Archive for October 7th, 2003

As Good As It Gets

ø


Exquisite
fall day in New England today,
the kind etched in memory as typical but in reality rare and to be treasured,
I took my Business students to Harvard’s
Peabody Museum
after a breif tour
of the campus.  The students were more interested in the nut-gathering
prowess of the Harvard squirrels than the fact that the Carpenter
Center
is the only building in the US designed by LeCorbusier. The sunshine
felt so fine I declined to display my disappointment.

Glenn Reynolds Realtime Instafeed, Only $4.95/hr

4

If a blog is a window into another person’s world, then what is the
ultimate blog? Many science fictions stories have speculated that eventually
we
will be able to port, record and broadcast (or narrowcast) the sensory
information arriving at any given brain so that others could experience
it voyeuristically.

The technology to do this actually exists today, at least if we are
talking about a brain belonging to an individual like Glenn
Reynolds
,
who, judging
by the frequency, chronological sequentially, and depth of his postings
spends at least 15 hours a day working at his computer.  Logic suggests
that for Glenn, the pixels of his monitor are, to a high degree, the
sum and substance of his sensory input, at least for long stretches of
his
day.

What if you could see an exact mirror of everything that flashes across
Glenn’s screen, AT THE SAME TIME HE SEES IT. You could actually watch
over his shoulder as he composes and posts his profundities! Read his
personal, private email! Watch as he googles and insinuates himself into
databases and rumor mines, ferreting out the good stuff like a coon dog
after a pregnant possum!  Talk about access to sources! How much
would you pay for THAT? How about $4.95 an hour?

It would be like being behind Glenn Reynolds’ eyeballs! It would be
the ultimate in reality reporting, an insight into the creative process,
and an intolerable invasion of privacy.  Screen sharing technology
has been around for a while, and it would be no technical problem to
webcast the live Glenn Reynolds computer screen feed. Even sound, for
a complete sensory experience, is eminently possible.

I chose Glenn as my example both because he seems to be constantly posting,
researching, poeticizing and pontificating online, and because his
work, both in conception and execution, is of such high quality that
I suspect I would enjoy reading his laundry list or watching him de-spam
his inbox.  I mean no disrespect, and am sure Glenn is a nice guy.

In fact, we were introduced at BloggerCon by Dave
Wine
r.  Finding
myself struck uncharacteristically mute, I mumbled something and shook
his hand before wandering off. I was stone-cold intimidated, and I don’t
intimidate easy.  Later, in retrospect, it seemed that in Glenn’s
presence saying anything less than brilliant, incisive or profound would
be not only embarrassing but somehow sacrilegious.  This tends to
put a damper on conversation.

I imagine this can be a problem for Glenn.  Later that night I
saw him at the reception in solitary conversation with Eugene
Volokh
.  All
around them knots and gaggles of bloggers argued, mocked, baited and
joked, but around the two supernovae in the Blogging constellation a
buffer zone of respect and fear had formed.  Not due to any conviction
that there were secrets being discussed, or that we were witnessing some
Blogging equivalent of San Martin meeting with Bolivar
in Guayaquil in 1822
.  I think it was sheer intimidation factor due to the stature
of the intellects involved. It’s lonely at the top.

Of course, fame is relative, and context driven.  Glenn and Eugene
were probably chatting in the single room on the planet
where their particular brand of fame had the most weight and relevance
at that moment, given who else was there.  On
the other hand, among certain Amazonian tribes of my acquaintance Glenn
and Eugene would be more likely to wind up on the menu than on the guest
list.

Be that as it may, we seem to have digressed rather far from the original
point.  Which was, if memory serves, how many of you would be willing
to pay $4.95 to watch everything that goes on and across Glenn Reynolds
screen
for
an hour? I know I’d pony up for a couple of hours, just to check it out.

Would enough of us get sucked in to make it economically viable?  I
guess that depends on how badly Glenn needs money. Probably not badly
enough, at least not yet.  In addition, it will require a special personality,
some sort of cyber-exhibitionist, combined with sufficient celebrity
or notoriety,
to make it work.

But I would wager that it will be sooner rather than later that we will
be able to experience this ultimate in reality blogging. The closest
thing to plugging into another person’s sensory input we are likely to
experience until we all have uni-plugs protruding from the bases of our
brainstems. Live feeds, 24-7, from internet luminaries around the globe.
Secrets of the superstars. Volume discounts available.

 

Fear Factor Home Version

ø

Snakes
writhe around the head of visitor Luis Hernandez in a new extreme Halloween
attraction at Universal Orlando, October 3, 2003. At the new
attraction, snakes, scorpions, rats, worms or cockroaches are dumped
into a plexiglass box placed over the theme park guest’s head.

from Reuters

Anti-Pirating Tech My Cat Could Break

1

A new
technology that’s supposed to help music companies fend off illegal file
swappers can be defeated literally by the touch of a button, according
to a Princeton University researcher.

The technology is designed to work only with computers using Microsoft
Corp.’s Windows operating systems. Users of Apple Macintosh or Linux
computers can copy the disks without restriction.

And so can Windows users, if they disable a standard feature of Windows
called "autorun." This feature causes a disk to start up as
soon as it’s inserted into the computer’s CD-ROM drive. The MediaMax
software is installed when that happens. If autorun is switched off,
MediaMax will not be activated. If users want to leave autorun switched
on, they can bypass it when running a MediaMax disk simply by holding
down the shift key for a few seconds after inserting it. This prevents
the MediaMax software from loading.

by Hiawatha
Bray in the Boston Globe

Schwartznegger Campaign Goes Worldwide

1


Reacting to the latest polls showing Governor Gray Davis closing the
gap, Arnold has pulled out all the stops and is mounting a worldwide
campaign to promote his political future and get out the vote. The
woman in the photograph is rushing to sign up for the Schwartznegger
campaign’s offer of a free ride to the nearest California polling
place to anyone who has ever lived in California, in this case via a 757 out of Bush International Airport in
Kabul.

from
MSNBC

Blog Lovefest Exposed

4

And now, for the OTHER side of the story, Oliver Willis (Like Kryptonite to Stupid) argues that the Blogger bubble is just like the Internet Bubble, but without the money. He makes some good points but his assertion that candidates aren’t spending any of their personal time blogging, or answering bloggers questions and concerns, is because they represent an insignifincant percentage of the elecctorate doesn’t hold water.

During the Presidential Candidates Bloggers session Dave Winer asked if any of the Candibloggers would commit to getting their candidate to answer ONE question from their campaign weblog each day. There was a lot of hemming and hawing and jawboneing about how tightly the candidates are scheduled.

But 10 minutes a day, which is about what it would take to personally answer one question or make one honest, heartfelt blog entry, even if just to say how exhausted he or she was, would represent about ONE PERCENT of a candidate’s waking day. If, as reported by several campaignes, over half of the green grease that keeps the campaing train rolling is coming from the internet, why can’t the candidate devote 1% of his or her time to directly adressing the concerns of those providing it?