Thursday, April 30, 2009

Government through socialware

I work on a group that helps edit documents intended to enhance the rather Utopian goals held for the Web. Recently we've been wrestling with a huge, largely unreadable document about "eGovernment" being generated to help streamline the relationships between governments and between a government and citizens.

As I read it, I am struck by how dense it is, as in "opaque". Hundreds of syllables where only a few are actually needed.

The FaceBook/Blog/Wiki world has exploded and has reasonably clear directions so that interactions amongst like-minded people are fairly simple to understand but for some reason our governing bodies still insist on ignoring "transparency" while claiming to champion it.

I think I'll just veg out for a while and see if it changes! Maybe I'll have them put ads over on the right of this blog and see if that makes me rich.

Nah, I hate advertising.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009



A somewhat truncated Crusade MMIX is complete - back to home and (virtual) hearth.

The overall verdict is that it was a triumph of sorts. I got to meet Vint Cerf and briefly outline the plan for a "Council of Elders", probably in connection with the Web Foundation. Also more chatter with Sir Tim and lots of collaboration with Daniel and the quite marvelous Emmanuelle Guttierez.

The first triumph was with Arthur Jampolsky, whose 80th birthday celebration was very moving and exciting. To see him with a hundred or so ophthalmologists who pretty much revere him was like being allowed backstage at an epic performance of some kind. He and his wife Peggy and all the many colleagues from Smith-Kettlewell left me with the strong realization that I was a warmly-embraced member of a huge effective family.

Thence to Madrid (via Dublin!) where the aforesaid lovely Emmanuelle greeted me at the airport. I felt like visiting nobility, what with fruit/flowers in the rather luxurious hotel surroundings and Rob Yonaitis serving on the welcoming committee. The W4A sessions were encouraging in that there are now buckets of people working to make Web Accessibility a commonplace of the Web. There are Web designers and groups dedicated to reaching the "everyone/everything/everywhere/always connected" goal in our time and the implications of a myriad of "kabals" designed to bring us all together are quite inspirational.

emmanuelle, me, chaals

On the afternoon of the second day, Emmanuelle and I went to the Polytechnic Universidad where Tim and Vint were honored with doctorates and much attendant pomp and costume (funny hats).

me, emmanuelle, vint cerf

After that, it got dicier because I didn't realize that the "Brussels" airport my flight went to was an hour's drive from the city and without an interpreter and being exhausted by schlepping bags about the Madrid airport, I simply got in a cab and before the ride to the hotel was over had spent over 200 Euros for a 3 euro bus ride that I didn't ferret out. This left me unable to continue the Crusade after the Brussels meeting which was heady in that I was surrounded by people whose job it is to further Web penetration/inclusion. Everywhere I was surrounded by people who were in the business of funding efforts like mine.

Two days in Amsterdam finished off the trip (and almost finished off the Old Geezer!), but the final leg was interesting in that I left Amsterdam at 10:20 AM and arrived in Portland at 11:50 the same day! Watched several movies and suddenly we were landing!

I don't know what all I actually accomplished, but I think it was a lot - only time will tell.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Morning After

Last night's celebration was an epic with hundreds of Arthur's family/friends/colleagues celebrating a remarkable 90 year history.

This afternoon I fly to Madrid (several hour layover in Dublin) to attend a conference at which I will be by a lot the oldest person. It was very nice to be at one where at least a dozen people have been around longer than I have.

Now it's time to re-engage a different set of folks and I will take part in this morning's teleconference wherein we solve the riddle of how to get government to move from a ruler/subject point of view to a wholly interactive/transparent one.

Everyone/everything/everywhere/always connected is looming large now and I'm really looking forward to being part of it happening.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spectacular Start

The Crusade got off well with a flight during which I finished reading Clarice Lispector's "The Hour of the Star" and BARTed to The City where I met the son of John Brent (whose mayoral candidacy I managed around 1971) and cut up an incredible array of old touches. He got to hear some Brent/Committee reminiscences and I got to encourage him and his beautiful wife with the old "find your heart's desire and go straight to it - do not pass GO - do not collect $200" riff.

Dined with Kent Sokoloff, the original backer of Talking Signs in its first incarnation: Love Electornics. His twins were among my first urrogate grandchildren. Max is a genius film-maker and Amelia an incipient musical theater star.

Kent is a business consultant whose current client is Chevron and they are a perfect target for a major embracing of the Semantic Web.

Now the extreme clarity of sky is revealing one of the great sunrises because my motel window faces East.

I must get dark pants (I've still got a decent suit coat and shirt/tie) for tonight's celebration of "birthday boy" Arthur Jampolsky's 90th. And I will get to the Tadich Grill for the 11 AM opening so I can have real Hangtown Fry!


Monday, April 13, 2009


Thursday night I get to join in celebrating Dr. Arthur Jampolsky's 90th birthday.

He has been friend/mentor for 46 years and he, like me is likely more active/effective than at any time in his life.

Physically, we are both clearly deteriorating in many ways, but we are educted by the process at least as much as we are diminished therefrom.

The propaganda about how the last months of life are sapping the resources of the health care system and placing undue burdens on those who are not yet "retired" ignore our continuing growth and contributions. The notion of old people sitting in rocking chairs and fishing from the river bank are myths/legends and unrelated to what actually happens.

For the 80 years of vivid memories/learning I've been around, there aren't a whole lot of people who fit the stereotypical view of old-old people. It would be a great mistake to accept the resignation of some to the notion that our usefulness deteriorates along with our vision/hearing/balance/mobility.

And at the other end of the age spectrum, we do pretty much the same as we pretend that infants are more sink than source. I learn a lot from younger people - all the way to toddlers.

We are all in this together and I'm as excited to be going to important meetings in Spain/Belgium/Netherlands/France/UK as I've ever been and what I learn (and hopefully teach) will be vectors for the kind of changes that will make us better.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Enough Already!

It's been 55 years since the "marijuana broadcast" that featured "Four crusading marijuana smokers light up and have a KPFA panel discussion about the virtues of pot."

The main voice on the tape is that of Ted May, who gave the rant thereon at every opportunity and wasn't hesitant about coming out of the closet. The theme song "They Can't Take That Away From Me" was played by legendary guitarist David "Buck" Wheat and a couple of others played support for Ted's views.

I was in the control room, not wanting to have my voice spotted (I had a weekly jazz program on KPFA at the time), along with another Sausalito houseboat denizen Gerd Stern who was on the KPFA staff as well.

Although there had been numerous expressions of that point of view, this one caused a furor in the S.F. Bay Area because of the next day being a slow news day. So it actually made headlines in the Examiner.

I'd sure like to hear it again.


Distributed Diaspora

As the Right to Communicate becomes the most significant/widespread of Human Rights, the groupings of spheres of interest will disperse widely.

While at present many (most?) Social Network affairs (FaceBook et al) base groupings, at least in part on geography, the urge to be nearer those of like mind, rather than like appearance/culture/history, will be a prevalent reason to migrate.

Expatriation won't be based so much on disenchantment with nation-state issues as commonality of purpose in some way centered on the need for actual rather than just virtual contact.

The "mystery" associated with various superstitions like religion will play less of a part in locale choices. We will form "kabals of konvenience" to best utilize our passions/purposes and make interconnection with others more efficient.

As I prepare to embark on Crusade MMIX, it gets obvious that despite having been essentially a recluse for quite some time, I have hundreds of reasonably close acquaintance, most of whose proximity I really enjoy.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Anniversary Waltz

62 years ago today, Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to sign a major league contract.

For me, that was as big a victory as Jesse Owens' wins in the 1936 Olympics or Obama's election.

The line right after "we've come a long way, baby" is "but we've still got a long way to go. The Supreme Court has taken on a complex case involving racial discrimination based on a fire departments' decision not to promote a white firefighter who passed a written test that none of the black firefighters did.

In a different context Chief Justice Roberts said “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

Time flies when you're having fun.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

One gross of years

On April 9, 1865, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered his army to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.

It's been 144 years and is closer to, but far from over. The recent presidential election illustrated certain electoral anomalies indicative of a continued reluctance of many in the "Bible Belt" to embrace Christianity while proclaiming their devotion thereto.

One of my favorite songs is "It's the Same Old South" as sung by Jimmy Rushing with the Count Basie Band. The general theme is

It's the same old South.
It's a regular chilren's heaven -
Where they don't go to work till they're seven
It's the same old South.
Where the bloodhounds that once chased Elizah
Chase the poor C I O organizer
With their old fashioned get-togethers
Colonel, pass me the tar and the feathers.

I still love it and still subscribe to its premise, but with hope for further moves down the road to change that has already had much effect.


Sunday, April 5, 2009


zoho Accessibility

Web-based Word Processor

geezer at work

Perhaps I'm just not meant to use a Word Processor but should just stick to writing everything in HTML?

If I save this document as a Word file, will Open Office handle it gracefully?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Blackness of mood

I can't get over that this is the 41st anniversary of Dr. King's assassination.

He was three years younger than me.

At the time I thought "the world will go down in a flame, what a shame" - from the song "Please Send Me Someone to Love".

His last call was for a Basic Income Guarantee and it is still thwarted by those sharing his religious beliefs.

Oh, well.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Moderately doppelgangered?

At the risk of falling into the "all African-Americans look alike" absurdity:

That's Greg Oden.
He "belongs" to the Portland Trail Blazers.

That's Dred Scott.
The Supreme Court ruled that he could not sue for his emancipation because he was "property".



I once met a man in Midway, TX who shared my birthday (3 January, 1926) and we had little else in common that I could find.

Since then I have had a quite mild fascination with the impact of one's "when" because of living through the same eras.

So far as I can determine, there are only two "other notables" sharing that anniversary: Werner Michael Blumenthal, who was Secretary of Treasury in the Carter administration and is now director of the Jewish Museum in Berlin; Sir George Martin, the "Fifth Beatle" and prominent record producer.

I bet they're not looking to contact me to cut up old touches, but I would enjoy meeting and conversing with them.


Nicko Time

This "Old Fool" doesn't mess with April.

Now the planning for Crusade MMIX is entering its final stages. I have bought tickets to San Francisco and Madrid and am unable to dream of Brussels for which I have no images. The logistics will leave me skipping Portugal this time, which is a shame, but I expect to strengthen bonds with non-Paris France and that old friend The 'Dam.

The Crusade might shape up to include a major Action in Our Nation's Capital, but I've been so joy-struck that I will probably just come home and work on expounding.

I still can't reliably account for the recent spate of Sermons, but it felt good to broadcast broadsides and just revel in being.

This is sort of like the beginning of a new era so I will make a New Year's Resolution, perhaps following through on heavy thumb-typing practice so I can follow my initiation into Wireless World with a littering of Twittering?