Joho the BlogAugust 2006 - Page 3 of 9 - Joho the Blog

August 26, 2006

Web -1.0

Web -1.0 is the successor to Web 2.0 unless we’re vigilant and refuse to allow our permission-free Web to be turned into pay-for-play, always-ID’ed, ask-before-you-post, 100%-terrorist-free, professionals-only tubes. [Tags: ]


[foocamp06] Posing for Google Earth

The Google Earth camera plane is going to be flying over the O’Reilly campus at noon today, shooting at a resolution of two inches (i.e., 1 pixel = 2 inches). As someone said last night when this was announced, “Brush your teeth.”

So, there’s discussion of what to do for the plane when it passes. Here are a few ideas:

1. Reenact a scene from Hieronymus Bosch, although we may not have enough time to make the pig demon heads.(This is a real chance to get in touch with the bottom up grassroots, so to speak.)

2. Create a street scene lying down so the image will look like it was shot from street level, rather than top down.

3. Create a high res photo using two-inch squares of gray tones. [Tags: ]

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[foocamp06] Welcome to Foo, you lucky few

FOO (Friends of O’Reilly) Camp is perhaps my favorite conference because it is more like a camp than a conference. Tim O’Reilly invites a couple of hundred people (it’s getting bigger as it gets older) for an unstructured 2.25 days. If you want to lead a session, you write it onto the paper-based wiki. The sessions are almost universally highly informal, and the structured ones tend to be well worth the structure. Plus, perhaps because there are something like a dozen simultaneous sessions, skipping one to hang out and talk with the incredible people here doesn’t seem like a lost opportunity because you were never going to see everything you should anyway.

Last night we began with the traditional introductions: One by one, everyone in a large room — a tent this year — stands up, says her name, affiliation, and three words. The intros ranged from the listing of technical areas to three-word world overviews. Although my perception is inevitably skewed, it seemed to me that this year there were more social activist technologists and more women.

So, here’s why I love FOO: Last night, after a looong drive up from Oakland, which the presence of Ron Hornbaker (Bookcrossing, Propsmart) as a passenger made seem short, I immediately went to the back lot to pitch my tent. By the time I made it onto the main backyard, I had had conversations with amazing people about digital rights in the UK, why evaluating to a curve suppresses productivity, open source politics, and the state of PR’s adapting to networked markets. All of these are for me listening topics, especially given the caliber of the people I got to listen to and ask questions of.

And there’s the rub. FOO is by invitation only. I feel privileged in both senses to be here. More than just feelings are at stake. Social networking inevitably happens at FOO. If FOO doesn’t make an effort to be diverse, the old boys will just naturally become better friends because they spent 2.25 days camping, eating and peeing together. O’Reilly has been making an effort to be more diverse. Enough? Nah. But what would be enough? As with any institution, they are stuck with a starting point that doesn’t fairly reflect the population’s talents. It’s not an easy problem. Taking it seriously, making steady progress, and always feeling that there’s more to do seems to me to be the requirement. Also, this year, campers were asked to list people they would like to be invited to next year’s FOO. Good idea.

There’s value to an invitation-only party, but it’s not the only sort of party we need. That’s why I’m so happy that the original FOO Camp spurred the invention of unbarred BAR camps that are structured like FOO but are open to anyone. There’s a place for both.

But I don’t trust my judgment because I so love being at FOO. Getting to hang out with this community — makers — is deeply satisfying to me. Deeply.

So, I’m feeling very happy to be here, and only a little guilty. [Tags: ]


August 24, 2006

Oh yeah, now I remember why Windows sucks!

I just spent most of a morning trying to figure out why the Blackberry software installer installs the Palm desktop manager instead of the Blackberry desktop manager. After extirpating anything related to palm on my drives and in the registry, including anything containing the words “fist” or “frond” just to be sure, I finally moved the zip file from D: to C:, figuring (correctly, I’m pretty sure), that the zip file was executing a different file that happened to be named “setup.exe.” I don’t know why the wrong one wasn’t overwritten by the right one, or maybe the unzipper was too stupid to get the paths right. But installing from C — because it’s C or because it’s not D? — seems to have done the trick.

Now can I have those four hours back? Thank you. [Tags: ]


August 23, 2006

Don’t ask, don’t care points out that as Bush calls Marines back to active duty — that’s got to be tough news to get — the number of troops discharged for being gay is increasing. Apparently, two a day are now being kicked out, for a total of 11,000 since the policy went into effect in 1993. “According to the GAO more than 800 of those had skills deemed ‘critical’ by the Department of Defense, including linguistic training, medical skills and expertise in combat engineering,” says 365gay.

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FTC wading into Net Neutrality – But is it neutral?

Thomas Vander Wal posts the bad news about the FTC entering into the Net neutrality debate. It looks like the FTC’s method is not itself neutral. [Tags: ]

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Google the Telco

I think Dvorak gets this one right: Suppose Google discovers that providing free wifi in its hometown actually makes money. Google then has the know-how and the motivation to replicate it over and over and over…

Of course, my outlook is heavily tinged with hope. Google is far more aligned with my view of the Web’s role and importance than are any of the incumbent telcos. [Tags: ]

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Garrison Keillor on listening to the voices of those murdered on 9/11

He contrasts the voices of those fellow souls and of the politicians who have benefited. If you’re not a paid member of Salon, you can choose to watch a commercial first. It’s worth it. [Tags: ]


Fear of export

In the new issue of my newsletter, I have a small review of RoboForm, a password manager for Windows that I’ve gotten quite attached to. It’s full featured and works without getting in the way. I like it a lot. But…

Among its features, it will generate obscure passwords for you, useful for the lazy ones among us (i.e., all but the 1% of us who are Data Saints) who use the same passwords everywhere. (Software like RoboForm thus brings us the “single sign-on” benefit that is one of the selling points of identity management platforms, but that’s a different hobby horse.) I haven’t been using the auto-password-generator, however, because RoboForm has no export capability. If I use it for a few years, I could have hundreds of finger-twistin’ passwords. If I want to switch to a different password manager, I’d have to type them in manually, an annoying, error-prone process.

(Mea Culpa: In my newsletter, I take RoboForm to task for not even having a way of printing out the passwords. I was wrong. David Teare, the creator of 1Password, a Mac password manager that imports from RoboForm, wrote to let me know that there is a way to print out RoboForm passwords. Then 1Password scrapes the html print file. David says 1Password is adding an export capability. PS: I’d sent the RoboForm PR person a message asking about this, but I only gave them two days to get back to me.)

I don’t mean to pick on RoboForm, for it is exceptionally friendly in its day-to-day use. Microsoft Word, which says it will support the Open Document Format but still doesn’t, is a more important target. Every app should make it easy — not just possible, but easy — for a user to break up with it. It’s our time and information. If there isn’t a standard format for the interchange of information for that particular application area, then a documented, comma-delimited file would be a big step forward. There’s also this new standard called “XML” I believe that seems to be catching on with the youngsters. But for Lord’s sake, let us have our data.

We should not have been allowed to advance to Web 2.0 until every app gave us that basic Web 0.0 way of moving data around.

We won’t love you unless you let us leave you. [Tags: ]


August 21, 2006

Admiring weeds

Meredith Sue Willils, the writer and my sister-in-law, has a poem admiring weeds even as she’s uprooting them. (Sue’s blog has no visible permalinks, so you may have to search for “Admiration for Weeds.”)


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