Archive of Posts from March 2003

Tracking Peace Posts

Blogs Against War is aggregating anti-war news and analysis across weblogs. (Similar to PeaceTrack.org.) It's another site to add to your trackback list for peace-related categories.

I don't work here. I'm a consultant.

Washington Post: For Broadcast Media, Patriotism Pays. Not too surprising, but big consulting firms are telling TV and radio stations not to cover anti-war positions.
"Get the following production pieces in the studio NOW:...Patriotic music that makes you cry, salute, get cold chills! Go for the emotion," advised McVay Media, a Cleveland-based consultant, in a "War Manual" memo to its station clients. "...Air the National Anthem at a specified time each day as long as the USA is at war."
Sounds like they're advocating propaganda. The experts say coverage that makes people feel good about the war is the way to boost ratings. Ratings are important, but what about telling the whole story? What about being involved in the community and providing a space for discussion and debate? I hope local TV and radio stations ignore the "experts" and serve their audiences by providing the whole truth.

peacetrack.org

Thanks to the discussions I've had around the TopicExchange project I mentioned, I've set up a site called PeaceTrack.org. I think having this devoted space will allow the site to grow and have new features over time. From the site:
"Most peace events don't make the news, so the peace movement needs to make its own news outlets. Weblogs and personal sites do a great job of covering these events, but it's not easy to find peace-related posts or photo galleries when they're spread across so many sites. That's where PeaceTrack hopes to help: finding specific posts about peace-related activities."
If you're writing about peace-related events in your weblog, or know about coverage of these events that exists, this site is a way to let others know about it. It's fully TrackBack-aware, so if you're using Movable Type you can set the URL in your peace/activism category and forget about it.

LazyWeb and Vigils

Proof that the LazyWeb is a misnomer. Ed pinged the LazyWeb with my Vigil Trackback wish, some brainstorming ensued, and he set up a TopicExchange page for the subject: Peace Vigil Metablog. If you're taking pictures or writing about peace movement activities in your area, this is a way to let others know about it. Just ping directly from Movable Type (add this URL to your Peace/Activism category so the pings are automatic), or use the form at the bottom of the Peace Metablog if you're using another weblog tool.

SpamAssassin for Windows

I finally have SpamAssassin working on my Windows server. It's actually really good at catching spam. Once in a while one slips through, but for the most part it's made my email more useful. I thought I'd share the solution in case anyone else wants to do it.

Here's what you need to mirror my setup: You just install the Outlook plugin—even if you don't have Outlook on the server. And then add an entry that calls the WSH script to any tab file in the Xmail filters folder. I have more detailed instructions in the WSH file. Just want to share the spam-filtering goodness!

Self-Portraits at Gatherings

This is a great idea: Self-portraits at a family/friends gathering with a digital photo booth. (I wish my camera had a remote switch like this.)

Onfocus : WAP Version

If you have a cell phone with a WAP browser and you point it toward onfocus.com, you'll probably get a WAP version of this site. I've had this up for a while, but I haven't said anything about it because there's not much there. When you browse here with a phone you get a few choices:
  1. Latest Post
  2. 5 Recent Posts
  3. Bookwatch
  4. Random Quote
That's it for now. The book titles in the Bookwatch link to the Amazon WAP page for that book. Eventually I'd like to add the latest mophos for WAP browsers that support color images. (I just realized I could do this for phones that send an HTTP_PROFILE header and announce their graphics ability. Here's the profile for my phone model.) I put this together so I could start to learn about WML and building WAP applications. WAP is the future, ya know. ;)

Media Loves War

One reason big media has always been pro-war, ratings. (NYT)

Peace Movement

Protest marches and peace vigils continued for the 3rd day in many places yesterday. It seems like there were even more people involved overall and far fewer arrests. I think that says something about the majority of people involved in the peace movement. Of course, that also means there's even less coverage in the media. Here are some local stories about San Francisco (1) (2), Portland, Fresno CA, Ithaca NY, Ft. Collins CO, Houston, TX.

Jason has great photos of Satuday's march in NYC. And Kevin Burton has shots from San Francisco's rally. And there are pictures from Saturday at Portland Communique.

There should be a central Trackback-blog so people could consolodate their independent coverage of vigils and protests in their area. I think most peace rallies are, well, peaceful, and that doesn't make good news. But I bet there are still plenty of people interested in what's going on out there...especially in their hometowns. For example, here's a scene from Friday's "Stand for Peace" here in Corvallis:

Corvallis Peace People

If you have words or pictures from peace demonstrations in your area, feel free to post them here.

Networks

FAIR: Networks Megaphones for Official Views. This articles gives some researched facts that go along with my thoughts from a few days ago about big media always promoting the favored view—and what effect that must have on opinion polls. Also in the NYT: Critics Say Coverage Helped Lead to War.

US Protests

Massive anti-war protests (NYT coverage) happened yesterday in many cities across the US. The local TV stations here in Oregon had continuing live coverage as Portland protestors shut down bridges and closed freeways at various points of the evening. There were similar protests in Eugene and Ashland. Beyond this civil disobediance, there was little violence and few arrests. Which is amazing when you consider the number of people involved. There are similar stories in San Francisco (though many more arrests...a record, in fact), Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Flagstaff, St. Louis, Austin, Boston, Madison, Athens OH, Delaware, Maryland, Detroit, Bennington VT, Albany NY, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Olympia WA, Santa Rosa CA, Erie PA, and more. I wonder if the war budget included the cost of civil unrest at home for states that are already struggling to get by. My other question: did the protestors get it out of their system? Or are we looking at a prolonged campaign?

Portland IndyMedia has independent coverage of the protests here in Oregon.

Some weblog coverage of protests: Lisa Rein, Kevin Burton, Kung Fu Grippe, and Jason Zada in San Francisco. Raph Levian in Berkeley. Stephen (recounts being pepper-sprayed) and The One True b!X (several posts with pictures) in Portland.

Not Alone

Whatever your position on the current military action, I've heard one bit of advice today that I completely agree with and want to pass on—"This is not a time to be alone and watch television coverage of the war." I think talking with friends and family about this war helps everyone clarify their thinking about it. An overdose of media coverage without real human interaction on the subject isn't good for anyone.

Marketing War

matt said, "...Imagine a marketing group saying that in 6 months, no one will talk about Google.com any more...Then imagine them pulling it off..." But then imagine that this fictional marketing group owns and controls almost all media. Then it doesn't seem so outlandish. And the marketing strategy wouldn't even have to be that good.

I realized something today that's somewhat related. Big media opinion polls don't just reflect the beliefs of large numbers of people, they reflect the effectiveness of the media at persuading large numbers of people into believing the favored view. Perhaps the unprecedented numbers of people involved in peaceful demonstrations around the world reflect a failing of mass media. And I think the Internet has played a key role in that failure by providing alternative views. (Not to mention its role in connecting and organizing people of similar views.)

Smackdown Slashdotted

Woke up this morning, checked the server logs, found slashdot linking to Google Smackdown. What other site can illicit joy and dread at the same time? Of course the Google API developer key maximum of 1,000 queries has been reached for today, which sucks. But maybe some will get their own key if they really want to try it out.

So far the server is doing ok with the blip in traffic:

Internet Inbound Traffic Graph

I've mentioned it here before, but you can find the code for Google Smackdown in the new O'Reilly book Google Hacks. (Which is currently ranked #10 on Amazon overall!)

Gazette-Times on Vigil

The Corvallis Gazette-Times covered the peace vigil.

Everything in RSS

Andy just put together 80 lines of PHP that turns eBay search results into RSS. It seems like all data will eventually be available as RSS. Resistance is futile.

Journalists at War

Meg has been covering the topic of danger and freedom for journalists if there is a war.

The Argument for Peace

Jerry Michalski has gathered together several recent essays that make the case against war.

Peace Vigil

skp and I went to a candlelight peace vigil tonight at the courthouse in Corvallis. Vigils happened around the world. Many of the pictures I took were too blurry because of the low light, but here are a few...

candlelight vigil (click to see more)
more »

I know crowd estimates are really tough, but it looked to me like a few hundred people were there. I sent a couple of these pictures to moveon.org. They're collecting and posting pictures. Update: Moveon.org used one of my pictures.

With a Daypop search for vigil, I've already found photos from vigils in Bury St Edmunds in England and St. Louis.

Photos from Sunday

Took some pictures earlier today...

Sunday Photos (click for more)

Quoted in Fast Company

Talking smack(down) in Fast Company: How Google Grows...and Grows...and Grows. "Most companies would sooner let temps into the executive washroom than let customers -- much less customers who can hack -- anywhere near their core intellectual property. Google, though, grasps the power of an engaged community...More important, Bausch says, opening up the technology kimono 'turns the world into Google's development team.'"

Hacking Coupons

Hacking Coupons: What in the world do you do with this much free soda? Bathe in it? Apparently, they're not the only ones.

Oregon Weblogs

A quick search turned up some more Oregon-based weblogs: And these were already on my reading list:

Oregon Web People

Another great part of SXSW was meeting some Oregon Web folks. Just when I was thinking I was alone up here, I run into Michael Buffington and Nick Finck. Maybe we should start an Oregon weblogs page. Anyone else from around here out there?

ps. check out Michael's Photos from SXSW.

Disinfopedia

Taking their cue from Wikipedia, the brilliant folks at PR Watch have a new wiki-based project: Disinfopedia. They call it an encyclopedia of propaganda. It's also an open project that anyone can contribute to. [via sotd]

Home Again

I'm back in Pacific Standard Time. I didn't post here as much as I wanted to during the conference. And I didn't take very many pictures. (Though I did post quite a few mophos. And added some photos to SXSWBlog.) I'm still processing the panels, conversations, situations, impressions, plans, ideas. SXSW is the social side of the Web sped-up to synchronous real-time. Fray Cafe was incredible—I'm glad I was able to be there this year. I spoke on a panel. I finished reading two books on the road: Air Guitar by Dave Hickey and Interface Culture by Steven Johnson. The ideas in these books are now bound-up with the whole SXSW experience for me. After this week I feel like there are new possibilities and new paths to follow...and a lot of work to be done.

Some Austin Photos

the dakota smith
The Dakota Smith

building with neon hat

austin, postcard style

pre-SXSW setup

I arrived in Austin, checked into the hotel, set up a WiFi network in the room, and found a good data network signal on my cell phone. I even heard there's free wireless access at the conference center. So you can expect more meaningless posts like this to follow! The weather here is great. I was walking around comfortably last night in a T-Shirt. At night. (And the salsa is better here, as usual.)

Google Hacks and pbcoding.com

You can find a cleaned-up, commented version of the code behind Google Smackdown in the recently released Google Hacks. It's Hack #66 in the Web Services section: Running a Google Popularity Contest. Here's a list of all the hacks in the book. It looks like very useful stuff to know.

And speaking of me coding, I've set up a separate website for business-related information: pbcoding.com.

Going Native

I've seen two films this last week about people who grew up in the West but eventually lived for a while with other (now vanishing) cultures: Keep the River on Your Right about Tobias Schneebaum, and Wade Davis: The Explorer (part of the touring MountainFilm Festival). They're both very different films, but what came across from these character studies was the sense of peace that each of them have about themselves and others. Each of them were described at one point as social chameleons by their friends—able to be accepted and join any group they happen to find themselves in. Tobias Schneebaum lived with a tribe in Papua New Guinea, and Wade Davis participated in Voodoo ceremonies in Haiti among other things. As I watched I kept thinking how were they accepted? "My intuition unhindered by biases served me well," [Davis] says. "I didn't make any judgments." (from Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion.) By experiencing the world in alternate ways, they both seem to have found a way to relate to others despite vast cultural differences. Or maybe the differences aren't as vast as they seem.

tulips photo

red tulips

Lynne Russell

Why isn't Lynne Russell on TV anymore? When CNN Headline News made the big switch to a younger (and cheaper) anchor pool, she apparently got the axe. That was the worst decision they made in the whole "makeover" fiasco. She always had a sly wit when reporting stories that she knew were ridiculous—and that brought a certain edge to Headline News that's gone today. [via BlogFodder]

Google WebQuotes

More Google/Weblog integration foreshadowing: WebQuotes.

Weblog Hacks

Ben Hammersley is putting together a new book for O'Reilly called Weblog Hacks. [via BlogPopuli 3/1]

Oderint Dum Metuant

NY Times: US Diplomat resigns over Iraq policy, "Has 'oderint dum metuant' really become our motto?" [via kottke remainders 2/28]

Alphaville

I watched Alphaville last night. It's a French science fiction film from 1965. It was sometimes difficult to follow, but it had some great ideas. The story is set in a future technocracy called Alphaville—which is an authoritarian society run by a computer called Alpha 60. An outlander secret agent visits Alphaville posing as a journalist; constantly snapping pictures with an old-fashioned camera. The logical society has eliminated poetry and music, and imposes the death penalty for any display of emotion. The society is run based on probabilities the computer determines. At one point Alpha 60 decides to invade the outlands because it is highly probable they will someday invade Alphaville. Their "bible" is a dictionary, with words like "conscience" declared illegal and removed permanently. And, as one character says, "They are replaced by new words expressing new ideas."

Like any good science fiction, it has me looking at the present in a different way. It's based on a novel by Paul Eluard called Capital of Pain (or Capital of Sorrow depending on the translation). Eluard is one of my favorite surrealist poets and I'd love to read it, though I can't find the book in English at any online stores.

Update: Here's a site devoted to Alphaville with stills and some dialogue. And here's a transcription of the subtitles.

OBEX File Transfer?

Has anyone out there seen an OBEX file transfer program for Windows? I found one that's part of an open source Linux project, but nothing for Windows so far. My goal is to transfer files between a laptop and cellphone via the IR port. I have no trouble getting files to the phone, but can't get them going the other direction.