Saturday, March 29, 2008

Just had a thought. Has my recent discussion of Fitna turned me / revealed me to be Eustonian?

I honestly don't know. Readers, how does it sound?
Only just discovered that Ward Cunningham (father of wiki) does cool hardware hacking.

With protocols based on bacterial signalling.
Emily Chang on new user-interfaces. (iPod and OLPC)
Visa to IPO? Whatever happened to chaordic organization?

Meanwhile UK banking system chasing Muslim money. Wonder how they stop it being repackaged in securitization scams?

Friday, March 28, 2008

This kind of thing is getting so old. But something just occurred to me.

The irony here is that one of Winer's avowed reasons for getting into blogging was to have somewhere to put the record straight (when he was frustrated with the tech. journalism about Mac software in the 90s, when he gave up giving quotes to journalists etc.) But the blogging "river" format actually allows such definitive positioning statements to scroll off into history and get lost. That's why despite 11 years of Scripting News people still don't seem to know what he says and thinks about RSS etc.

Wikipedia, in contrast, has a single static page which is fiercely contested - partly because it's considered to be authoritative. But mainly because it's a well labeled single static page that Google (and so the world) knows how to find.

My advice to Dave would be to take a leaf out of Andrea Dworkin's book and have one static FAQ on Scripting News, prominently linked and discoverable (while flattering, "Who is Phil Jones?" doesn't quite make it from the Information Architecture angle) which just states his claims about RSS / podcasting etc. Keep it up to date when there are new misunderstandings, but generally allow it to accumulate the links and "authority" which currently goes to Wikipedia.

At the moment, Dave's responses to his critics are scattered, intertwingled with ephemeral issues, over dozens of blog posts and comments. No wonder people are still so vague about this.
OK ... I succumb ... Shel Israel interviews a frog about Facebook.
Cool, Darius found Huaylash Wanka music on YouTube,
TDAXP is right. Everyone should watch Fitna.

He's also right about one of the reasons :
Watch it, because people who kill over cartoons don’t want you to.

I caught it via his blog, but disturbingly, to underline Dan's point, it has gone from LiveLeak today.

Simplistic, biased and allegedly inaccurate as it may be, Fitna is something that a society and culture which values freedom needs to be able to keep in circulation; available to anyone who chooses to see it when they want. And the internet is meant to be our technological guarantee of that ideal. Right now it seems that a lot of governments and individual organizations are running scared. Who, really, wants to be associated with and host the damned thing and put their citizens and employees and businesses in danger?

You may have to resort to Bittorrent to watch it, as though it were an illegal download.

And that is a great failure of our politics, society and courage.

Of course, the Western governments (and ambitious politicians like Geert Wilders) have helped pump this fear of the "islamo-fascist" bogeyman to such an extent that any threat, however idle, is given credence enough to cowe us into submission. To such a degree that the bravado of the rightists looks (almost) appealing in comparison. That's undoubtedly part of the twisted dynamics at work here. The rightists pump the fear to make their own defiance look heroic; living out a fantasy ideology that mirrors the islamicists' own. And, in doing so, they lionize and embolden those who they claim to oppose.

Nevertheless, the underlying reality is troubling; there is a case to be answered rather than dismissed. It really appears that we face a constituency that rejects the basic values of an open society within which people can express themselves, argue for their different opinions, live their preferences, without fear of violent reprisal.

It's unlikely that LiveLeak were spooked by their own shadows. Somebody must have felt justified to make the (seemingly inevitable) threatening call or email or web-posting. As though it were the most natural thing in the world to issue death-threats when you feel your religion or culture is being criticized.

That banal normality - we would have been surprised if the threat hadn't come - is the true measure of the hole we're in. We no longer live in a world of specific causes and effects, but a condition of implacable enmity between value-systems; where fundamentalist Muslims are organized to interpret every cultural complaint against Islam as an attack, an opportunity to be offended, a call to action and counter-attack.

And we do not know what to do about it.

I have always been, and remain, an opponent of the "war on terror" and of the West's attempt at militarizing the problem. Such an approach, in lolspeak, is "full of fail" : it has given Osama the war he wanted and rallied a large part of the Muslim world against us. (Had there been even an iota of success from this doomed warmonger's strategy, then Wilders' film and its warnings would have been unnecessary and meaningless. The European Muslim community's own immune system would be suppressing the crazies.)

I feel little more sympathy for the far-right's attempts to stop Muslim immigration into Europe and send Muslims home. (Although I accept that this is not so disastrously counter-productive as bombing the middle-east - and may even have slight pragmatic benefit in keeping the peace.) It is a sign of utter defeat, saying, effectively, that our liberal values, the examples we offer in our rich and vibrant societies to immigrant Muslims are inadequate counter-attractions to a dead-weight fundamentalism.

But if not that, what other solutions do we have? Particularly we leftists and liberals? We can understand a far more complex web of causes, effects, social and historical forces, but such theories are little use unless they also can lead towards solutions.

Because it is hard to see that Wilders is not right in this : there is a problem. There is a struggle for the hearts and minds of Muslims in Europe. And we are not winning it. The most liberal of countries encounters rising homophobia, misogyny and attacks on freedom of expression which ought to be unthinkable. Of course, the rightist Wilder exploits this in his propaganda, to win our sympathy. But the underlying events are no less ugly for that. We can't judge the message by the messenger. And can't ignore the problem because it's difficult.

Ultimately, you should watch Fitna because you will be disturbed by it. Unless you have already simply taken sides in the "clash of civilizations", you dread what that phrase imports and want to resist its coming. Fitna should renew your sense of urgency.

Update : Fitna is still on Google Video. Catch is ASAP.
I'm surprisingly charmed by recentish UK hip-hop.

Curiously "patriotic", though.

Bonus video : Lily Allen singing Keene.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Moto Labs look interesting.
More details of US corporate welfare, and current US meltdown.

The really interesting questions, of course, are those that follow.

Suppose the US government is sending a signal to Wall Street that it will bail it out, despite its irresponsibility?

Some will probably argue that this is how it should be. That it's a price worth paying to avoid economic catastrophe. The markets don't panic, things go on as usual.

Well, if so, will such people then also accept that capitalism *is* dependent on government as lender of final resort? That the whole system is a kind of Keynsianism of forced "tax-and-lend" rather than "tax-and-spend"? (Except without the egalitarian pretensions of good-old-fashioned-Keynsianism) Markets and governments "symbiotic" rather than opposing principles?

Will the true libertarians peel-off in revulsion at the whole corrupt system?

Will people just get *used* to it?

Will, in fact, the international money markets "punish" this behaviour by getting out of the dollar?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What, really, this late in the day, can anyone say?

US justifications for Iraq war were built on evidence of an accused thief on the run from the Iraqi government? Who was distrusted by the senior CIA and UN inspectors. But the US government went ahead anyway, starting an unneccessary war which killed ... well let's remind ourselves again :

Iraq Body Count web counter

+ over 4000 US service personel at the alleged cost of 3 trillion dollars.

Oh yeah, but we all have "fatigue" from this kind of story. We all know that the Republican machine is corrupt, dishonest, cynical, hate-spewing, mass-murdering and yet somehow utterly incompetent at anything except fooling the American public into voting for it. Somehow people just keep on ignoring this.
Hmmm ... I'm disappointed with Bebo.

I joined them hoping for a non Murdoch-owned MySpace clone to host my musical life. But now I find they seem to have restricted access to my music to members only. So that's pointless. Everyone else in the world *does* use MySpace, but I refuse.

Anyone know of anything similar which a) doesn't restrict my music to its members and b) isn't owned by a mass murderer?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hey! I like Visualizing Economics.

(Would have posted this on the OPTIMAES blog if Google hadn't impounded it :-( )
Dennis Howlett notes RockYou thinks its worth twice as much as Bear Stearns

Whether this is fantasy, the tech. economy simply lagging behind everyone else's reality or a real change in what's considered valuable, we'll find out.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Big Dog.

You don't understand Twitter!

That's OK. It's kind of weird and hard to get your head round. And if you aren't using Twitter, absolutely there is no way you're going to understand it. It looks ridiculous; the most pointless thing ever,

But the hype is justified. Twitter is unlike anything else out there. A kind of Flow Internet version of The most successful example of Zby's "social routing" I've seen. The nearest thing to plugging yourself live into massively parallel hive-mind.

Update : Big Scribe post on Twitter today.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I'm fascinated by El Cosmico ... the perfect synthesis of new-age and capitalism, hippie-theme hotel, idealism and cynicism, art and commerce, redneck authenticity and sophisticate kitsch, Buddhas and baseball. Pure Americana.

Check out the merchandize.
Hat-tip Kaunda. Fascinating piece on Global Universities and knowledge workers.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I dunno, this week any old tosh sounds cool with Robo-branding from Fruity Loops speech synthesizers. (witness : Branded 2)

I'm so enthused by this I'm actually forking out 99 dollars for a copy of Fruity Loops. I'm sure I'll be bored by the whole Robo-voice thing before they even process my credit card (which amazingly seems to take *days*). But a pirate copy of Fruity has been my mainstay composition tool for about the last 7 years. So if anyone deserves me buying their software, it's these guys.

Which reminds me, I have a follow up post planned on intellectual property. But not tonight ... tired.
Wiimotes hacked to see laser-pointers.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Originally uploaded by interstar
Tomorrow night I'm DJing at a party at the Clube da Imprensa under the somewhat quotidian name : "Phill". (Note the double L)

Bit pedestrian compared to all the "Gangster"s and "She-men", eh?

Basically, I never gave the organizers of the first party I played at any sort of nome-de-disc and so they printed up the flier with this mis-spelling of my real name. Now I guess it's going to follow me around, and if I change it no-one will know it's the same person, will they :-)

Frankly I can't think of anything better at the moment, anyway.

Which is a shame, because I do rather like the way that all the Niche producers have robotic voices saying things like "T2 Productions" or guys with northern accents saying "Mikey B On Productions" all the way through the track. In an age of sampling and audio downloading the only way to guarantee your attention is to watermark / brand ruthlessly everywhere. It's cool to have a logo. It makes you feel somehow important.

So I spent 10 minutes playing with the the new Fruity Loops voice synthesizer saying "Synaesmedia Productions". The Synaesmedia brand flails around, never really attaching itself to anything properly, but it can have some fun there for a while. However, the track went all "Super Radio FM". Not at all niche or bassline house. Just sort of old-skool, easy listening house with the bright but miasmic glowing melody line smothering everything else.

Well, it's 2AM in the morning ... so I guess late-nite is what I'm feeling. Even though I have no idea what I'm actually going to play tomorrow and I should be preparing my playlist etc. Expect it to sound nothing like this, though :

Synaesmedia Logomarca

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Not happy that the OPTIMAES blog is still getting categorized by Google as a spam blog. What's going on here? How long exactly is it meant to take them to review the cases of misclassification?
Heh heh ... trying to download some more bassline house / niche I'm coming across some recent happy-hardcore with "northern" garagey style rapping on it. And some interesting sounds that I'd normally associate with grime. Is it possible that up in Lancashire somewhere the whole thing is going to mutate into some kind of happy bassline-core hard-niche sound full of frenetic beats, luscious melodies and shouty speeded up voices? :-)

Roll on, I say. Distinctly reminiscent of The Prodigy when they were still good (ie. before the second album.)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

In light of my current dalliance with Erlang and that recent post on setting up pipelines in a functional stylee (in Python), this comparison of process-based concurrency in Erlang and Stackless Python is very cool.