the television set sat. "The television replaced the father" and thus began eroding the fabric of the traditional japanese family unit. At the extreme opposite end we are shown the Gifu Kitagata Apartment Building project, in which one part, designed by Kazuyo Sejima, places the wash basin facing the large south facing window. This was done, the author surmises, for the daughter, and to highlight the role in social and urban change that the modern japanese high-school girl plays... or rather, that they all, collectively play.

This is where we dive into, you guessed it, cellphones!! Shibuya epiphany, sugoooiii!

(I'm digressing, but let me add that Mimi Ito's research of mobile phone usage in Japan speaks volumes on the communication, coordination and cooperation going on every second, in the virtual world that is the mobile, individualized data space.)

So, we have a shift to single/individual person dwelling needs, and infrastructure of conbinis - anything you need, anytime - and an overarching system of communications facilities - keitai, i-mode, internet, television. The result is "Tokyo is vanishing into invisible communities and communications", where the true goings-on - interactions, work, play, group activities - of it's inhabitants happen in an information-based "space". The physical environment is secondary and merely serves the basic needs of the citizens, and even that is seen to be collapsing into neglect.

Examples of how networked information spaces can affect physical space, and vice versa, are given as such:
- "Seijinshiki" coming of age celebrations, where thousands of 20 year old girls all initiate cellphone calls to their friends and asshii-kun - young men chauffeurs - in one area at once, crippling the network.
- The Pokemon "disaster", where almost 200 children suffered epileptic seizures due to rapidly flashing animation scenes, broadcast via television. Not only was the event precipitated by a network, but for the millions of others who only knew of it because of news reports, the apprehension of the reality of the event came via the network.
- The Tamagotchi Phenomenon. At first, large numbers of teenaged girls shared "tamagotchi breeding tips" via their cellphones. Not wanting to be left out of the fun, even larger numbers of salary men got in on the game, causing catastrophic tamagotchi shortages, networked-rumor spurred runs on stores... hilarity ensues...

The title of the book, which is only made crystal clear in the final paragraph, speaks of flocks of individuals, navigating an information-based world, by simple communications, through a marginally relevant physical environment.

"The real city is loosely absorbed into a number of network levels and it is in them that we see the phantom city we know as 'Tokyo'. The actual city of Tokyo has already become little more than a dummy through which we discern the happenings taking place among these invisible networks."

Notice the crow feather in the upper left corner on the cover's picture. Nice touch.

Into the wild

Adriaan, the erstwhile developer of such sweet apps as ecto and 1001, today has released two of his little Perl scripts for Movable Type: the Technorati Plugin and the script.

Both of these have been running, beautifully, on Joi's site for a few months and a week or so, respectively. Ado is well placed to create these, especially the Technorati and Flickr stuff, having worked on the very APIs both offer himself.

I don't really use Technorati myself, but the one will be put into full effect here as soon as I move servers (soonish?) and have full control of CRON.

Bravo and thanks Ado!

Apache Redux

 Images Tommy Debbie 1

So, I've just found out that the fellow in that "worst video ever" was one "Tommy Seebach". Apparently Tommy was briefly a huge star in his homeland of Denmark. It appears he went alcoholic and offed himself last year. :\

(thx for the tip CRW)


I want all my data to relate.
I want to connect Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor to Cornelius' Wataridori (because played back-to-back they are a force of nature, IMHO).
I want to relate that relation to a friend's contact info, to remind me to mention it to them and possibly share the files with them.
I want the relations to be date stamped.
I want the network of relations to be discoverable and exposable, hideable and transparent. Like a tree... with branches and roots.

Confessions of a sensitive cybernaut

I get anxious when people don't answer an email.
I worry I've said something wrong, or misplaced a comma or worse, a smiley.
I'm always afraid I'm intruding with an IM message.
I want to apologize whenever someone logs off AIM without answering my "hey! :D"...

People tell me I worry too much.
I wish communication protocols were more reliable.
But then, I am glad they aren't. Rigidity is not natural.


Spam Karma

Dr Dave's Blog » Introducing Spam Karma

Damn. We need this for MT... pronto. :\