Joho the Blog » 2004 » April

April 30, 2004

Joi on the hostages…

Joi has a fascinating blog entry trying to interpret to us non-Japanese the reception the released hostages received. An excerpt:

I think one of the things that made many Japanese I know upset were the parents of the hostages making public statements about how the government should help get the hostages back without apologizing first about causing trouble for the government. Even if they didn’t believe it, it would be proper Japanese etiquette to say this first…

In the comments is a link to this long and moving account by Marine Lieutenant Colonel M.R. Strobl of his experience escourting the body of Lance Corporal Chance Phelps back to his home town.

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Auto-mesh

Glenn Fleischman writes:

The CUWiN [Champaign-Urbana Community Wireless Network ] project wants to allow self-forming, noncentralized, mesh-based Wi-Fi networks using standard, old PCs with no configuration. Slightly more advanced units could be ruggedized boxes using Compact Flash, but the basic unit would be a 486 or later PC with a bootable CD-ROM or bootable floppy that bootstraps a CD-ROM. Once booted, a unit finds other similar units without any other configuration or control and forms a mesh.

Clay comments over at Corante Many2Many:

As with straight Wifi, the obvious uses of a simple meshing tool are to replace wireline networks where they would be too expensive, but the second-order benefits that will come out will all be novel and often social uses for temporary creation of self-configuring high-bandwidth LANs — internet cafes without the cafe, temporary autonomous file trading zones, video re-mix culture throwdowns in real time.

The old paradigm of top-down network provisioning is so fragile that just one garage-based genius – surrounded by an open source community – could implode it. Exciting.

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Edge-based about-ness

What something is about often is so implicit that it’s precisely the thing that’s not stated. And sometimes a page can’t even know what it’s about: the manual about O-ring maintenance couldn’t know that it would actually be about the Challenger disaster.

So, I wonder how a search engine like Google would do if, when assessing the relevance of a page, it counted the content of pages directly linking to it much higher than the content of the page itself. Aren’t those linking pages more likely to state explicitly what’s on the target page that warrants a link?

Maybe Google’s PageRank algorithm(s) already does that. Anyway, I bet a bunch of people have already studied this extensively and have pre-figured out why I’m wrong.

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Balldroppings

Balldroppings: Game, Artwork or Sport? Whatever, it’s elegant, free and makes nice boopy sounds. [Thanks to Lockergnome for the link.]

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April 29, 2004

Google’s modest heuristics

Google’s filing its IPO shows up as #4 in Google News’ list of top business stories today. Ahead of it are “Nortel’s chief on a dozen boards,” “Time Warner sprints ahead, AOL crawls” and “MergerTalk: Though tarnished, Roberts’ image retains shine.” And since it’s #4, it doesn’t show up on Google News’ home page.

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How Jay ticks

Jay Rosen writes thoughtfully and entertainingly about the hows and whys of his most excellent blog:

Questions and Answers About PressThink

Hi. If you’re the kind of person who loves to complain about “meta” posts and make fun of blogging about blogging for being too self-referential, which is a fine and amusing thing to do… please. Don’t read this post. You’ll hate it. It’s the echo chamber again. Q & A about how I do my blog, PressThink. Very self-referential, okay? Meta meta, yadda yadda, blog, blog, blog for pages on pages. The only people who might be interested are…

…well, most of us. Me for sure.

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Making the new reality

From Chris Nelson’s blog:

The following is what one of the Bush administration’s representatives told journalist Ron Suskind, regarding their philosophy behind the administration’s actions and their relationship with journalists.

I’m quoting from an Air America Radio interview with Suskind:

Suskind: He says, you know, “You, Suskind, you’re in what we call the ‘reality-based community'” — that’s actually the term he used.

I said, “The WHAT?”

He says, “The ‘reality-based community’.”. He said, “you all believe” — now let me see if I can get this right — “You all believe that answers to solutions will emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.”

I said, “Yeah… YEAH, OF COURSE…”

He says, “Well, let me tell you how we really see it. You see, we’re an empire now. And when we act, we kinda create a reality. Events flow from our actions. And because of that, what we do is… essentially… we act, and every time we act we create a whole new set of laws of physics, which you then judiciously study for your solutions, and while you’re doing that we’ll act again, promulgate a whole other set.”

Janine Garofolo: “So you throw a rock in the pond, and the ripples go out…”

Suskind: And this guy said, “and that’s where we’ll stand ultimately; you’ll study us, and we’ll act. We’ll be the actors, and you will study what we do. And if you’re really good — on good behavior — maybe thirty years from now one of us will visit that graduate seminar you’ll be teaching at Dartmouth in your tweed blazer.” That’s the thinking.

Cynical, yet dead-on accurate. It’s not just history that’s written by the victors. Now it’s also journalism, politics, and talk radio.

It’s scary that the Bushies recognize this. It is the nuclear bomb of politics. And it’s what terrorists have always known: 19 guys can create a new normal in a single morning.

[Thanks to Joe Copperas for the pointer.]

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April 28, 2004

Big snails

Those are some big-ass snails.

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April 27, 2004

Bricklin takes license…

Dan Bricklin is thinking about how small software development houses can license their products in ways that provide the benefits of open source but that also build in reasonable compensation for the original creator. Dan is looking for feedback from software developers and others, so take a look and let him know what you think.

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Direct link to C-SPAN talk

FWIW, here’s a direct link to the talk I gave that C-SPAN broadcast. My piece is 55 minutes in, but the RealPlayer lets you skip ahead.

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