An inspiring day yesterday at Open Mobile Camp 09, particularly meeting the team from Trinity College working on the POSIT system under HFOSS.
Having seen how difficult it can be to set up the (supposedly easy) screen sharing of Macs, I wonder if this is good enough to pay $600 a year.
Looks like a great resource for our Girl-E class this fall.
Considering using Unity to begin working on realtime dome displays, using Paul Bourke's technique.
I thought I had blogged this already. The folks at Pachube released their pachube2sketchup plugin this summer. I promised Usman I would try it out. Will soon.
I just finished "Red Mars" by Kim Stanley Robinson. In it, prospective Mars colonists are run through tests to see if they are stable enough to go. Of course, they have to be crazy to want to go there for the rest of their lives. But they do a good job of faking it.
For a trailer 2 years older, but yes, I am considering doing it myself. Why do you ask?
Other good restoration tips on this site as well.
Why don't we do it in the dome...
One of my least favorite part-time jobs. I may need this for reference.
OK, so I like the Sparky robot concept (Mac mini based telepresence) but I want to use iChat, the Arduino and better motors. One piece of the puzzle is replacing the Make controller board and the code that goes between it and Skype. Here's a hunt for hints.
One comment on this post:
"This is a great library. I have used it to send messages to an Arduino using ruby to listen to AIM and then send messages over a serial connection, again using ruby, to the Arduino and then display the message on an LCD and control various external devices. Much fun."
Good solid base, but I think I'd use the Mac Mini instead of the board they use here.
Good pointers to suppliers:
Another Hilary suggestion. Tell a story in 3D and learn programming basics.
Snap together programming interface for kids. Suggested by Hilary at NYC Resistor tonight.
More than you'll want to know. But that's good.
Arduino compatible with ARM processor.
Study says that while American students are taught science and some math, technology and engineering are being slighted.
They've been busy for 10 years, and they are all here.
Simple hardware, takes a bit of hacking. I may return to this.
Hey, why not?
Interesting to see where my interests lie on the roller coaster.
This fall's project with the girls?
I have to revisit my Arduino projects. This guy has a great Arduino/Xbee hack going. Think I'll follow his progress.
From Memo Akten.
Four remote cameras at the same time.
From the Google Sketchup list, an email from Steve Meier that includes links and tips for taking a Sketchup model and unfolding it, either to print the designs or to create papercraft models. His email is below (click More).
View the videos by Crash, kram242 and AnyAirRc of them using SketchUp
to create 3D models of aircraft, then unfolding the model to have flat parts to print as patterns to cut out the actually flying RC model airplane.
Must have Sketchup Scripts/Plugins - these are used in the above videos.
Examples: jf_unfoldtool.rb, progressbar.rb, weld.rb, repair_broken_lines.rb, Slicer3.rb
Converting your SketchUp plan to PDF video tutorial by 3DMON on Fri Jul 24, 2009 2:16 pm
SketchUp screenshots of F6F Hellcat and FW-190 unfolded, ready to print.
This thread is "Using google Sketchup for modeling... With practical examples". It explains how to import a 3-view, create the SketchUp drawing, and how to print it out to scale.
Export your SketchUp model as a Google Earth .KMZ file. Pepakura Designer v3 will open that. Then just click the Unfold button. Unregistered Pepakura Designer has "Save" disabled, but you can print the patterns using a PDF virtual printer (CutePDF, PrimoPDF, et al).
Search for "Papercraft SketchUp Unfold" and you will find many tutorials on how to unfold models. You will be able to print 1:1 scale patterns to the PDF file. You can add graphics to your bike by opening the PDF in Inkscape (free).
Yes, lots of ways to do it, unless Time Warner blocks you (as appears to be the case in the one I've been struggling with).
Not mine, but inspiration.
Uses the Collada file that is in the KMZ. Looks good for leveraging the ease of modeling in Sketchup.
Two sources I've found:
and Little Bird Electronics
Doing it with Xserves:
Paul Bourke's work continues to amaze. Here he shows some 360 degree fisheye views.
A useful note on his "normal" technique:
> I have to photograph the inside of a building and recreate this in a fulldome master so it looks like we are standing inside the building.
> would I be better using something like stitcher to create a cubic image and then compositing this in after effects with a fulldome plugin or is it better to create a spherical stitched panorama and possibly convert this to a circle in photoshop?
In general I prefer spherical panos, generally assembled using AutoPano Pro using either lots of standard camera shots from really high resolution, or 3 fisheye shots. Then I have personal tools to directly create fisheyes from that, but you can equally apply the spherical pano to a sphere in your favourite 3D package and render fisheye views. I'm sure there are lots of other ways also. The Frozen show by Peter Morse used this technique
Tom Casey's approach:
A more straightforward approach would be to use a fisheye lens to get the fulldome circle directly. There is a technical paper on how to do this from a session at the last IPS conference here...
You might also try doing this as a high dynamic range image, taking the various range of exposures and then combining in Photoshop to get more detail across the interior's brightness range... since interior images tend to be low on contrast.
Matthew Mascheri's suggestions:
Paul and Tom are putting you on the right track. Here are just my two cents on this as well. We shoot 3 fisheyes and stitch them in PTGui. When shooting, shoot in RAW and bracketed for high dynamic range (HDR). This will give you the best look on the dome, as you can combine the exposures, and even tone map to bring out some of the details. You can do this in either PTGui or Photomatix. Once you get your equirectangular image, you can map it to a sphere in your 3D application of choice and render away.
There are some examples of our technique (for both real-time and pre-rendered) on our website http://www.Dome3D.com in the FullSphere™
And a link to other great images.
Mixed bag of articles on Artificial Intelligence.
Studies to update and return to train frieight systems.
Back on the Sketchup track, to update the model.
Three tutorials on bringing CAD drawings into Sketchup, grouped together:
Main Sketchup video site on YouTube:
And the YouTube site for "Sketchup for Dummies" - excellent.
An example of an embedded model - let's see how it works.
Lower Eastside Girls Club - Volumetric Model by DaveP - Google 3D Warehouse
Click and then drag side to side.
UPDATE: I had some issues with getting the embed to work and Google folks were quick with help. Here's their first response, which may help other users:
First off, there are some models that still don't load properly in the Google Earth Plugin. We're looking at those issues and hope to resolve them soon. Please post links to 3D Warehouse models where there are problems - in the group please! - so we can look at specific examples.
Secondly, the embed functionality has a bit of smarts in it that will intelligently revert embed types depending upon what's available. So if you ask for a Google Earth Plugin embed for a non-geo model, you'll get a 3D View. If you ask for a 3D View for a model where for some reason we don't have the generated images (as in the example posted above), we'll revert to the image type.
Finally, some sites don't allow embedding via the IFRAME technique. Google Sites is an example. In this case, you'll need to create a Google Gadget to do the embed. I slapped something together that I'm happy to share in a thread on the group.
Another version, without as many neighboring buildings:
Put any Google 3D Warehouse model in a webpage. Upload a Sketchup model to the Warehouse and place in a page.
Good tool for 3D blogging in a visualization class. Hmmm...
An old standby, now for Leopard. It costs, but the free solutions we have tried won't work.
For remote screensharing. Other approaches.
I read John August's "The Variant" last week, a first for self-publishing on Kindle. In this post he tells how to format your work for Kindle.
In some cases may equal most useful.
Mapping - Links to sites from presentations at the recent Where2.0 conference. One guy's notes, well done.
Easy tool for doodling on Google Maps.
For teaching math, K-12.
Share your location publicly on a blog or web site. Interesting (like most of this location-aware stuff) and profoundly creepy.
Google includes this warning on the page:
You may choose to share only your city-level location or the best available one.
If enabled, your location will be publicly available to everyone. You will not be able to limit where and with whom you share your location through the badge.
Project in UK using Zigbees.
The TED Commandments:
# Thou Shalt Not Simply Trot Out thy Usual Shtick.
# Thou Shalt Dream a Great Dream, or Show Forth a Wondrous New Thing, Or Share Something Thou Hast Never Shared Before.
# Thou Shalt Reveal thy Curiosity and Thy Passion.
# Thou Shalt Tell a Story.
# Thou Shalt Freely Comment on the Utterances of Other Speakers for the Sake of Blessed Connection and Exquisite Controversy.
# Thou Shalt Not Flaunt thine Ego. Be Thou Vulnerable. Speak of thy Failure as well as thy Success.
# Thou Shalt Not Sell from the Stage: Neither thy Company, thy Goods, thy Writings, nor thy Desperate need for Funding; Lest Thou be Cast Aside into Outer Darkness.
# Thou Shalt Remember all the while: Laughter is Good.
# Thou Shalt Not Read thy Speech.
# Thou Shalt Not Steal the Time of Them that Follow Thee.
Toronto teenager used Sketchup, tied for a NASA Grand Prize.
Good list of examples and demos.
These kids used parts from Ponoko but I could cut them on the NYC Resistor laser cutter!
Simple TV output from an Arduino.
Take photos of a real object, and the website returns a 3D computer model.
Looks like it has to do with the Airport not being in Bridge mode. But still looking. Have to go out and connect by ethernet to test.
No real answers here, but some ideas.
A commercial version.
I played with QR-codes in the workshop with Massimo a couple of weeks ago, but haven't cmbined them with AR or used them as fiducials. If all of this is mystifying, look at this for ideas of where it's leading.
Though mostly cosmetic, this app to customize DMG files could be useful - as in the DMG I put out this week.
At two ends of the scale but the same idea - 3D printing of real, useful objects.
I've created a kit of elements to allow easy install of an Opensim server on Intel Macs. I'll keep the links here, and I'll update with any notes or improvements.
OpensimOSX kit version 1 (175mb DMG)
I've disabled comments here, but leave comments on the Maxping site where this is posted, and I'll check there.
You can teach an old dog new tricks. It just takes a while.
Two ways to turn shell scripts (series of commands in Terminal) into clickable apps:
Use Platypus to give it a Mac application wrapper.
Or just make the script itself double-clickable.
Via Dan Shiffman, processing classes for audio and graphics.
100mb/s for $11 a month.
Work by ITP researchers and others in sustainable use of technology.
Have to check this out. High-level futuristic mindgames. With scientists.
On the verge of comprehension.
Necessary to run recent Opensim builds on Mac. The things I get myself into.
Collecting some links:
Cheap servos, I learn, are designed only to swing a certain range of rotation, not to turn continuously like wheels. I'd heard of hacks to override this limit, but here's a good how-to from Tod Kurt, of Todbot.
This is a great simple LilyPad project. Looks like a winner for the first LilyPad project in the Girl-E class (Make Break and Burn).
Just ran into this as many others have. Some new computers in the office. Migration of files from old Emac to nice new iMac went fine except for Mail, due to this bug.
I finally assembled a Tweet-a-Watt hack of the Kill-a-Watt power meter, which adds an Xbee chip transmitter, sending to a receiver on a laptop. In LadyAda's original tutorial, the data is sent to Google App Engine to provide web access and graphing. But I wanted to send it to Pachube.
Love the lazy web. Brian Naughton had already adapted the Python script to report to Pachube, and shared it with me. Now he has posted it.
UPDATE: I added back the Twitter code that Brian removed. So now there is a PachTweet-a-Watt version, that does both. It can be found here.
Ties it all together with effective stimulus plan.
But...but...what about that 1984 Mac commercial? That was 25 years ago?
Part of the Arduino workshop - Massimo Banzi has created an OSC network in Processing that has as an input a QR-code reader on the iSight camera. It sends an OSC message of the text in the printed QR-Code. That processing code to come in an update
OK, I am at my geek limit running a python script from Terminal for the TweetaWatt hack of the KillaWatt power meter. But if I decide to go all the way, I can turn that Terminal business into an OS X app and just double click it. I already struggled through the MacPorts install to get where I am.
Keeping an eye on this - could be our first network storage.
Had to look for this how-to again. With 2 SXS cards in the Sony EX1, it is inevitable that you will get shots spanning the two cards. This shows how to deal with, and combine, those two incomplete files.
"The language added on March 30 to AT&T's wireless data service Terms and Conditions was done in error. It was brought to our attention and we have since removed it. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused."
TOS changes to restrict use of its network. This means iPhone apps for accessing sensor nets.
Geeky. But I will no doubt need it for an in-world demo. So it's come to this.
I made some progress a year ago but this could be the refresher I need. If I were a coder...
Thanks to Ben Combee who is contributing to the Arduino community by making it easier to use the "official" ethernet shield.
I was reminded of this great set of tutorials, combining Arduino with Processing.
More from my "if I were a coder" series. Memo makes it as easy as he can - no objective C programming.
Starting to get interesting here.
Like I said...
In case some iPhone dev should wander by here. We're not worthy...
And the new v0.06 release, with iPhone support
Insights into the creation of two very different iPhone applications. Geeky but good reads on how they think. And coders are only human.
Strange but evocative 3D browser. Try it. Java download for all platforms.
If I were a coder...
And I didn't even have to pledge. Highly recommended - reread "The Difference Engine" by Sterling and Gibson.
The future. Live it or live with it.
More like Philip K. Dick every day.
No, I can't do this without help from a skilled hacker and yes, there is a method to my madness.
UPDATE: I underestimated my own persistence and the work that the realXtend developers have put into making it easy to install the server. See comments on the first link above. Give it a try - it's not too hard.
MORE UPDATE: This is actually an exercise in getting Sketchup into RealXtend. For Opensim, I found the Windows install very simple, the Mac install of latest builds next to unknown. In any case I will start leaving relevant links here:
The far out begins to be mainstream - GE has a demo also.
A play to push more HD video on the web and trigger upgrades in the router business.
Interesting conversation from ETech, via Tish Shute.
Like it says:
Recommended by the hacker cognoscenti. Good enough for me.
Nice gadget. Now who has the kits for us hobbyists?
Why I will wait until the building is built to figure out this part of the puzzle.
I found this last summer and passed it on to a producer friend moving to FCP. It includes two introductory videos for TV (read Avid) editors moving to Final Cut. Best tip - I looked again today for this - is
x o delete x i delete
what the instructor calls top and tail editing, perfect for today's "throw everything on the timeline and trim it into shape" style of editing.
Can't help seeing this as the Usumacinta simulation I wanted to make a few years ago. No shipping there. But other things to note.
Project to create global sensor network to monitor earth and climate.
Exhibit in September, NYC, featuring Usman Haque of Pachube.
Nice CD wheels, paper driver.
With ITP's help as usual. We begin the new "Make Break and Burn" class with a step towards robotics - our first servos.
And a great link on that page, to the Flying Pig animations of mechanical motion.
Tiny, Linux, USB and GigE.
Very clear and well illustrated.
(Tutorials are images - click on them to enlarge)
Oh, the Arduino geeks are going to be happy campers. A version of the hacker standard with many more I/O lines - 42 in all - and double the program memory.
via Bre on Twitter
Using an Express Card adapter. Much cheaper than Sony's cards, but no 60fps overcranking (as in this clip).
Super simple intro to controlling servos with Arduino. Step one towards Girl-E.
Must be seen to be believed. Mouse over the chart and have your mind grown.
Oceans, historical imagery, narration recording on tours and fly-throughs.
Record in 35mb/s Quicktime directly to SXS or SDHC cards.
More on this storage device.
Okay it's getting out of hand now.
Interesting insights from Usman, who is insanely responsive to user queries. Still having fun with this.
If you say so. Window into their world.
Installs in Firefox. via Bre.
In the smallest alpha test on record, one other person and I tested the pachtweet app for Pachube. Setting graphed values and text through Twitter. Will be released this week. I'm a tweeting fool.
Profoundly silly, but a good first project for the class to use a servo.
New York Times' blog on their own development efforts.
Looking for a procedure to combine clips that were recorded across two cards, I found this. Still haven't been able to download the new version of XDCAM Transfer utility, but I'll keep trying. UPDATE: version I have (2.1) does the trick.
Guess I'm not the only one who's a bit confused.
I started writing a tutorial this morning on using Arduino and the Danger Shield to connect to Pachube. Zach "Hoeken" Smith, the designer of the Danger Shield (multiple sliders, sensors and displays for Arduino) invited me to add it to his site. Still in progress but it might help some folks get started.
Pachube, the online sensor database repository, continues to make it easier to share and access data online. My only disappointment: The Pachube2Sketchup app is still "coming soon".
We're recycling (repurposing) the plastic case.
A General Electric film, made in 1945, that is used in a least one Physical Computing class in college today. From the Prelinger Archives.
It was fairly painless to set up the "official" Arduino ethernet shield following Usman's instructions on Pachube. This page allows remote control of Arduino outputs, if you have an account log-in:
Next step is a cheap webcam so I can confirm the control changes remotely. Fun.
Possible results of $30 billion invested in technology:
ITIF provides a detailed analysis and estimate of the short-term jobs impacts of spurring investment in three critical digital networks: broadband networks, the smart grid (making the electric distribution system intelligent) and health IT, and outlines policy steps to spur this investment.
Corny but cheap enough. It is a glorified music box that plays Scott Joplin's "The Pianist" among others. It hit the gadget blogs a couple of years ago and disappeared. But stupid.com still has stock - $12.99 each.
Digtal TV options for short distances.
For project X.
Yes this site is becoming my scratchpad. Bear with me. You may need to know this some day.
People more obsessed than I am.
Nice simple circuit.
For our OspreyCam. And maybe EastRiverCam
The pan tilt servos:
Controlled like this:
Plus some inspiration from this guy:
Now let's do it over ethernet. And the Internet.
From the folks who brought you Arduino, a way to control your Mac with it.
Earthcam and others.
And about that new, LED ball they used:
Working on the Lantronix Ethernet devices for Arduino.
And because that's the way I need it:
Good collection, mostly analog.
You go, geeks!
More great documentation from NYU ITP. This is my holiday project.
Libelium in Spain is defining this open sensor space and making a business out of it. Good overview here.
Some links to answer the eternal backup question.
New entry into the open or free WiFi mesh market.
Photo textures on previously gray buildings. Above, First Street in the foreground. (Click for larger image)
Thanks Rob! I needed this a couple of weeks ago, when I struggled with the number 1 item on the list, then discovered I needed a Windows-only utility to upgrade the firmware.
An open wiki where anyone can easily post a Google Earth window and description.
From the Xbee hive at ITP, of course.
This is two years old - I'll have to see if it has been updated:
This group sponsors high school scholars:
And here's one of their associated projects, using Google Earth and multiple sensors, webcams, and overlays.
Then there's this page of hundreds of maritime maps using Google Maps, and Google Earth:
Examples of using Sketchup in the new Google Earth browser feature.
Examples and demos of a variety of browser displays using the API (which is not really new - it's just finally available for OS X):
And the most basic example, a variation on the classic Hello World:
A screengrab from Google Earth and a link to the 3D Warehouse model:
And a webpage with embedded Google Earth player and Girls Club model (updated 12/20/2008):
Good resource for students of Processing, both enrolled and self-motivated.
We'll want sunlight controlled dimmers in the building if we want NYSERDA incentives for that energy saving addition. How would we do it off-the-shelf? How DIY?
Still not sure I have a handle on the values on the y axis. I'll keep playing. Update: better now. Gnight.
Another update: adding the second graph. But ranges are screwy again.
12/18 Update: switched to new feed after mystery freeze up.
These guys are serious. Public libraries of printed circuit board designs, and all the information to use them and design your own. Thanks Sparkfun!
The third part of the Arduino-Processing constellation. This is open source electronic design automation.
Not quite Rudy Rucker's Software-Wetware-Freeware-Realware but it is a brave new world.
And a free utility to make it even easier:
First test graphs. The top two show a snapshot as of this post, using two sliders on an Arduino, as I tested, slept, tested again today including a flatline when I tried a software combination that did not work.
Update: I have reassigned the input sensors, from the sliders (which I was changing myself) to the light and temperature sensors on the shield. I may need to abandon this first feed at some point and start a new one to get a useful range on these new sensors.
At the link below you can see the updated sensor graphs on the Pachube (patchbay) website.
UPDATE: I deleted this feed and created a new one, to use update software on the site. See this post.
"Pachube (pronounced “PATCH-bay”) is a Web service that lets people share real-time sensor data from anywhere in the world. With Pachube, one can combine and display sensor data, from the cost of energy in one location, to temperature and pollution monitoring, to data flowing from a buoy off the coast of Charleston, S.C., all creating an information-laden snapshot of the world."
And soon to come, a Sketchup plugin and data overlay on Google Earth. Oh boy.
The big picture:
Weblog on all things show control, by the author of "Control Systems for Live Entertainment".
Well, 340 degrees, in any case. On Coldplay's latest tour.
Now looking for Arduino-based building management systems (BMS).
That is, Direct Digital Control for the Lower Eastside Girls Club. The protocol that our mechanical engineer is using for environmental systems.
Simple audio synthesizer, using a combination of triangle waves instead of harsh square waves. Based on Arduino of course.
And something else that popped up (both of these from members of the NYCResistor mailing list):
I'll need something like this in 2 years. Creating and deploying Mac images across the network - can't I just hire someone?
A month ago this would have meant nothing to me. But since I'm working through Tom Igoe's "Making Things Talk" book I see it now - tiny controllers around us, talking behind our backs. When they aren't busy telling me what I need to know.
Found this while looking for something else, as usual.
First of many, now that the NDA is lifted.
Looks like the choice is the Sony SRX-R220 4K SXRD projector, among others.
Still finding all the great work done by Rob Faludi, Dan Shiffman, Tom Igoe and their students at ITP. And thanks to our pal Marianne Petit who first mentioned Arduino to me and started all of this.
I'll collect a few here.
Okay, I admit it - I'm trying to teach myself what those lucky kids at ITP are learning. They get to collaborate, I bang my head on the wall by myself. But some of it is getting through. They'll get through this class taught by Rob Faludi in one semester, I'll be struggling for years. But I'll get the tech girls to help, and some day we'll have a sunny room on Ave. D just for this.
From Tom Igoe at ITP.
And a video from someone who did it:
Open wireless sensor/bluetooth/WiFi mesh network. Is this the way to go?
RepRap is short for Replicating Rapid-prototyper. It is a practical self-copying 3D printer - a self-replicating machine.
Work produced for the 120X12 foot screen at the IAC headquarters building, designed by Frank Gehry.
The increasing deployment of sensors and hand-held electronics in recent years is allowing a new approach to the study of the built environment. The way we describe and understand cities is being radically transformed - alongside the tools we use to design them and impact on their physical structure. Studying these changes from a critical point of view and anticipating them is the goal of the SENSEable City Laboratory, a new research initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Finally. Enough with the social networks and ad models...
"(These are) pretty depressing times in a lot of ways," O'Reilly said in an address that first had looked like it would simply be a starry-eyed discussion of enterprise opportunities for Web 2.0. "And you have to conclude, if you look at the focus of a lot of what you call 'Web 2.0,' the relentless focus on advertising-based consumer models, lightweight applications, we may be living in somewhat of a bubble, and I'm not talking about an investment bubble. (It's) a reality bubble."
From NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Department, tutorials for all things Arduino.
Well, our webmaster pal uses it on his job and likes it. We'll try out the demo site and see if it's for us.
Someday we'll have a girls club shop (or a corner somewhere) for DIY projects.
Another approach, going into servo motors:
Look! No Arduino!
Great weblog by one of the programmers of Comic Life...
...who I ran across in this demo of a neat Wiimote/Quartz Composer hack...
...which is a Mac version of one of Johnny Chung Lee's famous Wiimote tricks.
Classic geeky hacks. But this Mac version only came out this summer, thanks in part to the good folks at kineme.net.
Still finding multitouch projects. We'll pick one to do at the Girls Club.
First one with an Ikea FTIR multitouch table wins...
First the Sony point and shoot:
And the Nikon digital SLR:
Fun to look at the diagrams and the variety of home networks out there.
This site has a wider variety - large networks, rack installations, etc.
In the U.S. Not saying much - French urban areas are 3X as fast, Japan much higher. And even in this study, New York is far down the list.
Through Eyebeam Atelier, a preassembled screen/camera/software combination FTIR multitouch system.
An iPhone application to provide a multitouch interface to OSC, Open Sound Control, "a modern networked cousin of MIDI." This post does not have a link to it in the App Store, but you can search for it there and find it.
One simple use is as a wireless controller for Garageband running on another computer. The link above shows how to use it that way, and with the cross platform audio software PureData.
From the site:
Touché is a free, open-source tracking environment for FTIR-based multitouch tables.
FTIR stands for "frustrated total internal reflection".
The inventor/pioneer of FTIR, Jeff Han
Here's a guy who has built an FTIR table
But here's someone who shows how to build it, and sells finished tables:
Because the cable operators and phone companies are focusing only on selling more expensive services to "more valuable" customers instead of making more affordable offerings.
Twenty of the largest cable operators and phone companies in the U.S. only signed up about 887,000 new subscribers during the quarter, the Leichtman Research Group reported Monday.
Meanwhile, a new study finds New York City underserved:
More than 600,000 households in New York City have yet to connect to the Internet at high speeds.
Only 26% of low income households in the five boroughs have broadband, compared with 54% of moderate to high income homes, according to a recent study conducted by Diamond Management & Technology Consultants.
Well, as I have found, there is the DIY way, as done at Uinversity of Minnesota and Purdue:
One trick - Use Apple Remote Desktop to monitor, an Applescript to run the Keynote presentation.
Depending on the display, you may need this:
And then there's the commercial way, just announced this summer:
Still looking for other options.
Just backed up the laptop, now desktop. Here's Apple's guide to restoring when the day comes.
Interesting feature in QC on Leopard - network patches. Can this be used to sychronize or control multiple flat screen displays? Answer - yes.
One of our inspirations, and our thanks go out to one of our new advisers, Benjy Bernhardt.
A high bandwidth project based on HD interactive video conferencing.
Clear presentation of the need for alternative sources of bandwidth.
Just as the industrial revolution depended on oil and other energy sources, the information revolution is fueled by bandwidth. If we aren’t careful, we’re going to repeat the history of the oil industry by creating a bandwidth cartel.
Through the Quartz Composer work of Memo Akten:
I found this site:
Which included a link to this:
And this interactive sunset:
One of the best uses for the iPhone that I've found is storing and studying video tutorials. You will have to let the videos on the page below stream until completed, and you will need Quicktime Pro, but they are easily saved and loaded onto an iPhone or iPod.
Fascinating interviews with the Wall-E team give insights into their working methods and custom tools. The tool article dates back a few years but describes a simple and elegant collaborative system they devised for The Incredibles.
A "high performance exchange point in New York City" that I need to know more about. A presentation on Cinegrid at the Fulldome Summit led me to MAN LAN as the closest point that we might use to join in a high speed network of domes. Ask me about it in 2012.
Here's a video logging and annotating program that uses the MPEG-7 metadata standard to embed shot by shot information in the clip itself. I'm wondering if Final Cut Server has any of this capability.
Even crazy ideas have a pedigree. Here are some good photos of the StoryCorps Airstream trailer, one subliminal inspiration for our future podcasting studio. Ours will be funkier. Our trailer is about 30 years older.
A simple new app in the "Google Mac Playground", to record using the built-in camera on a Mac and upload to YouTube. Video diaries, comments, flames. Or carry your laptop around as our friend Barry does, to give a tour of your house.
Obama losing white support? No.
Clinton losing black support? Precipitously.
From Eyebeam in New York, a low cost Multitouch system. We'll do it. Yep.
Still in beta, but some amazing new features (like timelapse sunrise to sunset and full 3D building models) and a new interface.
TechCrunch is usually a little too much insider talk on social network startups. But this quick guide to web video, with a focus on Blip.tv for distribution, is well done.
Seen first at NAB last year. Media asset management in a dark grey interface that was surprising when I saw it at NAB but makes sense if you are reviewing clips and thumbnails all day.
On the 40th anniversary of "2001: A Space Odyssey." via Daring Fireball
An educational resource for teachers, but also a great collection of links and tutorials for anyone using GE.
Shared iCal server. Need it. May do it.
Free and geeky:
$20 and just works:
Maybe they'll want to discuss our (future) vintage airstream podcasting studio.
And another thing
1958 - 1963 Overlander - Airstream Forums
I may not need this immediately - CBS News here wants footage of yesterday's press conference but may be able to convert it themselves. How to get quality output of standard definition from EX1 HD material.
It's getting closer - only 6 or 7 blocks away from the new Girls Club site. Maybe by 2010, when we'll need it.
Sixty-five million Americans depend on broadband services for work, education, entertainment and communications but many others have no access to broadband, Tellabs asserts.
The United States ranks 15th globally in broadband penetration measured against population, Tellabs says, citing data from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.
The company’s survey also found that 81 percent think America should use some of the current Universal Service Fund (USF) to expand rural broadband. USF is designed to fund telecommunications services in rural areas of the country.
It also found that 79 percent of respondents think where you live should not dictate broadband availability, and 77 percent believe economic status should not determine broadband availability.
100,000 downloads of iPhone SDK. All of Google's servers to play with. Every Mac geek running his iPhone batteries down, looking for an angry fix.
No wait, that's Allen Finsberg reading Howl
Maybe if I stay up all night it will come to me...
The real winner here is Google precisely because it lost. Google committed to bidding the minimum $4.6 billion that would trigger open device and open application rules that it had lobbied for, but nobody seriously thought it actually wanted to win the auction. Building out and operating a wireless network is a much lower-margin business than search advertising, and even leasing out the spectrum would have been a distraction. But by putting its $4.6 billion on the table early, it was able to dictate the new rules of the game. Rules that Verizon is now stuck with. All Google really wants are broadband wireless networks that cannot discriminate against Google mobile apps or Android phones no matter who operates them.
From Intel. For rural areas.
I found the names of a couple of old colleagues in this post. Mark Miano are you out there?
OK, I'm psyched again. After the C4C (Center for Community) is built, I'll be the white-haired, white-bearded guy knocking on doors with little mesh boxes (see photo of Michael Burmeister-Brown in the next link).
One developer already chafing under the restrictions Apple has built into the (beta) version of the SDK. The discussion in comments is smart and shows a variety of opinions out there.
And voice. Ready for the TouchWall at the Girls Club in 2 years.
About as far from Macabilero as you can get. But with a giant new cell phone tower in La Tecnica, the Sierra del Lacandon may actually have coverage. Bizarre.
From Glenn Fleishman.
The video-sharing site Vimeo has HD capability and excellent conversion into Flash. Better showcase than Youtube for this, and quicker playback than my own post of the video below.
And for other video shot with the same camera (Sony PMW-EX1) check this Vimeo channel.
A firehose of information from your neighborhood. Or at least from mine.
Value in an age of "free" content.
From the comments:
"The one thing that becomes increasingly less "free" as options for spending it increase, is our time."
Some of the solutions are too expensive, some impractical - 130 days to back up a terabyte - but this is a good survey of alternatives.
Free online seminar.
So I can find this when I need it. I plan to backup and upgrade to Leopard this week.
Via Daring Fireball
"There comes a time in every point-and-shooter’s life when he or she wonders if there is more to photography than a palm-sized block of aluminum stowed away in one’s pocket."
Edward Tufte, authority on visual information design, has an interesting video on where the iPhone got it right and where it still has room for improvement. And I'll bet that video plays great on the iPhone.
How this guy found a different approach to reviewing the new Apple offerings is a mystery. Just smart, I guess.
In four parts. via Daring Fireball.
Okay, I'm a fan. Isn't everyone?
The story is set in 1957, and this time Dr. Jones goes up against cold-blooded, Cold War Russkies—led by Cate Blanchett in dominatrix mode—instead of the Nazis he squashed like bugs in previous installments.
Have your kids gone as far as to edit and add sound and things like that?
No, our kids don’t like to use the software, the tools. They pretty much do it the way I did it in 8-mm.: they cut in the camera.
Simplest tutorial ever, to learn how to create a Mac application.
iTunes feed, RSS feed, download. Fantastic resource.
Hitting the wall. This is my New Year's resolution.
Previously only available in Google Earth.
Looking for possible shared spaces that are NOT Second Life. Here's one way to do it.
Online virtual version of the maps exhibit at Field Museum.
My weekend project.
A brilliant cool day in San Francisco, and a woderful visit with friend Kate who has a new job at Google Earth Outreach. In the supporting materials for our efforts with Google Earth I found this great blog and blog post.
Testing embedding a movie, recorded with Google Earth Pro, in a webpage. At present there is no way to put Google Earth directly in a page, since it is a separate application.
Here's the future location of Lower Eastside Girls Club. Just testing to see how we want to use Google Maps and Google Earth.
No I don't have one yet. But this is inspiring.
I haven't confirmed that this works yet, but I may need it now that I am an overly equipped road warrior. Gotta get back on the river and leave it all behind.
I needed this to fix someone's laptop this week. Didn't forget my password. But I'll need this again sometime.
On Jamma's recommendation I am looking into Wings3D. It does look like the easiest way to make sculpted prims.
With sculpted prims on their way in Second Life, this open source 3D modeling tool will attract many new users. I'll be one of them, if I find the time.
I passed most of the weekend happily procrastinating, learning what I could of the RSS/PHP/TeXML/SMIL/Quicktime connection. Here's one tutorial.
For the growing Spanish speaking contingent in Second Life.
Just another virtual spot I'm working on. Turning it over to TechSoup when they get to it - an info center for new SL arrivals. In the meantime, other NPOs can make kiosks there.
Lots of geeky do-it-yourself kits and gadgets.
That's so ten days ago...
Thanks to Michael Silberman at EchoDitto, a pointer to this wrapup of online politics 2006.
This free program allows you to design, render and export RAW files for use as height field maps. For Second Life of course, though I haven't confirmed the settings needed.
And a tutorial that is a little sketchy but describes going from Photoshop to Terragen.
Thanks to Ron for this one. Now we need to hook it up to SL.
From the socially engaged to the seriously geeky. I am starting to explore the Second Life / web connection in the LSL scripting language.
FROM SL TO WEB - This is the best beginning thread I have found:
SL Forums - How to use llHTTPRequest
FROM WEB TO SL
SL Forums - Query in-world object from the web?
LSL Wiki : llHTTPRequest
A small place, near Techsoup, where SL residents can find out about the Girls Club. Thanks to Lori Bell of the Alliance Library System and everyone at Info Island.
On Info Island at Library 2.0, a multimedia exhibit about the Declaration of Independence. (And in other small news - the Lower Eastside Girls Club now has a kiosk on Info Island, thanks to help from Lori Bell. I'm pleased to have helped and to be around to see the evolution of the island)
I'm collecting resources for nonprofits in Second Life, for my own education and for TechSoup. Click More to see the links, which I will keep updating.
ONCE YOU JOIN
Getting Started - NMC-Campus (overall guide to getting around in Second Life)
NEW USER TOUR HUD
INFO ON NONPROFITS IN SL
EDUCATION IN SL
(there are many of them, here are a few)
ART AND COMMERCE
WHAT"S A SLURL?
Scripting guides - LSL
Linden Lab Tutorials:
BEST INWORLD TUTORIALS
The Ivory Tower Library of Prim, Natoma (207, 170, 25)
The Particle Laboratory, Teal (200, 60, 21)
(Just search for these under the places tab, you can teleport directly)
THE SL-to-WEB CONNECTION
Making a donation box:
NOTE: As someone has commented on the page, the donation script given requires another } bracket at the end to work properly.
Giving a presentation:
Playing Media (audio and video):
Creating Particle Effects:
Creating a texture animation:
An elevator script (good general LSL tips also)
Second Life tutorials developed by Doe-Hyung Kim
The making of the virtual guitar played by Suzanne Vega's avatar in Second Life. Just watch the video. Trust me.
One person's obsession with the One Laptop Per Child program has led to this lively website. Just as on the Digital Divide listserv, there are widely varying opinions here on the usefulness of the $100 laptop.
Launches Aug. 3, Kurt Vonnegut and Howard Rheingold guests on Aug. 7. Isn't it great when it all starts to come together? Now we have to do it for nonprofit organizations and progressive politics. Oh, and bridge the damn digital divide so there is more access to this powerful tool. Bandwidth to the people, my friends.
First, the Infinite Mind blog:
(After the jump - my rant to the TechSoup-Second Life nonprofit folks)
I'm in a sleepless swelter (91 degrees at 2:30am?) and also a Second
Life fugue state, so I'm up blogging a development that has me mapping
out my next 6 months of work.
You may be aware of this, but a new complex of NPR studios is about to
open in SL. I've collected a number of links and some photos that I
ran across (credits to Torley Linden, who blogged her preview) and
This makes me even more impressed by what you folks accomplished in
the last event, on the run and with few resources. It also says a few
other things to me:
1) We need a tour of the NPR place and an understanding of how to use
it and how to schedule ourselves in there, if it is actually going to
be open for outsiders. I want a tour anyway, don't you?
2) We need to launch our own project to build a small studio on Info
Island. Maybe it's a research and training studio. Maybe we get the
gurus of other studios in to speak. Maybe it's a studio without walls,
with overflow on the lawn. Maybe it has the ability to be "piped" over
to an amphitheatre for bigger groups. I liked the outdoor feel of the
last event. I spent too many years in soundproof rooms. The NPR stills
I've seen look like they went overboard recreating a "real" control
room, because they could. And ours should be self-instructing, a
"physical" tutorial in online media, as the Ivory Tower Library of
Prim functions to teach building in 3D.
I've been inspired by AngryBeth Shortbread's live TV studio, with
multiple camera switching, at The Port (15,70,56) . You can walk in
and teach yourself how to use it in 5 minutes. She also has an
interactive whiteboard available free in the ICT library if you
haven't seen it - it has a lot of potential. I'd love to see a roundup
or exhibit of available media players and equipment in SL.
I gather from reading year-old SL history that there was a brief move
by Linden Labs to start their own streaming video channel, but it
never happened. There is still a lot of infrastructure, tools and
expertise around. It probably went into the NPR place. You folks
probably know all this better than I do.
3) We also need to document a tutorial on how to do this (as you did
out of Boston) for NPOs, and in fact create a stripped down field
technique for smaller or mobile productions. Can it be done with one
laptop, a Skype headset and a webcam? One new Macbook with builtin mic
and iSight? What did you folks use? What are the limits of our video
stream? How do you get video streaming on the web anyway?
4) We have to make sure that the new media facilities in SL are not in
fact broadcast centers - that they use all the crazy interactivity
that we got a taste of in the last event, and that we find more ways
to expand on that.
5) I have to get up to speed on a lot of stuff you folks have already
wrestled with, including building and programming. Or bark at the
folks who know it already.
6) The TechSoup event was a good proof of concept. The NPR studio is a
breakthrough in visibility and credibility. Now some funder needs to
come in (Soros?) and help make this a democratic tool.
7) More than ever the issue of the digital divide needs to be
addressed. True affordable broadband for a significant portion of the
population. But can you address that in SL? I don't think so. We have
to do that in our communities and in Congress.
But we could think about a way to throw a switch in the studio that
cuts down the bandwidth required to be functional. Limit chat or IM?
Lower framerate on video to one every 5 seconds if necessary? That
would have been enough last time, frankly. Though I am a 30 frames per
second fan. The audio lag was harder to deal with.
Mea Culpa and Carpe Diem:
Sorry to be the newbie coming in and waving his arms in the air. But
all this is to say that I have some time and energy at the moment,
some mostly useless experience in live and edited television, very
little build and program experience in SL, and a lot of opinions. If
that can be helpful to a team of people with more SL experience, let
Ron Blechner, known as Hiro Pendragon inworld, has a good post on educational projects in Second Life. He's been involved in New York Law School's Democracy Island, where he's built a "3D wiki", a model of Landing Lights Park in Queens, that allows collaborative building and moving of objects .
The plan calls for designating a nonprofit entity to deliver citywide Wi-Fi at wholesale prices and let other service providers offer end users access to the network, either for free or for pay. Even community-based organizations with grant money could offer service over the network, and the city envisions both companies and individuals finding innovative uses for the infrastructure. Surplus revenue to the nonprofit would go back to the community for programs to get low-income people online.
We can use this right now on the girls club podcast site. We'll try it with Lyceum soon.
Remote control of a Mac without a display, or in another location (from folks who host your own Mac Mini).
I'll put some interesting links here as I find them.
Okay, it wasn't a total waste but I did spend a lot of time today my first time with Second Life. We are checking out a session tomorrow for non-profits and I wandered over to the TechSoup place in-game and met a couple of people. Tomorrow I hope to meet the organizers of Global Kids. Their avatars rather. Or them through their avatars. Still a little confusing for an old dog like me.
Nice site, good tips, got to dig into Wordpress this fall.
A "Mixed reality" event on July 18 for non-profits, sponsored by Tech Soup on Second Life. (click MORE for details)
Just as a follow-up, here are some links for those who want to set up
in advance for the TechSoup / Second Life mixed reality event on July
To sign up for a free Second Life account
To download the latest Second Life software
TechSoup's satellite office on Second Life
The three links given above are probably all that you need, but if
you're interested in additional context and background, take a look at
Upcoming.Org's listing of the July 18th mixed reality event
Local real life Net Tuesday/Netsquared meetups
The Second Life Wiki, with information for newcomers
An article on "Real Virtuality in your Second Life and beyond"
The TechSoup / Second Life email distribution list
You can also contact the ever-helpful Susan Tenby (TechSoup's online
community manager) at
Yes, I'm back in New York. Mexico's election is ongoing. Lopez Obrador has a rally in the Zocalo there this afternoon. I ran out of time and resources. So I'm back to edit my story and get back to work on neighborhood issues, including internet access. This could be good news.
Taking it out of the hands of the Telcoms.
But as usual on Daily Wireless, the headline is just a small part of the links and information presented in the post. Even with mesh routers on their way, WiMAX is a good possibility for municipal (read: our neighborhood) clouds in the next couple of years.
I'll need this when my Chiapas time has run out. Jason, here's your future.
The wait is over. Google SketchUp 3D software has been released for OS X. Let the rendering of ancient buildings begin.
Hah! Tracked him down. Teaching a class at Johns Hopkins. Bet those kids are having fun. Don't forget the junglecasts, Nicco.
So it turns out that the $100 laptop uses RoofNet meshed wifi connections.
And where are the RoofNet people from MIT this summer? On sabbatical, they say. Actually launching Meraki, a company that will make the tiny, cheap mesh units we've been waiting for on the Lower East Side. Can we be a beta site? Tune in this summer...
I just discussed this back in New York with our non-profit's new network expert Jordan. Might be something here for quick daily backups.
Thanks to Xeni for the alert on this one. Now my secret favorite album is re-issued. David Byrne and Brian Eno in 1981 breakthrough in recording. 2 cuts offered online as multiple tracks for remix. No secret.
From our friends at EchoDitto, a quick look at Asterisk, the open source Voice-over-IP software.
Also see my previous pointer to an Asterisk how-to.
For my fantasy OS X server. Some day...
Wealthy suburb gets 100 times the bandwidth at the same price as Time-Warner here in New York? Grrr...
Say no more.
Leon Russell, from a bygone era.
Leon again. Blonde bearded longhair, profane gospel wail. Tulsa in LA.
Gringo by the Grijalva. And I thought I could tell this story.
For geeks. via Ben Hammerley's Blog. An easy way to embed a Flash object in a page. Because Lyn wants Flash and I must deliver.
In 1981 I worked on the last of these beasts at WNET13 in New York. My thanks to Paul Pekurney who patiently showed me how to thread the giant reels of two-inch wide tape and calibrate each of the four heads to make a seamless recording. I can still hear the deafening whine and rattle of the thing in operation. In the corner were a few new videocassette machines, only trusted for playing back promos and previews in the breaks, and the one-inch tape machines, state of the art at that point. A heavenly racket as Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers came off the satellites and spun back out for local broadcast. I'd found my place in an electronic cloud.
General purpose storage online. Pay as you go. I haven't looked at Amazon lately but this looks good.
I missed this in my first craze with Google Earth. It may be going out of date now that Google has purchased SketchUp.
But doesn't it always change? Wikipedia as of what date?
They've already been in Tenejapa and here in San Cristobal.
Another one for me. Later. Maybe.
I may need this later. You may need it now.
Thanks to Josh Kinberg and Jay Dedman for this. It creates the code for a pop-up video window that will work with quicktime clips, whether the user has a Mac or PC. Simple and useful.
This is big on digg at the moment. A little inspiration.
Most people still do not use RSS, let alone OPML (I only dabble) but here is an interesting tip from Nathan Nutter's blog via Dave Winer.
To export your podcasts list to OPML you just go to Podcasts. Then choose File > Export Song List… when you save the file choose the Format OPML and you’re done.
Glenn Fleishman offers his recommendations for mail and DNS services, for people running their own webservers who don't want to do it themselves.
Exhaustive roundup (as usual from Sam Churchill) of growing choice of mesh solutions for community wireless networks.
Promises from AMLO, attacks from the PRI, in Mexico's presidential race.
Jon Lebkowsky points to and quotes Scott Karp on Umair Haque's thinking regarding "Bubble 2.0"
"The idea that we’re living in an “attention economy” is nothing new. But unless the media/technology industry starts listening to Umair and focuses on creating new ways to help people efficiently allocate their attention in a world of infinite options, the bubble will pop. And it won’t be pretty.
So let’s focus on the user. What the user needs is help allocating a finite amount of attention. And the solution needs to be personal — perfectly tailored to each user’s needs. The user needs a personal killer app."
Of course that runs the risk of everyone having a tailored feed that only suits his own biases. No room for disturbing news, challenging media.
Actually, Apple appears to be patenting tablet interface elements. This website shows illustrations from the patent including an animated gif of a gesture to enlarge a portion of a map.
I haven't checked this page in a while. They now have more modules for Drupal that they are putting out into the wild. Useful ones including a tell-a-friend node (I couldn't find a good one last year) and blacklist, to prevent comment spam.
The open source website system Drupal has come a long way in a year, since I last played with it. Here's a site that demonstrates some of the new modules and improved look of the flexible community and weblog software.
Also check out page 2 of this excellent resource.
Also via Daily Wireless, this interesting mesh system.
AnchorFree in San Francisco, Association for Community Networking developing software tools.
Hey Mick, why didn't you tell me about this?
Stanford University lectures and more online.
Any readers I still have from last year might remember my baby steps with CivicSpace and Drupal. Here is the 2006 improved version.
Taking a break from color correcting a Court TV show (Dominick Dunne, Power, Privilege and Justice), I ran across this at The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW):
Insurance against getting sued if someone on your network uses it to infringe on copyright.
I saw Larry Lessig's famous Disney/copyright presentation at Cooper Union several years ago and was stunned at the simplicity and clarity of it. Now Lessig has posted his Google Book Search presentation, with notes on how he created it.
Add this to the list of "Things I'll need to know in the new Girls Club media center"...
And a related post on the Google Earth blog about using Google Earth with Garmin's Map source software.
Yep. Intel Macs came out today. Grrr. But my other wish came true. The official Mac OS X version of Google Earth.
And a tip for using GE without an internet connection (as on the Usu, if I'm brave enough): use the cache, and swap them out and save them.
"The USA right now is the buried shadow of the Confederate States of America. You can watch GONE WITH THE WIND, and it's the secret textbook of the Bush Administration. The South lost that war for a reason. The South didn't have it in them to be a major power, because they were bold, gallant, devout, crooked, dumb and full of unexamined anxieties. The thing is, though: when a culture is "gone with the wind," it's never utterly and entirely gone. You can't make things go away by distributing them into the wind. It's just... up in the atmosphere. The emissions of the past form a smog. A breathable compost. You can't throw the past away and start over with a Year Zero. There is no "away." Tomorrow is this place, at a different time."
The interview is about more than just the deal he made, selling Webjay to Yahoo and becoming an employee. A manifesto for an open media internet. Congrats, Lucas!
I've been dabbling in Google Earth lately. In this post I'll start collecting information to allow more sophisticated mappers to plot data on a Google Earth map.
First, here's how one person mapped the avian flu outbreak.
Here's a link to a tool (still being developed) that skilled cartographers like Ron Canter could use.
I'll post more information here as I run across it.
"For Hispanics the stakes are especially significant because only one in eight are experiencing the digital fast lane known as broadband. And study after study shows that broadband usage is a predictor of educational advancement and educational attainment."
UPDATE: On the Digital Divide list, a response to this editorial, pointing out the ties between the author's non-profit and telephone companies. (click MORE)
Do you think it would have beeen helpful for LULAC or the Miami
Herald to have acknowledged that in 2004, LULAC received a $1
million dollar grant from SBC, and that LULAC's "Corporate
Alliance Members" include: AT&T, BellSouth, Verizon and Sprint:
Should we celebrate the active engagement in telecommunications
policy of nonprofits being intensively funded by a set of phone
companies that have tended to mix philanthropy and politics, at
times to the apparent detriment of consumers? Might it not be
better for such nonprofits to stay on the sidelines, while
members of the nonprofit sector free of such conflicts of
interest lead efforts to promote telecommunications policy in the
Principal LULAC arguments in the op/ed you cite include:
1) "We need to streamline or otherwise eliminate unnecessary
red-tape imposed by state and local governments in deciding
whether an otherwise qualified company should be permitted to get
into the phone or cable business. 'Mother, may I' is truly bad
policy in this technologically dynamic era."
What is LULAC getting at here? The phone companies urgently want
to provide one-way transmission of video services to the public
without needing to first agree to franchise terms with
municipalities like the cable companies have had to do.
And if I interpret correctly, LULAC would like both phone and
cable companies to be exempt from negotiating franchises with
cities. My sense is that in many cities, such as Cleveland,
Seattle and San Francisco, those franchise agreements have given
a major boost to efforts to provide equitable access to
At the same time there's a lot to be said for the efficiencies of
a single statewide procedure, if the benefits of those
efficiencies flow not just to corporations but also to
disadvantaged citizens. It seems odd strategically that LULAC
would at this stage of the game lead an attempt to cede the phone
companies their desired goal, without making the case that cities
and their citizens must get, as a result of any more efficient,
streamlined process, a much better deal on average than they get
through the current franchising system. It would be naive to
assume that benefits accruing to phone and cable companies will
naturally flow to consumers without explicit, enforceable
provisions to ensure that.
2) According to LULAC, "any company that wants to compete in the
voice-telephone business should be required to contribute to the
Universal Service Fund (to ensure affordable phone service in
remote and low-income areas), to offer emergency 9-1-1 services
and to offer services for the hearing impaired such as Telephone
Relay Service. There is reason for concern, as many companies
that offer Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services are
trying to evade these obligations."
The phone companies are having their profits eroded by VOIP
providers and would love to slow them down with burdensome
regulations. But presumably LULAC should want them to survive and
thrive. I would guess that LULAC's constituents are in small but
increasing numbers taking advantage of services such as Skype,
Gizmo, Google Talk, and Free World Dialup that enable them to
make VOIP calls within the U.S. and overseas without being
charged for the service.
In the quoted paragraph above, we see a LULAC position very much
in sync with that of the phone companies. But just as LULAC
thinks it efficient to skip municipal franchising, shouldn't it
recognize that there are huge efficiencies to offering services
at no cost, with no need to track and bill very minor payments.
Does it really help achieve the goals of universal service to
require services like Gizmo and Skype to bill each and every one
of their users in order to send money to the universal service
And as far as the situations where those or other VOIP providers
do charge some customers, shouldn't any call by LULAC for such
companies to contribute to the universal service program be
accompanied by a call for reforms to the universal service
program itself, reforms that may be unappealing to the phone
companies? According to David Hughes, the program has
historically piled monies into the coffers of the wireline telcos
while operating to the severe disadvantage of wireless broadband
And Robert Atkinson argues, I think persuasively, that "any
universal service payments made by VoIP services should go to
supporting the build-out of broadband telecommunications, not to
the PSTN" [The phone companies' public switched telephone
network]. Atkinson writes that, "Using these revenues to support
the 20th century circuit-switched network will only delay that
transition to a robust, packet-switched broadband network for the
21st century. As former FCC Commissioner Reed Hundt stated, this
would be as if government responded to Henry Ford's new invention
of the automobile by discouraging the construction of roads and,
instead, tax[ed] cars in order to subsidize canals and railroads.
I wonder whether LULAC agrees with Atkinson's position and would
promote it vigorously?
3) Finally, LULAC calls for, "nondiscriminatory deployment of
video services to every neighborhood to ensure that the process
is competitive and fair. In short, any reform must ensure that
Hispanic neighborhoods get access to these new services as
quickly as non-Hispanic neighborhoods."
Cheers to LULAC for staking out that position, which may clash
with that of its major phone company sponsors.
- Stephen Ronan
I'll need to do this sometime this year. And the old iMac I just revived has no DVD drive, so can't install any other way.
Requires this: Bombich Software: NetRestore
UPDATE 1/11/2006: With Intel Macs come new ways to deal with all this.
I'm using Tiger at this point but this article has some tips I hope to use to share an Airport connection on my laptop with an older iMac over ethernet or Firewire, since it has no Airport card. And I'm told that Apple no longer makes them for that model, so it's Ebay or this way.
This caught my eye because I may be one of those filmmakers they are addressing this to. If Janet drags me on another Zapatour.
A presentation by Nicholas Negroponte on the $100 laptop.
This plugin provides an OPML-based sidebar (reading list, blogroll, directory) for a Wordpress weblog. It's the best tool so far for integrating OPML into a more common format.
Back online after 4 days gone. I read 4 books instead. Sweet. Here's the first geeky thing I ran across when I got back.
An enhanced podcast for the video iPod.
At least, the future of theater projection. Digital and 3D?
Got a new season of tech workshops with the Girls Club coming up. This has some good circuits, including iPod chargers, something we started this fall.
A small muni wireless project in the Scottish town of Troon, using Locustworld meshboxes. Thanks to Sam Churchill at Daily Wireless.
For the Girls Club tech program or PS188. Or both.
Open source biomedical research. Mick, do you know about this?
Via Digital Poetics, a roundtable discussion of the video iPod.
From CasdraBlog by Mike Houser, links to Applescripts to make iPod video (and other iTunes items) bookmarkable, so you can come back to where you left off.
Via the blog of Lawrence Lessig:
This tutorial, and the comments to it, have good information about the EQ capabilities of Garageband, which I discovered I needed last night at the PodLab (grand opening at the Girls Club on Monday).
Another screen movie capture program, for OS X, but it records flash movies instead of Quicktime. Better for the web in some ways.
How-to videos are going to be a big area for iPod video downloads. Here's one service now that's offering DVD rentals. The downloads will come in time.
Okay, this is cool. Thanks Jon, and Lucas for the pointer
New version of their in-the-browser podcasting tool. Easy but your podcast lives on their site.
Via Boing Boing. Realtime conversion. iPod compatible. A lot faster than doing it on your Mac. Great gadget.
And if I go to South Africa.
I never cut feature films. Or any film for that matter. Nothing I've cut has ever been projected larger than a TV screen, with the exception of the Day of the Dead video that I sent back to be shown at the Bowery Poetry Club.
But this meditation on the shrinking and disappearing screen, in the time of the iPod and smaller, intrigues me at a moment when I'm trying to finish something that may be best on the web, on the iPod. How do you tell the story of a vast watershed in the jungle on a 2.5" screen? Keep it personal...
RSS and OPML feeds for your iPod. And it's free.
Amy Gahran's list, recently updated (also available in OPML), of podcasts created or hosted by women. I'll also post this to the girls club Girls On Air! site.
Hah! So simple. Just use the standard multi mini plug to RCA video and stereo audio cable (Radio Shack or the one that came with your DV camera) but swap the red and yellow. Video is the red one in Apple's scheme.
I don't go to the gym, but I should. And I thought of this idea 2 days before I read about it online. Guess it's an obvious one, and the beginning of a wave of how-tos for the iPod.
I don't have either a TIVO or a video iPod but this announcement should kick the market up a notch. I'm still more interested in other types of programming. I can watch TV at home. Guess I'm old-fashioned that way.
JD Lasica, founder of Ourmedia, has posted a great list of open media projects and resources from all over the web.
Veering into the seriously geeky here. There's one guy who is trying to use this to create collaborative online editing. But if you have to write or generate a page of code to define three audio edits, you're reinventing the wheel. Still, there are some interesting possibilities here.
Assuming that the price of the video-capable iPods comes down, this is an area that could make sense for short, small videos. And these guys get it - shorter is better.
Automator for the People - 4:30
Podcasting 101 - 4:54
Watermarking using Compressor - 3:17
Watermarking using Final Cut Pro - 6:03
Just as you can record any audio, streaming or otherwise, with a program like Wiretap, you can record any video with Snapz Pro X. Clever.
But I wonder how this $2,000 unit compares to the $400 Marantz.
Andy Carvin is at the WSIS conference and has made a video of the $100 laptop that was debuted there.
Now, if birdPod came with pictures or photos as well as the birdsongs...
Here's Engadget's post:
Since the middle of last summer, I've been keeping track of my site's statistics with a free service - StatCounter. Free but limited - only the last 100 hits have any real information available, unless you pay a monthly fee.
Now Google is providing something similar.
I took a quick look at Automator, but I need someone to walk me through it. These two articles do that.
Using special cameras with gigapixel resolution. Yes, that's right.
From Glenn Fleishman, the best how-to writer on networking. How do you get that file from your computer to your friend's? Email it, burn a CD, use a jumpdrive (they call them all cruzers where I work), or try these three networking techniques.
As long as you are online. Which is why we have to get the community network up and running.
COO of Sun, which is now working with Google:
And while I'm at it:
From Ethan Zuckerman, a "preview" (he only saw a cardboard mockup) of Nicholas Negroponte's $100 laptop, designed to bridge the digital divide. It does provide more technical details than I've seen previously.
I'm glad to see this open letter from Micah Sifry on lessons learned. I wondered what they felt about getting 5% of an already tiny voter turnout. Ouch. And I have to agree with the commenter who notes that the posters (with the big fist holding lightning bolts) "looked fascist". Read it and weep. Or at least learn for the next time.
And why can't I find a permalink for the entry?
Here it is: micah.sifry.com - Rasiej Campaign Post-Mortem
UPDATE: I see in the post that Micah knows that the links are broken. And it's worth the effort to find it and read it.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Site is down as of 11/9. Full text of Micah's post is below.
Rasiej Campaign Post-Mortem
Open-Source Politics 1.0:
Lessons from Advocates for Rasiej,
2005 Campaign for NYC Public Advocate
Micah L. Sifry, eCampaign Director
As a longtime community organizer, education activist and successful businessman in New York, I've come to realize that this city's most valuable asset -- its people -- is also its most neglected and under-utilized resource. Every day there are thousands of civic-minded individuals and organizations in hundreds of neighborhoods who are selflessly working to clean up our parks, improve our schools, care for neighbors, and strengthen our communities. Yet, too often, our voices and concerns are not heard and our collective power is never felt, in large part because our city government is stuck in an old paradigm: elect one person and supposedly they will solve our problems. And as a result, little thought is given to connecting and empowering our citizens to have a full voice in their own city.
I have decided to run for Public Advocate because I want to use my experience in bringing ideas and people together to change that outmoded and wasteful way of thinking and leverage the full potential of all New Yorkers. I believe we can do that by reinventing the Public Advocate's office for the 21st Century -- by refocusing it on reconnecting New York, and creating a vibrant, self-sustaining network of public advocates who can effectively raise concerns and solve their own problems and make their government work for them once again. In the coming weeks I will be launching a campaign to build the foundation of just such a network, and begin imagining a new vision for New York's future.
--Andrew Rasiej, campaign “pre-launch” announcement, April 3, 2005
From April to September of this year, my friend and business partner Andrew Rasiej ran an unconventional Internet-driven campaign for New York City’s number-two office of Public Advocate. As a technology entrepreneur (founder of the Personal Democracy Forum, and before that the Plug-In digital music conference), education reformer (founder of MOUSE, a nonprofit that trains public school kids to be their school’s own technologists) and adviser to Democrats (chair of Howard Dean’s Internet Advisory Council, unpaid consultant to Tom Daschle, Richard Gephardt, Eliot Spitzer and other local Democrats), Andrew hoped to bring a new vision to politics and government. (Taking a leave of absence from editing Personal Democracy Forum, I joined the campaign in mid-May and helped with general strategy, communications, and online organizing.)
Our campaign generated a good deal of sympathetic coverage in both mainstream media and the blogosphere, and raised more money from more donors in less time than any in recent New York City memory. But ultimately, we came in fourth in the Democratic primary with just 5% of the vote, behind the incumbent, Betsy Gotbaum, who got 48%; her chief rival from the previous election, Norman Siegel, who got 30%; and a perennial candidate and complete unknown named Michael Brown, who got 10%. The purpose of this campaign post-mortem is to analyze what worked and what didn’t, and to ponder the potential of Internet-powered politics in what, alas, may be the typical environment for many campaigns today, i.e. one where voters and the press are paying little attention.
We had three over-arching goals for this campaign:
1) that we could push into the public debate some big new ideas about reinventing municipal government, fostering civic engagement, and the value of getting everyone an affordable highspeed Internet connection;
2) that the right way to run for office is to be as open, transparent, people-centered, small-donor-based and network-driven as possible (building on the experiences of various 2004 campaigns); and
3) that reform-minded individuals, groups, writers, editorialists, bloggers, and institutions, along with locally-focused civic activists, would find all of this refreshing and inspiring and they would rally to our banner and help amplify our message.
Arguably, we succeeded with our first goal, and learned vital lessons about how hard it is to live by our second goal, and how much (or little) these choices could affect our hopes for achieving our third goal.
We fell short because:
1) We started very late, which meant a cascading chain of difficulties including low name recognition, weak ties to potential endorsers, intense pressure to raise vital funds, and difficulties in quickly finding experienced staff and building the necessary organizational infrastructure;
2) We didn’t anticipate how hard it would be to gain traction in a low-intensity election cycle, with an indifferent electorate that, along with the media, was paying little attention overall to municipal politics and practically no attention to the office of Public Advocate (even though it is first in line to succeed the Mayor), and essentially felt things in the city were moving in a positive direction (to the benefit of all incumbents);
3) We misjudged how much people would care about our initial pledge to not take more than $100 per donors, and we overestimated how much the Internet could compensate for our weaknesses, in terms of spreading our message and assisting with fundraising;
4) We didn’t realize how much self-proclaimed progressives and reformers in New York City would take an essentially conservative (i.e. indifferent) approach to an office that could be an innovative force for change in the city; and
5) Low name recognition plus low voter attention meant that network effects (such as a message spreading virally, or friends of the campaign being able to convince their friends to donate money) were almost impossible to produce.
Obviously, it took a lot of chutzpah for a first-time candidate to make a serious bid for office under these circumstances, and more than one of my friends told me back in the spring that the whole campaign was doomed to be a quixotic failure. In addition, we should be careful from drawing too many general conclusions from our particular difficulties, especially those that flowed from running such a time-compressed effort.
Nevertheless, change has to start somewhere, and if we don’t try new things and (inevitably) make new mistakes, the old process of candidate selection and promotion is going to produce the same old results. Emboldened by a sense that the Internet is enabling more people to participate, inspired by all the evidence of public disaffection with politics as usual, and motivated by a desire to push a 21st century vision of government and civic life, we dove in and tried to put into practice what many of us have been talking about. What follows is meant to be a continuation of that conversation, neither its beginning nor its end.
Indeed, I am posting this essay on my blog in the hope that lots of people will read it and comment. My only request to commenters is that you use your real name and keep the discussion civil. I should add that Andrew fully encouraged me in writing this post-mortem, both because of our mutual belief in the value of more openness and transparency, and because he agreed that there might be some lessons here of use to others. (By the way, I know there's a problem with permalinks on this blog, and am in the process of trying to get that fixed. If you have trouble leaving a comment, just email it to me at msifry-at-gmail-dot-com and I'll post it.)
In the early months of 2005, a few of us had a not so modest dream: we were going to show how you could reinvent Democratic politics from the bottom-up, use information technology to involve people in campaigns in a vital new way, and put forward an agenda to reinvent local government as well. In a nutshell, we wanted to re-connect people to each other and to their government, and to demonstrate that if we changed the processes of government we could also change the results. All this, through the candidacy of Andrew Rasiej—a technology entrepreneur, education activist and sometime adviser to top Democrats—for the relatively obscure and wholly underutilized position of New York City Public Advocate.
What follows is the story of how our dream collided with reality.
It’s not the whole story of the campaign, nor need it be. To a large degree, this is my personal analysis of what took place, based on contemporaneous notes and emails and the best of my recollections. The comments and critiques of my colleagues on the campaign, as well as those of close observers, will hopefully inform subsequent drafts of this memo, or at least will be accessible to all through comments and trackbacks below. (That’s assuming we aren’t sick of rehashing this topic before then.)
Why am I writing this? Apart from the cathartic value of reflecting on one’s experience, I think perhaps that others can learn from what we tried to do. I have two (overlapping?) audiences in mind: people who think we need to galvanize new ideas/forces/leaders in order to change the direction of the country; and people who think new web-based communications technologies offer a different and better way of engaging people in politics. Arguably, we have an opportunity to open up politics to more voices now, and a chance to overthrow old ways of doing things.
If only it were so easy!
For a campaign that didn’t formally get started until the end of April 2005 and ended with the September 13 Democratic primary, we did pretty well. Our talented staff, led by Jill Harris (campaign manager from early July to the campaign’s finish), Keara Depenbrock (deputy campaign manager), Giovanna Torchio (interim campaign manager from May through early July) Dan Gerstein (senior strategist), Jay Strell (press secretary), Kenn Herman (Internet director), Gregory Krakower (policy director), Sean Delgado (deputy press and field), Dan Shin (finance director), Ross Offinger (finance associate), Scot Covey (graphics designer and volunteer coordinator), Tom Berman and Jen Vento (advance), Anthony Russamano (scheduler), Pete Mele (office manager) and consultants Bill Hillsman (media), Joel Benenson and Pete Brodnitz (polling), Lori McGrogan (research), Nicco Mele and Scott Bulua (web) and Grant Draper (fundraising), plus some very devoted interns, worked hard and did a terrific job. Here are some highlights:
* New issues put on the city’s agenda. As Andrew was fond of saying, campaigns aren’t only about electing one person, they’re also about advancing ideas, and this was certainly our biggest achievement. Our main idea was low-cost wireless Internet access for all, as a tool for closing the digital divide, improving educational opportunity, strengthening security, modernizing city services and invigorating civic engagement. We also helped pushed the idea of improving transit security via wiring the subways for cell phone service, offered a fresh vision of the role of the Public Advocate as a hub for all the city’s volunteer civic advocates, and planted a seed among some key city council-members who favor a more open and transparent city budget process. All the newspaper editorials on the race praised our wireless Internet proposal, and it was prominently discussed in the two official campaign debates that were broadcast on NY1 and WNBC.
* Great press. We earned a great deal of favorable press coverage, including a whole column by the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman, a laudatory column in the NY Sun that credited our call for low-cost universal wireless Internet service as “the best big idea of the 2005 campaign,” and friendly profiles in New York magazine, Wired, Fortune, the Times Metro section, and the Daily News. Our Wi-Fi plan was featured in cover stories in AM Metro New York (the city’s largest circulation daily) and L Magazine (a free entertainment weekly), as well as in the New York Times and the Amsterdam News. The Daily News featured our demand for better transit security through cellphone service in the subways. And our calls on the incumbent to release her public schedule, which we punctuated with an innovative videoblog called “Where is Betsy,” earned favorable coverage in the New York Times and Daily News, ultimately becoming an important issue in the two official televised debates. (A collection of key clips and documents from the campaign can be found here.)
* Small-donor based campaign. A total of 1732 people made contributions averaging about $195 to the campaign, a total of nearly $340,000, of which just over $200,000 qualified for the city’s 4-1 match for small contributions from NYC residents. Thus we ultimately raised about $1.15 million – more money from more people in less time than any comparable citywide campaign. (Indeed, our contributor base was only about 350 to 450 donors smaller than each of the leading candidates, Betsy Gotbaum and Norman Siegel, both of whom had run before in 2001 and had been fundraising for the 2005 race for years in advance.)
* Innovative field operation. We built a small but efficient field operation that delivered hundreds of thousands of pieces of literature across the city, targeted through an innovative use of the 2001 voter file to areas with the highest voter turnout (using the Google Maps tool we were able to pinpoint high turnout locations to the level of subway stops and individual buildings). Our petitioners collected more than 22,000 signatures, easily qualifying Andrew for the ballot (7,500 valid signatures were needed to get on). And our street-level “wild postings” of Rasiej posters were widely acclaimed for their visibility and their distinctive fist-and-lightning-bolt logo (appropriated straight from the Tennessee Valley Authority and its Depression-era slogan of “electricity for all”).
* Strong online presence. We started with an email list of about 1200 names and ultimately quadrupled it in size. Our website drew nearly 100,000 unique visitors a month. And, thanks in large degree to the volunteer help of pioneers Ryanne Hodson and Jay Dedman, our extensive videoblog got a good deal of notice from the rising community of videobloggers around the country. We were also endorsed or positively linked to by nearly 100 bloggers over the course of the campaign, including Instapundit (the #1 political blog), Doc Searls. David Weinberger, Joi Ito, SwingStateProject, CrooksandLiars.com and many others. (Most of these links are archived on the Rasiej.com blogroll.) For a week in mid-August, Andrew was the “Table for One” guest blogger at Talking Points Memo Café, a new and popular site, which led to a nice spike in traffic and a surprising amount of street-level name recognition. The day before the primary the search term “Rasiej” was the top search term on Technorati (and no, that didn’t happen because my brother happens to be the founder and CEO of Technorati; it happened because we asked many of our blogger friends to post one last pro-Rasiej comment on their own blogs and then we invited our list to go out and read them and spread them around.)
All in all, I think it’s fair to say that we had an impact on the political discourse in New York City, and made a wider impression as well. But on Primary Day, we came in fourth with a little over 5% of the vote. Not only did we come behind our two principal opponents, the incumbent Gotbaum (who got 48%) and the civil rights lawyer Siegel (who got 30%, repeating his second-place finish of 2001), we got fewer votes than a candidate, Michael Brown, who didn’t seriously campaign, wasn’t in the debates, ran no ads and spent almost no money. OUCH!
Why did we come up short? First, the factors that were essentially outside of our control but handicapped our chances:
* Low name recognition. Andrew started the race with almost no name recognition, and on top of that he has a difficult-to-pronounce last name, “Rasiej.” (Say “RA-shay”.) We decided to tackle that head on from the beginning, calling our campaign “Advocates for Rasiej” rather than “Advocates for Andrew” or some variation on his first name (in part because another Andrew, Andrew Cuomo, is already well-known in NY politics). Our posters, fliers and online efforts were all designed to raise his name recognition. However, without greater TV exposure, the unfamiliarity of Andrew’s name was still a major weakness.
* Low media attention to this race. The city’s dailies ran very few stories on the Public Advocate’s race—despite the fact that the holder of the office is first in line to become acting mayor if the mayor dies or is incapacitated. The local TV stations almost completely ignored it. NY1, the local cable news station, devoted more coverage to the contested Brooklyn district attorney’s race than it did to the PA’s race, even though the holder of this office is next in line to succeed the mayor. The editors of two city dailies actually told us that they weren’t going to bother covering the race or issuing an endorsement (though the editorial board of one of those papers did make a perfunctory effort late in the race to interview Andrew and the other candidates before making an endorsement).
* Disinterested Democratic electorate. Compared to the election of 2004, which saw thousands of New Yorkers engaged in grass-roots political activity and a dramatic jump in turnout, this election season was comatose. (Only 450,000 Democrats voted for mayor in the 2005 primary, compared to 785,000 in 2001.) This can be explained by many factors—voter fatigue from the 2004 election results, Mayor Bloomberg’s popularity among core Democratic voters, and lack of excitement with the Democratic mayoral candidates being the most obvious. Still, we had hoped that activist Democrats might be attracted to our campaign as a continuation of the 2003-04 upsurge among grass-roots partisans who volunteered on a host of campaigns; this was not to be.
* Invisible office. Andrew liked to compare the Public Advocate’s office to a dilapidated house at the end of the street that no one wants, that you could renovate and turn into a vital community center. The problem is, few New Yorkers had any idea what the Public Advocate’s office was; not even half could name its current occupant, let alone any of her accomplishments. So half of our work was, in effect, a public education campaign about the existence of the office and its role under the city charter to be a ombudsman and an information provider. Low knowledge about the office meant even lower expectations about its value. The local media both bought into this baseline view and cynically fed it; in the few stories that appeared about the race, the phrase “nobody knows what this office is supposed to do” frequently appeared in one form or another.
* Divided support base. If Betsy Gotbaum had much of the city’s political establishment in her corner (former Mayors Koch and Dinkins, nearly every Democratic elected official, the teachers union, 1199, the NY Times endorsement, etc.), Norman Siegel had the support of a good number of Democratic clubs and union locals, as well as many pieces of the city’s semi-organized left (CUNY’s Professional Staff Congress, the Howard Dean campaign spinoff Democracy for NYC, the Critical Mass bikers, etc.). The "heroic lawyer" model of leadership evidently still makes many liberal hearts beat faster, even if it is woefully out of date. We thought that we could mobilize younger, wired workers (and engage many of them as campaign volunteers) and reach out to black and brown residents of Brooklyn and the Bronx, who our polling showed were the least attached to Gotbaum and most responsive to our platform. But, as discussed further below, the “techies” aren’t a significant base.
Mistakes we made
Those are the easiest answers for the weaknesses of a campaign that had such high expectations around it. Here are some tougher criticisms and self-criticisms. I offer these in a spirit of constructive debate. As Esther Dyson likes to say, “Always make new mistakes.” In this campaign we made some old mistakes, and some new ones. And we tried some things that we couldn’t have known were mistakes until we tried them.
* We started too late. First off, this made it much harder to build a conventional campaign staff and infrastructure, though our interim campaign manager Giovanna Torchio stepped into that gap valiantly and did a great job pulling the basic team and backbone together. From a political standpoint, it also meant that we were also playing catch-up in terms of relationships with outside forces that could either help or hurt the campaign (i.e. press, political clubs, activist groups, civic organizations, etc.). Andrew did bring to the table many personal relationships with reporters and elected officials, and these were definitely helpful. But in many cases people were meeting him for the first time when he went to a club or group’s endorsement meeting and while he made many good impressions, it takes time to build relationships and trust. Finally, and this is obvious but has to be said anyway, starting late made it much harder to raise money and increase Andrew’s name recognition.
* No campaign plan. Though there were plenty of people giving advice to the campaign team, including people who had run successful citywide campaigns and prominent local elected officials, no campaign plan was ever written. Many key pieces of a plan were implemented: in rough order, we did do an opposition research report on our opponent as well as on Andrew himself, we did do an internal poll, we did pull together a media plan, a field plan, a fundraising plan and an Internet plan. But time pressures prevented us from ever integrating all of these, and at times it felt like we were moving in several directions at once.
* Frontloaded spending. Thanks to Andrew’s ability to lend the campaign more than half a million dollars in chunks as the cash was needed, we were able to meet our ongoing operating expenses while waiting for the NYC Campaign Finance Board to certify our matching claims and release the funds we were qualified for. And ultimately all the money was paid back. But because we started so late, ultimately we had less money to work with—and the pressures of quickly pulling together a campaign team meant we paid a premium on salaries. (On the other hand, had we started earlier, our salary costs would have been commensurately higher, too.) When August rolled around, we had far less than we needed for a final paid media push. And a proposed benefit concert that could have brought in $500,000 came close to happening, but didn’t.
* Fundraising in small amounts is harder than we expected. One of the things that excited me about this campaign was Andrew’s initial pledge to not take any donation larger than $100, which is rooted in his (and my) belief that campaigns should be people-intensive, not focused on wooing big donors all the time. With the 4-1 match on donations from city residents, we thought that this wouldn’t necessarily be a handicap; indeed, we expected to get some credit for running a people-centric campaign that held lots of “friend-raisers,” and no big-dollar fundraisers.
But after an initial burst of support that came mostly from Andrew’s personal list, supplemented by core staff and supporters tapping their own lists, which got us to about $65,000 for our first filing in mid-May, it soon became apparent that this was no magic bullet. In addition, while much of the money we raised was given online, hyper-stringent procedures required by the Campaign Finance Board gave many of our donors headaches and slowed down the process of obtaining matching funds.
Indeed, the day we sent out our first big e-mail, we got back dozens of replies from would-be supporters who were blocked from making an online donation because the address they gave didn’t match their credit card information, to the letter and spelling of words as insignificant as Ave. or Avenue. Needless to say, it wasn’t much fun to get complaints like “And you call yourself the technology guy!?” when the problem was being caused elsewhere. Ultimately, while 90% of our funds were raised online, more than half probably came in because Andrew or someone on our fundraising team reached donors on the phone and walked them through the online process.
The biggest problem with the $100 limit was that, combined with our late start, it made it even harder to raise the $125,000 from NYC residents that we needed to qualify for matching funds. Several of our senior staff understood this problem sooner than I did and started pushing for us to drop the $100 pledge; ultimately they prevailed and they were right. (See more on how we handled this issue below.)
Unfortunately, New Yorkers did not care enough about this race (or this office, or the abstract idea of campaign finance reform) to be excited by a no-big-money pledge. While some friends in the national campaign finance reform community were individually supportive, we got no meaningful recognition for Andrew’s pledge from local reform activists, or the editorialists who have generally supported NYC’s public financing system. We were especially disappointed that the New York Times editorial board, a longstanding champion of campaign finance reform, seemed uninterested in our pledge. And, to add insult to injury, when billionaire Mike Bloomberg’s campaign announced that it would be holding hundreds of “friend-raisers” around the city to engage more supporters in his campaign, no one noticed that he had appropriated our very language.
Ironically, the $100 limit may well have helped us ultimately raise more $250 donations than we might have otherwise garnered. It was probably easier to ask many of our original $100 donors to make a second, later contribution for another $150 than it would have been to convince them right away to give $250. (Certainly this is what Andrew thinks!)
* Online advertising didn’t produce. We made two significant purchases of online advertising—a little under $20,000 for a run of blog-ads at the beginning of the campaign, in May, and about $75,000 for a wave of banner ads targeted at New York City residents on a host of news and entertainment sites that ran from early August til the end of the campaign. The purpose of the first run was simply to buy some name recognition among Andrew’s core constituency of online political types and wired New Yorkers, and we were pleased with its results. The second run, which was targeted to New Yorkers and appeared on a mix of news sites and cultural sites aimed at young, hip types, however, did not produce the kind of impact we needed. About 80,000 click-throughs were generated (we had hoped for three to four times as many), and very few people signed up as a result. While I’m sure our online ads helped with Andrew’s general visibility, and certainly helped grow our list, the money spent on this second run probably would have been better spent on traditional TV ads or more field efforts.
* Subcontracts to field operatives didn’t produce. While the campaign’s own field team, interns and volunteers did a bang-up job of flyering targeted locations, we also subcontracted some work organizing candidate appearances and postering/flyering to operatives in Brooklyn and Queens. Some church visits and visibility events were quite successful; others were a mess. On Election Day, Andrew and I were dismayed to discover a whole quadrant of voting sites in north-central Brooklyn devoid of any signage, even though we had been assured that these sites were covered (and indeed we were driving around doing visits to polling sites having been told they were covered). Needless to say, this weakness was a result of having to rely on outside operators who are hardly the most scrupulous people in politics.
* Open-source politics is little understood or appreciated. Here’s another example of how hard it is to change the status quo: As we approached our first filing deadline with the Campaign Finance Board, we discovered that the CFB’s system for reporting (known as C-Smart) required that we literally keypunch, by hand, all the data for every single contribution, even though we already had it all in our own database. Our Internet director, Kenn Herman, quickly wrote a program that would interface with C-Smart and enter the information quickly; in effect, an automated typing program. After we used it successfully for our first filing, we decided, in the spirit of open-source politics, to share Kenn’s program freely with all the other campaigns in NYC, starting with our chief rivals for the Public Advocate’s office. Several responded favorably, at least at first.
Well, apparently, no good deed goes unpunished. Much to our surprise, the CFB spokeswoman soon issued a statement warning that our program, which we dubbed “B-Smarter,” was “unauthorized third-party software” and suggesting that any campaign that used it risked losing its matching funds. As a result, every campaign in NYC—except ours—was forced to waste dozens or even hundreds of hours on needlessly retyping contributor data into C-Smart, time and money that could have been more fruitfully spent talking to voters. We thought the press might take note of this small, but telling, example of how politics could be made more user-friendly, but other than The Politicker blog of the New York Observer, none did.
* Weak response from civic groups/activists. In a similar vein, we tried hard to implement Andrew’s notion of reinventing the Public Advocate’s office to be a hub for all the volunteer public advocates already at work in neighborhoods across the city fighting to make the city a better place by mentoring in schools, serving on community boards, feeding the hungry, cleaning up parks, etc. We tried to model this idea with WeFixNYC.com, a website where New Yorkers could email photos of things that need fixing in NYC, like potholes. But we were stymied in our desire to involve local activists more directly in this project, even people who are working on the issue of closing the digital divide, because of their groups’ non-profit status.
If we had had a full-time political director on staff, or if we had come up from within these civic networks more organically, this might have been a more fruitful territory for us. Politicians who have been around for a long time “solve” the problem of engaging the leaders of non-profits by developing those relationships outside of the electoral campaign context; we imagined that the direct connection made possible by the Internet might be a short-cut around that obstacle. Perhaps, if Andrew had been running for an office with greater visibility, that would have been the case. But not here. Again, the press largely didn’t understand or bother to cover the idea (apart from one local radio station and NY1).
* Tech “community” a fiction? Another one of the unconventional premises of our campaign was the idea that young, “wired” individuals who work and play in the new technology economy would rally to support one of their own, a candidate who “gets it”—that is, who demonstrably understands the power and potential of networks and transparency in politics. Indeed, we started with lots of support and good will from key Internet organizers from the Dean, Clark, Kerry and Kucinich 2004 presidential campaigns along with “A-list” technology opinion-shapers like Doc Searls and David Weinberger. Nicco Mele, Dean’s webmaster, was a key adviser, for example (his firm, EchoDitto, handled our web back-end), and Joe Trippi was helpful in pointing to the campaign as a model. Along the way we gained the support of other leading techies like Esther Dyson and Craig Newmark (of Craigslist), and made solid headway with top political bloggers like Joshua Marshall (TalkingPointsMemo) and Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit). And activists in NYC’s wireless community were incredibly supportive, along with local sites like the DailyGotham and Gothamist.
But the fabled tech community turned out to be mostly a fable when it came to actually embracing Andrew’s campaign and setting aside time to spread its message. Yes, about 100 local and national bloggers linked to the campaign. But few made an extended commitment to pitch in. To give one telling example, when I asked a core group of about 30 tech supporters to help us “kick the tires” on our WeFixNYC.com site by sending in a picture of a pothole before we announced the project to the public, at most 3 or 4 responded.
I chalk up our difficulty in mobilizing techies to several factors: 1) the number-two office in NYC is just not of great interest to techies, no matter how innovative the campaign tactics or message; 2) techies are predominantly political independents, or libertarians, and thus hard to mobilize in a Democratic primary context; 3) techies are focused on work, making money, and, for all their complaining about politics, a relatively immature political grouping (compared, to say, Old Media moguls in Hollywood). And unlike some cities where political bloggers play an important role in local affairs (take Portland, Oregon), in New York there is no hive of vibrant conversation about local politics. If anything the political blogging culture reflects the larger political culture here and is dominated by careerism and inside-baseball sniping. Some new websites like DailyGotham hope to change that, but they have so far gained only modest traction.
* Viral campaigns are hard to do in a low attention environment. We made several attempts at engaging our supporters and interested visitors to our website in a conversation that we hoped they would help spread. First, and throughout the campaign, we asked people to share their ideas for how to make New York City a better place. As email messages came in through our online suggestion box, we picked out the interesting ones and wrote back to the senders, thanking them for their ideas and asking for their permission to post them on our blog. Then I wrote up a blog post, adding some comments in the voice of the campaign, and urging others to join in. At one or two points in the campaign, we e-mailed our whole list asking them to help develop a list of “21 ideas for 21st century NYC.” But we got very few responses. Yes, a few of the people who we listened to in this manner became campaign supporters, making a contribution or offering to volunteer. But not enough to become a self-sustaining hub of activity. (Overall, we got about 160 comments on a total of 150 blog posts between April and September, a sign of little community involvement.)
Likewise, we envisioned our videoblog as having a viral potential, especially the humorous “Where is Betsy?” posts that we did, attempting to track the current Public Advocate and demonstrate how inaccessible she is to the public she is supposed to serve. But again, apart from some decent press coverage, this “meme” didn’t spread. Since every one of our “techie” gimmicks also functioned as a press hook, the time we spent coming up with them was not wasted. But our larger hope that these would help spread our message and build our grass-roots base was for nought. Again, the general lack of public interest in the Public Advocate’s office deadened these possibilities.
It took us a long time to implement a “tell-a-friend” feature on our website that we thought would have viral potential. We wanted a way for strong supporters to not only forward a simple message to their friends, but for them to also be able to track their friends’ responses and to see their own impact on growing our network. DemocracyinAction, the list and donation management tool that we were using, does not include that function. So our Internet team ultimately created one from scratch that included a Google Map showing a participant’s own social network by zipcode, enabled them to see which of their friends had responded, and to also see the second-degree connections that might result as those friends invited additional people. We deployed this tool late in the campaign, and about fifty people (a little over 1% of our list at that point) used it to invite additional people to join. With time and attention, I believe this tool would have produced healthy results for us, especially because it gave us a new way to discover which of our own supporters were active connectors. But by this point, we were running out of steam.
* No Democratic or progressive leaders stepped forward. We put a good deal of time into seeking endorsements and other forms of support from Democratic and progressive leaders and groups in the city. Since Andrew has been active in New York City and state Democratic politics for several years, and has built strong personal relationships with a number of elected officials, we thought we had a chance at prying some Democratic leaders away from the establishment and into Andrew’s camp. He personally spent a fair amount of time early in the campaign meeting working on this, but ultimately no one was willing to break away.
Likewise, the process of seeking endorsements from political clubs and organizations, while time-consuming, ultimately produced only one substantial score when Andrew was endorsed by the Laborers Union. (Norman Siegel, to his credit, had deeper relationships with many clubs and interest groups and earned a number of helpful endorsements that way.) Some important individuals who privately expressed admiration and support for Andrew were prevented by their boards (non-profit, educational, etc) from making public endorsements. Other than positive press attention from columnists like Thomas Friedman and Errol Louis, we got very little traction from outside validators. (It’s not clear, given the Democratic establishment’s near unanimous alignment with Gotbaum, whether this could have mattered to voters anyway.)
Personally, I found our interaction with both the Working Families Party and ACORN, two of the most important progressive organizations in the city, to be a big letdown. One would think that these institutions, both of which pride themselves on being organizing and strategy hubs for the city’s liberal-left, might have seen an opportunity in the little-known Public Advocate’s office. After all, with Mayor Bloomberg an odds-on favorite for re-election, and no Republican even running for Public Advocate, whoever held the office would be the city’s highest elected Democratic official. And, with no Republican running, there was no danger that an energetic primary battle among Democrats might hand the office to the other party. Mark Green, the first Public Advocate, had already shown that the office could be a center of alternative organizing and policy formation.
But while the leaders of both the WFP and ACORN were friendly to Andrew personally, their governing boards showed little imagination regarding the race. ACORN endorsed Gotbaum (presumably because she and they are aligned together on the Brooklyn Atlantic Yards development, a huge real-estate deal that is dividing the borough). And the WFP was split between Gotbaum and Siegel, whose old-fashioned appeals to “fight the power” apparently struck a responsive chord. Ultimately, the WFP stayed neutral in the race, which I suppose was sort of good for us. But as someone who has supported the WFP since its birth, I was greatly disappointed to see, first-hand, the limits of the party as a change agent.
* Message was too narrow? Or too broad? In my humble opinion, this was a campaign of ideas that never quite manage to boil them down into a single coherent message. Even now, I have a hard time condensing into a single phrase all of our notions about reinventing the Public Advocate’s office; pressing for greater openness, transparency and accountability in government; and using universal low-cost wireless Internet access as a vehicle for empowering people, improving education, strengthening security, modernizing city services and competing in the Information Age. The themes we did come up with (thanks especially to Dan Gerstein) were “connecting New York City” and “bringing New York City into the 21st century,” do capture all of those ideas, but without greater resources we didn’t have the ability to convey this to enough people. And it’s not as if people already know what a 21st century city that takes full advantage of the new communications technologies looks like. (Such places exist, but Americans – outside maybe of those living in San Francisco or Seattle -- have no idea how far behind they’re falling.)
Because we needed to punch through with something, we embraced “Wi-Fi” as a symbol of everything we were trying to achieve, issuing a detailed plan to “Wi-Fi NY,” launching an online petition drive and holding a major launch announcement on the steps of City Hall with about 100 supporters and Andrew making a big speech holding a wireless router in front of a podium made of old PC mainframes. The press was happy to label Andrew the “Wi-Fi Guy.” But with that came complaints that now we were a one-issue campaign, and worse that our “Wi-Fi NY” proposal ignored the digital divide and was mainly about making it easier for yuppies to check their e-mail while lounging in Central Park. In fact, we were trying to make a very broad point about how enhancing connectivity would enable all kinds of new efficiencies in city services, strengthen security, improve educational opportunities, and so on. (And for the New York Times editorial board to breezily dismiss our fifteen-page Wifi plan as “lacking details,” was nothing short of outrageous).
I continue to believe that assuring that everyone has affordable access to a broadband link to the Internet is an idea as powerful as assuring that everyone have electricity or everyone have a dialtone coming into their home. Today, more than ever, information is power—and the ability to both get information from and give information to the network ought to be seen as a civil right. As more people get on the net and as more applications are built around it, as the reigning telecommunications monopolies continue to gouge consumers while providing a subpar service, and as more Americans wake up to the implications of living in a “flat earth” (to use Thomas Friedman’s term) and of falling behind our international competitors, I am sure this will become more of a political issue. And some smart politician or party will figure out how to ride it.
Does “open-source politics” have a future?
One last set of observations: My biggest personal disappointment was discovering how little our attempts to be an open, transparent and bottom-up campaign mattered in a context where few people were paying attention. This is perhaps the most important lesson for anyone considering an “open-source” style political endeavor. Such efforts should be able to gain traction in an environment where lots of people are personally motivated to care about the race or issue at stake. Obviously, a presidential campaign, or a congressional race that could shift the balance of power in Washington, are both likely to garner more free attention from self-starting political activists than, say, a down-ballot race for an urban office few people know about or understand. The same sobering fact may be true for city council races and state legislative races as well.
But at the same time, I question how much we really opened ourselves up to the possibilities of a people-intensive campaign where supporters are engaged not just for their ability to make a donation, but also for their ideas and their ongoing involvement. For example, in late June, when Andrew decided to lift his voluntary $100 limit on contributions and instead focus on $250 contributions (the maximum amount that would qualify for the 4-1 match), I argued that we should ask our existing donor base (which then numbered about 900 contributors) what they thought.
But all the other top campaign staff felt that, if the decision was already a given, then doing any kind of poll or listening process would just be a cynical exercise. In theory, our supporters could have responded “don’t raise the $100 limit; we’ll pitch in harder to make it work”—though given the necessity of getting to $125,000 as quickly as possible made all of us quite skeptical of that working in time. So, at what might have been a “you have the power” moment for the campaign, we didn’t really allow our base to have the power; nor did we trust that including them in our internal decision making process might have made us stronger. Time, and especially our lack of it, made us cut this corner.
In retrospect, I blame my own inexperience for my failure to push harder for a different approach. A conventional campaign was hardly likely to win in this race, given the low attention of the press and the public, Andrew’s essential invisibility, and the support for the incumbent from the local political establishment. As it is, we did not run a conventional campaign when you consider how much money and time we spent on building “buzz” and Andrew’s street-level and online recognition. At one point, our campaign manager, Jill Harris, a seasoned veteran of local campaigns as well as the field director of the 2004 ACT operation in the battleground state of Ohio, said to me that she had never worked on such an unusual campaign. But, she noted, if we took the money and personnel that we were spending on our website, online ads, cultivating bloggers and street-level postering and poured it into more traditional field operations (some of which we were doing already), we’d lose anyway. So perhaps we should have been even more unconventional!
But, to be brutally honest, I don’t think I trusted my own instincts enough on this, and in the rush to find experienced staff to put together a campaign organization we didn’t make belief in “open-source politics” a requirement. (Nor would that have been possible or wise.) One telling moment that stands out in my mind: In mid-April, Andrew forwarded me a memo that he had received from a political consultant who was offering his services to the campaign. The consultant stated, in the frankest terms possible, that if Andrew truly wanted to win, he should toss aside his idealistic notions of running a small-donor-driven Internet-centric campaign and instead invest heavily in polling, focus groups, high-dollar fundraising events and then put the bulk of his cash into an expensive media campaign focused in the final weeks before the primary. Oh yes, and that would cost us a hefty penny in retainer and commissions, all payable to that consultant. (Andrew, to his credit, rejected this guy’s proposal, saying that if he bought it, there would be little point in running since it would be such a conventional campaign it wouldn’t change a thing.)
In reaction to that memo, I drew up one of my own that I entitled “The Rock Star and the Mosh Pit,” evoking the image of a musician who trusts his fans enough to take a leap off the stage, knowing that he will be caught and lifted up by the people in the “mosh pit” below him. I wrote:
We are trying to do something unprecedented here: elevate Andrew not simply as a candidate for PA, but as the focal point of a people’s movement for reconnecting NYC, lighting up the city with free wifi, liberating the Democratic party from big money and bankrupt habits, and reinventing the PA’s office as a hub for public advocates all over the city. Instead of presenting a polished and poll-tested message, we’re going out on a limb and assuming that a network of engaged participants are going to catch us. (That doesn’t mean we aren’t hiring talented and experienced people to help, just that we aren’t running a typical top-down cautious campaign.)
To that end, we’re looking for people to help with all aspects of creative outreach and organizing. Our goals, in rough order, are:
-start a viral conversation online around AdvocatesforRasiej.com and our fundraising drive, and keep stoking it as it grows
-sign up volunteers and listen to everyone’s ideas, both on what the campaign should be doing and what the PA should be doing
-encourage people to self-organize and help spread the message (and offer them good tools for that)
-mobilize supporters for all the campaign’s activities: petitioning, visibility events, GOTV, etc.
I handed this memo out at an evening meeting of Andrew’s “brain trust” (about thirty friends, advisers and sympathetic people active in NY politics) that took place April 18th. I offered some specifics on how we could start engaging people on- and off-line:
First thoughts on first steps:
1. Make our blog the hub for interesting community conversations: this requires daily posting, a human voice (or two or three) that reflects Andrew’s, and constant attention to the feedback rolling in
2. Engage the larger online communities by:
-Building a big blogroll of both local and national blogs
-One-on-one outreach to key bloggers (Kos, Jerome Armstrong, et al)
-Special attention to NYC sites (Research help needed asap)
-Special attention to communities of color online (ditto)
3. Walk the walk:
-Be open and transparent and occasionally vulnerable (admit mistakes and make new ones)
-Show the network it exists: visible feedback loop is vital (and viral)
-Try new tools and tactics (videoblog, podcast, SMS relay)
4. Devise some short-term targets for the network to focus on:
-Ask people for ideas for slogans
-Set a target of raising $X to run an online ad in the NYTimes
-Do a Flickr-style campaign of tagging photos of things that need to be fixed in NYC and ask site visitors to vote on the most urgent
Though something like thirty people attended the meeting, not one followed up with me.
I didn’t want to admit it, but as early as mid-April it should have been clear that our dream of doing things differently was a lot harder to realize that we imagined. The sheer challenge of getting a campaign off the ground, making the matching funds threshold, getting on the ballot and taking care of core tasks like pitching the press, managing Andrew’s schedule, campaign finance reporting, bookkeeping, drafting policy statements, replies to endorsement questionnaires, developing fliers and getting them into the field—all in record time—meant that we couldn’t also do everything according to an “open-source” philosophy of trusting your base to catch you. This time around there was no “mosh pit.” Andrew, sensing exactly what was going on around him, did what any rational person would do and drew back from taking the leap. We were to be a top-down campaign using some nifty online tools that made fundraising easier and communications cheaper. But we didn’t reinvent politics as usual. Not this time, anyway.
Since I seem to be collecting ways to do this, I'll put this one out as well. It requires a short command line script (provided) run in terminal.
And I love it when folks who can write good code down to the last /, \, and " still insist on using "it's" as a possessive. Yeah, I'm a nitpicker, and I can't code.
See also this collection of previous posts on iPod video.
Apple is supporting developers of plug-ins for music applications from GarageBand on up. I'll be watching this for the podcasting girls, who are getting proficient at music production.
There are free videos there as well.
Via Doc Searls:
Geotagging - My next frontier.
I've been on a map binge, trying to learn how to manipulate Google maps. Geeky. I haven't got much to show for it but I'm making some progress. Talk about learning curve. Had to take on Ning as well.
Ning's winning. Usu Maps
Lots of good resources out there, and a good game.
Using Google Maps with Ning: Ning Developer Documentation (might need a developer login for that)
From Anne Galloway:
Well, it will probably still be slow, but you could leave it overnight.
Cool travel videoblog. Vloggers, get out and see the world!
Based on my short test, I'm not surprised by the slowness of the conversions in these tests. But when quality is the concern, I think they are asking too much of a compressed 320X240 video. It's supposed to look good for a $2 video on a small screen. Go to the movies, watch TV or buy a DVD if you want better.
If it looked any better blown up, Apple (and everyone else who will get into the business) would never get the deals with the media producers.
As I've noted before, I worked on the edge of CBS News (I helped start up CBS News Productions, !994-95), and there was a sense then that their world was coming apart. At the time it seemed more a technological problem, at least from my angle. But now the sense of authority and balance has slipped away.
Automating the steps to create an iPod -ready video.
Se also my earlier post on the subject.
Food for the critics.
This is a freeware solution, but see the notes below.
And see this tutorial, useful for more than the title implies.
UPDATE: Since many people are hitting this post, and someone has commented that it doesn't work, I'll add links to my other posts (other methods) for creating iPod video. The most reliable way is to use Quicktime 7 Pro but as commenter Ryan has noted, it is slow. And it costs $29.95 - but it's worth it in my opinion.
I've just read that the new version of iTunes (6.0.2) has a dropdown to menu option to convert a video already in iTunes to iPod format:
Someday I'll go totally geek and I'll need this. Plus Brainstorms and Raves is just a great site.
Via Wi-Fi Networking News. Thanks Glenn!
Google Maps lead engineer Lars Rasmussen discusses Maps and future desktop appications.
Go ahead - locate a few of your favorites.
Copyright and Digital Media in a Post-Napster World
It includes a section on the "K-12 Initiative" that considers digital copies of educational materials for schools.
Yesterday, before I saw this, I went through the same steps - as far as I could go without a new iPod. The conversion from a full-size DV file was slow (on new 12" PowerBook), but the resulting movie was sharp and a fairly small file size. I can see that if you were to convert a significant amount of video, you would need a fast G5.
On the new iPod there is a voice recording setting that allows CD quality stereo recording. On the older ones, you are limited to low quality mono.
Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
I lived to see the video iPod.
Key to fast bittorrent downloads, among other things. If I can get my brain around it.
Hats off again to Sam Churchill for an incredible collection of great links and info.
Via Andy Carvin, links to info on small local wireless bulletin board systems.
A podcast of Nicholas Negroponte's speech on the $100 laptop that he's been developing to bridge the digital divide.
From a good discussion on Slashdot concerning wireless VoIP.
Here's one of those "Doh! Why didn't I think of that?" moments.
They suggest showing your home videos through an iChat session. Why not use it to review your Final Cut editing work at home with your client? I have to do a test of the quality to see if this would work.
The PCR-1. For the podcasting studio. On sale now at J&R. This reviewer likes it better than the Oxygen 8.
Including the activist, Cory Doctorow.
A glimmer of understanding for me, a giant step for the web.
Despite the title they are not making light of, or a profit on, triage. Bravo to the Nielsen Haydens for a forum that could provide this, and readers with intelligence to comment on it. Indispensable reading for anyone needing emergency medical information, and that seems to be a lot of folks these days.
From Global Voices Online. Most useful in places where freedom of speech and press are under attack. Sound familiar?
San Francisco only so far. Ready for the battle of the giants?
With this I may not have to drag my laptop to work.
For the community wireless portal. It will happen.
I'm revisiting this now that I'm using Tiger and launching the Girls On Air! podcasting project.
I would have to modify the workflow above, and add this action if I wanted to automate the FTP upload:
With Apple's support of podcasting came their enhanced podcast format, allowing chapters and graphics in a podcast. The first tools to create these were not particularly user-friendly.
Now there's a better tool available, which also lets you create chapter-based "Vidcasts". Works with OS 10.3 or later, QT 6.5 or later.
From the same company, an asset management tool that also helps create chapter based videos.
I posted a while back about using iChat with Google's new IM service. I hadn't used it in a couple of weeks and tried today, but got an error that it seems everyone doing this is getting now. No workaround or fix yet from Google. Back to AIM for now.
I have to get serious about Final Cut, finally. My next editing job will be the first hour-long show (dense with effects) that I've tackled on FCP. So I started looking for tips and tricks and found this collection of tutorials from the Berkeley school of journalism. Nothing in-depth, but good insights and well-written. It covers story selection, planning, shooting, editing, audio, Photoshop - a little of everything. Except podcasting.
Back online after a great week roadtripping to Maine, N.H., Vermont, now the Adirondacks. Catching up with wireless news, including the availability of WiMax customer premises equipment from Alvarion.
This one from Dori Smith.
Like the poster on the blog where I saw this link, I will probably never do this. But I like to read about it.
Yeah, we're all posting about this one. Here's how I got on.
We're getting in a lot of footage on DVD for the shows that we're producing lately. These links show a better way of converting these to Quicktime and DV formats for editing purposes. They are also useful for a variety of DVR conversions. Via dpwolf/blog » Tech.
Someone else playing with Quartz Composer and posting his results.
At the Lower Eastside Girls Club, we've had a plan in place for three years, to give away free wireless broadband to Avenue D once the new building is constructed. Andrew Rasiej is running for public advocate on a free WiFi platform. He told us that non-profits should stay out of it. Hmmm...last time I looked, NYC Wireless was a non-profit. They've unwired Bryant Park, the financial district, Union Square. And in Philly the non-profits have played a big role in providing access to their constituents. Maybe Andrew was having a bad night.
Still, we're on the same side in the battle against the telecom monopolies. Here's Andrew's new report on price gouging by broadband providers.
Another how-to on webserving with the Mac. A constant item on my to-do list.
UPDATE: A list of previous O'Reilly articles on Mac webserving can be found here. It includes a series covering Apache on Jaguar.
An application that puts information about your Quicktime clips into the clips themselves (like mp3 tags). It's part of the Quicktime spec. Will the tags show up in iTunes?
Again, thanks to dp wolf.
From my new favorite tech blog: dpwolf/blog » Tech
A link to CocoaMySQL - A MySQL GUI for Mac OS X - which is a graphic interface for MySQL databases, sure to be handy if I keep working with WordPress.
So I just took the plunge, upgraded my computer and OS, happy as a clam, and I'm starting to play with Quartz Composer. This is an application that takes advantage of new graphic capabilities in the Mac OS. Some folks are running with it already. This looks very cool.
For the local business broadband initiative.
For my microbiologist son.
One of my favorite sources of weblog information just went through the same server move that we did. Well, the original server was a different configuration, but many of the issues were the same. Here is their experience. I'll add our notes when I get to it.
Came to this by a very roundabout route. I saw a post on Smart Mobs that was about two links removed.
In any case, a study in the new issue of "Telecommunications Policy" that reviews developig and developed countries' broadband strategies.
In "Lessons from broadband development in Canada, Japan, Korea and the United States" this gem popped out:
"...the ITU reports that in 2002 Japanese consumers paid $0.09 per 100 kilobits per second of broadband access compared to $3.53 in the United States."
For making enhanced podcasts with chapters, stills, and links.
via Al Delgado's Educational Weblogs.
My test drive of the OPML editor.
Dave Winer has made the Mac version of his OPML editor (it's really much more than that) available. Here's the page about it:
And here's the download.
I took a look around, and here are two good sources.
Mainly concerned with economics of coffee shop level hotspots, but interesting.
Andrew Hedges has put together an excellent tutorial on building widgets. Much clearer than anything I've run across, and more helpful to the non-geek than the dashboard developers' list. Thanks Andrew!
Addressing the digital divide with a crank powered mesh enabled laptop.
The folks at EchoDitto keep bringing out more goodies for Drupal-based websites.
For now there's:
I met Jay last week after a panel discussion on the digital divide at EyeBeam, sponsored by City Councilwoman Gale Brewer (Bruce Lai was representing her office). Jay took a bit of a tangent in his comments but was an inspiring and vivid addition to the conversation.
Getting geeky here. I usually try to get a glimmer of the latest buzzwords on the web. Often I don't get much further. Occasionally I get some use out of it.
From this readable and useful explanation of AJAX by Cameron Adams:
I'll need this later. Thanks to Sam Churchill.
Why worry? As the quoted report in Mobile Pipeline points out, it's all just too easy.
File under "Online global persistent distributed co-op backup"
Two items in Daily Wireless today with useful info for those dreaming of cheap (or free) wifi for their communities.
EchoDitto has created some of its best websites on a foundation of the Drupal open source content management system. Now they are beginning to make their elegant add-ons open and available. Cheers to Nicco and the team!
The rumor has it, as early as September.
The only one I miss on this chart is civicspace, built on drupal. For a multiple author, open blogging system it works great. But I think the choices in the chart are probably much easier to set up and simpler for each individual author to use.
Thanks to Dave Winer for the pointer.
I'll want to get back to these: the first two tools I've found to help write the XML for enhanced podcasts, and a forum for chapter tool tips and questions.
It's a geek thing, not a jungle thing. The comments also have some good tips on setting up control of remote Macs without displays of their own.
A brief review of John Markoff's "What the Dormouse Said, How the 60’s counterculture shaped the Personal Computer Industry."
Here's the best roundup so far of information about enhanced podcasts, the new (4.9) capability of creating podcasts that have chapters, graphics and links built-in.
A followup to my earlier post on the Backpack Hotspot. The New York Times gets reactions from Verizon, whose cellular internet connections are being shared by these devices.
Good essay on Apple's promotion of podcasting, good and bad, and how it might fix what's lacking.
A post by Dave Winer that is timely, since he is releasing his OPML editor. I saw a demo of it two nights ago, and was impressed again by the potential of OPML. I'm one of the people he refers to who have been hand-coding their node (mine is the Travel category) of the ipodder.org community directory, an early experiment in a community run, distributed structure based on OPML. If I can do it, anyone can. But the ease and elegance of the new editor application is an impressive sign of new things on the horizon.
The podcasting community did more than bootstrap a new medium in record time. As if that wasn't enough, it also bootstrapped a directory of podcasting resources and podcasts themselves, and a way of doing directories in communities that goes way beyond podcasting in importance. It's a structure of interlinked OPML directories, maintained by the community, linked together by the architecture of OPML. It's the small pieces loosely joined philosophy applied to directories, and it works. There is no official top level of the directory, but many people think of Adam Curry's ipodder.org directory as the top level. For many months Adam toiled over this directory, using an early version of the OPML Editor that I created for him. Many of the people who create directories that Adam links to actually code the OPML by hand, that's how dedicated and visionary these people are.
Via Slashdot. A Google map Firefox plugin that puts a Google map in any page that has an address or location data.
Relevant to what we are doing in the Girls Club, that's for sure.
Another mobile communications backpack. But this is the real deal.
Films via WiMax. Another piece of the puzzle.
No WiMax connection was mentioned in Intel's press release today, but at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, the premiere of Rize was delivered via WiMax to a Ski Lodge in Park City Utah.
Intel technicians in Hillsboro, Oregon, encrypted Rize, which was shot in high-definition digital video. The file was streamed to Salt Lake City, then beamed via microwave to Park City and through a WiMax connection to the top of a 10,000-foot mountain. A receiver at the ski lodge sent the file to an HP Media Center PC, where it was decoded and projected through a high-end digital projector. The film was encoded in high-definition using Microsoft Windows Media 10 and used Alvarion and Mountain Wireless, an ISP, to deliver the goods.
A constituent relationship manager that is compatible with CivicSpace and Drupal.
From ZDNet via Slashdot.
Downloaded Skype but haven't used it yet. Here's the open source alternative, which uses the SIP standard and features one-button recording of calls - an easy podcast.
Last fall I was looking into putting links in Quicktime audio files to do this. Now Apple has created Enhanced Podcasts with chapter marks that trigger pictures or links. Details here:
Typically, I've lurked on the edge of Ourmedia for a couple of months. Here's an overview of what's happening in and around. Confusing and exciting, and very early in the process.
Latest in the legislation battle.
One of the best analyses of the current political struggle over PBS. Disclosure: I worked for the MacNeil Lehrer NewsHour, 1983-1988, and edited shows in Bill Moyers' series "World of Ideas."
The Armstrong Williams NewsHour - New York Times (may require fee, subscription, or that you go out and buy the paper right now)
"The intent is not to kill off PBS and NPR but to castrate them by quietly annexing their news and public affairs operations to the larger state propaganda machine that the Bush White House has been steadily constructing at taxpayers' expense."
This bio of Dianah Neff has an impressive list of what they've been able to accomplish with Wireless Philadelphia, including links to some of the community projects
This suits my current black mood regarding the digital life.
In slashdot, a thread on "Best way to back up digital photos and video" that takes unusual turns in the comments.
Having just tackled the issue of backing up a network, I read a number of posts describing 3-level backups on tape, hard drive, CD and DVD, fireproof storage, etc. before coming across this discussion (click More).
this is actually a BIG question (Score:4, Insightful)
by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Sunday June 26, @12:13AM (#12912210)
(Last Journal: Monday July 12, @10:38PM)
And one that I have railed about for many years.
I have been in the same position the Author discussed, and I have come to ONLY negative conclusions. In a few words, and I hate to say this, but buddy:
Digital is a loser's proposition. backing up to analogue or even digital data on analogic substrates (such as DV tape) fail. Simply nad purely.
The *only* thing that comes close is some kind of RAID, and those, even with the plummeting price of storage, are still too expensive given the needs.
Also, a RAID assumes a continuity of several things that are not likely to be continuous:
Framerate, number of lines, colour depth, aspect ratio, file format, compression format, Operating system compatibility, etc etc etc. All of these things are variables.
sample rate, compression format, bit depth, file format, etc.
Basically all of it points to very bad places.
I am fairly well convinced that our age will simply disappear. They will find our garbage, the few books not pressed on acidic paper, our paintings (fat lot of good the abstract stuff will mean to them) and drawings, that's about it. the rest will just be shiny little bits of crap in the landfill.
Since we will have used up all the dense energy forms, they will be appalled at the energy requirements just to get the few remaining museum piece devices to work. Archiving the 21st century will be impossible. To the 25th century, the 21st century will be seen as a dark age - not only for the holocaust of the die caused by the failure of the petroleum based economy, but from the simple fact that very little of the information formats we are totally geared into will survive, including this note on /.
His problem of saving personal video is just the tip ofthe iceberg. His problem is the problem of our very civilisation, writ small.
That's why I am abandoning video, and going back to painting. In 500 years, my painting CAN survive. the video simply won't.
[ Reply to This ]
Re:this is actually a BIG question (Score:5, Insightful)
by agent oranje (169160) on Sunday June 26, @01:47AM (#12912580)
(Last Journal: Wednesday June 04, @05:01PM)
Mod parent up "brilliant."
In the digital world, there's currently no such thing as an archive. There are backups that last for quite some time, but I seriously doubt any of them will last forever. The only reason any of these backups last so long is because the people creating them put some serious effort into keeping the data safe - and even then, what's to say it's not going to fail tomorrow?
You're right about the 21st century becoming a second dark age. Half the time, it proves extremely difficult to find web-published articles from two years ago, never mind what someone was putting on the web 15 years ago. Servers come and go as those involved become disinterested with the media they created. But, the difference between a print magazine going belly up and a dotcom media source going belly up is that the printed magazine will still exist while the data from the dotcom will likely never be accessible to the public again.
In the case of personal media, digital is a disaster. My grandparents still have stacks of photos documenting their entire lives, as do my parents, as do my parents for me. However, my photo collection currently suffers a gap which will never be recovered, specifically 1997-2000. During those years, I used a digital camera, and I left the photos on a working hard drive for safe keeping - alas, when I went to retrieve some files off of the drive when I wanted to go back and read a paper, I discovered the drive had committed suicide in a year without use. Yeah, that sucks.
Currently, the best way to back up data is RAID - and that's not even backing the data up, it's just making it more persistent. When you move to another machine, move all of the data to the new RAID. Repeat forever. To be extra safe, have a backup RAID just in case the first one suffers from a catastrophe.
Why is digital media troublesome? Books rarely render themselves unreadable while sitting on shelves, and are likewise rarely destroyed when dropped. Carving something into rock requires a bitchin' act of god to get rid of. But the deleting of a file, or the death of a hard drive, can wipe vast amounts of history out of existence, both in a personal and societal sense. Without an ability to permanently archive digital data, none of the data from the digital age will exist in the future.
[After a rebuttal from someone who claims data has never been more permanant, the first writer responds:]
wow - what a load.
OK - point for point:
Thus it's not supprising much of it gets destroyed. For that matter, most of it isn't worth saving anyhow.
That's not the argument - the problem is the evanescence of digital media itself. It's not a question of most - it's a question of ALL.
Books are not such a perminant media as you might think. They wear out, and can be destoryed.
I didn't say they were - they are merely MORE permanent if they are made properly. furthermore, the *context* of their information is much lower - all it takes is paper and pen and you can (carefully) copy the data *with no loss* of the "original* message. This is how the Bible and other "important" works were maintained over the centuries.
DIgital data requires a very high context situation for its copying: it MUST be copied to another digital (drive) or digital supporting substrate (tape). Tape breaks down (I occassionally work in tape restoration - tape SUCKS for storage. Sticky shed gets you sooner or later...) and drives die and corrupt (I found that out the hard way last month when my main computer AND my back up both died within 2 weeks of each other. I lost a LOT of data...)
No one can sit and copy out trillions of ones and zeros - there isn't enough paper. Digital requires a huge and wasteful industrial system, which has been proven over and over to be unsustainable. Something's going to go, and I would submit that video and digital audio will be among the first to go.
The Nordic Legends weren't written down for centuries, yet today we still have them. They were passed down, as an oral traditon for generations. There was no perminance to them other than stories in people's minds, yet they've durvived thousands of years.
Then I suggest you learn all your favourite slashdot posts by heart so you can pass them down to your grandchildren, assuming we all don't starve to death with our kids in a refugee camp in Oregon in 2032.
Via Joi Ito:
Rebecca MacKinnon is on the case.
Like it says.
My new mantra - just add Apple.
Intel late last week said its scientists had invented a new type of chip that can process signals from different types of wireless networks. The chip also could handle upcoming WiMax technology, that promises wireless internet connectivity for up to 30 miles, and future flavors of WiFi.
When I paint my masterpiece...
Yesterday's announcement by Apple that it would move to Intel chips generated a lot of blather. Blogger Scoble said the whole industry was shaking while his boss at MSoft, Ballmer, asked "What's changed?"
Little has been said about the potential for Apple to take the lead in WiMax enabled devices. Intel wants to build it into laptops. Apple will have Intel based, faster and cooler-running laptops. Conclusion?
Almost No Mention of Connecting Low-Income Communities
The report does not discuss bringing broadband to those communities to who could benefit from technology the most low-income communities. Low-income children and families are mentioned once in the entire report. Instead the focus of the report is on attracting and retaining talented people and creative professionals as opposed to growing the talent who live and work in New York City already. The report also remarks that 38 percent of all New York City households have adopted broadband. That means 62 percent of all New York City households have not adopted broadband, and it is likely that most of these households are low-income households. According to recent data (2004) from Nielsen/Netratings and the Pew Internet and American Life Project, the penetration of high-speed Internet in [among households with incomes below $30,000] is around 10 percent.
Limited Mention of Wiring of Nonprofits and Small Businesses
In New York City, there are over 27,000 registered nonprofit organizations, including over 9,000 public charities. These over 9000 public charities account directly for $43 billion in annual expenditures, more than 528,000 jobs, or 14% of New York City's employees, and an annual payroll of more than $22.7 billion. In addition, they had assets of $65 billion and revenues of more than $48 billion in the year 2000, which is larger than New York City's manufacturing sector. An estimated 200,000 additional jobs result indirectly from purchases by nonprofits of goods and services from private firms. Despite the apparent importance of the nonprofit sector is to the New York City's economy, there is only one action item of the Administration's telecommunications plan relating to the wiring of nonprofit organizations. Even then, that action item relates to a nonprofit organization, New York State Education and Research Network (or NYSERNet), not the City, working to help nonprofit organizations get access to a broadband connection. Also, while there is a plan for small businesses to be educated on the benefits of broadband, nonprofit organizations have been excluded from this initiative.
The report focuses on the telecommunications needs of several of the large industries in New York City, most notably financial services, media, health care as well as telecommunications itself. Most of these industries are composed of the largest corporations in the City and are located in the central business districts in Manhattan. These industries are undoubtedly important to the health of New York City's economy. However, there is little mention of the many businesses that support these industries as well as the businesses that serve the workers of these industries who often reside outside of Manhattan. Even though the report concludes that small business have few broadband options and that small businesses often must wait longer [for a broadband connection] and do not receive the highest level of service, the report does not mention any concrete program to wiring small businesses outside of Manhattan besides the program to educate small businesses on the benefits of broadband. The report does state that the City will help Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and Local Development Corporations (LDCs) deploy wireless networks for the small businesses they serve. However, the City's role in this initiative would be limited to helping local organizations explore the potential of wireless technologies for improving the availability of broadband in their neighborhoods, assisting them in developing project plans, and identifying potential service providers.
Anything with the words community, mesh, Soros, and RoofNet will get my attention. Then "under-$100 nodes" made it a post.
Thanks as usual to Sam Churchill.
Note: I couldn't connect to the MIT RoofNet links, but they live in the Google cache.)
Our new inspiration. I met Ms Neff at the PDF Conference. Here's a great manifesto/interview.
I've already linked to the first part of this useful posting. Someday I'll come back and try it all out. Really.
And here's Nerd Uno's page full of Mac Mini projects. I'm a bit old for Spring Break but I need some indoor projects while all the kids run wild in the East Village.
We can hope.
New blog on my list thanks to Larry Lessig.
Thanks to the EchoDitto blog for this link. Open source project funding software from this site.
Congrats to Lucas Gonze must be in order.
DFNYC techs are great! They're turning me into a real geek. Thanks to Connie for this assignment:
Can it be done? Who knows?
Some tremors in the Mac world at the moment about whether Dashboard widgets in Tiger open the Mac to security problems. Last night I read the Slashdot post and the Zaptastic demo that occasioned it (warning: the latter installs a benign widget on your Mac if you use Safari, as a proof of the danger). Dori Smith offers a clear assessment of the risk and steps you can take.
ANDREW RASIEJ, ONE OF THE challengers to New York City Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, has turned to the Internet to promote his candidacy in the Democratic primary this September.
And the consequences:
"In the first three years of the Bush administration, the United States dropped from 4th to 13th place in global rankings of broadband Internet usage. Today, most U.S. homes can access only "basic" broadband, among the slowest, most expensive, and least reliable in the developed world, and the United States has fallen even further behind in mobile-phone-based Internet access. The lag is arguably the result of the Bush administration's failure to make a priority of developing these networks. In fact, the United States is the only industrialized state without an explicit national policy for promoting broadband."
Looks like they co-opted the citizen journalism line then brought in the suits. As city council member Margarita Lopez said last night, no one else can empower you - you have to take it yourself.
Then there's Adam Curry moving to Sirius satellite radio. Good for him - he couldn't just keep mumbling around the house much longer. Dawn and Drew vs. Howard Stern.
But is it podcasting? Was pcasting just the audition for bcasting? Does anybody care?
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Wasn't MTV revolutionary in its day?
My favorite wireless news site has a post on the New Voices grants, including the one to the Girls Club grant for community podcasting. Good work, Sam! And thanks for the inspiration!
Before it's over - Happy Birthday to Dave Winer - without you, I wouldn't have met Nicco, without Nicco and RSS I wouldn't have become a junglecaster...the list goes on. Best on your 50th, youngster!
I thought I'd been through all the possible cable modem/Airport problems, and knew all the fixes. Yes, I turned everything off and back on to pull new IP numbers. But this time I just had to leave it all off longer. Simple, right?
Yes, Tiger is out today. Gotta have it.
Here's a page of related info from Dori Smith of Backup Brain.
And once I upgrade, this is one of the first widgets I'll download:
UPDATE: I can see I'll have a list of these.
The Lower Eastside Girls Club just got a grant to build a podcasting studio! And I had nothing to do with it, beyond blathering about podcasting for the last 8 months. Lyn wrote the grant when I was off in Mexico, er, podcasting. Pod on, girls!
From the weblog of Lucas Gonze, a link to a 16 year old's lucid explanation of XSPF and how to put a playlist music player on your site (and share it with others).
The Forever Geek credo: Nerds are for dorks.
New York City Council Member Gale Brewer has introduced legislation that would create a nine-member task force charged with ensuring that every city resident, small business, and non-profit has affordable broadband access.
From Cory via Joi Ito.
Here's another installment in EchoDitto's excellent "Best Practices" series.
Before I went off to Mexico this year I built my first PHP/mySQL application (a simple RSVP), as an assignment from the volunteer tech group at Democracy For NYC. Thanks to Connie and others for their patience.
Now I want to check this out as a package that some better programmers have put together. It caught my eye at Participatory Culture Foundation.
I am reading more than Daily Wireless, but you wouldn't know it on this site. When Lyn asks me about VoIP, I know that it's making headway in the mainstream.
As expected, Sam Churchill is going nuts over news of Intel's new WiMax chip. He's got a huge roundup of related news:
And is WiMax phone service coming to Ave D? Yes, if I have anything to say about it.
Thanks to Xeni for posting our Maya adventures on Boing Boing. Here's her profile in the LA Times:
And her post:
From Austin by way of John Lebkowsky
How they did it:
Volunteer Orientation and Training - WELCOME TO AUSTIN WIRELESS CITY PROJECT (pdf)
How they did it:
Pod- and videocasting "one stop solution". Unless you have a Mac. Coming for OS X this month they say.
I've got wireless infrastructure on the brain.
Greetings to any folks arriving here from ourmedia. Please look around and comment - I've got too many quiet lurkers.
And for those who haven't checked it out, ourmedia is here:
Go there immediately and register. You'll be glad you did.
Thanks to JD and Marc and all the rest of the team. Arriba! Andale! Bravo!
My newly discovered wireless access here in San Cristobal is a little spotty. We're working on it. Meanwhile I have moments of adequate signal - now as I sit on my upstairs deck with my iBook propped on the wall. Risky but beautiful out here.
Someone here has the actual magazine. Think I'll read it. Meanwhile here's the online version:
Thanks to Dave for the link.
Via Ben Hammersley, a guide to public radio podcasts.
Here's another company that designs progressive websites using civicspace. Their site (like EchoDitto's) is a beautiful adaptation of the platform.
Both organizations are featured in a report tonight on NBC in Washington, D.C. Tim Jones of EchoDitto interviewed the NBC producer, I.J. Hudson, and created this podcast:
Aldon has helped me several times in the last couple of months as I learned my way around civicspace. He's a great source of information regarding the nuts and bolts of online politics.
Another indication that these guys get it. And another vote towards using them to provide backhaul on the Ave. D building.
From the always useful EchoDitto site, a post by Terrance Heath on keeping folks coming back to your website. I certainly need advice in that department.
Good page of information and links, collected by a member of the Yahoo! Groups : Information_Systems_Forum
This is a good start, and bold in today's climate.
NEW YORK, Feb. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The New York City Council unanimously adopted a resolution to provide low- or no-cost high-speed Internet access to affordable housing residents.
Res. No. 669, introduced by Council Member Gale A. Brewer, the Chair of the New York City Council's Committee on Technology in Government, calls upon City agencies to use their funding and regulatory power to support and encourage the provision of affordable high-speed Internet service and computer purchases for the benefit of residents of affordable housing.
"This resolution will help us bridge the digital divide -- lack of access to the economic, educational and financial tools that the Internet provides," said Council Member Gale Brewer (D-Manhattan). "By encouraging new affordable housing developments to be built with high-speed Internet access, we can accelerate the entry of low-income people into the economic mainstream. At a cost as low as $175 a unit, this is an investment New York can't afford not to make."
This resolution represents a major accomplishment for One Economy Corporation, a national nonprofit that utilizes technology to help low-income people improve their lives. One Economy's Bring IT Home campaign, a public policy initiative to bring high-speed Internet access into all new and rehabilitated affordable housing, has affected policy change in 29 states and two cities since its launch in February 2004. According to Mark Levine, One Economy vice president, northeast region, New York has set the bar for other cities to consider similar action for the benefit of their communities.
"We congratulate the New York City Council on its leadership and vision in unanimously passing Res. No. 669," said Levine, who helped draft the resolution. "One of the most debilitating aspects of poverty is isolation ... whether based on geography, education level or discrimination. We believe that technology and the Internet have the potential to help low-income people leap over each of these barriers. New York can set an example for other municipalities in helping our nation's low-income families to tap the transformative potential of technology."
Res. No. 669 states that:
* All future publicly financed or subsidized housing properties for residents earning less than 80 percent of the median area income should provide a high-speed Internet connection in the living area of every unit to residents for free or at a cost of less than $10 per month; * The development of programs that benefit of low-income residents' utilization of technology, such as the affordable purchase of computers, should be encouraged; and * All relevant City agencies should use their funding and regulatory power to support and encourage the provision of affordable high-speed Internet service and computer purchases for the benefit of residents of affordable housing.
One Economy helps affordable housing developers across the nation design and implement high-speed Internet access solutions for residents. By installing shared data networks akin to those in commercial offices, developers can significantly lower the per-user cost. This solution provides broadband Internet access to each family at an ongoing cost of one-third or even one-fourth the market rate. In some cases, the price is so low that housers elect to absorb the cost completely.
About the New York City Council's Committee on Technology in Government
The primary goals of the Committee on Technology in Government are (1) to close the digital divide by expanding access to broadband in underserved communities of New York City, (2) to increase the strategic use of technology in government, thereby, increasing efficiency in government and enhancing the quality of public services, and (3) to promote the openness and transparency of government by making sure that public information is accessible to every New York City resident. Through its ability to hold oversight hearings over City agencies and introduce and hear legislation, the Committee on Technology in Government works to achieve its goals in partnership with the private, public and nonprofit sectors. More information about the Committee and the Chair of the Committee, Council Member Gale Brewer, can be found at the following link: http://nyccouncil.info/issues/committee.cfm?committee_id=106&;ltsbdkey=5121.
About One Economy Corporation
One Economy Corporation is a national nonprofit that utilizes technology to help low-income people improve their standard of living. One Economy's strategy is to bring technology into the home, provide online multilingual content through The Beehive (http://www.thebeehive.org/) -- used by as many as half a million people each month -- and facilitate computer literacy. One Economy's national Bring IT Home campaign promotes state-level public policy change to make high-speed Internet connectivity a standard practice. More information about Bring IT Home and One Economy may be found at http://www.one-economy.com/.
Contact: Angie Dobrowski 503.295.4493 x2 email@example.com
Susan Sheehan 503.449.1666 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jon Lebkowsky has a brilliant post on the conflict between profit, economic development and the digital divide.
"My question, though, is that if a significant percentage of the population lacks access to information services that could provide a significant foundation for other forms of innovation, who is going to bridge the gap, and how? If the delivery of information services is strictly the business of private companies, incumbent providers, that provide service only where a clear market opportunity exists, and only to a market that will pay top dollar for service, how will services be delivered to underserved populations. (As Clay Shirky once said to David Isenberg, "I distrust people who call for less regulation unlessthey also call for less scarcity.")
And if services are provided by subscription only, and different providers offer services in different areas, to what extent will that constrain economic development and innovation, compared to free and open wireless access in public places?"
Here's more feedback on the controversy over Philadelphia and municipal broadband. This comment suggests broadband vouchers to help the underserved get internet service while paying the providers.
I'm about a month behind the curve on this, but MT has released a plugin that supports the Google-initiated 'nofollow' tag in order to fight comment spam. And it works on the version of MT (2.661) that I am still using.
From the maker of WordPress blogging software, bbPress forum software. Don't care? I do. Or might, when I get over my CivicSpace fixation. Like WordPress, bbPress is based on PHP and MySQL (which I'm finally starting to get) and is free.
From EchoDitto, a report on the state of the internet and its use in commerce, community and information.
The Empowerment Age (PDF)
Gotta come back and check this out. Podcast with Lucas Gonze interview. via Andrew Grumet
Now it's getting interesting. A rebuttal to Zephyr's recent essay that insists on the value of online volunteerism, on the individual's terms. via Doc Searls
Counterpoint: The Citizen and His Browser, Volunteering Alone | Personal Democracy Forum
Aldon has put together a brief history of the development of DeanSpace, now CivicSpace.
This is the part of the podcasting process that was such a pain last fall when I last dabbled in it. Better tools had to come out and here's one of them.
Fascinating essays by one of the key people in MoveOn and the Dean campaign.
Here are some NYC government links I'm using. I'll add others later.
Councilwoman Gale Brewer's Technology committee:
Translating addresses into council and other districts:
Thanks to Xeni at Boing Boing for this link.
There's hope for the non-programmers (like me) trying to be webmasters of CivicSpace and Drupal sites. Neil Drumm is working on easier page layout tools:
Sheldon Rampton has already built some modules that help in this area:
With many states considering legislation to make municipal wireless projects illegal (protecting the incumbent telecoms' interests), and a recent report on wireless sponsored by industry flacks, an assault is underway on free or substantially discounted wireless Internet access. The solution may be private and community-supported initiatives.
(from Atrios) One great idea which is floating around out there is the need to create permanent spaces for lefty types to congregate - both for general merriment and constructive activities. An example of this is The Tank, which is a nice space in NYC where us lefty bloggers were given a home during the RNC. Cosmopolity is losing the space, sadly, though hopefully they'll find a replacement. And, they're pushing to make the concept national -- to create similar spaces around the country.
Apologies to those folks who hope to see Maya news on this site. Maybe in a couple of months when I go south again. In the meantime, my concerns continue to revolve around issues Maya kings had to deal with in their own way - how to inspire, how to lead, how to govern.
No longer possible to claim direct descent from the gods (or is it? - Bush comes close). In today's splintered media markets, penis perforation and bloodletting on the national stage could grab big ratings, as Maya kings undoubtedly knew. But the arcane knowledge needed to justify power has moved from astronomy and calendar-keeping to online marketing, media talk shows, and staying on message.
Here are some clues on how Kerry's team tried (and failed?) in the first of those esoteric pursuits.
Deborah Finn offered this page of resource links to the members of the Digital Divide Network list, so I thought I'd post it here for future reference.
Legislation in Nebraska and Ohio, among other places, to ban municipal and community wireless broadband projects.
I wondered what Lucas Gonze was up to lately, coding on a beach in Hawaii. This looks amazing. With young son Will moving into audio mixing, we'll both have to check it out. If only I were 30 years younger...uh, never mind.
Creative Commons and WIRED recently went public beta with CC Mixter which is a Commons pool for music samples and remixes. The site creates a tree of remix/sources inline with every entry and has Flikr/del.ciou.us style tagging. The launch includes two remix contests and features samples and cuts put in the Commons by Chuck D., Beastie Boys, David Byrne, Danger Mouse and tons more.
From Ben Hammersley, simple ways to turn any website with media into a podcast-friendly feed.
Let's see. Motorola bought MeshNetworks and is doing this.
Now, with Apple, they are coming out with a phone that acts like an iPod. Bluetooth will be on that to start, next WiFi or better. Email and web soon, and in the midrange in price - well below $500.
In 2 years the price comes down on all of that, and we have our mobile community network. It could happen.
Why can't we do it?
A two-part series in the New Standard:
Called Podzilla by Adam Curry, this currently does not run on the fourth generation iPod. That's okay, I don't have the guts to try it yet, though son Mick might.
Apple will be releasing Tiger, the latest version of MacOS X, sometime early this year. One new feature will be widgets, little applications that are written using web authoring techniques.
I can see a great introduction to coding workshop at the PS188 net cafe based on widgets. Even I can learn to program these.
Link thanks to Forwarding Address: OS X.
A UNESCO supported resource for community technology centers. In English, Spanish, French, with selected sections in other languages.
Via Daily Wireless, an explanation of skypecasting, podcasting using Skype calls over the internet.
It's back to the basics for me. The team that built Dean's online presence gives tips on online organizing, blogging, fundraising.
Yes, that's my opinion. But this page by Mark Dery hits the ugliness of the word "blog" and then just keeps getting better.
I have to check this out later.
I was feeling like a creepy old guy for declaring that videoblogging is BORING. That's why it hasn't caught on.
Hey, there will be room for boring self-indulgent video in the new new media universe (half of the video art from the 80's and 90's was no different) but it ain't the revolution, kids. It's just video art dating on the cheap, exceeding the limits on your $8.95 a month typepad blogs and getting away with it. Am I bitter? Am I drunk?
Anyway, I was glad to see the folks at Rocketboom mentioned in Mitch Ratcliffe's column. Had a fine beer or two with them at the Pink Pony a while back and they were the only vbloggers with a clue that I've noticed so far.
Thanks to Xeni for the link to Glenn's new weblog on RSS server and bandwidth issues. Funny name, good info.
From Tim Jones at EchoDitto Weblog, a clear-eyed view of what it may take to push podcasting to its potential.
Tim's also got a good rundown of audio software:
Sam at Daily Wireless with an update and a linkfest on WiMax, 802.16, the wireless broadband standard with a lot of promise for metropolitan networks.
Jennifer at scriptygoddess asked her readers about web development tools for the Mac. I would have said Dreamweaver, as some did. But the comments have a lot of good info on other tools.
Xeni follows up on the fight today:
I read Joshua Shimkin's account of a podcasting session at a Harvard conference and felt inspired to comment. Maybe it was the reference to Ed Sullivan that got me going.
Click More for the text of my comment.
It sounds as if there was actually little discussion of the political implications of podcasting. One thought - The lack of metadata (transcripts, summaries, etc.) is a strength, beyond the pure experience of a performance. This is non-searchable (though eavesdroppable) web content. So beyond the "route around mainstream media" concept there is p2p communication and organizing potential with some built-in privacy.
And comparing Winer and Curry to Ed Sullivan, while evocative, doesn't make it. Ed was high vaudeville brought to our living rooms. But that didn't make us all impresarios. We couldn't all start up our own TV variety shows. A better early TV model would be Ernie Kovacs, playing with the medium instead of just putting stage shows on it.
Curry and Winer were more like early breakthrough independent filmmakers - Leacock and Pennebaker, shooting pretty girls and flower children in "Monterey Pop"? They (C&W) were just homemade and goofy enough that they established the "anyone can do it" meme from the start. Never mind that Curry's ease came from years of experience, and Winer's appeal from years of thinking about users and developers partying together. They created a format that in its glitches and flubs, its geek digressions, revealed how it was made as part of its content. No other medium has had that transparency from the start.
Now it will consolidate, and slicker productions will proliferate, but that combination of the "how" with the "what" gave it the power to take off so quickly and may be the key to its future political implications.
"When making an axe handle
the pattem is not far off."
Something about the self-referential nature of podcasts and their making brings to mind the Gary Snyder poem:
One afternoon the last week in April
Showing Kai how to throw a hatchet
One-half turn and it sticks in a stump.
He recalls the hatchet-head
Without a handle, in the shop
And go gets it, and wants it for his own.
A broken-off axe handle behind the door
Is long enough for a hatchet,
We cut it to length and take it
With the hatchet head
And working hatchet, to the wood block.
There I begin to shape the old handle
With the hatchet, and the phrase
First learned from Ezra Pound
Rings in my ears!
"When making an axe handle
the pattem is not far off."
And I say this to Kai
"Look: We'll shape the handle
By checking the handle
Of the axe we cut with-"
And he sees. And I hear it again:
It's in Lu Ji's Wen Fu, fourth century
A.D. "Essay on Literature"-in the
Preface: "In making the handle Of an axe
By cutting wood with an axe
The model is indeed near at hand.-
My teacher Shih-hsiang Chen
Translated that and taught it years ago
And I see: Pound was an axe,
Chen was an axe, I am an axe
And my son a handle, soon
To be shaping again, model
And tool, craft of culture,
How we go on.
A bit pricey but the low end could be useful for a video swat team. Or a production company. Anything that takes some of the logging load off of the editor usually helps the process, depending on who's doing the logging. Now I'll look for a shareware version.
This question came up in my most recent paying editing job. We were sending Quicktime outputs of our Avid cuts to the composer and to the client for review, and wondering how to make sure the QT clips matched our cuts.
Move over WiMax. First out of the gate WiFi Wireless claims many advantages over 802.11.
Someone recently asked me how to find license free music. Here's a source that looks interesting.
No, not building walls. I think I've done my share of that. Building consensus. Rebuilding the Dems.
From EchoDitto Weblog, a source of sense in the post-election world.
Are we there yet? We're not even to 1 megabit for less than $100 a month.
A rather more realistic report comes from the Center for an Urban Future:
Next time I upload:
Connect globally, act locally. Still plugging away at the community wireless project for our part of the lower east side of Manhattan. And it's starting to take shape, thanks to some neighborhood partnerships and help from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program.
(Click MORE to see an outline of our plans)
Avenue D Network
A community web, based on free wireless access
The Lower Eastside Girls Club and Public School 188 are forming a partnership to bring internet access, science and math education, and wireless broadband to a community that has been underserved in all of those areas.
The main components of the project are:
1) A community technology center at PS188 (Houston and Ave. D) in what is presently the entry foyer of the school. This long, beautiful space, with arched doorways to the outside, will be filled with a wireless internet cafe open to students and parents of the neighborhood. It will also serve as the after-school and weekend headquarters for a project to get students interested and active in science, math, and information technology. Funding for the facility is in place. Architectural design has already been completed. System design and implementation will begin in January of 2005, with the center opening in the fall of that year.
2) A digital photography, video and internet radio center in the Girls Club building, to be constructed between 7th and 8th streets on Avenue D. This building will be certified "green" and will also house commercial spaces at street level and artist studios on the top two floors, in cooperation with FEVA, the Federation of East Village Artists. Groundbreaking on the building will take place in the fall of 2005.
3) A wireless community broadband network, with antennas on the Girls Club and PS188, that will provide free or low cost internet access to the housing projects on Avenue D. It will form the basis of a community -wide network, sharing audio and video programs, health information, business advertising, educational programs, and community news. First evaluations and tests of wireless equipment, range and coverage will begin in spring of 2005. Development of community-specific applications and first network "broadcasts" will also begin at that time.
We are seeking volunteers, interns, and mentors with skills to contribute in many areas, including the following:
Network design, implementation, and security
Wireless broadband system design
Social software, applied to neighborhood wireless communications
Innovative educational approaches combining internet, math and science
Training youth and adults in Information Technology
Global collaboration, through web, VOIP, video conferencing
Video, audio and music production and distribution on the web
Website and weblog design, and training others in that area
RSS, "podcasting", bittorrent, and other emerging distribution methods
Mobile sharing of media and information
There will be opportunities for direct service and initiating educational projects with students and families from the Girls Club and PS 188 starting in Summer 2005.
In addition, we need people who can pursue options for acquiring the bandwidth for the system - copper, fiber, point to point wireless - and develop partnerships with suppliers and manufacturers who would benefit from the visibility of the project and the development of new social software and other community applications.
We are also open to any good idea that adds to the creative mix and serves the neighborhood.
The first results of this effort will be the construction of the PS188 internet center and the creation of a database of resources and a first planning survey, all by the fall of 2005.
The Avenue D Network will be designed by all participating partners, including PS188 students, parents and staff; NYU Interactive Telecommunication Program students and faculty; iEarn advisers; students and staff of the Bard High School; and members of the Lower Eastside Girls Club and FEVA. It will capitalize on and communicate the diversity and creativity of the Lower East Side, and will provide a model for centers in other communities.
Project coordinator: Dave Pentecost, dave.pentecost [at] gmail.com
I just posted the Ohio Video the Vote longer clips to the Internet Archive, a remarkable project created by Brewster Kahle.
Here's an excellent, link-filled introduction to the Archive and Brewster's work, courtesy of Daily Wireless.
An article on Wimax and TowerStream, one of the first providers of point to point wireless broadband connections with the new technology (is it really WiMax or proto-Wimax? And would I know the difference?). A possibility for the Avenue D network backhaul.
From the story:
This kind of aerial system, many technology experts say, could uncork the most nettlesome bottleneck in the telecommunications industry: the phone companies' control of the "last mile" of wire that travels from their switching stations to homes and offices.
But I hadn't seen this tool which Creative Commons has made available. Simple upload of Creative Commons licensed video clips, up to 2gig in size.
And check out the Internet Archive's Moving Image Archive.
From Sam Churchill at Daily Wireless.
$40 a month plus a DSL line - 100 users sharing Voice over IP wirelessly.
And another great linkfest from Sam:
Reading Dave Winer's recent explanation - RSS: How to extend RSS 2.0 - I ran across a link to the creativeCommons RSS Module which will be useful for media feeds whether they have enclosures or not. Now that my day job is winding down I can get back to the podcast fun.
A new Google search category, that searches academic journals and also returns books. This search for Usumacinta has Chris Shaw's book "Sacred Monkey River" in the first page of results. As it should be.
I'd like to know. And I'd better before we do the glyphs, codes, and encryption "expedition" at PS188 next year.
It's starting to happen - TV by internet. Here's one guy's way.
via Boing Boing
Sarah McLachlan's video. Watch it now. Especially if you work in this crazy media business. Or live in this world.
Think TV is distracting?
But this starts the old brain buzzing: ubiquitous wireless, first at PS188 weblab, SubEthaEdit for Rendezvous shared unwired collaboration. A room full of sharing surfers. Then in a whole neighborhood. Easy.
Sam Churchill is all over it - mobile media formats, podcasting, webjay, videoblogging. A wealth of links in one post.
Met Lucas Gonze tonight. 2 days before he moves to Hawaii. The Playlist Maven.
He's working on xspf (spiff), a next generation open source portable playlist standard:
Yo, Adam, Dave...are you there?
Last year I decided not to take a satellite phone on the Usumacinta River raft trip. Luckily the guards at Piedras Negras were generous with theirs when we needed to regroup after the midnight robbery. But it brought home the need for communications in case of another emergency out there.
One phone choice is Iridium, whose data service only works with PCs. But a determined Mac OS X user came up with these instructions for getting online. (via MacSlash)
I had my first iPod crisis today. Expected to listen on my walk to work (yes, I had to work on Sunday) and found that it played digital garbage and then nothing. Well, I may have disconnected it from my computer before it was completely unmounted. So I may have broken it.
This Apple document tells how to restore it to factory settings - meaning empty, blank slate. Then iTunes restored all the music files and playlists.
There's a lively debate at Slashdot whether this computer is the cheapest or best to try to give to the rest of the world - emerging markets, as they say. In two years, the same thing with WiFi and/or Ethernet would be very useful. It's not a Mac, but you can't have everything. Yet.
One way to get video into a weblog - turn it into a Flash movie.
This is a discussion between the creators of a number of RSS readers for Mac OS X, published in a weblog whose editor says it's for his "13 loyal readers." That's one more than I have.
Here's the second edition of short audio pieces, with clips from my travels in southern Mexico and Guatemala. It includes another version of the song of San Juan, this one from the town of San Andres in 1980, and a recording in Naha of Chankin Viejo, patriarch of the Lacandones, telling the story of a monkey and jaguar hunt, also from 1980.
JungleTales2 3 mB, 6 minutes
The podcast feed is here.
For people not using Movable Type for their weblogs, here's a way to generate an RSS 2.0 feed (with enclosures) from a folder of mp3s. You need to open the php in a text editor and change a few items to fit your site, but then it works well. Thanks Ryan!
Via Adam Curry at iPodder.org, this "open mic" podcast. What's great here is the immediacy: record a short bit, email the mp3 to them. Or call a number and leave a message. Within 5 minutes it's in their feed. You don't have to post your mp3 anywhere, or generate an RSS feed. Of course, it goes out and then it's gone. Or is it?
To listen to their feed you will need an iPodder application. You can find one here:
I'm sorry, somehow I don't think the "Verizon Avenue" plan to offer 50% off on broadband to operators of affordable housing will be our solution. There has to be a way around the usual suspects like Verizon. "As much as 50% less than a normal retail service" just isn't the kind of discount that we need when countries in Asia can find a way to offer 8 Mbps for $25 a month. At current rates, Verizon's offer is $25 for one twentieth of that.
But as usual, Sam Churchill has bundled in a lot more information and links with this news, all of it useful in thinking about delivering broadband to underserved communities, whether rural or urban.
Thanks to Drazen Pantic, we have a very clear explanation of the BitTorrent process. Jay Dedman has initiated a project to create a simple script to start the BitTorrent process. Drazen has one that he uses that may be adapted.
Click "More" for Drazen's explanation.
Basically, there are two sides to the process: download (seeding and
leaching) and tracking (server side). Only tracker is designed to act
as a server. Its function is to keep track of all active downloders and
then pass that info to subsequent downloaders. Trackers could be more
or less communal, depending how much authentication is required ...
Download process always starts with the torrent file from a Web server
and then downloading the file torrent refers to. The process of
downloading is called "leaching" while in process and when finished
"seeding". So, seeders are downloaders who have completed the
download, but left their BitTorrent client open even after the full
Now, in order to start seeding one needs to do (in this order):
* create torrent file towards a specific tracker;
* put torrent file next to the file we want to seed;
* upload torrent file to the tracker server;
* start (fake) download process of that file.
On Dv Guide I use automatic seeding mechanism - have all the torrents
and corresponding files in one folder and then run one of the Python
scripts (btlaunchmany.py) in the background all the time ...
Hope this helps
mp3 JungleTales 1 October 11, 2004 5 minutes 2.2 mb
A little rough, but here it is - my first "podcast." A short bit of intro rambling, Carnaval Monkeys from Chamula singing and playing the song of San Juan, some marimbas from San Cristobal. I know, it's the mountains, not the jungle, but it's a start.
Hey, it's only 5 minutes long, and you don't really need an iPod - just click on the link. But I'll whip up an RSS feed for it for the iPodders out there, and post the link when I'm done. Baby steps.
UPDATE: Here's my Daily Glyph podcast RSS feed. Someone tell me if it breaks their iPodder. I tried it and it seems okay for now.
I don't know if the videobloggers are using this, but it's a way to include links to webpages in a Quicktime movie. The podcasters have talked about the need for it in audio, but you can't do it with just an iPod. Yet. You could do it with an audio only QT movie, but you'd have to play it on a computer. Hmmm...
I'll post some other info I'm running across here, mostly about putting QT movies on a webpage:
Jay Dedman, energetic videoblogger, brought this software to my attention. Think iPodder for video.
Requires these other two items, both shareware:
I've seen the future of the Avenue D network - free broadband to the housing projects - and it looks like this.
Via Adam Curry, Dave Winer, SlashDot:
I'll try this tomorrow.
Requires the Flickr API here:
Two of the main figures in recent RSS/iPod platform developments are commenting on bandwidth issues in serving large files to RSS subscribers:
UPDATE: In the confusion engendered by my current edit-for-pay job imploding last week, I missed this Steve Gillmor column on RSS and the iPod platform. I still have the job. Others weren't so lucky.
Thanks to Doc Searls for the link.
Thanks to Doc for a little timely inspiration. I'll post some of the architects' rendering of the Girls Club building (soon), future home of Avenue D Net and free wireless. Bandwidth for all!
Yes, I still hate the word blog, so I won't use audioblog, except now. But Adam Curry has pointed to Hugo Schotman's posts on his audio setup. The goal is to do everything necessary in software, with no add-ons.
My apologies to the Maya fanatics out there. I'm very heavy on the geek factor here lately.
This is for Ken, my brother-in-law. He recently upgraded his ancient Macs, and he still has Japanese clients. Some of blogger Adriaan's favorite OS X applications (a kanji dictionary) could be useful to him.
The good news keeps on coming, often from Adam Curry's Weblog.
Feedster is providing a number of specialized RSS feeds with a variety of enclosures. Break out NetNewsWire 2.0 and iPodder (or iPodderX) and suddenly there aren't enough hours in the day, or night. And RSS was supposed to save us time, right?
Scott Johnson dedicates his new feeds to Dave Winer, Adam Curry, and Andrew Grumet:
Recently released NetNewsWire 2.0 recognizes enclosures. Here's their page on the feature, and how to use Applescript to extract the enclosure.
Getting simpler. Here's a new Mac application that does the RSS/enclosure/iPod work for you. via Adam Curry's Weblog.
Big day for me and other Movable Type users. Brandon Fuller has come up with an MT plugin to allow enclosures and generate RSS 2.0 feeds accordingly. Now I can stop bugging everybody about it.
Via Doc Searls , a link to Om Malik, quoting a friend's essay on the history and current state of VoIP.
My editing station in the Peten last year.
Thanks, Bill - your timing is impeccable.
Lots of folks out there thinking about how to combine video, weblogs, RSS, community.
Jay Dedman's got a better handle on it than most. And he's here in Manhattan.
I decided to look into the photo management site (it's more than that) called Flickr.
I uploaded a few photos, set up a group, and browsed around. Take a look.
One of my weekend projects - installing Final Cut Pro on my G3 laptop. It's supposed to require a G4, but of course there is a hack. That information and other reader reports are on this page from Macintouch.
For anyone who cares about this walk in the woods of RSS that I'm taking, I'm leaving a trail of bread crumbs. This is the latest. It seems that Andrew's Perl script to generate RSS 2.0 feeds with enclosures requires a module that does not come pre-installed on Mac OS X.
Here is one person's experience getting that module to install properly.
I've sounded out MT developers about a plugin to publish RSS feeds with enclosures. No luck yet. But Andrew Grumet has come up with a script that is a step in the right direction. Thanks to Adam Curry for the link.
UPDATE: And for my own education in using Perl scripts:
And off-topic but something I need to look at:
Via Boing Boing, environmental benefits to reading news online rather than on paper.
Adam Curry has been building and promoting tools for the subscription and iPodding of RSS enclosures. We're seeing tools for every platform emerge. Now he seems ready to work on the publishing side. Maybe he can get something going. I've been bugging people but it hasn't shaken anything loose yet.
Another one for Will. Lucky kid.
This uses NetNewsWire to load a particular feed, then an Applecript to find and load enclosures to an iPod. Doug's also got a whole range of AppleScripts for managing iTunes and iPods.
And here is Christine's kind explanation of RSS from last year (yeah, I'm playing catch up again):
This takes any document or RSS text feed, and "speaks it" into your iPod, apparently. Shareware.
So this is what was happening when I was rafting the Usumacinta last spring.
(In the following quote, substitute "Mexico and Guatemala" for "Peru" and we're getting close.)
In his vision, people around the world would post stories via anonymous P2P services like those used to swap songs.
They would cover issues currently ignored by the major news services, said Prof Anderson.
"Currently, only news that's reckoned to be of interest to Americans and Western Europeans will be syndicated because that's where the money is," he told the BBC World Service programme, Go Digital.
"But if something happens in Peru that's of interest to viewers in China and Japan, it won't get anything like the priority for syndication.
"If you can break the grip of the news syndication services and allow the news collector to talk to the radio station or local newspaper then you can have much more efficient communications."
From the Technology at Harvard Law site:
Build an RSS feed with one item per .torrent file. Add an enclosure sub-element of item, that looks like this
<enclosure url="http://www.legaltorrents.com/bit/thinner-archives-vol-1.zip.torrent" length="25876" type="application/x-bittorrent"/>
Key point: the length field specifies the size of the .torrent, not the size of the BMO (Big Media Object).
What makes this interesting
First, RSS and BitTorrent complement each other naturally. RSS was designed to report freshly available content, which is exactly where BitTorrent shines. RSS 2.0 enclosures were designed to automate the download process that BitTorrent optimizes.
Second, combining the two should reduce the barrier to entry for small broadcasters. While not a new idea, video blogging has always borne a bandwidth cost. Combining BitTorrent's cost savings with widely available RSS emitting tools should, for example, make it possible for a small group of motivated people across the world to create their own news channel.
Seems that, until I get the automated tools to do it, I may have to create at least one hand-coded RSS feed to try embedding enclosures. This is a great tutorial on how to do everything up to that point. And the enclosure part is just another line.
Okay, nobody cares, but I'm on a roll. New toys.
Feeds of latest posts with media files. Hmmm...
And here's the developer blog for it:
Via Adam Curry's Weblog, a link to another piece of the puzzle, but I'm still on the trail of the MT version.
This one's from Pete at RasterWeb.
Notes and video from the recent conference. Via Daily Wireless.
Dave Slusher is working on variations on Adam Curry's iPodder: for the Windows platform, for Blosxom users. But still no plugin for Movable Type posting. iPodder will do me for audio and downloads, but it's the pitching, not the broadcatching, that I'm looking for.
UPDATE: Dave Slusher wrote with a clarification of my sketchy post:
There are two separate things conflated. I did a port of the iPodder sort of functionality in the form of my get_enclosures Perl script. I also wrote a blosxom plugin to insert the enclosures into the item tag of the RSS feed. These are two completely separate things that don't really have anything in common other than RSS. One enables enclosures to be added to my ordinary RSS feed, the other consumes RSS feeds. It sounds like you are talking about wanting the enclosure functionality but you are referring to it as the iPodder thing, which it isn't.
I don't know anything about MT plugins, but it probably can't be that difficult. The blosxom plugin is really really simple.
An interview with the founder of Geekcorps, Ethan Zuckerman, who lays out the failure to date of blogging and the internet elite to make a difference in the developing world. Can we rely on "trickle-down" as one member of the digerati assured me recently?
Looking for what others are thinking on the enclosure question, especially related to video. I'll update this as I find other useful links.
Dan Bricklin's recent thoughts regarding online stored audio and IT Conversations
Dave Winer's page of RSS milestones, /technology/formats and protocols/rss
From Douglas Engelbart: Email2RSS intial spec
The comments on Joi Ito's post BitTorrent public tracker needed offer some hints towards enabling enclosures in RSS feeds.
And here's the BitTorrent client Adam Curry recommends: Azureus : Java BitTorrent Client - How To: Mac OSX
Good links on RSS and BitTorrent here: Dancing About Architecture: RSS Archives
DV Guide, brilliant site from Drazen Pantic, who says “Politics happens on the couch."
Also, Drazen's Field-Notes from the Globalization Forefront
Some considerations from the weblog of Lucas Gonze
So all during these last four years that I've been spending off and on in Mexico (after the 20 before that, mostly off), the best minds on the Net have been working on this plan - to enclose video and audio in RSS feeds, so a person could subscribe, then download the good stuff overnight. Here's more of the genesis of the idea, from Dave Winer in 2001, via Adam Curry yesterday.
I've finally put an RSS feed button on this site, in the left column underneath Maya links. Drag the orange button into your RSS reader subscriptions column, or copy link location and paste into the subscription entry field, and you'll be subscribed to the headlines of my posts.
Don't know what this is all about?
First, here's a simple explanation of RSS, by Dan Bricklin, for the easily confused, like me. Thanks to Halley for the link.
But you'll need an RSS reader, a program that gathers the headlines for your subscriptions. If you are on a Mac like me:
Next, a great leap forward, to Adam Curry's iPodder program, which allows you to subscribe to RSS feeds with mp3 enclosures, and have them downloaded to your iPod. His site features a short audio feed, called the Daily Source Code.
And try the PubSub website, which will create a personalized RSS feed for you, on a topic of your choice - free. They also have links to sources of RSS readers for PCs and Macs.
If you want to bring RSS feed headlines into your own MT weblog, here are some tips:
Stay tuned for an explosion of DIY media feeds. Crappy cable TV no more.
Here's a review of Apple's new motion effects program.
This is for Alonso. Next year, Palenque.
"On the Solstice weekend, June 19-21, more than 110 photographers in 32 countries around the world created VR panoramas with the common theme of World Heritage. This site showcases the results of their efforts."
To view these Quicktime VR panoramas, you may need to get Quicktime software from this site:
I met Drazen last year and talked over some possible net to TV scenarios. But then I was swept down the river and didn't follow up. Here are Drazen's recent thoughts on the subject.
Next on my list of tools to learn - Flash. Here are some links I found to help get started.
I don't have a PDA. I have enough other gadgets. But this might come in handy for someone with a Mac who does.
Via Smart Mobs, a call for papers that may include what we did on the Usumacinta this spring - tactical cartography.
And before I forget, Smart Mobs picked up on my recent post about Rev. Billy and the coverage of his "smart mob" by CBS News:
From Daily Wireless of course. Someday. Some way. East River. New York City.
Some recent posts (by Britt Blaser and others) may have drawn new folks to this weblog. Welcome!
If you're interested in technology, wireless, Mac OS X, check the "Net" category in the archives (right column). If it's the Usumacinta River campaign, check "Watery Way". Other Maya-related posts are in "Glyph" or "Jungle".
And sorry about the no comments status on newer posts - the spam has hit here as everywhere, and I haven't gotten around to any good solution. I've got a gmail.com account going at Google if you want to drop me a line. Send it to dave.pentecost at the gmail domain.
What am I looking for? A way to keep doing what I'm doing without going back to the TV networks for work. Do you have an interesting documentary production with any reasonable budget for editing? A sustainable development project that needs documentation? If you've got any tips on funding (either in the Maya region or in urban wireless networks), please pass them on. Thanks!
And apart from work, I welcome your brainstorms.
Nicely annotated (wikified as they say) version of Cory Doctorow's talk at Microsoft regarding copyright, technology and DRM.
(Thanks to Joi Ito )
Apple announced it today. It's a mini-Airport (10 users). It's a bridge to extend the Airport's range. It's a wireless USB printer connection. It's tiny.
And it has audio out. It's a wireless link between iTunes on your laptop and your stereo system or speakers. $129
Here's a new weblog covering wireless and spectrum issues.
Wireless provider TowerStream now has the Empire State Building as a point-of-presence. I think we'll see it from the top of the Girls Club. It's a possible source for our backhaul. They'll be ready when 802.16 is ratified this year.
Killing time in the Guatemala City airport. Here at the internet cafe, I ran across this description of the unwiring of a small apartment complex. Missteps and all. I`ll have to look at it again when I get back to a similar project.
I'm using my first GarageBand composition as the track for my San Bartolo video. Getting close to finishing it. Maybe I'll have time to check out this site, which includes free loops and instruments.
Okay, we already take it for granted. We're sitting outside in a nice breeze, jungle moon above, sharing an Airport, emailing home after a day in the ruins. The purr of the Honda generator tells us when we can go online, 3 times a day.
I'm in a champa (open room with palm leaf roof), the others are in the screened lab, lined up across the road. And I mean across the middle of it. There are only 2 vehicles that come this way and they both belong to the Proyecto. Beyond this camp, the only places to drive are the helicopter pad (new this year) and two water sources, the Aguada los Loros and a river.
I read in a couple of places tonight about new software that runs on Mac OS X and turns your Airport into a paying wireless hotspot. Daily Wireless had a link and, as usual, a roundup of other useful information on hotspot software and services.
Bear with me. I'm posting more tips about GarageBand so I can find them later, when I'm in my tent in Guatemala listening to the howlers. Thanks to Alison Scott, who collected these tips in her weblog, Macadamia.
Okay, I spent half of one night this week playing with GarageBand. Fun, easy, good sounds for one quarter of the cost of Apple's $50 iLife package it comes in. In the mid-nineties I reached the peak of my misspent musical career, scoring four television shows for A&E. Back then there were thousands of guys with a keyboard and a computer. Now there will be millions.
Here's the first of many add-on packages to come:
The wrinkle here is that they are using 802.16, known as WiMax, in an early demonstration of municipal county-wide coverage.
Howard Dean's social software advisors and friends are regrouping after recent primary setbacks and the news yesterday that Joe Trippi is leaving as campaign manager. Here are some early reactions, to give an idea of the online discussions that are going on.
Doc keeps his finger on the pulse:
Upgrading, troubleshooting, backing up the Lower Eastside Girls Club, I'll need this.
Marc Canter baffles me. But I've been checking his weblog ever since he gave me some encouragement for my community wireless media fantasies.
He's working on some improvements for shared calendars. And I've got a mental note to work again on the FEVA calendar. So I may need this.
Here's another great site devoted to sharing iCal calendars with not just other Mac users but anyone on the web.
Two terrific postings from Sam Churchill at Daily Wireless today.
The first about a mesh network in the South - two towns with roaming for under $30,000.
The second a great collection of information for digital divide activists, community technology centers and free networks.
Now this is pretty mundane, but I needed it a while back to print business cards. It's a page of free templates to download and use with every size and style of Avery labels (and the company's brand, WorldLabel). CD, Disk, Address, VHS - they're all there. I found the link on MacMinute.
I posted this before, but here's an easy solution for Nicole. Click on the "pigtail" item in the sidebar of this site, find your wireless card, and it will find the pigtail (connector cable) you need. Antenna, stand, and pigtail for $49.95.
Order from the site or call 858-509-9434 from 9-5 PST.
Point it around until you get the strongest signal.
And yes, it looks like a Pringles can. Because it's modeled on a well-known homemade antenna. A wireless hack pedigree. Cool...
For Apple compatible antennas, and a range of other antenna products:
Click "More" for the letter I sent out regarding a stop work order from A&E that the production team on the Dean bio received this week. I'll add responses to the letter and my answers as I get around to it.
All of this so my friends in Mexico and Guatemala can get a taste of the personal and political issues sweeping our lives here in the States.
And digital democracy is growing in their countries as well!
Here's an update on the Dean biography which, as some of you know, I
began editing 2 weeks ago. The biography was to be produced by ABC News
Productions under contract to A&E. With too little time and too small a
budget (as usual these days) but with excellent interviews, including
Zephyr, we were racing to get it finished in time for New Hampshire.
Without seeing any scripts or roughcuts, an A&E executive decided to stop
production on the bio. The reason given - bios of politicians do poorly in
the ratings. Based on what evidence? A Tom Ridge biography they had
Along with the CBS decision not to air the MoveOn spot, you may file this
under "Why Big Media does not get it."
Another Maya web-head.
La Cie has announced a 1 terabyte hard drive, that's 1,000 gigabytes, for $1200, available next month. That's 2 years of continuous music, one month of MPEG-2 video, according to the website. And by my calculations, 75 hours of DV. And it's small - 6"X3"X11".
I've been following so-called captive portal software packages, for administering wireless hotspots. Most of them are Linux programs, which I know little about. So I'm glad to see one that runs on the Mac.
Thanks to Daily Wireless for the link.
Might come in handy some day in my river documentation.
File under "Wireless Tricks." If I had a bluetooth-equipped PDA and bluetooth on my Mac...
From Berkeley and Stanford:
Will Verizon find a way to get affordable bandwidth to our building?
On the O'Reilly website, an entire chapter from Rob Flickenger's book "Wireless Community Networks."
Some thought it would not survive. At moments it was close to expiring. But the Apple Macintosh is 20 years old. Here's a recap.
"Kenny Bain said he was prompted to start Fastline due to his frustrations over the unresponsiveness of CMA and CenturyTel - the local telephone provider - to requests for high-speed access in Vivian."
I can relate. No DSL for me, because Verizon skimped in this neighborhood by using a "DAML" to split phone lines, making them useless for high-speed internet.
Let's hope they get a little cheaper, but for now, here's the source for the MeshAP (access point) box that is being used in the UK and Europe - and in Vivian, Texas..
This rugged portable firewire drive will record DV from a camera without a computer. Though I can't see hanging it on top of the camera on the hot shoe adapter. Save editing time, connect it to a tiny camera.
Using an iPaq handheld as a wireless access point, and a cell phone as the internet link. Connect the two with Bluetooth.
This should work with a Mac laptop that's equipped with bluetooth instead of the iPaq. And it would save running linux AP software - that part is built-in to the OS. But not having a bluetooth-equipped GPRS cell phone, I can't try it out.
With the FCC poised to regulate VoIP before it even takes off, here's an overview of the field and why we should care.
Roughly 90 percent of the world's population remains unconnected to the Internet, depriving them of a vital 21st century resource and spurring fears of a growing "digital divide" between rich and poor.
Time Warner, Sprint, MCI are partnering to offer phone service by Cable modem. But New York City will be the last to see it.
Several ingenious and simple solutions for sharing wireless access with a room full of other laptops. Would this work, say, in a Starbucks, with one guy paying and the rest sharing?
Yep, you don't learn about stuff until it breaks. And I've been in cable modem hell since Thanksgiving. I know a lot more about DHCP by now but it's still not connecting properly. The advice below seems to cover everything I've done so far. But I'm still looking for an answer. Could it be Time Warner's fault? I'll have to wait 4 more days for the fourth visit from a tech guy to find out.
From DailyWireless of course:
Sputnik, whose products support wireless hotspots, is offering free software to community groups. We are not there yet, but some day...
Thanks to Doc Searls for the link.
Disposable conventional cameras can be recycled, or reloaded with film. A photography project in Chiapas, Mexico which gives a camera to any Maya villager who wants one, and recycles them hundreds of time, is based on these cameras. They are creating an invaluable archive of village life in an area that has been difficult for outside photographers.
As it happens, 4 of the women photographers from this project (and 2 children) are here in New York now, in an exchange with the Lower Eastside Girls Club. Many of the Maya photographers now use 35mm cameras, as well as digital cameras provided by the Girls Club.
The new $11 digital camera requires processing where you purchase it, for $11 more. This site tells how to download the pictures yourself and reuse the camera.
And here's a Mac program for downloading
A short note on the state of music on Panther, the new Mac operating system.
What works with what? Troubleshooting an FCP 3.0 installation, I ran across this page.
On the TechSoup website, a short, very helpful guide to setting up community wireless.
Sorry, It's a strange week.
As Boing Boing describes it:
Data-over-meat net uses human flesh as medium
The jazz pianist, electronic music visionary and Apple freak. Dig it.
We could do this with the 3-wheeled bikes in Mexico. Spanish version of the article also on this page. Step by step construction details.
via Daily Wireless:
Rob Flickenger has posted a chapter on KisMAC from his new book "Wireless Hacks" on the O'Reilly website.
The clearest basic CSS tutorial ever. Thanks to Dori at Backup Brain for the link.
Next time I go to the West Coast, I have to check out Portland, center of free wireless activity. Here, from Daily Wireless of course, are 2 reports and links on community broadband wireless.
That's right, 500 MIT courses, free online, no registration or tuition required.
Not all courses have lecture notes. But some have PDF's for download and others have good resource sections. For example, there's a good collection of links on sustainable energy here:
Broadband wireless access for cities in Mexico.
Update: Daily Wireless has more information on Aperto technology that Mexican company MVS is using in this wireless plan.
If you are working in technology for nonprofits, go directly to TechSoup. Good guides (like this one), low prices on donated software and hardware. How I got by without this site up to now I don't know.
It's late, but I've got to look at these tomorrow:
I've been following the evolution of Deanspace, the open source development effort to create online tools for the Howard Dean campaign. Now comes word (via Doc Searls) that Wesley Clark's campaign is dismantling the effort that helped draft him in the first place. Clueless.
Two pro-Clark sites, ClarkRecruits.com and DigitalClark.com, have already been shut down, and a third, DraftWesleyClark.com, is slated to be disbanded within the month, according to its founder. ClarkRecruits.com had helped would-be volunteers link up with other Clark supporters in their areas; now volunteers have to fill out a form on the candidate's official site (Clark04.com) and wait for the main campaign to figure out what to do with them. And on Saturday, DigitalClark.com was shut down at the behest of the Clark campaign.
A report on the recent conference, including discussion of the future of self-organizing wireless networks.
No, not that kind of hacks. Tips and solutions to network problems. Excerpts from the book are available on this page.
No joke. And they are biodegradable.
As Dori of Backup Brain writes, it's News that makes you say "Duh!":
SEATTLE (Reuters) - Computer security experts issued a joint report on Wednesday saying that the ubiquitous reach of Microsoft Corp.'s (Nasdaq:MSFT - news) software on desktops worldwide has made computer networks a national security risk susceptible to "massive, cascading failures."
I keep running into new wrinkles in Airport and network configuration. This page of support and discussion should be my first stop the next time around.
And since I'm dealing with older Airport basestations:
Excellent basic tutorial (I have to go back to the beginning myself now) by way of Brainstorms and Raves
I needed this information to set up printing on a wireless network. You'll need the IP address of the printer - try printing out the configuration page from the printer itself or going to the manufacturer's website. Good walk-through from Purdue University.
Daily Wireless has a note on a couple of new technologies for metropolitan area networks.
I have Macromedia Dreamweaver MX but I don't use it much these days. This weblog is all I have to keep up, and Movable Type makes it simple. I hacked the CSS in the layout a year ago and haven't changed much since.
But I've wondered whether there were tools like Dreamweaver that could make dealing with cascading style sheets easier. Apparently a new version of MX will do that. Here's an article about it.
Expanding wireless networks (especially those using Apple's Airport Extreme) with the inexpensive Buffalo WLA-G54. Good how-to, including screenshots of setup.
A new guide to Wi-Fi hotspots.
UPDATE: A version of this guide was a giveaway in the latest New Yorker magazine. Not a word about the Wi-Fi offerings at the places, just blurbs for very high end hotels and restaurants. Better to go to Starbucks or just scan for a connection, if you are not on an expense account.
We finally got broadband at home just before I left on this trip. Earthlink/Time Warner cable modem. There was no DSL service available to our building. Otherwise I would have gone with bway.net and their DSL plan.
This news item shows one reason why we'll have a broadband service in the new girls club offices that allows us to distribute and resell (more likely give it away). And it won't be Time Warner. Or Verizon.
But this was just criminal:
Going to teach my son Will to edit when I get back. He'll work on the Hudson River documentary. This is a followup to his school kung fu movie production (using iMovie). Can we get the latest version of FCP?
To extend the range of Wi-Fi through my (or your) neighborhood. (via DailyWireless)
I haven't had much chance to check wireless connections here in San Francisco, but I am sitting now at the Happy Donut on 24th and Church (is this the Mission district or Castro?) getting a good signal. Waiting for someone with keys to return to the house where we are staying. Good chance to catch up on email, thanks to some careless or generous neighbor. Thanks, whoever you are!
From Daily Wireless, a good roundup of the latest research on mesh networks. Keep it up, guys - in 2 or 3 years we need it ready and cheap in the Lower Eastside.
Meanwhile, I am on dialup in the Adirondacks, on a borrowed laptop. Can I get a signal over the hill from town someday? And is my iBook fixed yet?
In the grand tradition of "I'm having machine problems" weblog entries:
Starting a week ago (when I tried to show Alonso's sister Ana Maria some photos from Lake Miramar) my laptop has been getting flakier, freezing up and turning the screen plaid at odd moments. So it's in the shop now, I am spending time on other things (moving the Girls Club) and I'll return to this weblog when I can. Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!
For the future Girls Club network. They're getting cheaper, better.
From Sam Churchill at Daily Wireless, of course.
I might be in Palo Alto during this conference. Do I dare go? What are we facing? And why are all these guys smiling?
Some of the participants:
Buried in the cascading style sheet spec (already more than I need to know) I found this - a style sheet that determines how a page is rendered in speech and sound.l
Besides the obvious accessibility advantages, there are other large markets for listening to information, including in-car use, industrial and medical documentation systems (intranets), home entertainment, and to help users learning to read or who have difficulty reading.
When using aural properties, the canvas consists of a three-dimensional physical space (sound surrounds) and a temporal space (one may specify sounds before, during, and after other sounds). The CSS properties also allow authors to vary the quality of synthesized speech (voice type, frequency, inflection, etc.).
When Jason and I get the Ave D network going , we may need a how-to like this one (from Apple) for the servers.
For Patrick Nielsen Hayden, a little CSS inspiration.
Proxim has a new line of wireless gear, based on 802.11a, for metropolitan area networks. Still too pricey for our Avenue D network but it's getting closer, and it is non - line of sight, a big plus when faced with our rows of 15-story apartment buildings.
Not really, but a variety of notetaking and organizing tools for OS X. Mick could use one this fall at Stanford.
The new, improved (and hosted) version of Movable Type will be available starting tomorrow. I've written before in this weblog that Movable Type changed my life. I was lucky to have a friend with a server who helped me set it up a year ago (Thanks Jason!) but now anyone can have an MT style weblog, at prices ranging from $4.95 to $14.95 per month.
I had a good idea and now I have to do something about it.
I suggested to the Hack4Dean group (soon to be DeanSpace) that a Movable Type sidebar for MT webloggers would be a useful alternative to the full Drupal site they are developing.
So here's where I started when I saw that I needed help.
Turns out Rick Klau set up the official Dean blog using MT. Here's his personal site:
UPDATE: And will this Dean thing be a sidebar or a plug-in? I don't know enough about all this yet. But I'm looking at this site for MT plug-ins:
He created the Macintosh computer. And he's a wild man.
(via Bruce Sterling's weblog, Schism Matrix)
Sam Churchill at Daily Wireless is keeping up the posts on municipal wireless clouds. Here's his latest:
And he includes a link to an hour-long radio program on Wi-Fi:
Having too much fun on Cushing's Island, Maine, to sit at the computer. Thanks to Jason, Sue and Evan.
Here's a good page describing the RSS spec.
Is this a good idea?
(via Jim Hightower's Weblog)
Howard Dean will guest-blog on Larry Lessig's site while Larry's on vacation.
The Slashdot post about it got some interesting debate. Dean's campaign manager Joe Trippi responded:
It's not like a nice bit of pottery or a carved piece of limestone. My life's work in TV is pretty much gone with the wind. Good that it's not clogging up the land fills. But what will remain of me?
And a bit more technical, with more links:
Digital Archiving in the New Millennium (PDF)
Someone recently told me XML was as big a cultural advance as the printing press. Hah! But maybe I'll get with it some day.
When I get old and geeky. Or next week at night hiding from the mosquitoes.
From an ex-scriptygoddess, PHP tutorials.
Apple won't bring it out for its Airport products until the end of the year (with the new Panther OS) but this may shut up the doomsayers about Wi-Fi security holes (as in today's NY Times magazine).
UPDATE: More on wireless security from Daily Wireless, including quotes from the Times Magazine article.
Complete text of 610,000 weblogs, regularly updated. Just in case.
(via Boing Boing)
Music has always been wireless. At least in the last inch. Someday I'll revamp my home MIDI system and make a little music again. Now Wi-Fi meets MIDI in more capable control systems than the 20-year-old MIDI spec ever envisioned.
For Susan, dancing in the jungle.
So I wrote a rant that I was ready to send in to the Hack4Dean email list. I urged them to abandon the consensus-based style that ruled their development process and let a leader emerge to make this the Manhattan Project it should be, to beat the Republicans to it. Then I thought better, and decided to sleep on it.
But before I slept, I looked again at what they were actually doing on their development websites, and I was amazed again at the intelligence and dignity of these "hackers". One example, from Aldon Hynes' Movable Type weblog, one of several he set up as tests, towards the Americans for Dean nodes:
Daily Wireless has a compendium of information about picturephones and the various plans the cellular companies are offering. Still too expensive in my opinion, and though nifty, it is a trend I can resist a little longer.
This kit allows the Airport Extreme Base Station to be powered through the ethernet cable, for remote or outdoor installations. The same company has a kit for the original base station. The extreme kit is $90, the other $30. Why?
Best summary of RFID - tiny chips that will be imbedded in every product. Turns out I'm already driving around with one, in the EZpass that lets you drive through toll booths and get billed wirelessly.
From my Dad's alma mater.
A picture-drawing robot in Perth, Australia whose movements are controlled by the brain signals of cultured rat cells in Atlanta.
This is for my older son, Mick, who's leaving for grad school at Stanford this fall.
Good collection of info and links on several ways to create a weblog, including Movable Type, Blogger, etc., and on MT plug-ins and templates. Josh and Zack ought to make an Americans for Dean plug-in.
A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be present at the birth of a new approach to electronic democracy. The hack4Dean crew is a group of young programmers and activists who are developing a node-based, viral tool for political organizing. So far I've only met Josh Koenig in person, but fellow founding father Zack Rosen gave an interview to Wired News this week that explains what they are up to.
For my small contribution to the effort, I get the eastvillage.fordean.net node. And first spot in the database. And a seat on the sidelines to toss in suggestions. Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of online participatory democracy!
I haven't switched to Safari as my browser, still using Mozilla. One thing I did notice when I tried Safari was that the bookmarklet that I used to post to Movable Type didn't work.
Now Dori of Backup Brain has posted 2 versions of bookmarklets for those with a similar problem.
Just go to the Bookmarks menu for Safari, choose "Show all bookmarks" and when you see the list for the bookmarks bar, the bookmarklet will have a line of code instead of a URL. Click in it and use the arrow keys to get to the point where you see http:// then replace everything after that up to the /mt.cgi with your URL for your installation. Here's what it looked like for me:
And then you have your mt bookmarklet again, in Safari, to post web pages. You may never have to learn html.
Whenever Doc Searls posts a link to my weblog I feel like I have to clean up the place, greet new visitors.
Here's the story - besides working on projects in the Maya region, primarily in Chiapas, Mexico, I'm looking for bandwidth for a community wireless network in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. With me so far?
First step in the Wi-Fi plan is building a comunity center to house the The Lower Eastside Girls Club and other groups. We have site control of a city-owned lot, where we "broke ground" this summer for a farmers market every weekend. When the building is completed, it will have a green roof, with antennas giving away free broadband to the housing projects and surrounding neighborhood.
Check the archives in the right column for more of these and other stories. Go ahead, poke around!
How'd I miss this one? Actually, I looked at the site some months ago but didn't notice this list of wireless communities around the world.
Larry Lessig ended the speech I attended at Cooper Union with a description of the Public Domain Enhancement Act that he has been pushing. He managed to get 15,000 signatures in support, but before he delivered them in D.C., he heard that 2 members of Congress from California had already agreed to introduce the bill. Good news. Here's his post about it.
Again from Sam Churchill at Daily Wireless, a link to a good source of information on municipal wireless systems, including a post on Nick Noe's report, "Network NYC: Building the Broadband City" (see my earlier post when the report was released).
Responding to a challenge made last November by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to "think of ways to bring wireless fidelity applications to the developing world", the Wireless Internet Institute held a conference at the UN yesterday.
Programs at corporations designed to bridge the digital divide. May we have our bandwidth, please?
And a personal note: This is my 500th post to the Daily Glyph.
Wireless networks of sensors may soon be employed to monitor the environment in various ways. Could such a network be used to study the population of jaguars near the Usumacinta River?
Posting this for my own information later. Looking into creating training at the Girls Club for networking careers (and running the GC ISP), I find this Academy program run by Cisco.
Researching Girls Club needs for office network and phone systems, and the community needs for wireless broadband internet, I ran across this:
But in the Lower East Side, Boys Clubs did not merge with Girls Clubs. So, no Girls Clubs. And the Lower Eastside Girls Club was formed on its own. Can we get this IBM deal? Or shame them into it?
Britt tells me I should go to this.
I keep gathering information on wireless community networks, even though the field will change greatly by the time the Girls Club (the center of our network) is built.
But two priciples may remain important when we are ready to implement the system. Mesh networks may be the way to go - each user's connection can transmit to other users. Or a series of repeaters can spread the coverage.
As usual, Sam Churchill at DailyWireless is on top of this. Here's his post from today, and a link to an earlier post with lots of information.
And Sam also has a summary of wireless cloud management systems:
My thanks to Clay Shirky for some tips he's sent my way, regarding the community broadband idea. And as a refugee from broadcasting, I find this essay of his useful, and cautionary.
And only the financial district gets it?
I still hate that word, "blog". What if I don't want to blog for America? Somehow, at this point, I'd rather blog for Chiapas, the Maya, the Usumacinta River, the Lower Eastside Girls Club. Will Howard Dean make free wireless broadband available to every American, as a new technological birthright? I'm sure he has a position paper about it somewhere. Sorry, I think we have to do for ourselves these days. Give it away now!
And until I'm better informed, that's the end of my political rant.
Support for the emerging standard for mobile phone multimedia, from Quicktime 6.3.
Good scheme for local low-power FM combined with Internet radio. Also a list of links to other low-power radio websites. (by way of Boing Boing)
My graduating bioengineer son was permanently warped when I started filling his mind with nano-nonsense a few years ago. But scientists are getting closer to the programmable fog we imagined back then. Hey, I think I have a computer in my eye!
And what if we go with the big dog in the field? Here's what they have coming up.
Here's a new twist on mobile logging. A traveler can send a message by cell on SMS and have it drop into a travel log, notify friends and family that it's been updated. This is the first site we've seen devoted to backpackers and travelers. Cheaper than a call. Someone try it and let me know how it works.
(via Smart Mobs)
I'm coming up on a year since I started weblogging with Movable Type. Changed my life, blah blah. Now Ben and Mena Trott, with Anil Dash, have come up with something (not quite released yet) that is an elegant, easier version of MT, for folks without access to a server. They host it, you weblog it.
And also check the home site of both TypePad and Movable Type, Six Apart:
Grassroots organizing with the internet - can it work? Let's hope so.
And here's author Lebkowsky's weblog:
I'm usually the last to join the party these days, after too many years fighting with untested software full of bugs, first-generation hardware.
But I'm following the phone cam developments with interest.
And of course
I finally took the plunge and upgraded to Mac OS 10.2.6. Hadn't wanted to go to "Jaguar" until they worked it over a bit. And I had to in order to work on calendars for FEVA, using Apple's great collaborative calendar program, iCal.
I just can't keep up with Sam Churchill. How does he do it? More great info and links from DailyWireless.
Here's a map showing a closeup of the area around Tompkins Square Park. It shows only 4 open nodes, 2 of them associated with NYCwireless. There are many more not on the map, some of them leaking access. It's not enough! But don't get me started...
We'll have a farmers market this summer on the empty lot where the Girls Club will be built. But I doubt if the Lower East Side of Manhattan is what the U.S. Department of Agriculture has in mind for the first broadband community grants that start this summer.
For those in the country who are struggling with broadband issues, Sam Churchill has all the information on these grants:
Just back from the Adirondacks, I caught up with Doc Searls and Stephen Lewis at Alt Coffee, an internet cafe on Ave. A, then went with them to meet the designer of the Bass Station, Ahmi Wolf at Cafe Mogador. Lot of cafes in this neighborhood.
The Bass Station is a portable wireless hub that can function as an internet radio station or collaborative tool. And it is installed in a ghetto blaster. Cool. I'll be checking back with Ahmi when he returns from Amsterdam in August.
The report just released by Nick Noe for the New York City Council is starting to percolate through the wireless sites on the web.
"802.11 Planet" picked it up:
Slashdot jumped in:
Slashdot | NYC: Leverage Fiber, Offer Free Wi-Fi
Sam Churchill commented on it, of course:
And he also had a great post that may be a preview of the battle we are in for with the incumbent telecommunications powers:
You know, I don't really care, but someday I might. Lots of good ideas from one of my new favorite weblogs.
He invited Lower Eastside Girls Club representatives to the press conference announcing the report (since we have been involved in lobbying for community broadband, we had seen and commented on a draft this week). Here are our representatives at City Hall. We'll keep working towards free wireless broadband for our community.
I'm a little late to the party, but last night I went to an organizing meeting by FEVA (Federation of East Village Artists) for the Howl Festival this summer. Named, of course, in honor of Allen Ginsberg's famous poem. The festival, like the poem, is huge, ambitious, wild. It will incorporate the Charlie Parker Festival, free outdoor jazz concert, that I taped for Sam Turvey for 3 summers. I'll try to help out on the festival website, maybe lauch a live weblog during the weeklong event. Best of the beatniks, reborn!
As usual, from Sam Churchill at Daily Wireless:
Or is that cam phones?
I met this past week with an Internet pioneer whose ideas are bubbling in my brain at the moment. I'll post a number of things on Drazen (no shortage on the web - just run a Google search) but here is his description of a wireless to cable television experiment he did this January.
His streaming media organization:
A brief bio:
And his 1999 EFF Award
From Shirley Kaiser's Brainstorms and Raves weblog, links to explanations of RSS, something Moveable Type builds into the software I use for this site, but which I have never really understood. A way to include summaries of new posts from other sites in yours - is that right?
And more links on RSS than I know what to do with:
If I ever get some a college intern to help me someday, I'll have her figure all of this out for me. Some people swear that cell phones and mobile media are the way it's all going. Certainly almost everyone, except me, has a cell phone. Luckily folks like Russell Beattie are pulling together information on all the parts to make it happen.
Thanks to Daily Wireless for the link.
Okay, I'm the last guy in New York without a cell phone. Just waiting for the right one. And a need. I'm a loner, or I'm gone. But someday, maybe, I could send photos to this weblog through a phone/PDA/gizmo. Sam Churchill has helpfully collected lots of links about hardware and software to do it.
Trouble is, the places I go are out of cell range. I'll stick with camera and laptop for now. Plug into the cybercafe in town and I'm all set.
Lawrence Lessig, Stanford Law professor, spoke last night at Cooper Union on copyright and the battle to keep enough in the public domain to foster continued creativity. Brilliant and inspiring, a reluctant politician in this campaign.
Lessig is trying to map a middle ground between absolute control of copyrights and absolute freedom to copy and reuse creative materials. You can see the results of his efforts at this website:
I am a maniac with a hatchet when it comes to web design. That's how I ended up with this look on my site, when I fell over from exhaustion after hacking at the CSS, cascading style sheet.
But the folks who collaborated on this site have some lessons for us. If you are new to CSS or adopting Moveable Type for your weblog, it's worth a look.
From the guys who brought you the Pringles can antenna, the wireless access point in a light bulb. Sort of.
This one is for Ed Barnhart, Palenque mapper extraordinaire. He'll understand it. I don't quite. It has to do with making geographic information systems interoperable between computer systems and on the web.
We want to do it in New York, but the suggestions and comments to this Slashdot post have a lot of good ideas.
As we think about creating a local internet radio station in the new building, compilations like this one on Sam Churchill's site offer a wealth of ideas. Using handheld wireless devices to call up local oral histories is just one of them.
This is how it should be - a conference on community broadband that has wireless in the hall. Instant, easy.
So I will try to post notes on the proceedings.
And before the sessions even start, I meet two inspiring people. Don Samuelson of DSSA (who is way out ahead of me in community broadband networks) and Tony Wilhelm of the Benton Foundation. The rest of the day might not match the pleasure and recognition of this first exchange.
(notes below - click MORE)
Welcome from Bruce Lincoln: digital divide not a bad word.
Now Terence Rogers - 2005 a new wave of technology, hundreds of net connected devices, net not browser, but communication. Question is: What do we do with this stuff? Free people from the unrealized boundaries of where they grew up. From families, neighborhood, media. Focus on Media - TV very passive. Next wave more interactive, proactive. Kids reaching out across the world to collaborate with others. Equalizer, levels playing field. "My stuff is on the web!" What sort of jobs will all this create?
Greg Rohde - We deal with world through language, maps, we create devices to help us. Internet use Asions highest blacks lowest, Cty highest, Ineer city lowest, lower than rural. Broadband only 20% of internet access in USA. 10% of society. Canada 20%. Korea over 50%.
Broadband Challenge: Infrastructure (last mile), Demand (applications), Financing
New York Broadband needs:
Small Business development
Homeland Security applications
NYC Broadband solution: CTC Bank, E Copernicus, Typhoon:
Typhoon Meshnetwork Infrastructure
CTC's - local
Fixed and mobile
COntent and training
FIRST PANEL Planning for a CTC Wireless Broadband Network
Don Samuelson, DSSA: Distinction between schooling and education, fundamental tools vs lifelong learning 50, 000 housing projects, housing as wedge to serve communities, human capital building exercise, add technology - computers, smart buildings, bring broadband, Cat-6, Waps, Motorola Canopy for backhaul. His project in Englewood (near Chicago)
Robert Proulx, Xit telecom: from Canada, we are ruled by monopolies, 1997 they started own infrastructure, private fiber optic network between universities in Quebec, then school board 15,000 km of fiber, by 2004 all schools connected. Next step, how do we reach all residents?
Francois Menard, Xit: Looking to recreate same environment elsewhere - like NYC. Important - fiber backbone, utilize spare capacity, knowledge consumes knowledge, need for innovation to keep it all going, wireless an enabler for mobility, fiber to home the endgame
David Epstein, entrepreneur: ubiquity, affordability, like phone. Setup ISP in hill towns of Massachusetts in 1995. Provided 80,000 K-12 teachers free dial-up. Sold to RCN. Today Broadband dominated by cable, Bells. now 50 mbit over power lines possible, coming, will drive prices down - to $25-30 a month. Not about technology, but service. Explosive growth coming up.
(I'll take a break to save battery) Notes from discussion to come
Workshop: Community Programming, Ronen Mir, Director of Sci Tach Hands on Museum, Aurors, Ill in former Post Office
Grassroots development of museum
Shows outdoor area - important for kids - play
Science info - people get from TV Internet Science museums
(this is interesting enough, but not on topic?)
9 webcams, museum without walls, virtual reality experience - a test with U of Illinois
Outreach (interesting to me in early stage, introducing wireless to community) take it out to 30,000 people
Plus helped start first Palestinian science museum (Ronen is Israeli) with helped from US state dept and Israel
Outreach "very sexy to funders" - local, plus IBM, Lucent
Outdoor exhibits create awareness - visible from highway
Another break for battery
Good explanation of the current move towards voice over IP - phone service without the phone company.
Thanks to Boing Boing:
Oh, just go read DailyWireless every day like I do.
Here' s a dense collection of information (Sam Churchill's specialty) that I will want to return to.
Doing some searching for Doc, I came across these pages. I'm strictly a Mac OS guy, but my bioengineer son is becoming the Linux expert in the family. Maybe I'll draft him.
Dana Spiegel, who is in charge of community applications at NYCwireless, has kindly offered to help us run some tests and demos this summer, towards the wireless ISP in the Lower East Side. He has developed an application that sounds perfect for community development using wireless networks. And it's a free download. Even better, it runs on PCs and Macs.
A $19.95 ready-made yagi antenna for your Wi-Fi network. You can't make the Pringles can antenna this cheaply, so why bother? This one has the same DIY nerdy chic without the hassle.
I needed this in the jungle. I want it now. A fitting item for a silly milestone in this weblog: my 400th post.
And a word about the archives and categories of past posts (see right column):
NET has all technology posts, especially concerning wi-fi, since I am planning a free broadband ISP for the far east part of the East Village - the housing projects, still underserved and in need of economic development in the midst of the raucous and gentrified neighborhood. Can you help me in this?
WATERY WAY has all posts concerning the effort to protect Maya rivers such as the Usumacinta, in Mexico and Guatemala.
GLYPH holds the archaeological posts.
You get the idea. Browse as you like. Thanks for coming.
Before I forget, a site that Britt Blaser directed me to at Katz's. I've skimmed this on Doc's weblog, but now I have an incentive to dig in. Especially since I came away from the deli summit exhilarated but baffled.
I had the pleasure of meeting a number of webloggers in the flesh this evening, at Katz's delicatessen a block east of my house. I met Doc Searls for the first time, and I discovered that the other Katz's fanatic, Dean Landsman, is a relative of mine by marriage. Don't ask me how - I have never gotten my wife's sprawling family clear in my mind.
Other bloggers and net thinkers present included Dan Gillmor, Britt Blaser, JP Rangaswami, Paul Boutin, Sebastian Delmont, and Dan Rosenbaum. Many had just come from a conference organized by Halley Suitt. Conversation ranged from the Yankees to Apple's new music service to the creation of a reputation-based microeconomy. Most of it was over my head (including the sports talk - I am missing that gene) but it was inspiring to meet some of the folks who are inventing the ways we will publish, communicate, and make our livings in this new century.
Yes, another article from DailyWireless. Sam Churchill always comes through. This one has information about Proxim gear, used in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan to provide service to 4,500 students in eight apartment complexes.
The Girls Club wants to cut its phone bills in the new building (and the new temporary offices). Voice over IP is one possibility, and there are new WiFi enabled phones that let you make (free) calls using your wireless internet system.
Okay, so I'm back from the jungle. Great trips on the Usumacinta and the Rio Pasion. Inspiring visits with the archaeologists (particularly David Stuart, George Stuart, Alfonso Morales and Ed Barnhart). A last-day trip to the Lagunas de Catazaja, water-bird paradise, with the whole Panchan family.
Then a relaxing drive up the east coast (of the U.S.) with my wife Lyn. Best spot - Beaufort, N.C.
But now it's time to hit the metropolitan area network project. And this update from Sam Churchill on 802.16a is just what I was looking for.
Business Week has an article that describes the Towerstream service which just rolled out in Manhattan, as well as other news.
Here's Towerstream's pricing structure:
Now that my son Mick is off to graduate school at Stanford, I have an excuse to go check out wireless developments on the West Coast.
Don't get excited, UFO fans - it's a brand name.
Wireless network file server. For the new offices of the Lower Eastside Girls Club. And the Cafe. Yum.
I'm in the last days of a great season in Chiapas. Back in New York next week, I'll be reviewing all the community wireless notes I've set aside for later. Here's another signpost for local wireless systems, from Daily Wireless, of course.
So we get cheap, wireless connectivity. Low-cost portable wi-fi computers. Then what?
MIT is working on the possibilities. (Thanks to Daily Wireless for the info.)
The evolving standards in wireless internet systems for cities and towns. 802.16 and beyond.
We just increased the range of the wi-fi bubble here in Panchan by moving the access point out of the cafe and into a tree 100' closer to the rest of the place. Now I am posting from a comfortable spot under the palapa of the restaurant. We did a quick and dirty install, pulling a long extension cord for power. It made me appreciate this elegant solution to the power-over-ethernet problem, available now for the older Airport hubs (soon for the new Extreme line):
For the last month or so, travelers to Palenque who stay at Panchan have been able to check email without going into town, thanks to Chato's new cybercafe. Air-conditioned, overlooking the jungle on one side and a meadow on the other, open from 8am to 11pm every day.
I finally took the time to set up a wireless access point, the Linksys WAP11, and today for the first time I am surfing and posting wirelessly. Without an external antenna, the range is limited, especially with all the foliage in the way. The WAP11 can act as a bridge, so with the addition of more APs, we can extend the range.
But I am able to sit in the restaurant (Don Mucho's) and do my work, 200 feet or so from the AP. Until I can do that in my room at the far end of the compound, the cool cybercafe is still the preferred place, at least in the mid-day heat.
Today a bubble in the jungle, tomorrow a cloud in the city.
This idea has whipped through the weblog world this week - that the only superpower now able to counter the U.S. government is world public opinion.
Jim Moore's paper this week called for a net-based movement:
The Second Superpower
Andrew Orlowski dissected the devolution of the idea:
Anti-war slogan coined, repurposed and Googlewashed... in 42 days
This is something I've been ignoring as a relatively new weblogger. Movable Type has made it so easy to keep this weblog that I haven't wanted to push it any farther. But for the curious and for my own reference, here is Ben and Mena's recently published explanation.
More info from Daily Wireless that could help me in my Lower Eastside, Manhattan project. Thanks, Sam!
From Wireless Week, a report on a bill to require a wireless network in post-war Iraq that uses the CDMA (American) standard instead of GSM (generally considered European).
Since all Middle East countries now have GSM, it appears to be a simple pork-barrel bill for Rep. Darrell Issa's constituents at Qualcomm corporation in San Diego.
Thanks to Sam Churchill at DailyWireless, a link to a site with information on the dirty politics surrounding the battle for municipally controlled (and provided) broadband access.
From Lawrence Lessig, a note on Mexico's proposed changes to copyright laws.
Daily Wireless has a good topic archive on City Clouds, municipal wireless access programs. The post today is about Tallahassee, Florida, but includes many links to other cities" plans.
And on Zwire, an article about United Way's plans to build cheap wireless networks in Philadelphia.
"The service will cost between $5 and $10 per month, less than what many people pay to dial up the Internet on a modem.
Only people with a computer and a wireless Internet adapter card will be able to get the signals, but the United Way plans to start giving away machines to area families this summer."
Skeptics included Chellie Pingree, a friend of the Lower Eastside Girls Club. And the systems included wireless access in the schools.
Good links from Daily Wireless on both wired and wireless networks in education.
On Boing Boing, the weblog, Cory Doctorow is posting coverage of the Spectrum Policy Conference at Stanford. Many sides of the debate over the future of the wireless internet are emerging. Is the spectrum a commons or is it property?
Great work covering the conference, great use of the weblog format.
Okay, I didn't start this weblog to discuss war or politics or economics. But there are a few things I run across that I feel like passing on.
Intended for a few friends, it made its way around the internet to thousands. And now I'm contributing to the "privacy spill." This spill itself and its implications are discussed on a Yale University website called LawMeme:
In an essay referring to the cyber attack on the Mexican Supreme court in October, there is an interesting discussion of the difference between online protest and cyber-crime.
"...the famous Chiapas denial of service (DoS) attack attributed to the Electronic Disturbance Theater was an act of civil disobedience, commonly referred to as hacktivism. Hacktivism promotes social causes online, in this case the plight of the indigenous people of Chiapas Mexico. In the current world context, what application of technology constitutes criminal behavior, terrorism or hacktivism/civil disobedience?"
From Tim Higgins at Small Net Builder, more info on the new 802.11g wireless standard.
In Boston, a model for my dream.
A good summary of the new 802.11g standard, which Apple has pushed into the mainstream with its new AirPort base stations. Besides speed, the main new feature is the bridging capability.
Via Doc Searls, a timely parody of the "404 webpage not found" message that all of us have gotten at one time or another.
For my files, toward the creation of a mesh network in the Lower Eastside of Manhattan. Also in Panchan, Palenque, Mexico.
From Wired via Slashdot:
Sam Churchil at Daily Wireless has a summary of new projects addressing the digital divide, some good, some bad.
"Kentucky has listed broadband among the inalienable rights of the state's low-income housing residents."
Microsoft Corp. may in the future be forced to lower its software prices as a result of the growth of open source, the company cautioned in its latest filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Courtesy of Smart Mobs, a link to the rugged mobile video transmission system that military PR guys are getting to take into the field. This is what I need on the river for the live web expedition.
For once I agree with Verizon.
"The court's decision has troubling ramifications for consumers, service providers and the growth of the Internet," said Sara Deutsch, vice president and associate general counsel for Verizon. "It opens the door for anyone who makes a mere allegation of copyright infringement to gain complete access to private subscriber information without the due process protections afforded by the courts."
Just found the Apple AirPort Weblog, by the authors of "The Wireless Starter Kit" book. Useful as I try to learn more about both Apple and PC wireless sytems. This link is an entry about the new 802.11g AirPorts.
1. This sounds like a pretty geeky, technical topic. Why should I care?
Imagine that every American had the same access to the public airways as broadcasters do today. Imagine everyone living within reach of a radio signal had the ability to communicate with everyone else. Imagine rather than having to worry about how much "bandwidth" is enough, everyone had unlimited access to bits so that the size of what you communicate simply didn't matter. You know the effect the Internet has had on how we live and work together? Multiply it by hundred. Opening the spectrum would turn a federally-managed permissions system into an open market for ideas and creativity. The effects on our democracy and economy should not be underestimated.
Larry Lessig has an op ed in today's New York Times about the Eldred case, which he argued and lost before the Supreme Court.
From the Smart Mobs weblog. This credit card sized device will tell you if you are in range of a wireless network. Now you don't have to turn on your laptop to sniff out a connection. You can also use it to check the range of your own network.
So the wireless hotspot feeds the cafe, the block, the neighborhood. How do you get the bandwidth to the hotspot? Point-to-point 802.16a standard has been devised for high bandwidth and high numbers of users.
This has been my puzzle since I started devising this free wireless idea. Closest fiber is 4 long blocks away, tens of thousands of dollars in fees to bring the cable over to the community building. Thanks to Sam Churchill as usual for giving me links to a new solution.
Just ran across this description of a homemade wireless link across a kilometer, using simple components. Filing it away for future reference.
Sam Churchill at DailyWireless tirelessly researches the latest in broadband community access. Here's the archive for his "City Clouds" topic. Today's entry, "City-run Telecom in Portland?" is packed with information on other municipal networks, and links to info on Gigabit Ethernet, which I'm looking into for the free wireless neighborhood network I plan to build.
The Smithsonian Institution virtual exhibit on the Maya, featuring a theater troupe based in San Cristobal, has gone online in 4 languages as of today.
The site is the result of nearly two years of work by:
Sna Jtz'ibajom, the theater group;
Dr. Robert M. Laughlin, Curator of Mesoamerican Ethnology, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution;
Chip Morris, Carol Karasik, and myself.
Dennis Hasch is the lightning-fast webmaster who got it up and running today from the CD he just received from me this morning.
It's been available in progress on my site, but the Smithsonian has posted it in English, Spanish, Tzotzil, and Tzeltal on their site. Minor navigation tweaks to come, but here are the links:
Svinajeb Mayaetik (Tzotzil)
Yilobil te Mayaetike (Tzeltal)
In the New York Times, a report on municipal wireless networks (in this case, on the west coast) as urban renewal.
It's a national disgrace that we don't have widespread cheap broadband internet access in the U.S.
And it's an international priority that we all work towards a global wireless network.
I'm glad to find a consensus forming among some of my heros on the web. And I'm working on it in my own small way.
Again, thanks to Sam Churchill at the DailyWireless. He shows how some folks in Oregon provide Wi-Fi to a town of 6,000.
A note to myself for a future web radio station. And to anyone else interested in setting one up on a Mac.
I haven't really been following Vicente Fox's e-Mexico plan, but this story outlines the beginning of the project - 3200 digital community centers by March of 2003.
Sam Churchill at Daily Wireless just keeps coming out with great information for folks like me who are working up a wireless internet system. This report fills a gap in my knowledge on repeaters and bridges. Between this and new mesh network equipment, I may actually be able to do it.
If you want to know what technologies are spooking the folks in the telecom industry, read this article. Among the disruptive developments in the future - more wireless internet.
Why not? A plan to have floating sources for high-speed internet access, especially in remote areas.
If you tried to find this site on Monday Dec. 9, or tried to email me, you may have wondered why gomaya had dropped off the net. Simple and stupid answer - I let the domain registration expire. Somehow I thought it was in the batch I had renewed this year. We're back online only 14 hours later - better than the 24-48 hours that the InterNic folks promised.
Back from Chiapas and I'm catching up with wireless internet news and, sadly, the current level of paranoia in the States.
"Homeland Security is putting people in place who will be in a position to say, 'If you're going to get broken into ... we're going to start regulating.'"
So you're living in a wireless cloud but don't want the cloud to know you're there? Drop your device in a cloaking bag, a modern Faraday cage.
I'm a techno primitive, the last guy in New York without a cell phone. But I've got an EZPass in my car. I drive through toll booths without stopping, they see whatever is in the little beige plastic box and bill my credit card. What if I'd rather pay cash and not leave a record of where I've driven? Stick the EZPass in the mcloak. Or leave it at home.
Via Boing Boing
Check out graphics and animation here:
On Monday, 9 of the 13 root servers for the Internet were put out of commission by a coordinated electronic attack. Hardly anyone noticed, and no one knows who was responsible. The net goes on. For now.
At the moment I'm dying to get out of the editing room, but I usually take it with me, on my laptop. Final Cut Pro brilliantly mimics the Avid systems we've used for years, although the model for both is outdated in my opinion - source "monitor" on the left, record on the right. It's a throwback to tape editing.
For other grizzled veterans trying to learn the newer stuff, there's an intriguing new book.
But I haven't figured out this generation yet! Now, in addition to checking Sam Churchill's DailyWireless every day, I have to look at this site. It has a good wrapup of wireless trends. I'll never catch up. But a point-to-point 5 GHz link from town of Palenque to the Panchan, then 802.11b at Don Mucho's for Chato's clientele - hey, I sound like I know what I'm talking about!
Doc Searls reports on the Digital Hollywood Conference last week, in The Real Battle.
He quotes one of the speakers, describing the problem everyone in my business (broadcast and cable television production) is dealing with:
"Let's look at the larger skew. There are today 380 digital television networks. Ten years ago there was one Discovery Channel. Today there are fourteen Discovery Channels. Now you cannot tell me there is fourteen times as much advertising money flowing into Discovery Channels. They have fourteen times as much programming costs, fourteen times as much satellite transponder costs.... This is a train wreck. This cannot sustain itself..."
No kidding. Except, there aren't 14 times the programming costs. There's less and less available to produce each program, with ever greater production quality required to cut through the haze of channels and get the show watched.
Yes, I'm a burnout, but it's not just me. I built my career making shows faster and cheaper, sometimes smarter. But we're hitting the wall.
Across the East River from us, in Queens, there's an entrepreneur in wireless internet access. When I saw this story, I thought at first that he was going to give it away to his neighborhood, as I hope to. For now, he is. But he hopes to charge $39 a month once it takes off. That's still cheaper than DSL or cable modem. But it's not what I have in mind.
More on mesh networks. It's the swarming, smart mob moment. Via Slashdot, a link to LocustWorld, a company with a number of mesh developments.
UPDATE: A new entry by Sam Churchill at Daily Wireless has more information about the Athens, Georgia wireless cloud and other municipal networks.
With so many college campuses going wireless or considering, it's great to find an introduction to the field. Here's a link so I can get back to it myself, when I get back to planning the community network.
The secret service is driving around with Pringles can antennas, looking for open nodes.
See also my earlier post on driving around Manhattan looking for networks.
There's a lot going on behind the scenes today regarding the Maya dams initiative, but my only posts to this weblog are tech ones. To make it a clean sweep, here's a find. Anyone who was intrigued by my post on the browser Mozilla might like this link, which I found on scottandrew.com. It's the entire text of the O'Reilly book, "Creating Apllications with Mozilla".
It's legit, not a copyright infringement - provided free online under the Open Public License.
Encouraging words from Marc Canter and Doc Searls got me started on this weblog path. Now Marc has a blog that keeps stirring it all up. He's a former lower eastsider who launched multimedia, started Macromind (now Macromedia) and is still pointing the way.
If we all had broadband, his site would load faster. But it's worth the wait for the grade school pictures navigation bar. Creative ego...
Here's a report on something I've been dodging for a couple of months - how exactly I'm going to pay for the free wireless broadband I want to give away to the neighborhood when The Building is built. Got to get some hard numbers soon, for the business plan. Non-profits have business plans? Yep.
Plus we've got a hundred donated PC's we've got to give away. No room to store them. That'll be easy.
BBC has a news story on MIT's decision to provide its courseware for free on the internet. It includes links to MIT's site.
The headline is histrionic, but the fact that it's in the LA times (registration required) on the day before a big DigitalHollywood conference is significant.
Thanks to Doc for this and other great links to Lessig and the copyright debate.
There's an interesting interview with Howard Rheingold on PopTech, The Blog.
Rheingold will be out promoting his book on Smart Mobs this fall, and this interview has great insights into the intersection of community and technology at the moment. His remarks remind me of all the reasons I love the web, why I started this weblog and why I am tired of the TV business (though it still pays the bills).
Susan Prins is arguably the more graceful partner of Alonso Mendez. She is a dancer and artist who lives at Panchan in Palenque. Sue sent a link to a New York Times article on dance and technology.
Someday we'll create our own combination of movement and technology, while the howler monkeys sing the score.
For Blair, who is struggling with the Quicktime Broadcaster software to launch a school internet radio station, here's a link I found on Doc's site to the new government regulations:
Do they apply to an educational station? I don't know, but I'd better find out before I try to do the same thing in our neighborhood.
More on Larry Lessig later, but here's a link to the most important defender of an open internet's "last" presentation on "the current state of intellectual property and its ramifications on creativity and culture".
As a former employee of ABC/Disney (I still get annual free tickets to Disneyworld from Michael Eisner) I'm enjoying the debate that Walt helped initiate with his copyrights on the stories he plundered from the Creative Commons.
Lessig's all over the weblog world but I got the links from, of course, Doc Searls .
I'm starting to plan the internet connections (physical wires, boxes, servers) for the girls club building. Multiple tenants, all with internet bandwidth needs. Pretty simple in our case, especially compared to The Pittock Internet Exchange in Portland, Oregon, a massive switchboard between carriers of all kinds.
Thanks to the DailyWireless for a link to this "guided tour".
I keep harping on this. How bad is it? The US has fallen out of the top 10 in broadband internet connections to households. Sam Churchill tells the story in his DailyWireless - Global Broadband Penetration.
If you just want to follow the information we're digging up about possible dam construction on the Maya watersheds, you can go to a new weblog that will hold the latest posts on that subject: USUMACINTA.
All the entries there will still be here at the Glyph, but you won't have to wade through all the other topics.
From Scriptygoddess, a site I've consulted since I started with this weblog business, a site to keep the techies from snowing you with jargon:
And don't forget the tool that made this weblog, Movable Type.
Sam Churchill at the DailyWireless maintains a steady stream of great links on wireless internet developments. We share the same goal - free community wireless broadband, Sam in Portland, Oregon, me in the lower eastside of Manhattan.
Once we set up free access points, we need hundreds of cheap computers. Less than the cost of a year of DSL, a Wi-Fi ready PC for $500.
A World Resources Institute program, Digital Dividend, is helping to install pedal powered wireless internet centers in Laotian villages. Wireless links are relayed to a microwave tower on the ridge above the village.
For the folks who need a vision of gigabucks to do the right thing, this article:
via Marc Canter
As I wonder if my plans to be a free broadband provider will materialize, I get a new jolt of inspiration. This article details how lack of competition has kept broadband internet expensive and has stifled its growth in the U.S. Those damn telecom monopolies!
It's satire but it reads like any other web news item. Have I been taken in before?
UPDATE: Wait, I just noticed
New Ford Exorbitant Comes with Spare Explorer
Thanks to Doc Searls (see his An Adult's Garden of Clues), two sides to the intellectual property debate:
Larry Lessig's Creative Commons website.
And Charles Cooper's response: Why Larry Lessig gets an "F" in software.
Hmmm...that tiny royalty check I get from BMI is just about due. Not much, but a few bucks whenever my 4 TV scores play on air or cable, 7 years after composing them. Is that unfair? Who knows. Will I pay BMI a few dollars to keep track, collect and pay me? You bet.
From Slashdot, a link to an Oregonian report, Starbucks versus free community networkers.
This is something I've considered. What do I do with a free wireless network when other free (or paid) wireless nodes interfere? Potshots on the unlicensed frontier.
This is the current top elucidation of the battle between digital hubbers and copyrightniks. Bring me the head of Jack Valenti! That's a joke...
Many excellent links here and in all of Sam's work, including this homemade outdoor access point from Bay Area Wireless, and this AP in a box, ready to mount on the roof and illuminate the neighborhood with free wireless.
It's a self-referential world. Here's my link to an interview with the guy who wrote the book on online communities, Derek Powazek. It's in a webzine called Mindjack which I found through the weblog Boing Boing. Which I probably found through some other weblog originally.
Things happen fast in this weblog world. Doc was kind enough to make this site "Blog of the Day".
Now I know I'm not just talking to myself. Who else is out there? Drop me a line - address: dave at gomaya.com (let's foil the harvesters if we can).
Okay, so I'm late arriving at the party. A weblogger for month and I think I get it already. Early in this new identity, I sent out a brash email that bounced around, and I actually got an encouraging email back from Doc Searls, a god in this world. This slideshow by Doc, elegant in its simplicity, humor, and sense, puts it all in perspective for me.
I'm a New Yorker by now, but my family roots, back a generation or two, are in the red dirt cotton farms of Georgia. I see on the web that my birthplace, Athens, Ga., is building a "wireless cloud" over part of its downtown. Hey, that's what I'm trying to do in my neighborhood!
There's a good article with a number of links on the Daily Wireless website, about this and similar efforts in other communities.
Hey Chato, let's do it at Panchan!
Last weekend, Jack Unger of Wireless Infonet came to donate his time to my wireless scheme. He did a site survey of the area on the East River of Manhattan where I plan to provide free wireless broadband access. The best moments were on the roof of the 14 story housing projects, using his spectrum analyzer to check for possible interference. Our results (nothing objectionable) may have been skewed by a power outage in much of downtown, caused by a Con Ed transformer fire.
We are designing a pilot project to relay broadband to the rooftops and "illuminate" the adjoining buildings with internet service. It's not a mesh network exactly but I'm still intrigued by the idea. The DailyWireless website has a note on mesh networks and the latest buzz from net guru Howard Rheingold - Smart Mobs.
Another link thanks to Bruce Sterling. As he writes:
"Some very nice shots of the ancient, tiny, pre-Internet here. Those maps have much of the weird archaic majesty of Mayan glyphs."
Should we tell him its "Maya" not "Mayan"? Or is it? Now I'm confused.
You'll find them here.
Great memories of my first trip to the Yucatan and Chiapas... but two things come to mind today.
There was the neon pyramid on the radio station sign outside my hotel window in Merida, my first night in Mexico. And being awakened in San Cristobal by the cohetes, the rockets that are fired off on every occasion in the highlands. It occurred to me that this was Maya broadcasting, an announcement to everyone within range. I realized later that fireworks, like firearms, were brought by the Spanish, but I still like the idea.
Now I am involved in an effort to set up a free wireless internet access service in my neighborhood. There are many groups around the world setting up free or open wireless communities. Now if we can just get internet service to the Panchan in Palenque. I'd never come home.
Since this my brilliant idea, I'll start the posting with a link to an article abouta cheap, handheld computer developed by Indian scientists that is having difficulties getting backers. Beyond my interest in all things Maya, I am trying to tackle the issues posed by the digital divide, the widening gap between haves and have-nots in technology and internet access. You'll find many of my posts linking to sites and news on this subject.