Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Catching Up

Some odds and ends...

I managed to upload the 4 powerpoint presentations of my cousin's Visual Introduction to Ghana to the Internet Archive for posterity. See Koforidua Fever (or Naki does Ghana).

I finally read all the newspapers I had stacked up in my apartment, some going back to April 14th. I've also now caught up on the aggregator reading front, I'm now following 285 feeds in Bloglines. But I'm still behind on email: 1800 unread in Gmail and 500 in Notes and similarly have a stack of 50 magazines to go through. This can't be good. Being a completist is no small endeavour.

It's been interesting reading the various memes of the past few months.

In politics: from Bolton to Schiavo to dissonance about Iraq and Afganistan and now London and Egypt. Throughout it has been silly season in the US media... Oh well.

In economics: stagnant wages, oil at $60 affecting everyone and of course real estate bubbles. When your cab drivers tell you that they're taking real estate courses or offer to sell you mortgages you might think back to 1998-2000 when cab driver discourse was all about the latest dotcom or networking stock. Also China unpegging the yuan from the dollar. A great unravelling in prospect...

In technology: 10 years since the web hit prime time, lots of companies celebrating anniversaries and a lot of reminiscing about what has worked and failed and how easy it is to do lightweight web services.

3 memes stand out and happily enough I'm currently working on all of these fronts:

  • Metadata (i.e. tagging)
    Lots of discussion about the annotation and the social implications of metadata. To me it's all about scribbling in the margins, evolving schemas and returning some of the things lost in the move from the physical to the digital. I was working on a little something on forms and wrote something about "bringing the moral equivalent of the notary public to the world of digital forms". I see much of the discussions of tagging and metadata as analagous, substitute notary public and forms.
  • Rich web applications
    More people are convinced about the value of increased interactivity and working on it. Finally I say.

    Surprisingly lots of people are very sensitive to naming, Peter Paul Koch writes the following
    1. DHTML is old-fashioned and deprecated; anyone who utters this phrase is ripe for some evangelization.
    2. AJAX is a buzzword; perfect for talking to marketing people, bosses, and other persons of limited brain function, but not really fit for serious use within the JavaScript community.
    3. DOM Scripting, finally, is the phrase we'll be using for our own internal communication.

    As you know I don't bleach and have my own buzzword Bleached Unobtrusive Dom Scripting (BUDS). I have hands in that budding community and the XForms world but couldn't care which technology ultimately wins.
  • Feeds, feeds, feeds.

    Atom 1.0 is indeed one of the best specs I've read since XML 1.0 and atompub looks even better. We want feeds everywhere. There was a presentation in Microsoft's past history arguing that Java is our destiny, I think Lotus/IBM is prime for a "Feeds are our Destiny" manifesto and I will write my version if no one else will. I've seen Adam Bosworth's version for Google. I only hope that the idea won't be dismissed in the same way that Bill Gates dismissed Java at Microsoft
    "Go join the Peace Corps"

Faustian pacts and Lights Out


Part of the reason I'm living in Cambridge and the US is that the infrastructure is predictable and eminently First World. Still if Lights Out is going to be a monthly or even weekly occurence, I should reconsider anew why I am not living in more congenial Ghana. Sure manhole explosions are acts of God but the number of electrical outages in the past 4 months is now approaching Ghanaian levels. This has led to a failed hard drive and power supply and, after last week's Lights Out, I've had to put in an order for a new power supply since the new one didn't react too kindly to the power disruption and surge. I suppose I should buy a UPS right? Still flashbacks to Ghana, driving home and seeing a neighbourhood dark, people gathering outside, flashlights etc. Nostalgia perhaps but this wasn't part of the bargain.

Annoying Feeds


Scott Bradner writes a weekly column for Network World which is one of the things I value most. Still sometimes I forget to read it, thus I was happy when I noticed that there was a feed for it. Ostensibly I'll be reminded when a new column is out. It turns out that they update the feed 3 times a day to put new advertisments in it so it constantly appears updated in Bloglines. I'll be unsubscribing if this continues.

Eritrean Mujahedeen


So I wrote the following a while back:
If you shared my symptoms, you would have been sure to notice the 30 seconds of video footage of Eritrean soldiers amongst the cache of videos and cds found in Afghan safehouses, as opposed to the clip from the "exclusive video" that CNN keeps repeating, whenever ratings flag, of Bin Laden's coming-out press conference in 1998. I frankly experienced whiplash when I saw those fleeting glimpses of Eritrean mujahadeen. And no one has commented on it so far as I can tell, not even Peter Bergen who's about as well informed as anyone on these matters. Really? Eritrea has a muslim insurgency? Protesting what exactly? I've heard about Somali, Sudanese, Nigerian and even American Taleban, but Eritrean? No wonder that there were biblical pitched battles in the border wars that were disastrously fought with Ethiopia over the past decade. I mean with that kind of forment and global jihadists in your midst, its no wonder that there is now a large American presence in nearby Djibouti to monitor things even if this last is couched in terms of a "small contingent of military adviser and civilian-affairs coordinators".


Well yes it seems that one of the London bombers was Eritrean. Sigh...

Concert Season


I've been attending lots of concerts and have a stack of reviews to dispense some musical toli on if I ever find the time.
  • Cassandra Wilson, Boney James and Al Jarreau
  • Digable Planets
  • Floetry, Queen Latifah, Jill Scott and Erykah Badu
  • Femi Kuti
  • De La Soul, Common and John Legend
Lots of good stuff here.

For a Laugh


Why I Will Never Have A Girlfriend

Via Random Thots: a mathematical proof... Glad to be an exception to the devastating logic of this piece.

Losing my voice


Another equation:

Feeling sick and feverish + Hot days and no air-conditioning + Construction outside bedroom window starting at 7am = West Nile Blues + Grumpiness + Unable to Sleep

It's never good to be sick when it's nice outside.

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1 comment:

Ennis said...

You don't have a girlfriend, you have a fiance, soon to be a wife.