Archive for December, 2003

2003.12.31

Comments Up and Working

I’ve got comments up and working thanks to Rael’s writeback and Fletcher’s seewriteback plugins. I had been debating whether or not to do this, but in the end if I don’t like it I can always turn it off again. Remember to behave…

3 Comments | Catergorized: geek

2003.12.30

Blosxom Would Be Buddha

The Guardian has a nice review of Blosxom. A snippet:

If weblogging applications could be religious leaders (and given the veneration around here, who knows) then Blosxom (pronounced Blossom) would be the Buddha.

I hadn’t seen anyone else post this (except some of the japanese blogs).

Comments Off on Blosxom Would Be Buddha | Catergorized: geek

2003.12.24

When Did We Become Consumers?

This article, though written for a different reason, asks a very interesting question:

Ever wonder when We the People stopped being called citizens and started being called consumers?

It’s an important question, because it changes how we are told stories by the media, how the government handles our needs, and how we percieve ourselves. It is not really a healthy view, either. A citizen participates in our social and political process. A consumer is fed someone else’s social and political process. Which puts you more in control of your life?

Comments Off on When Did We Become Consumers? | Catergorized: thoughts

2003.12.22

Blosxom Site Registry

Following up on this article where I muse about who is using Blosxom, I found this site which is working on compiling “Powered by Blosxom” sites. I noticed Todd is listed, but this site and OOKEE.com aren’t there. I wonder if I should let them know.

The compiler also noted who seemed to be using Blosxom the most:

A ratical majority of these sites included blogs about programming, coding, or other computer related activities. No video game players. A few music lovers and photographers. One sports fan, one diver. Most are in the computer industry and write about the computer industry.

This holds in line with my own musings…

3 Comments | Catergorized: geek

2003.12.20

JohnRhys-Davies Chimes In

JohnRhys-Davies plays Gimli in the Lord of the Rings movies. Recently people involved in the movies were asked about the significance of the books and movies. JohnRhys-Davies had some interesting things to say.

“I think that Tolkien says that some generations will be challenged,” said Rhys-Davies, “and if they do not rise to meet that challenge, they will lose their civilization. That does have a real resonance with me.”

And a bit later:

Rhys-Davies revealed that as far back as 1955 his father had predicted that “the next World War will be between Islam and the West.” The actor recalled his response: “I said to him, ‘Dad, you’re nuts! The Crusades have been over for hundreds of years!’ And he said, ‘Well, I know, but militant Islam is on the rise again. And you will see it in your lifetime.’ He’s been dead some years now. But there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him and think, ‘God, I wish you were here, just so I could tell you that you were right.'”

The whole article is quite good, but that part seemed particularly relevant.

1 Comment | Catergorized: thoughts

2003.12.18

More Marketing Hell

Great googly goo! Marketers are once again trying their damnedest to make an otherwise almost sane world and screw it as hard as they can. If you’ve seen Minority Report where you walk into a store and are greeted by name and given “suggestions” for what you might like to buy based on your last purchase, then you have their goal. What is frightening is that they are close to having all the technology in place.

The article is scary in its enthusiasm, though it ends with this slightly redeeming note:

Another common problem is that the technologies that excite marketers commonly repel the people they’re trying to target. Oftentimes, consumers find ultra-targeted marketing frustrating, a reaction exacerbated by the fact that there’s not much they can do to make it go away.

As Underhill puts it, “One of the poignancies of our era is that our technology has moved at lightning speeds past what our privacy laws are.

“One of the realities of our lives is that we have a consumer base out there that is reacting very badly to some of the ways technology and marketing have met,” he says.

I, for one, agree that marketing needs to stay away from technology. In fact, marketing needs to simply be made illegal.

Comments Off on More Marketing Hell | Catergorized: thoughts

2003.12.18

Livejournal Blogging Stats

I found this page which has statistics on Livejournal usage. Livejournal is a blogging system similar to Blosxom but with (I hope) a very different user base.

They have over a million accounts registered, of which almost 94% are of their free offering (there are pay versions; I’m not sure what the difference is). Also, an overwhelming number of their users are between the ages of 16 and 21 and are located in the United States.

This has me wondering what the demographics of Blosxom users are… As most of the user sites I see are maintained by plugin writers, they seem to be highly technical users, often in a technology industry. I also have the impression that most of them are generally older than the bulk of the Livejournal users. I would be willing to bet that Blosxom users are, generally, more technically inclined -even if they don’t think of themselves this way- than Livejournal users simply because the initial setup of Blosxom seems to be more complex (and less well advertised).

These are speculations, however, and I wonder if there would be a way to get more specific information without intruding upon the user (mandatory registration) or requiring a ton of labor (hunting down and cataloging users).

Comments Off on Livejournal Blogging Stats | Catergorized: geek

2003.12.16

Aloha, Oahu, Aloha

I’ve decided that Oahu is insane. You have an island here in the middle of the largest ocean on the planet. People come here from all over the world… Why? To shop. Yes, to shop in the many shopping centers. They have buses, trolleys and trains connecting the shopping centers. Despite this there are enough cars on the island to cause traffic jams.

Yes, they also come here to enjoy the traffic jams on what they quaintly call an “interstate” highway. I’m still not sure what other state it connects to… perhaps a state of mind. On the interstate it can take two hours to go fifteen miles. This on an island that you can (traffic allowing) circle in an afternoon. Traffic hell is aided by the fact that there are three Kamehameha Highways and two Farrington Highways to confuse you. The fastest you will ever legally drive is 60 MPH (though 45 MPH is likely, and 35 MPH the most common speed). Our slow crawl might feel like Speedy Gonzales to the native Hawaiian.

Fleets of containers from freight ships arrive here with products and goods from the mainland; where does all the trash from these things go? Do they ship it all of to a landfill in the backwoods of Oregon?

There are a few things that are distinctively local, such as the Arizona Memorial commemorating the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the Battleship Missouri commemorating the Japanese surrender for the grievous mistake of attacking Pearl Harbor. There is also an indigenous culture here, though it seems to be mostly surviving through the tourist industry. This is sad as it will probably dilute and marginalize itself to appeal to the tourists “ideal” of what the local Polynesian culture is and is not.

I find it ironic that Waikiki, which I feel certain was set up by the Hawaiians to keep the tourists away from the rest of Hawaii, is such a dangerous place. No, I don’t mean gangsters, muggers or car jackers. I mean coral. The coral is sharp, and will cut you as soon as be wet. A smart person would sell basic first aid equipment on the beach.

I like Oahu. It is a microcosm of America, or at least the America to come. It has endangered native people, it is a consumer’s paradise of shopping centers, it is tourist friendly, and the island has the largest military presence per square mile of any other piece of land in the United States. I like how you can be in the almost completely flat Ewa Plain and within minutes be driving through deep valleys along the H3 (that’s an “interstate”) that look like the Land of the Lost, or go in the opposite direction to the west side of the island and feel like you’re in San Diego.

The one thing I would not like is to live there. I love the ocean, but to be surrounded by it, so far from any other parcel of land the size of, say, North America would soon drive me crazy. They call it island fever. I call it trapped.

But Oahu is an amazing place to visit, and visit it again I shall.

Comments Off on Aloha, Oahu, Aloha | Catergorized: life

2003.12.11

The Failings of (some) Science Fiction

What science fiction should be is a look at ourselves, an examination of humanity.
I just read this article on CNN’s website about the new Battlestar Galactica mini-series. There’s this great quote from the article by Ron Moore, who wrote the script for the new show: “What science fiction should be is a look at ourselves, an examination of humanity. But where we are with science fiction in television and movies, you’ve sort of fallen into two categories: There’s this quasi-cyberpunk stuff, which is everything from ‘Matrix’ to ‘Blade Runner.’ Then there’s the sort of ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Star Trek’ lush orchestral visions of the future.”

I think this comment speaks well of what I liked about Deep Space Nine, Firefly, and Space: Above and Beyond, and didn’t like about Voyager. Enterprise is hovering on a borderline. My fear is that Enterprise is trying too hard to not examine who we are or what it means to be human, or is doing it in a very cliche manner. It’s like the writers sometimes say, “OK, we need to have an episode to show that the Captain has to make hard decisions between what is right and wrong,” or, “We need to show the moral and ethical dillema of cloning as a social issue.”

Of course, alot of science fiction fails simply because it’s crap without any real story, meaning, or hope…

Comments Off on The Failings of (some) Science Fiction | Catergorized: thoughts

2003.12.10

Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar GalacticaThis remake of the classic series is well worth watching but not if you expect it to be the same as the previous series. It is not. It’s a new series with some of the same character names, but the characters are not the same. Many of the ships and devices look the same, the Cylons are still there, but they are not the same.

It is still amazing science fiction, and it has potential. A lot of potential. Humanity is on the brink of disaster and hard decisions have to be made. They are made, and in a most dramatic fashion. The war is devestating. We lose.

I am really truly hoping they decide to make this into a full fledged series. If you get a chance to see only this four hour epic though, see it, or watch the original series here (well, you have to buy it first…).

Comments Off on Battlestar Galactica | Catergorized: tv
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