Monday, March 31, 2008

OpenID a good thing?

I dunno. The privacy issue worries me. Our IP address and (site and ad) cookies and whatnot already track us to lots of places on the internet, but using an OpenID seems like a good way to close the loop - to help corporations and governments really keep close, accurate tabs on everything you do online.

For all the OpenID stuff I've read about over the past few months, not once have I read anything about privacy. I actually don't understand the technology at all, so it's possible that I'm missing something - but any technology that is draped in buzzwords like 'centralization' and 'single sign-on' seems like a bad idea for anyone worried about privacy.

U.S.=Killers; Canada=Baby Seal Killers

I've posted on the topic of the Canadian baby seal hunt before, but it's worth another look - I guess it's that time of year again.

There's no doubt that the U.S. government is the worst purveyor of violence in the world - and much of that violence is directed at civilians - slaughtering humans like sheep.

But Canada has its own little thing going on. Even America can't be chastised for slaughtering baby seals, like Canada can.

I was reminded of this the other day when I must've made some kind of 'clubbing baby seals' remark to a friend. I was like, 'no - really - they actually do that in real life in Canada'. Shown some video from PeTA, they became believers. I think most people think it's just a figure of speech - I used to think that.

Part of the shift just needs to happen in our thinking - awareness of this stuff. So, when I think of Canada, I still think 'less brutal existence than in America', but I need to also think of this seal hunt nightmare.

Can't say I've really emailed or called anyone this year, but will do something and update here.

More at

...ok, i signed this petition. i think a phone call might be the next best option. phone calls suck for those receiving them for a number of reason - #1, they're so intrusive, and interrupting - so they're a good way to get your point across - it shows that you care enough to call. and if that's true, you might be willing to do other things.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Kick ass Cartman might say.

I'm kind of excited about WordPress 2.5.

...tried it out actually, it looks like I did not try it out - my upgrade was basically some half-assed upgrade. upon installing from scratch, i got a bunch more new features. guess the 'upgrade plugin' won't get you there.

...ok - we're back on track. fresh install = new features! yes, the multi-file uploader works well. very very cool. that's a big step towards making wordpress a more complete content management system. as originally stated, the admin interface still needs to be ajaxified - ideally, completely, but all in all, a goodish release.

it's ok. it's just sorely lacking in a couple of departments:
1) need AJAXified everything. i'm used to using 37signals stuff lately, so everything is a lot quicker - i'm a lot more productive when i'm working in 37signals stuff.
2) the media upload area is hurting. no progress meter. and there should be a separate place to manage all of your uploaded media - someplace outside the context of actually writing new content. not sure how easy it is to find a flash-based progress meter, but i'll check it out.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Amy Goodman Pwns Barack Obama

This is the best reporter on the planet, doing it like it should be done:

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Well, I don’t want to replace those contractors with more US troops, because we don’t have them, alright? But this was a speech about the economy.

AMY GOODMAN: The war is costing $3 trillion, according to Stiglitz.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: That’s what—I know, which I made a speech about last week. Thank you.

$3 what? 3 who? where? how did...?

Yes, Barack - you've just been questioned by the woman, the myth, the legend - Amy Goodman.

Monday, March 24, 2008

WTFMFWTFAYT, or Jim's Big Ego

Just found out about these fools from Boston. Awesome.

MySpace. Website.

Lots of good songs.


The Peace Sign

Kinda cool to know its history.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Twittering invented before blogging

This article shows why techcrunch is no cnet. burrrrrn.

ok - who cares.

so, if you read the cnet article you stumble upon the finger protocol - which I actually used back in the day, on DEC workstations, son! and i remember updating my .plan - i thought it was the coolest thing. and i remember google-stalking people and computers using finger - though, google-stalking back in the early days wasn't much fun - you might find out what some other engineering dork on some other workstation typed into his .plan.

but, if updating your .plan was a very quick and lightweight way of letting folks know where you were and what you were up to, then that's not early blogging - that's early twittering.

therefore, i invented twittering, and now i get to act self-important with the rest of the web2.0 crowd.


this also means that Zuckerberg stole my 'finger' idea, and just modified it to 'poke'.

where's a t-shirt when you need one?

...Twitter in Plain English.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Western Civilization

SXSW - you get spoiled, apparently - speaking from experience.

If you can't get into the club where your favorite band of the moment is playing, you stroll down to the next club - and they kick the shit out of it.

If a band is less than awesome, you think, "eh". But, I haven't seen much of that.

The Western Civilization.

You decide for yourself.

Personally, I think these folks are the shit. Just amazing. Unreal.

Friday, March 14, 2008

SXSW - DeVotchKa

SXWS - aka - 'south by'.

damn - it's an explosion of music. it's coming from everywhere. i don't know that i've ever seen/heard anything like it before. bands playing on street corners and shit - kinda crazy.

so, DeVotchKa (wiki) have a funky name - and I've seen their name travel in respectable indie circles. and tonight some dude told me to go check them out, even though it'd be sold out - he said, "there will be hoards of people outside, so you won't be alone". so, i went - it was pretty legit, if a bit difficult to hear - too far away.

they're definitely worth listening to, especially if you want something different. made me think 'greek' and 'arabian' and it would definitely be a good time if you could watch them all playing their funky instruments live and up close. can't say it's the type of stuff i'd buy, though.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Austinist censorship?

I've complained about SXSW before - and apparently I'm not the only one.

There's a note from the editor saying they pulled an unfavorable piece about and old rich dude down here who apparently leaned on the bosses at Austinist. It included some damning evidence from the columnist, who says he was an eye-witness to what was probably a federal crime:

While Mr. Black is no doubt emotionally shielded by such complaints, I cannot express how offensive I find this. Why? Well, first a quick confession: Despite this column's opening, I have actually met Louis Black. Not that he talked to me. I was leaning against a wall, outside a Red River bar, weighing my odds of hailing a cab amid the Sx tempest. I'd been chatting with the Sx door girl, when suddenly this sweaty old man who looked like Bukowski's little brother shuffled up in a wrinkled guayabera holding a bulging bank bag, escorted by a uniformed Austin police officer. He grabbed the cash from the till, hastily checked the girls' people counter, and then shuffled off to the next honey pot.

I was awed that Big Man collected the door money. That a head of the organization, one that depended upon the hard work of volunteers, would personally ensure the take. Then it occurred to me: at the height of Sx, when so many high-profile shows and parties were just hitting their climax, one could easily discern the priorities of the festival's organizers, simply by pin-pointing the location of their most public face. And that place was, apparently, collecting the cash.

And that's when I learned the true meaning of SXSW.

my comment:

let's see if this comment gets deleted, too.

well, i didn't read the article until just now - it's still up:

but, why did you really pull it?

i mean, we know why - just don't lie to us. wtf? are your readers a bunch of imbeciles? do you have that much contempt for us?

if that Louis Black dude - or whatever rich, fat, white, old guy - is skimming cash out of the registers to keep it out of the hands of the IRS, then don't you think that's something Austinist readers should know? or do we have to go to a real newspaper for real news?

just asking.

so, i'm not sure what to make of it, if anything at all, but it does seem fishy. It's one thing for the US government or GoDaddy or whoever to censor, but Austinist and the entire Gothamist network?

and if this story was actually able to make it to the web, did the editors not do their jobs? or is the columnist just too powerful? there's definitely some power struggling going on there. and what stories are being spiked on a regular basis? has this rich, old, fat dude had other stories spiked?

the whole thing is definitely a bit off - definitely pathetic - and makes gothamist and austinist and the rest of the -ist network look really bad.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Wikipedia and Valleywag

Wow, Jimmy Wales messed up bad. He does need to quit, or be fired.

It's pretty bad. Getting straight-up payed to rewrite history.

I'm a huge Wikipedia fan, and we know it's not perfect, but this dude's been going bonkers. Not to burn him too much - the question is, would have Wikipedia existed without him, and would it have gotten as far as it has without him?

And further, are any of Wales' payola schemes any worse than things that Encyclopædia Britannica does every day, just hidden from public oversight completely? Probably not.

But the question then becomes, if Wales has been involved in payola and bribery and extortion, who else at Wikipedia has been involved?

Hey - I edit Wikipedia. Best gimme some cash, else I'm gonna mess up your Wiki, yo!


And seriously, what's up with that weird-ass 'æ' character in Encyclopædia? Is that new? They didn't have that when I was in grade school.

And we really have to rely on Valleywag to get this info? Shit, man. In a way, Valleywag really is a terrorist organization - they're not quite on the level of Scientology yet, but could they get there? Probably. Will they go there? Maybe.

Do I feel threatened when I write this post? Not too much, but there are reasons for that. I don't have a lot to lose - financially or otherwise, and I'm pretty open about all sorts of things, on this blog and others. I have no big-wig position to protect, no marriages or anything like that. Still, would it be fair for Valleywag to go after me and print everything that every tipster sent to them? Whether something is true or not is largely irrelevant. Would I want it to happen?


And that's pretty scary. Imagine - if a veritable nobody in Silicon Valley - me - would not be happy about getting Valleywagged, what does that mean for people who actually do have things they'd like to keep on the low - like their fetish for Hershey Sundae Pies, maybe? Are they entitled to that privacy? Are they - we - entitled to any privacy at all?

If Valleywag decides to attack you - could you handle it? There's nothing that Scientology could do that Valleywag couldn't. Is everyone 'fair game'? They could hire private investigators to trail you. They could harass you and your family. They could do whatever they wanted to, and what could you do in return? Not a lot. You're left with very few options - either take it, or lose it - buy yourself a gun and go for the people at the top - the people giving the orders. The Church of Scientology does it. Paparazzi do it. Valleywag does it to a certain extent, so far - are they getting more aggressive? Will you be next?

Valleywag has already attained a level of inhumanity that puts it right up there with health care companies and other major corporations. You know how environmental firms go after environmental activists? Well, that's what Valleywag does, and can do. I don't know this to be fact, but I suspect there are plenty of people who would love to be critical of Scientology and Valleywag, but just won't do it - they're scared. And they have good reason to be scared. Valleywag operates using the same 'Fair Game' policy that the Church of Scientology uses.

I'll admit, it's not easy for me to feel sorry for folks like TechCrunch's Mike Arrington - someone whose writing exudes a lack of compassion that even Newt Gingrich could be proud of - but that still doesn't make Valleywag's attacks right or moral or ok.

On the other hand, there does seem to be a need for some truth telling in any power center. We used to have Uncov, but they went away, and now we're left with Valleywag. They add value sometimes - but they're pretty evil, too.

Maybe it's not that big a deal. Maybe only the tech titans get Valleywagged? Like any other gossip rag, the news hits, people jabber, and then someone else is getting crucified tomorrow. Life goes on. Probably easy for us to say - those of us who haven't get been Valleywagged.

Man - the more I think about it - the more I think that analogy works. Scary.

Are you next on Valleywag's hit list?

...removed the FBI ref. I actually am scared of them.

The Work Less, Do More Party

I thought of something while commenting on the 37 Signals blog about a shorter work week - the Work Less Party is real, but it has a marketing problem:

Work Less == Lazy

So, I propose a name change:

The Work Less, Do More Party

People will kind of get it, but will want an explanation just to make sure - and that's fine, and even good, because it will pique their interest. And it immediately casts off the 'laziness' connotation.

Of course, by 'work less, do more' we mean:

Do less industrial, for-profit, soul and community and environment-destroying work, and instead do something useful like help your kids with their homework, go visit your elderly parents more often, babysit for your friends, organize a weekly community gathering to hammer out better and safer transportation options for yourself and your family and friends and community.


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Moss staying with Pats, so Favre retires

I'm just calling it like I see it.

Moss decides to stay with the Pats. Favre retires.


I think not. We wrote about how Favre wanted to play with Moss so they could try to win a championship.

I do believe Packers management displayed a good bit of racism in this entire situation - similar to how any group of rich old white dudes treat any disobedient black dude. Favre, for his part, looked good - he never bought into the racist remarks that we'd see everywhere - from ESPN to the most popular corporate papers and websites - the framing was always that of 'the angry lazy black man' - it never had anything to do with the incompetent players and management and ownership surrounding Moss.

That the Packers org was too racist, and possibly cheap, to get Moss is tought to swallow for lots of Favre and Packers fans.

That said - did Favre have his best year ever last year? What was different? Was he on The Clear? Just asking.


This article has been getting a lot of attention in the bicycle blogosphere.

I can certainly see the mystique.