August 31, 2004

Open Here

Kevin Kelly's (not the Irish one) Cool Tools has a quick review of Open Here: The Art of Instructional Design, which focuses on designing wordless illustrations for instructions (think of the little graphics in the safety info booklets in the seatback pockets on airplanes, which Kelly admits to swiping because he finds the graphics interesting).

The book itself offers this witty little synopsis:

"Open here" has been designed and manufactured to the highest standards. It will show you around your daily Kafkaesque life of incomprehensible technology, frustrating packaging, do-it-yourself disasters-and the Visual Instructive Esperanto that should help you out.
Only US$5.99 at

[via Cool Tools]

Posted by johndan at 05:52 PM | TrackBack

August 30, 2004

When Geeks Go Political


[via boing-boing]
Posted by johndan at 08:22 PM | TrackBack


Not sure how useful this actually is, but Richard Jones has hacked together GMailFS, a mountable linux filesystem written in Python that uses GMail for storage. [via nearly every geek blog, I think]
Posted by johndan at 06:16 PM | TrackBack

Participatory Tourism

Nat Friedman, co-founder of linux interface company Ximian, went to Rochina in Rio, passed out disposable cameras to local kids, and asked them to take pictures of their village, and bring the cameras back. (The return rate was pretty good--26/32.)
First off, it was visually intense: the tiny houses and crazy vertical separation from one street to the next made the whole place feel like an ewok village, and ensured that every rooftop had a stunning view of Copacabana beach, Corcovado, and the rest of Rocinha curving up and around the mountain.

And whether or not we were exploiting them, people were very friendly, and little kids ran out of their houses excited to see us. I let them use my camera, and showed them pictures of themselves on the LCD, and they'd laugh and call their friends over.

As we're nearing the bottom of the hill and starting to head home, I was thinking about how much the kids enjoyed using my camera, and wouldn't it be interesting to see what they photographed on their own, if they had their own cameras.

And so The Plan was formed.

A few of us from the hostel spent the next several hours buying out the disposable camera inventory of every street-side camera store we could find. Prices varied widely, so there was much talk of "volume discounts" and we had to buy a few underwater cameras that would never be used underwater because stores were closing and our mission was Urgent.

The pictures are really cool, different than the sorts of things a tourist would likely snap. I wouldn't say more "authentic" necessarily (although one could argue that), but better at giving a visitor new perspectives.


Posted by johndan at 03:37 PM | TrackBack

Caller ID Falsification Service

The Register reports that a US website called is planning to offer Caller ID falsification service.
SecurityFocus took the site for a test drive, and found it worked as advertised. The user fills out a simple Web form with his phone number, the number he wants to call, and the number he wants to appear to be calling from. Within two seconds, the system rings back, and patches the user through to the destination. The recipient sees only the spoofed number displayed on Caller ID. Any number works, from nonsense phone numbers like "123 4567" to the number for the White House switchboard.
I hate this. If you're like me, as one comedian put it, you hate people. So I rely heavily on caller id to screen calls. The only good part of Star68 is that it's relatively pricey--twenty-five cents per call, plus charges per minute--so that it probably won't be used by telemarketers.

[via /.]

Posted by johndan at 02:20 PM | TrackBack

August 29, 2004

Happy Birthday to the Internet

The Internet turns 35 on Thursday. Story at CNN:
Stephen Crocker and Vinton Cerf were among the graduate students who joined UCLA professor Len Kleinrock in an engineering lab on September 2, 1969, as bits of meaningless test data flowed silently between the two computers. By January, three other "nodes" joined the fledgling network.
I suppose in those days, it was pretty easy to identify the culprit in a Denial of Service Attack.

[via /.]

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Really High-End Surround Sound

Maybe not so much "surround" as "immersive." NYT reports on SoundLab [free reg req'd], an audio system that allows listeners to hear audio as if they were in different architectural spaces. So, for example, you can preview various concert recordings as they might sound in different concert halls:
For a demonstration recently, Neill Woodger, a principal at Arup Acoustics who led the development of the SoundLab, projected a slide of the Concertgebouw, the famed Amsterdam hall, on a screen. At a prearranged signal to his assistant, Alban Bassuet, a recording of Handel's "Water Music" came over the speakers. The music had been recorded in an anechoic chamber, a "dry" room free of sound reflections. Then, through a mathematical process called convolution, the computers in the SoundLab combined the music with the "acoustic signature" of the Concertgebouw, derived from a three-dimensional computer model that had been calibrated with recordings made in the actual hall with a special four-track microphone.

For a visitor sitting at the center of the room, it felt like entering a palpable sphere of sound. The acoustical "halo" of the Concertgebouw was distinct, as if this little soundproof room itself had radically shifted dimension. A few bars of Handel later, the slide on the screen changed to the Musikvereinsaal in Vienna. The acoustics followed, forming an otherwise impossible duet of two of the world's greatest concert halls. The room felt as if it had opened up, as if the ceiling had lifted.

Listeners say this is more or less like magic.

[via Lockergnome Bytes]

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Typographica Domain Moved

Stephen Coles notified me that Typographica, the excellent online journal on fonts and typographic design, has moved to a new domain:
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August 28, 2004

Clear Sky Clocks

Atilla Danko uses Canadian Meteorological Centre data to construct a whole slew of Clear Sky Clocks. Constantly updated visual representations show cloud cover, transparency, seeing, and darkness forecasts for the upcoming 48 hours, for more than 2,000 locations in Canada, US, Mexico, and the Bahamas. (Useful info for people who look up when they're outside at night.)


Posted by johndan at 06:54 PM | TrackBack

August 27, 2004

Englebart and Cringeley

I, Cringeley posts some thoughts following a recent meeting with Doug Englbart, the guy who more or less invented the mouse, hypertext, wod processing, networks, etc. (his brain's so big it must hurt his neck to carry it around). Links to material on Englebart are in Cringeley's Links of the Week page, including really cool video footage of a demo Englebart did in SF in 1968. [via LockerGnome]
Posted by johndan at 06:46 PM | TrackBack

The Zen of Death

In what seems likely as a tribute to the recently departed Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Web Zen's links this week are on the Zen of Death.
Posted by johndan at 11:47 AM | TrackBack

August 26, 2004


Metafilter has an interesting entry on "eggcorns" misused words/phrases (such as "all intensive purposes" instead of the phrase "all intents and purposes), with lots of links to research on the topic. (The name "eggcorn" comes from the relatively commone use of that word for "acorn".)


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John Kerry on Daily Show

Cory Doctorow at Boing-boing points to Waxy's copy of John Kerry's interview on the Daily Show [9 MB Quicktime link].

[via Boing Boing]

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August 25, 2004

Rick James Meets Fay Wray in Heaven

The Morning News has "Rick James Meets Fay Wray in Heaven (A Very Short Play)," by John Moe.
FAY: [with a degree of resignation] King Kong. I played Ann Darrow, the blonde ingénue. The ape falls in love with me. RICK: Right! And he carries you up to the top of the Empire State Building and he’s swatting at the planes and you’re screaming. FAY: Yes. RICK: That was great! That must have been really something to be a part of. FAY: It wasn’t a real ape. It was special effects. RICK: Well, yeah, I know. I know that. [A year passes.] FAY: But yes, it was wonderful. That film changed my life. It changed history. RICK: OK. FAY: And what was your song? “Superman”? RICK: Freak. “Super Freak.” FAY: Like circuses? Freaks?
Posted by johndan at 02:51 PM | TrackBack

Rocketing at 28.8K

In light of a recent survey that showed more than half of U.S. residential users are connected to the net via broadband, Microsoft's downloads report expected download times for files in terms of 28.8k connections: 28.8.jpg Showing download times in terms of 56k is still relatively common (and the survey, for that matter, also indicates that about half of U.S. users aren't on broadband), but still, 28k? I suppose there must be some small percentage of users are on connections that slow, but it's far from the norm.
Posted by johndan at 12:53 PM | TrackBack

August 24, 2004

Planet of the Apes as a Twilight Zone Episode

Extremely cool re-edit of the original Planet of the Apes as a Twilight Zone episode. Converted to b&w, narrated by Rod Serling, and with commercials to boot.

A Boing-Boing reader has posted a BitTorrent version on this page for faster downloads. (I had some problems downloading the Torrent file directly, and ended up going clicking the link to the Torrent and saving it to disk rather than opening the link in the browser. Then I had to change the extension on the downloaded file to .torrent.)

[via Boing Boing]

Posted by johndan at 05:45 PM | TrackBack

Retro Geek

Classic Arcade Gaming reprints a LIFE Magazine article from November, 1982 on "Video Game VIPs" (complete with pictures).

[via Boing Boing]

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August 23, 2004

Back to School

If you ended up at this page because you were looking for info on my Mass Media course (TC310), here's what you need to do:
  1. Register for the course in Blackboard. There are instructions for logging into Blackboard itself here [a Word document from OIT]. Then you need to click the Courses tab in the upper-left corner after you've logged into Blackboard. From there, you can use the search field to look for "tc310a". Be sure to click the "enroll" button.
  2. Read the syllabus (under Course Info) and look at the schedule (under "Tools", go to "Calendar").
  3. Read Chapter 1 in Converging Media for discussion--and a quiz--on Wednesday.
  4. Email me ( if you have questions.
If you didn't end up at this page because you were looking for info on my Mass Media course, you're on your own....
Posted by johndan at 07:57 PM | TrackBack


I deleted the most recent entry in the weblog, and that seems to have fixed the problem. I'm not sure what was malformed in the entry--it was a very short entry, and the HTML looked fine to me--but deleting the entry fixed the byte-range errors that Apache was giving. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
Posted by johndan at 05:56 PM | TrackBack

Check ... One ... Test ... One

Just testing to see if the Error 416 issue is resolved.
Posted by johndan at 05:53 PM | TrackBack

August 22, 2004

ProTools Column

Audio engineer and producer Charles Dye has launched Harddisk Life, an online column written for ProTools users. This week's installment, "Mixing For the Masses," looks at using ProTools as a way to understand the extremely complex art of mixing audio, and Dye's own learning curve:
But, I was determined to be able to do this. I was not going to give up on this dream. And one day, as if the final piece of the puzzle simply fell into place and "click"—it happened. I can actually identify the specific mix in my mind that was the turning point, the first time I heard back a record quality mix that I had done. I don't mean it was just good. This mix was head and shoulders above anything I had ever done before. This was it. This was what a record sounded like. [...] I began to examine what brought me to this point. If I wanted to get these same results again, I had to understand what made this possible. One of my first thoughts was, that if being able to mix had required such hard work and dedication on my part, then mixing may not be an inherent ability. Looking at it from that point of view I compared this mix to my other work, and started to hear what set them apart. There were clear and specific elements that this mix had that my previous mixes did not. Where did they come from and how did I learn them? As I worked backwards I was actually able to identify each one, and when and how I learned them.
Posted by johndan at 12:46 PM | TrackBack

"The Scream" Stolen

Several armed people have apparently stolen Munch's "The Scream" from a museum in Oslo. (I read the story to Kelly, who did the obligatory hands-to-face-open-mouthed, "Nooooo!")
Posted by johndan at 11:18 AM | TrackBack

Orienting Towards Google

Joi Ito, and several commentators, talk about the emerging practice of taking pen-and-paper notes that are primarily designed to be fodder for later googling:
I had a breakfast meeting with Professor Hirotaka Takeuchi about my doctorate program and I was taking notes in my moleskine notebook. I was jotting down just names and keywords and I think the professor thought it was a bit odd. I realized that taking notes with the intention of googling everything later is very different than taking complete notes. I had never noticed that I had started doing this.
One of the most interesting areas of interface design, I've long thought, has been the boundary spaces around the interface: how people work at the margins, moving information in and out of the computer, translating and restructuring as they attempt to put information to work. (Another, similar boundary space is that between users of different computers, as information flows from user to user over networks and is remade and restructured as new users take it up.) Those boundary activities tend to highlight structures and practices that are otherwise often hidden or at least unconsidered. Several years ago, HRH Harper and colleagues completed a research project designed to help them improve the computer interface of air traffic control software. One of the primarily goals was to do away with little slips of paper that controllers used to track data--the program designers hoped to come up with a system that moved information on the paper slips into the interface, one step toward the mythical paperless office. Harper and his team discovered, though, that the movement of information in and out of the computer--in the physicality of passing paper, and in the way that the slips of paper were easily handled, distinguished from other types of information that was on the computer, and the paper trails generated--the movement of information across boundaries was absolutely crucial. (See similar comments about the necessity of papertrails for electronic voting systems.)
Posted by johndan at 10:38 AM | TrackBack

X Box Warrior

A long piece this weekend in The New York Times Magazine on "The Making of an X Box Warrior" [free reg req'd]. Covers, among other things, the Army-funded development of Full Spectrum Warrior, an X Box game that will be distributed to soldiers as battle prep edutainment (or what Stuart Moulthrop used to refer to as part of the "Military-Entertainment Complex):
The Army is already preparing plans to ship out copies of Full Spectrum Warrior to soldiers, and its creators envision the game being played by troops in Iraq, where Xboxes are popular among Americans looking to unwind. Many of the military's young soldiers, members of the PlayStation generation, spend much of their downtime each week playing games. As the military sees it, they might as well be playing games that hone their skills. ''When a soldier is off-duty,'' Cummings said, ''he's going to go back to his barracks, and he's going to play Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. What if I give him a simulation instead?''

In the description of another simulation program called "There," a team of soldiers face down an Iraqui citizen at a checkpoint:

''Back up, sir,'' the squad leader said. ''This way is closed. You'll have to find another route.''

The Iraqi was furious. ''You Americans! You come in here, and you just make stuff up!''

Soon, several other cars had pulled up, and nobody was retreating. The atmosphere turned palpably tense. ''You've got 10 seconds,'' the leader warned, training his gun on the cars.

Then chaos broke out. An Iraqi hopped in his car and made a break for it, driving straight through the blockade. The soldiers opened fire, but the driver got through safely and escaped down the street.

''Another one coming!'' shouted one of the soldiers, as a second Iraqi ran up with a machine gun and stormed past the sandbags. This time, the guardsmen wheeled in unison and fired. The terrorist flopped to the ground.

''Well,'' said one soldier, ''that'll make the evening news.''

I couldn't tell from the description of "There" whether or not the simulation included training on how to shoot down terrorists in particularly photogenic ways.
Posted by johndan at 12:11 AM | TrackBack

August 21, 2004

"A Day in the Life of a Spammer"

Jim Wagner at interviews a spammer:
For four days worth of work, Cunningham can send 240 million e-mails, which return 1 million (1:240) to 12.6 million (1:19) click-throughs. If only one-half of 1 percent lead to sales, he has still made anywhere between $40,000 and $1 million.

[via Slashdot]

Posted by johndan at 12:53 PM | TrackBack

Map Usability

Results of map usability studies, including finds about map symbols, typography, and various methods for representing relief.

[via The Map Room]

Posted by johndan at 12:36 PM | TrackBack

Web Zen: Designer Zen

Web Zen This Week: Designer Zen.

Many cool things. I wish I were half that creative.

Posted by johndan at 12:29 PM | TrackBack

Good Software Design

Dave Cronin of Cooper offers some discussion and examples of good software design, including discussions of iTunes and OmniGraffle.
As the saying goes, the devil is in the details, and while interface standards will get you 70% of the way there, standard widgets represent generic solutions to common problems. Really good software tends to have novel interface elements around key interactions that help users achieve their specific goals.

[via Tomalak's Realm]

Posted by johndan at 11:21 AM | TrackBack

August 19, 2004

Lessig on Grokster Decision

Lessig has a concise and perceptive summary of MGM v. Grokster (or, as he points out, officially "MGM v. Streamcast & Grokster")--Grokster won, if you haven't been following the headlines. According to Lessig, the decision turned on two important factual findings: that P2P networks are very useful for things besides copyright infringement, and that Grokster itself doesn't provide the actual index maintenance or file storage facilities for copyright infringement.

But let’s return to the end result. The sale and design of P2P filesharing technology has just been legalized in California. Whether legalizations spreads depends on Supreme Court cert. policy (more on this latter), and that place called Congress and its Act called Induce.

One interesting feature of the California decision is that the language of the decision sounds more like Silicon Valley than Hollywood--no mention of "piracy," for example. At a Digital Futures Coalition meeting last spring, the research firm that DFC retained told us that once the "piracy" was accepted as the term for file-sharing, the public perception battle was effectively over. The absence of that term in the decision is a positive signal.

[via Lessig Blog]

Posted by johndan at 10:23 PM | TrackBack

Datacloud Video Editing

VidVox has released GRID2, a video clip editing, management, and MIDI playback system for OS X:


One of the premises of Datacloud (the forthcoming book project, not the weblog) is that users increasingly need interfaces that represent massive amounts of information. Not the traditional approach of simplifying masses of information by imposing a structure on it or abstracting it into clear forms, but interfaces that just throw masses of information up on the screen, in relatively unstructured format. Although an interface like that in GRID2 might have been dismissed, ten or twenty years ago, as dramatically overcrowded, users today are used to being lost in a wash of data. Information overload is a good thing, in many ways. GRID2 lets users survey a large array of information, manipulating it on the fly. The software supports video editing (stringing together clips from the pool of information into a linear, time-based film) as well as dynamic, realtime display of video for live events such as concerts. GRID2 can interface with a MIDI keyboard so that the system becomes an instrument, in the performance sense, much like a guitar or more conventional (audio) MIDI keyboard; GRID2 can also be controlled by a DJ's turntable to produce video scratching effects. Testimonials on the VidVox's site include accolades from VJs (video jockeys) currently touring with Stereolab and The Beastie Boys; other acts using the software include Sasha & John Digweed, Paul Van Dyke, Ministry, Butthole Surfers, UltraRed, Naoism, and Hexstatic. The film editor becomes a live artist; video editing as performance. Too cool by half. For Mac OS X, $75. Free demo available at Apple's site; purchases can be made at VidVox's site (also has QuickTime clips of GRID2 in action). See Hart Snider's Scratch Video thesis and a Wired article on video scratching in general:
Because they have access to so many clips, they often let the music trigger the visuals. If a didgeridoo suddenly starts playing, they search their clip database under "D" for didgeridoo footage and instantly mix it into the feed. Hazard likened the effect to call and answer in jazz, except in this case it's between the DJ and the VJ.
[via Mac OS X Downloads]
Posted by johndan at 12:42 AM | TrackBack

August 18, 2004

Remembering Bukowski

Ashley B remembers Charles Bukowski:
Charles Bukowski would have been a grand dirty old man of 84 a couple of days ago. What the heck if I'm late. Any excuse to crack open a beer and crank up the radio, before throwing it out of a closed window in a drunken, repeated act. Head down to the horseraces. Get lost somewhere between Hollywood and Vine, drinking cheap German wine.

[Also see the collection of info about Bukowski at]

[via notes from somewhere bizzare]

Posted by johndan at 09:55 AM | TrackBack

Extending Bazaar-Style Production to Film

Shlomi Fish discusses extending open-source, "Bazaar-style" programming methods to film. Based loosely on Eric S. Raymond's influential text on open-source software development versus commercial software development, "The Cathedral and the Bazaar," Bazaar-style filmmaking requires "having a lot of peer input and feedback as well as having a lot of peer involvement."

Here's a brief overview pulled from Raymond's original vision:

Linux overturned much of what I thought I knew. I had been preaching the Unix gospel of small tools, rapid prototyping and evolutionary programming for years. But I also believed there was a certain critical complexity above which a more centralized, a priori approach was required. I believed that the most important software (operating systems and really large tools like the Emacs programming editor) needed to be built like cathedrals, carefully crafted by individual wizards or small bands of mages working in splendid isolation, with no beta to be released before its time.

Linus Torvalds's style of development—release early and often, delegate everything you can, be open to the point of promiscuity—came as a surprise. No quiet, reverent cathedral-building here—rather, the Linux community seemed to resemble a great babbling bazaar of differing agendas and approaches (aptly symbolized by the Linux archive sites, who'd take submissions from anyone) out of which a coherent and stable system could seemingly emerge only by a succession of miracles.

The fact that this bazaar style seemed to work, and work well, came as a distinct shock. As I learned my way around, I worked hard not just at individual projects, but also at trying to understand why the Linux world not only didn't fly apart in confusion but seemed to go from strength to strength at a speed barely imaginable to cathedral-builders.

As "tk (a commentator on Fish's post) says, the application of Bazaar style to film is complicated by the fact that, in Raymond's original vision, Bazaar style is founded on the idea that developers are also users (an idea also found in the parallel model of participatory design). That is, the development process is improved because the actual users of the product are also involved in writing the software. Tk asks if this is feasible for film projects. In Fish's version, "users" seem to occupy the positions of in-process reviewers, commenting on screenplays and reviewing early versions of films.

I think the ability of average users to participate in the production depends on the film project--but that's also true of software design. The bulk of open source software being developed today does center on relatively specialized or complex tools used by other developers (despite all claims that Linux is ready for average desktop users). But as development tools--for software or for film--because more widespread and easier to use, we're going to start to see a whole new class of users--for software and for film--flooding toward from the user to the developer class.

So it will be possible, for example, to have less technically skilled users participate in key processes such as storyboarding, script writing, casting, editing, etc. As with open source software development, the less technically skilled users may lack the ability to produce polished, final versions, but that's not the point. A large and fluid production team would always include experts who can finesse and revise useful (but unpolished) work.

Also important to the Bazaar-style model is the way in which it builds a varied community for learning: novices work alongside experts, providing both feedback and work, while also loosely apprenticing in the trade. The process seems, at first glance, so unstructured that it's unworkable. But look at some of the support systems for this process that the open source community has built, tools designed to provide loose structure to dynamic and changing participation., or the related Concurrent Versions System (CVS) for example, provide versioning and discussion tools that help loosely manage an anarchic flurry of small contributions to very large development projects. I would suspect similar tools will be developed for other Bazaar-style activities such as film.

[via Advogato]

Posted by johndan at 09:33 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 17, 2004

Which World Leader Are You?

Samantha B posted her results from the "Which World Leader Are You?" personality test.

Samantha apparently gets to be Einstein.

My results were a little different....

What Famous Leader Are You?
personality tests by
Posted by johndan at 08:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Representations of Digital Identity

Call for participation in a workshop on Representations of Digital Identity at CSCW 2004 (Computer-Supported Cooperative Work):
This workshop will address the many ways by which online presentations of self have been – and could be – constructed. In the absence of the body as a source of accountability and social legibility, individuals project a sense of self through multiple layers of mediation, including email addresses, graphic avatars, "friend lists," and results from search engines. How can we use the body in a mediated world? Or alternately, how can we promote rich modes of interaction that do not rely on the illusion of physical presence?

Moving from current practices to future scenarios, the workshop will use a design exercise to produce a conceptual framework promoting accountability, expression, and trust in online interactions. We invite contributions from researchers exploring social aspects of CMC, including, but not limited to: blogging, gaming, online dating, mobile and ubiquitous social devices. Furthermore, researchers interested in reputation, trust, privacy and vulnerability; social networks, identity, persistent conversations, and context are encouraged to apply.

Workshop is in Chicago on November 6, 2004; participant proposals due September 20, 2004.

[via Joho the Blog]

Posted by johndan at 03:27 PM | TrackBack

Fall Colors in August

The weather here has been so consistently cool this August that the leaves are already turning colors. Weird.
Posted by johndan at 12:11 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Society of the Spectacle (A Digital Remix)

DJRABBI remixes Debord's "Society of the Spectacle" as a multimedia installation:
Using hyperimprovisational methods and techniques to invent a provocative style of digital poetics, the artists encounter the immediate presence of terror and fear in both political and media culture. Offering neither a spectacular critique of the spectacle nor an apology for their own tendencies toward spectacularly accidental juxtapositions, the artists behind the SOS remix host a polysensory potlatch of conceptual and material resistance against the official, separatist amnesia of historical practice.
RealTime magazine (according to DJRABBI's site) says the DVD is
a furious collage of black and white images (and sudden flarings of colour) and theory-saturated subtitles that you can only grasp at as they roll by, occasionally recognise, and go with the odd beauty of their flow. It's appropriately playful ("everything is fucked but fun"), pulsing, pop-ish and engrossing-the hypertext crowd stoked on Godard (who is, of course, invoked)
[via notes from somewhere bizzare]
Posted by johndan at 12:07 PM | TrackBack

August 16, 2004

Office Space Interviews

Lumino offers a look back at the 1999 workplace dystopia, Office Space, including interviews with eleven of the main actors.


[via Daypop]
Posted by johndan at 10:28 PM | TrackBack

Kerry Banned From Republican Convention

Well, that's the feeling you'd get from looking at this Google News headline and picture, snagged a few minutes ago:


Part of why I like reading Google News is that it gives me a network-eye view of the world, often very different from what I get from traditional (even online) news media. The automated selection of stories to run on the front page usually works well, but the breakdowns are also entertaining.
Posted by johndan at 02:12 PM | TrackBack

August 15, 2004

"Elevators Demand Poems"

Victor Lombardi (of The Noise Between Stations weblog), on SIGIA-L, points to this quote from (according to Amazon) from The Paris Review for Planes, Trains, Elevators, and Waiting Rooms, edited by Richard Powers:
"reading is the last refuge from the real-time epidemic." [Power's intro] To that end, the selections gathered here are grouped by how long they offer escape from real time: waiting rooms need long stories, for example, while elevators demand poems.

The book includes pieces by T. Coraghessan Boyle, Denis Johnson, Jim Carroll, Rick Moody, Alice Munro, Philip Roth, Raymond Carver, J.G. Ballard, V.S. Naipaul, William S. Burroughs, Jamaica Kincaid, Ethan Canin, and others.

(Coincidentally, and for no apparent reason that I can determine, I was at Jim Carroll's website last week. Freakish, in a great sort of way. And in the last six months, I've read books by Denis Johnson (3), T. Coraghessan Boyle (2), Rick Moody, J.G. Ballard, William S. Burroughs (2, plus movie versions of Naked Lunch + WSB's cameo in Drugstore Cowboy last week), and Ethan Canin; plus yesterday, at friend's house, I saw a large movie poster with the prominent credit, "Story by Jamaica Kincaid" lettered at the bottom; apparently I've landed in some sort of demographic. Perhaps I'm the freakish one.)

[via SIGIA-L]

Posted by johndan at 11:20 PM | TrackBack

Comment Spam Zen

Comment spammers (and spammers in general, actually) have begun tucking in literary quotes to confuse spam filters. Occasionally, I find myself sucked into reading the spam (despite the fact that I'm not the device the audience for the literary quote--the spammer's already one, to some extent, once the message reaches my In box and I've actually opened it to read it). But that's ok; the filter catches most, and occasionally I get to skim something like this bit from Frank Herbert's Dune series, which arrived tonight in a spam about headache remedies:
This is the awe-inspiring universe of magic: There are no atoms, only waves and motions all around. Here, you discard all belief in barriers to understanding. You put aside understanding itself. This universe cannot be seen, cannot be heard, cannot be detected in any way by fixed perceptions. It is the ultimate void where no preordained screens occur upon which forms may be projected. You have only one awareness here -- the screen of the magi: Imagination! Here, you learn what it is to be human. You are a creator of order, of beautiful shapes and systems, an organizer of chaos. -- The Atreides Manifesto, Bene Gesserit Archives
Posted by johndan at 10:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Collaborative Experimental Artists Site is now open for business. A number of artists have contributed materials, under Creative Commons licenses, which are now available in the artists section. Initial submissions include everything from recorded compositions, to generative audio software, to audio/video works.

Make sure to sign up on the mailing list so you can be informed when new artists, articles, and reviews are added to the site.

Artists featured on the site currently include:

  • Automatous Monk: Mapping elementary cellular automata evolutions to musical melodies
  • Karen Kuslansky: Unconscious random layering of manipulated loops
  • Lou Cohen: Algorithmic Csound composition in eight dimensional space
  • Mark Cooley: Recomposition of original performances
  • Markleford Friedman: Generative and gestural composition using custom software
  • Nabob: Sound collage and randomized FM synthesis
  • Rene Wooller: LEMu software emplyoing generative techniques for production and performance
  • Spagirus: Field recordings, databending, and custom digital signal processing
  • Thadeus Frazier-Reed: Evolving Oscillator software using genetic algorithyms


    Posted by johndan at 01:10 PM | TrackBack

    Ursula K. Le Guin on Studio 360

    Ursula K. Le Guin, guest on Studio 360 (one of my favorite weekly public radio shows) talks about the functions of utopias, literary and real. (Story summaries, links, and RealAudio streams--link at the upper-right of the main page lets you listen to the full 60-minute show.)
    Posted by johndan at 01:01 PM | TrackBack

    Hurricane Charley Weblogs

    Joho points to several interesting weblogs documenting life within Hurricane Charley. (Read the weblogs in reverse-chron order if you want to follow them dramatically.)

    A post from Jeanine's Allied weblog:

    Best as I can tell, the category 4 Charley is coming ashore at Tom Matrollo's house. And I mean at Tom's house.

    Tom, we're just up I-75 a few hundred miles if you're on the road. It's calm here, not counting Jenna. Praying for the safety of you and yours. Coffee's on.

    boy oh boy.

    note: the sun-harold site, linked above, is down now. power outage maybe?

    From Ryan Towell's Weatherbug weblog:

    A report just came into this office that the roof has been blown off of a nearby duplex. No word on whether people were in this building.

    [via Joho the Blog]

    Posted by johndan at 12:55 PM | TrackBack

    August 14, 2004

    Massive Online Collection of Art Images

    In one fell swoop, art teachers and scholars can now access more than 300,000, high-resolution images over the Web, courtesty of

    ARTStor [NYT link; free reg req'd]. Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the service provides a massively larger pool of resources than previously available, changing the nature of how teachers assemble and use images in art courses:

    Marguerite A. Keane, an adjunct lecturer at the University of California, San Diego, certainly feels lucky. Using ARTstor last spring during its test phase, Ms. Keane said she was able to assemble all the images for her semester-long course, "Introduction to Art History," in a few hours, the time it normally takes to gather slides for one class. If a student referred to a picture, she could usually locate it immediately and show it in class, zooming in on any details she wanted. "It was extraordinary," she said.

    Cost remains an issue--initial licenses range from $1,000 for small community colleges to $60,000 for large research universities, in addition to approximately equal yearly fees--but the amount of images available dwarfs the slide-based holdings of nearly any other single institution (and even small collections of slide-based art are themselves extremely pricey).

    The way technology has been able to transform education is remarkable, said Neil Rudenstine, the former Harvard University president who is now chairman of ARTstor. "That only happens, if you are lucky, once a century."

    [via Lockergnome Bytes]

    Posted by johndan at 12:27 PM | TrackBack

    Keyframe Based Video to Cartoon

    Microsoft Research is showing off a utility that semi-automates the conversion of digital movies to animated cartoons.


    The results are reminiscient of film projects such Waking Life, but as MS Research as well as several Slashdotters pointed out in a discussion of the project, earlier work in this area involved extremely labor-intensive rotoscoping of each individual frame. The Microsoft software only requires working with 10% - 15% of the frames.
    Posted by johndan at 12:08 PM | TrackBack

    August 13, 2004

    One-Minute Vacations

    One-Minute Vacations:
    Surely you can spare a minute to clean your ears? Take a one-minute vacation from the life you are living. One-minute vacations are unedited recordings of somewhere, somewhen. Sixty seconds of something else. Sixty seconds to be someone else.
    Like this one, from contributor Eisuke Yanagisawa:
    'Early in May, 2004: this recording was made up on the hill in Oyabu, in Hyogo prefecture, Japan. I came here to celebrate my grandfather's 80th birthday (beiju in Japanese). This place is an open area and you can hear sounds in the distance, as well as nearby. It was a windy day, so you may be interrupted sometimes... but I hope you enjoy it. Recorded to Sony TCD-D7 DAT, directly connecting an SP-TFB-2 binaural microphone.'
    [mp3 link] [via Web Zen]
    Posted by johndan at 05:59 PM | TrackBack

    Nollie 180 Heelflip

    Skateboarding how-to's and tips at Some include QuickTime video. (Note: I was having problems loading some of the static images; video seems ok.)


    Posted by johndan at 05:52 PM | TrackBack

    Things Found in Used Books 4

    Posted by johndan at 03:37 PM | TrackBack

    Surf's Up!

    The Wave Pillow hooks to an Internet-connected computer to monitor wave conditions. When surfing conditions look good, the pillow vibrates to wake the would-be surfer.


    These networked furnishings/appliances, including the Ambient Orb (which allows users to monitor a variety of external conditions such as stock prices and weather) and LG's Internet Refrigerator, open up opportunities for new types of information work, slightly coupled to the computer. People have been talking about the devices for quite a while, but I think we're finally getting to a cultural situation in which always-on Internet access is common enough for such products to have a large potential market. When Internet access opens up to full living spaces, rather than being limited to the immediate proximity of a computer, we get something that's both convergent and divergent: information access is a generalized condition rathern than a localized occurrence. Not simply the convergence of information flows into a single device (such as entertainment centers now including not just television and stereo, but also streaming video and audio, messaging, etc.) as well as information diverging, dissipating into the environment so that every device, every piece of furniture, every appliance, have access to an enormous amount of customizable data. It takes a while to get your head around this, as a designer. Do I really need Internet access on my stove? Probably not. But did I really need a DVD player in my PowerBook? Probably not, but it's pretty useful. Similarly, would it be useful for me if my alarm clock also monitored outside conditions so that it would automatically let me know if my daughter's school was on one of its frequent one-hour snow delays (or, better, reset the alarm to give us an extra hour's sleep). Or what if my car stereo monitored newsfeeds on topics I'd selected and notified me when a topic I'd tagged as interesting was being broadcast (rather than forcing me to channel surf and hope to randomly hear things I was interested in). Our mindsets, in general, consider Internet connectivity as something expensive, something special; but we're reaching a situation where such connectivity is relatively cheap and easy. [via Gizmodo]
    Posted by johndan at 10:39 AM | TrackBack

    August 12, 2004

    Sorry About That

    In an admirable bit of public self-criciticism, The Washington Post looks back on its overall coverage of the run-up to the war; they're not too happy in hindsight:
    [Reporter] Warrick said he was "going out on a limb. . . . I was struck by the people I talked to -- some on the record, others who couldn't be -- who were saying pretty persistently that these tubes were in no way suitable for uranium enrichment. On the other side were these CIA guys who said, 'Look, we know what we're talking about but we can't tell you.' "
    Politics aside, the article makes for a useful example of a big media outlet attempting to learn a bit about journalisitic practices by analyzing its own behavior.
    Posted by johndan at 10:41 PM | TrackBack

    Music is a River

    Ian MacKaye (Fugazi, Dischord Records) on filesharing, p2p, and why people make music, among other things (I think I may have already blogged this, but I re-read this today and, for whatever reason, it really grabbed me):
    But this is my position: you can sell CDs, you can sell records and tapes, and you can sell mini-discs if you're foolhardy, and you can sell mp3s and digital downloads, you can sell all of these things, but you can't sell music because music is free. I'm serious about that. I really believe that. Music is like air, you can't sell it. I know that people have, not to fall back to my oft-used metaphors and analogies, but this is the way I process things, but I see music as a river, and the water in a river is there for everyone and anyone that wants to have a sip can have a sip and have some water. Now somewhere along the line someone came up with the idea of putting the river water in bottles and selling the bottles of water. That's the record industry. Music is a river, music is water, and the bottling company is the industry, and it's not inherently evil, because it's frankly, convenient to have water in a bottle, so if you're driving in your car and you're thirsty you don't have to drive to the nearest river and take a sip, you can just reach down and take a sip out of your bottle. The same way if I'm driving in my car and I want to hear a song, I don't have to drive over to the people's house and ask them to play it for me, I can put the CD in and listen to it, or turn on the radio. Where it gets ugly is that when the bottling company, since their aim is to make money-- at some point they may have thought like, "Let's bottle this water and that way we can share the healthful qualities of water with all the people." At some point it becomes, "This is our industry, we need to make money, and how can we increase profits?" Well, the way to increase profits is to try to discourage people from going to the river, and having to buy the bottled water. And they'll start with that but eventually what they're going to get into is they're going to start blocking the river or they're going to poison the river. But water is always moving, and it's very difficult to poison a river, very hard indeed.
    Posted by johndan at 05:21 PM | TrackBack


    An interesting clock built into a block of wood:


    Appears to cost (according to the product page) around 30k yen. Not sure what that means in $US, but I assume it's in the "If you have to ask, you can't afford it" category.

    [via Gizmodo]

    Posted by johndan at 03:23 PM | TrackBack

    Looking Down

    A compendium of arial potographs


    Posted by johndan at 07:19 AM | TrackBack

    Corporate Name Histories

    (I forgot to post this earlier in the week.) Wikipedia includes on entry listing the etymology of corporate names. Entries include
    Atari - From the board game Go, "atari" is a Japanese word to describe a position where an opponent's stones are in danger of being captured. It is similar, though not identical, to "check" in chess.
    Xerox - The inventor, Chestor Carlson, named his product trying to say `dry' (as it was dry copying, markedly different from the then prevailing wet copying). The Greek root `xer' means dry.
    among many others. [via Daypop Top 40]
    Posted by johndan at 12:36 AM | TrackBack

    The Social Life of Superheroes

    A Los Alamos National Labs paper on the social life of superheroes. Apparently, the interconnectedness of superheroes in Marvel Comics mirror successful collaborative nets in real-life.


    Posted by johndan at 12:14 AM | TrackBack

    August 11, 2004

    Datacloud Swag

    In order to avoid having a productive day, I've opened up a CafePress shop with datacloud swag (shirts, hats, and the always-crucial lunchbox). (Talk about a niche market.)
    Posted by johndan at 04:17 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack



    [via underdog]
    Posted by johndan at 10:32 AM | TrackBack

    Perseid Meteor Shower

    Metafilter compiles a list of links to resources on the annual Perseid meteor shower, the visibility of which peaks in the next few days.


    Posted by johndan at 09:48 AM | TrackBack

    Time Marches Wearily On

    Despite having thought I'd turned 40 on my birthday several years ago (Kelly did the math for me and established that I was only 38), today I finally hit really did hit the mark.

    I'm only 28 in hexadecimal, though.

    Posted by johndan at 08:18 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    August 10, 2004


    "Collage. Photomontage. Assemblage." Collagemania weblog.


    Posted by johndan at 12:27 PM | TrackBack

    August 09, 2004

    eMusic Eats Another Great Resource

    I realized this afternoon that I hadn't been to (Digital Club Network) in a couple of months, for some reason. This was a great live music site--they'd inked agreements with indy clubs all over the U.S. that allowed them to stream live and archived video of alternative music acts. Marah. Hank Williams III. Handsome Family. Etc. Onsite sales of merchandise, including CDs, paid the rent (apparently, but maybe not enough...).

    When I get to DCN, I discover that eMusic has bought them and converted everything to a lame pay-for-use site with extremely greedy terms that only deals in mp3s (not video) now.

    eMusic Basic: $9.99 per month/40 song downloads
    eMusic Plus: $14.99 per month/65 song downloads
    eMusic Premium: $19.99 per month/90 song downloads
    eMusic itself used to be a great alternative music resource, until they switched their generous legal downloading policy to something like that quoted above. I evangelized eMusic to everyone who would listen. This was exactly the sort of resource that the net was perfect to support: take somewhat-marginal but great bands and help make them profitable by expanding their markets. eMusic focuses on alternative and relatively obscure labels, so we're not talking Christina Aguilara or U2 or even Zamfir here; production and A&R costs on these bands are extremely low. eMusic was able to increase exposure and generate some minor funds for these acts. No more.

    I hate you. I hate you. I hate you.

    Ian MacKaye must be rolling over in the grave he's not even in yet.

    No links to eMusic provided, because I don't want to give them free PR.

    Posted by johndan at 02:08 PM | TrackBack

    Naming-and-shaming on Slashdot: better than hiring a lawyer

    In a clearheaded move--rare in the world of corporate IP policies--ZiffDavis retracts copyright infringement action against Slashdot. ZD initially threatened Slashdot after it published a story containing a quote and links to ZD-owned eWeek; within hours of the initial threat, an exec at eWeek abandoned the action and apologized:

    "Hey! I'm the executive editor in charge of -- and before this situation unravels any farther, I need to make a couple of quick clarifications about our reprint policy:

    "While I haven’t gotten all the details about what happened, this legal warning to PocketPCTools seems to be a result of miscommunication within our company. We understand and embrace the principles under which sites such as PocketPCTools link to and excerpt our content. There are plenty of occasions when a professional media company needs to question the wholesale appropriation of its content or the use of its marks. From everything I understand about the PocketPCTools case so far, this is NOT one of those occasions!

    "We're moving to correct the situation now ... PocketPCTools was apparently acting within the appropriate bounds of Web etiquette -- actually, doing us a favor by sending us the traffic -- and Ziff Davis was apparently mistaken in issuing this warning.

    "My personal apologies to anyone inconvenienced by this error. We’re investigating the situation now and will act accordingly."

    [via Boing Boing]

    Posted by johndan at 10:40 AM | TrackBack

    Better Than Hawaiian Shirt Day

    The Register covers Analytical Graphics, Inc.'s commendable employee perks program, which includes free beer on Friday afternoons. (Other, less flashy offerings by AGI include free meals, snacks, laundry, and--helpfully--a gym.)
    As a result, workers are more productive, motivated and enjoy coming to work - while the company saves buckets loads of dosh in recruitment and training.

    Not surprisingly, AGI has been named by one corporate ratings group as "The Best Small Company to Work for in America."

    Is this a great country, or what?

    [via Lockergnome Bytes]

    Posted by johndan at 10:02 AM | TrackBack

    The Lewis Carroll Scrapbook

    The Library of Congress has digitized and placed online Lewis Carroll's Scrapbook.


    Site navigation is that typical archivist-class, LoC wonky setup, but worth the effort.

    [via Boing Boing]

    Posted by johndan at 12:26 AM | TrackBack

    August 08, 2004

    Half-Century Backward

    Popular Science asked geek/writer Larry Smith to spend ten days in the city avoiding technologies invented in the last fifty years. No cellphones, no laptops, no ATM machines.
    Mornings are the worst. The coffee is too weak. The windup alarm clock is too loud. The phone rings, and it might or might not be my mom. There are no new e-mails. There is no hope for a Krispy Kreme. And man, oh man, I miss my Ambien. Why have I subjected myself to life without a PDA? Why did I agree to a plan that forced me to spend New Year's Day watching the Gators in black and white, while the rest of the civilized world rings in the new year with Hoppin' John and the Orange Bowl in glorious Technicolor (or better yet, on TiVo with full control over instant replay and super slo-mo)? Why, oh why, am I spending the first 10 days of 2004 attempting to work, play and party like it's 1954?
    Extensive footnotes on the history of various technologies--remote controls, Ibuprofen, TV Guide, ZIP codes.
    Posted by johndan at 05:34 PM | TrackBack

    Party Mix, Version 3

    1. "Put You Down," Alejandro Escovedo, Live at the Gray Eagle (2.27.03)
    2. "White Light-White Heat," The Velvet Underground
    3. "The Black Crow Keeps Flying," Kelly Joe Phelps, Lead Me On
    4. "Radio - Amatoroj," Sonic Youth, SYR 3 With Jim O'Rourke
    5. "Track 2," Campay Segundo, Live (6/30/04)
    6. "Track 03," Steve Earle, Live at Malmo
    7. "It Never Entered My Mind," Chet Baker, Chet
    8. "World of Confusion," Gov't Mule, The Deep End, Vol. 2
    9. "Hallowed Ground," Violent Femmes, Film Noire (Live in Europe)
    10. "A Crazy Girl Is Hard to Find," John Hiatt, Crazy Al's Pizzeria (Broadripple, IN | December 1976)
    11. "Harvest," Neil Young, Harvest
    12. "'Tis Autumn," Chet Baker, Chet
    13. "Pandy Fackler," Ween, Live In Burlington 10.31.03
    14. "Don't Have To Be So Sad," Yo La Tengo, Summer Sun
    15. "Walk the Line," Johnny Cash, Unchained Melodies (Duseldorf 4-10-97)
    16. "Crystal Frontier," Calexico, Live in Sweden (4.25.03)
    Posted by johndan at 01:38 PM | TrackBack


    Musarium, a cool online magazine of stories, photos, and video. Random pieces include Geoffrey Hiller and Lev Liberman's Flash presentation on the Eastern Bloc after the Berlin Wall fell, Michael Lutzky's mixed media "Busting Loose: Riding the Senior Pro Rodeo Circuit," and Alex Chadwick's "Interviews: 50 Cents":
    Traveling around America with a card table and a handmade sign, producer Ray Farkas and reporter Alex Chadwick turned an idea into a series of poignant interviews about life in America.       From a housewife in Indiana who wonders why her marriage can't be better, to a man with AIDS traveling through Key West, Florida in search of spiritual healing, these interviews reflect the daily concerns and hopes of many.
    [via Metafilter]
    Posted by johndan at 12:15 PM | TrackBack

    August 07, 2004

    ENIAC Art

    ENIAC art photos from Benjamin Pierce's site:
    For someone who came of age in the second half of the computer revolution, the immediately surprising thing about ENIAC is its physicality. It is a machine in the most literal sense, built from huge metal boxes, massive cables, thick copper wires joined by gobs of solder, panels full of dials, bank upon bank of vacuum tubes. Looking again, the second surprise is the beauty and intricacy of its individual parts. A single tube, responsible for just one numeral in a decimal ring counter, contains a thicket of wires, planes, and baffles. If you peer very closely, a microcosm of strange and enigmatic scenes begins to unfold.


    [Boing Boing, who got it from Waxy]

    Posted by johndan at 10:44 AM | TrackBack

    August 06, 2004

    Generic Apple Product Lifecycle

    MisterBG offers a timeline for Apple Product Cycles that can be used for pretty much any Apple product release. Reads, in part,
    • Steve Jobs spends the first half-hour of his keynote crowing about how many iPods shipped during the previous six months and how many “native applications” have been developed for OS X. Attempting to appear as though it’s just an afterthought, he finally introduces the new Apple product. The product has sleek, clean lines, a diminutive form factor, and less than half of the useful features that everyone was expecting. Jobs announces that the product is available “immediately.”
    • Five minutes later, the new product appears on the online Apple store. Orders have an estimated ship date that is four weeks away.
    • The online Apple store takes 50,000 orders in the first 24 hours.
    • Apple’s stock surges as Wall Street analysts proclaim the new device will be “Apple’s savior” and the key to turning around the decades-long decline in Apple’s share of the global PC market.
    • The haters offer their assessment. The forums are ablaze with vitriolic rage. Haters pan the device for being less powerful than a Cray X1 while zealots counter that it is both smaller and lighter than a Buick Regal. The virtual slap-fight goes on and on, until obscure technical nuances like, “Will it play multiplexed Ogg Vorbis streams?” become matters of life and death.
    Posted by johndan at 04:48 PM | TrackBack

    Super Freak

    Rick James apparently died of a heart attack [cnn link].
    Posted by johndan at 04:41 PM | TrackBack

    August 02, 2004

    Music (Or lack thereof)

    After I got a rental car to use while my XTerra's in the shop, I got in and turned the stereo on. I realized there wasn't the normal little slot for CDs. But ... there are a bunch of buttons for a six-CD changer. Must be in the trunk. I hate corporate radio, with the somewhat-exception of NPR, and I only ever listen to CDs when I drive.

    Delighted, I press the "CD" button.

    The LED on the stereo says, simply, "NO".

    It's pretty rural out here, so I guess we're lucky to have any sort of rental chain, but the available pool was pretty limited--two Ford Tauruses, two pickup trucks, and a minivan. There wasn't a lot of room for wishlists. To further complicate things, after I get home I realize that the rental my wife picked up this morning while her car's in the shop is also a Ford Taurus. Also gray. How cute.

    Next, I'm going to get us some of those cute little twinner couple outfits; you know, matching khakis and sweatshirts that have identical little patriotic sayings on them or unicorns with sunsets or something.

    Posted by johndan at 05:30 PM | TrackBack

    Naropa Audio Archive

    The Naropa Audio Archive at The Internet Archive offers a wealth of spoken word and musical material centered primarily around poetry, political activism, literature, etc., available in a wide range of formats (from streaming mp3 through lossless flac downloads):
    The Naropa Archive Project is preserving and providing access to over 3500 recordings made at Naropa University since 1974. The collection was developed under the auspices of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics (the name of the university’s Department of Writing and Poetics) founded by poets Anne Waldman and Allen Ginsberg and contains readings, lectures, seminars, panels and workshops from a constellation of artists who aim at restoring the poet’s ancient role as keeper of the culture and social commentator. Current widespread interest in Oriental religions, environmentalism, political activism, ethnic studies, and women’s consciousness is directly indebted to the work of the New American Poets, writers and musicians in the collection.
    The current featured session is by author and poet Jim Caroll, from a 1999 gig in Boulder, a reading that includes poetry and music including "Facts," "8 Fragments for Kurt Cobain," "Train Surfing" and the always uplifting "People Who Died."
    Posted by johndan at 01:57 PM | TrackBack

    August 01, 2004


    A probability exercise: Q: What are the odds that my wife and I would each hit deer with our vehicles on the same weekend, after each having driven for more than 20 years without hitting a deer? A: Not quite high enough.
    Posted by johndan at 10:15 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Postmodern Protest

    From John Perry Barlow, a flashmob leftist protest scheme:
    Maureen Dowd recently observed that the Republicans had become so obsessed with rejecting the 60's ethic of doing it if it feels good that they have taken up an ethic of doing it if it makes someone else feel bad. Moreover, the GOP strategy of basing their root-level organization on Hot Protestantism has infused their ranks with a lot of chilly Puritanism, which, as H.L. Mencken defined it, is "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, is having a good time." [...] I propose the following: I want to organize a cadre of 20 to 50 of us. I want to dress us in suits and other plain pedestrian attire and salt us among the sidewalk multitudes in Republican-rich zones. At a predetermined moment, one of us will produce a boom-box and crank it up with something danceable. Suddenly, about a third of the people on the sidewalk, miscellaneously distributed in the general throng, will start dancing like crazy and continue to do so for for about a minute. Then we will stop, melt back into the pedestrian flow, and go to another location to erupt there.
    [via Joi Ito's Web]
    Posted by johndan at 09:19 AM | TrackBack