Blog posts tagged "st"


December 13th, 2005

We’ve been talking about a move to New York ever since I moved back from Seattle, just over a year ago. (Boston, as much as we like it, has always been a way station)

Recent events have moved up our timeline (which had been lazily extending itself for months) and now we’re looking to make a move by the end of the year. (as in 18 days and counting)


So we’re looking for housing, either short term, or not, immediately, if not sooner. Any tips would be great. (ideally something more then “Brooklyn, baby, Brooklyn”)


And I’m taking this change to seriously start looking for the next gig, which has been on the back burner. If you read this blog you have a sense of what I do, and what I’m interested in.

If you happen to know a team doing cool and innovative work, that could use a LAMP(R) hacker, syndication guru, and/or calendar wonk, put them in touch. Additionally if you know someone interested in getting some perspective on the evolving nature of the Web, the network, or open source from someone who has been engaged in the work and community for 8+ years, I’ve been know to wear that hat as well.

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December 11th, 2005

On recommendations we grabbed the first few episodes of Lost. No one told me it was scifi (even if it is closeted scifi). Now we’re left with all these burning questions, and a contract not to peek ahead into the future to answer them.

But we’ve got one burning question for all you farther along, do they ever explain how a Desi scion of London came to be fighting in the Republican Guard?

Or is that just failing to properly suspend disbelief?

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Have Thermos, Will Travel

December 1st, 2005

You’re part of a very small group for whom its reasonable for a San Francisco coffee shop to consider a Brooklyn coffee shop competition.

Rabble, on the rather grumpy reception from the kiosk to my excitement about Cafe Grumpy.

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Oh my aching head

November 15th, 2005

Nothing quite like the hangover from one of Mako and Mika’s famous sushi and Debian parties.

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Religion as Memetic Innovation

November 9th, 2005

I picked up No god but God from the library, on the basis of Rafe’s recommendation. I’ve barely started it, but I find Aslan’s approach of flowing between “religious history” and “factual history” fascinating and enlightening. Rather the trying to find the Truth(tm) of Islamic history, he skillfully cuts between the various truths, both presenting “the Revelation” in matter of fact terms, while pages later cutting away to an analysis of the topos and tropes of messianic childhood myths. (but watch that you don’t forget this tension, as we’ve been trained to reject pluralist narratives, which can be confusing when reading an ahistorical history)

Like I said, I’ve barely begun, but I found a fascinating snippet of insight on page 13 talking about the techno-rhetorical (my word) innovations in monotheism.

More then a thousand years before Christ, Zarathustra preached the existence of a heaven and a hell, the idea of a bodily resurrection, the promise of a universal savor who would one day be miraculously born to a young maiden …. a non-proselytizing and notoriously difficult religion to convert to — considering its rigid hierarchical social structure

So Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all represent successive waves of innovation to produce a more viral ideology that could better leverage network effects. It’s an idea that has fascinated me since an off hand comment in a college history class that monotheisms were better able to displace traditional pagan cultures because monotheists were able to bring their God with them rather then being tied to a series of local, non-portable phenomena.

Perhaps it points to my spiritual bankruptcy, but I’d buy a Clayton Christensen style analysis of major religions in a heart beat.

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Dealing with the Time Change

November 1st, 2005

Les and Russell are talking about how much the lack of light this time of year sucks. (Russell living in the Bay Area has got a lot of nerve, but whatever) Here is my strategy.

Rise early. No really, keep your body on daylight savings time as long as possible whatever it takes (cutting the caffeine at 3, night caps, exercise) but get to bed early, and get up to catch that early morning light. Once you’re up bathe in it, go for walks, open all the curtains, you get the idea.

Then in the afternoon, while its still light out pull the curtains, and turn on all the lights. Cut off all contact with the outside world. (helps if your office is a remodeled closet.) Crank the music up, turn the screen brightness up, and try to ignore the outside world for as long as possible.

Doing this I can generally get a full days work in before the “I can’t believe its dark already” blues kick in, and sap my will to live.

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Jamaica Plain Lantern Festival

October 31st, 2005

Last night was the Jamaica Plain lantern festival, one of several pagan rituals which form the core of JP’s community identity. We had a folks over for lantern making, followed by gorgeous stroll around the pond.

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Snow: A Four Letter Word

October 29th, 2005

In October. Unbelievable. See you all in May. (just in time for Boston’s new tornado season?)

"Snow is a four letter word,
no is the only part of the word that I heard, 
call me morbid or absurd"
– with apologies to Cake


**update 2005-11-1: ** In fairness to Boston, every day since has been stunningly beautiful, sunny and 70 degrees. Supremely odd weather to have after getting several inches of snow.

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Interestingness, Community, Infrastructure, and the Academy

October 28th, 2005

In the “few thoughts, loosely joined” school, Anil’s recent post The Interesting Economy, got me revisiting worn grooves, thinking about community.

Anil posits that Flickr’s users, creators of value and “interestingness” are getting short changed, or at least in the future our understanding of Flickr’s value proposition will lead us to conclude their users are being short changed. It’s part of an ongoing struggle to define our norms around participation, community, hosted tools, and ownership. (On a side note, syndication can mix into this explosively, as with this thread last Summer on Meetup and EVDB)

Actually Anil’s point was more interesting and more subtle, and worth reading, but as the signal bounced around the echo chamber, it degraded into “Hey, I make Flickr interesting, pay me!”.

I mean as software tends towards commodification (as t approaches 0), clearly Flickr derives its value from its participants, yes?

No. Quite the opposite.

I could replicate Flickr’s software (call it Flickah, a Boston Flickr derivative), give it away free, and still people would pay to be part of Flickr. And in fact if I ever managed to grow the community to a fraction of Flickr’s size I’d be in trouble. Flickr isn’t a photo hosting site, it’s a salon, and unsurprisingly value accumulates most quickly to the salon owner. Value arises from the centralization.

Community Service Models?

So assuming software, what alternatives models exist for a community to host a service they find useful? How do communities gain and support the values of centralization without handing over control? A Flickr, an Upcoming, or an Audioscrobbler provide value in direct proportion to the size of the community, while the centralization of a Google Maps (or a Geocoder) makes an expensive resource affordable. It’s a question I’ve been wrestling with for a while (community+service). And a question I asked at techdinner recently to surprising results.

I expected to hear about grid computing, alternate economic models, p2p, etc. Instead it was suggested that maintaining such a resource, or at least some subset of such community resources is the role of the Academy in the 21st century. (less surprising given the presence of Berkman-ites in the crowd)

Perhaps not a Google Maps, or Flickr but maybe Harvard should be hosting the definitive URI for books? I was intrigued. (not to mention a little appalled given my stint doing tech for Higher Ed.)

Last thought, in the multitude responses to Anil, it was pointed out that interestingness can be gamed, as can most deployed reputation systems. Yet eBay works? How? By making buy in into the system cost real cash, something Flickr print is poised to do. As a print service not terribly exciting, but what a great way to quantify interestingness.