Joho the BlogAugust 2005 - Page 3 of 11 - Joho the Blog

August 25, 2005

World v. Robertson

Global Voices rounds up world reaction to Pat Robertson‘s offhand support of state-sponsored murder.


The new populism

The Chris Lydon radio show, Open Source, did a show on hyper-localism that featured Ed Remsen, mayor of Montclaire NJ, who isn’t above commenting on posts on Baristaville. As Brendan Greeley points out, Remsen isn’t a born-on-the-Net hip guy. But he sure seems to get that the Net is an unowned conversation…and it’s his constituents who are talking. [Technorati tags: ]

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Rainbows explained


A rainbow planted one foot on land
and another on top of the ocean.
I know how they work:
Water particles split light into its tendencies.
But I don’t know why the colors band,
why they twice touch the bottom of the sky,
or why they paint a half circle
so perfect that it confounds Plato. So I lost my explanation for a moment.
The rainbow became a gift
so orderly that it must be a sign. I was watching as someone else.
Believe me, I know
there is no giver of the gift
and no sense in the sign, just the modern embarrassment
of looking at a rainbow.

(Please remember Blogging Rule #3: We must forgive one another’s poetry.) [Technorati tags:]


Foo photos

I just posted a handful of photos from Foo Camp onto Flickr. (Or search on the tag “foo05”.) [Technorati tags: ]

Comments Off on Foo photos


Beloit College has released its annual list of things freshmen have never been without. E.g., “Starbucks, souped-up car stereos, telephone voicemail systems, and Bill Gates have always been a part of their lives.” Etc.

That’s nothing. To me you’re a whippersnapper if:

You’ve never had a cavity drilled by a machine powered by an arrangement of pulleys

You think “Watergate” was about water and had the “gate” appended to it to signal it was a scandal

You have only seen impressions of John Wayne

You’re ok with coed bathrooms

You think wearing your baseball cap backwards isn’t just plain stupid

You consider feminism old fashioned

You can’t understand how Michael Jackson ever became a star

You can’t understande why anyone cares about Woody Allen movies

There’s not a single black-and-white movie you like

You can’t remember the first time you saw a female news anchor or heard a female DJ

The last Saturday Night Live death you remember was Phil Hartman’s

Vietnam was at least two wars ago

Man, I’m feeling cranky! [Technorati tags: ]


August 24, 2005

The golf network protocol

Jeneane Sessum
CoreStreet Software’s president and blogger Phil Libin:

Blogging is my golf game

It’s where he hangs out and converses with his peers and other interested parties. Exactly. Especially for those of us who tend toward the George Carlin side of the golf spectrum.

BTW, the quote is from a story Jeneane’s writing on CEOs and blogging for next month’s Global PR Blog Week 2.0, an online conference about the effect of the Web on PR. Jeneane’s and other articles will hit the site September 19-23. Here’s a list of authors. [Tags: ]


The Lawyers’ Net

Andrew Dupont developed a Mac OSX widget that helps people who use the Azureus client to download content via Bittorrent. Although it has become popular, Apple won’t list it on its widget page. Andrew asked politely and got a polite reply from Apple [Note: in the comments, Dave Rogers points out that this quote comes from, although Apple apparently agrees with the sentiment. Thanks, Dave.]:

We decided early on that we did not want to promote piracy in any way, choosing to exclude widgets related to P2P, BitTorrent, etc. …[T]he main use (though usually unpublished) for BitTorrent is illegal downloading.

Talk about your chilling effects! This is how the Net is bifurcating: Chickenshit companies like Apple (and many many more) play it safe even when it comes to hugely valuable tech like Bittorrent, so the “mainstream” Internet has one set of protocols while another set is driven underground. We end up with a cultural and economic divide, with the lawyer-safe Internet on one side and the transformative Internet on the other. To use the transformative Net, you need tech skills, knowledge that it’s there, and a respite from the brainwashing that’s going on.

Step by step, we’re intentionally creating a new Dark Ages for ourselves, maddeningly when a new connected enlightenment is within our reach. [Tags: ]

Why aren’t I picking on Microsoft which, given its market position, is doing far more damage in this area? Because we should expect more from Apple. Or so many people believe. I’m still waiting.


August 23, 2005

Time to take out Pat Robertson, figuratively of course

Many Americans think of Pat Robertson as buffoon, a foil, a fading TVangelist who asked God to kill a Supreme Court justice he doesn’t like. But to the rest of the world, he’s an important American religious leader who meets with our president and who once ran for the office himself. So, when Robertson suggests that we murder the president of Venezuela, the democratically elected leader of another country — which happens to be the world’s fifth largest oil producer — because the alternative is to start a war, the rest of the world is not going to laugh in anticipation of the Saturday Night Live sketch that will result.

It’s not enough for Rumsfeld to say “Certainly it’s against the law. Our department doesn’t do that type of thing” and “Private citizens say all kinds of things all the time.” He and President Bush need to say more than that they’re not taking the suggestion, but it’s fine with them for a religious leader to make such suggestions. They should — IMO — say that while private citizens can say what they like, they find the suggestion despicable and anti-democratic. Reacting as they have so far makes America less safe.

They could even blurt out the truth that Robertson is getting crazier with age and has been making a fool of himself for years now.
[Tags: ]


Microsoft Word’s Work Menu

I learned in Guy Hart-Davis’ excellent Word Annoyances (O’Reilly) that Word has a “work menu” that lists the files you designate so you can easily load ones that you use frequently. To install it, go to Tools > Customize > Built-in Menus and drag “Work Menu” onto your tool bar. Nice!

But I couldn’t figure out how to remove an entry from the list. PCPlus has an answer, and, although it’s ridiculously complex, it’s the best one I could find. If you know of an easier way to delete an entry from the Work Menu, let me know. Anyway, PCPlus says to go to Tools > Customize > All Commands and drag ‘”ToolsCustomizeRemoveMenuShortcut” to your toolbar. (Right-click on it and rename it before you close the Customize dialogue box.) Now when you click on it and then click on the Work menu, it lets you click on an entry you want to remove.

Omigod, didn’t anyone at Microsoft use the Work menu before it shipped?

By the way, if the PCPlus technique doesn’t work, this page has a macro that supposedly will do the trick. I haven’t tried it, so take it as is:

Public Sub DeleteWorkMenuItems()
Dim i As Long
Dim nDelete As Long
With WorkMenuItems
For i = .Count To 1 Step -1
nDelete = MsgBox( _
Prompt:=”Delete “”” & .Item(i).Name & “””?”, _
Buttons:=vbYesNoCancel, _
Title:=”Delete Item from menu”)
If nDelete = vbCancel Then Exit For
If nDelete = vbYes Then .Item(i).Delete
Next i
End With
End Sub

It also has a macro you can attach as an item on your work menu. (If you’re not comfortable with Word macros, skip it! I am not responsible, etc.) [Tags: ]


August 22, 2005

Knowledge as conversation

We used to believe that the world was divided into those who believe the truth and those who don’t. Our job was to convert them, kill them, or let them live their lives peacefully unaware they were about to plummet into an eternity of fire for believing the wrong things.

Then we were able to communicate at the speed of light rather than at the speed of wind, so we learned more about other cultures. At least some of us grudgingly concluded that those other people were entitled to their contrary beliefs. The world, we admitted, was unsatisfyingly relativistic and we attempted the impossible task of believing that beliefs for which we were willing to die were no better than their contradictions. Different strokes for different belief systems.

Then the Internet happened and the world fell into conversation. It’s no longer a matter of getting reports back on the strange beliefs of distant lands — “Why, in China crickets are considered to be smart and monkeys to be dumb…Believe it or not!” — but an immediate awareness that we’re all living within a single conversation space. We may not actually be IM’ing Chinese Communists or Jihadists, but we at least know that what’s being said in one corner of the Web is being refracted elsewhere. And we know that we can pick up the Skype phone and actually talk with a Communist. Where there aren’t actual conversations, there is now the constant awareness of the potential for conversation.

There is a big difference between a relativistic world in which contrary beliefs assert themselves and a conversational world in which contrary beliefs talk with one another. In the relativistic world, we resign ourselves to the differences. In the conversational world, the differences talk. Even though neither side is going to “win” — conversation is the eternal fate of humankind — knowledge becomes the negotiation of beliefs in a shared world. What do we need to talk through? What can’t we give up? What do we believe in common that seems so different? What should we just not talk about? These are the questions that now shape knowledge.

Knowledge is not the body of beliefs that needs no further discussion. Knowledge is the neverending conversation. And much of that conversation is precisely about what we can disagree about and still share a world.


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