Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Supreme Court to Corporations: Take all the Megaphones You Want, It's Your Right

This week, the Supreme Court voted 5 to 4 to lift spending restrictions on corporations and unions, claiming that such restrictions are a violation of Free Speech, a right given to all "citizens" by our Constitution.

Given that corporations are allegedly "Persons"*, and given that there is legal precedent dating back to the 1970s for equating money spent on lobbying and advertising with Free Speech, the winning side here believes that the Constitutional Rights of these poor helpless fictional entities have been justifiably restored

To me this means we've just cleared the way for America to be a Corporate Fascist nation, not a Democracy.

Sure, there are Constitutional Purists, like Glenn Greenwald, who drank the Kool-Aid and think this ruling was about an abstract fight against the notion of limiting free speech to some category of entities.   He and others think having any such regulation in any context is paramount to censorship and must be stopped.

I don't buy it.

We're dealing here not with stopping ideas we may or may not agree with.  Glenn is right when he points out that government banning and censoring human communication in one context, but not in others, is unacceptable in a true Democracy.  Either you have Free Speech or you don't.  If you don't, you live in China and mere mentioning of certain topics will get you imprisoned or killed.

But, even if we don't restrict its content, the intent of Free Speech was never to allow one group of entities to have more of it than anyone else. The problem is how to mix all the communications channels in a fair, informative way.  Prior regulation kept the Corporate voice lower in the mix.  Now that regulation will be off.

Thanks to these Supreme Court idiots, Corporations will able to seize the control room, crank up the volume and mix everyone else out of the dialogue.

The Megaphones vs. The Unmiked.

It is not that Corporations have not been able to speak.  (They already have).

It's not that they cannot speak the particular messages they would like to (even if those might be misleading or false).

No.  The problem now is that Corporations do not speak.   With billions of dollars, they can YELL.

They can now yell louder, and across more loudspeakers and channels than any other entity on the planet.  These entities can now buy up all the megaphones and boomboxes. 

Speech?  Or Corruptive Influence

Then there is the matter of corruption.  Corruption can trump even the fairest of dialogues and messaging between elected officials and the citizens voting for them.

When a human being donates money to a politician in the hopes of getting him or her elected, there is the hope (or expectation) he or she will vote in a way pleasing to the donor.

But with a corporation, we're talking HUGE sums of money that no mere mortal human being can simply walk away from.  In effect, the politician will think twice before enacting any laws against such a "generous" donor.  In effect, the Corporate Donor has just bought the Law, custom-made for its own self-interest.

Theodore Roosevelt and our preceding governments recognized the danger of granting unlimited power to Corporations.  We had protections in place to separate government and commerce.  They gave corporations a voice, but muted so that the rest of us could be heard too.

But now our members of Congress are former members of Corporations and vice versa.  They have debts to repay, Laws to create on their donor's behalf.  This ruling will make he voice of the Corporations so overwhelmingly loud that we human beings might as well call it a day and do what Douglas Rushkoff suggests -- forget about government and do stuff ourselves.

* Albeit fictional, and only made so in the 1800s by a clerk writing notes on a court case about granting rights to slaves.

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posted by Brian at 12:42 PM 0 comments links to this post

Friday, November 06, 2009

FYI: The term "infovore" was coined by me, circa 1996. Hmmph.

Don't you hate it when you hit upon an idea and don't do much with it, let it sit around for years and years -- then suddenly, you find articles about someone else being credited for doing something significant with your idea? This happened to me today while reading BoingBoing, and an Urban Dictionary entry, and a blurb about some neuro-scientists who claim to have coined the term (2006) for that craving humans have for novel things.

But as far as I know, I was first.  Came up with the word sometime in the mid-90s and used it to describe myself at an Oracle interview in 1996. Had anyone used it before me? Maybe. Please comment below if you have evidence.

Since everyone was purchasing domains back then, I bought infovore.com in 2000 or so, but let it slide. (Now it's owned by somebody in France).

At least I still have mediavore.com. And anyway, as Douglas Rushkoff has since written, we are more consumers of meaning than information.

What I need now is a word to describe this situation: discovering an idea, sitting on it, then later finding that others have since done something with it.

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posted by Brian at 3:04 PM 1 comments links to this post

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

TEDx USC: Dave Logan and Tribal Leadership

Dave Logan, Associate Dean and Executive Director of Executive Development at University of Southern California's (USC) Marshall Business School, gave an excellent talk about tribes, based on his recent book, Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization.

According to Logan, tribes are small groups (10-100 people) of people that form naturally. They tend not to be the same from each other and that difference is called "culture." A crowd or a business will likely contain many tribes. Tribes can be classified by one of 5 stages and each tribe can only hear one level below and above its own level. The stages are:
  1. "Life sucks" (ex. gangs)
  2. "My Life sucks" or "How can people so dumb live?" (ex. the DMV)
  3. "I am great (and you're not)"
    (ex. lawyers or doctors meeting in an elevator, conferences)

  4. "We're great!"
  5. (ex. a company like Zappo.com)
  6. "Life is great!"
  7. (ex. any tribe with positive members that has a positive impact on people)
According to research, only 2% of tribes are stage 5, with most hovering in stage 2, 3 and 4. Mr. Logan encouraged us to "nudge our tribes" towards the next level, and to start doing triadic networking, that is, introduce two people you don't know to each other (in effect, bridging tribes together).

Ultimately the point of the book is to dispel the myth and mindset that only Dog eat Dog cutthroat companies survive and grow big. In fact, cultures based on back-stabbing and fear and "cover your ass" (as so prominent in FX and game companies in my experience) are doomed to stagnate or die. Not surprisingly, Mr. Logan encountered hostility when speaking about his book on FOX News:

A lot of TEDxers enjoyed this talk a lot, citing it as one of the highlights.

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Saturday, February 07, 2009

What Pixar Looks For...

Randy Nelson, head of Pixar University, talks about the traits and characteristics of people they hire at Pixar Animation Studio. Interestingly (and in contrast to some production companies I've worked for), they look for the ability to collaborate -- specifically, the ability to amplify the expression of others on your team through your unique talents and experiences. They want people are are interested, not necessarily interesting. And of course, they want folks who have mastered some particular discipline (be it animation, photography, design, story-telling, mathematics) but are well-versed in others.

via Cartoon Brew

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Our Potential VP Sarah Palin is a Book Banner?

I can't think of many things more unpatriotic than banning books in a country that prizes free speech. Libraries are not in the business of catering to preference; they are there to allow access to that very free speech we protect.

And yet, Republican John McCain has picked a doosy of a V.P. Apart from her obvious political abuses (like having a brother-in-law fired using her political power), her religious beliefs include censorship:
[...] as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. "She asked the library how she could go about banning books," he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. "The librarian was aghast." That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor.
Whether you're Republican or pro-McCain, I hope you realize what a dangerous person this would be as President (should McCain die). If you really want to put our "country first" as the battle-cry goes, elect someone who does not abuse power, who protects the First Amendment.

via TIME magazine.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

My Personality Type? ENTP (or ENFP depending on the day)

My workplace sponsored a Myers-Briggs Personality test for any of us who wanted one. We then had a half-day workshop describing some of the personality differences and thought processes of the 16 different types. We took an online version last week and evaluated ourselves again throughout the workshop, and in my case, I got two different but very overlapping results.

My report came back with ENTP, while my self-evaluation came back ENFP. Makes a lot of sense, really. ENFP is described as "Catalyst," which I've often called myself. Someone once told me I'm a man in need of a direct object (Brian stokes...what?) ENTP is described as "Entrepeneur" which although I'm not one at the moment, it's something I've always wanted to be. The two types have exactly the same motivators and frustrations; the only difference seems to come down to Thinking vs. Feeling, and I find myself oscillating a lot between them. But thinking dominates about 55% of the time.

One of the hosts asked me a tie-breaker question: Do you find it easy to play Devil's advocate? (Yes) If so, then you're probably ENTP.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Will the Real Issues Please Show Themselves?

This is hardly the first time the network news outlets have focused on irrelevant nonsense instead of things the American people ought to be caring about. It is also not the first time that creating smoke screen non-issues has been used for political advantage (Swift Boating).

I'm referring to the whole non-issue about a former pastor that presidential nominee Barack Obama had some association with in the past. The alleged problem? This pastor allegedly made strong statements during speeches that some might interpret as negative, racial, and perhaps anti-American. (Never mind that in our country, statements like this are protected, free speech).

Obama calmly reacted to this, basically saying "I have nothing to do with these statements, whatever they might be." But the media has not let go of it, trying to fan the fire. Have any of them ever bothered to show or play these speeches in context, or even analyze what these soundbites might actually be saying? Of course not. (All except one radio station, where it was clear this pastor was unhappy to have his soundbites taken out of context.)

Then the ABC Debate fiasco. Instead of helping us elect a president who can get our country out of a recession and deal with our Wars, ABC chose to treat it as a game show with inane questions like "Would you wear an American flag pin?" and more about this irrelevant pastor.

Here's a great parody of how the Lincoln Douglas debates might have been like today.

Seriously hoping whoever gets elected can bring us back to being a mature, intelligent country again. Reality TV shows are making us all stupid.

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Monday, March 03, 2008

TED Talk: Purple Cows, and Being Remarkable To Those Who Care

Marketing expert and Author Seth Godin talks about the changing landscape of creative success. The old model was to spend millions on interrupting people with the message about your product, a product that is "safe" and appealing to the masses. The new model is to recognize that "the idea that spreads, wins" and that this idea must be remarkable ("easy to remark about"), different, not boring, and appealing to people who care ("otaku"). If you let these people work for you, you win.

(The R.I.A.A raises its hand.)

"But can't we sue them? I mean, come on. They're ruining our old business model, and this new one where we can bully them into paying up is pretty neat. And we save so much $$$ not paying artists--"

Seth Godin stands up, answering "Well you can, but you'll lose. People will either get their intangibles for free or they'll care enough to buy them, preferably from the source. And anyway, you're boring now."

"Aww man."

(R.I.A.A stands up, sulks, walks out as Lawrence Lessig, Cory Doctorow, and I escort him out, consolingly)

"There there, cartel. It'll be all right. Have you ever considered a new career? Prison management maybe? Or smoking ban enforcement? I hear that's big in Europe now."

(R.I.A.A smiles hopefully) Ohhh!

To be continued...

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Monday, February 04, 2008

My Favorite SuperBowl 42 Ad

I've only been to a few Superbowl parties. The food & beverages & commercials are about the only thing interesting to me usually (although at this party, we also played Nintendo Wii® and Guitar Hero III too to liven things up.) This year, there were maybe two or three good commercials and this Coca Cola ad ("It's Mine!") with Thanksgiving Day parade balloons of Stewie (from Family Guy), Underdog, and Charlie Brown was the best, IMHO. Honorable mentions to the Tide To Go "My Talking Stain" and ETrade's talking baby ads.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Drums are the new Exercise Equipment Must-have

Scoot over, Nordic Track™. Step aside, Stair Master™. America's living rooms are tied of boring old exercise equipment taking up space, seldom used except on Sunday morning TV infomercials. Now there's Roland's V-Drum Lite HD-1 for that total upper AND lower body work-out combined with virtual rock-star training.

Lose weight while playing along to your favorite hits produced back when they used actual drummers. Tone those arms so that you can beat all your friends playing Rock Band™ on your PS3 & XBox. Or, if music is not your thing, use it as an avant-guarde techno sculpture center-piece.

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posted by Brian at 11:40 AM 0 comments links to this post

Monday, November 19, 2007

Is Your Neighborhood Walkable?

Here's a neat website where you can find out whether your current neighborhood or one you're thinking of moving to is a good place for walking. Interestingly, my previous apartment in San Francisco is ranked 97. My current place is 91, which isn't bad for L.A. My parents house in Texas is a mere 27, because although the neighborhood itself is very lovely to walk around, there are no reachable businesses or restaurants nearby.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

My Hero Larry Lessig on TED

A few years ago I had the pleasure of sitting next to him at a fund-raising dinner for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit group devoted to issues such as free speech, consumer rights, and excessive copyright law. Some books of his worth reading are "Free Culture", "The Future of Ideas," and "Code & Other Laws of Cyberspace."

Watch his TED speech here.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Personal Projector: Turn any flat surface into an Interface!

Wow. Nifty! Funky-looking control, but that's to enable the Vicon motion capture camera to do its magic. I can imagine a really high-powered one that lets you use the sides of buildings...

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posted by Brian at 9:29 PM 0 comments links to this post

Monday, October 08, 2007

Facebook Applications & the Long Tail

For those of you not hip to these things, there is an Internet phenomenon known as Social Networks. They are basically automated personal website construction kits (like GeoCities was, back in the mid-90s) where your site is mostly limited to your "profile" template, combined with a list of your friends and tag clouds, which are a set of keywords (typically interests, music you like, etc.), which are then cross-indexed with those of your friends and everybody else.

Why, you might ask? Well, today's youth love to share everything about themselves. They don't care so much about privacy. And if you have a profile on such sites, you can search for like-minded people.

I became aware of this trend with Friendster. Friendster grew popular -- so popular that it's architecture was not strong enough to handle the load. Shortly thereafter, a new site arrived, mySpace, and people left Friendster in droves. mySpace is ugly, but it functioned well-enough that it absorbed much of Friendster's users and grew like wildfire. It added more stuff to do with your network.

And then it got bought by Robert Murdoch for half a billion dollars. Go figure. The younger brother of a smarter social network with health problems takes over the world. Then the prim and neat youngest brother could possibly do even better.

But not long after, Facebook arrived. It was lean and clean, and it was conservative about who was allowed to join it (invite-only), at first limited to college students. It began to offer MORE things to do with your network, but then it did something unusual -- it gave away the plans to its innards. Now anyone with some programming skill can develop his own "thing to do" on your network, to share with everyone on the system.

So over the last year or so, there have been thousands of applications developed.

Today I read an article about how 45 of these have more than 100,000 users; the rest have much less. 87% of the usage goes to just 84 of the applications! Considering that Facebook has an alleged valuation near $10 billion, I agree with the author that this ecosystem is "a Long-Tail with a vengeance."

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posted by Brian at 6:17 PM 0 comments links to this post

Monday, September 24, 2007

Blog your Sketches

It was only a matter of time. First, blogs let you upload short text clips that folks can subscribe to. Then there were podcasts for audio and video. Now, there's sketchcasting, which basically combines those old playback animation tools (in Java or Flash) with YouTube videos.

Of course, this has been done the the hard way many times before, but now everyone can do it. It even lets you record live sound.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Adventures in Saturday Morning Kids Programming

Saturday Morning TV ain't what it used to be. Obviously, there was still commercialism aimed at kids back then. Boy, did I want Tobor: Robot Spelled Backwards, Big Trak, and an Atari ("Have you played Atari today?"). But if you're a girl today, here's what commercials you'll see during the "Kewlopolis" set of programs:

Barbie Fashion Fever Shopping Boutique Playset
(Shows a disembodied hand swiping credit cards over and over. "You never run out of money!" "Buy it!" "You can buy cool stuff!" "Buy It!")

Race To the Mall Set (Polly Pocket)
(An attempt to make Hot Wheels™ race tracks "cool" for girls)

Meanwhile, there's a show called Trolls. No, it's not a fantasy themed, Dungeon & Dragons show. There are these girl Trolls who complain about anything they don't perceive as cool (science, having to wear unfashionable clothes, etc) There are parent characters inflicting those things on them. Lots of "Whatever", "You're a loser", and other quotes you'll be glad to have your daughter imitating. The theme song is a generic processed pop female vocal singing "It's a cool thing. It's a hair thing. It's a big thing. Music, Fashion, Make-up." Huh. Very troll-like.

I kind of like Dance Dance Revolution, based on the exercising videogame. It's basically a dance contest show with a bias towards hip-hop. There's a "nerdy" host that self-effacing but likeable and can dance pretty well. The focus is on perfecting a skill, not on "being cool."

God, if I hear the word "cool" more than 5 times a minute again, I'm going to dress like a punk rocker.

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posted by Brian at 9:30 AM 1 comments links to this post

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Virtual Worlds On Your MySpace Page? Not Far Off...

The Web today is all about projecting your identity, connecting with your friends and strangers with similar interests, and sharing media with them. Tools have advanced to the point where it's trivial to upload and share photos, videos, text, animation and music to everyone and anyone. This is how we communicate today. Like songwriters have said for ages, we can say "I love you"* with a song (or electronic greeting card, or hilarious YouTube video). We don't even have to be its creator.

Now imagine what you could say by sharing a virtual world** with someone?

In recent months, toolkits have emerged that enable us ordinary people to build or customize 2-D and 3-D spaces and invite others to join in simultaneously. There's Multiverse, and now Metaplace, being developed by a San Diego company, Area, Inc.

The former is a downloadable (Windows-only) client that lets you load any virtual world out there made with it, and a free set of tools for setting up worlds to share. The latter (which to me is more interesting) is designed to be flexible enough to use web techniques (like RSS feeds, links, and good old cut 'n paste) to fit into web page-based applications like Myspace and Facebook. Here's a quote from their website:
Right now, there aren't enough good games, for example, and they all seem to be about elves in tights or soldiers in battle armor. Metaplace allows more diversity. Right now, there are lots of people who want to use virtual worlds for research, or education, or business, but it's just too darn hard to get one going. Now you can create a world in just a few minutes and start tailoring it to your needs. Basically, we wanted to democratize the process of making online spaces of all sorts.
We knew it was all coming together when one of our team made a game in a day and a half. And then stuck that game on a private MySpace profile. You can inherit someone else's world (if they let you) and use it as a starting point.
So get out there and start building worlds and sharing them with others.

* ... or typically "This is so funny!"
** ... or online game

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Behold! Customizable Animated Electronic Greeting Cards

Apparently, the online greeting card business is upwards of $80 million a year so far. There are gazillions of card sites these days. Most I've seen are not so much cards anymore, but animated or live action footage. More like "-grams" as in singing telegrams, candy-grams, etc.

The trend now is to allow user-customizable cut-out faces on prefabricated animations. The first one I saw is called Starring U from the JibJab brothers (who showed me in person. Whohoo!) But they are not alone, and probably not the first either! There is also the oddly-named Mushy Gushy site, which seems to have more prepackaged animations lined up already. The JibJab brothers are a lot more famous though, minor celebrities ever since their Flash-animated parody of Bush & Kerry singing "This Land is Your Land" hit the Net, seen by millions of people and landing them major TV talk shows.

May the best Terry Gilliam-esque cut-out face animated e-greeting card Web 2.0 website win!

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Bourne Ultimate Frisbee

My Israeli friend Danny from Sony and I saw The Bourne Ultimatum today.

Jason Bourne sends signals to a targeted journalist, in hopes of navigating him to safety outside the Waterloo train station.

Plotwise, this movie is about signals. The CIA sends signals to an "asset" (i.e. assassin) to hit targets. A CIA team searches for relevant signals that might reveal Bourne's location, be they cel phone messages, GPS coordinates of phones, trips taken, passports stamped, or visual clues from security video feeds. Meanwhile, Bourne sends false signals, even spoofing signals on behalf of CIA folks, using old passports, giving false meet-up locations, and doing his best to avoid sending overt signals of any sort. He also sends signals in specific languages, like when he calls the Spanish police as an obstacle against encroaching CIA gunmen.

Visually, this movie is about whiplash. Unsteady camera moves, insanely fast fighting choreography and editing, cars and motorbikes racing through skinny Moroccan and congested New York streets, all coming to rapid, neck-wrenching smashes against walls.

Well, neck-wrenching for everyone except Bourne, who had some pretty amazing training it seems. He can survive 10-story falls into water, 60+mph car crash impacts, cel phone-triggered explosives less than 10 feet away... Hell, he can even get a brand new mobile phone activated in minutes!

But overall, I thought the movie was tight -- most of the signals were clever, made sense, were well-motivated and didn't come from out of nowhere. In this surveillance world we live in, it's time we got used to having all our signals captured and potentially scrutinized (done East German Stasi-style gone high-tech). We need heroes like Bourne to remind us that fighting for privacy is a good thing, dammit!

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posted by Brian at 11:07 PM 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"Stovepipes" and Culture

Global Province is a management consulting group with an enlightened viewpoint. In its Letters From the Global Prince section of its website, there are often eye-opening observations about the world around us. Here's a blurb about culture and the lack of communication between subgroups:

Stovepipes. We emphasize that culture is a mosaic, a quilt of widely different strands running through society. It’s not painting, or music, or spices, or a night at the opera, or rap—but all of these woven together and more. Today it’s inextricably global, for culture of any merit no longer respects borders.

It is a catalyst because of ‘stovepipes.’ ‘Stovepipes’ is consultese-shorthand that describes the structure of old-style companies where the different parts or departments don’t converse with each other very well. It’s an American Express where you may have to talk with 4 people—instead of one—when you want to find out about travel, or hospital insurance, or about the points on your credit card, because the company is so compartmentalized that the left hand does not know what the right is doing. It’s every telephone company where you are lucky to be able to talk to anyone (all the telecoms are very understaffed in customer operations, maintenance, and several other areas), and you may talk to as many as 5 people trying to discover your service options if you need to telephone Paris a great deal. The consulting firms themselves are full of stovepipes, and knowledge is not shared well between different practices.

That said, the ‘stovepipes’ that really matter in modern commerce are not those inside companies but those strewn through society and scattered about the world. Neurologists understand very little chemistry—an impediment to research advances. Boutique businesses have a primitive understanding of internet commerce—without which they cannot survive. The U.S. knows little about Indonesia, the world’s major Moslem country, and even less about the Bandas where Ms. Alwi grew up. The more complex the society, the more numerous its stovepipes.

Culture weaves together the world as it is, bringing together spices, the Bandas, cooking, New York, a host of media, and much more. It provides the neural circuitry along which ideas can move. Culture knocks down stovepipes, so that a society can become interactive.

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posted by Brian at 10:26 AM 0 comments links to this post

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Ecstacy of Influence: A Plagiarism

I found this amazing essay about copying and creative works by Jonathan Lethem via BoingBoing. Make sure you read it all the way to the end.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

In Theory, I'm Reading...

Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships, Daniel Goleman
How we all (most of us) supposedly have a built-in Wifi-like system for dealing with the emotional state of other people.
Gödel, Escher, Bach, Douglas Hofstadter
Three gentlemen who, in their own ways (math, illustration, and music), dealt with abstract ideas such as self-referencing, loops, and self-creating systems (autopoesis).
Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software, Scott Rosenberg
Imperical evidence as to why building software (a relatively immature Discipline) can be frought with frustration, even with some of the best engineers.
Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present, Cory Doctorow
More cool science fiction short stories.
But in practice, I'm watching the HBO series Rome and the documentary, Scratch.

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posted by Brian at 5:21 PM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Google Gmail Marionettes!

Ahhh, Google. You keep impressing me. Now you have Geeks and Puppets coming together to demonstrate how the Gmail Email service can improve communications.

Previously, Gmail was invitation-only, but it has as of Valentine's Day, opened its doors to everyone. I highly recommend it over Yahoo! Mail Beta, a sluggish copy-cat. Although I have used Yahoo! Mail for years, the latest version is slowwwww and heavy if (like me) you have a decade worth of email. Gmail on the other hand, is nimble and has far better searching ability (it is Google, after all). I also like how its Chat client is built-in, unlike Yahoo which has a very heavy downloadable client with far too many features. Most of my friends are using Microsoft's MSN Messenger now (although the two are compatible) or Skype. A few are still using the ridiculous AOL AIM Instant Messenger. And fewer still are using the one that started them all, ICQ.

While we're on the subject, there are the Multi-IM clients, like the Mac-only Adium, the Open Source Miranda, and the popular Trillian.

All of these formerly smallish utilities are growing up to be mini-browsers; browsers are growing to become large applications. The eco-system on my desktop is getting a bit unruly! But I suppose that's the price to pay for a good competitive landscape. Otherwise, everything would be Microsoft.

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posted by Brian at 5:26 PM 0 comments links to this post

Medieval Helpdesk Session

A monk learns how to use the new-fangled text storage technology, the "book" that is making his earlier parchment scroll obsolete.

From BoingBoing

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Lessig's "The Withering of the Net" video

Fantastic-ly informative 39-minute lecture by Lawrence Lessig describing how it was Republican inititiatives back in 1984 that broke up AT&T's proprietary, exclusive control over the communications network up until then, enabling the Internet to grow to what it is today, and jump-starting the explosion of innovations in Consumer Electronics.

Intriguing Principles:
  • The owner of the network does not have absolute control, meaning that layers can grow ontop of it
  • The past does not get to dictate future innovators out of fear of competition.
  • Device-makers are not liable for how users use their devices.
  • Two spaces evolving, the Read-Only Internet, and the Read/Write Internet
  • Apart from the "Berkeley-esque" reasoning that Read/Write Internet is better for democracy, Lessig provides the "Stanford-esque" reasoning that it will increase monetary growth exponentially larger than the Right-Only Internet.

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posted by Brian at 5:10 PM 0 comments links to this post