Sunday, April 29, 2007

Livn Flickr '06

Saturday morning at the newly renovated Golden Nugget begins by standing in a long line waiting to be seated. My recent conquest over checking my gMail account using an old crappy phone made me curious to see if Flickr worked just as well. My thoughts were that capturing the moment on "mobile film" would help tighten the gap between technology and life. Unfortunately the amount of time it took to sign-in and eventually fail at uploading my picture proved the opposite; the bright side being that I essentially got to blank out during the line standing experience.

The only reason why I thought to do this over breakfast was that most of yesterday and today has been spent learning the Flickr way. A couple weeks ago I uploaded a bunch of my designs but lost my hard drive in the process. I can't begin to count the amount of music, writing, and old design examples I lost in that crash. Getting back on Flickr was frankly too depressing until I got a call from with a request to see my design portfolio. Thanks to FactoryJoe for showing me the way! (And thanks to Anton Barbeau for chanting "I'm gonna live forever 'till the day I die!")

So back on the Flickr trail I managed to scour the web in search of my old designs that managed to permeate the web. The bulk, of course, coming from both and NeoWorx, as Cybertrust (and their high security corporate policies) never released anything to the public but their earnings report. I uploaded these along with a couple screen shots I took from the Web and uploaded an incredibly professional portfolio on Flickr. Really makes me regret all the hours I sunk into web and PDF portfolios in previous lifetimes.

Standing in line at the Golden Corral I thought of all those moments that had come and gone; how the technology of paper and trinkets is so temporary as to be lost in a moment of forgetfulness; that the social web is an evolution in our thoughts as a species; how mobile connects our minds more substantially than quick conversations and instant messages. Livn Flickr '06 was an expansion of consciousness if not for the fact that the technology hadn't quite caught up to Dayton, Ohio 2007. None of it, really, worked.

Back at the homestead on my decade old PC I managed to meander down memory lane recalling all the old sites I uploaded to Flickr. It was great to include a line or two about the politics at play with the work, as well as locate the position of the contract on a Google map. Unfortunately, as websites tends to do, this pushed me out of my immediate contacts to deal with those far and wide. Doesn't quite feel as advanced as I had hoped -- but BOY does my portfolio look fantastic! Stop on by and leave some comments. Help me look good for my future employer!

(You know who you are.)

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Message to

I find it most unfortunate that your organization removed access to the public forum so far in advance of the elections. It seems as if the moment people begin selecting the right candidate that one of the strongest tools on the Internet would be taken away for "bandwidth" reasons.

This decision seems to follow an underlying contradiction to your message. While I see the promises of working with the Christian Coalition on Internet Freedom along with the opportunity to discuss our ideas in a public forum, I also see that you strongly oppose electronic voting machines in favor of paper ballots.

While I am still young I remember recent examples where paper trails consistently followed the lies which continue to lead this country around in circles. The answer is simple: Open Source Voting. But before this is possible, we require machines which would allow anyone to vote -- regardless of them owning a personal computer.

Before that happens it seems quite obvious that further education is required of those who begin online democratic forums without realizing that the Internet is evolving into a Social Web. We are coming together as human beings for the first time since we sat foot in this world.

Denying the technology which is enabling the Social Web only goes further to build a wall between those who have -- in this case, access to the paper trails -- and those who have not. Open Source voting is transparent enough for everyone to count.

Please stop campaigning for paper trails and help support the Open Source and Free Culture Movement.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Free Culture Movement

Noam Chomsky has seriously impaired by ability to appreciate NPR. On the worst day of civilian casualties in Iraq the American Media was overtaken by a crack pot with a gun. My image of NPR as a "fair and balanced" news source was flooded every fifteen minutes with an update on Virginia Tech. The media has sensationalized the tragedy to the point that we overlooked our President sending even more of our children off to die. The simple bait and switch routine gets us every time.

But the trick of it is that you've got to have a big enough flash to get our attention. The easiest way to accomplish this is to have us all watching the same show. This is how we lost control of our Freedom. This is also how we have arrived at a turning point in our culture. The shows they once controlled on our televisions and radios are being replaced by an open source: shared videos on YouTube, free software on Linux, public audio through podcasts, along with an overwhelming explosion of social networks.

This is the beginnings of the Free Culture Movement.

Elsewhere on NPR I was disappointed with an interview on Fresh Air where the host repeatedly attempted to shred the creator of Wikipedia. For those of you yet to be addicted to knowledge please know that everyone from my grandmother to my daughter has fallen in love with learning thanks to his site. The interviewer's constant criticisms of the accuracy of Open Knowledge felt like Fear to me. The fires she doused on his Free Culture Movement made it difficult to understand what he was talking about. Thankfully, he's got a website!

The Free Culture Foundation

After the interview I caught PRI blending the two subjects together on a discussion on Open Source Terrorism. The idea being that terrorist cells are evolving along an open source frameworks. This means that structures, which once had a core that could be attacked, are now composed of individual nodes which work in conjunction with one another towards a common goal. The common goal, in their case, being to overthrow the Capitalist Empire of the United States -- their words, not mine.

And like a perfectly organic, open source, social web, the jihad is spreading from the Middle East, across Europe, into Africa; connecting the strong network in Cuba, and the whole of South America. In plain terms, we're fighting a war using 1950 military tactics, relying on our superior technology to overwhelm the enemy in their home territory. Just like Vietnam all over again. What you don't see is a bunch of long haired hippie types tied up naked to a tree.

This generation is tied to their keyboard, putting the words of Karl Marx into action by providing software which is free and open to everyone to use and benefit from. But that is barely the tip of the iceberg. Free Culture seeks to explore the furthest reaches of what a Free and Open Society truly means. Please sign up and show your support by using free software such as FireFox and OpenOffice, and building social networks on Blogger, Wordpress, and Ning.

The future is happening now. Get involved!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Next Mimsy

At approximately 3pm this afternoon I leaned against the sunny side of my office enjoying a cigarette when my body began to buzz. My initial thoughts raced around the crazy lines of logic I followed last summer -- imagining that the resonance of my body was operating at a different frequency, as if the electricity which was racing through my cells was evolving my DNA and all that nonsense. I stomped out my smoke and passed through the security checkpoint, walked up the stairs and sat in the middle of a complex filled with cubicles as far as the eye can see.

Currently I'm involved in the redesign of a major corporate website. My job is to switch outdated code with the current trends. Typically I entertain myself by listening to podcasts such as Democracy Now! Since Monday they've been interviewing Noam Chomsky along with his friend and fellow philosopher Howard Zinn -- who just so happened to author a book I'd love to get the Cliff Notes for: The People's History of the United States. (I say Cliff Notes but actually I would prefer a YouTube video. I am the child of the media culture for Your sake!

To illustrate my point: On the car ride to the movies with my two little ladies I was attempting to interest my daughter on The People's History of the United States. I said that "I'd trade something to get you to read that book in tandem with your lessons at school." Undoubtedly she's forgotten the proposal and the name of the book by now. Still, I feel it is my duty to come up with something tempting enough to get her to read the book.)

In the last series of interviews, Noam Chomsky told a story about listening to NPR and becoming so angry that he didn't notice he was speeding -- apparently an unacceptable excuse to the cop that wrote him the ticket. The story on the radio told all about the "Great Black Hope," Mr. Barak Obama. "He got a really good response from the crowd. Everybody seemed to love him. There was a lot of energy amongst the crowd on such a cold and rainy day."

And I heard the sales pitch that Mr. Chomsky pointed out when he said that "the same people who sell you toothpaste sell you the next President of the United States." And I knew that I wanted to vote for Mr. Obama in the next election but I didn't know why until then. But when the show on the radio suddenly started talking about an actor on a popular television show considering his name for the Republican ticket, I knew every mention of the word Reagan was intentional (from a radio station I considered to be unbiased).

At the age of 33 my interest in politics absolutely astound me. What I'm piecing together about the process of information being filtered from the AP newswire to appease the advertisers -- I realized that it took me too long to begin to see the world around me for what it really is. And I wondered how my little girl would ever see past the bright lights of the millionaires to see what she was put here to do; or if she would have to wait until her thirties just like her old man.

When I heard Noam mention that "if the War in Vietnam was actually taught in schools the War in Iraq would have never been fought." What little manages to make it to the media struggles to make a mark in the publishing world. As far as the history books which our children study are concerned, the war was fought and America left, with a bunch of hippies doing things kids shouldn't do in between. Thankfully I had He-Man and G.I. Joe to teach me right from wrong. That's more than I can say for my daughter now that the Powerpuff Girls are off the air.

After the three of us managed to inhale a bag full of burritos we bought our tickets to see The Last Mimsy. Up until this point I was assuming we were watching a movie about time traveling bunny rabbits. The plot sounded a lot safer than the rash of Mexican PETA porn we've been watching. By the time we got to the real toys I was amazed. I felt as if I was watching my daughter's generation's Neverending Story; her Dark Crystal, or Labrynth. The crazy part was that the movie inspired every interest I had last Summer -- of the Mayan maps of the universe and the Evolution of our Species.

Every reason why I write this blog is stuffed inside The Last Mimsy. What's more is that those same voices which help guide me through the packaged products my government is selling to me, my daughter now has the most important thing of all to give to our youth: Hope. If my crazy theories are correct, that resonance carries outward and shapes the world around us. The message of the Bush Administration is Terror, which leads to fear -- shaping the very fabric of our DNA and destroying our race.

Bug whispering sounds a hell of a lot cooler.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Resistance to Civil Government

While Walden can be applied to almost anyone's life, "Civil Disobedience" is like a venerated architectural landmark: it is preserved and admired, and sometimes visited, but for most of us there are not many occasions when it can actually be used. Still, although it is seldom mentioned without references to Gandhi and King, "Civil Disobedience" has more history than many suspect. In the 1940's it was read by the Danish resistance, in the 1950's it was cherished by people who opposed McCarthyism, in the 1960's it was influential in the struggle against South African apartheid, and in the 1970's it was discovered by a new generation of anti-war activists. The lesson learned from all this experience is that Thoreau's ideas really do work, just as he imagined they would.

"Civil Disobedience"
by Henry David Thoreau (1849)

Part One - Part Two - Part Three

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Healthy Americans Act

It’s time to fix health care and provide universal coverage to all. After decades of talk and study, it’s time for action. Fixing health care is not as complicated as one might think. Start by eliminating the inefficiency, beginning with when a person signs up for coverage. Get citizens good outpatient health care so they don’t go to hospital emergency rooms when it is preventable. Reward prevention – health care, not sick care. Beef up the quality of care by reducing medical errors in our hospitals. The Healthy Americans Act does this. The legislation provides a guarantee: Private coverage—at least as good as Members of Congress receive—is a right of all Americans that can never be taken away. With this guarantee, there will be universal coverage for no more than America spends as a nation today on health care.


…guarantees universal, private health insurance for ALL Americans.

Under the new system, every American will have the power to choose a comprehensive health insurance plan, and—with individuals, employers and government each investing something into the system—insurance will be guaranteed to be affordable for every American.

The Healthy Americans Act will match insurers with health care consumers in an environment designed for competition. Each state, with financial support from the Federal government and insurance companies, will establish a Health Help Agency. Health Help Agencies will lower administrative costs by coordinating payments from employers, individuals and government. These agencies will also provide consumers with unbiased information about competing private health plans and determine premim reductions that will ensure every American can afford their health plan. With the resources to compare plans based on quality, cost and service, individuals—rather than their employers—will be empowered to choose the health plan that works best for them and their families.

Government will be responsible for ensuring that every American has and can afford health insurance. Every time an individual interacts with state, local and federal government—registering their car, enrolling their children in school, applying for a driver’s license or paying their taxes—they can be required to verify their enrollment in a private health insurance plan. Government will in turn ensure that every American can afford health care by working through the Health Help Agencies to lowe premiums and by providing standard health care tax deductions for individuals and families.

Read the full PDF by clicking here.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Fast Food Renationalization Project

Every now and then you find a movie on the wall of the video store that you were one excited to see but had somehow forgotten. The title alone is enough to evoke an instant guarantee of a night of pure entertainment; such that on the way home you would practice your interviews for when they asked how you got involved with the film. I would tell the press that I knew /Fast Food Nation/ was another quick investment from someone in Hollywood looking to make a couple bucks -- but /Fast Food Nation/-- the Opportunity to work on a movie adaptation of such an important book is a rare chance in a lifetime.

What really sold me on picking up the movie was a conversation my daughter and I had the day before. Apparently she has reached the point in a young girl's life where the consumption of meat is called into question. The stories of animal parts and other crap falling into the low quality meat served as the foundation to her wanting to explore the vegetable side of the plate. Her only reservation was the fact that, aside from pickles and potato chips, she didn't really know what other options were available. My hopes were that providing an all-star cast of Hollywood liberalism was a good way to help her begin to explore.

When we finally got situated we started by watching some of the cartoons in the DVD extras. These were wonderful little PETA-lite commercials with cows and pigs acting out roles from the Matrix. They called it /The Meatrix/ and tied the three shorts together with a website to help kids learn more about where the meat comes from. The last cartoon didn't have so much to do with Morpheus but did involve a lot more intestines being pulled out of cute little animals than I would have preferred my little girl watching. Then we got to the movie and I realized that those little critters didn't hold a candle to what was in store.


/Fast Food Nation/ can best be described as Mexican PETA Porn filled with plenty of blood and drugs and hamburgers. The wonderful little tidbits of liberal one-liners were drowned out by the cameras attention to the lusty little immigrants. The big names like Bruce Willis and Kris Kristofferson were but momentary flashes of greatness before a grand slaughterhouse finale which led to the main character going right back to working for the man. Ultimately I would have thought the entire movie to be a complete loss until I saw the making of the film.

I believe that the real film may actually be on the cutting room floor of an underpaid editor who decided he wasn't making enough money to finish the job. If this is the case we might have the opportunity to petition Richard Linklater to post the full movie on BitTorrent. Movie editors from around the country could submit different variations of the final movie -- some dry, witty humor or bloody gory mutilation -- whatever the director feels represents his message to the audience. A certain 911 exposure film did the same thing recently. It's the least he could do after introducing my daughter to the wilder side of Mexico.