Boing Boing 

Rheingold and Powazek: Two great tastes that taste great together

Derek "Heather's Spouse" Powazek interviews Howard "Online Community" Rheingold on the past and future of online community.
I think there has been a partial breakdown of the cooperative ethic that an essential element to the success and growth of the early internet. Back then there was a certain amount of understanding of basic netiquette and an expectation of a cooperative behavior. That was the norm from the very beginning and that has made the internet valuable. Those norms are not located in any handbook, although you can find some basic documents on netiquette. They've mostly been taught to newcomers by the people who were already there.

What used to happen was that every September, a bunch of new freshmen would join universities and get their first internet accounts and would start flooding Usenet, asking questions that were already answered in the FAQ and doing other things that were breaches of basic netiquette. They would then be educated by the old-timers, sometimes rather rudely, sometimes more patiently. But the old-timers took the time, even if they were flaming, to pass on the norms.

Link Discuss (Thanks, Derek!)

Hollywood fatcat calls TiVo use "theft"

The CEO of Turner Broadcasting thinks that TiVo owners are thieves:
I'm a big believer we have to make television more convenient or we will drive the penetration of PVRs and things like that, which I'm not sure is good for the cable industry or the broadcast industry or the networks...

Because of the ad skips.... It's theft. Your contract with the network when you get the show is you're going to watch the spots. Otherwise you couldn't get the show on an ad-supported basis. Any time you skip a commercial or watch the button you're actually stealing the programming.

The Broadcast Protection Discussion Group is full of guys like this from the studios and the TV world. They think that viewers are thieves. They tried to shut down piano rolls and radio. They conspired to keep movies off of TV. They fought the VCR and crippled the DAT.

The role of the technology industry is to blaze new trails that create new opportunities for Hollywood. The role of Hollywood is to seek injunctive relief from those opportunities. Link Discuss (via Electrolite)

If Quentin Tarantino was an accountant...

Joey's latest blog-gem is a laugh-out-loud account of his tough-talkin', medallion-swingin' family account. First prize for humorous use of the eff-word by a bean-counter. Link Discuss

Figment come back to Epcot

Journey into Imagination at Epcot Center is re-opening, and Figment (the purple dragon sidekick of Dreamfinder from the original Journey) has been sprinkled throughout. A confession: I loathe Figment. However, my pal Grad can't live without him. Hence this post:
"The return of Figment adds another level of excitement to this re-energized attraction," said David Mumford, show designer for Walt Disney Imagineering. "Journey Into Imagination with Figment is bright and fun and should appeal to guests of all ages."

The revamped attraction also heralds the return of "One Little Spark," an uplifting song written by legendary Disney composers Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman for the attraction's original opening in March 1983. Comic actor Eric Idle also returns as Dr. Nigel Channing, a role he originated in the adjacent "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience" 3-D attraction at Epcot.

Awright, putting a Sherman Brothers original song back into the park is all to the good, but Figment -- shudder. Link Discuss

My words, with pictures

My story, "Beat Me Daddy (Eight to the Bar)" is coming in the next ish of The Black Gate magazine. One of the coolest things about writing for publication is getting your work illustrated by talented artists like Chuck Lukacs. Chuck send me the URL of this page with his illos for "Beat Me Daddy," and I couldn't be happier with 'em.

If you're an art-director looking to source an illustrator, check out Chuck's portfolio. He's fantastic. Link Discuss

Plague of Locust snowdome

Apocalyptic tchotchke, the perfect Passover centerpiece.
Can you imagine what a swarm of hungry grasshoppers sounds like? With this Plaguedome, you won't ever have to! With a quick swish of your wrist you can cause millions of ravenous locusts to descend upon the world's food supply! This 40mm diameter, glass dome was the first in the Plaguedomes line here at Products of the Apocalypse, Inc. Don't let this one pass you over!
Link Discuss (Thanks, Songdog!)

Phone psychics gone wild

Rules for telephone psychics:
* Do not try to extort any money from a caller.

* Never put callers on hold for any reason.

* We do not talk to the dead, we let them rest in peace.

* No discussion of death, doom or disaster. Never upset a caller.

* Do not pretend to know the future.

* You cannot give any counseling about abortion.

* There shall be no casting of spells on this line or any magic potions.

* This line is NOT to be used for promoting evil.

Link Discuss (Thanks, Zed!)

Dagnabbit! I want me an eMac

About six weeks ago, I bought a 700MHz G3 iMac (not the flat panel one) for $1100 or so. Now Apple has just announced a 700 Mhz G4 Mac with a 17-inch screen for about the same price. The design is great too, like a big brother or sister to the iPod. I think you have to be a school to get one, though. Damn, I like these. Link Discuss

Crossed Words

My new friend Peter Valentine creates amazing cut-up poetry from crossword puzzles. In fact, his whole site is a surreal masterpiece. Don't miss the Flash opening--it's as darkly sweet as it gets. Link Discuss

Jerk complaining about the Discuss links

I just got this little gem in my mailbox:
X-Personal_Name: : Annoyed
Subject: why do we have to sign in for discuss? Fuck this, i'm sick of signing

to every little anal cranny.

take it off.

This anonymous coward (get it? Anonymous? Cow? Heh.) wants to know why the discuss areas require sign-in now. Regulars here will know that a couple weeks back, someone started posting abusive messages to the discussion areas, using my name. The only fix for this available to us is to switch off anonymous posting and require sign-in. Other fixes may be available with other message-board systems, but this is what we can do with QuickTopic. If Blogger ever starts supporting message board with clearly differentiated anonymous messages (and forbids anonymous posters from hijacking identities), then you can be sure we'll implement it. Our sysadmin, who donates the bandwidth and hosting for this blog, doesn't want us running executables on his server (fair enough -- he's too busy to audit every perl script we might install, and he's already doing us a huge favor), so Movable Type and other local discussion systems are out for now.

But man, I gotta tell ya: When people send me abusive, imperious messages like this, demanding that I change the way I do Boing Boing, it makes me just want to give up. It's our goddamned blog, and if we don't want anonymous posting, there's no anonymous posting. If wants to start his/her own blog and permit it, g'head and do it. Jesus,, were you born in a goddamned barn? Discuss

Choose Your Own Existentialism

Waiting for Godot, rendered as a choose-your-own-adventure story. Link Discuss (via Memepool)

The long-lost classic Holiday Inn sign

A lyrical appreciation of the original Holiday Inn sign and the golden age of family motels it heralded; just as Disneyland rehabilitated roadside amusements from dangerous and dirty sleaze-towns, Holiday inn transformed motels from dens of sin into family meccas.
"Holiday Inn's sign was a prop in a play," says Andrew Moore, professor of communication studies at San Jose State University and an authority on motel history. "It communicated the playfulness, fantasy and optimism of the American roadside. And it meant safety for the [traveling] middle class."

The Great Sign was brash, bold and a masterpiece. It is also, alas, extinct. The company ripped them down in a bid to be a little more upscale.

Link Discuss

Piss-elegant idea

The Johnny Glow: Never have to choose between blinding yourself with the bog-lights and missing the bowl again. As seen on TV! Link Discuss (via Memepool)

Welcome, Heather!

We've got a new Guestblogger -- Heather Champ, of,, and She's a fellow Canadian and an old-skool blogger-type.Thanks, Bonnie, for doing such an excellent job on the blog! Discuss

RIP, George Alec Effinger

George Alec Effinger, one of the first science fiction writers I ever met, has died. I was 15 or 16, and he was very friendly and encouraging. He'd been chronically ill for decades, and had at one point been in danger of losing the rights to his characters to the hospital that was his largest creditor in a bankruptcy court. His Marid Aubran novels are cyberpunk classics. Poor piglet. Link Discuss

Kelly Link wins a Neb!

Hey! Kelly Link won the Nebula yesterday for her fantastic story, "Louise's Ghost," from her even-more-fantastic collection, "Stranger Things Happen" (run, don't walk!) Link   Discuss (Thanks, Pat!)

Report from the futur[e|ists]

All the big thinkers are hanging out at the Foresight Institute's retreat this weekend, and Dan Gillmor's taking notes:
Ray Kurzweil is doing his usual amazing job of explaining the mind-boggling nature of exponential change -- the acceleration of progress. He's the ultimate optimist.

His future is one where biology and machines become seamless, where machines and intelligence help humanity become (in my mind) somewhat disturbingly "God-like," for lack of a better expression. I also crave that future, because it is where we need to go.

You have to take a lot of this on faith. Kurzweil says these changes, which will lead to advances that we truly cannot grasp at this stage, are inexorable and vastly more powerful than human civilization's greatest dreams today.

"We will become these machines and merge with them," he says.

Another line: "The universe will ultimately wake up and command its own destiny." Hmmm.

Dan's been really good about going to all these hyper-leet events and taking realtime notes as they unfold. It's journalism 3.0! Link Discuss

My brother's getting married!

My kid brother, Neil, got down on one knee today and proposed to his girlfriend, Tera. They were on the rugby pitch, with both families in attendance. She said yes. I'm gonna have a sister-in-law! Mazeltov, kids. Discuss

Golden age Apple ad

Charles sez: "Vintage 1985 video from Apple. See a nostalgic demonstration of Pagemaker 1.0 with a Mac 128 and a Laserwriter. See Apple blow it with their infamous 1988 "HeloCar" advertising campaign." Link Discuss (Thanks, Charles!)

Corpse discovered in WDW's Seven Seas Lagoon

The body of a tourist was discovered in Walt Disney World's Seven Seas Lagoon. The man had been staying at the Grand Floridian Hotel, and had been seen earlier arguing with his wife. Link Discuss (via New World Disorder)

Send Blagg feeds by email

Rael's created a new plugin for Blagg, his RSS aggregator, that emails the contents of you aggregated feed to the address of your choice. Link Discuss

What would Jesus rent?

The Distributed Republic of Biblestan, all those fundie communities scattered around the US, have their own video-stores. The Cleanflicks Co-Op is a by-fundies/for-fundies video-rental chain that rents sanitized versions of Hollywood blockbusters -- think Beverley Hills Cop without any swearing.
The store defines itself as a co-op so that when customers sign up for memberships, they can be said to technically "own" the videos they rent from the store. The chain, which has yet to be challenged by Hollywood, now has stores in Colorado, Arizona, and Idaho, and aims to have a shop in every state by the end of 2002.
Call it the dark side of the Doctrine of First Sale. Link Discuss

The Hollings Bill isn't dead

More evidence that the Hollings Bill (CBDTPA: Consume, But Don't Try Programming Anything) isn't going to pass this year, if at all. As I suspected, this bill is a smokescreen for the Broadcast Protection Discussion Group in Hollywood. Check this out:
In a speech last week, [Commerce Department undersecretary for intellectual property] Rogan said that "negotiations are presently underway among hardware manufacturers and content owners to develop improved means for protecting online content," and legislators should wait for results before voting on a proposal such as the Hollings bill.

"Before Congress rushes into the imposition of a legislative solution," Rogan said, "I hope its members will grant more time for the free market to find its own middle ground."

Those negotiations are the BPDG, a consipiracy of 15-some tech and entertainment companies. They're writing a "standard" that they've asked Hollings to give the FCC the power to give the force of law to. It will be illegal to manufacture or distribute any device or software that can access digital broadcast TV if it doesn't meet the "standard."

And what will the "standard" require? Well, for starters, all tech will have to be "tamper-resistant," which means that you won't be able to tinker with the hardware and software you own. Open source will be illegal.

Those devices that are allowed will only be permitted to incorporate cables and media that limit copying. And new technologies will only be added to the list of permitted tech if Hollywood says so (the standard that the studios have proposed for evaluating new tech is "We'll know it when we see it").

Imagine it: HDTV devices and computers that interface with them will only be allowed to incorporate broken technologies that Hollywood permits. If your computer monitor doesn't include the "approved" inputs, it will be against the law for your computer to output a digital video stream to it. The manufacturer will have two choices:

  1. Add a second input that uses a "protected" method (you'll need two wires to connect your computer to your monitor)
  2. Take away the "unprotected" input and just use one, "protected" wire, which means that you won't be able to buy a computer that allows you to do anything you want with the video that you make on your own
We all got upset about the Hollings Bill because it would use the force of law to control how a computer could be made. The BPDG will do exactly that -- it's not a "free market middle-ground," it's Hollywood's absolute dominion over your machine.

Don't let 'em fool you -- CBDTPA is just another way of spelling BPDG, and it's a-comin' soon. The BPDG says it'll have its standard finalized by May 17, and no one's even noticing. The BPDG meetings are public (though they cost $100 to attend). There's one coming up in LA on Monday, and wouldn't it be sweet if a couple hundred of us showed up to tell 'em what we think? Link Discuss

The market punishes Verisign

Verisign's stock fell 46% yesterday. Only 54% to go before it is planted in its grave, and we can buy its managers' laptops at bankruptcy auctions and blog their private email. Soon, soon... Let's put Verisign to death! Link Discuss

Sorry, leg amputees are not considered vertically challenged

Craig's List rocks:
Distinguished adult film company in search of midgets, dwarfs, and other vertically challenged men and women for an ultra sexy oompa loompa gang bang. The lucky few who will be selected must fit into our stylish crotch less oompa loompa costumes. If you are allergic to latex based makeup, body paint, do not wish to become a rich/famous adult film star, and or do not like rough wild oompa sex please do not apply. Sorry, leg amputees are not considered vertically challenged and will not be considered for this film.
Link Discuss (Thanks, Jef!)

Dog-juice at the World Cup

The World Cup games in Seoul will feature dog-meat-juice as a means of showing foreigners the innocence of canine comestibles. This reads like an Onion article, but the Hindustan Times seems a little sober-sided for hoaxing.
"We plan to develop canned dog meat tonic juice, which football fans can enjoy in their stadium seats while watching games," said Choi Han-Gwon, a leader of a national association of dog meat restaurants.

"They will enjoy it instead of Coke," he said.

Link Discuss (Thanks, Michael!)

ICANN reform, an alternative view

Elliot "Tucows" Noss and some pals have penned an alternate ICANN reform proposal: The Heathrow Declaration.
1.      The governance of the DNS should be appropriate and proportionate to the nature and needs of the DNS. Accordingly, the governance of the DNS should not outlast the useful life of the DNS. This result is more likely to be achieved if governance of the DNS is more responsive to popular demand for domain names and a coherent working DNS than to formal arrangements among states.

  2.      Owing to the role of states in the management of country codes, the role of a central manager of the DNS, such as ICANN, is naturally larger in relation to generic TLDs than it is in relation to country codes.

3.      Those who wish to participate in the management of the DNS should contribute to the funding of it, possibly with some exception for non-profit entities.

Link Discuss (Thanks, Elliot!)

Skippy's been a bad GI

213 Things Skippy Schwarz is No Longer Allowed to Do in the US Army:
16. Must get a haircut even if it tampers with my 'Sampson like powers'.

17. God may not contradict any of my orders.

18. May no longer perform my now (in)famous 'Barbie Girl Dance' while on duty.

19. May not call any officers immoral, untrustworthy, lying, slime, even if I'm right.

Link Discuss (Thanks, Jet!)

Nuclear license plates

Nevada is shipping mushroom-cloud license plates. I'm on a dirt-slow, massivley unreliable network connection; maximum gratitude to anyone who posts the URL for a < 300 pixel wide jpeg in the discussion area. (Thanks, Casey!)
"Nevada being Nevada, this is a unique subject," said Rick Bibbero, 55, a real estate agent in Minden who won $500 with his design for the license tag. "You wouldn't find California trying to memorialize something like this, but this is our past," said Bibbero, who said he's neither for nor against the federal government's plan to entomb 77,000 tons of highly radioactive waste beneath a volcanic ridge 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
Link Discuss (Thanks, Tom!)

Send this art-car to Burning Man

My pal Jet's selling funny stickers and t-shirt to underwrite the expense of building a killer art-car to take to Burning Man. Link Discuss