Joho the BlogJuly 2006 - Page 3 of 7 - Joho the Blog

July 24, 2006

Do new cars still have break-in periods?

We’ve been through two tanks of gas with our new Toyota Yaris, and it’s getting 24 mpg in the city instead of the rated 34. We haven’t done enough highway driving to know if it’s going to get near to the 40 mpg the sticker promised us. Do new cars still have break in periods, or is our disappointment likely to be perpetual? (FWIW, it’s a manual shift.) [Tags: ]

Later that day: I just did 120 miles on the highway on 3.1 gallons of gas, so highway efficiency is as rated.


July 23, 2006

AJAXy timeline

Britt Blaser just pointed me to the Simile Timeline. It’s 100% Web 2.0 compliant: Open Source, AJAX-based, and compares itself to Google Maps.

The example on the site is a cool timeline of the JFK assassination. The site also points to an example of a Jewish-Christian timeline(s).

You can create your own by building an XML file in the particular, documented format it expects. [Tags: ]

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Citizen journalism unconference

Dan Gillmor is organizing — instigating? catalyzing? — an unconference on citizen journalism as an informal extension of Wikimania in Cambridge, MA. Sounds like it could be a terrific event. Details here. [Tags: ]

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Knowledge and fallibility (Or: Postmodernism is right)

The philosophers are right. There is something awe-inspiring about knowledge. Rather than simply accepting whatever comes through our senses or whatever we first think or whatever we’re told, we can step back and consider what is worthy of belief. We can even wonder what constitutes “worthiness” and then we become philosophers and end up driving a cab. Knowing is a break with the world, a recognition that the world isn’t always as it first seems.

But our culture, under the grip of philosophers, came to believe that knowledge is a corrective for fallibility. Having recognized that our unreflective grasp of the world is unreliable, we’ve treated knowledge as a way to gain the certainty that we had previously assumed we possessed. Thus, the story of knowledge begins with mathematics, and it ends — an ending in which we still live — with Descartes’ reduction of the realm of knowledge to a single, self-reflective proposition.

When we think of knowledge as a corrective for fallibility, we are comfortable with a knowledge aristocracy in which there are authorities different from you and I. They are the great encyclopedias, the great newspapers, the great journals. We are mere footloose commoners who look things up in the works the aristocrats have announced.

But there is no corrective for fallibility. We live in the breach between the world and how we take it. We are that breach. It closes only when they shovel the dirt over us. Until then, there are only degrees and modes of fallibility.

That doesn’t mean the authorities have no authority. It does mean that there is nothing with total authority. We’re stuck with always having the argument about what to believe because knowledge is a way to manage fallibility, not to escape it.

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July 22, 2006

Mitt to Working Poor: Here, I think I got a quarter on me

According to a story in the Boston Globe, Gov. Mitt Romney yesterday broke a campaign pledge to index the minimum wage to inflation, rejecting the Massachusetts Legislature’s plan to raise the minimum wage from $6.75/hour to $8 over two years. Instead, Romney proposed increasing it by $0.25 and then have the executive branch study the issue.” Romney called the legislature’s plan an “abrupt and disproportionate” increase. The last increase for the 300,000 workers who make minimum wage was in 2001.

According to, prices increased 13.25% between 1/1/2001 and 1/1/2006. Simply to keep up with inflation, the current minimum wage should be boosted by $0.93, about 3.5 times the Romney proposal.

Someone working full time for the current minimum wage makes $13,500 a year before taxes. Under the Romney Take-a-Quarter plan, this would skyrocket to $14,000. [Tags: ]


Çelik and Khare on microformats

[email protected] has an excellent interview with Tantek Çelik and Rohit Khare, two of the creators of microformats. Microformats are simple, standard ways to express data of particular types (e.g., reviews, events) so that information on the Web becomes more usable and reusable. (I vblogged an interview with them on the same topic.) [Tags: ]


July 21, 2006

Popping politicians

The Sunlight Foundation has created a Popup Politicians widget. Mouse over the sun to see the effect:

To see how to do this, visit the Sunlight Foundation’s explanatory page

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Two months until OneWebDay

It’s Earth Day for the Web…a day when we can all celebrate just how important the Web is to us. Each locality, site or business makes up its own way of celebrating.

One Web Day logo

Just two months and one day to go until September 22…


July 20, 2006

Global Net freedom

Rebecca has a long and important post on a report on Net freedom in China, along with her thoughts about some attempts to hold the world to higher standards.

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You might not have permission

[NOTE: As of Dec. 21, 2006, the site this post recommends is down. Sorry. – DW] If you get the dreaded XP error message telling you that a machine on your network can’t be reached because “You might not have permission to use this network resource,” “Troubleshooting a Peer to Peer Network” is an excellent, step-by-step resource. [Tags: ]


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