Boing Boing 

Euromedia blog

Etter Det Vi Erfarer is a great European media blog, in English, with contributors from Germany, Switzerland and Norway. Nice to get some international perspective! Link Discuss

Bugzilla: Better organization through code

Bugzilla is the bug-tracker that was created for the hackers who work on the brilliant Mozilla browser. A bug-tracker's job is to keep track of open tasks -- features that need implmenting, bugs that need fixing, ideas for new stuff -- keep track of who's working on them, and log authoratative fixes. You know that $50,000 project-management database your company uses to keep track of its universe? That's what Bugzilla does, only it's free.

Bugzilla isn't bug-free (there's an entire Bugzilla development team tracking and patching Bugzilla bugs, using Bugzilla to monitor their progress!), and you need to be pretty tech-savvy to get it to run, but it's well worth the effort.

Every time I use Bugzilla, I think to myself, "Here is a tool that can and should be used by most every organization, a central repository of tasks and efforts that can be searched and accessed and referred back to."

Anyway, the new Bugzilla's for OS X is out, and I've got my copy. Link Discuss

Hong Kong bOing bOing

Heh. Someone in Hong Kong is starting a cyberculture zine called bOing-bOing. I wonder if "Naffy Boo" -- the contact listed on the domain -- understands that googlejuice dictates that her/his site will not show up in a Google search for "boing-boing" until about page umpty-billion. Sucks to be her/him! Link Discuss

Homemade modern Wacky-Packs

Amazing gallery of home-made, update Wacky Packs -- I've got a framed uncut sheet of set one on my wall here at the EFF as a testament to the value of fair-use parody. Link Discuss

British packaged goods online

The Foreign Buyers' Club delivers the finest British consumer packaged goods to your door. Heinz Treacle, Marmite, creamed rice -- it's all there! Link Discuss

Ode to the 90s

Lovely little ode to life in the 90s:
I was a millionaire at 27
for thirty seconds.

I dug grunge.
then eighties.
Tony Bennet.
then Chumbawumba.
how bizzare.
how bizzare.
smoked Cohibas.
(Not that there's anything
wrong with that.)
but I didn't inhale.

Link Discuss (via FuckedCompany)

Apple teams up with Sun to make OS X-native MSFT Office clone

Sun and Apple are building an OS X native version of Star Office. It looks like Microsoft and Apple's cuddly relationship is drawing to a close -- you can use OS X without MSFT's office (switch to Star Office and get MSFT office document compatibility); without MSFT's browser (switch to Moz and get crash-free, ad-free browsing); without Entourage (switch to and get mail without spam and without vendor lock-in). Exciting stuff! Whups! Looks like the story got its facts wrong -- the OpenOffice clan are making their stuff available, not Sun Link (Thanks, Nick!) Link Discuss

The science of cuddling

You have extra nerve-endings that detect cuddling, in addition to regular sense-of-touch nerves.
The revelation came after doctors realised that a woman with no sense of touch still felt a "pleasant" sensation when her skin was caressed.

Normal touch is transmitted to the brain through a network of fast-conducting nerves, called myelinated fibres, which carry signals at 60 metres per second. But there is a second slow-conducting nerve network of unmyelinated fibres, called C-tactile (CT), the role of which was unknown. The CT network carries signals at just one metre per second.

Link Discuss

Florida satirists puncture Wall Street weasels

Last weekend's Miami Herald featured Dave Barry and Carl Hiaasen on the subject of corporate corruption and what we can do about it. It was a nice moment of serindipity from two of my favorite satirists.

First, Dave Barry:

Yes, I am talking to YOU, Mr. or Ms. Small Investor. Wall Street is getting sick and tired of your namby-pamby ''wait and see'' attitude toward the stock market. Wall Street wants you to show some courage and resume handing your money over to Wall Street, the way you did back in the excellent 1990s, when we had a New Economy, and leading Wall Street analysts were touting all these amazing new companies that were in the exciting new business of . . . OK, nobody really knew what exact business they were in, but it was NEW!

And now Carl Hiaasen:

Rigas, 78, is the founder of the now-bankrupt Adelphia cable-television empire. He and two of his sons were hauled away by postal inspectors and charged with looting millions from Adelphia as it went down the tubes.

Those who have dealt with their local cable company couldn't be shocked to hear that there might be stealing and deceit at high levels. The surprise was that the feds actually had busted somebody for it.

Apparently, the mere sight of a CEO in handcuffs was enough to help send the stock markets soaring.

Link Discuss (via MeFi)

Fake Tourists tout mobile phones

Sony Ericsson has hired 60 actors to "haunt tourist attractions such as the Empire State Building in New York and the Space Needle in Seattle. Working in teams of two or three and behaving as if they were actual tourists, the actors and actresses will ask unsuspecting passersby to take their pictures" with a new mobile phone that comes with a built in camera. Link Discuss

Backyard mech-warrior how-to

Great documentary site explaining the details of the construction of this mind-croggling backyard mech-warrior, built from old crates and spare parts. Link Discuss

Nine tons' worth of quasi-mythological calimari invade SoCal beach

Nine tons of giant squid beached themselves on a beach north of San Diego last week. Link Discuss

Viva el Network Estupido!

David Isenberg has posted some extremely pithy remarks about the relationship of broadband and "high-quality content" and the end-to-end principle:
Today everybody from George Bush to Mike Powell to the wise executives of Silicon Valley are talking about broadband, broadband, broadband. But broadband without real internetworking, without the pure, stupid, end-to-end Internet, will be as useful as a television that can order pizza. I'd rather have the Internet over a plain-old dial-up connection than broadband with some form of pseudo-internetworking.

So if you hear that somebody is going to "enhance" the Internet -- to make it more efficient, to Pay the Musicians, to Protect the Children, to thwart hackers, to enhance Homeland Security, to find Osama, or whatever -- this is almost certainly propaganda from the powerful businesses that are threatened by the Internet. Remember that the Internet became the success it is today -- and the threat that it is to existing telcos -- because it is a Stupid Network, an end-to-end network.

Link Discuss (Thanks, Lee!)

Praise from Rudy Rucker for my forthcoming novel

I gave science-fiction wildman Rudy Rucker a copy of my forthcoming novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom for a blurb and he did one better, saying some real nice things about it in this killer interview.
I have a vague sense that it's about time for a new cohort of exciting SF writers. You could say we had the Golden Age guys in the 40s, the New Wave in the 60s, Cyberpunk in the 80s, so there ought to be something interesting in the 00s. But I'm not out there reading the magazines and the first novels, so I'm not the right guy to ask. Just at random, one first novel I did recently happen to read and like is Cory Doctorow, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, due from Tor Books this fall. He does this next-generation thing of pretty much taking for granted certain far-out SFictional notions that I still think of as a big deal; for instance, his characters are online all the time via implants, which still strikes me as a kind of shockingly evil possible development. Why evil? How would you like to have Muzak, spam, telemarketing calls, political ads, polling, and surveillance going on in your head 24/7?
Link Discuss (Thanks, Rudy!)

Sacrelicious prayer panties

These prayer-panties, bearing such inspirational messages as "WWJD?" and "Where Will You Spend Eternity?" are positively sacrelicious! Link Discuss

Former kleptocrat dictator living with his mom now

The former dictator of Sierra Leone, now deposed, is living in his mom's place and playing cards at the local bar these days.
Charismatic, muscle-bound and six-foot-two, he's the dominant figure at the bar he often frequents, which stands tenuously together with bamboo poles and plastic sheeting somehow obtained from the U.N. World Food Program.

Whatever the future holds, Strasser will always have his high-profile past to relish.

"Oh it was good. I was the youngest ... head of state in the whole wide world," he said with a guffaw, looking around the bar for support.

Then he leaned forward with a wide smile and slapped a high-five on the hand of someone sitting across from him.

Link Discuss (via New World Disorder)

Cocktail playing-cards

Utterly swanky playing cards with recipes for favorite cocktails -- better than nudes! Comes with a cocktail shaker. Still, the whole package isn't worth the $50 they want for it, in my opinion. Link Discuss (Thanks, Grad!)

Arlo Guthrie, netizen

Arlo Guthrie has an AOL account and he uses Usenet to research folk music and run down folkie trivia with acoustic-nerds.
From: ADG01369 (
Subject: Re: Woody Guthrie's picking style question

I may have answered too quickly... thumb on the down-beats and fingers between works better...

Link Discuss (via Robot Wisdom)

eBay is an evidence bonanza for asbestos lawyers

Lawyers are using eBay to gather evidence in asbestos suits:
After a heated bidding war on eBay, Mark Lanier recently paid $2,125 to win a 1941 Naval Machinery manual.

It sounds like a peculiar collecting hobby, but to Lanier it was serious business. The Houston lawyer, who sues companies on behalf of asbestos-exposure victims, was bidding against a defense lawyer to get his hands on an evidentiary trophy filled with details on where and how asbestos was used aboard ships...

"You are talking about activities that occurred 20, 30, 40 years ago," said Eliot Jubelirer, a San Francisco lawyer who represents corporations. "There's nobody alive today who was in those companies years ago."

Link Discuss (Thanks, Lee!)

Usenet ASCII art made by gaming Google

Ben Hammersley sez: Metafilter uncovers a neat new thing: Posting to Usenet in such a way that when you search for a keyword in Google Groups, the automatic highlighting on the message makes a picture. Link, Link Discuss (via Ben Hammersley)

Danny embraces the Panopticon

Danny "NTK" O'Brien has embraced the Panopticon and written a little app that makes guesses about where he is and whether he's awake. Load the link below and his agent will pry into Danny's personal life on your behalf:
hereabouts I last saw Danny on Tue Jul 30 at 21:53. I think he was hacking away on a borrowed iBook. I remember he told me to say: I'm in, at or about:

Aug 14? Portland, OR
Aug 29-Sep 2 ConJose WorldCon (must. buy. tickets)
Sept. 9th-21st (?) UK
Sept. 30th - October 3rd O'Reilly MacOS conference (awaiting press creditation)

Mail To be read: 14
To be answered: 38
Spam: 673 spam mails since Sat Jul 27 22:52:47 2002
If the "To be read" indicator gets too big, I'm probably busy.

Link Discuss (via Quinn)

Animated Pop-up Book of Phobias

Gary Greenberg, author of the wonderful "Pop-up Book of Phobias" has put up a great vanity site, with a link to his animated promo for the PuBoP that is so intensely creepy and wonderful, I will have nightmares for years. Link Discuss (Thanks, Gary!)

How-to for sleazemongers

Managing Activism: A Guide to Dealing with Activists and Pressure Groups is a book that gives expert advice to corporate players on how to neutralize whistle blowers who call them out on corrupt and unethical practices.
Managing Activism is written for PR practitioners whose clients engage in risky businesses (fossil fuels, pesticides, genetically engineered foods, nuclear waste, toxic dumps, animal testing) and who therefore become the targets of "activist groups" including "environmentalists, workers' rights activists, animal rights groups and human rights campaigners." Don't expect much sympathy for the activists. Deegan is a battle-hardened PR veteran and a committed soldier in the war against activists who "in an increasingly pluralistic society" present what she calls "a growing threat to organizations of all shapes and sizes. And because activists employ a wide range of aggressive tactics such as generating bad publicity, seeking government and legislative intervention, encouraging boycotts, etc., they can cause severe disruption, including damage to reputation, sales, profitability, employee satisfaction and, of course, share price."
Link Discuss (Thanks, John!)

O Canada movie from Epcot slated for replacement

O Canada, the CircleVision 360 movie at the Canada pavilion in Epcot Center is slated for an update:
O'Canada has been running since the 1980's and that Canadian Tourism board are rumoured to be unhappy that it shows a dated view of the country
Funny notes on CircleVision movies, from Koenig's More Mouse Tails: A Closer Peek Backstage at Disneyland:
For the filmmakers, the greatest challenge was ensuring that something interesting was happening on every screen. Sometimes there might be beautiful scenery on one side of the road and nothing on the other. Full-round vision also made it difficult for the director to ensure that unwanted images stayed off the screen. Inconsistencies in the 1966 film America the Beautiful, for example, included tissues blowing across the battlefield during the Battle of Gettysburg, a child picking his nose and cattle jumping each other. Near the Liberty Bell, an elderly man trips on a crack in the sidewalk and quickly looks around to make sure no one can see him. Across from Independence Hall, a mother holding a cigarette lowers her hand an accidentally burns her young daughter's wrist. Since the cameras were assembled in a circle, there was no place for people to hide to watch the filming. Consequently, Walt Disney can be spotting in about a half-dozen scenes, watching the action from the shadows.
Link Discuss (Thanks, Tavie!)

Smart Mobs: Swarm the Planet

WashPo talks to Howard Rheingold about Smart Mobs, his new book about the ways that networked communications generate purposeful, leaderless swarms of humanity:
"It's the search for peak experience, something that's really going to be special," says Adam Eidinger, a District political organizer. "It happened to me just last week. There was a concert at Fort Reno -- Fugazi." His cell rang. "There's this guy, Bernardo, who's one of the biggest swarmer cell-phone people I know." Came the restless call: " 'Where are you? There are all these people here!' And he wasn't just calling us. He called 25 people. Pretty soon everybody he knew was sitting on the grass, and none of them knew they were going to be there that morning."...

Former Philippine president Joseph Estrada, accused of massive corruption, was driven out of power two years ago by smart mobs who swarmed to demonstrations, alerted by their cell phones, gathering in no time. "It's like pizza delivery," Alex Magno, a political science professor at the University of the Philippines, told The Post at the time. "You can get a rally in 30 minutes -- delivered to you."

Link Discuss (via Ben Hammersley)

Switch different -- geeky Switch campaign parodies from OSCON

The attendees at the O'Reilly Open Source Conference had a high old time, despite my absence. Evidence of the intersection of MacOS hackers and Free Software advocates: they put together half a dozen parodies of the Apple "Switch" ads, using an iBook and iMovie, natch. My favorites are Nat Torkington's sarcastic paeon to Python (starring his ass, no less!) and Sarah Burcham's "I'm Just a Girl" rationale for adopting XP over Linux. Link Discuss (via Raelity Bytes)

The happiest photos on Earth

Ben and Mena "Movable Type" Trott took some holidays in Disneyland -- their photos are wonderful. The photographer's eye really exposes the surreal, pastel wunderland that is The Happiest Place on Earth. Link Discuss (via Dollarshort)

Wireless stats for fun and profit

Great collection of 802.11a and WiFi statistics. As Kevin Werbach notes, these are great fodder if you're going out trying to raise money for a standards-defined wireless Internet company (you know who you are!).
The good: WLAN product sales for businesses are up, as high as 175%, and will continue to grow another 60% in 2002. Security specialists, of course, have done quite well in the last few months, as 802.11x security remains the consistent bug in most business implementations.
Link Discuss (via Werblog)


The geekiest rock-band ever: they perform short speed-metal biographies of great science fiction writers.
BlöödHag is a band from Seattle, WA. They are dedicated to the promotion of literacy in a Heavy Metal format. All their songs are short speed metal bios of some of the greatest science fiction writers of all time. With songs such as "J.R.R. Tolkein and "Michael Moorcock" they will blow your illiterate ass right back to the library...

Ray Bradbury

Pretty Good For Never Having Gone To College, Ray
But When I Saw You On TV I Felt You Owed Me An Apology
But Not For: Fahrenheit 451
Not For: Golden Apples of the Sun
Not For: Something Wicked This Way Comes
Not For: Martian Chronicles, Volume One

Link Discuss (via Making Light)

I'm back and boy, did my holidays ever kick azz!

Didja miss me? I had a totally killer couple of weeks. Saw friends and family. Had an awesome birthday celebration. Got good schwag. Accumulated about 50 blogworthy tidbits that I'll be posting over the remainder of the week. Best of all, I got a ton of writing done. I'm back at work on novel #3, "Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town," and I wrote a long novella about Trusted Computing called "0wnz0red" that is so! utterly! geeky! Here's a taste: Link Discuss