Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's a bit old, but I'm quite impressed by this article by Johann Harri about the pro-war left.

(See also : Eustonism)
My bike ... (sniff) .. stolen today, sometime between 2pm and 7pm, outside Goldsmiths.

BTW : Linux installation on the Asus is going pretty well. Wifi drivers worked without hitch. Sound seems ok. (Pure Data makes noises without having to mess about launching the jack daemon manually.)

The big issue seems to be Java applets in Firefox. May be related to Firefox 3.6 needing a very recent Java. However, I'm following Sun's instructions and it still doesn't seem to be having the right effect.

openFrameworks is a pain to install too. Not sure why that should be.
Robert Fisk :
When Tunisia announced that it was free, Mrs Hillary Clinton was silent. It was the crackpot President of Iran who said that he was happy to see a free country. Why was this?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Unboxing the Asus U33Jc.

I've needed a new laptop to do music and art for a while. I really like my Atom based EeePC netbook but it just doesn't cut it for real-time audio synthesis in PD / Supercollider and the like.

I like Asus and I like bamboo. (Everyone said "Get a MacBook." I didn't want a MacBook.) So this was a fairly tempting choice.

I'm not sure about this strange, tech. striptease of the unboxing ritual. But as that's what people seem to be doing these days (and I have a box to un, as it were), why not go for it?

BTW, it took forever for Windows 7 to configure itself. And I've spent the last 2 hours or so just creating a restore DVD. WTF?? Anyway, watch out for the next post which will probably feature me swearing and cursing as I fail to get Linux running on it.

Jane Hamsher :
It’s sad that this is what we have all come to expect when advocating for the civil rights of someone who has been identified as an “enemy of the state,” without benefit of a trial. But here we are.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

BTW : having troubles with ThoughtStorms at the moment. You can still see it, but I can't update it.

Basically, it looks like some bots were creating user accounts even though they were blocked from updating pages. And so filled my file quota. I'm trying to fix it, but seem to have managed to break something. I won't break it further so you can still read the pages. But I need to do something about this.
Can one revolution lead to another? Microfoundations of Domino Theory.
Simon Reynolds on Chillwave while some guy sics Pierre Bourdieu on the hipsters.
I missed this breakfast talk on Personal Manufacturing. But you can now see videos of the Q&A session on the site.

I have increasing respect for Adrian Bowyer.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fascinating. I just went to Kiva and found that they have no loans available. Apparently there are more Kiva funders than micro-borrowers.

The site says this is likely to be a temporary outage. (The equivalent of the Twitter FailWhale). But what does it say about the global economy? Is it a sign of a world-wide depression that there are so few entrepreneurs borrowing? Or a "savings glut" that so many people are moving into micro-lending? Are the Kiva partners proving to be an inefficient bottle-neck? Are entrepreneurs too risky a bet for Kiva to consider them?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Marius Kempe gave me just the answer I was hoping for over on Quora when I asked the question what harmonic / melodic / modal innovations exist in modern pop / rock / electronic that don't exist in classical music?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ned Ragget :
So in the end when I saw that photo above and thought a bit, the truest comparison that leapt to mind was another band, now gone — Coil. In their emphasis on ritual and electronics, on the tactile and the contemplative, while the work of John Balance and Peter Christopherson still differs from Cargill and Keenan’s in many important ways, they arguably took different paths to similar end points, exaltations of creativity of the now that were also continuations of a secret history, of a time that seems more removed than it is, or more accurately a perceived time, a perceived past. And when there are always jokes that anything before one’s own birth or earliest memories is simply ‘ancient history,’ then Broadcast using the sonic starting points of the 1960s and otherwise would simply mean that they were working in just such a field in part, but never in the whole.

RIP Trish Keenan

The new global elite.

Friday, January 07, 2011

More wikileaks links :

A suggestion for a distributed architecture.

Anonymous Infowar : Battle for a new Intelligence
I'm not particularly persuaded by Jaron Lanier or this article.

Nevertheless, there is something interesting in the debate he raises here :

The strategy of Wikileaks, as explained in an essay by Julian Assange, is to make the world transparent, so that closed organizations are disabled, and open ones aren't hurt. But he's wrong. Actually, a free flow of digital information enables two diametrically opposed patterns: low-commitment anarchy on the one hand and absolute secrecy married to total ambition on the other.

While many individuals in Wikileaks would probably protest that they don't personally advocate radical ideas about transparency for everybody but hackers, architecture can force all our hands. This is exactly what happens in current online culture. Either everything is utterly out in the open, like a music file copied a thousand times or a light weight hagiography on Facebook, or it is perfectly protected, like the commercially valuable dossiers on each of us held by Facebook or the files saved for blackmail by Wikileaks.

The Wikileaks method punishes a nation -- or any human undertaking -- that falls short of absolute, total transparency, which is all human undertakings, but perversely rewards an absolute lack of transparency. Thus an iron-shut government doesn't have leaks to the site, but a mostly-open government does.

If the political world becomes a mirror of the Internet as we know it today, then the world will be restructured around opaque, digitally delineated power centers surrounded by a sea of chaotic, underachieving openness. Wikileaks is one prototype of a digital power center, but others include hedge funds and social networking sites.

Personally, I don't think he's backed up the assumption that wikileaks's avowed objectives are unachievable or that we'll end up with silos of locked-down private data. After all, until recently, much of the US government's data might have been imagined to be more secure than it turned out. It's not yet clear that the US is punished for transparency whereas China is rewarded for opacity. China is one leak away from being seen as equally vulnerable.

Will that leak never come because of their better security measures? Because of their unwillingness to share data internally? Because of their less individualistic culture?

Or is it simply that it hasn't happened yet?

Even if China buys secrecy at the cost of major internal compartmentalisation, this could still be victory for Wikileaks, as Assange will have imposed his "secrecy tax" on it. Of course, China may be able to afford that tax. I suspect that in even the medium term it can't.

But most of the conspiracies that wikileaks is trying to tax / disrupt are between independent agents (eg. two governments, government and corporation, between separate senior managers). The fear of leaks then, is a fear of betrayal by your partner. The Chinese government may have its own employees locked down in fear. But it can't get into a conspiracy with Ukraine or Microsoft if it can't be sure of Ukraine's citizens or Microsoft's employees.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Future kitchens

Impressively dynamic Icelandic / gothic statue in the national museum in Reykjavik. I think it's some evangelical saint.
Dave Winer gave his Blogger of the Year award to Julian Assange.

NakedJen is an evangelist for radical transparency. Jay Rosen says the news process is turning upside-down. And Julian Assange put both ideas together. He says let's know all there is to know. Let's tell the people who take us to war and destroy countries and kill hundreds of thousands, for profit -- no more secrets. We're not just going to suspect you're doing it, we're going to know. And maybe, if they know we'll know, they won't do it.


WikiLeaks is the America's Tiananmen. Julian Assange is the tank guy. We all hold our breath to see if we go all the way.
The best robots of 2010

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Huh? Icelandic churchyards. Desolate windswept lava-fields. Crosses with light-bulbs. Plastic flowers. Gnomes.

Possibly the weirdest thing I saw on my travels. And this isn't an isolated occurrance. They all seem to be like this.
This is nice :

One thing’s for sure though, this new raft of watch accessories and the iPod nano being close to being jailbroken means that 2011 is shaping up to be an exciting year for nano owners and watch enthusiasts alike.
Someone spoke to a PR guy at the place where Bradley Manning is held prisoner.