June 2005

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Originally uploaded by inkblurt.

BJ is fine, but The Bear is in critical condition. … Actually this is a wrecked semi I passed on my drive from PA to NC. I think it had happened just a little while before, because there weren’t any police or EMS people yet. From what the radio said later, it didn’t sound like anyone was actually hurt. Not even any chimps from 1979 tv shows.

It’s fun to see someone thinking out loud in their blog, and especially when it’s Weinberger.
Joho the Blog: NECC talk – New Shape of Knowledge

But in the digital age, we snip the connection between how we organize physical stuff and how we organize knowledge. Four principles of organization change: A leaf can be on many branches, messiness is a virtue, the owners of the information no longer own the organization of that information, and users are contributors.

This site has some tongue-in-cheek and yet entirely workable instructions on how to burn a flag without running afoul of the law: Whatever: Cracking the Flag-Burning Amendment
For example, one “flag” is a US flag but with a dot for one of the stars (pictured).

This is fascinating to me because it gets to the heart of what symbols are, and how silly it is to legislate and censor speech in the first place.
Also, Jon Stewart on the Daily Show last week pointed out how ironically the official “rules” for handling flags say that you should burn one when it’s worn out.
Anyway, this is a great object lesson in fundamentalism: namely that there are people who actually believe they can make a rule that says “you cannot burn or deface an American Flag” and have some sense of certainty that those things (“burn” “deface” ” American” “Flag”) are specific, hard-edged concepts without ambiguity or room for interpretation. Just like with scripture or the Constitution or anything else, there is always room for interpretation and context.

taco bell money thing

Originally uploaded by inkblurt.

Every time I see one of these, I find it somewhat jarring. (Pictured is one of those “If you’re asked to pay something other than this amount, call this number” signs outside a Taco Bell drive-through window.)
What it tells me is: the people inside cannot be trusted — so much so that we don’t want you just to ask them to revise the amount they say you owe, but to call us and rat them out, because they’re essentially criminals on probation.
It’s like one of those sex-offender electronic ankle devices, only for a whole taco joint.
I honestly don’t think I’m overstating the case — at least not for myself. It really does make me think of all of these things.
It’s basically an architectural element, one which shapes the environment in a very particular way. No matter how friendly or responsible your particular fast-food window helper might be, this sign makes sure you question their honesty, even if for just a moment. That you, essentially without your consent, join a sort of police force that’s keeping them in line from outside their enclosure.
If I can’t trust the amount of money they’re asking of me, something I can actually verify by checking the prices on the menu, why should I trust that the food itself is safe and uncorrupted?
If I were a true pomo nerd, I’d start quoting Foucault. As it stands, I’ll just get my Nacho Grande and stop thinking so much.

This is nuts — and evidently done entirely with things like javascript. The only Flash I see implemented is in the fake iTunes app.

Check this out at osx.portraitofakite.com before Jobs sues them and makes them take it down.

Yanked from The Apple Blog

The Buzz Report: Five reasons social networking doesn’t work – CNET.com

I think this article kind of misses the point. Sure, social network websites as distinct businesses are dying off — I’m surprised anybody thought they’d make money doing it to begin with. It’s like selling ice in the Arctic.
The phenomenon of Social Networking isn’t dying — it’s thriving. It’s just that the whole Internet is a social network.
Once people start realizing that, and the tools for connecting people outside of proprietary “sites” have become more useful and widespread, then there’s just no need for “social networking sites” like Friendster.
The only kind that will survive are specialty sites, like dating/matchmaking services or ones where people already share something like a career discipline or hobby.
Otherwise, the Internet already links everybody.
It does make the astute observation, though, that the problem with a lot of artificial social network sites is that they don’t have anything happening once you get there. That’s why things like LiveJournal (which I’ve basically given up on, but it’s still growing like mad) and RSS aggregators linking people’s blogs are thriving.
Social networks as a money-making business plan are, though, mostly kaput.

IHT has a story about how the US has hit the watershed “majority broadband” point. US Leans to Broadband

As recently as six months ago, a majority of Americans were using dial-up connections at home. In the first quarter of this year, broadband connections for the first time overtook dial-up.

This is significant, I think, not just because of the types of services and speed that are available, which seems to be the focus of the article. But because of what might happen when a majority of people on the internet fundamentally change the way they connect to it, from a temporary “phone call” paradigm to a “permanent resident” paradigm.
There’s a big difference between dialing in to access something as a remote service and having it always there, always available. And it’s not like having cable TV always available — because that’s just broadcast content. The Internet is a place that’s always moving, always changing and evolving. A planet unto itself. Having a broadband feed means you’ve moved from being a frequent visitor to a neighborhood to having a lot and house on one of its thoroughfares.

Evidently the two book reviews I’ve written for Boxes and Arrows have been rated as “Good” here:
EServer TC Library: Authors: Hinton, Andrew

I never got reviews before!

Even though, really, these are reviews of reviews … which is kind of meta-ish. Fitting, I suppose.

This is my experiment in coining a Technorati tag.

We’ll see if this works.

I like this term “metafatigue” — it started out as “metaexhaustion” in a previous post, but I like ‘fatigue’ better, and it kind of sounds like “metal fatigue” which fits somehow.

I’ll define it here as “the feeling of enervation and frustration achieved through impossibly trying to control and track floods of information with metadata.” That’s sloppy but it’ll do.

Technorati Tag:

Edited to add, about 10 hours later: And it worked!! Just hop over to that link and check it out. Neato.

Looks like a fab interview including John Seely Brown, at the “Supernova” conference. I haven’t read it yet, but Brown’s involved, so for me it’s a must-read anyway. Can Your Firm Develop a Sustainable Edge? Ask John Hagel and John Seely Brown
I got all excited for a minute when I saw it was connected to Wharton, but then my hopes were dashed when I realized it’s not being held there (close to me in Philly) but in SanFrancisco.
Hey… SF … what’s the deal with hogging all the excellent happenings huh?? Share a little, maybe?

ganked from Joho

This week in The New Yorker, Anthony Lane reviews the movie “Yes” in iambic pentameter, with rhymed couplets.


I’ve been trying to tweak my weblog to make use of all the various meta resources that seem to be cropping up like chickweed. And I have a confession to make … I’m sick of it.
I know that in order to be a part of the true enlightened blogigarchy, I should have RSS feeds in every conceivable format running smoothly on all cylinders.
But even after several hours last week, I was unable to figure out what the heck Technorati actually does with tags and how it finds them. Apparently if you just post something using WordPress and use categories, the categories should automatically end up as Technorati-compatible tags. But according to Technorati, it gets these from your “Atom” RSS feed. Evidently I actually publish one of these, but when I look at it, I don’t see my categories showing up in the format Technorati specifies.
That’s just one example.
Then it occurred to me that I was burning hours just trying to be sure that I was contributing correctly to some kind of grand schema, when all I really wanted to do was write and push “Publish” and be DONE with it.
Honestly, I don’t give a flying fubar about thorough and relentless meta-tagging of all of my content. I realize that it’s the greatest thing since giving blood to the Red Cross, and that I’d be truly revolutionized if I had everything running through del.icio.us, and if I could only be a fully engaged denizen in the groundswell that is folksonomy.
But maybe I’m too lazy. I want the web to just work.
Or maybe I’m just in a crummy mood today?
Likely it’s some of each.

Technorati Tag: ;-)

Edited to Add:
Later, I decided to change this post to “Metafatigue” … it started out as “metaexhaustion” which is too much of a mouthful. Then I posted a new post about it and watched Technorati and sure enough it came up there. This is fun. (6/23/05)

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