Saturday, December 6, 2008

New Year's Resolutions?

Last year I staged some of my favorite notions as Prophecies. Progress towards their fulfillment was strongly felt and even participated in at TPAC 2008, which was a triumph of its kind.

This year's entry is more of a "Wish List" than a set of resolutions/prophecies. I hope to be able to, in however small a way, take part in the Web Foundation's effort to do major Webspread.

I found out how individuals without company connections can join and did so. I expect there to be a "Web Pioneers" group with somewhat similar aims.

I guess the most striking thing at Mandelieu is how very young most of the participants are - they're like my surrogate grandchildren (or perhaps even great-grandchildren). What a treat!


Friday, December 5, 2008


The subject acronym refers to a chemical that the heart emits when it is undergoing congestive heart failure and it serves to notify you that your edema (swelling ankles and a bit of fluid in the lungs) is telling you that your heart is being stretched beyond its normal limits and, except for sensible intercession, you're quite mortal.

So Fillmore drove me in to the ER and I stayed for two nights being dosed with lasix, which makes one pee like a race horse, but then it clears up and you go home with instructions to drink less fluids, so I feel about like I felt but with the certain knowledge that these wonderful times won't last forever.

But my pacemaker batteries are good for another seven years and either my mind is clear or I harbor the delusion that it is!

Good to be back where the food is edible (the hospital's is worse than the airline's!) and I have my "precious email" and like that.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Come on, man!

From today's NY Times:

"When a Congressional investigation revealed in June that Dr. Joseph
Biederman, a world-renowned child psychiatrist, had earned far more
money from drug makers than he had reported to his university, he
said that his interests were "solely in the advancement of medical
treatment through rigorous and objective study."

Court documents reveal that Dr. Joseph Biederman, a renowned child
psychiatrist, pushed Johnson & Johnson to fund a research center
whose goal was "to move forward the commercial goals of J&J."

I wonder when just one of these mother-fuckers will give us just a little tiny bit of mea culpa. Wouldn't it be refreshing to have some unctious/self-righteous "authority" cop out that he was simply a greed-head that didn't give a shit about his oath, etc.

Oh, well, one han wish.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008


The technician checking my pacemaker (still have 7 years' battery life) used the phrase "pacemaker dependent" which means that if if stops, I stop!

I've been working with electronic circuitry for over 60 years and the stark realization that my life depends so closely on wires/circuits/batteries is somehow sobering.

On the other hand, I feel better than I have in a few years - perhaps the recovery from the kidney removal surgery is more nearly complete? Still huff/puff when going up an incline or walking fast very far, but recovery is swift and I still haven't noticed (but then if I were demented, would I?) much deterioration in the mental acuity.

I strangely miss France.


Sunday, November 9, 2008


Libby asked why I lived in such remoteness and part of the answer I didn't give was: "so that in order to know what day of the week it is I must look at the label on my pill box - and assume I was taking the pills for the day currently labeled thereon; after which I might confirm it via my computer corner."

I'm more into seasons than the more usual divisions and they glide right by with the familiar "the days are getting shorter but in a few weeks they will lengthen again and the seemingly perpetual snow covering will soon be replaced by the re-greening of the deciduous trees and the returning plumage of the peacocks."

I spent the end of October in the South of France at a conference of a few hundred geeks all of whom had at some previous time been the "smartest kid in the class." It was really exhilirating as the fabled French Cuisine became the stuff of every meal. I learned why Provence is particularly famous for attention to seeking culinary perfection and that in a remote village of 300 there's a multi-star restaurant and near the "French Grand Canyon" in a village of 100 (neither of those had a bakery, however) we relished a marvelous creperie.

And of course a couple days/nights in Amsterdam, the perpetual street party that dwarfs similar celebrations in New Orleans' French Quarter - more coherent because the binder is cannabis rather than ethanol.

I am immersed in the notion of the World Wide Web Foundation and its implications for "enhancing humanity through technology" and the immense relief suggested by the recent presidential election. Finally, once more a president who can read! Perhaps with literacy will come "real change" - but I doubt it; the inertial forces still overwhelm us until we can have access to the immense wealth of the commons that has been so enriched by preceding generations and is being exponentially expanded both by the float on its worth and continuing gifts of the sort started by Stallman, Berners-Lee, Cunningham, Wikipedians everywhere.

So hang in there. "We Have Overcome" in the first phase and 10^10 will rule.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Battle Prep!

ADAPT is taking over the HUD plaza. "Free Our People"! Here's from Susan Fitzmaurice:

"ADAPT is at HUD. Chants echo in the early morning air. ADAPT's logistics
team has swarmed the plaza and is putting up tents. No police on site
(yet). I see 5 night employees and security at the doors on walkie
talkies. A woman next to me is screaming affordable, accessible,
integrated housing! It is still night, orange street lights glow
everywhere. Teddy F is hanging with Ian Engle. Its so early in the
morning and people are chanting there guts out! More to come..."


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Preparing to stir things up in DC with a ADAPT holds the "big meeting" to kick-off the organization fo... on TwitPicwheelchair cavalry attack.

Watch for activist/advocate doings over the next few days.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

proverb extension/caveat?

I'm fond of stitched samplers and a favorite is "Everything Simple, Nothing Easy."

When I had it made into a scroll in Beijing it became "Saying easy, Doing Hard."

As I got to thinking about my aversion to "all/everything" constructs it occured that some things (particularly sensory stuff like seeing/hearing) are actually quite easy to do, but not at all "simple" to think/talk/act about.

Human vision is quite elaborate to describe and deal with, but it's so easy to do that infants learn it in minutes at birth but our best efforts to date to describe and deal with it are lame.

I want to make some inroads into the tedium that blind folks have in accessing both the environment and the Web - and how to enhance "skimming" or "at a glance" equivalency for folks who can't glance and only a very few can skim, largely because the essential materials for doing it (extensive brailled materials) and the skill to do it are rare.

So "everything" is in fact not simple, and some things are "easy" to do: usually called "natural".


Saturday, August 23, 2008

The glory of googling

I've been trying to remember an obscure set of designators from 70 years ago grammar school (it's not called that any more). I was seeking the labels for aspects of the "good, better, best" construct and knew that "better" was called the "comparative" and "best" the "superlative" but I couldn't remember what "good" had as its category.

I consulted with colleagues, some of whom consulted with other colleagues, but in the end I did a fairly simple search and found that "good" was the "positive" layer in a field called "degrees of comparison" that is characteristic of adjectives.

I had correctly remembered "rules of thumb" by which adding "-er" and "-est" did the job - except for "irregulars" such as "bad, worse, worst" and for three-syllable adjectives which are handled by preceding them with "more" and "most". Two-syllable constructs are somewhat subjectively addressed so that "politer" doesn't "sound right" but "more polite" does!

Now I can get into the treat of discussing what something is if it's neither "good" nor "bad" but somewhere in between. Since this is the condition of most of our labeling, it's important to sanity to examine it semantically. It has no "degree of comparison", nor does it seem to have a label like "positive" - perhaps "neutral" is applicable?

It's amazing what one finds to do in one's dotage!


Monday, August 11, 2008


What does ADAPT stand for?

Historically its "actions" have transcended whatevr it acronymed. It used wheelchairs to block inaccessibilities of all kinds, not just the buses without lifts but the congresspersons without souls; not just the buildings without ramps but the minds without entrances.

ADAPT is the voice of a movement - perhaps the last of our trampled civil rights: the right to BE.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008


One of my strongest memories is how we (U.S.N. sailors) were approving of that massacre.

I'm not saying...I'm just saying...


Monday, August 4, 2008

morning person?

I get up at midnight and write for a couple of hours on the laptop in the recliner, then "nap" till about 4 AM at which time I hit the big computer to read mail, etc.

Somehow I have pretty much quit sharing via posts herein. Health cool, mind fairly straight, quite productive, but mostly inward. The screenplay has involved me in ways I didn't expect and I can't stop rewriting it by the hour - super compulsive even for me.

In a way I don't even care if it ever gets realized! It's a movie I see evolving in my head and I really like it.


Thursday, July 31, 2008


I have joined a blogswarm to spread as wide a net as possible for the ADAPT Action that will be in D.C. during September, 2008.

Curious to see how much PR for an ADAPT action can be had by all of us celebrating it - whatever it turns out to be!


Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Wikipedia entry on the Subject: "Quixotism is the description of a person or an act that is caught up in the romance of noble deeds and the pursuit of unreachable goals. It also serves to describe an idealism without regard to practicality."

That's me, folks!

To celebrate my own quixotism I wrote lyrics that go with Rodgers & Hart's "Isn't It Romantic?"

Isn't it quixotic,
Dreaming you can set your people free?
Don't you feel exotic,
Wrapped up in your soothing vanity?

You can tilt them as no others can.
Spins, thrills,
Almost more than any mind can span.

So just stay quixotic,
Even though your dreams just won't come true.
Better than neurotic,
What else is there left for you to do?

Keep on
Tilting, silly dreamer.
Don't give up the chase.
Just you stay quixotic
Maybe you can win with grace.


Sunday, July 13, 2008


Sometimes, sunsets are very orange. Sometimes, the moon is sort of orange at moonrise. I guess because of the heavy smoke from the Great California Forest Fires of 2008 the moon, not full, near its meridian, is a very dark orange.

The intense daytime heat hasn't gone as far away tonight so I can't really use the covers - by the end of Summer, I will have to leave the bedroom air conditioner on at night. The one in the computer room must be on whenever the computer is running or it crashes.

I'm deep into writing a screenplay and it gives me further insight into one of our biggest weirdnesses in this country: the notion of retirement as a release for the retiree and a burden for the rest. I work both harder and more efficiently than I ever did before. The idea of quitting work and going fishing/golfing as Utopia is totally insane. We geezers aren't burdens, but more like foundations/platforms.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Proverb for a Saturday Morning

The surfer doesn't make the wave -
He glorifies it with his ride.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Vote NO! on Proposition Yes.

Keep government out of politics.

The only vote I want is the VOTE I get.

Exclusion sucks. Inclusion rules.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Transaction costs

It is striking that one of the main uses of the Web for doing business is to go to a site and find the phone number to call and place the order. In almost all cases this is way more effective than performing the transaction online.

For example, I got through snail mail a notice to renew an auto license's tabs and the choices were to go by the local office of the bureaucracy and present the document, pay the fee and get the tabs. This involves a certain amount of nuisance but because this is such a small town courthouse it only takes a few minutes when I'm in town for other chores.

The other alternative is to do it online and have the tabs mailed to me. This involves over 10(!) screens' worth of drill-down and lots of near-imponderable entries of data that is clearly on file or I wouldn't have gotten the request to renew.

Why do we paranoiacally erect so many barriers to convenient transactions? These will be the death of the promise of the Web to completely eliminate the rigors of these sorts of transactions. The one-click at Amazon is the closest to truly usable methodology and even there you have to gain familiarity with the process to, e.g. have a book sent to a different address.

Oh, well - whoever said that it would be easy didn't quite understand the old proverb "saying easy, doing hard".


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Another Anniversary

Juneteenth again!

And I'm afraid to read Douglas Blackmon's "Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II" for fear of drowning in tears.

I lived through the latter part of that era and actually understood what was happening, though not what levels it had reached.

I'm sure my forebears owned slaves and know of no way to affect that, but I keep trying both in writing and living.

The delights I've felt in mostly entertainment areas - Paul Robeson's incredible stage presence; Althea Gibson winning Wimbledon; Jackie Robinson's fantastic skill and vectorhood - had added to them this week's triumph of the Boston Celtics, an all-black basketball team in their championship release of jubilant emotion.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008


There are 16 quite different translations of a classic poem ("Deer Park") by Wang Wei, an 8th-century AD Chinese master poet.

Leaving aside the question of whether any of these capture the essence of the original, we are dramatically reminded of the pitfalls of putting faith into similarly impossibly rendered ancient scrolls that form the basis for a "Holy Bible" that many demand be taken literally.

What we mark less is what Korzybski's mnemonic device, the "structural differential" endeavors to demonstrate: even at the most fundamental level (the sensory abstractions from the event level), we must try to stay aware that translation involves consequent problems of omission and inevitable modification.

The observation is NOT the thing observed. "Whatever you say it is, it isn't"!

This fundamental disjoint 'twixt events/observations/maps/territories underlies a great deal of our seemingly endless contention, often leading to the rather vaguely understood "it's just a matter of semantics."

After much long thought about poverty it became obvious to Dr. King in his final book (1967) that there is a rather simple/direct path to ending poverty, thence starvation/disease/war: "I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective - the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income."

This has been obvious since at least Thomas Paine's last pamphlet, "Agrarian Justice" from 1796.

Even third-party candidates don't espouse a Basic Income Guarantee despite its obvious value for moving, as Bucky Fuller put it, from "weaponry to livingry."



Root Respect?

In the chapter of my book called "Young" I dwell on a phenomenon that was evoked by last night's victory celebration by the Boston Celtics.

They embody the achievement (also symbolized by the candidacy of Barack Obama) of cultural growth which makes heroes of a team of African-Americans supported by a mostly-honky community.

The men in their league almost uniformly retain their childhood promise to take care of their parents (or, often, grandmothers) when they got the money. We frequently renege on our vow to ourselves to repay society for the blessings the commons bestows on us.

I think Fathers' Day is as much a commercial hype in regard to "family" as Christmas is for Christianity so the fact that only one of my ten kids called over the weekend was more amusing than troubling.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Who's Clark Gable?

I use the subject query to typify a phenomenon that becomes noticeable with age in both directions - the surprise that someone is too young to know all about people I understood to be as iconic as Muhammad Ali (often cited as the most recognizable figure in the world), such as Paul Robeson (whose name got a blank response from my own son!) - and my own "who's Kurt Cobain?" (although I became fairly familiar with him when he blew his brains out).

This effect is really striking when one is in a foreign land where entire genres are noticeably blanked out "what's a 'double play' or a 'slam dunk'?"

The idea of there being only six months until some technology solves stuff (voice recognition, indexing pictures, communicating via brain waves) because "they used to say we'd never walk on the moon, so why can't we produce a time machine?"

I read that three paths not to get led up are time travel, anti-gravity, and teleportation. Of course perpetual motion has always been in there but the universe is in fact an example thereof - apparently quarks don't die.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Whither rms?

The irony of Richard Stallman's creation Free Software Foundation is manifest in its confusion of the notion that "freedom" can have its meaning/referent changed as 1988 becomes 2008, etc.

"Free software is software that gives you the user the freedom to share, study and modify it. We call this free software because the user is free."

This (at least) implies that they're weaseling "free" to cover the fact that we are all mistaken in thinking it should refer to the software, not the user.


Friday, June 6, 2008

Our Hijacked Commonwealth

One of our concerns should be how we can save our great Commonwealth that is the Web and its underlying infrastructure, the internet, from its possibly imminent hijacking by the usual suspects.

If we allow internet service providers to be top-down megaliths as was the case with publishing of all kinds before the tape recorder and xerox revolutions we must say "shame on us".

The hacker ethic can still preclude this eventuality, particularly as each of us becomes a server node without the necessity of paying "protection racket" fealty to the entities that have always, until now, managed to subvert our human rights with their "Mafia" tactics, prisons and the captivity of the system of exchange represented by money.

A main hope in this regard is the generation of the young people, mostly gamers, who have been finding ways to say "NO!" to attempts to follow the Pirates of Silicon Valley rather than the more benign populists who gave us GNU, Linux, the Creative Commons; i.e. (in personality symbols) Richard Stallman rather than Bill Gates.

The immediate onset of incredibly powerful hardware will give us an opportunity to pre-empt control of our Digital Destiny.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Doctor King's Legacy

His "I have a dream" speech is widely known/beloved. His last book is the culmination of an incredible mind's reflection on society as a whole. As I read it, I hear him orating the passage which contains "I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective - the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income."

We've long understood that the root of our scourges, hunger/war/disease is poverty and the implementation of the Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) is such a clear remedy that it behooves us to advocate its universal adoption forthwith.


Saturday, May 31, 2008

and then again...

I get so optimistic about the potential for full connectedness that I need an occasional reminder of just how fucked up we are semantically. The main objection to a Basic Income Guarantee is that it "pays people not to have a job" even decades after there really is no societal need for a huge percentage of the "jobs" in current practice.

To counteract this I read something like Al Sheahen's "The Rise and Fall of a Basic Income Guarantee Bill in the United States Congress" which can be linked (it's a .doc file) from 

In "Agrarian Justice" Thomas Paine says "...the first principle of civilization ought to have been, and ought still to be, that the condition of every person born into the world, after a state of civilization commences, ought not to be worse than if he had been born before that period."

Funny how over 200 years later we still have prejudice against the poor!


Monday, May 26, 2008

Moore's Law still striking

I wonder if solid state devices like Samsung's pending 256 GB will at last signal the end for mechanical data storage? Why would anyone want a hard drive - ever?

The other "just around the corner" event is a truly universal wireless connectedness such as promised by FON and other wireless broadband solutions in lieu of forests of cell towers and miles of fiber optic cable.


Games Rule!

Fillmore's oft-espoused "Games Rule!" is quite descriptive of my life. I play hours of solitaire card games ("Pretty Good Solitaire" has more games than I'll ever sample) and lately I've been doing the same with the FXCM Trading Station using play money to learn/trade on the Foreign Currency Exchange, often called "Forex".

It somehow has me interested in "the dollar" which is, at the moment, pretty much tanking - much in line with my shorting it vs. the Pound/Yen/Euro/Swiss-Franc.

The game has a language all its own and is very different from Stock/Equity trading and with quite pronounced affect. During the vocabulary/software learning phase I lost most of my $50,000 stake but have built it back up by taking a more patient approach.

I don't think I'd ever risk real money on this but it sure is fun.

You can try it by doing a download from


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Brown + 54

Today is the 54th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that "separate but equal" was a vain fantasy - separate guarantees unequal.

Why do we take so long to adopt progressive ideals when it was eminently clear that certain institutionalized norms of society at the time of their being challenged that they were doomed: e.g. woment's suffrage; the Equal Rights Amendment; human rights for People with disabilities; same-sex marriage.

We know that Paul Robeson was fucked over pointlessly and that there never should have been circumstances requiring Jackie Robinson to endure absurd hazing before black men could play baseball.

There was no sane doubt that slavery was an abomination on humankind and that preventing participation at every level by women and other oppressed pejoratively-labeled groups were blatant examples of bigotry/prejudice. But such things as kowtowing to some badly translated ancient texts or exulting in living in the penthouse persist.

Even the most ardent segregationists knew in their souls that they were in the wrong and would eventually go down in ridicule - remember Governors Faubus and Wallace, etc.

As we get more universally connected perhaps the lag 'twixt realization of a concept and its implementation will dwindle. I can hardly wait.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Beijing Spring

My trip to Beijing has me entirely so floating in air that I haven't come down.

The people of China captured me forever and I hope they can avoid what we've done to our world: poisoned air, paved Paradise, unending eradication of heritage in the name of "progress".

Although it was ever thus, we are now (as evidenced from the Web Conference) able to wrest back our joy of life through inter-connections without end.

We are truly all in this together and members of one another.

At LiQun duck restaurant, I posed with the owner .

My visit to the China's Capital City was enhanced by the acquisition of a guide/translator who soon became the grand-daughter I never had.

I am again a world traveler but some of the flying was trying.



Before the judge excused the police who hailed bullets in Queens, Rev. Sharpton said:

"The only violence came from the detectives that night. How dare you ask about the violence? Ask the detectives."

One reason given for the apparent "acceptance" of this verdict is that most of the killing/wounding was done by black police.

The problem is not with their blackness but their "copness".

As in the Rodney King matter, the evidence of their inhumanity is so blatant that to have had this mockery of a "trial" speaks clearly to our madness in all of this: they fired dozens of shots at unarmed men on the flimsiest of pretexts just because they could. And were put into a position of that kind of life/death choice by a horribly corrupt system of policing.

Shame on us all for this.


Friday, April 4, 2008

Autism month

There's a lot about autism happening on TV usually focusing on how hard it is to have an autistic child. Then there's the "idiot savant" stuff that simply blows one away.

Stephen Wiltshire
, recently knighted is an example of the latter.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New Passport

I wonder why my new passport was designed and manufactured without any thought about its usability. It's like much of the Web: created by clueless graphic artists.

This should be a totally well-tested design but, e.g. the accompanying identity card cannot be written on with a ball point pen and the background images on the page that gets the emergency notification name/address make the penciled in information partly illegible.

How did these folks get into the layout/appearance of what should be a utilitarian entity rather than a flashy travel brochure? And whoever thought of putting RFID in it should have their license revoked.


pantechnicon push

The move towards implementation of the pantechnicon (under the rubric of "pocket computer") touted in todays New York Times has the effect of demonstrating that the inevitability of such devices proclaimed in Connection Collection and many other places is not that far off.

It makes me feel absolutely prophetic to have been evangelizing about this for this long and watching as the industry tries to maintain the old paradigms of such things as nation-states with archaic borders and decrepit cultures based on profit-centered insurance/banking/communication methodologies that will be vastly altered by "everyone/everything/everywhere/always connected" reality in which we will truly globalize our "village".

How interesting that the media's insistence on incremental implementation of all this by pretending that there is some separate entity called "telephony" since not recognizing that if a pocket computer is indeed a truly mobile internet, it will more or less automatically include many means of human interaction.

Interesting times, indeed! Can't wait to immerse myself in the Web conference in Beijing next month where thousands of us will celebrate "one world, one web".


Monday, March 31, 2008

Quote of the day

Harriet Tubman said: "I got free to free others. and I would have freed more if they knew that they were slaves."

So cool.


IQ U not.

Whenever I see someone in the media claiming that our president is "intelligent" I gag.

Many Zanuck malapropisms  are often funny and have a certain wisdom to them but the "Bushisms" cited in are rather frightening.

We discovered years ago that we don't actually need a president and this one makes it eminently clear - because we sort of don't have one.


Sunday, March 30, 2008


In today's NY Times story about microprojectors (laser/led devices that put pictures on any blank surface) there is a quote illustrative of our near-instinctive penchant for exclusivity: “I hate it even when I am on the subway and the guy next to me is reading my paper”.

Poor baby! The "get over it" rejoinder is appropriate here and we will get to the point where that particular domain of privacy is seen as ludicrous - but it will probably only start to fade when the pantechnicon includes retinal projection.


Saturday, March 29, 2008


A recent study of fraud/embezzlement, as reported in today's New York Times had:

“I gave a talk to a group of nonprofit executives a few weeks ago, and every single one of them had a fraud story to tell,” said one of the report’s authors, Janet S. Greenlee, an associate professor of accounting at the University of Dayton. “This has been going on for years, but there’s a feeling that it shouldn’t be discussed,” because of the effect it might have on donations.

Estimates of the impact of fraud on "charities" range from 6% to 13% which turns out to be more than corporate gifts to non-profits.

The most telling thing about this sort of white collar crime is its reflection of society's bias against those who don't get away with things, even things like dope use that shouldn't be a part of the government's activities.

As the misperceptions of the nature of the China/Tibet realities increase due to the usual media bull-headed belief in people like Mother (or is it Saint?) Teresa and the Dalai Lama, we are further impelled to get more connected so that we can evaluate all this according to our own experiences/prejudices.

Just as most Americans believed that Sadam Hussein was somehow responsible for a bunch of Saudi/Egyptian terrorists destroying the Twin Towers, so it goes with much of what is "reported" by the hierarchic media.

As we become universally connected with ALL other humans we will begin to use our mentation to better effect, which is imperative if we are to deal with our real problems.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Valhalla or Vaudeville?

I'm immersed in reading the curriculum of WWW2008 and it's hard to believe that I will go all that way to hear people talking about all the stuff I've become immersed in.

There used to be an institution called "stage shows" that bridged the culture river's flood from vaudeville to the movies - trying to have the best of both worlds and that's where I first heard jazz.

Usually there were vaudevillians near the end of their careers but I remember in particular an act that had a herd of poodles who built a wall of cardboard boxes, without any human on the stage. I can't find out about them from google but I probably just don't have the query chops to find it - or the two guys with amputated leg/arm (one had left, the other right) who came in looking like a two-headed man wearing an overcoat. Then they doffed the coat and did acrobatics sort of like some of the cirque soleil folks.

So what I'm wondering is if the "Information Age" is more like vaudeville than it is like the Valhalla some of us enthuse over.

Oh, well.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Spring is here?

Although it has snowed feebly the last two nights, Spring is in the air.

I'm feeling so good that I'm going to Beijing next month for a Web conference.

This will be my first trip to Asia and I expect it to be memorable.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sunday, March 9, 2008

“Kids can do a lot of things in front of their parents without them knowing” says psychologist Anita Gurian in today's New York Times.

They always have been able to and that's why humanity endures: because the young ones take over with their cabals and imaginations.

Dad is in fact clueless. But that will be true for most of them when they get to the stage of having gone back on their promises to themselves not to grow old and to be there for their get.


Saturday, March 8, 2008

Creeping Senility?

I did it again - last time I lost a day and missed a teleconference, this time I went on a weird 2 AM odyssey concerning Daylight Savings Time and I put it in manually, berating Microsoft for not automating an adjustment to their system clock update mechanism due to Congress' changing of the sacred date of inception for this absurd practice of changing what number we call the time by.


Thursday, March 6, 2008


NYT's "on this day" entry: "On March 6, 1857, in its Dred Scott decision, the Supreme Court held that Scott, a slave, could not sue for his freedom in a federal court. "

Cuban witness's blog highlights how much hope we can feel for universal connectedness - she jumps through a lot of hoops to publish it.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008


The long-term prospects for the subject enterprises aren't particularly encouraging since both institutions are essentially made obsolete by software programs that perform virtually all their former functions.

This happened with such things as slide rules, T-squares, and "the market" which is being radically transformed by various leaner versions, leaving NYSE, etc. in the dust.

The latency between when it is evident that some segment of the economy is no longer viable (e.g. old-fashioned telephone companies) shows signs of shortening and that will be true for certain functions best performed by the Commons acting through cooperative connectedness and an emerging "Web of Trust", whose humble beginnings with "folk evaluations" at places like eBay and Amazon will ultimately lead to FOAF (Friend of a Friend) confidence.

Of course we still have to hone up our leisure skills!


Friday, February 29, 2008

Hacker Legacy

There are premises under ongoing scrutiny among which I put the "Hacker Ethic" and the "Jazz Truth", which are as close to faith/belief/hunch and superstition in general.

I really find that along with the usually-cited examples of gender/ethnic/otherness becoming more subject to detached/objective analyses, there is a change of ethics in general towards more connected/interactive/interpersonal behaviors.

John Stephens summed it up well in the acronym COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics) adopted by an organization around sex workers.

So shit changes, generally towards negative entropy! But it sure grinds exceeding slow.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The War on Sanity

The wit/clue- lessness exemplifies much of the underpinnings for "belief" in the "rule of law".

When the Supreme Jurists display a total unawareness as in the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" matter it gives us pause.

Of course this is a more recent version of the gang who gave us the "Air Pirates" decision.

Where's Jonathan Swift now that we need him?


Monday, February 25, 2008

More health care rant

"Better Living Through Software" is not just a blog, it's a promise whose fulfillment is ongoing and often effective.

The possibility of Universal Health Care without the overhead burden of Insurance is quite palpable. Skip "National" or "Private" Health Care and, because of Universal Connectedness, go directly to Wellness: do not pass "Go"; do not collect $200!

The entirety of delivering this service to all humans (and probably other entities, including the planet itself) is well within reach - it's all in the software that enables production/delivery so that there's no untreated AIDS in Iceland or Zambia.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Westphalian sovereignity - Please!

There is the concept of the "failed State" as a sort of disease caused by chaos/anarchy/revolution.

What has failed is the very idea of nation-states. They are already subservient to forces seeking their own Exclusivism. We are simply a bit inertial in accepting that fact.

As connections grow/interact/prevail the idea of borders, along with a bunch of other baggage, simply gets shown for what it is: vaporware.

We are all in this together.
We are all members of one another.
Connection is a human right.


rashomon and eyewitnesses

Long ago I noted the rarity of coincident accounts concerning events. It was that the news stories about baseball games that I personally attended were at such variance with my own recollections thereof.

The "debate" last night is a case in point because the comments I heard seemed to be being made by people who slept through the program.

It was very clear to me that Mrs. Clinton was practically smitten by Mr. Obama and even said so in the end with the greatest sincerity she has shown "I am honored to be on this stage with you". She had clearly recognized that her time as a candidate for the presidential nomination was over.


Epiphanous Documentary

I think Franny Armstrong's McLibel film is way beyond "inspirational".

The protagonists, without being lawyers, gave me one of those New Respect for the "Rule of Law" feelings. The libel action brought by McDonald's against two pamphleteers was made into the longest court case in centuries of British history. They were (are) like the Rachel Carson of socio/economic examinations of the modern version of raw power.

The propaganda power of Murrow's Harvest of Shame 1960 telecast is rivaled in this. 

Would that we had persevered as well in the Air Pirates case.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Yipee! An old-fashioned scandal

The closing salvo by the McCainites in today's Times:

“It is a shame that The New York Times has lowered its standards to engage in a hit-and-run smear campaign. John McCain has a 24-year record of serving our country with honor and integrity. He has never violated the public trust, never done favors for special interests or lobbyists, and he will not allow a smear campaign to distract from the issues at stake in this election.

“Americans are sick and tired of this kind of gutter politics, and there is nothing in this story to suggest that John McCain has ever violated the principles that have guided his career.”

sounds as if they hadn't read either the article or McCain's book in which he clearly acknowledges, albeit sanctimoniously claiming to have reformed (more than once) since his Savings/Loan debacle as 20% of the Keating Five, that he regrets having done exactly what is alleged by the Times: doing favors for lobbyists representing "special interests".

Politics is indeed pigshit.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"Socialized Medicine"

My updated rant on insurance is up.

It's my contribution to the current political campaign about health care.


Here Come De Judge

Graphic evidence of how clueless/impotent the Establishment's, particularly the  courts', efforts to stem the tsunami of the universal network: in the New York Times 
article concerning a judge ordering a Web presence closed, appears

"The feebleness of the action suggests that the bank, and the judge, did not understand how the domain system works, or how quickly Web communities will move to counter actions they see as hostile to free speech online.

"The site itself could still be accessed at its Internet Protocol address ( — the unique number that specifies a Web site’s location on the Internet. Wikileaks also maintained “mirror sites,” or copies usually produced to ensure against failures and this kind of legal action. Some sites were registered in Belgium (, Germany ( and the Christmas Islands ( through domain registrars other than Dynadot, and so were not affected by the injunction."

This gives some hope to our probable achievement of universal connection.

In a similar vein during the coming U.S. presidential election bruhaha the distinction between universal health care and "universal health care INSURANCE" will be manifest as it becomes
more evident that the latter is the economic crippler of the former.

Just as the stock market went from a profit center for those maintaining the trading mechanism by charging viggorish on buys and sells to a nearly free process and Boeing went from buildings full of draftsmen to a handful of AutoCAD users, so will insurance become just another online service without the incredible profits enjoyed by fat old white men.


Sunday, February 17, 2008


There is much to-do about RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification). My first project as a biomedical technician was to build a passive  implantable pressure sensor that used the principles of passive RFID to measure the pressure within eyeballs/brains. This was in 1963 and the absence of the kind of convenient access to the lore of previous generations via Wikipedia and the Web in general left me naive about what I was doing.

Part of the fallout from that project was the technology of RIAS (Remote Infrared Audible Signage) commercially known as Talking Signs.

The subject of this post refers to "electro-magnetic identification" of which both these technologies are a subset.

In general, RFID is non-directional and rather limited in range whereas IRID is highly directional and virtually unlimited (theoretically) in range. The system known as PointLink would make use of the principles of IRID which has been mainly used as a mere presence/absence of IR sources rather than specific identifiable markers that could be used to present URIs for expanding information about them via Web use.

The before-long ubiquity of such systems presages a navigation/information system that could be the universal equivalent of what in the blindness field is "orientation/mobility" thus automating many of the tasks of getting about and learning about the environment heretofore only available through visual cues, particularly signs. Because they are just serial-numbered lights with known locations, they don't depend on language, etc. to be useful.

It's quite likely that their implementation will happen by individual placement of numbered transmitters by "Johnny Appleseed" methods since there is no need for them to be pre-catalogued, and anyone will be able to devise uses for such networks.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Connection prospects

What will it be like when we find ourselves without the onus of day gigues? How does all this connectedness project into the fairly near future? Efforts like "Colors United" seem a very hopeful sign.


Thursday, February 14, 2008


Like some poor nigh-related guest,
That may not rudely be dismist ;
Yet hath outstay'd his welcome while,
And tells the jest without the smile.

Telling a jest without smiling is one of the marks of an actor or an orator/story-teller. The performer may supply a sort of "laugh track" and even engage in the ritual of the repeated punch-line.


Monday, February 11, 2008

keeping on keeping on with the saga

Yet another morning's work.

I wonder if these are coherent?


Saturday, February 9, 2008


My broadside/rant in progress is now viewable

Enjoy and come back as it grows.


Friday, February 8, 2008


Because of fear of falling, I haven't left the house in almost two weeks.  The computer is sort of working again but I've ordered a big laptop to become the next phase of my "career".

I'm composing something on the difference 'twixt "health care" and "health care insurance" - a distinction that seems unclear to presidential candidates - and to many who are swayed by the idea that somehow a bunch of elites will be kinder to them than "public servants", who are equated with "big government". I guess I have trouble with the idea that the overhead of an absurd for-profit industry is less than that of a something as spare as the postal service.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Times a-changing?

When I see recent videos of Noam Chomsky I feel kinship for his apparent agreement with what I've noticed about how connection is hastening the evolution from superstition/belief to frank acknowledgement of truth/reality and hope that we will end poverty/hunger/war.

The "talk" part of the message seems to be on Obama's lips but I retain a vigilant skepticism and the persistent contention that politics/economics and nation-states/consumption aren't the path to the sort of ecstacy in dreams of connectedness. At any rate it gives me a sort of "rooting interest" in the electoral process, largely because he has much the same audience as Chomsky (and I, heh!) share.

Heady times as life wanes...


Monday, January 21, 2008


This is my kind of holiday. A mix of elation over what has changed with pangs for what had to happen to get there, and how far we have to wade through the same old shit.

Yeah, it's better but why can't we just go all the way since it's clear that ultimately "We Shall Overcome" - so why not NOW?

Do all those crackers think they can stop this? Give it up you redneck fools - you lost!


Me and CAD

Coronary Artery Disease is a sort of plague coming under control through medical procedures and pills/diet/exercise/surgery. I've done all those things.

I take 9 different medications daily, eat very little flesh, "ride" my stationary recumbent exercise "bicycle" several hours a day, look back on my heart attacks and bypass surgery and pacemaker, and feel good about having undergone a course of EECP.

The latter is perplexing in that American Cardiology Establishment ignores it to our detriment: it works and is the therapy of choice in much of Asia.

I feel good and am comparatively active at 82 - tried traveling a bit to a Web Accessibility Conference. It was an epiphany because of the skill/dedication of an upcoming generation of Web designers who care about this stuff.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

what a coincidence!

For those of us who were paying attention at the time today's "on this date" entry in the New York Times evokes the bankruptcy of nation-states' callousness. "On Jan. 20, 1981, Iran released 52 Americans held hostage for 444 days, minutes after the presidency had passed from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan."

I guess the timing was propitious for the "acting president" whose ineptitude has been buried by an avalanche of revisionism. But at least Bro. Carter outlasted him!


Saturday, January 19, 2008

prophecy contest, anyone?

How about posting your prophecies for 2008? Mine are largely optimistic, sort of a "prophet of boom".



I am now using a new blogging tool.

We'll see how it goes.