[joho] JOHO - October 25, 2002

  • From: "David Weinberger" <self@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <joho@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 26 Oct 2002 12:20:39 -0400

Journal of the
Hyperlinked Organization
October 25, 2002
Editor: David Weinberger (self@xxxxxxxxxxx)
Please send subscription requests or modifications
to self@xxxxxxxxxxxx Or use our Sub/Unsub form at
For the fully glorious illustrated and
hyperlink-saturated online version of JOHO, please
To view this issue correctly, please use a
monospaced font such as Courier and stretch your
window until it all makes sense.

| CONTENTS                                         |
|                                                  |
| DIGITAL ID: Four lessons from the DigitalID      |
| World conference, including: IDs are nice but    |
| not the center of the universe                   |
|                                                  |
| THE NEED FOR LEEWAY: It's the only way we        |
| manage to live together, and computers are       |
| eating away at it                                |
|                                                  |
| EDUCATIONAL LEEWAY: Grading kids sucks           |
|                                                  |
| HOPE ON THE COPYRIGHT FRONT: Multiple news       |
| items actually offer some hope. But don't get    |
| your hopes up about hope.                        |
|                                                  |
| MATERIAL: Covering my butt when it comes to      |
| using words                                      |
|                                                  |
| HOW TO BECOME A GURU: Ten steps to financial     |
| freedom.                                         |
|                                                  |
| really.                                          |
|                                                  |
| MISC.: Misc.                                     |
|                                                  |
| ANALS OF MARKETING: Jumping the Loan Shark and   |
| Yahoo the Censor                                 |
|                                                  |
| WALKING THE WALK: Timex finds the Web changes    |
| time                                             |
|                                                  |
| COOL TOOL: Picasa organizes your pictures        |
|                                                  |
| WHAT I'M PLAYING: Grand Theft Auto 3...          |
| reprehensible but so damn much fun               |
|                                                  |
| INTERNETCETERA: Broadband vs. cell phone         |
| adoption rates                                   |
|                                                  |
| LINKS: You send 'em, I run 'em                   |
|                                                  |
| POLITICAL LINKS: Hey, you get ready to start a   |
| war, you get a few links                         |
|                                                  |
| EMAIL: Where are you bast*rds?                   |
|                                                  |
| BOGUS CONTEST: My brain on the Net               |
| ADOLESCENT, DEMEANING FUN                        |
|                                                  |
| I've video-captured from The Daily Show the clip |
| of W struggling to say "Fool me once, shame on   |
| you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Notice the look|
| of abject fear as he realizes that he's going to |
| muff it and it's going to end up on the news,    |
| and on damn fool weblogs.                        |
|                                                  |
| And so it has.                                   |
|                                                  |
| http://tinyurl.com/27on                          |
| ON THE RADIO                                     |
|                                                  |
| It looks like I'll be doing some tech            |
| commentary for the radio show "Here and Now,"    |
| produced by WBUR here in Boston and beamed to    |
| 45 other stations. The first segment should be   |
| on at 12:20pm this Tuesday.                      |
|                                                  |
| Warning: Don't be drinking milk when they        |
| introduce me as a "web pundit."                  |

| MIT TECHNOLOGY REVIEW COLUMN                     |
|                                                  |
| The Tech Review has posted a column of mine on   |
| Palladium.                                       |
| http://tinyurl.com/27oq                          |

| POPTECH                                          |
|                                                  |
| In the onlne version, I have links to my         |    
| coverage of the PopTech Conference last week.    |


Senator Paul Wellstone's death has narrowed our
political vision yet further. We're down to about
what can be seen through the sights of a gun.

He was a mensch.


At DigitalID World I learned many small things and a
few big ones. The small ones I've already forgotten
(heck, it's been three days already!). So here are
four of the bigger ones:


The sign on the banner in the conference hotel said
that Digital ID is at the center of it all, but I'm
still not convinced. Eric Norlin -- the sort of
person who goes from helping to run a successful
conference one day to running in a marathon the next,
oblivious to the depth of the resentment this causes
-- makes a good case for all the commerce and fun
digital ID systems will enable. But I'm not
convinced. Yes, a digital ID would let me avoid
multiple sign-ins as I traverse various Web sites,
but the convenience isn't worth the illness-at-ease
that registering with Microsoft Passport would
cause. And even without a digital ID system, I can
use my credit card right now and buy anything I want
online (up to my $125 credit limit, of course).

But digital IDs are indeed at the center of two
particular type of relationships. First, in legal
and contractual relationships, my digital ID does
what my real world signature does: attests that the
document you are looking at came from me. This is
important, and poses very knotty technical
challenges, but it isn't the source of the flurry of
interest in digital ID. No, the dust-up comes from
the sellers of digital content who want to control
how you use their content after you've bought it.

Control it after you've bought it? That doesn't
happen much in the real world, does it? If I buy
something, I can do what I want with it within the
bounds of the law. That's pretty much what "owning"
something means: "You can't blow your noses in
ripped out pages of Small Pieces Loosely Joined!
"Yes I can. I own it." But not with digital content.
No, no, since we *can* track and control it we
*will* track and control it.

Ultimately, the furor over digital IDs is being
driven by content owners who are forcing their
licensing preferences on a market that could not
have more clearly rejected their model. That's not a
good thing.


Doc Searls gave a terrific speech at the end of the
conference that I wish he'd been scheduled to give
at the beginning. He began with what seemed like
 a joke: This conference is about ID but it
really should be about EGO. But his pun bore fruit
as he painted a picture of the richness and open-
endedness of Web identities. Digital IDs don't touch
the realness of us.

The point I take from this is what I like to call
The Great Bifurcation: the need for Web sites to
increase either efficiency or connectedness and to
be quite explicit about which they're about.
Efficient sites are reductive: they automate
processes, eliminate unnecessary steps, and save
time. Connectedness sites are enhancing: they tangle
us further in one another and in our ideas. Both are
worthy. Just make sure you are clear about which
you're up to.

Digital IDs are efficient and reductive. They aren't
really about building tangled, rich web
selves/identities. That's no problem unless we
forget that all that digital IDs and Web identities
have in common is a pun on the word "identity."


A lot of great policy has been written into code by
technologists; read The Code by Larry "My Hero"
Lessig: the Internet's freedom was created by its
architects and implemented by the people who wrote
the code. DigitalID World made it clear how
essential it is that this not be left to the
technologists. For example, Microsoft Palladium on
paper is a neutral technology that enables content
owners and users to agree on the terms of use for
content the user chooses to buy. Palladium is
neutral about what those terms are, and thus --
according to its its product manager -- Palladium
is itself a neutral technology. But, as I discussed
in the previous issue of JOHO, Palladium is being
dropped into a real world where there is a content
cartel that can and will dictate terms that users
will feel constrained to accept.

Phil Becker, the organizer of DigitalID World, says
he wanted to focus on the technical side this year
and plans on building it out into the user and
policy maker communities next year. This will make
an excellent conference substantially better.


It's all in the leeway. 

I tried to make this point many times at the
conference and always failed.  Others might conclude
that there's something wrong with the point. But
those people are reasonable and have some self-
perspective. I, on the other hand, am so set on this
point that I'm giving it its own section. See
immediately below.


Excellent conference. Lots of information. Fantastic
people in an informal setting. New friends. Hung
with people I admire. Congratulations to Phil Becker
and a special thanks to Eric Norlin for bringing us
all together.

Overview of Digital IDs:
Overview of the future by Eric:
Phil Becker on why identity *is* at the heart of the Net: 


Let's say you a sign a lease for an apartment. It
stipulates that you are not to paint without
explicit permission. But your dog scratches the
bottom of the door, so you buy a pint of matching
paint and touch up the dog's damage. You are
technically in violation of the lease but no one

Let's say you're a client of the Gartner Group.
Their latest report says "Do not photocopy" at the
bottom of every page. But it'd be really helpful if
at an internal meeting you could distribute copies
of page 212 because there's a complex chart on it.
So you print up 12 copies and hand them out, warning
the marketing guy that he's not to send it out to
the press. If Gartner were to haul you into court,
the judge would lecture the Gartner lawyer for
wasting the court's time. In fact, by violating your
license, you helped ensconce Gartner more firmly in
your company.

You are standing on a street corner when a father
takes his young daughter by the hand and jaywalks.
There aren't any cars around. You don't call the
cops. You don't even lecture him about why
jaywalking is bad. You don't do nothin'.

Leeway is the only way we manage to live together:
We ignore what isn't our business. We cut one
another some slack. We forgive one another when we

By bending the rules we're not violating fairness.
The equal and blind application of rules is a
bureaucracy's idea of fairness. Judiciously granting
leeway is what fairness is all about. Fairness comes
in dealing with the exceptions.

And there will always be exceptions because rules
are imposed on an unruly reality. The analog world
is continuous. It has no edges and barely has
corners. Rules at best work pretty well. That's why
in the analog world we have a variety of judges,
arbiters, and referees to settle issues fairly when
smudgy reality outstrips clear rules.

Matters are different in the digital world. Bits are
all edges. Nothing is continuous. Everything is
precise. Bits are uniform so no exceptions are
required, no leeway is permitted.

Which brings us to "digital rights management" which
implements in code a digital view of rights. Yes,
vendors and users should have a wide variety of
agreements possible, but the nature of those
agreements is necessarily digital. If I agree to buy
the report from Gartner with no right to print, the
software won't be able to look the other way when I
need print out page 212. The equivalent is not
having a landlord install video cameras everywhere
in your apartment. It's having him physically remove
your mom when she takes ill because your lease says
you can't have overnight guests.

If we build software that enables us to "negotiate"
usage rules with content providers, the rules can
be as favorable as we'd like but their enforcement
will necessarily be strict, literal and unforgiving.
Binary, not human.

Leeway with rights is how we live together. Leeway
with ideas is how we progress our thinking. No
leeway when it comes to rights about ideas is a bad,
bad idea.


It's a bad thing when you come back from the feel-
good Meet the Teachers night at the local,
progressive public school and need a drink.

After six blissful years of grading nothing, the
school has decided to grade everything in sixth
grade in order to prepare the students for the "real
world" ... of seventh grade. "When students know
they're getting graded, their work just gets
better," said the very fine teacher who educated our
son's sisters. (No sarcasm: she's a terrific
teacher.) How sad is that? 

The culprits here are easy to identify since the
staff of our local school is dedicated, loving,
smart and thoughtful: It's raining stupidity from
above. "Test and blame" is the message coming from
the feds, the commonwealth and even the town.

On the positive side, this episode has solidified my
sense of what education is: Learning to love more
and more of the world.

Home schooling anyone?


Lawrence "My Hero" Lessig has argued the Eldred case
before the Supreme Court, trying to get the Sonny
Bono Copyright Extension law rescinded. It was
fascinating to me that while many knowledgeable
commentators thought Lessig did a fine job but lost,
Lessig -- The World's Most Pessimistic Person(tm)
-- thinks he may have won. The commentators
focused on the Justices' probing questions. Lessig,
in his weblog, focuses on what they didn't ask about
because that reveals (we hope) what they accepted.

The LA Times has run an article, by David
Streitfeld, about Lessig and his crusade for
reasonable copyright laws.[1]  Great reading. And, as
Doc Searls has pointed out [2], this is published right
in the heart of the Copyright Cops, the Rustlers on
the Commons, the Vandals of Fair Use, i.e.,

Among the good points: Lessig uses Walt Disney as
his poster boy since Disney himself took advantage
of stories that had passed into the public domain as
the basis for his early cartoon successes. And,
Lessig tells about Sony's lawyers informing an owner
of an Aibo robotic dog that he is not permitted to
reprogram it to dance to jazz.

[2] http://doc.weblogs.com/
Jane Black in BusinessWeek Online writes about the
Eldred case. It's a straightforward, well- written,
balanced column that tells the truth and thus
implicitly sides with Eldred.

JD Lasica [1] writes that at the O'Reilly OS X
conference Tim O'Reilly, who is high up on my God-
bless-Him list, said:

  "If I'm a publisher and given the choice
  of piracy or obscurity, i choose piracy."

Glenn Fleischman [2] ended his weblog entry on the
conference with this hopeful phrase:

  Fair use has a posse.

It's about time.

[1] http://jd.manilasites.com/2002/10/01#fair_use
[2] http://blog.glennf.com/gmblog/archives/00000254.htm

Peter Kaminski points us to a brilliant speech
given by Thomas Macauley in 1841 to Parliament as
the question of copyright was being addressed. It's
10,000 words long, but it is witty, thorough, deep
and pithy. Man, that Macauley guy could really
write good!

Steve Himmer has an hilarious exposition on the
meta-absurd copyright infringement case involving
two silent recordings. It's just too wonderful for
words. Of course, if I were to remain silent about
it, I could expect an angry letter from the estate
of John Cage.

Dan Gillmor writes about the semi-hopeful sign that
Apple hasn't jumped into bed with the content
dominatrixes who rule Hollywood and Congress. In
fact, he points to coverage [1] of legislation that
actually looks out for the interests of the the
rest of us: the Digital Choice and Freedom Act
would explicitly permit us to copy digital works
for personal use, just as we can currently make a
tape for a friend. (As Dan said at the OS X
conference [2], he hopes the fact that a
friend is taping "The West Wing" for him when Dan's
traveling doesn't make his friend a pirate.)

If I were Apple, I would seize the opportunity to
kick Microsoft in the nuts by coming out squarely
on the side of the listener/viewer. Team up with
Amazon to provide an alternate model for
distributing music over the Net with terms that
make sense in the networked age.

Here's my crack at an Apple ad I'd like to see.
(You need Flash to see it.)

[1] http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/4193841.htm
[2] http://blog.glennf.com/gmblog/archives/00000254.htm


Official notification and confession is hereby made
that the following words ("WORDS") were used in this
public communication ("COMMUNICATION") with the
full awareness that WORDS may have been used in
writings or other public expressions protected by
copyright, trademark and Geneva conventions
covering luggage. No representation is hereby made
or implied that WORDS were the unique creation of
the author of COMMUNICATION. The author of
COMMUNICATION apologizes profusely for whatever
pain s/he may have inflicted and hereby renounces
without hesitation or scruple any claims, rights,
injunctions or prohibitions on the following WORDS:

| A             | ABLE            | ABOUT         |
| ABOVE         | ACCEPT          | ACCEPTED      |
| ACCORDING     | ACCUSE          | ACT           |
| ACTUALLY      | AD              | ADDENDUM      |
| [Continued in online version]                   |


AKMA [1] has noticed that DarwinMag.com [2] has me
listed as a "guru" and wonders how I achieved that
exalted status. Well, AKMA, it's really quite

   Knowingly refer to Tim Berners-Lee as "Timmy

   Replace "air quotes" with "air brackets."

   Maintain that when you said last year that "The
   Internet isn't a bubble, it's the rock-solid
   foundation on which the new economy will last for
   millennia," you weren't talking about the

   Always make fun of The Suits.

   Be late for meetings because atoms got in the way
   of your bits.

   Include a nondisclosure agreement in your wedding

   Bought a box of Tide? Add P&G to the list of
   companies you've worked with.

   Never give a short answer.

   In return for Google-worthy links to your site,
   do "certain favors" for the Russian Mafia.

   Never begin a sentence with "I think."

   Backdate your newsletter as necessary.


Gary Turner advises me that I'm no longer the 6th
hit on Google if you search for "david." I've been
pushed down to #25 by the new #1 (David Bowie) as
well as by David Lynch, David Gray, David Brin,
David Grisman, Harry and David, and other famous
and deserving David's.

I am crushed. Our neighbor's seven year old is
currently fanning me with a peacock feather and
intermittently holds a restorative mint julep to my
wan lips. In months, perhaps weeks, I shall have
the courage to venture out again.

Peter Kaminski writes to a mailing list:

  Today's PR trivia: Google for "al qaeda", and
  along with the results you get one of two ads:

  "Saudi Arabia offers you an opportunity to
  understand our fight against terrorism.

  "Saudi Arabia revoked Osama bin Laden's
  citizenship in 1994 and invites you to learn more.

And why is it that if you google "oil", "war on
terror," or "saddam," there are no ads, but
"homeland security" has eight?



   11. When he puts in a link to a bloody, angry,
   foul-mouthed CD, he remembers to put his Amazon
   affiliate code at the end

   10. He's got enough strength back to type out all
   of "m*therf***er"

   9. Remembers that if he's a "babe magnet," he's
   got his polarity reversed

   8. Uses elegant CSS definitions to put "F***head"
   into 64pt green san serif font rather than
   messier inline notation

   7. Drops "Big Lou Gerstner" from his blogroll

   6. Winer and Lessig take out joint ad in Variety
   to complain about him

   5. Hand writes a note to each of his EGR
   subscribers to apologize for not calling them
   f**ing hosers enough recently

   4. His blog entry on why the DayPop Top 40 eats
   m*therf***ing sh*t makes it onto the DayPop Top

   3. When you click on his photo, it no longer
   takes you to a John Denver play list

   2. RageBoy drops the page boy [See online version
   for a photo]

And the number one sign that RB is on the mend ...

   1. No one's safe any more

[BTW, RB's been posting some truly offensive stuff
on his site these days. Good to see him back in the


Jeff Jacoby in his column in the Boston Globe
reports on a questionnaire he gave to the candidates
for governor. One question was: "Name a position you
take that is clearly out of step with most of your
party." Jill Stein, the doomed Green Party candidate
gave an answer I particular liked: In the Green
Party it can be "hard to tell if you're out of step
or just part of a good discussion."


           "Integration Über Alles"

That's the title of an article in "The Integration
Survival Guide," the "Official Publication of
Business Integration Conference Services."

Oy veh! What were the titles they threw out? "Heil
Integration"? "Integration: The Final Solution"?
"Integration Macht Frei"?


Can we convince David Chase, the creator of "The
Sopranos" to make this season the last?
David, ask yourself: What would Willy "The Bard"
Shakespeare (AKA Eddie DeVere) do? Tony's gotta die.

Otherwise, we can look forward in seasons 7, 8 and 9
to jumping the shark episodes such as:

  Dr. Melfi consults with her old college mentor ...
  Dr. Frasier Crane!

  The lead singer in Tony Jr.'s high school band
  ("The Hits") quits right before the big dance,
  when, wouldn't you know it but Li'l Kim's tour bus
  breaks down right outside the high school
  auditorium, so she fills in.

  Uncle Junior wins American Idol and gets to sing a
  duet with Celine Dion.

  Ralph Cifaretto slips acid into the punch at the
  Soprano's annual Christmas Party (where Silvio
  delights everyone with his unexpected guitar
  skills), resulting in Matrix-like effects during
  the annual Christmas Party shoot-out.

  After an entire season of intimations, Meadow and
  Adriana make out.

  After an entire season of intimations, Furio comes
  out of the closet. Is he whacked? Nah. Group hug!

  Big Pussy is back -- as a friendly but bumbling
  ghost. And get this: Only Tony can see him!

  A new crime family tries to move in on Tony --
  The Boss and the E Street Gang.

  Flight Attendant: Please prepare for our landing
  in Tanzania...I'm sorry, it is now called "New
  Zanzibar". Excuse me. It is now called "Pepsi
  presents New Zanzibar."
      - The Simpsons

Panama City, a Florida town of 9,000 souls, has
decided to put ads on their police cars. The mayor
said: "We had some concerns over the sponsors. We
don't want to do anything that would make our city a
laughingstock." It's a little late for that, Your

All that's surprising about this latest incursion of
commercial propaganda is that, given its relentless
logic, it took so long. (More surprising is that the
Police Chief's name is Sam Slay.)

Yahoo has eliminated the email account for a long-
term user, the Lake Merritt Neighbors Organized for
Peace. From its home page [1], LMNO4P seems to be
your basic Pete Seeger-singin' peace group.
According to the group [2], Yahoo says the account
was turned off and the mailing list was deleted
because the group violated Yahoo's service
agreement, but Yahoo won't tell the group what its
violation was. Yahoo does say that accounts are only
terminated in response to complaints.

(In a display of subtle, pre-emptive anti-Semitism,
LMNO4P says: "We think Yahoo! overreacted to a
complaint by someone who disagrees with our
politics, especially our public support for peace &
justice in Palestine," although it has no evidence
of this. When in doubt, let's blame the damn

It's bad enough that Yahoo is censoring groups it
doesn't like, worse that the groups seem innocuous,
and worst that it's denying any accountability. You
might consider moving from Yahoo before it decides
it doesn't like what you have to say, either.

[1] http://lmno4p.com/
[2] http://lmno4p.com/yahoo.htm


Boston, September 30-- In response to NBC's decision
to extend Friends two minutes in order to hold
viewers past the start of other networks' 8:30 shows
, JOHO the Blog today announced that it is moving to
a 23.6 hour publishing schedule in order to get the
drop on its stinking, lousy competitors.

| MIDDLE WORLD RESOURCES                      |


Modern collaboration tools are changing the timing
of Timex.

According to an article by Tony Kontzer in
InformationWeek (Oct. 7), Timex has turned to online
collaboration to speed up the product development
cycle. The tools (from Framework Technologies)
include simple document management, messaging, and
workflow. It's worked: Cycles have been cut by 40%.

But, says the article, "For a company that's long
depended on sequential product development, giving
everyone access to the same information at the same
time required a major shift in how people work." The
unintended consequence has been that people want to
be involved across disciplines. "You want the guy in
manufacturing to have input into the design," said
Timex's engineering systems manager. "That's the
point of collaboration."

In fact, it's what distinguishes coordination from
collaboration: the first establishes neat lines and
the second smudges them.


I've been uploading digital photos onto my computer
for a couple of years now. I've got a whole mess of
'em, the equivalent of a several shoe boxes full of
loose prints.

Along comes Picasa, a photo organizer for Windows.
It's one of those cool products that works pretty
much exactly the way you want. In fact, after you
see it, you'll think that you knew all along how you
wanted your photos organized.

When you install it, it inventories your drive and
makes a rough cut at grouping the photos it finds,
using your folders and the file dates as a guide.
Then you can sort through your digital pile any way
you want. And just to wow you, Picasa automatically
creates a time line that shows you all your photos
in a swirling temporal sweep.

$29 whether you download it or buy the CD.


| WHAT I'M PLAYING                            |
|                                             |
| Yell at me all you want, but Grand Theft    |
| Auto 3 is a great game. You are a hoodlum   |
| out to commit mayhem. Exactly what mayhem   |
| is up to you. The environment -- a city     |
| -- is open, populated, and destructible.    |
| You can drive around in carjacked autos,    |
| mugging, robbing and killing, or you can    |
| work on a set of assigned missions that     |
| have you mugging, robbing and killing.      |
| Morally reprehensible, but also cartoonish  |
| and funny. I could have done without the    |
| casualness about killing the innocent, but  |
| it is ultimately a game about smashing up   |
| vehicles, so you don't want to be           |
| penalized if you run over a few             |
| pedestrians along the way. For adults,      |
| GTA3 is a breakthrough in its open          |
| playability. For kids, it's an improper     |
| blast.                                      |
| INTERNETCETERA                              |
|                                             |
| From Andrew Odlyzko:                        |
| U.S. Broadband      | U.S. Cell Phones      |
| Lines               |                       |
| Dec 1999 2.8 M      | Dec 1989 3.5 M        |
| Dec 2000 7.1        | Dec 1990 5.3          |
| Dec 2001 12.8       | Dec 1991 7.6          |
| Dec 2002 20.0       | Dec 1992 11.0         |
| (est.)              |                       |
|                     | Dec 1993 16.0         |
|                     | Dec 1994 24.1         |
| Broadband data for 1999-2001 from FCC       |
| Thus broadband growth in three years        |
| equals cell phone growth over 5 years.      |
| Hence even though cell phones beat          |
| broadband connections by almost exactly a   |
| 10:1 margin as of Dec. 2001, they spread    |
| more slowly.                                |
|                                             |
| These figures come from an article called   |
| "The Many Paradoxes of Broadband."          |


A family in Argentina has posted the portrait
photos it's been taking every year since 1976.
Great reading. (No, there's no text.)

After you've finished disbelieving your eyes at
the Web's best optical illusion [1], you can see a
set of great Flash demos of optical illusions here [2].

[1] http://www-bcs.mit.edu/people/adelson/checkershadow_illusion.html
[2] http://persci.mit.edu/gaz

Web Collage generates collages from random images
on the Web. It updates about once a minute.

At the palindromic I Love Me, Vol. I, you can see
what happens when the sliding door of a radio
station van is moved all the way to the left,
especially if the radio station is called HITS.

"Get your War On" remains the Truth Telling Comic
that Makes You Laugh.

Chris Gaither has a delightful account in The
Boston Globe of a 14-hour email riot among students
and relatives at Wesleyan University. A message
with a typo got sent to an administrative mailing
list. As people tried unsuccessfully to
unsubscribe, others told them that if everyone just
shut up, traffic on the mailing list would cease.
Others took it as an opportunity to goof around.
300,000 messages later, the list was shut down.

An anomaly, yes. And what do we conclude from it,

Andrius Kulikauskas couldn't take it any more. A
general-purpose list we're on together has been
going on about the coming war against Iraq, slowly
descending into "How dare you insinuate"s and "If
you just want to pose and exaggerate, then go
ahead"s. He replied with a long message about his
personal experience speaking truth to power, and
truth to fear, and truth to neediness, at the most
local level.

Andrius is enough of an idealist that he is
sometimes shocked by the cynicism most of us take
for granted. And lord bless him for it. And he
never lies. Read it here:

Julian Bond points us to
http://www.voidstar.com/gnews2rss.php where you can
turn a Google search into an RSS feed which can
then be aggregated by lonely people who have
finished collecting the new quarters from each of
the 50 states. I'm actually a little vague about
why you'd want a search as an RSS but I'm sure
there's a good reason.

Dan Gillmor has followed up his excellent column [1]
about ten decisions that made the Internet the good
thing that it is with a column on the three
decisions [2] that are still to be made:

   Freedom to create innovate
   Customer choice and competition policy
   Security and liberty

Dan's assessment of the decisions we're in the
process of making in each of these areas is pretty
glum. Maybe the Happy News section of this issue of
JOHO will bring a smile to his pretty cheeks.

[1] http://tinyurl.com/283b
[2] http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/4079611.htm

From Mike O'Dell comes a site that provides a plug-
in that will tell you when a writer is being ironic.

Jonathan Cahill suggests we visit the Museum of
Jurassic Technology, an exceedingly odd place, if
it is a place at all. 

Bob Filipczak, newly of St. John's U., says: "I
thought the art historian buried deep inside of you
(or deep in the cellar) would enjoy" Dear Aunt
Nettie, a faux museum.

Dave Rogers by coincidence recommended a lecture,
"Life after e-culture" by John Thackara about 15
minutes after I sent an email introducing myself to
Thackara on the advice of a friend.

Peter Kaminski responds to my graceless and inane
refusal to admit that I'd made a typo with a site
that says "that maybe the truth is really that
sometimes errors are art":

Knowing my family's religious commitment to the
Simpsons, Kevin Marks passes along a link to an
article that carefully explains why Bart is not a
Nietzschean Ubermensch.

AKMA is clear and thought-provoking once again,
this time ostensibly on the nature of confiding but
actually on the importance of trust versus rules.

Tom Matrullo compares knowledge and vines. Fibrous
and foliated writing!

The transcript of a chat I did at spirituality.com
on the topic "The Spirituality of the Web's
Architecture" has been posted here:

Matt Frondorf is driving from the Statue of Liberty
to the Golden Gate, taking a picture every mile. In
an interview [1], he calls it "statistical
photography." The pictures are on display in a
nicely designed Flash app [2] over at the Kodak site.
Oddly affecting.
[1] http://tinyurl.com/283c

TeleTruth.org has filed a complaint alleging that
Verizon (and the companies that merged to form it)
have vastly inflated the amount and cost of missing
equipment to the tune of $20-$80B. Why? Presumably
because this "vaporware" counts as an expense that
can be passed on to the consumer in the former of
higher rates.

The press release is here:

There's a table of contents here:

According to an articel by D.C. Denison in the
Boston Globe there are about 100 wifi hotspots in Boston
now, and over 150 in NYC. 

Denison recounts the story of Michael Oh [1]. On
Labor Day, Michael positioned a black Saturn Coupe
with a 6-foot Wifi antenna across the street from a
Starbucks that offers 15-minutes-for-$3 wifi
service. The reaction of the company that provides
Starbucks with connectivity actually was pretty
enlightened: "There's a place for those vendors.
But our customers want to know who they are dealing
with. They want security and the reliability that
comes with a real network company."

But mainly we want free connectivity everywhere we

[1] http://www.newburyopen.net/

Dan Gillmor points to some pretty durn funny UI
In a different column, Dan says that broadband is
central to securing our information infrastructure
since it allows data to be distributed rather than
clustered in cities. (He also comes up with some
crackpot ideas about using renewable energy,
conserving, etc. Those West Coasters are just so

At www.TheOldComputer.com you can download old TV
commercials advertising computer and video games,
back when sprites were sprites and there really was
no reason to add color to Pong.

The Veepers technology from Pulse3D animates a
still photo of a face and adds the sort of mouth
movement familiar from the movie "Babe" (you know,
the talking pig) synched up with a voice track. The
results are somewhere between laughable and
ghoulish, especially after the talking head has
finished and remains staring at you, randomly
bobbing and twitching.

Seeing it for yourself requires a small download.
There's an example here:

There's a thoughtful article by Renee Tawa about
blogging and Journalism in the LA Times. Best of
all: Not a word about "teenagers writing about what
they had for breakfast."

Clay Shirky's written another sterling essay, this
time on the nature of communities vs. broadcasting
and why only fools think they can convert a
broadcast audience into a really cool community and
everyone will come and like hang out and then
they'll be like all popular and everything.

The essay makes five points:

  1. Audiences are built. Communities grow.
  2. Communities face a tradeoff between
     size and focus.
  3. Participation matters more than
  4. You may own the software, but the
     community owns itself.
  5. The community will want to build. Help
     it, or at least let it.

Clay is one of my favorites.



David Isenberg has published a new issue of his
always excellent newsletter [1]. In this one, you can
read about "the future of voice telephony," which
is not about talking pachyderms but a software
product from Global IP Sound [2] that uses the Internet
to transmit calls and does so with higher-quality
audio than you'll get on a "real" phone.

[1] http://www.isen.com/archives/021014.html
[2] http://www.globalipsound.com/

Some very nice writing over at Joe M's blog about a
dinnertime conversation that is chaotic yet all
about one thing.

Gary Turner [1] is starting an anthology of quotations
from unfamous people (where fame is defined by mass
culture or acceptance into the Canon of Important
People). For example, from Marek [2]  we have, among
other bon mots, "The truth will set you free, but
first it will piss you off." Gary is soliciting

[1] http://www.garyturner.net/2002_10_01_archive.html#85533899
[2] http://soapbox.radiopossibility.com/

Richard Seltzer at B&R Samizdat Express has
reviewed Small Pieces Loosely Joined, quite

Richard reviews a wide variety of books. I'm in the
middle of Fagles' new translation of The Iliad and
found Richard's review [1] both learned and helpful, a
rare combination. (Think I'm just reciprocating?
Read some of his reviews for yourself, you cynical,
jaded, suspicious, person! Take "Trying to Enjoy
Bellow" as a fr'instance. [2])

I'm going to be the guest on his chat board Nov. 21.
Details here. [3]. And I'm still not just damn

[1] http://www.samizdat.com/isyn/iliad.html
[2] http://www.samizdat.com/isyn/bellow.html
[3] http://www.samizdat.com/chat.html

Chip sent me a poem by Ani DiFranco that apparently
she's reading at all her concerts now. It's nice to
hear the truth occasionally.


DarwinMag.com ran a column on why engineers are
optimistic cynics. 

Kevin Marks and Maf Vosburgh four years ago wrote,
"Code and Personality: How to tell your personality
type from your code" an amusing yet instructive
guide to with copious examples of source code.

This instant idea generator is Pretty darn amusing.

A cool Flash app. W speaks!

From Jonathan Arnold on a mailing list comes a
rudely funny link: Taliban Reunited.

Dick Joltes, from the same list, recommends the
latest in innovative services for today's highly
leveraged executives: Cadaver, Inc.

Stephen Lamb has found this example of Server-side

  The Tsunamii.Net Crush Server is
  currently online live from the Millbank
  Gallery in London! Watch as the webserver
  counts itself down before it activates
  the industrial crusher attached to it,
  bearing 150-tonnes of brute force onto
  itself and terminating its existance.
  Check out the details on the Tsunamii.Net
  website or visit the webserver directly

| GOOD LINKS TO GOODNESS                           |
|                                                  |
| MoveOn.com makes it absurdly easy to give money  |
| to the campaigns of some of those brave souls    |
| who voted against the Gulf of Saddam bill that   |
| gives America's Stupidest President a free hand  |
| to start a war. It'd be a particular shame if    |
| Paul Wellstone were to lose his Senate seat      |
| over this, giving the Republicans control of     |
| all branches of the government.                  |
| (Oct. 26: Deep sigh.)                            | 
|                                                  |
|                     ---                          |
| Katriel Richman, an e-quaintance in              |
| Israel, writes:                                  |
|                                                  |
|                * * *                             |
| ...I'm trying to change the terms of my          |
| response to the Palestinian intifada by          |
| bicycling to Eilat on the Wheels of Love bike    |
| ride to benefit the children of Alyn. Over the   |
| last two years we've been reacting on the        |
| bombers' terms, meeting the evil of the          |
| homicide terrorists with fences, closures and    |
| military force. The Alyn ride is a chance to     |
| respond to the intifada on our terms, meeting    |
| malevolence with benevolence.                    |
|                                                  |
| It's a 5-day bike ride from Jerusalem to Eliat   |
| to raise money for the Alyn Pediatric Hospital   |
| in Jerusalem [1], "Israel's only rehabilitation  |
| center for disabled children and young adults    |
| that offers a full gamut of medical,             |
| paramedical and educational services seasoned    |
| with love and dedication."                       |
|                                                  |
|                * * *                             |
| Katriel doesn't mention that of course Alyn is   |
| open to Palestinian children as well as Israeli  |
| kids because that's taken for granted.           |
|                                                  |
| You can give online at Network for Good.[2]      |
| Katriel would appreciate if you were to fill in  |
| the "Designation" line with the words "Wheels    |
| of Love" and the "Dedication" line with the      |
| name of the rider you wish to sponsor (Katriel   |
| Reichman), but he'd appreciate it more if you    |
| just gave something.                             |
| [1] http://www.alyn.org/                         |
| [2] http://tinyurl.com/27qc                      |


NOTE: This section is optional and will not appear
on the test.

Salon links to a frank keynote [1] given by retired
Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni. Zinni is the "former head
of Central Command for U.S. forces in the Middle
East, who has worked recently as the State
Department's envoy to the region with a mission to
encourage talks between Palestinians and Israelis."
The talk is surprising for two reason:

First, although it's written by someone in the his
administration, it is quite critical. He says the
administration is being naive.

Second, someone apparently did a search and replace
on the article, turning every instance of "question"
into "Ambassador Edward S. Walker." As a result, we
get sentences that begin "The Ambassador Edward S.
Walker becomes how to sort out your priorities," and
a question from the audience becomes:

  Ambassador Edward S. Walker: I have two Ambassador
  Edward S. Walkers...

(Salon is also running an interesting interview
with Zinni for paid subscribers. [2])

[1] http://www.mideasti.org/html/zinnispeech.htm
[2] http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2002/10/17/zinni/index.html

I confess to being a knee-jerk, pacifist-leaning,
NPR-listening, white-wine-swilling, heart-bleeding,
Kennedy-voting, cigarette-banning, tie-dye-wearing,
Mondale-mourning, Vineyard-vacationing, West-Wing-
Tivo-ing, decade-old-spare-joints-in -a-bottom-draw-
stashing, male-distrusting, race-apologizing,
criminal-coddling Jewish atheist pointy-headed
bleeding-heart middle class middle aged Liberal.

So, a recent column by Alex Beam in the Boston Globe
was thought-provoking. (I usually find his writing
just plain old provoking.) He points out that the
Conservatives have much more fun than we liberals
do. They get to drive in their SUV's, blow up bad
guys, and rant on talk shows about how the media
don't give conservatives any air time.

There's something to this. They're the Bad
Boys/Girls. We're the scolds. It'd be real good to
make Liberalism fun again.

Again? Yes, kiddies, there was a time when being a
lefty-liberal meant that you were cool and the
conservatives were squares. We got to smoke dope
while they watched John Wayne movies. We got free
sex and they got the missionary position. We got to
rethink the world while they were pledging their
allegiance. If nothing else, the left was the
happen' place to be. Now it's as glamorous as
sensible shoes.

We should work on changing this. Maybe a new
hairstyle or something.

The Boston Globe's "Ideas" section ran an excellent
article [1] by Elaine Carry, who teaches at Harvard, on
why a distributed defense makes sense. Here's the
way the headline writer put it:

  On Sept. 11, passengers armed only with
  cell phones and courage succeeded where a
  multibillion-dollar military failed. Does
  their achievement mean that 50 years of
  American defense policy is all wrong?

After a careful and persuasive analysis of what
worked (bottom-up action coordinated through
cellphones and relatives) and what didn't
(centralized defense with scrambling jet fighters)
on Sept. 11, Scarry enlarges the idea to nuclear
policy, concluding that the world will not give up
these "monarchic weapons" (because they are to be
used without any consent by the citizenry) until the
U.S. does.

And when I googled her, I found that she's a well-
known thinker on a wide range of topics, including a
defense of the relationship of beauty and goodness;
see an interview with her (by David Bowman) at Salon

[1] http://www.boston.com/globe/sunday/
[2] http://www.salon.com/books/feature/1999/11/09/scarry/

Common Cause has a page where you can fax a message
to your Congressional representatives.

Pick any three countries and see what they're the
axis of. Great site.


Where the hell did you all go? Oh, sure, you send
me plenty of links. But how about the arguments,
the disagreements, the sniping, the petty
criticism? Or was everything in the September 12
issue so obviously right that you had nothing left
to add? Hah!


Mike O'Dell asks: "So what does self-referentialism
have to do with me?"

This should answer that question.


Someone heard me on CNET radio
(http://www.webtalkguys.com/) and was stimulated to
send me an email suggesting that the Internet is
becoming conscious. So, I started a chart mapping
the similarities and differences:

| MY BRAIN                | MY BRAIN ON THE        |
|                         | INTERNET               |
| Can't remember names    | Can't remember which   |
| and places              | fake names I used at   |
|                         | which places           |
| Only utilizes 10% of    | Has only downloaded    |
| capacity                | 10% of available porn  |
| Thinks about sex every  | Receives spam about    |
| 7 seconds               | sex every 7 seconds    |
| Damaged by excessive    | Damaged by excessive   |
| drug use in the '60s    | dancing hamsters in    |
|                         | the '90s               |
| Frequently can't get a  | Frequently can't get   |
| tune out of my head     | Real Player off of my  |
|                         | desktop                |
| Not sure where Nigeria  | No need to know where  |
| is exactly              | Nigeria is so long as  |
|                         | the email with my      |
|                         | bank account number    |
|                         | arrives in time        |
| "Little voice" urges    | "Little voice" urges   |
| me to do what's right.  | me to install spy      |
|                         | cameras.               |

Your twin challenges: Extend this list or come up
with your own analogy.

And now it's back to the world of fast cars, smart
women, and excessive blogging.


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  • » [joho] JOHO - October 25, 2002