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!) Read the rest

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) Read the rest

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 Read the rest

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 Read the rest

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 Read the rest

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!) Read the rest

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!) Read the rest

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 Read the rest

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 Read the rest

Jerk complaining about the Discuss links

I just got this little gem in my mailbox:
To: doctorow@craphound.com X-Personal_Name: : Annoyed From: moo@cow.gov 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 moo@cow.gov wants to start his/her own blog and permit it, g'head and do it. Read the rest

Choose Your Own Existentialism

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

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 Read the rest

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) Read the rest

Welcome, Heather!

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

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 Read the rest

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!) Read the rest

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 Read the rest

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