~ Archive for %a la mod ~

A rare physics section heading

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Thoroughly scammed

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Verizon Online is an unusually poor service provider.  I have suffered through two ‘once in a lifetime’ catastrophes with them, and do not wish to wait for a third.  VZNO have no warning system in place for outages, repairs, or changes;
and offer minimal information in their reports and summaries.  This all
falls under ‘general incompetence‘; Comcast Cable and most broadband providers have similar issues.  When they mistakenly disconnect a line, and then say it will take
12 hours to verify and over 24 hours to fix due to ‘standard
paperwork’, that goes a bit beyond.  When 24 hours later a supervisor says that due to insurmountable bureaucracy and employee error on their part there will be another 48 to 72 hour delay, as though this were the most natural thing in the world, one wonders what ritual incantations they must perform to coax bandwidth from the Baby Bell routing daemons. 

In the past eight months, there have been two additional 12+-hour outages thanks to infrastructure failures … it is only through inertia that we still use their DSL.

Wikicities II

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The Company Formerly Known As Wikicities, the world’s largest provider of MediaWiki hosting (and employer of an increasing number of my friends), this month closed a $4M round of series A funding from Omidyar and Bessemer Ventures (whence new board member Jeremy Levine) and a few lucky individuals (including one-name stealth disco star and serial board member Joi).  Congratulations all around.

Finding times when all board members are on terra firma at the same
time may be difficult… but with modern technology, also increasingly
unnecessary.  (I look forward to a photoset from inside Wikia Force One.)

The company is now known as Wikia (sometimes
“wikia.com”), a name which you may recall fromits former life, adorning
a related search engine portal.  It continues to host the world’s drollest wiki, and will hopefully be yet another channel for MediaWiki development, so that all those fine programmers still sitting on the fence about which wiki platform to use with can make up their minds with light heart and easy conscience. 
Perhaps we need a live ticker…”MediaWiki.  Powering 3.00001542% of the world’s public web pages.”


Anyway,
Wikia has been getting better this past year.  Unlike every other online community aggregator I’ve seen to
date, they really understand the need for free licensing, the
importance of linking projects together and avoiding redundancy, and
the utility of guiding communities towards producing meaningful lasting content, not just short-term attention sinks.  (I used to direct people at times to pbwiki and
other hosts, but I have little patience for any ‘wiki’ whose default
state is not world-editable.  For crying out loud…  why should every
site need a ‘wiki password’ you must know to edit it?   I’ve stopped
counting the number of pbwikis I’ve been foiled from editing, and I’ve
stopped telling people about the site.  Sorry, David! :-/ )

Hao Wu imprisoned : HEY!

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Even the best and the most harmless can be trapped in China for being too curious. 

“>

Hao Wu (

Pitasticity

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(from the Pi Cat) : Happy
Pi
Week, everyone!

Wiki Wednesday tomorrow : Grafton Street, 6pm

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Tomorrow I will be hosting the first Boston Wiki Wednesday at the Grafton Street pub & grille at 6pm.  These gatherings will generally take place the first Wednesday of each month; thanks to Socialtext for the idea and for the first round of drinks 🙂 

(Socialtext is also the drive behind the best implementation of WYSIWYG wiki editing I’ve seen to date, free or not; try it out to see what I mean.  Now if only we could get something similar for in-place image editing…)

This is not a replacement for our bimonthly Wikipedia meetings; we’ll talk more about projects and internships and new wiki ventures.  Come out and say hi, or bring ideas to share.  RSVP on-wiki.

Simmons GSLIS blog takes off

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Kudos to the Simmons grad school of library and information science, who are taking the modern connotations of their full name seriously.  They have started a group blog for the school, and are thinking of a school-wide wiki…

I still find the notion of ‘librarianship’ and of libraries themeslves an unappreciated anachronism in our world culture; even among professional librarians.  People who spend their lives gathering hundreds of thousands of volumes in order to allow those in the target audience who can gain physical access to them to read them for free, rarely fail to look askance at the idea that they might provide searchable databases of public information; even a database of book citation information.  The OCLC still haven’t quite decided to do such a thing, despite their meta-collaborative nature [above and beyond the implicit collaborative nature of all library work].

Simmons GSLIS blog takes off

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Kudos to the Simmons grad school of library and information science, who are taking the modern connotations of their full name seriously.  They have started a group blog for the school, and are thinking of a school-wide wiki…

I still find the notion of ‘librarianship’ and of libraries themeslves an unappreciated anachronism in our world culture; even among professional librarians.  People who spend their lives gathering hundreds of thousands of volumes in order to allow those in the target audience who can gain physical access to them to read them for free, often look askance at the idea that they might provide searchable databases of public information; even a database of book citation information.  The OCLC haven’t quite decided to do such a thing yet, despite their meta-collaborative nature [above and beyond the implicit collaborative nature of all library work].

Nevertheless, the persistence of the idea of providing free access to physical materials goes to show the power of custom and professional culture…

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Clinton and Janeane Garofalo

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So I landed on a random “brushes with celebrity” page while stalking my favorite American actress, and found this charming vignette about our Prez– :

In the fall of 2004, right before his bypass surgery I was sitting around the parking lot of Central Park’s ‘Tavern on the Green’, and out walks this handsome looking guy with white hair and a suit, casually leaving the place like he was Joe Schmo.

I looked at this guy long and hard and realised that it was Bill Clinton.

Apparently, so did dozens of other people. Someone (who was apparently a Republican) heckled him about raising taxes. Now, normally when a former president encounters a loser like this, he smiles waves and gets whisked away in his limousine.

But, Bill Clinton started debating him! The secret service guys were going nuts as an entire crowd of blue-staters formed to watch the former president and this dude with a stroller arguing over economic policies.

Then he took questions from the normal people off the street that gathered around him. NYC parks officials were called down to patrol the scene. He also took pictures with tourists, mostly young and female.

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