Saturday, February 22, 2003
And now to my opinions. Blogger purchased by Google. I have no opinion. - I do have one opinion about Ev. I don't like Ev. - My not liking him was born as a suprise to me when he became a martyr in the name of the thousands of people using his software (I fucking hate martyrs). The Martyrdom happened at the time when he said Pyra ran out of money and Ev fired everybody in the company and went solo, Ev the Martyr. In the darkest our of Blogger he alone became Lord Not Jim, saving the ship by himself without any help from anyone. He didn't jump. He pushed everybody else out. - He alone lived in a one room apartment, down in the basement. Lived on raddishes and rotten potatos. As I said, my not liking him is not some kind of strong opinion. I am sure he is a nice guy. That's why it's a surprise to me that I don't like him. I thin he did Jack wrong. So there. No more opinions on that any more. And now I reutrn to my drinking. I hope FBI will not read this post and I will get my citizenship in the next 540 days, as stated on the paperwork I received form the INS last week. So long. I will keep in touch.
In the meantime please straighten me up and tell me what a great guy Ev is. I just might start believing it and then all will be well for me and I won't have to drink any more.
In the end I must say. Pyra has made a great fucking infrastructure for the amplification of diverse voices on this planet. Thank you Ev. Even I don't like you I will beat the shit anyone who dares to say bad shit about you. The freedom of Voice is perhaps the greatest liberty any human being can cherish on this fucked up planet of ours and Blogger has become the best enabler of that liberty. Rock on Fuckers. Let the messiness of Voices drown out the monologues of CNNed news.
Xeni Jardin wrote to me after I wrote this (found below) about the amazing Live from the Blogosphere event which she co-produced, and said this:
For the record, we didn't know anything about the google news until Ev disclosed it on the panel by way of his laptop. Nobody at the event did, to the best of my knowledge.
If the event had been -- as you wonder aloud on your blog -- put together just as a pretext for Google and/or Pyra to make that
announcement, we'd have at least probably had a decent budget to work with. That would have been nice.
As it was, we scraped together a few bucks from our own pockets, then talked friends into begging/borrowing/stealing the equipment and services we needed to put it together.
This was the real deal, not a corporate press conference masquerading as editorial content.
To which, along with asking for permission to quote her, I replied thusly:
I believe you. I probably was unclear in the way I said what I did. The feeling I was trying to convey was that it was in so many ways the too-perfect setting and occasion for such an announcement - had your event not actually been underway, something of the sort would have had to be invented (like Voltaire's God). An uncanny thing.
By the way, that's a wonderful observation on authenticity - any "corporate" event would give itself away with tablecloths or decent chairs. heh
Thursday, February 20, 2003
The real reason dear Tom asked Jeneane to ask me to come out and play was something to do with this brainfart, cross-posted from my day blog (as in - happy to be here, but based on that last post, below, best I don't give up the day blog...).
We can't trust CNN this time.
From Friday's Guardian newspaper:
"In 1991 American voters rallied behind President George Bush Sr for the seemingly bloodless confrontation with Saddam Hussein...Neatly hidden from a small army of journalists was the reality of war - a reality that can make these very same voters recoil in disapproval...
"...About 150 American journalists, photographers and film crews were scattered among attacking units. Their reports were supposed to be fed to a rear headquarters and then shared by hundreds of journalists from around the world...Not a single eyewitness account, photograph or strip of video of combat between 400,000 soldiers in the desert was produced by this battalion of professional observers.
"Cheney, brimming with contempt and hostility for the press, saw journalists as critics of the military who must be contained. "Frankly, I looked on it as a problem to be managed," he said after the war. "The information function was extraordinarily important. I did not have a lot of confidence that I could leave that to the press."
This suggests an urgent need to recruit and train an army of Iraqi bloggers, either here in the 'Free West' (*cough*), with strong connections to feet & eyes still resident in their homeland, or preferably right there in the thick of the horror.
We should arm them with satellite WiFi blogging tools and digital cameras to record and publish the unvarnished, un-CNNed truth.
Perhaps some of Ken Nichols' "Human Shields" could be recruited to assist - to get the full, horrific graphic news out past Cheney's attempts to 'manage' the information flow. They've already got the stones to put themselves in harm's way. Asking them to document, in real time, what they witness is a logical next step.
And if we're searching for yet another way to justify the Google/Blogger deal (Bloogle? Bloggle? Glogger?), this could be it. Ponder the combination of Google News + Blogger in a situation like this.
If any communications channel holds the potential to carry the full and complete truth, it's the blogosphere, in all its uncensored glory.
Assuming, of course, that the content at source can be identified and streamed in without interference from either end of the "nexus of terror" that starts in DC and ends in Baghdad.
Think about it: this could become an infinitely more powerful source of real frontline reporting than CNN could ever be. (That's 'reporting', not necessarily 'journalism', btw - I'm not getting into that debate here).
Perhaps verifiably Iraqi blogger Salam Pax could be persuaded to weigh in on this one...
And perhaps Doc could be persuaded to donate the balance of his Chris Pirillo laptop fund to purchase a robust digital camera and deliver it to Salam, or one of his countrymen willing to venture into the combat zone, in the interests of securing at least one unfiltered feed live from the coming obscenity...
Thanks, Jeneane, for inviting me to play. Can't quite figure out why I've not bugged you about joining before now, but here I am so whatEVah.
This, btw, should be the appropriate, officially-sanctioned means of punctuating any too heated discussion on the topic of the Blogger/Google nuptials.
Whenever (whenEVer) two or more blogchums decide that they've reached that ouroboros moment in the debate, and each has ended up reaching the starting position in the argument originally taken by their opposite number, one of the friendly combatants should throw down his/her 'whatEVah' card. At this point all parties can agree that the most precise and useful answer anyone can arrive at is probably 'whaddafuck', and everyone can sod off down the pub for a well-earned shandy.
First Cove: "Google buying Blogger is a clear signal that the star named Wormwood has indeed fallen from the firmament, the Beast walks the earth, and the end of days is upon us"
Second Cove: "You're so wrong - the sound of Sergey and Ev's high five is a plangent, joyous signal that the rapture is imminent..."
First Cove: "WhatEVah."
We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming...
Tuesday, February 18, 2003
My blog is currently not taking posts. This is frustrating, as I finally have a topic I want to flog until it or I drop into a Slough of Despond, where I find Marek, and join him in drinking Vodka with Pepper while listening to Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto #3 seventeen times a day until the crack of Doom.
The floggified topic is the potentiation of the force field that is about to light up as the macrosphere (Google) merges with the microsphere (Pyra) - Sheila Lennon of the Providence Journal picked up on this in what she wrote yesterday. Google has done more to free us from the Flatland of the Fourth Estate than perhaps it has received credit for. It has gotten bad out there - as even Paul Krugman puts it (only he doesn't dare to say that the large print publications, including the one he works for, are barely less wall-eyed):
''For months both major U.S. cable news networks have acted as if the decision to invade Iraq has already been made, and have in effect seen it as their job to prepare the American public for the coming war.'' Krugman
And, there's this:
"Media for a long time was the resource of the citizenry, known as the fourth power, the power to oppose decisions of the government that would have harmful effects on people. The fourth power no longer has this power," says Ignacio Ramonet, editor of Le Monde Diplomatique and communications professor at the University of Paris. Now, rather than protecting the people, the "fourth power is now exploiting and oppressing them" for commercial gain, he said. "How can we tackle this when the protector of the people has transformed into its enemy?" Association for Progressive Communication
The fifth power could lie within the toolset to displace corporate broadcast coercion supplied as Google brings awareness to nano-publishing. Think about it.
Monday, February 17, 2003
The thing to consider is, how this story plopped into the middle of some celebrity blogfest in LA and exploded onto the net via some of the most A, if not A prime, bloggers out there who just happened to be in the room. It's as if the event itself were merely a pretext for the bombshell that "happened" to drop in. And, it's as if the event occurred outside the sensory realm of the media, even though, as Tony Pierce noted, they were in the same room.
How much more perfect a vehicle for the unveiling of the advent of what we call blogging as something more than a bunch of itchy dorks jacking off behind the woodshed (that quote's straight from Arnold Schwarzenburger, Apemantean Treeslayer and Holy Spliffroller) could there be?
The linking of Google and Pyra fired a teensy synapse felt around the world: The advent of the blog as where events happen and are reported, and travel through the network nervous system that Bill Gates could never quite imagine but once dreamed he could own.
This is deep shite, as Mr. Locke once put it. Anyone bogged down worrying about Google's business model is not seeing either the forest or the trees, but just the little three-eyed tree mites that are left after Sulzenegger erases entire Canadian forests for the sake of underwear ads.
You are all invited to whoop it up. Feel free to think freely. Try to get outside the whining of those who see the merger of Google and Pyra as the kiss of death, the Trojan Horse, the Evil Empire coming home to roost on our forehead and shit in our beers.
Have a look at what Jeneane is saying here and here. See some of the other comments here. And Denise here. And Cory here. And I blogged about it here.
Why is this such a big deal? To me, it's because we have for a moment a linking of large and small, a linking that we have no reason to assume, prejudicially, is nefarious or anything like what such a linking would be if this were AOLTW and the New York Times, or MSN and Rupert Murd. There might be a grand experiment here, one that needs a little room to grow. This could reconfigure mainstream media, or at least shake it up in healthful ways. Let's hope with David Weinberger that it is still possible, at this stage of human evolution, for one large company to not cave to the temptation to become a stupid large company.
Sunday, February 16, 2003
"It used to be here," he said. "That blank space is where Ollie Sacks had his revelation of infinity and saw God. I identified Mendeleev with Moses, coming down from Sinai with the tablets of the periodic law. I visualize, and can still see as I talk, the inert gases in their huge hexagonal jars - the jars looked empty, but you knew they were there. There were translucent sticks of phosphorus in water, and a fist-sized lump of iridium. It must have been a pound. I adored it. There was chlorine, green and swirling in the jar. I had seen dirty bits of cesium before, but they had a lot of it; it's the only other golden metal, golden and glinting. Masurium had no atomic weight - it was not clear whether this element had been discovered or not. And crystals of iodine, all sublimed at the top of the bottle.
"That's where it was. As I close my eyes, I see the cabinet and the cubicles. Do I see a little boy standing there, or am I seeing it through the eyes of that little boy? Just yesterday. And it's 55 years ago."
"By sharing the stories of our inner lives, we recover who we are and prepare ourselves for transformation"
~ from Wired April 2002. The Fully Immersive Mind of Oliver Sacks
more interviews at oliversacks.com
"The story I tell is of the time I went over to AT&T headquarters - one of many, many times - and there's a group of old graybeards. I start describing how this works. One stops me and says, "Wait a minute, son. Are you trying to tell us that you open the switch up in the middle of the conversation?" I say, "Yes." His eyeballs roll as he looks at his associates and shakes his head. We just weren't on the same wavelength.
If you think in analog terms, the signal arrives instantaneously. If you think in digital terms, time moves very, very slowly, and you can do things like change the path while you're in the middle of a syllable. But it was a mental block. They didn't understand digital"
"Do you ever wish you owned a patent on packet switching?"
No. First of all, 17 years went by very quickly. Secondly, it would've gotten in the way of people using it. That was one of the objectives: to broaden the access.
What's your sense of when you first thought that this thing you were working on was going to take over the world?
Around December '66, I presented a paper at the American Marketing Association called "Marketing in the Year 2000." I didn't talk about packet switching, but I described push-and-pull communications and how we're going to do our shopping via a television set and a virtual department store. If you want to buy a drill, you click on Hardware and that shows Tools and you click on that and go deeper. In the end, if you have two drills you're interested in, then you hit your Consumers Union button, and their evaluation goes up on the screen..."
from March 2001Wired interview with Paul Baran, the father of packet-switched network.