Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Dear Mr. Obey...

Thank you. Thank you! THANK YOU!


Sea Creatures For A Brighter America

Monday, July 21, 2003

Take The Gloves Off
That's what the afore mentioned Mr. Lessig asked of us while talking about copyright legislation(mp3, 20mb) at OSCON back in 2002. Doc pointed me to it. He seems to know where a lot of the cool stuff is.

I loaded this up on my iPod, took a walk to the beach and listened to an intelligent voice that carefully illustrated the importance of the public domain, what is at stake with the extensions of copyright and why I should do something about it. I found it very encouraging to hear someone remind me that the law is not an unchangeable force. It's empowering.

On a related note, I actually agree with the "Gloved One." It is shocking to me that the recording industry, a machine that caters to the people, is being so aggressively adversarial towards them. Do they think threatening teenagers with prison time is going to get people to buy more CDs? Heal the relationship with your customers guys. In this age of digital distribution and home-based recording studios, you need them more than they need you.

And finally...
I can't type with boxing gloves on, and even if I could I wouldn't be this funny!

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Patriots Unite!
Overwhelmed by the task of finding a presidential candidate that represents your political views?Let your computer tell you what to do.

Friday, July 18, 2003

iSee Joi
It's comforting to see others who are involved in connectivity conundrums. Joi Ito started streaming video using his iSight camera and QuickTime Broadcaster. Actually, I don't see anything right now since the stream is inactive.

Perhaps I am not missing much. By his own admission it is "pretty boring." Why are we doing this? I have not answered this question for myself yet.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

I am so impressed with the blogosphere today. It is one of those days where my regular rounds expose me to some thrilling and entirely new ideas. It is provoking me, engaging me. It's doing the same things that made me so excited about the potential of blogs many months ago

Doc kicked things off (as usual) this morning with a link to a USA Today editorial that highlights Governor Dean's online fundraising efforts.

And now I'm fascinated.

I had heard of the guest appearance on Lawrence Lessig's blog but never made a significant effort to read it. Lessig's blog tends to deal with subjects that are a little big for me to swallow. But now I am seeing the genesis of a candidate that is addressing issues that I care about, not with speeches and sound bites, but with dialogue. It seems that Dean is becoming the catalyst for many people to participate in a political system that they previously abandoned, never truly embraced or never felt they could be a part of.

The success of his fundraising efforts (average donation: $88.11) is evidence of that. His blog is another.

I know very little of Mr. Dean at this point but I will be paying closer attention now. Given our growing budget deficit (NYT reg. req.), our manufactured war in Iraq, and the impending retirement of three supreme court justices, I think he is worth keeping an eye on.

And then there's Tony...
His blog generally amazes me with it's giddy content and incredible volume. But today he's got me thinking too. How does one kill nine people and injure 45 with an automobile and not go to jail? How does one reconcile pictures of the scene with the fact that 86 year old George Russell Weller went home yesterday?

George may not have meant to do it. But I am willing to guess that he ignored signs that he should not be behind the wheel for some time. If it takes you a block and a half to figure out the difference between the brake and the accelerator then you should not be driving. At 86 years old, George should have realized that. There are nine families that will not be able to shrug off such carelessness. We shouldn't either.

LA Blogs is collecting relevant links to media and blog coverage of the event. It helps remind me that the ability to drive a car is not a right, it's a privilege.

Last but not least...
Is BitterTree, whose magnificent flattery just makes me want to blog more. Thank you.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

We Need More Power!
To do a job right you need the right equipment for the job. You've got to love power tools.

In other news...
Comments are up and running. Run them into the ground. Thanks Allan for your assistance.

Monday, July 14, 2003

I am simultaneously impressed and horrified by people like this.

On one hand, the discipline and determination to pull off something of that magnitude is significant and worthy of admiration. The fact that he could even sleep on a "corkscrew" roller coaster is pretty amazing.

On the other hand, the idea of people going to such great lengths to achieve (and record) such meaningless triumphs is disturbing. Surely that discipline and determination could have been put to better use over the course of a four day period.

I am impressed with his fortitude. I am not awed by his accomplishment.

Roller coasters sure are fun though.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Near Miss
Perhaps I was in more danger than initially thought while at Six Flags the other day. This woman was not as fortunate as I was. Interesting that the stories vary so widely. One states that she was in an area fenced off for safety reasons. The other side claims she was fastening her grandson in on a ride.

Given the fact that most of the rides were being operated by teens more inclined to goof off than strictly observe any and all safety regulations, I can't dismiss either side.

Sad story. We might just have to call them theme parks across the board now. Amusement park may be too ironic for the general public.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

According to this article, the top ten deceptive email subject lines are:

• RE: Information you asked for
• hey
• Check this out!
• Is this your email?
• Please resend the email
• RE: Your order
• Past due account
• Please verify your information
• Version update
• RE: 4th of July

I don't understand how this can be. Most of the spam I get seems to orient around hot teen sluts, free samples of prescription drugs and mortgages.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

I Got The Whoosh Whoosh
A couple days ago one of my co-workers, Aaron, suggested a trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain. It had been a l-o-n-g time since I had been up that way (over 10 years) so it would be fun to see what was new. Plus, my sister had a free ticket and no plans to use it. Perfect!

We started making the trip up to the park yesterday around 8am and plodded through the rush hour traffic, unaware that this would be the slowest part of a very high velocity day.

Six Flags is currently being marketed as the "extreme park," following hyperbolic tradition so en vogue with advertisers of cars, sports drinks, shoes, yogurt, wireless networking equipment and more. However, in this case, the name is appropriate. Even "the extra-mega extreme super park" would have been accurate. After making our way through the meandering line of people at the entrance, we went straight to the parks perimeter. We went to Scream

One ride on this coaster got us thinking it was the best of its kind anywhere. A second ride confirmed it. It's twists and turns and loops and rolls were relentless.

The rest of our day confirmed our early perceptions. The rides that kept up a generous flow of adrenaline included:

Batman: The Ride (which made me extremely dizzy)
Riddler's Revenge (which is a coaster you ride standing up)
Ninja (which is a suspended coaster that flies among the trees)
Viper (which is tall and super fast)
Roaring Rapids (which helped me cool off and thankfully spared my cell phone)

Each ride was thrilling, but none compared to the first. To the champion. To Scream.

And then it all changed.

We saw it from the parking lot when we arrived in the morning but we didn't know it's name. We even had a hard time finding it, and when we did, we had a hard time deciding whether or not to stay in line. Word from the dozens of people leaving the area was that X was broken and it would be at least a 2 hour wait to get it running again. We waited.

And waited.

After about 20 minutes the ride was moving again but the line wasn't. We stood baking in the sun, confused. There wasn't much to see of the ride. We could see the train climb the first hill but it went up backwards. The people on it were looking out over the park, not up at the ride's peak. The cars rotated?

After waiting an hour and a half (the longest wait of the day by a factor of 5) we strapped in, prepared for something different but certainly not prepared for this.

It was 215 feet straight down.

Face down.

In the front car there was nothing to obstruct our view of the earth approaching us at 76 mph. And after that, it's all a blur. I rode it twice and I still cannot describe what happens. I know there was one point after that initial drop that scared me more than the drop itself but I can't pinpoint where that happened or what, exactly, was happening.

X messes with your head using an entire history of riding roller coasters against you. You can't guess what will happen next. You can't expect the train to do something. You cannot anticipate. It was the most extreme roller coaster that I have ever been on. Aaron said it may have quenched his desire to go skydiving!

We cleared out of the park at almost midnight.

My head has not cleared yet.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Friendster? I Hardly Know Her.
The cute and cuddly idea of six degrees of separation - the thought that you can connect the dots between yourself and all of humanity through six people - is laughable to me now. It's more amusing than the bastard stepchild it spawned, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Why? Because of Friendster, the exercise that uses this premise to enrich the social lives of the online population.

I signed up through an invitation from Suki (friend 1) and after a quick exploration of her page noticed Matt (friend 2). I know both. I worked with them. Talked to them. Ate with them. We're friends. We're connected.

But then it just gets ridiculous.

According to Friendster I am hooked into a network of 9282 people, 9276 of whom I do not know and have never met. I have no connection with these people. Even if I wanted to network with them to get a job, or a date, they would have no relevant information about me. They could not speak highly of me. They couldn't even speak of me. They don't know I'm here.

I even have a friend in my network that I have never met or spoken to: circa1977. Now, this is against "the rules" since you are supposed to actually be friends with the people in your network. But he reads this blog on occasion, is friends with a friend of mine and mixes donuts and beer so it is a-ok with me.

All this has led me to question the validity of the six degrees theory. One could say that social networks work like mechanical ones. The longer the cable run, the lower the signal strength. Eventually it fails because the signal's too weak.

Friendster, you're not invited to my birthday party.