[joho] JOHO Sept. 12, 2002

  • From: "David Weinberger" <self@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <joho@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 12 Sep 2002 16:59:16 -0400

Journal of the
Hyperlinked Organization
September 12, 2002
Editor: David Weinberger (self@xxxxxxxxxxx)
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| CONTENTS                                         |
|                                                  |
| PALLADIUM AND THE REAL WORLD: Microsoft's bid    |
| to make our computers secure will also make      |
| them vulnerable to stiff-fingered copyright      |
| holders.                                         |
|                                                  |
| There's nothing wrong with managing copyrighted  |
| materials, if you do it right.                   |
|                                                  |
| STUPIDITY: The importance of leeway.             |
|                                                  |
|                                                  |
| WHY VACATIONS SUCK: Ten reasons no one likes     |
| vacations.                                       |
|                                                  |
| THE ANALS OF MARKETING: Stamps, End User Abuse   |
| License, and protecting Godzilla                 |
|                                                  |
| WALKING THE WALK: Maybe conversation actually    |
| is important.                                    |
|                                                  |
| COOL TOOL: LeXpert and StartUpManager            |
|                                                  |
| WHAT I'M PLAYING: Clive Barker's Undying         |
|                                                  |
| INTERNETCETERA: Spamming the dead                |
|                                                  |
| SCANDAL CENTRAL: A picture is worth 10-20 years  |
|                                                  |
| 4 CONFERENCES, NO WEDDING: I'm plugging them,    |
| even if I'm not going to them.                   |
|                                                  |
| LINKS: You found 'em.                            |
|                                                  |
| Your excellent emissions.                        |
|                                                  |
| BOGUS CONTEST: Open Source Conspiracy Theories   |
| IT'S A JOHO WORLD AFTER ALL                      |
|                                                  |
| All Things Considered ran a commentary of mine   |
| which you can listen to here.                    |
| www.npr.org/ramfiles/atc/20020822.atc.20.ram     |
|                                                  |
| I've also made it into a bunch o' notable        |
| journals. I keep a running list of publications  |
| here. http://www.hyperorg.com/johonews.html      |


There are two problems.

First, our computers keep getting infected with
viruses, including the intentional virus called
"spam," because they have no way of knowing which
incoming stuff to trust. And they can't know what to
trust until they know who to trust, and even if they
did, they can't know that an attachment that claims
to come from a trusted source actually comes from
that source.

Second, people who want to sell us content and keep
us from redistributing it have no way to stop us

There's a way to solve both these problems at once.
But there's a price. By securing our computers we
will also enable -- and, realistically, bring on
-- a regime that enforces the sort of strict
copyright laws that, if applied to the real world,
would prevent your child from clipping a picture
from a magazine to put into a homework assignment.

That's the benefit and danger of Microsoft's
Palladium project.

Palladium relies on CPU manufacturers to provide
hardware identification numbers for each chip; Intel
and AMD have apparently already said yes. It will
enable a variety of biometric devices to be
integrated so that a retinal scan (or whatever)
could prove not only that this is computer
#142341111215 but that registered user David
Weinberger in Brookline is using it. (Palladium
permits but does not require that the machine ID be
linked to a known, secure personal identity.) A
logical segment of the Windows operating system
would be set aside as the Palladium "vault."
Anything going into or out of that vault would be
encrypted and tied to the ID number. The user could
control what gets released from the vault, providing
a new level of security, and the user could also
specify that, for example, it shouldn't accept email
that arrives without a valid ID. At the same time,
however, companies selling content would know
precisely to whom (= ID number) they have sold it
and to whom they have not. They would also be able
to set the rules around the use of that content.

Microsoft of course maintains that this is all
intended to give the user control over a perfectly
secure box. But it would not so incidentally provide
the infrastructure for Digital Rights Management,
i.e., the ability of content providers to control
the use of their files after the files have been
delivered to the machines of the people who bought
them. Palladium could be used to prevent us from
sharing creative works in the ways that we choose,
and could even prevent us from doing simple things
like copying and pasting out of documents we've
purchased or copying an MP3 we've bought onto an MP3
player we own. "Could" doesn't necessarily mean
"will," but in the real world it would be naive to
think that greedy, frightened, powerful forces
wouldn't take advantage of the technical opportunity
to thwart the market's will.

So, it'd feel a whole lot better if Microsoft teamed
news of Palladium with a statement that Microsoft
will fight for preserving and extending fair use and
will even pioneer new ways of enabling music to
spread without putting a cent sign on every Play
button. But, to the contrary, Microsoft is siding
with the Hollywood bullies.

Why? For the same reason that "Palladium will run on
every platform, not just Windows" wasn't the first
thing that came out of Microsoft's mouth. They
haven't said no to this, but their reluctance itself
is scary. If Palladium remains available only to
Windows machines, Windows would become by far the
most desirable platform on which to deliver content,
forging the unholy alliance between Microsoft and
Hollywood that has been long feared. If that new
White Snake CD can only be downloaded onto a Windows
Palladium PC, Microsoft wil have extended its
monopoly into the content delivery arena.

So, we would end up with a system that provides our
computer with a new level of security, but designed
by a company that has no credibility -- none --
when it comes to building secure systems. It would
enable micromanagement of digital content, speeding
the day when the most repressive rules about use and
reuse could be enforced, without balancing this with
a commitment to enabling the fair sharing of
creative works. As currently construed (i.e., no
commitment to multi-platform support or to open
sourcing it) it would extend the Microsoft monopoly
into the world of entertainment and other content.

Palladium would make our computers more secure. But
the price is too high. And even if it is to be
built, Microsoft is exactly the last company on the
planet that should be building it.

[UNWRAP the URLS if necessary]





Microsoft's technical FAQ:

Eric Norlin:
(Thanks, Eric, for help with this article, even
though you disagree with it.)

Dan Gillmor on copyright

A letter to Ashcroft from some cowardly,
skunk-assed members of Congress:


I've got no problem with a company selling me a work
of creativity according to whatever rules it wants
to establish. I can choose to accept or not. If they
say I'm only allowed to listen to the music once or
that I need to have a special player or even that I
have to clean my ears with Q-tips before I spin the
music up, fine. I have no problem with companies
making the rules they've established enforceable.
For example, if Microsoft builds in a mechanism that
makes it impossible for me to load Office on both my
desktop and my laptop, that's Microsoft's right. I
can shop elsewhere if I don't like it.

But I do have a problem with fundamentally degrading
the openness of the Internet in order to make the
rules enforceable. And I do have a problem with
narrowing the rules of fair use to allow license
agreements that are unreasonable restrictive.

In fact, here are my Three Rules of DRM. Each rule
supersedes the previous one.

  1. Companies that want to sell us works of
  creativity can do so with whatever enforceable
  licensing agreement they want.

  2. Fair use isn't just protected but is
  expanded in the face of the new reality.

  3. The basic architecture of our computing and
  networking environment -- which maximizes
  openness, connection and innovation -- isn't

If artists want to distribute their stuff locked up
so tightly that I can't sample it, share it, play in
on every device in my house, or quote it in my blog,
then they should go ahead. And I hope we'll band
together in not buying their stuff.

Let the market decide. Freely.


Doc Searls [1] points to a commentary by Ed Foster
[2] who writes in InfoWorld on the spread of end
user license agreements to printed material. His
example is a book on "Geriatric Care Guidelines"
from Omnicare, sent unsolicited to physicians. A
label warns you not to open the shrink-wrapping
unless you agree with the license which, basically,
forbids you from telling anyone what's in the book.

Lots of printed documents have had conditions
attached to them. Consulting companies routinely put
a footer on every page of their reports that forbid
them from being photocopied. And nondisclosure
statements routinely preface business documents. We
usually don't feel there's anything wrong with that,
perhaps because the inefficiency of the real world
ensures a reasonable leeway: nobody's going to know
if you distributed a page of the report at an
internal meeting or if you told your spouse about
the interesting proposal you heard today. In both
cases, you're violating the license, but far from
doing any harm, you are actually furthering the
author's interests -- the consulting firm is further
entrenched and you have a chance to think out loud
about the idea with someone outside your limited

The digital world affords the possibility of zero
leeway, so we're desperately trying to make the
mistake of erring on the side of strictness. But the
strict construction of communication misses its real
point. "Moving my ideas into a purchaser's head" is
only rarely the real intent of an author. Far more
often the intent is much richer than that: to have
her ideas make a difference, to be appreciated and
even loved for her ideas, to have her ideas start an
open-ended process of development. 

What we thought was an undesirable weakness of the
real world -- its inevitable leeway -- in fact is a
strength because it accommodates the basic point of
communication: to be ambiguous enough in meaning and
scope to cause growth and innovation in
unpredictable ways.

Digits don't know from that ambiguity. We -- by
which I mean the distribution industries, the
government and even most of us "content creators" --
are doggedly trying to reset the default to what is
simple and unambiguous. But, defaulting to the
simple and the unambiguous is the very definition of

Besides, didn't James Bond defeat the evil forces of
Omnicare in "You Only Play Once"?

[1] http://doc.weblogs.com/2002/08/14
[2] http://www.infoworld.com/articles/op/xml/02/08/12/020812opgripe.xml


I've created an anti-terrorist pop-under that just
might save the world. (Hint: Let it cycle through
once. Can you spot Osama?)



At last the summer is over. Here are the top ten
reasons why vacations suck:

  The better the vacation, the worse the
  bandwidth. It's a law.

  Huge disruption in your schedule of daily

  Hourly encounter with non-human species.

  The rest of the world doesn't stop sending you

  Stephen King and Tom Clancy: ridiculous plots,
  stupid characters, a cliche a minute.

  Bugs think they own your ass.

  It's someone else's toilet.

  If your real house hasn't burned to the ground
  by now, it's probably either been looted or
  infested with silverfish.

  No matter how much you use, calamine lotion
  doesn't work ... and it tastes damn funny.

  When you get back, people have no sympathy for
  what you've been through.



So, we're going to be allowed to print our own US
postage stamps on our own printers. Why not let us
create our own designs as well? See some designs in
the online version of JOHO.


1. Ryze.com promises to be your online business
networking network and it might be a great service,
but I didn't get past the privacy policy. It begins
well and then gets worse and worse:

  First sentence: Ryze Ltd. and Aereal Inc. share
  your concerns about personal privacy

  Last sentence: Ryze Ltd. and Aereal Inc. may share
  user data with parties including, but not limited
  to, business partners, affiliates, customers and

The lying sacks of ordure!

2.. Jamie McCarthy is concerned about the Windows XP
service pack 3 end user license agreement that gives
Microsoft the right to install whatever updates it
wants -- including Digital Rights Management stuff
-- without asking you.


3. Udhay Shankar has found a site that has a
VBscript that lets you install most software without
having to agree to the EULA. I haven't tried it and
don't know if it works, if it's legal or even if
it's harmless, but there's a certain psychological
satisfaction to circumventing the arbitrary demands
of software EULAs.


By holding my thumb over the first letter of my JOHO
business card, I have obtained the transcript of the
recent strategy meeting at Toho Corp. as they
discussed how to respond to the existence of a
popular weblog called "Davezilla"

  CEO: Tell me, my loyal subordinates, what our
  greatest asset is here at Toho.

  CFO: It is without doubt Godzilla.

  CEO: Most assuredly. And what is Godzilla?

  Jr. Mktg VP: It is a 110-foot high dinosaur imbued
  with the ability to breathe fire.

  CEO (smiling indulgently): Foolish one. Anyone

  CTO (hesitantly): It is an archetype called up by
  the Japanese in response to the deep guilt, shame
  and horror of having initiated the Second World
  War in the Pacific, which ended in holocausts that
  destroyed two of our cities as surely as the
  mighty Godzilla would have?

  CEO: Not even close. Anyone else? No? I'll tell
  you what Godzilla, our greatest asset, is. It
  started as a movie so poorly made that when the
  man in the dinosaur suit rampaged through a city,
  we didn't bother painting the inside of cardboard
  buildings he knocked over. We then ran this
  character into the ground in a series of movies
  that consecutively lowered the production values
  and became famous for being so blatantly without
  originality. Because these movies were so bad,
  "Godzilla" branded as standing for cheeziness. He
  is a monster who exists only as a laughingstock.

  VP Mktg: He is a brand.

  CEO: Yes, but he is a brand unlike almost any
  other. Toyota is a brand, but they make cars that
  are the object of the branding. Sony is a brand
  but they make electronic equipment. Godzilla is a
  brand but there is no Godzilla.

  Jr. Mktg VP: There isn't?

  CEO: All Godzilla is is a brand. He exists only
  because people, oddly, remember the movies and
  continue to refer to him when they need to talk
  about something large, lumbering and rather

  All: Ah. Very true. So wise.

  CEO (intensely, as if in another world): So, here
  is your challenge. If we are to slay this mighty
  monster that has ravaged our land, let us today
  pledge to keep anyone from referring to Godzilla.
  Where the army has failed, where the navy has
  failed, let us bring on the lawyers. Together we
  shall rid the world of this scourge named
  Godzilla. And then, Toho's noble mission will have
  been accomplished.

  CFO: I thought our mission was to increase
  shareholder value ...

  CEO: Silence, mortal!

The transcript ends with the sound of a single gun

But surely we can learn from the post-marketing
brilliance of Toho which has understood that the
true aim of marketing is to drive all thought and
discussion of your product off the face of the
earth, especially if your product has no existence
outside of what people think and say. Markets are
conversations? Then let's sue everyone into silence!

Jonathan Peterson briefly summarizes a new Forrester
report [2] on MP3s and the recording industry:

  Forrester has a new report stating the obvious:
  the music industry needs to let customers decide
  when, where and how they listen to music.
  Unsurprisingly, Big Content isn't listening:

    The music label executives we spoke with are so
    sure piracy is destroying their business, that
    they seemed strangely uninterested in the truth.
    After citing statistics about the sales of
    recordable blank CDs and threatening technical
    interdictions that would force pirates to reboot
    their PCs, one averred that "Research is useless
    at this stage."

  Interestingly Forrester forecasts a $2.1 Billion
  business in downloadable music, lead by a
  reinvigorated pop single marketplace and big fans
  who are willing to snap up productized digital
  "bootlegs", singles, and live versions of major

Fear makes people stupid. Unfortunately, we are all
likely to suffer from the recording industry's fear.

[1] http://www.way.nu/
[2] http://www.peercastnews.com/archives/000382.html#000382

| MIDDLE WORLD RESOURCES                           |

   Because I am a Cluetrain guy, I am unnaturally
   alert to the rediscovery of conversation, for the
   central idea of that decentralized book builds on
   Doc Searl's insight that "markets are
   conversations." So are businesses (as Fernando
   Flores said, although in a different way) and so
   is the Internet itself even though business
   generally insists on understanding the Net as a
   type of cheap broadcast medium.

   So, it is almost certainly only a coincidence
   that in the double issue (Aug. 19 and 26) The New
   Yorker, Adam Gopnick's excellent-as-usual article
   on cooking ends with this insight:

      Searching for an occult connection between
      cooking and writing, I had missed the most
      obvious one. They are both dependencies of
      conversation...I enjoy the company of cooks, I
      realized, because I love the occasions they
      create for conversation.

   Then, putting that magazine down, I picked up the
   NY Times Week in Review and read an article
   called "The Selling of America, Bush Style" by
   Victoria de Grazia about the Bush
   administration's attempt to "rebrand" the US. She
   points to two obstacles. First, "there are now so
   many competing messages..." Second,

      ...advertising messages in themselves have so
      little bite. They are like one-way streets.
      Effective cultural exchange, by contrast,
      depends on engaging others in dialogue.

   Jeez, maybe Cluetrain was right! The Internet is
   spreading the cult of conversation, which is, after
   all the most basic form of human sociality. (Wait,
   does sex count as a social act?)
   LeXpert is a software program designed to assist
   word game enthusiasts in expanding their
   knowledge of words. It offers more than 3,500
   word lists and different ways of viewing these
   lists. Customized lists can be created based on
   patterns, cryptograms, anagrams, number of
   vowels, etc.
   You know who I hate? Real, that's who. When you
   install the Real Player, at one point it shows
   you a list of newsletters and promotional gunk
   you don't want to receive. All the boxes are
   unchecked. Bravo. But, if you're blowing through
   the install screens so you can play your shared
   file of W getting the lyrics to "O Susanna"
   wrong, you may not notice that the box scrolls,
   and all of the items below the scroll are
   checked. That totally sucks.
   What's worse, every time Real Player loads, it
   tries to put a program into your StartUp folder
   to automatically load every time you reboot. That
   sucks too.
   You know what I love? StartupManager from Mike
   Lin. It notices whenever a program tries to sneak
   something into the StartUp folder and asks your
   It's free. It works. Thank you, Mike Lin. 

| WHAT I'M PLAYING                                 |
|                                                  |
| Clive Barker's Undying is a pretty dumb          |
| first-person shooter that's not nearly as scary  |
| as it should be, although I've been playing it   |
| with the sound down low so that my children      |
| will think I'm working. It's one of those games  |
| where the challenges aren't fun enough to make   |
| dying and restarting worthwhile, so, in homage   |
| to the game's name, I'm using a cheat that       |
| makes me pretty much invulnerable.               |
| INTERNETCETERA                                   |
|                                                  |
| And speaking of undying...                       |
|                                                  |
| According to a study by Address Guardian (and    |
| reported in MediaPost), 17M US households read   |
| direct mail and telemarketing addressed to a     |
| dead person. Four million get "a lot" and 53%    |
| of the mail is going to people who have been     |
| dead for a year or more. Only 6% goes to people  |
| who have been dead for 10 or more years.         |
|                                                  |
| In my will, I've specified that my heirs should  |
| keep my email address active and that all        |
| incoming mail should be automatically answered   |
| with a personalized response expressing my       |
| great interest in their products, services,      |
| offers of stolen government funds, webcam views  |
| of their hot coed selves and penis extenders.    |
| Count it as my own web-based perpetual flame.    |


Forwarded via Tim Hiltabiddle is a map of the
unfolding scandals.


Greg Allen points out the centrality of Jack Grubman:

(Thanks to Mark Dionne for finding the original
source of the diagram. Let it be noted, however,
that Mark is disappointed that Lernout & Hauspie
once again is ignored by those listing companies
wounded by lying, scheming, greedy bastards.)


I told four conference organizers that I'd pimp for
them. Here goes...

1. I went to Pop!Tech a couple of years ago and had
an excellent time. It brings together social-minded,
humanistic technologists (generalizing rather
broadly) for a couple of days of presentations in
the lovely Opera House in the lovely Camden, Maine.
I'm going again this year as a participant, not a
speaker. There are still some seats available.

I'll blog from it, of course, but I think a
semi-official blogsite is being created for it by
other blogging attendees. And so blogs, inevitably,
become topic- and event-based as well as based
around individuals.

2. I'm going to the DigitalID World conference in
Denver on October 8. Looks like it could be
seminal. In fact, I'm moderating (or would
extreminating be a better approach?) a panel with
Microsoft on Palladium. (Note to Microsoft with
regard to the lead article in this issue: Just
kidding! Ulp.)

3. Halley Suitt is encouraging us to go to the "Next
Generation Growth" conference put on by Harvard
Business School Publishing in Cupertino on October
3. I'm not going to be able to make it, but it looks

4. I am keynoting a Delphi Group conference on "The
Integrated Enterprise" in Reston, VA on Oct. 28.
Apparently this has to do with technology, not race


Steve Yost has a nicely written meditation on
Borges' critique of the reification of the self,
complete with a twist "Aha!" ending.

David Reed is no fool so if he's excited --
positively -- about possible changes to the FCC's
policy on licensing spectrum, then so am I. His
blog entry has links to lots of comments filed with
the FCC, including his own.

To see why any good news from the FCC shines
brighter than it should, read Dan Gillmor's
balanced assessment of that organization under the
leadership of Michael Powell.

Tom Poe is in the front of the pack creating a free
recording studio to encourage the distribution of
alternatively-business-modelled music.

Darwin "Print Is for Losers" Magazine has a pithy
interview [1] with the most depressing man in America,
Lawrence Lessig. Unfortunately, Lessig -- a
national treasure -- has earned his pessimism. In
short, he's right. Imagine a prophet with a law

Dan Gillmor [2] and Doc Searls [3]the  blog from the
Open Source Conference where Larry Lessig and
Richard Stallman gave keynotes.

  Back in the 20th century, if someone had accused
  you of copyright infringement, you enjoyed that
  quaint and now seemingly archaic guarantee of due
  process. Today, due process is a lot harder to
  pursue, and the burden of proof increasingly is on
  those accused of copyright infringement. For the
  copyright act, in essence, makes the owner of
  every Internet service provider, content host, and
  search engine an untrained copyright cop. The
  default action is censorship.
[1] http://www.darwinmag.com/read/080102/lessig.html
[3] http://doc.weblogs.com/2002/07/24#liveFromOscon----

There's a conversation on Digital Rights Management
at Kevin Marks' MediAgora [1] (and at Eric Norlin's
site [2]). And here's a Chronicle of Higher Education
article on "Copyright as Cudgel." [3]

[1] http://mediagora.blogspot.com/
[3] http://chronicle.com/free/v48/i47/47b00701.htm

Jonathan Peterson provides some perspective:

  Take a look at TIA, there are bigger fish to fry
  than mere copyright clampdowns.

TIA stands for Total Information Awareness, a secret
DARPA project that has some folks, like the EFF
(www.eff.org), worried.

Some high visibility folks talk about "Technology's
Impact on Democracy" [1] at the e-thepeople site

And the British government herself has posted a site
[3] with ideas for how to use the Internet to make
democracy work better.

Meanwhile, Matt Oristano points us to a remarkable
report that would read better as a premise for a
cheesy sci-fi movie than as a serious statement from
the National Science Foundation and Commerce
Department. It's called Converging Technologies for
Improving Human Performance [4]. Says Matt:

  It includes lots of helpful government
  recommendations for enhancing our brains with
  nanotechnology, according to standards that
  presumably the government would set. It's quite

He especially commends to our attention a section on
"memetic engineering"where they propose to engineer
our culture in a Darwinian mold as well."

[1] http://www.e-thepeople.org/a-national/article/11236/view
[2] http://www.e-thePeople.org
[3] http://www.edemocracy.gov.uk/
[4] http://itri.loyola.edu/ConvergingTechnologies/

Rageboy's right [1] : Halley's piece [2] on her
son's theatrical performance is NYer-worthy.

[1] http://www.rageboy.com/2002_07_21_blogger-archive.html#85287660


Adina Levin, one of the smarter people around, has
started a weblog, mainly about what she's reading.
She is a keen reader, as her opening essay on the
books Nexus and Linked makes clear.

Jeff Gates notes the dovetailing of my "Pray
Faster!" bumpersticker [1] and his own recent
achieving Jewish manhood [2] (at the age of 53) as
chronicled in his weblog.

Off of his OuttaContext site [3] you'll also find
Dichotomy, a nicely done site keeping a human
perspective on 9/11. And you'll find a link to
Jeff's story about selling his demographic data [4]
on eBay. to civilization.

[1] http://hyperorg.com/blogger/archive/2002_08_01_archive.html#85313584
[2] http://outtacontext.com/life/archive/000050.shtml
[3] http://outtacontext.com/
[4] http://www.outtacontext.com/artwork.html#ebay

Mike O'Dell (not to be confused with Michael Dell)
recommends http://www.freakemporium.com, a UK site
that sells hard-to-find albums such as:

  3-Hurel - Hurel Arsivi - LP, L12.00 Similar to
  Erkin Koray this early '70s three piece Turkish
  band's album is a mega rarity but at last has been
  reissued on 180 gram vinyl in a high quality
  sleeve. Superb Middle Eastern style psych /
  progressive with loads of ethnic instruments
  jamming with fuzz wah-wah guitars etc.... Bargain

And Mike has been psychedelicized by The Technical
Web of Sound, a "60's Psychedelic Radio." For
example, 'twas there that he heard the marvelous
tune, "The Gong with the Luminous Nose." (Mr. O'Dell
has confirmed that this was not a mis-typing of "The
Bong with the, etc.")

Mike also points us to a collection of the sayings
on a whiteboard at Fusion Marine Technology. Kitsch?
Found poetry? Who knows what was going on in Mike's
fevered head when he recommended this site.

Mini-Bogus Contest: Find other such collections of
quotes deemed by some company to be worth a "Do not
erase" notice on a whiteboard.

There are some amusing plays on the Google logo at

Gary "Unblinking" Stock tells us that mnftiu.cc's new
Get Your War On is out. The strip proves the genius
of telling the truth.

Gary also points us to a complement to Steve
Himmer's now-famous RATS page [1] (which parodies the
TIPS program). It's a public service reminder of who
exactly needs to be turned in [2].

[1] http://www.onepotmeal.com/rats.htm
[2] http://www.empty-handed.com/archive/images/orwell_poster.pdf

Brian Dear has started a blog about design and

Nollind Whachell has started a blog. His initial
entries are dominated by personal thoughts about the
promise and peril of the Net's openness. His
professional background is in the gaming industry
(Sierra, not Vegas).

Likewise, Mike Melduke has begun blogging, primarily
about the financial side of life, such as a
comparison of Elvis and the bull market.

Andrew Hinton has given Small Pieces Loosely Joined
an excellent review (in both senses) over at Boxes
and Arrows. Thank you, Andrew.

Carol Guevin at www.netdiver.com blogs and
recommends Andrew's review. Carol is also involved
with http://afterchaos.com, a new media collective:
"Afterchaos is a new concept collaborative lab whose
core vision + mission is to explore, theorize and
prove new business models to apply to our new media

There's a good article, that not so incidentally
says nice things about my book, by Charles
Leadbeater in The New Statesman. Charlie is the
author of The Weightless Society and is an advisor
to Tony "Anthony" Blair.

I've joined BlogCritics. The site's looking really
good. Now I just have to remember to blog some

At www.blogtree.com I've listed RageBoy and Doc as
my blog's parents. Careful readers will observe that
the date of my initial blog -- see the bottom of my
blog page -- predates RB's. But he has threatened me
with an unspecified form of public humiliation if I
don't admit he is my daddy.

Paula Hatch-Sato points to the "Engrish" site that
displays infelicitous uses of her mother tongue by
speakers of her adopted tongue.

Meanwhile, I can't believe that the local Friendly's
restaurants still have signs up that advertise "Free
Sundae with Chicken."

Gotta love Gary Turner's sleazeball scandal rag

And speaking of Gary, Frank Paynter has a long
interview with him  [1] that, as always, gives a
great sense of the Person Behind the Blog. Also,
he's interviewed Jeneane Sessums [2] and Denise
Howell [3], prominent bloggers all.
[1] http://www.sandhilltech.com/weblog/blogger.html/2002/07/16.html
[2] http://www.sandhilltech.com/weblog/blogger.html/
[3] http://www.sandhilltech.com/weblog/blogger.html/2002/06/05.html

The Complexity Digest is a good resource for finding
what's being written about, um, complexity.

David Farnham is (was??) keeping a blog about his
service in Afghanistan. He writes: "One of these
days I'll get back to my life as a web architect,
but for now I'm trying to get online and post
whenever I can. Have a look." 

At David's home page (which is no longer up to date)
you can read about his participation in the Army's
SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) School.

Mark Feldman points us to a collection of children's
art maintained by PaPa iNk, a nonprofit he heads.
Some beauty, not just cuteness.

MegNut's new book is now available at Amazon. She
and her co-authors are releasing it incrementally at
their website [1]. I just read the chapter on "Using
Blogs in Business," [2] an excellent overview of the
hows and the whys.
[1] http://www.blogroots.com
[2] http://www.blogroots.com/chapters.blog/id/4

For a shorter, lighter-hearted expression of the
Hermeneutical Dilemma, read Marek's digital
rendition of Hamlet.

Chip has unearthed a short Flash commercial that's
set to the tune of The Monkees' "Money" and that
should bring comfort to registered Democrats all
across this great land of ours.

Martin Roell blogs enthusiastically about some
thoughts inspired by Gary Turner's site where he has
recorded the voices of a handful of his readers and
co-bloggers. "I could suddenly feel the Internet,"
writes Martin.[1]

(Martin blogs in German, which is something of an
obstacle for many of us, including me, even with the
absurdist help of Google's translation tool. On the
other hand, where else are you going to see the word

Martin also blogs a pithy quote from Curt Cloninger
[3] in an article that responds to the cry: "Man,
you dudes are taking this online stuff waaaay too
seriously. You need to unplug, turn off your
computer, and go for a walk or something. Get some

  But the online world is not a game of Mario
  Brothers. The online world is networked, which
  means there are living PEOPLE out there. Yes, the
  computer is the interface to this network, but the
  network itself is comprised of people, not
  computers. Any place where people share beliefs
  and concerns and humor and friendship and
  commitment -- that place is a real world.

That's not a bad way of summarizing Small Pieces
Loosely Joined. Of course, the interesting thing
about the Web is that it is also a game of Mario
Brothers and an infinite variety of possibilities
not real enough for the Real WorldTM.

[1] http://www.roell.net/weblog/archiv/2002_07_01_index.shtml#78620999
[2] http://translate.google.com/translate_t
[3] http://www.altsense.net/library/factual/i_have_a_life.html

If you want to see some really useful AI, read the
interview with the people designing the AI system
for the new edition of No One Lives Forever over at

Bob Treitman (of the lovely SoftPro book mini-chain
www.softpro.com) forwards a stunt contest from
Gregory FCA (http://www.gregoryfca.com/), a
Philadelphia PR and investory relations firm. We are
to rewrite the annual report of our favorite
disgraced corporation in the voice of an author of
our choosing.

I doubt haikus count, but then I'm not really
entering, am I?

  Harken! The bush moves
  unaware of its motion.
  Crows do its thinking.

  White water almost drowned
  one president. This one swims
  in barrels of oil.

Mini Bogus Contest, of course.

I've complemented the truly scary page that
documents Michael Jackson's facial transformations
with a pictorial chronicle of my own facial


Glenn Fleishman [1], who says he's an Unsolicited
Pundit but is actually a Responsible Journalist,
reacts to my not caring [2] about Amazon's practice
of offering used copies of books on the same pages
where they offer new copies.

  Hundreds of books -- and sometimes it's thousands
  -- can dash the future of a title because of
  returns from resellers who give titles very brief
  windows, especially for midlist sorts of books
  that might only sell 5,000 copies over the course
  of a year.

  A promising book that lost several hundred sales
  in its initial days could go into remainderhood
  rather than backlist, and prevent an author from
  selling future works...

  I may have drunk the blue soup on this, but I
  would like Amazon.com to not allow used or new-
  condition sales until at least the shipping date
  of the book, or maybe a week afterwards, to allow
  some new books to go out...

[1] http://blog.glennf.com/
[2] http://www.hyperorg.com/backissues/joho-jul24-02.html#marketing

James McKenna of http://iconicimage.com/ echoes:

  ...For aggressive, snarky folks like you (and,
  probably, me), "tough sh_it" is an okay response
  to this complaint. But a lot of authors are out
  there slogging away creating the stuff of which
  we make intellectual meat loaf, and many of them
  aren't the gregarious, "steal and steal alike"
  type. It doesn't seem out of line to offer a
  limited reprieve from the instant-distribution
  olde booke shoppe, at least long enough to sell a
  few books and let the launch-party hangover to
  fade from memory.

  Another argument, less sentimental and more to the
  point, is that, unlike the RIAA and the big five
  media conglomerates, authors don't have a war
  chest to buy lawyers to enforce their "rights."...

And third, Phil Smith III piles on:

    While your "Tough sh_it" comment is of course
    reasonable as far as it goes, it's worth noting
    that at least some of these sales are bogus. My
    sister's novel, _She_Let_Herself_Go_, was
    published this spring. Even before she had her
    author's copies -- before any local bookstore
    had it -- Amazon was listing it as available
    used, at half the cover price. ...

I think it's highly likely that they were review
copies. FWIW, review copies are marked with a "Not
for resale" stamp, which I think it reasonable to
ask Amazon to honor.

That said, I still don't give a sh_t about the
legitimate practice.

Prof. T.D. Wilson at the U of Sheffield writes about
my criticism of Hubert Dreyfus' book on the Net:

  I think there's one point you may be wrong on:

    "But it's hard to find people who believe that
    the Internet could entirely and loss- less-ly
    replace real world education, so the chapter
    isn't very compelling."

  In fact I think it's easy to find university
  administrators who believe exactly this. They
  assume that courses can be converted by academics
  in their 'spare time', without support staff,
  without training, and without effective software
  support. Of course, these aren't the guys (they're
  mainly guys!) who are going to read either Dreyfus
  or JOHO!

I like university administrators as little as the
next guy -- don't get me started -- but I'm
surprised to hear that they could be so
shortsighted, ignorant, and uninformed about the
value of their own physical plant. In other words,
you're probably right.

Richard Dillman writes about the Dreyfus article
where I argue that "good enough" results from search
engines are fine in an economy of information

  You've probably bumped into Herbert Simon's notion
  of "satisficing", the strategy of selecting the
  first option that works, as opposed to
  "optimizing", or selecting the very best option...

I hadn't heard of satisficing and sort of wish you
hadn't introduced me to it. I will forever think
that it means "Taking pleasure in self-sacrifice,"
as in "Mama Nachama was satisficed to walk in the
rain so her sonny wouldn't have to hunch under his

Tim Bray [1] responds to my chiding [2] the Oxford
English Dictionary for requiring a print-based
verification of the first use of "blog" when in fact
it was coined online by Peter Mead. Tim wrote the
software that indexed the OED's electronic version.

  ...some years ago, I took up the issue of net
  citations with John Simpson, chief OED editor, who
  is a certifiably Smart Guy (tm) and I pointed out
  that lots of neologizing is happening here on the
  Web. This discussion was maybe 1995-7, but I think
  the arguments still work. He said they were
  sticking to print citations for two reasons:

  (a) the OED is scholarly, in the formal sense that
  the info about a cited quotation should provide
  sufficient information to enable the curious
  scholar to dig up the original in a competent
  research library and check out the context,
  accuracy, and so on. The expectation that
  something first appearing in 1996 is going to
  still be there in 2006, let alone 2366, is not
  that great..

  (b) how much delay do you incur by requiring a
  printed citation? I don't know when PMe allegedly
  coined blog, but I bet the first printed citation
  (which the OED gang is pretty darn good at
  tracking down) didn't lag by more than a few
  months. So what's the big deal?

  I'm not sure I 100% agree with John, but he's a
  guy who's worth listening to.

So is Tim. But the big deal has to do with giving
credit where it's due. Peterme invented the term and
so it thus ought to be recorded.

[1] http://textuality.com
[2] http://www.hyperorg.com/backissues/joho-jul24-02.html#marketing

Steven Aukstakalnis writes about my article [1] on
the embarrassment that is the Homeland Security home
page. (A version of the article ran as an op-ed in
the Miami Herald [2].)

    Given your comments, I wanted to illustrate an
    example of just how powerful a tool the internet
    can be in this regard. I call your attention to
    the following resource page we administer...[3]
    This resource is effectively one part of a three
    tier information system covering the broad,
    fluid and evolving subject of homeland security.

The site provides a free database and two free
newsletters, among other services.

[1] http://www.hyperorg.com/backissues/joho-jun26-02.html#homeland
[2] http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/opinion/3624896.htm
[3] http://www.twotigersonline.com/resources.html

Madeleine Begun Kane, Humor Columnist [1], gently
informs me that I've been scooped with regard to my
Google Top Ten First-Name award [2] :

  I enjoyed your comments about Google's first name
  top 10 and thought you might be amused by my piece
  on a similar subject written 3 or 4 years ago back
  when Madeleine Albright was Secretary of State:

  Surfing for Madeleines [3]

[1] http://www.madkane.com
[3] http://madkane.com/surfing.html

Meanwhile, Mark Dionne would strip me of my award
for minor, perceived technical breaches. He writes:

  I checked Google for "David" and on the first page
  I get:

     JOHO the Blog ... W. David Stephenson [1], with
     whom I wrote an op-ed for the Miami Herald
     about why the Homeland Security page sucks, has
     two followups: ... 

  It would seem that David Stephenson gets the
  award, not you! And it's number 9, not number 8.

First, it's only #9 if you count the sub-page hit
for The David and Lucille Packard Foundation. I
choose not to.

Second: No freaking way! The link is to my blog, not
W. David Stephenson's. It's not even a link to the
particular blog entry that makes the now-obvious
mistake of mentioning W. David Stephenson: it links
to this blog's home page. So, if W. Stinking David
Stephenson wants to make up an award for himself
that says "Mentioned on a Google Top Ten First-Name
Page," he can. Otherwise, the prize is mine mine
mine mine and not you nor a platoon of embittered
loser Davids can take it away from me. And if you
try, I'll just change the rules again.

Victory is sweet.

[1] http://www.stephensonstrategies.com/

Luigi Bertuzzi is distressed to find out that the
Italian version of Small Pieces Loosely Joined has
been titled "Archipelago Web":

  I walked into a bookstore this morning and
  recognized "Small Pieces ... " from the graphics
  on the cover. The title did not match. Arcipelago
  Web ? ! :(((( I read your name twice and could not
  believe my eyes. Even 4 letter words take more
  text to be rendered properly in my language .....
  Arcipelago !!! ??? A set of bloody islands !!!!
  ???? Mamma mia che ca__ta di titolo (= bul__it
  title )

Well, it's better than what the book is known as to
my children: Small Pizzas Loosely Joined.

Joshua Boyd ways in with an answer to a question I
posted way back in December [1]: When you close a closet
door, why does it get dark? After all, the same
amount of light must be entering as is escaping
through the crack under the door.

  Well, to put it simply, and without math, light
  gets absorbed by the surfaces, which means it is
  being turned into heat. Some of the light gets
  absorbed by air, and it heats the air, and other
  light gets absorbed by the surfaces of the room,
  thus heating the walls.

Hahaha. I of course knew the answer all along. Yeah.


And Harry Angel, Commander, Able Company (578
Engineers) responds to another article from December
about my trip to West Point [1]:

  I am glad you saw some Army leadership in action.
  But there is much you did not see. I recommend you
  visit the Army Center for Lessons Learned. Also,
  visit a National Guard unit, preferably a combat
  unit. You will see a really weird dynamic;
  civilians coming together seamlessly into a
  hierarchical organization. Contrary to the
  military cliché, our Army actually trains with
  this tenet: centralized planning and decentralized
  control....[T]his country has eschewed
  hierarchical leadership for so long that we, as
  employees, have forgotten how to put aside pride
  and defer to leadership. We have democratized what
  should not be democratized.

I asked for clarification about whether "Centralized
planning and decentralized control" is a bad thing
and got the following:

  ...It is a good thing. You see, the plan is based
  centrally: ONE commander's intent. The execution
  of that plan is delegated with a minimum of
  interference from a higher HQ. If you screw up,
  that is, fail to meet the higher commander's
  intent, then you get chewed on. This would work
  well in the corporate world and is actually used
  by some companies. Shell kind of uses this model
  with its Limited subsidiaries like Aera. Shell
  says, "We want you to make X amount this year;
  make it happen." Aera does it with their own plan.
  That is at a really high level, though. By
  decentralizing control, you allow junior leaders
  to innovate and lead when things get rough.
  Leaders get killed, injured or are often out of
  communication. By knowing the commander's "intent"
  the mission can go on without them. This stuff is
  all on CompanyCommander.com [2], by the way.
[1] http://www.hyperorg.com/backissues/joho-dec14-01.html#westpoint
[2] http://www.CompanyCommander.com
Jon Pyke responds to my "complaint" that libraries
make my book available to people who haven't paid
for it.

  1 [C]ertainly in the UK authors are paid a form or
  royalty (not as much as if someone had bought a
  book) for having it placed or accessed by a
  library - but it all adds up - this may not be
  true of course in the US but - hey.

About the OED complaint he writes:

  2 Word usage and the OED - well worth reading a
  book entitled the Surgeon or Crowthorne (which I
  think was published as the Professor and the
  Madman in the US - both published by Penguin) to
  see how it was first done

I have read it. I think it's being made into a movie
now. Quite the ripping yarn, if you ignore the
bloated, overstated, boring parts.

I asked for guesses about when the first journalist
would be fired for what he or she wrote in his or
her weblog. Mark Dooley wrote in a week later:

  I happened to come across this shortly after
  reading your newsletter.


  He didn't' get fired, but it's hard to tell 'cause
  the paper is insisting on keeping its process

Kevin Marks (I think...could be another Kevin)
points to the same story in a different journal:

We've got a winner. In fact, we have two of them.


I don't believe the Bush administration's stated
reasons for invading Iraq. They've made up their
mind ahead of the evidence. So, I figure something
else is going on. This issue's Bogus Contest asks
you to come up with your own theory, while staying
away from the the more obvious (and those more
likely to be true) reasons such as supporting the
West's oil interests or even to restore democracy to
the beleaguered Iraqi people.

My theory, which I wrote in response to email from
Joe Mahoney, whose weblog [1] is eclectic and
immensely literate, tends towards the

  The Bush family is dominated by Babs, a classic
  passive-aggressive parental tyrant. Jeb was the
  favorite. W was the drunk ne'er-do-well who had to
  be propped up by his father's cronies; W knows his
  only validation, as a "successful businessman,"
  came through his father's largesse, which he hates
  because he hates his dependence on it. So, he has
  to do Poppy's job better than Poppy did.

  That means beating the only two people who have
  ever caused Poppy to fail: Clinton and Saddam.
  Having beaten Clinton (via Gore), it's on to
  Saddam. W has a love/hate deal going with Saddam
  because although Saddam humiliated the father who
  never loved him (i.e., Bush Sr.), Saddam has also
  given W the opening he needs to win Mommy.

  Bush wants approval, not revenge. His overwhelming
  need to be liked is all too obvious, right down to
  the juvenile nicknames he gives people. His
  infantilizing of global politics (viz. Putin is
  "Pooty-poot" and the comic book rhetoric of "evil
  doers") goes back to his failure to win approval
  as an infant. He is stuck there.

  The Oedipal nature of the Iraqi threat implies
  that W will penetrate Iraq violently, preferably
  by inseminating it with sperm sprayed from above .
  He wants to "shove a smart bomb up Saddam's ass"
  to degrade him (= Poppy) sexually so that Mommy
  will prefer him. W's no bush! He's a bomber!

  But, W has surrounded himself with his father's
  cronies, out of fear that he will otherwise fail.
  But following their advice makes the victory
  hollow. So, he's going to have to go further than
  Poppy's advisors want him to.

  Thus did civilization end.

Your own most farfetched conspiracy theories are
most welcome.

[1] http://joemahoney.net/blogger.html


Norm Jensen responds to our request for code names
for the upcoming Iraqi invasion:

     Operation Blatant Hypocrisy

Dave Scocca meanwhile prefers:

     Operation Recover Poppy's Manhood

Sean Kirby enters our contest that asked which of
our current practices will be held as morally
reprehensible by our grandchildren:

  I guess none of us can say for sure how the world
  will change in the next 50 years, but here it

  I predict that 50-75 or years hence, theism itself
  will be seen as something akin to sacrificing
  virgins to fertility gods or praying away viral
  infections - nothing but tribal superstition. I
  wouldn't be surprised if only ten percent of the
  world's population still practiced faith based
  religion in anything resembling the level of
  devotion we see today. For right or wrong, people
  will look on Islamic terrorism, Christian
  fundamentalism and other things as all part of the
  same problem: our foolish, barbaric beliefs in
  mysterious, invisible gods, rather then cold, hard
  science. God will quite simply be relegated to the
  dust bin of history, to be remembered as nothing
  more then a crutch to get us primates out of the

If I weren't in love with an orthodox Jew, I'd be
more inclined to agree with you.

Ted Weinstein writes:

  ...My pick for the next big ethical change: the
  tipping point in the growing belief that it's NOT
  OK to eat animals. (Incidentally I don't share
  that belief. I agree that since humans are just
  one species of animals we should treat animals the
  same way we treat humans. But I just see that as
  an argument for permitting cannibalism...)

That reminds me: Unfortunately, I'm not going to be
able to attend that dinner party you invited me to.

And Lourens Ackermann goes with the sentimental
favorite answer to the question "What current
behavior will seem immoral to our grandchildren?":

  George W Bush as president?

See you in Iraq!


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