The Longest Now

Tuesday January 29th 2008, 7:59 pm
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Say hello to the weather pixie:

The WeatherPixie

Now to find a way to get one into our sidebar here.

human static
Tuesday January 22nd 2008, 3:44 am
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UPDATE: Arjs has this problem as well, and discovered that a 2-MegaOhm ankle strap for both feet is available and reasonably fashionable.

We know shockingly little about the human electrical system. Sensible people can disagree violently about how the body and mind interact with and generate energy at various wavelengths, and how or why we build up charge.

An interesting and visible subset of problems are those faced by people who are constantly shocking themselves when they touch other objects.

A less visible subset is that of people or human events that have unusual interactions with electronic devices around them. I remember vividly a heated late-night discussion with Tony P. next to a 21″ CRT, which started oscillating loudly, ending the debate… and a printer that printed out a garbled midnight sheet related to some recent work on one of several connected computers, while I was asleep a few chairs away.

But the static problem is specially fascinating; and since it has such broad applications to work with everyday electronics, something that has been studied carefully, I would expect better coverage of associated causes and effects. Perhaps I just don’t know where to look…

the projected glow of one day
Tuesday January 22nd 2008, 12:28 am
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Every day brings flashes of insight, the beauty of life projected across one’s awareness, captured by fleeting perception and remembered for a time. The wake of experience comprises a froth of crystal vignettes, minds-eye dioramas, tunes, smells, constellations of color. The number and variety of projections comes itself from experience, from a pattern-matching both fine and deeply ingrained in creation*.

Living among storytellers (dear SJ-west: of course people read — and compose and relate — just in ever-multiplying guises) , these spring most vividly full-formed from my forehead, and I relish each day that I find time to capture a few fragments for my future self and others to share.

From today : a quick browse of Julian Dibbell‘s “Play Money” found it to be a moving (if unintended) lamentation on the irrational way people assign value to time, experiences, skills, and other things. Nominally, it is about a year spent becoming a respected trader and arbitrager in Ultima Online, among communities of players, businessmen, hackers and thieves; to this end it is moderately successful.

But the author’s honesty and transparency about his original source material and developments in his own life, allow something far more powerful to filter through: depiction of the disconnection between a constellation of logically related things : time and effort, addiction and contentment, passion and skill, plans and opportunities, reputation and self-worth, cost and value.


Mystery of mysteries…
Friday January 18th 2008, 10:01 am
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MIT hunts mysteriously this weekend. Support your friendly neighborhood Harvard in the annual struggle: sacrifice something sweet to Tlaloc so we have rain and not snow.

bunnie on hardware
Friday January 11th 2008, 7:35 pm
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Chumby’s bunnie takes apart an XO with zest.

Competitive brilliance
Friday January 04th 2008, 9:51 pm
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Intel left the OLPC Board yesterday. [I love quotes citing ‘irreconcilable’ and ‘philosophical’ differences, as though there were a pastor involved.] It had been an interesting six months since they joined; with much discussion about ways we could work together in the future. Some of this has been distracting, but some has been enlightening as well.

I found counterparts in their organization sincerely interested in improving education, but without radical ideas about how to do that differently than basic introduction of computers… and without a sense that they were in a position to make such changes.

The engines of competition are often separated from the creators in a position to make a project educational, inspirational, or not. Educational projects should [all] be able to isolate areas of collaboration — at a minimum, the end goal of a better-educated populace; but also much more practical than this. I hope that PR doesn’t get in the way of finding and pursuing these shared goals. We have certainly found that even people dedicated to education sometimes need to be reminded of the power the have to dramatically change the lives of communities they work with. The same could be said of people who develop computers, texts, and community programs; each of whom may feel that they are constrained, working within a fixed framework that they cannot influence.

On the subject of the new year, I wish for shared attention to the needs of children, and focus of competitive effort into brilliance : deeper discussions about how to improve the rural schoolroom, interfaces for children, a universal public library. Asus seems to be moving in the right direction; perhaps Intel will choose to do the same.

Nothin’ but Noogies
Thursday January 03rd 2008, 9:02 pm
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Phrenology‘s funny; my neck feels fine. I’m off to heckle some pols and act a bit blue. Thanks, Ben & Matt.

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