Blog posts tagged "imc"

A Threat to Peace

January 30th, 2003

The NYC Indypendent, the amazing newspaper from NYC IMC has started to put up their new website. Not much there yet, but you can order a copy (or 10) of their brilliant Threat to Peace poster.

From the website:

Whether you’re a budding weapons inspector or just a trivia buff, A Threat to Peace can give you the scoop on nuclear manufacturing facilities, chemical and biochemical weapons facilities, weapons manufacturers, nuclear testing and launch sites, and much, much more.
  • Quickly pinpoint terrorist training camps and private mercenary companies in the U.S.
  • Track down your favorite domestic or imported war criminal in minutes!
I hear that weapons inspectors is a growth industry these days. Get started now on your path to fame and fortune.

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IMC-Tech at StarWars

May 20th, 2002

Can someone explain to me the phenomena of geek convergences and Star Wars? There was something of a mini-gathering of the IMC-Tech working group happening in Seattle this week. Nominally we were all there for Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility’s Shaping the Network Society conference (more on that soon). Really we were in town as a chance to reconnect, and rebuild the social network.

After a week of spending the days fighting with mini-discs (we paid for our group entrance into the conference by taping, and streaming the sessions), and listening to people talk about gendered constructions of identity online, and evenings spent debating Netwar writings, and de-constructing consensus and affinity models in a global network, Sunday night rolls around, we’re tired, most people are rising early in the morning to catch trains, buses, or planes, what do we do? We run out and catch the 10:15 showing of “Attack of the Clones”.

Perhaps the idea was to re-visit capitalism’s failures as a producer of culture, or to re-affirm the Situationalist critique of spectacle. Or at least maybe that would have a made it a better experience. It was dreadful.

Everyone will tell you: Its great! Its the best yet! Its better then Phantom Menace!

Do not believe them, they are lieing. Even Phantom Menace was a better movie.

Because Attack of the Clones is not a movie. There is no story told, no narrative. Lucas walked in with a list 12-14 key plot ideas, and visual images that needed to be sold to move the franchise forward, and that is what the movie was, no development, no flow. At times I was reminded of a Saturday morning cartoon marathon with 8-12 minutes blocks of relatively unrelated action strung together, at others a video game that kept warping me to a new world every few minutes. (and one scene in the droid factory was old school Mario Bros action)

The one, and only true moment in the whole movie is the Yoda light-saber duel scene. Watching this most beloved character we see Yoda as we never have, its an amazing transformation, newly liberated by the dual forces of computer animation, and the time travelling magic of prequels, Yoda has a new physicallity, that makes its quiet, humored restraint through out the rest of series more poignant. I also sensed in the struggle how painful this new universe must be for someone who must be watching century of dedicated work crumble away. Yoda is the only person in the movie who can acts its way out of bag.

Back to my original question, perhaps it is fitting that I have more to say about the latest product of the culture machine then the academic work being presented on the role of polyrhythm in threaded discussions, but I have a sinking feelings its cop-out.

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Towards a credible voice

April 27th, 2002

Rabble recently said in Indymedia, Credibility, & Covering Palestine:

The NY Times is the bastion of credibility, their stories always reinforce a hegemonic perspective despite adherence to the ‘facts.’ Now many in alternative journalism want to out do the NY times, using the same objectivity but just replacing it with another paradigm for viewing the world.

I don’t think this will work for two reasons. First off they have almost all the money. Secondly we aren’t advocating the kind of world that will fit neatly in to one modernist perspective. Unlike the Marxist-Leninist of old who had THE answer, today we have many answers and even more questions. For a credible media to be created in this new networked, postmodern if you like, world we need to fully reconstruct what we mean by credibility.

MediaGeek is also talking about these ideas, responding to this “surprisingly fair and mostly accurate” article by the Washington Post.


in the end, crafting content requires selection, shortening, simplification and even a mildly authoritarian editorial brain making decisions
Mainstream news organizations, like the Washington Post, are very concerned with creating an air of authority and maintaining the illusion that their reporting is utterly consistent, complete, fair and authoritative… regardless of how well a story is researched, reported and written, it cannot be singularly authoritative — any such appearance is the just the effect of style that we have been trained to read as “objective” or “true.”

Yeah. Thats what I’ve been trying to say!

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A Personal History of RSS

April 17th, 2002

We recently launched a new feature on the Indymedia Global site. Built on top of RSS, the features newswire is an aggregation of the hilighted stories (features) from the local IMCs.

There has been a large amount of contentious discussion about this feature, and its been very interesting. It has proved to be a chance for IMC to revive, and reaffirm our institutional memory, the quasi-verbal tradition that binds us together. Many others have responded to other points superbly, however I felt that I should respond to the claim that, “XML/RSS is corporate plot to take over the world”. It was claimed that RSS is some sort of proprietary technology maintained by AOL/TimeWarner, and that we were forcing people to abandon the road of Free Software to come mingle their stories with ours. I have a long (if not very active) involvement in RSS, so I want to respond.

First, the link Arc sent, RSS: Lightweight Web Syndication is a good starting point, Rael is very heavily involved in the current state of RSS, and is generally an excellent and insightful tech writer. Rael, like all historians, is also trying to push a particular viewpoint with his history. He is trying to build legitimacy for his idea of a modular, RDF compliant RSS. So here is another prespective, a much more personal, and less eloquent one, perhaps.

My colloquial history of RSS

I first saw RSS mentioned on Slashdot in early 1999, I think around January or so, as an Ask Slashdot story about the new alpha Netcenter, Netscape’s late entry into the portal game. Netcenter was the first, last, and only cool portal. It acknowledged that people might want content beyond the generic fare of AP and Reuters (something Yahoo still doesn’t offer) So it invented a format to allow headlines to be syndicated into its Netcenter Channels. And they added MozilliaZine and Slashdot.

So someone asked, “Could we create our own Netcenter channel?”, and the creator of Netcenter RSS responded in a comment explaining the process (which was still totally informal, as it was pretty much just this one guy doing it) And so light weight syndication took off. At we had just recently started re-posting DAMN articles, and a few of our own pieces, and so we whipped up a RSS feed, and submitted it to Netcenter, and it was included. So now the really amazing content from the late and much lamented Direct Action Media Network was showing up on this mainstream corporate portal.

And then Slashdot decided they wanted channels, and they called them Slashboxes, and put CowboyNeal in charge (who was accepting if flaky) and the whole network of small self-publishing sites, sharing content and traffic, which has grown exponentially recently to include the bloggers was born.

This is all pre-AOL acquisition of Netscape. AOL bought Netscape, and gave Sun all the good stuff, keeping Netcenter, and the browser for itself. Some people speculated that they bought Netscape for Netcenter. That might have been, but one of AOL’s first acts was to shut down the super cool Netcenter, and replace it with a generic portal. (probably bought from Infospace)

I don’t remember when I first heard about the syndication mailing list, but I sure jumped when I did. We had been talking for a while about how to create a syndication network to share the content from, DAMN, and Zmag in a meaningful way, and here were some of the sharpest people doing this stuff all haggling about syndication.

Well I thought the list was a flop. Dave Winer had not mellowed down into the quiet, open minded buddhist monk we know today. And he browbeat people into abandoning the original pie-in-the-sky ideals of RDF/XML and turning RSS into the Userland format. RDF being TBL’s attempt to build some tools to make the web a collection of rationale information, where your access to being heard is dependent on the quality of your information.

And thats how things stayed, we kept talking about building this syndication network, without ever having time to do it, and RSS kept puttering along, and I kind of lost track of it. (IMC happened, and there went the last moment I had to stop and catch my breath for like a year)

And when I saw Rael’s first post about modular RSS, RSS 1.0, an idea to get back to the original ideas about RSS being an open format, and RDF, and adding XML namespaces, to allow people to innovate, and do their own thing, but still work together. And it used Dublin Core, and it was elegant, and his first act was to say, I’m just playing with ideas, lets make an open mailing list, and all talk about this for a few months, and see what people think of it. And so it went, RSS 1.0 evolved in an open fashion, geeks flailing in the dark for a form of consensus, they dealt with some vicious attacks from the Userland old guard, and eventually built a new standard, that encouraged collaboration, but also allowed people to do their own thing.

And in the meantime blogging took off, the personal publishing phenomena which is just starting to really catch the mainstreams eye, and has much in commom with Maff’s Hilights proposal, and Dru’s Open Publishing proposal, and the idea that the web was a conversation began to be normal again.

So it seems to me, that to say RSS is a standard maintained by AOL/Timewarner is incorrect, and uninformed. To insist so violently upon it smacks of disinformation to me.

On Indymedia we generate 3 RSS feeds, v.9 the Netcenter version, v.91 the first “userland” flavor developed on the syndication list, and v1.0 hammered out in public, by consensus. The features newswire is uses the version 1.0 of RSS, though admittedly not for political reasons, but because its more richly descriptive.

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