Joho the BlogAugust 2003 - Page 2 of 9 - Joho the Blog

August 28, 2003

Blatant Plug for BloggerCon

Bloggercon is shaping up to be something good. You’ll be sorry if you miss it.

Will it be the most extensively blogged conference in history? Anyone want to give me odds?


August 27, 2003

Dean on TV

Some excellent and quite positive coverage of the Dean 4-day “Sleepless Summer” tour in the New York Times and elsewhere. All the reports I’ve read point to the enthusiastic crowds and the success of the Governor’s new crowd-pleasin’ delivery. Not to mention the new Zogby poll that puts Dean at 38% in NH compared to Kerry’s 17%; for the past seven months, Dean and Kerry have been statistically flat at 19% and 25% respectively. Not to mention the $1,000,000 Dean raised over the Internet in 4 days, from 17,000 contributors, of whom 10,000 are first-time contributors.

And yet I watched the NY rally on CSPAN last night and with the crowd noise turned way down Dean looked awkward. We could say that that was just bad miking by CSPAN, but the TV interviews I’ve seen and the televised debates so far aren’t capturing what you see of Dean in person, on stage or in smaller groups: someone relaxed, “comfortable in his own skin” (as Chris Lydon put it), serious, but also enjoying himself. It’s a mysterious medium.



You can see the Swiffer mop-thingy ad with Devo singing a modified version of Whip It here.

Mark Mothersbaugh of the RugRats, um, Devo says that the band agreed to do it because it was just so absurd. And he’s right.


Take Back the Books!

From a friend at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

In our local paper today: Some students got sick of being fleeced by bookstores, and started their own book buyback website. So far, the site has brokered $66,000 worth of books. They’re going to try to help other students in other places set up similar sites.

One of a million acts of consumer-based capitalism…


August 26, 2003

Seeing Halley

Halley’s cataract surgery has gone well and the scales have fallen from her eyes.

See for yourself … :)

(Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Halley.)

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My friend Paul English is writing photo gallery software because he hasn’t found any that suits all his needs, including: “three sizes of each photo, keyboard navigation, netflix-style starbar ratings, email, shutterfly upload, EXIF camera settings info, and CSS templates.” He says:

Fotokey is for people who already have their own website, and want their photos on their own site vs. hosted elsewhere. It currently works on linux servers, although could be made to work elsewhere. All source code is on the site, and the application is free for any use.

I’m looking for some digital photographers who can help beta test the software.


Grant for Consciousness

According to an article by Alok Jha in The Guardian, “Scientists have been given the biggest ever grant to build a ‘conscious robot’. ” The grant is for 500,000 pounds and it repeats the most persistent — because it’s metaphysical — error (IMHO) in AI: thinking that consciousness consists of an internal representation of the world. In this case: “Mr Holland’s idea is that a conscious robot would have to build up internal models – one for the ‘self’ of the robot and another for the world around it. ”

Thanks to Gred Linuxman Cavanagh for the link.

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State-by-State Battle for VoIP

Jeff Pulver of The Pulver Report keeps a page with updates on the looming state-level battle over Voice over IP, i.e., the use of the Internet to place calls instead of using the aging, expensive, proprietary, debt-ridden, closed (but quite magnificent) incumbent telephone network.


I Hate Wifi

Adelphia cable modem, meet Linksys 802.11b wireless access point router. Router, meet cable modem. Now that you’re old friends, allow me to introduce Linksys 802.11b card. Oh, you don’t get along with him? Then you’ll definitely hate his more powerful sibling, the 802.11g card.

Put aside the G card; even when it works, it’s much slower than B. Before I can get online with B, I have to go through a ritualistic dance for at least 40 minutes. Some combination of rebooting the three devices, doing “ipconfig /renew”s until the cows come home, and clicking on the 105 Windows dialog boxes that use redundant terminology for non-redundant operations and non-redundant terminology for redundant operations, and maybe it works. For a while.

It’s simpler than it used to be, but it’s still not right.

I know my anger is misplaced. Wifi is good. Wifi is kind. Wifi is understanding. It’s Windows and Linksys and maybe Adelphia who are devouring my time and good will and replacing my usual beneficent smile with a fanged snarl. Or maybe it’s my antivirus software, my mouse, or possibly just my karma. (I knew I shouldn’t have kicked that dog in Babylonia.)

O, where is the page that gives step-by-step instructions based on the specific symptoms? I know you’re out there somewhere…


August 25, 2003

Targeting the wireless

From a friend who wants to remain anonymous:

A friend in Belmont (MA) was among a group of neighbors whose laptops were stolen from their homes. It seems the thieves used RF detection equipment to scan the neighborhood, finding homes with wireless hubs. They targeted those homes & stole the laptops.

Oy, something new to worry about!


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