Sunday, January 31, 2010

I read the news today - Oy Veh!

Recent news stories have touched on the absurd "states' rights" hassle over evacuating endangered Haitians to where they can be saved because some states are reluctant to admit them.

Today's news is "U.S. Speeding Up Missile Defenses in Persian Gulf" and it doesn't take an economist to know that the latter moves right along, probably at a cost dwarfing the entire "Haitiian Rescue Effort".

The infrastructures needed to put in a likely-to-be-ineffective "Missile Shield" adjunct similar to, (but probably costlier) that needed for restoring water/food/health in Port-au-Prince.

We are very sick puppies, indeed. As we let our siblings in the Caribbean suffer, we pour concrete to send a message to Iran that can't possibly help them or us.


IdVU (Iglesia de Vida Universal)

IdVU (Universal Life Church has a very straightforward set of tenets all based on a rather simple base: "Do only that which is right"

IdVU is not an edifice, it is a growing part of our collective mind. Even Google is based on this version of a principle of physicians' oaths: "First, do no harm"

Objective: Eternal Progression.
Goal: A Fuller Life for Everyone.
Slogan: To Live and Help Live.
Maxim: “We Are One."

When I drove to Modesto (in the 1960s) and met with Kirby Hensley who founded IdVU and he ordained me as a minister, my views about religion were irretrievably altered. We are the largest batch of ministers of any religion on the planet.

The absurdity of most religions' attitudes is played with in Ethical, a chapter in my book. Being a Pope isn't hard, one just says (or writes or thinks) "I am a Pope in IdVU", so for example anyone reading this is herewith ordained an IdVU minister and has the power to be a "bishop" or a "cardinal", etc. You are also free to renounce your calling.


Monday, January 25, 2010

what a little century can do

"On Jan. 25, 1915, the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, inaugurated U.S. transcontinental telephone service."

We've come a long way, baby - but we still have a long way to go!

It was somewhat different from the impact of the trans-continental railway but it's fantastic what's been wrought, and through it all one unintended consequence has been the societal isolation of the deaf community. Bell's "invention" shut them out from much of the human interaction that has gone from a bevy of (mostly) women called "central" asking the ubiquitous "number, please" to electronic marvels that enable one to buy/sell money while walking down the street.

In the U.S. and much of the "developed world" there are probably more people with access to global communication than without it.

As we move towards universal connection, we must attend to inclusion of everyone in this "party line" - one through which it is almost trivial to videophone anyone on the planet.

I've been honored to speak to the people who have as their goal providing a true "Web4All" experience.

Hope to encounter some of you F2F (face-to-face) at W4A 2010 in Raleigh in April.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Distributed help desk

There are Websites that encourage answering questions from readers by other readers and some of them probably actually help with answers but they are so "dense" as to be not very usable/popular, even sometimes trying to monetize the process: "which way is it to the Plaza Mayor?" - "I'll tell you for a Euro." would never do in face-to-face solicitations for directions.

What if the process were more nearly global and instantaneous so that from your mobile device you could get help for just about anything from whoever participated in the "global help desk" network?

In particular getting tourist information (skip the hotel/restaurant ads, please) from someone in Myanmar about the Plazas of Madrid, etc. might be interesting because anybody, anywhere might: have the info; speak your language; enjoy sharing.

Most mobile smart phones have in effect the means of doing this and when they are as cheap/effective as Skype it will be feasible.


Friday, January 8, 2010

P2P revisited

Why can't we work out a simple way to send €5 as an email attachment?

Don't think of it as a monetizable opportunity, i.e. figure out how to profit from brokering such transactions as is the basis for eBay, PayPal, etc.

If we could do this we'd be on our way to a "peoples' bank".


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wednesday's geezer's full of rage!

I sent people a link to a snip on YouTube that was one of the most moving mass medium depictions of cross-disability cooperation. It was about three minutes from a network TV show called GLEE and this clip of the Haverbrook School for the Deaf performing John Lennon's "Imagine" for an audience made up (I presume) of the GLEE cast. This is the only screen shot now available because 20th Century Fox claimed copyright violations which made YouTube take it down. You can hear the sound track accompanying this screen shot but much of the effect is from the visual part.

The action started with the man (wearing tie) signing/singing the song then the girl who in the picture is standing by him starts singing along with the choir and moves into the group and is joined by all the cast + a guy in a wheelchair and they sing the anthem of peace/love as they learn to sign the words as well.

That the Studio saw fit to remove this is outrageous.


A more conventional "sermon"

I don't ordinarily use "scripture" as a basis for these but:

"And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves."

– Matthew 21:12-13

I am always reminded of this (by far my favorite view of Jesus the activist) because my long-time crime partner/mentor David "Buck" Wheat often said "the music business is in the hands of the money changers" and that is brought home really strongly by musings concerning the monetization of so-called "intellectual property rights" and their accompanying baggage: copyrights/patents.

The continuation of middle-persons 'twixt creators/purveyors/consumers of such things as literature and music is right nigh onto unbearable. Their near-destruction of peer-to-peer file sharing, etc. has turned art into commerce of a kind that allows obscene profiting by people who add absolutely no value to the undertakings.

The tedium interposed by banks/insurers/publishers clearly stifles both competition and innovation and a system of usable/efficient micropayments is long overdue. The idea that Apple is propped up by charging a buck for a song and the composer gets a couple pennies is just criminal/unethical/immoral.

The original reasons that "publishers" got anything out of people accessing creative works were: they actually DID something; it was mistakenly thought that copyright would protect the creator and encourage innovation, etc. Neither of these has worked out: they don't "publish" anything tangible; they stifle innovation through monopoly.

If only Napster had included a way to send someone a penny when their stuff got shared, it would have brought an earlier demise of the blood-sucking privateers who pretend to be doing something useful.

We have a World Wide Web now and don't need to fatten a bunch of parasites who brand us as "pirates" to hide their own piracy. In another era those who actually did something for the artist might deserve compensation but the idea that for all time Irving Mills is listed as a co-composer on Duke Ellington's work is plainly absurd.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 curse list

Instead of predictions or resolutions I think I'll post my "hit list" for the year:

Software vendors who attach "upgrade notifications" to their products, amounting to giving the keys to thinly disguised "nuisance-ware"

Links within Wikipedia that lead to non-existent entries, urging you to start one.

Searches that yield bait/switch "offers" like "to read rest of article, subscribe"

Advertising interests that have taken over the Web and pretend to own it.

Web designers who still haven't even heard of accessibility.

Enough for the moment. My youngest son is 42 today and I'm 84 tomorrow - time flies when you're having fun.