WWW-Talk Jan-Mar 1993: NCSA Mosaic for X 0.10 released

Anchor for this item  posted Saturday, July 15, 2006 at 9:32 PM MST

WWW-Talk Jan-Mar 1993: NCSA Mosaic for X 0.10 released, found in The Web, Day Zero: How To Get Started; thanks to blogs.earthlink.net


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*touched 15JULY06 1245MDT: "You should allow imagination to be opportunistic and not shackle it to earning wealth or producing profit on the short term because that independence is at the base of scientific creativity." --John C. Polanyi on CBC Radio's "Quirks and Quarks"*

I finally got around to looking through Information Week magazine of 26JUNE06. Thomas Claburn's "Is Centralized IT Killing Tech Innovation?; A Culture of 'No'" caught my eye; the cover slug read "The apparatchiks in the IT org are stifling innovation. Here's where to draw the line on central control." Woa ... I can't recall the last time I saw someone else use the term apparatchik.

The article itself was just as entertaining: "IT pros worry about the security and management headaches of renegade apps. They should worry more about stifling innovation" Right on!

"Internet activist and entrepreneur John Gilmore once declared, ''The Net treats censorship as a defect and routes around it.'' [[FFII should use this as one of their slogans! bdt] Today that's how many employees view their IT departments." [emph. added - bdt]
'Scuze me? today?! Well, that might be true, strictly speaking ... but only becuase IT depts haven't been around all that long. But mahn I don't recall ever encountering anything but friction, with the exception of a few stering individuals. Hence the need for the unholy triumverate of wizard, guru, and hero. From what I can see the rhetoric has changed but it's still opportunistic carreerists (who pre-date yuppies) and power games ... sophistry and plausible deniability.

Anytime someone wants to talk turkey I'm ready, able, and willing. But no (with all due respects to TimBL) I can't just "build it in the garage and see if it works" ... those days are passed for me ... that's why I'm writing on a 300MHz box on a scavenged WiFi connection!

"Business is a conversation and money is the punchline." ... yaaaa right. And there's nothing more condescending than a dot-bomb bourgie. The clever robber has his victims stand and deliver at the point of a pen. Entrepreneurship is just another aspect of culture ... as go society and community, so goes activity. (Has anybody read M. Scott Peck's book on the death of civility?)


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Birthing the Ultimate Feed Reader

Anchor for this item  posted Saturday, July 15, 2006 at 1:04 AM MST

Joining a merry band congregated around the "The “river” versus “folder” RSS approach" discussion in the Scobleizer blog (John Robb; Aaron B. Hockley; Brian Sullivan; Dave Coustan; John Stanforth; Craig Barnes; with Dave Winer as eminence grise / rabble-rouser; [checkout one response]) , Jay Gilmore rang my bell with this bit:
"I had tried browser extensions and then switched to the feed reading support in Thunderbird but became frustrated with a lack of control of my feed appearance."
This corresponds to my impression. He then continues in his own blog with Destination: World Class by Jay Gilmore ? Feed Reader Search Topic Wavelength:
"My own experience using most online tools—not just feed readers—is that they are slow and changing settings is often takes two to three times as many steps vs. a standalone application."
"In Search of a Desktop Feed Reader Client" is a fuller treatment of that subject.


I was tired when I wrote my contribution in Scobleizer and I nearly wrote W=V/Q ... meh ... tired now!*

"*What I was writing originally triggered such profound proprietary instincts in me that those waves caused FF1.5 to lock up hard and I had to abort. Not j/k!*

W=Q/V ... what something is worth depends on how much of it there is and how fast it's moving, did I recall my Economics 12?

Cognitive ergonomics: there's no way I'm going to put up with being pained repeatedly and frequently ... unless there's a payoff. (Cost/benefit, yes?) If each of a long series of teeny actions bothered us a teeny little bit then we'd prolly be really futzy and reactionary. *looks around* Yaa, like this.

Pleasure is Web2.0; elegant, responsive ... and intelligent.

I doubt that "rivers" and "folders" are actually orthogonal, strictly speaking ... but dang near!

*It's paradigmatic, my dear Watson!*


Kevin Marks' "Searching a River of News" in the technorati blog responds very neatly:

"Dave, do try out Technorati Favorites It will import your OPML, and lets you restrict searches to your favorite blogs, as well as showing a river of news."
(No comment function in that blog ... tsk-ktsk-ktsk!)


Niall Kenedey's ''Feeds as a Platform'' is one of a nice series.


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How Lame is MSNBC? Let the shells fly, and see.

Anchor for this item  posted Thursday, July 13, 2006 at 2:35 AM MST

Breaking News Newsletter Topic Page - Newsletters - MSNBC.com: "Sign up for email alerts of breaking news headlines from MSNBC.com and be the first to learn when a major story develops. Signing up is easy and FREE,"

Whoooooaaahoooohooo! Not only is the email subscription easy, but it's FREEEEE to boot! By gawd, no wonder those media-convergence types are so rich: they're just about as stuhned as dot-bomb and dot-bombV2r1 yuppies!

Honestly, isn't that enough to gag a maggot? Wankers are kicking Dell and mocking NYTimes and there's MSNBC, stolidly behind the curve, while M$ goes nutz with a whole family of this.live.com and that.live.com sites. (Bizarro sidebar: I check WikiPedia for Category:Project before creating it, good WikiGnome that I am. The page it appeared on showed that had it existed it would have been category #109738 ... give or take a few. There must be something like 150K categories!)

But credit where credit is due ... they came up with an aweful puhrty banner icon:


See, thing is, I was rummaging around for news. (Bizarro #2 of a series: in 1972 I was doing "communications research"; when we heard a certain type of radio signial, like buzzing bees the size of whales, we would scramble to run tapes ... and when that signal stopped and another started within less than 2 minutes we were in tight collaboration with fellows around the globe. 1972 ... I have reason to be displeased anytime I want. K? *BK BK BK - just in this very moment: there was a cyber attack on US defense information infrastructure around the time of the NKorean missile test ... sig_int, ayup.*) Tank battles, kidnapped soldiers, an international airport in the suburbs of a major metropolis being rocketed ... the shiet is hitting the fan yet again.

see "Israel has rolled into Lebanon. Here we go again?"" (HfxBen at LJ) and/or "Sabres, so often rattled, too often leave their marks." ("Beyond Greed")

In the early 80s I did interviews alongside Physicians for Social Responsibility; in the early 90s I tried without success to get connected with an equivalent in the IT field. *shrug* Go figure ... I guess I just not the sort that fits in a hot tub.

p.s. I really like my technorati faves, and I appreciate the service. But even with what I've done about "Participatory Deliberation" at Gnodal, I still don't have what I want when it comes to news and politics. Geesch.


Addendum: a decent feed has been right under my nose for a few days: politics.netscape.com. *D'uh!*


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Walled Garden, Labyrinth ... potato, tomato

Anchor for this item  posted Tuesday, July 11, 2006 at 9:09 PM MST

NYTimes has cobbled together a subscription RSS site ... not sure, but if this Techcruch article is right then their effort isn't aimed at producing anything like a mashup / aggregator. "NYTimes launches MyTimes, a weak RSS play" (links to screenshots).

It's a by-invitation beta right now. I subscribe to their online services ... word is I might be getting mine in a couple of days.

The NYTimes' documentation is pretty clear, if someone terse:

"you will be able to create a personalized page with what you like best in The New York Times and your favorite sites and blogs from across the Web. Choose your own sources, or explore a broad variety of sources suggested by Times reporters and editors who are experts in your areas of interest. You can even see what some of your favorite Times journalists – and soon, other Times readers – have on their own personal “My Times” pages. We are still working on this “My Times” feature and hope to make it available to more readers soon."

No doubt there's some benefit to well structured access to the Times' graveyard and archive ... no doubt. But isn't this all a bit like a store that gets its customers in the doors with loss-leader sale? PaidContent's ''Peronalized Service; MyTimes'' suggests something like that:

"In some respects, it’s a template personalized news page with the features we expect from any major site — drill-down to specific areas, add RSS feeds, move modules around, select from suggested news sources, etc. [...] But the NYT is also playing its ace card: beyond-the-headlines expertise from its own journalists. A small number of staffers (26 at last count) have set up their own pages [...] First thoughts: Smart idea to start in very limited fashion. [...] It’s not a customized home page, though — the NYT isn’t relinquishing the role of front-page editor to the user."

So ... it's no garden of delight. Perhaps a garden, of sorts, one where folk have to amble through a maze. Bottome line: this approach reminds me of the psychologists who design retail stores to maximze customers' length of stay by increasing the distance they need to walk, with convenience sprinkled around, a bit here, a bit there, like sugared popcorn ... popcorn with artificial colour and flavouring.

But HeyHo, what do we want for free? After all, it's a fallen world, right? I mean ... isn't it?


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What's in a word? ''Peer Production'' and ''CrowdSourcing'' and ...

Anchor for this item posted Tuesday, July 11, 2006 at 1:29 PM MST

"A rose, by any other name ..." Yaa, right, heh ... Firefox 1.5 or 1.8, or Bon Echo, or Bon Echo 2.01b1 ... or 2.01b2 ...

Anyhow, I just started using ''crowdsourcing'' as a del.icio.ur tag, alongside opensource and collaboration. (There are less than 100 items at del.icio.us with that tag.)

Who was the originator? Jeff How in Wired 14.06 with "The Rise of Crowdsourcing"?

"Remember outsourcing? Sending jobs to India and China is so 2003. The new pool of cheap labor: everyday people using their spare cycles to create content, solve problems, even do corporate R & D."
or Ben Garfinkel and Kevin Broome in their ''We're not wired right'' blog with "Buzzing with the Digital Crowd at Vidfest 2006, viz.:"
"Terry McBride, head of Nettwerk Records made no new friends during his Keynote Speech [...] when he introduced the following buzzword to the design-centric audience: crowd sourcing."

Check those dates against this technorati graph of posts using "crowdsourcing":

Technorati Chart
Get your own chart!

see also: Jeff Howe's ''Rise of the Amateur'' blog; Cote's "The Fine Line Between Crowd-Sourcing and Crap-Sourcing" in his "One foot in the muck, the other in utopia" (also a blog); two CS manufacturers: cambrianhouse.com, a CS company (a variety of products), and threadless.com (swag).


Listening to: Jesse Brown on CBC Radio with his "Contrarians". (Why doesn't he get his show a reasonable website??! *C'mon Maffin, chip in!*)

Jesse Brown, host of CBC Radio's ''Contratians''


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Nomenclature, vernacular, and relating to push-mowers

Anchor for this item  posted Monday, July 10, 2006 at 8:39 AM MST

Geek-talk took yet another well-deserved drubbing last month when Jon Udell took issue in his "User-generated content vs. reader-created context".
"Everything about this buzzphrase [user-generated content] annoys me. First, calling people "users" is pernicious. It distances and dehumanizes, and should be stricken from the IT vocabulary ("Those clueless users") as well as from the publishing vocabulary. IT has customers and clients, not users. IT-oriented publishers have readers, not users.
Second, "content" is a word that reminds me more of sausage than of storytelling (see Sausage, traffic, and clueless users). As writers and editors we don't "generate" "content," we tell stories that inform, educate, and entertain -- or should."

On the odd chance that this sounds trivial, here's a little mind experiement: I invite you to try and imagine what geek-talk would provide us as alternative nomenclature for "mouse" ... yaa, mouse, the thingie so many of us spend so much time pushing around, what to call it if not "mouse"? navigation handle?

Now, mice and "navigation handles" aside, lookee here (and who'd uh thunk it): in context of "a six-minute video that documents how to use, and maintain, the Scotts Classic" (that's a push-mower, BTW) Jon showed how to crack that particular semantic Gordian knot:

"in an era of commons-based peer production there will be increasing numbers of folks who will package their knowledge and experience in video form, and publish it freely, just because they can."
"Clean air gardening and the future of shared experience"

... "commons-based peer-production" ... that's the stuff; brilliant! Now ... why didn't I think of that?!

(see WikiPedia entry for ''Commons-based peer production''; "a term coined by Yale's Law professor Yochai Benkler")

I'm feeling sheepish ... a decade ago I was helping with workshops aimed to have folk to their own thing when it came to local politics; how to create a poster, write a press release, conduct themselves in a media interview, that sort of thing; three decades ago I was putting slide projectors and cassette decks to use in popular education. And I'm certainly not alone in my knowledge of "peer programming" as part of the "extreme programming" methodology. But Jon rang the bell: he cracked the nut and got to the kernel of it ... "peer-production". Indeed! And, I hope: in deed!

We can pull together or we can fail, alone, as things fall apart ... I'm been saying that for a long while. But I didn't come


Just now I wrote Jon, "''When things aren't given their proper names, what is said is not what is meant, and what should be done is left undone.'' (That's just me, playing fast and loose with some Tao-think. Confucius? Lao-Tsu?) Anyhow, back in the day, Paolo Freire's thinking was operational: we operated "learner centers" and aimed to be "agents of extension" (education rather than training, yes?). Sooooo when I blogged about your lovely post and "peer-production" I had to wonder why /I/ hadn't come up with the phrase! Anyhow, now we all have it on hand, and thanks to you for that."

Addendum: I just had an exchange with JU concerning credit:

">> Now we all have that phrase on hand. And thanks for that, Jon.
> Not me. Thanks Yochai Benkler among others for the term, but him in particular for exploring the economics of it.
>Ah, I didn't express myself well enough; in fact I included a WikiPedia link to his page in my MozDawg blog.
But my point stands, Jon. As John Willinsky argues so forcefully: the stuff only cooks when it's in circulation (whether publically-funded scholarly research or handy-dandy memes). So no ... I mean yes: thank /you/. We have to perpetuate the stuff. (Who talks about Freire these days? We can't afford the dis-economy of re-inventing this set of wheels.)
"
When I wrote, "Why did I think of that" I didn't mean to ask why I hadn't invented the term ... I mean that the term is in circulation but I didn't think of it; Jon did.
It's not necessary for each of us to recreate the silver hammer and re-invent the art of its use, but it's up to each of us to make good use of what we have, and to each of us do our bit!

Peripherally related:

  • the eXtension Communities of Practice Site (Wiki) - "This site is where members of eXtension's Communities of Practice come to collaboratively generate educational products to serve their designated Communities of Interest.
  • Access eNonProfit - "The program is intended to help nonprofits make the most of their Internet connection and web presence. It's about making smart business choices that meet the needs of clients, patrons, or members. It's primary audience is the smaller nonprofits with limited budgets but big ideas.
  • Technology for the Nonprofit and Philanthropic Sector (Elizabeth Finn's blog) - "Integrated workflow management for nonprofit organizations: If you build it, will they use it?"
  • Non-Profit Soapbox - "Your cause; Your website. The User-Friendly Website Manager"
  • With thanks for these to del.icio.us/DEF


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