Joho the BlogJuly 2006 - Joho the Blog

July 31, 2006

Places for races

Britt Blaser writes:

Starting on September 7, two months before the election, we’ll offer the best site we can to support conversation and political activism surrounding the key congressional races. We’ll provide an even-handed place for each candidate’s supporters to appeal to voters, plus an open forum for each race. In that context, I have no idea which candidates will benefit, but I suspect that it will most help the candidates who are not puppets of big business or big labor or zealots of any stripe. We shall see.

At the moment, he’s looking for some angels with money. Come September, he’ll be looking for participants. (Disclosure: I’m an advisor to Britt’s non-profit project, and am a friend of his.) [Tags: ]

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Twenty seconds with Murray Bookchin

I met Murray Bookchin once. It was around 1970 at a national student political conference in Colorado. He had written a book, Post Scarcity Anarchism, that was important to us. I met him as he was walking into an auditorium to give a talk. It was a dark night. There were pines. He was to me a grownup; I know now that he was about fifty. I said something. I don’t remember what, but it was undoubtedly fanlike and self-serious. He seemed glad that I interrupted him. He looked me in the eye. He listened. He treated me like a person worth talking with.

All in all, maybe twenty seconds. But I never forgot his presumption that a long-haired kid he didn’t know was worthy of his respect. Unearned respect. It’s a lot like love.

Rest in peace, Murray Bookchin. [Tags:]


July 30, 2006

Ten reasons vacations are worse than real life

Can’t sneak 19″ monitor into your luggage.

What to have for breakfast, when to go to bed, how often to check email ,and the other habits that hold us together are all thrown recklessly to the wind, hey nonny nonnny.

Traveling kit contains second-tier bathroom paraphernalia.

Staying indoors is suddenly considered abnormal.

Can’t claim antisocial tendencies are actually “just a good work ethic.”

The water tastes different, the pillows smell funny, and I think I just heard a snake.

People insist that you “relax.” What’s that about?

Sight of pasty white-boy torso overwhelms well-tanned forearms and calves.

On the third trip through rustic small town, the cute tourist shop names start to sound evil.

Can’t figure out how to dress worse than normal.


July 29, 2006

Modern definition of vacation

Working in a nicer spot.


Bloggers across raging borders

The Wall Street Journal reports on bloggers in the Mideast who are blogging across the divide. (The Journal has made this piece available without a subscription.) No mention of Global Voices, by the way. [Tags:]

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July 28, 2006

Downloading Firefox for Linux

Look, I know this is only hard for me because I’m a flipping Linux moron, but it took me 45 minutes tonight to find an address of a Linux version of Firefox that I could download using the wget command. The other addresses work fine if you already have a browser, but I couldn’t find one in my MythTV installation other than the minimalist one that comes with it; that one displayed the Firefox binary as a spray of numbers on my screen and the Myth web browser has no apparent “save to file” command. But this address works, at least so far:
(Do it as a single line of course.)

There’s probably an easier way to do this using apt-get, a package installer, or even synaptic. (KnoppMyth installs Debian linux.) But it don’t work none for me.


July 27, 2006

Getting an ISBN through Lulu – second try

I’ve now been through the process of publishing a book at Lulu and getting an ISBN from them. The process is necessarily convoluted and their wizards are unncessarily confusing. But it can be done.

Getting an ISBN from Lulu requires paying them $99 for the optional Global Distribution package. You can only do that after you’ve stepped through their publishing process. Only then are you given the ISBN. You then have to assign the ISBN to a new edition. Then you upload the updated materials for the new edition, including a cover and front page with the ISBN number on them.

Here’s a step by step:

Go through the normal publishing process. You’ll upload your content and your cover, specify sizes, specify a price, and be given an opportunity to buy a sample copy for yourself. At the end of it all, go back to your Publish tab. Click on the Global Distribution package link to the right of your book listing.

Go through the steps to pay them $99 Go back to your Publish tab. Note that you now have an ISBN.

Click on the “Accept or Deny” link Click on the “Reassign ISBN” link

On the next page, click on the “Assign ISBN to New Edition” button It will create a new edition for you and start up the Publish wizard again.

Do not continue. Close out of Lulu. Come back when you have your new cover with the ISBN printed on it.

Use a service such as to turn the ISBN number into a bar code. They charge $10 to email you a high resolution EPS file which you can then stick onto the back cover of your book.

When you have the new cover and content, go back to your Publish tab and click on your project title, which will start up the Publish wizard again.

(I ran these steps past the helpful support person on their live help chat line, and he approved.)


Fear and trembling about my Wikimania presentation

I’m doing the final keynote at Wikimania, the Wikipedia conference. This has me a tad nervous since in my experience Wikipedians tend to be knowledgeable, forthright, and have a low tolerance for the sort of BS that is my stock in trade.

I’ve posted my in-progress notes about what I plan on saying, although I also expect to modify it based on what’s discussed at the conference itself. I’m open to comments, suggestions, snorts of derision and prognostications of doom… [Tags: ]


The identity continuum isn’t a continuum

I don’t know that anyone needs correcting on this point, but that won’t stop me…

Identity isn’t a continuum with anonymity at one end and documented, certified, authenticated ID on the other. It probably never was and it certainly isn’t online. There’s a third vertex: Pseudonymity. Pseudonyms online are not midway between anonymity and ID. They’re different in kind, but enough on the same plane that any discussion of anonymity and ID that does not include pseudonyms is likely to go wrong.

It’s hard to find an exact analog to this in the real world. Social roles aren’t really the same as pseudonyms. But that means that we have to be extra special careful to include pseudonyms in our thinking so we don’t port inappropriate real world schema into the new virtual world, especially since the porting is being done top down by the traditional fear-based organizations (big corps and governments). [Tags: ]


Colbert : Morning news :: Stewart : Crossfire

Stephen Colbert brilliantly plays the media.

It gets hilarious when he starts showing quick clips of the morning shows.

(Here’s Stewart on Crossfire.) [Tags: ]


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