Monday, June 30, 2003

Good new Momus essay on high density living, in cities and culture.

I'm also adding Julian Dibbell to my blogroll. He writes about virtual economics, fantasy worlds and claims to have lived in Brazil.

See also his Interview with Jorn Barger (Robot Wisdom)
Hey! My friend Steve has got his new blog up and running. With an interesting post about emergent democracy and political networks. Steve's a historian turned computer scientist who thinks about trust and virtual countries. So worth reading.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

I discover I'm now officially too old to be a computer programmer

Somehow this comes as a great relief. Maybe I don't need to try anymore ;-)

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Sad day. The EU approve software patents.

This is so fucked. How can thay have fallen for this? The patent industry must just keep lobbying, lobbying, lobbying the whole time.

Friday, June 13, 2003

I've been feeling swamped by all the blogs I need to read. So I've started using an aggregator : Amphetadesk. I'll report how it goes.
Quickies :

this week I've been mainly thinking about music. The new look BeatBlog is coming together. I've hacked Gbloink! to have a larger play area and found loads of exotic new scales. And I performed with it at the opening of my wife's new exhibition last night (Site and pics coming soon)

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Electric Venom inspires an interesting question. Why do I blog? Personally, I realize my blog sucks. Most of the time, when I have something to say I prefer to put it in my wiki.


Because the hypertext nature captures the interconnection between my thoughts better, and requires less scene setting. I can throw an idea in a couple of lines, link to it from related ideas, link to other similar things. Done! Blogs are too much work! ;-)

When I do write something significant on my blog it's normally in reaction to a current / news event (often political) that's incensed me. But this doesn't happen on a regular basis. Not frequently enough to hook dedicated readers. So probably even these don't get read. It's a hard question. As a blog reader I value regularly updated, contentful blogs. As a writer, I want to blog, but not frequently enough to justify an audience :-(

One solution might be to join a small blogging goup. A good example of a group I read is SATN. But even though I do have friends (yeah, really!) I don't know if we share a cohesive enough set of interests to make a valid blog. So I guess I'm stuck with posting comments on other people's blogs for the moment, and trying to keep this one better.

On a brighter note ... I think BeatBlog has some value. I'm regularly producing beats, and it's more a problem of access that's stopped me putting them up. Now I think that problem's solved. So read this blog less frequently, and listen to BeatBlog more frequently for the moment. And check the wiki for the real evolving core of my thinking. Still, all that may change now I'm unemployed :-)

Monday, June 09, 2003

Ouch, just realized having come online for the first time in a couple of weeks, I'm scared to start reading the blogs on my blogroll. There's likely to be soo much there ...
Q : Where have you been Phil?

A : Off line, in England, and sorting out my life ... more to follow ...
The latest Clay Shirky piece on inequality and FCC regulation seems to be missing several points.

Sure, blogs demonstrate that freedom of media association leads to power law distributions. But the implication doesn't work the other way to imply all unequal distributions are therefore evidence of nothing but freedom of media association.

Unlike weblogs on the net, traditional media which have expensive requirements like wood pulp, printing presses, auctioned spectrum etc. are NOT examples of this pattern. They are first and foremost businesses, and primarily responding to the incentive of economies of scale, to pressure to consolidate. FCC regulations on media ownership are not there to stop particular media channels from making hugely popular programmes which win large shares of the audience. AFAIK there is no fine if you broadcast a show which gets 100%. So, they are not trying to preserve equality of audience. They are trying to preserve diversity of ownership in the belief that this guarantees diversity of content. (Why does diversity of ownership ensure diversity of content? Because without diversity of ownership, economies of scale always tempt these companies to try to use less content to attract more audience, narrowing the diversity.)

I'm also a bit concerned that Shirky is so convinced of his muddled analysis that he's resorted to scaremongering like this : can expect at least some members of the "diverse and equal" camp to advocate regulation of weblogs, on the grounds that the imbalance between Glenn Reynolds of and J. Random Blogger is no different than the imbalance between Clear Channel and WFMU to criticise opponents of deregulation.