Dec 31, 2004
But then there are some good poems, which do convey universe of meanings in their microscopic form (eeerrr...I think I am gettign to poetic myself, now.). So let me just invite you to familiarize yourself with work of Zbigniew Herbert.
Several his poems have been translated into English, including my favourite Report from the Besieged City. I like it so much I have learned it by heart once, just for myself :)
Unfortunately, my 2nd favourite, Powrót Prokonsula, is available online only in Polish.
In this last day of 2004, I think that some poetry is just what the doctor's ordered...enjoy, and see you next year :)
Dec 30, 2004
And I submitted another bio to Featured Articles Candidates: Witold Pilecki
He took part in Polish-Soviet War, ensuring the communist menace didn't conquer Europe in the aftermath of IWW. He fought in the Polish Defence War of 1939 and Warsaw Uprising. He was the only person to volunteer to be imprisoned at Auschwitz Concentration Camp, where he organized a resistance movement and helped inform the Western Allies of Nazi Germany's camp atrocities (although the Allies chose not to believe him, considering his reports grossly exaggerated). If this is not a hero, who is? And for all this, he was executed in 1948 by communist authorities after a staged trial, for his loyality to the democratic Polish Government in Exile in London.
Consider: Pilecki in Auschwitz, 42, and Mokotów, 47. Good proof there was little difference between Nazis and Communists.
To a forgotten hero. We do remember you.
Dec 28, 2004
' Google Scholar enables you to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research. Use Google Scholar to find articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the web.'
Definetly a tool with great potential. I spend hours looking for various info every day, and often it is difficult to find proper peer-reviewed materials in the flood of web junk. Google Schoolar seems like a good idea. Just look at the results on my fav topic, 'evolution of democracy'. Quite a few worthwile hits - a much bigger improvement then results from 'classic Google (keep in mind 'peer review', this is be or not to be for anybody thinking 'serious science').
Oh. It has its own official blog :)
On a more distant front, Cassini-Huygens, the Saturn probe, has , released a probe to land on Titan. Setting beside many trivia things, I am nicely suprised by the coverage such a current event is getting on Wiki. Same as with Ukraine's Orange Revolution. Before Wiki, we had to wait years for new things to be added to encyclopedia. Now it is happening almost in an instant. Sign of times, perhaps?
Space.com has a pretty nice coverage as well. A site dedicated to space news. Nifty. :)
Dec 27, 2004
And they look cool. See the Battlemechs...
Oh. Found you another nice comic. Real life. Check their 'mecha' comic. Requirements: understand the difference between western and eastern mecha concepts :>
Dec 25, 2004
Dec 23, 2004
And what better then to read some funny comics?
Garfield is my old favourite, although they have lately redisgned their site, making it cluttered with usless Flash junk, and even worse, music. And the new postcards and games are as bad as the movie was. Oh well, the comic is still is good. :)
Sluggy, as always, is nifty and a bit cracked.
Grand Avenue seems nice. Although I have discovered it just today :)
Calvin and Hobble are just being themsevles.
In case you want to see more, here is a nice collection of links.
Oh yes. Merry XMAS - Wesołych Świąt!
Dec 21, 2004
Better then Microsoft Office, free, smaller, compatibile with all known formats, with text editor, spreadsheet, presentation tool, database and graphic editor - if you haven't tried OO, do so now!
In case you want a second opinion, here is a review from the Inquirer.
Ooo, the power of OO! :)
Dec 20, 2004
Perhaps this short poem from his novel 'Distress' will illustrate best what today's blog is about:
It is not true that the map of freedom will be complete
with the erasure of the last invidious border when it remains for us to chart the attractors of thunder
and delineate the arrhythmias of drought to reveal the molecular dialects of forest and savanna
as rich as a thousand human tongues and to comprehend the deepest history of our passions
ancient beyond mythology's reach
So I declare that no corporation holds a monopoly on numbers
no patent can encompass zero and one
no nation has sovereignty over adenine and guanine
no empire rules the quantum waves
And there must be room for all at the celebration of
for there is a truth which cannot be bought or sold imposed by force, resisted or escaped.
And now, with no further diversions, the most important link of this post:
Dec 17, 2004
Wiki main page consists of several very useful tools, making it an accidental but extremly nice portal. Unlike the commercial portals, that shower you with adds and substandard services like 'free' (lol...) email or advertisers-friendly search engine, wiki sports no ads and has both the important utility and trivia features you may want to start your day.
Utility comes first, so here it is: In the news. Or as wikipedians call them - current events. Look to the right side of Wiki's main page. If something important is happening out there, wiki will have a note about it asap. For me it is much better to start my day checking for important global news on Wiki then going to a site like CNN and trying to see what is going on by browsing through dozen of US-centric dumbed-down news, half the time concerned with (let me check what is on CNN *now*) - oh yes, 'Slain mom's baby believed to be found.' Geez. Like I care. This is what is important for me: European Union leaders agree to invite Turkey to begin negotiations to join the EU from 3 October 2005. With a picture, it is one of the first things that hit me when I loaded Wiki page today. And suprise, to find it on CNN I had to scroll down one screen and check the tiny World news hyperlinks section. No comment :>
Then there is the wiki search engine. Sure, it is limited to wiki only, but if it doesn't find you what you want, it gives you the choice to search for the term on Google or Yahoo. Honestly, I find myself more and more often going first to Wiki site for search then to Google. The logic is simple: if I type whatever on Google, I get zillion hits, sometimes getting lucky and having relevant ones early. But if I go to Wiki, sure, I have a good chance of finding nothing and having to go to Google anyway - but more and more often Wiki nets me a releavant article, saving me having to sort Google pages. Btw, you can now have Wiki search in your Mozilla browser in addition to Google toolbar. If it is not near perfect, then what is?
After you know the news, then you can check the trivia. Althoug Wiki trivia is almost always useful. Sooner or later...knowledge is power. Behold, the left of Current Events: Featured Articles.
Featured articles are the heart of Wiki. Or at the very least, one of several heats. Each day they provide new article for the Main Page. With a nice picture. Btw, while I am talking about pictures, please take a look at Featured Picture section! Featuered section means that people have a good reason to visit Wiki every day, even if they are not looking for anything particular - they can read the short lead on interesting subject, and if they find it interesting, the entire article itself. Well, thats trivia for you :) Then there is of course more trivia like Selected Anniversaires and Did you know... section.
If you ever though encyclopedia is not fun (who didn't? :>), time to revise that. Off you go, have fun at wiki. :)
Dec 16, 2004
But just few days ago it was joined by Thundirbird 1.0, the best email client out there :> So if you are using Outlook Exploder, the virus-friendly client, feel free - or should I say obliged - to check the 'bird.
Of course it will import all you old mails, settings, passwords, and such.
Consider this: many people happily load Firefox and Thunderbird onto Windows, but would anybody ever load Internet Explorer onto desktop Linux?
Feel the power of open source...
Dec 13, 2004
An old forgotten base somewhere out on the pacific. An asylum for insane soldiers and officers, too highly connected or (in)famous to be send elsewhere.
Sergant Al cultivates his love for young soldiers.
Dr. Friederich cultivates his love for photography.
And the old, mentally lost General A creates his art.
He uses neither paper nor canvas.
He uses something totally different.
I feel Oscar a'comin'. Check it yourself.
Dec 10, 2004
Enjoy. And if you want more, remember there is the entire Bean Free Library out there!
Dec 9, 2004
On second thought, it is not as crazy idea as one may think. Economic games do allow one to see which blogs are most popular, and some other nifty tools provided by BlogShares allow are useful for seeing blogosphere growth or track how individual blogs are doing.
Still. LOL. Oh, do invest in Voice... :D
Dec 8, 2004
Let's hope it does gets licenced in US or Europe one day, so it all can be reased as high quality DVDs...mmm....you did sign the petition, did you? No? Go now and sign! NOW!
One can always dream...
Dec 4, 2004
Feel free to read it. I have to admit, parts of his work are really fascinating.
There is this problem that I can't get out of my head.
I. Weber concluded that:
* Christianity is the reason our Occident (Western) culture is dominant today
II. Weber never wrote directly that in his works, but it is (my) logical conclusion:
* if we accept the Christianity religious view that there is a God and he gave his revelations to Jews and later Christians - we have to ask why didn't He gave this revelations to other civilisation (Chinese, Native American, African, etc.)? Did He meant for Western culture to dominate?
* if there is no divine puprose behind that process, does Western culture domination is based on accident - i.e. invention of 'right' religion in the Middle East few k years ago?
* is the path towards modern state, illustrated by Weber, the only path a civilisation can take? ie. if Christianity never appeared, would we be still living in 'ancient era', without scientifc method and capitalsm? What is needed for civilisation evolution? For how long can a civilisation stagnate - consider that in our world it was Occident that evolved fast and thus gained domination over other civlisations/cultures, which compared to Occident development, mostly stayed frozen in time...
This relates to extraterrestial life and alternative histories, you know :)
Consider. If similar religion is needed for technological and cultural advancement, then if we meed aliens, they should be some interesting similarities between our cultures, even if they evolved in entirely idffrent and separate places.
Hmmm. From Weber to ETs. My mind does amaze even me sometimes. Take care,
Dec 3, 2004
Le Sabot : Big News -- Supreme Court Ruling
Tulip Girl : Just In -- Supreme Court Has Ruled!
Still, this is just the beginning. The process of 'democratization' (and I need to write about what this means one day) is not achieved in one election. Poland started it 14 years ago and we are still feeling the aftershocks, especially the corruption of most of our politicians (for which we have to thank the Western companies and their generous bribes, I am afraid).
Don't despair though. However flawed our reality is today, it is uncomparably better to what we left behind. Ukraine is in for a rough, but better times, I hope.
Still keeping fingers crossed,
Dec 2, 2004
Feel free to read it here: link. Unfortunately, it is in Polish. Sorry :>
In other news.
Le Sabot: The Reformers are nobody's fool. Just found out that Poroshenko is saying the protesters will stay put until Yanukovych is out of office. This makes sense, since there's no way to trust any vote run by his ministers. On a practical level little compromise seems possible (in my opinion) so long as Yanukovych holds on to his office.
Agreed. As long as they hold office and power, what has changed? Not much.
Orange Ukraine: is now officialy orange (in all meanings of both officialy and orange :D).
Keep the support going. This fight is not yet over, and the bad guys still may have a few aces to play out. Remember: evil rarely goes down quietly.
Nov 28, 2004
Wikipedia: The Ukrainian Parliament declares the victory of Viktor Yanukovych in the disputed presidential election invalid. Though the decision is not legally binding, it comes as a symbolic victory for challenger Viktor Yushchenko.
In other news:
Le Sabot: Even the "independent" Russian stations are propagandizing. Last night on a program about plastic surgery they even managed to attack Yushchenko.
Independent and Russia...go figure :/
Windowglass has some interesting news from Bielorussia: Residents of Minsk demonstrated solidarity with Victor Yushenko today. Orange color dominated in central avenue of Belarusian capital
I have to admit I am very pleasantly suprised about this. I though Bieloruss opposition was much to weak for this. Kudos for you guys as well!
OrangeUkraine - new blog which is actually not orange (in color, becouse it definetly doesn't lack in spirit) :> - has aother good eyewintess account on what is going out there
TulipGirl - I'm tired of people outside of Ukraine trying to frame what is going on here as a "US/EU vs. Russia" thing, and so condescendingly refusing to see this is all about Ukraine. It is Ukrainians who have risen up, joined together, and finally have hope that things here can change.
ForeignNotes: read the story: My mother-in-law, revolutionary
And keep your fingers crossed, wear orange, spread the news, phone your politicians - the fight is not yet over!
Nov 26, 2004
Read the guys on spot!
The only foreign leader who has sided with Mr. Yanukovich has been President Vladimir Putin of Russia, which, needless to say, hasn't done much for the prime minister's credibility.
Le Sabot-Post Moderne:
a large group of militiamen is on-stage in Independence Square chanting "The Militia is with the People!
Windowglass: today has some interesting links including to Ukraining oppositions webcasts (radios) and such, like 5 Kanal and European Movement Ukraine
A Step At A Time: LOL. Tnx for the most entertaining article from Russian press: Russia blams Poland for Ukrainian Trouble. :)
The Periscope: some collected info and more links
Volodymyr Campaign: is spreadign word in UK
TulipGirl: has nifty buttons like:
International Support for Ukrainian Democracy: the title sais it all
PORA: I think it is kind of a news site. Good, short info briefs.
As for more traditional media, of course my favourite The Economist has an article, online edition, as well!
Needles to say, Wikipedia already has articles on Ukrainian presidential election, 2004 and Orange Revolution.
Nov 25, 2004
Today I will ask you to go to several blogs from Ukraine, covering their not-yet-revolution-but-not-election as well:
quotes: November, 22 I started to be really proud of my co-citizens.
quote: the website has now followed the very fine examples of Gazeta Wyborcza which has gone "orange" in solidarity with Ukraine
Le Sabot Post Moderne
quotes: We need to be taking forward steps of civil disobedience (...) Lech Walesa is here!
quote: Today, during the 11 am newscast with live translation into the Sign Language, the translator, Natalya Dmytruk, did not translate what the host was saying about the election results, but said the following (quote via Ukrainska Pravda): The results from the Central Election Commission have been falsified. Do not believe them. Our President is Yushchenko. I am very disgusted that I was forced to translate the lies until now. I'm not going to do it anymore. I'm not sure if I'll see you again.
Nov 23, 2004
2004 Ukrainian presidential election: Ukraine's electoral commission declares Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych the winner. Opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko calls for supporters to protest "the total falsification of the vote". Observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) say the run-off vote "did not meet international standards", and the senior U.S. election observer, Senator Richard Lugar, notes a "concerted and forceful program of election day fraud".
Poll protest at Ukraine parliament
Observers: Poll abuse in Ukraine
Ukraine Liberal Tells Supporters to Protest All Night
Ukraine gripped by poll turmoil
Nov 21, 2004
Nov 17, 2004
It is a Wiki project - meaning you can participate now, without logging in or any kind of registraton. Everything is open, nothing is final. What Wikinews will and can be depends in large part on you. There already is a global Wikinews mailing list(http://mail.wikipedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikinews-l) for discussing the project. If you are interested at all, please subscribe -- coordination is of key importance. There's also an IRC channel #wikinews on irc.freenode.net. Realtime discussion can help to polish up articles.If you're looking for something to do, check out the articles in development(http://demo.wikinews.org/wiki/Category:Articles_in_development) and articles in review(http://demo.wikinews.org/wiki/Category:Articles_in_review). Or start a new story in the Wikinews workspace, or ignore the proposed review system - it's up to you. I hope you'll join us soon in this exciting experiment.
It is history in making, if you ask me - can you afford not to be a part of it? Well, yes, but think about braggin' right later...
Nov 15, 2004
There are two things to consider: the ebooks availabity, the software, and the hardware part.
The ebook availability is quite good. Majority of non-copyright wokrs (i.e. pre 1934) ara availalbe in places like Project Gutenberg and many others. New stuff (let's forget about pirates, please) is not as common, but there is some progress - I am especially amazed with great (and profitable) experiment of Baen Books, which sells their works though Webscription.net and in addition, offers MANY (as in dozens) free books in their Free Library as an apetizer. Do read this Usenet post when one of Baen's writers elaborates on the idea behind the Library. I just love such optimistic ideology...and when it comes true, it is a cause for celebration. Hip Hip Hurray for Baen, I say :)
The ebook software is quite fine - I presonally prefer the Standard Generalised Markup Language - i.e. your normal html, with added things like it remembers where you closed the window and is very easy to navigate (especially compared to some proprietary things I have seen. Microsoft Reader...horror...imagine your book hanging up...bleh).
It is the hardware that doesn't deliver. PDA's are evolving - and in few years may become as good as normal books (i.e. light and readable), but today? Of course you can read on your normal PC (desktop or laptop) - which I do from time to time, since the alternative (normal book) doesn't exist, I can't easily buy it...or is prohibitvly expensive.
Try again in 3 years, I say.
Nov 13, 2004
If you are using Internet, you have to learn some basic hygene. Just like if you meet other people, you usually shave/wash/put some clothes on, if you use the net, you have to know a few things.
I hope you are not one of those poor uneducated souls that still use IE/OE, but if you are, go download Mozilla of Firefox NOW! Downloading and installing will take just 5 minutes, their User Interface are similar to IE/OE (just better), and you will soon start working faster and safer!
In other security related news, if you want free firewall, try: Outpost Firewall
For free anti-virus, try: AVG
This security bulletin was brought to you by: VOICE OF THE PROKONSUL
Nov 10, 2004
Now, back to serious business. Today's topic is a bit abstract, but beautiful: fractals
It is one of those subjects that I think no lenghty discussions are necessary. The Wiki can tell you more about math and theories then I anyway. I just one to say one thing (well, a few): fractals represent both chaos and order, how they cannot exist without another, and how they create all beautiful things in life.
I am in a philosphical mood today. Don't worry, it will pass soon :>
Be sure to check the amazing fractal gallery at Greg Egan's page!
And then there were fractals.
Nov 9, 2004
What is so great about Wikitionary? ATM, nothing much. Project spawned off Wikipedia in Dec 2002 is new and defiently 'work in progress'. Much of the entries I check didn't exist (i.e. didn't exist before I added them ;). But the potential...imagining entering ANY word, and getting its: etymology, definition, grammar notes, pronouciation, quotatons, synonyms, antonyms, derived and related terms and last but not least translation into all existing languages (including conlangs).
Breathtaking vision? Sure! :)
Nov 7, 2004
Tradional media coorporations are doomed as well. They used to think: 'we paid for the news, we control the news, we say what is the news and what isn't'. It is time for their wake up call. Internet has long promised to take on their monopoly, and is now delivering. They are jblogs - the journalist blogs like Back-to-Iraq 3.0 or Andrewsulivan. They are free to read, but accept donations - and deliver news from various places, from Iraq to US elections, free from coorporation spin. And they are honest about it - they don't say 'I bring best unbiased news'. Their honestly state their perferences, and don't try to sneak any hidden agenda whithin their reports.
And this is just the start of the new free media avalanche. As with other Internet based things, it is all happening right now: witness Wikinews, a project spawned from Wikipedia: Current Events, which is being discussed and voted at that very moment on Wikimedia, the partent of Wikipedia and many other Big Letter Wiki projects.
And in the backgrounds, freeware tools like NAS (News Aggregator Software) further undermine the traditional media corporations monopoly...
Can you hear the dinosaurs swan song?
Nov 6, 2004
Wikipedia goal is to collect all human knowledge. Looking at examples like that I belive that it can do it in less then one decade.
And if that happens, who will want to use printed encyclopedias or dictonaries? When the ex-CEO of Britannica predicts that they are as doomed as dinosaurs...I am not the one to argue.
Onward, to the new world. One more tradition bites the dust.
Nov 5, 2004
Nov 2, 2004
Wonder what is coming next...
Nov 1, 2004
In the night, when we pass various graveyard on our way to home, thousands of candles flickle in the dark.
I wonder how do they look from up there...
Oct 31, 2004
Which means that most of us now very little about Africa of today, and even less about it's history. And that is a shame - especially for history lovers like me. Reading about such strange places is close to reading a good fantasy book - one simply cannot belive that it really happened.
Let me show you my favourites story of the Axumite Kingdom. Well before 1 AD it has carved massive monuments, like the Obelisk of Axum.
And this is just the tip of an iceberg...stay tuned to Wikipedia: History of Africa!
Oct 29, 2004
It starts with pointing the Big Evil in today's technology: it is way to complex! And I agree. Let's consider Linux, for example: a beautiful thing, a great idea...and way too complex for most people to use. Make it simple!
Today some 70% of the world's population are “analogues”, who are “terrified by technology”, and for whom the pain of technology “is not just the time it takes to figure out new gadgets but the pain of feeling stupid at each moment along the way”. Another 15% are “digital immigrants”, typically thirty-somethings who adopted technology as young adults; and the other 15% are “digital natives”, teenagers and young adults who have never known and cannot imagine life without IM (instant messaging, in case you are an analogue). But a decade from now, Mr Coburn says, virtually the entire population will be digital natives or immigrants, as the ageing analogues convert to avoid social isolation. Once again, the needs of these converts point to a hugely increased demand for simplicity.
Can it be done? I always said that one should look at the history to see what is coming in the future. Not for details, but for overall thrends, obviously. And The Economist is wise enough to listen to me. Now you see it, now you don't takes a look at old technologies - clocks, sewing presses, cars...they all started like computers: big, inefficient, way too complex. And over the years, they changed into those small usefull things we can master in few hours (or days, at worst).
So in the early days of any technological revolution the engineers are in charge, and their customers are the early adopters. But the mass market is the late adopters.
The economy is simple: software will have to get simpler. There is no other choice - to quote the Economist again: the struggle between complexity and simplicity is binary: Either it will all blow up, or it will simplify. It started with the dot com crash, which weeded out the most useless and inefficient companies. Now, if it is not useful, it is not going to happen.
Gottla love the 'mom test' idea. It is brillian: “WITH e-mail, it wasn't till my mom could use it that it became ubiquitous. The real test is always the mom test,” says Brad Treat, the boss of SightSpeed, an internet video company. “If my mother flips over to some Skype thing...,” begins Michael Powell, America's media and telecoms regulator, answering a question about internet telephony. “If my mother is going to use it...,” starts Ray Lane, a venture capitalist, asked whether this or that technology has a future.
The more KISS the thing is, the more used (and more profitable) it is. Google is simple. iPod is simple. Wikipedia is simple. Can you see the trend?
Oh yes. The survey also spells Microsoft death. Can you say *sweeeet*? Or 'disruptive technology'?
KISS or DIE!
Oct 28, 2004
Feel free to join the discussion. My post is here.
Waste of time? Never. Brain excersize,
In other new, my prelection on the Imladris sf con has been mentioned in at least one newspaper review (Dziennik Polski - in Polish, obviously) and also on at least one general sf site (yes, also in Polish). Since it was my first attempt at giving such a lecture, I am pleasantly suprised and will likley continue this until somebody pays me to stop :>
Finally - if you dig maps of space empires, here is a beautiful work. Full Thrust maps. I love maps...historical, futuristic...mmmm....maps.....
Oct 27, 2004
Oh, how they mighty could sink so low...see Dungeon Majesty (yes, they have a trailer).
I wonder if it is how some people tend to view the normal geeks...
Btw, I am just a major geek. Say, how geeky are you? Take this (geeky) test.
Geek of the world, unite!
That's what happens when I blog twice per day.
What I am seriously worried about are asteroids - those big chunks of rock/metal/other stuff (like water...funny...? Ever been hit by a 100 ton snowball? Thought so.).
An impact by a 10 km asteroid on the Earth is widely viewed as an extinction-level event. The dinosaurs did't like it, I bet you we wont like it neither.
It is amazing how little has been done to prevent this from happening. Some talk and theoretical ideas, but action? Next to none.
Obviously, who wants to waste money on making sure our species has better chances of survival? It is not as popular as unemployement, job offshoring or gay marriage...
Just one more reason for politicans to go and Earth to unite under world wide single government, I say.
Oct 26, 2004
Consider the place you live in. Your neighbours. Your street. Your city. All stuff of RL (Real Life). But the net helps us vastly improve this. It doesn't matter how 'social person' you are, you can use net to take part in the life of your RL geographic community. It should be possible for you to talk with your building manager, decide together with other people living on your street what should be done to improve it, discuss the fate of that nearby park, look or find a job based on your local economy needs, find people sharing your interests online - and meet them in RL, since you live close by...
Most of that is happening now. I was not suprised when I read in the Economist article (Honouring nerd values) about the Craiglist.org company that strives to create just such a community. It started in San Francisco and has now penetrated to many corners of not only US, but the entire world. With net penetration over 50% in US and many other developed countries, and all others catching up soon, expect your local community to be soon reborn in the virtual/real life mixture - if it hasn't yet.
Of course, Wiki has an article on the Craigslist: 'Having observed people (on the Net, The WELL, and Usenet) helping one another in a friendly, social and trusting community way, Newmark decided to create something similar for local San Francisco events. Soon word-of-mouth and popular demand led to the addition of new categories, and "the list" soon became large enough to demand the use of a list server (majordomo), which required a name. Friends started calling it "Craig's list", and the name stuck. Craigslist has since grown to be one of the most heavily-used sites in the world, with new sub-sections for 57 large "metros" in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, and Australia including New York, London, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Portland, Washington, DC, and Vancouver. Newmark says that craigslist works because it gives people a voice, and a sense of community trust and even intimacy. Other factors he cites are consistency of down-to-earth values, customer service and simplicity. In lieu of real banner advertising, Craigslist staff for a short time posted mock-banner ads, as a humourous substitute'
Good community is a good thing. I like truisms :) Just wish we had sth like this where I live. Oh well, sooner or later, it will happen. Hopefully, sooner :)
Oct 18, 2004
I have 15 minutes of speach now, and 45 left to fill. Good thing I find the topic interesting...history and alternates are fun. I have lots of materials from Uchronia to fill rest of the time, I just can't decide what to chose. Or so I tell myself.
Wiki is very helpful for gathering info's on real timeline. The age and decade sections are nifty. And real history is often not less interesting then the imaginary thing. Things like Red Army of Ruhr or USA coup d'etat information...history is a treasure box.
I just hope the listeners will have as much fun as I do...
Oct 17, 2004
Oct 16, 2004
An apparently serious effort to overthrow the government, perhaps with the support of some of America's wealthiest men, largely substantiated by a Congressional Committee....
...Newspaper descriptions of the final report are also astonishing for how lightly most treated it...major newspapers of the United States were intentionally distorting the news and, in some cases, directly lying....
....some US military commanders were prepared to stand aside while 500,000 veterans marched on Washington...
Rest assured. It is not a newsflash. It is a historical event: 'except for the personal integrity of a remarkable American general (Major General Smedley Darlington Butler), a coup d'etat intended to remove President Franklin D. Roosevelt from office in a 1934 might have plunged America into civil war'
But it is wise to remember at all times that Americans were not immune to the sentiments that gave rise to totalitarian governments throughout the world in the 1930s. It would be a serious mistake to assume `It can't happen here!'
And it is also wise to ask yourself: have I heard about this particular piece of history before? how often? And why?
On the bright side: I am not alone. On the dark side: sems that no matter when one goes - Poland, UK, US...it is the same ol' story. Oh well. In pursue of knowledge one cannot be dettered by such small things...
Come to think of it, they should make few comics bout me :>
Oct 15, 2004
Sorry for the lack of updates. Hopefully I will have more time now and will be back to once-per-day update schedule soon :)
As an additional apology, here is another nifty link: Anime Wallpapers - aren't they pretty?
Oct 11, 2004
Oct 8, 2004
So instead of posting something today, I invite you to read this blog'o'article: Here I Blog, I Can Do No Other. Very interesting, and something I have thought about before but didn't put into words...and now, I don't need to, since it has been well done already.
All right, a quick thought. Blogger, the site hosting the very blog you are reading, and thousands of others, has recently pulled out ads and is now seemingly hosting our blogs for free (and doing a pretty nice quality job at that). Would you care to state your opinions why are they doing this?
...Yes, it is an obvious attempot to get some coments. But I'd really like to know...
One final note. Garfield comic strips are great. Garfield the movie bored me to death. You have been warned...computer animation seems to be able to produce trash just as other techniques. Why can't some people understand that it is the script that counts?
Oct 4, 2004
Well, it is still far from perfect. But you can watch space travel becoming reality live yourself HERE.
As they are saying just now...space travel is a reality. A private spaceship is being watch into the space. Race to space....we can do it. We are doing it. Ah, a great moment. Another big leap for the mankind. See it for yourself.
Sep 30, 2004
Among good things connected with capitalism and market economy is that: when a new market is given to them, they will make it accessible to general public ASAP.
Space trips...space hotels...zero gravity products...moon bases...what NASA couldn't do in 40 years, I bet private companies will do in less then 20.
Sep 29, 2004
One of the most interesting concepts I have ever read about. And one of the most beautiful sentences I have read as well...I love sf.
"An Outside Context Problem was the sort of thing most civilisations encountered just once, and which they tended to encounter rather in the same way a sentence encountered a full stop. The usual example given to illustrate an Outside Context Problem was imagining you were a tribe on a largish, fertile island; you'd tamed the land, invented the wheel or writing or whatever, the neighbours were cooperative or enslaved but at any rate peaceful and you were busy raising temples to yourself with all the excess productive capacity you had, you were in a position of near-absolute power and control which your hallowed ancestors could hardly have dreamed of and the whole situation was just running along nicely like a canoe on wet grass... when suddenly this bristling lump of iron appears sailless and trailing steam in the bay and these guys carrying long funny-looking sticks come ashore and announce you've just been discovered, you're all subjects of the Emperor now, he's keen on presents called tax and these bright-eyed holy men would like a word with your priests."
Sep 28, 2004
And when one actually hears people talking about future, too often it is a variant of scaremongering and pessimistic ignorance. Brrr...I say enough is enough! Why shouldn't the future be nice? If I have anything to say about this, I will strive to create The Culture on Earth.
Utopian? Sure. Waste of life? Beats couch rat's race and potato life strategies, IMHO at least.
See you in the special circumstances...
Sep 24, 2004
On 2003-09-24, the European Parliament voted to clearly make software unpatentable in Europe and to defend basic liberties of the information society, such as freedom of "computer-implemented" reasoning and calculating, freedom of publication, freedom of interoperation. The Parliament's decision was backed by a large and well-informed consensus of programmers, entrepreneurs, economists and consultative organs of the EU. Many MEPs said that they had never before witnessed so intense participation of citizens in their decisionmaking.
But Commissioner Bolkestein and the Council of ministers moved swiftly to discard the Parliament's decision and, on May 18th, reach a "political agreement" in favor of their clientele, patent officials and patent lawyers of multinational corporations, which ensures unlimited patentability of "computer-implemented" algorithms and business methods in Europe. This agreement was reached against the will or without consultation of most national parliaments. The Dutch Parliament passed a resolution to oblige its government to withdraw from the agreement, but the government (steered by advisers from its patent office) chose to disregard this resolution. Yet slowly, some governments have started to move. On 2004-09-24, the first anniversary of EU Democracy Day, the Council of Ministers could decide to put the "political agreement" back on the negotiation agenda and begin a more accountable process.
Sep 23, 2004
1. Internet makes some private goods (like encyclopedia, phones, software) to become public.
2. This may slowly change capitalism.
3. Even if it is just a small influence on the economic system, it defiently increases cooperation (simpy by making it easier and cheaper).
4. This can be viewed as the increase of 'good', 'ethicial' and so on. It is not important if you view the humans as 'good' or 'evil' from birth and how important is their upringing and education and such. Humans are behaving better due to the net, and that is a fact.
4a. Sidenote: majority of tech developments have that effect. Question: is technology an ultimate saviour of humanity?
5. Through RL may be a bitch, and this likely won't change anytime soon, Internet slowly but surely improves both quality of our lives - and ourselves, making us better people.
I feel better now. Take care,
Sep 21, 2004
It shows a lot of conclusions I have independently reached (most of them can be found in my MT thesis and later articles), but I admit it is more throughout when it comes to the 'why's and 'how's behind the reasons for creations and growth of virtual communities, something that I barerly scratched (and motly took as granted) in my works. It uses Wiki as one of the examples, and shows - interestingly - that when it is as easy to help as to destroy (or perhaps even easier), then people will help. Quite an optimistic thought for an academic article :)
There certainly is great charm exerted by successful projects of massive collaboration producing a public good or a club - Tell me, how often do you hear a word 'charm' used in such a publication? Charming :)
Anyway, it is a very interested read if you want to see how Internet promotes cooperation and promises to change the economy of the future (if you follow the logical conclusion and apply the cooperative projects to other venues of life). Utopian, you say? Did you read my blog about Skype and the death bell of modern telecoms?? Internet is going to - directly or indirectly - revolutionize both democracy (a political system) and capitalism (an economic system), and most likely all other elements of the social system.
Remember - I told you so, so don't you be future shocked :)
Sep 20, 2004
Wikipedia Reaches One Million Articles
20 September, 2004 (Tampa, Florida):
The Wikimedia Foundation announced today the creation of the one millionth article in Wikipedia, its project to create a free, open-content, online encyclopaedia (Wikipedia.org(http://en.wikipedia.org)). Started in January 2001, Wikipedia is currently both the world's largest encyclopaedia and the fastest-growing, with articles under active development in over 100 languages. Nearly 2,500 new articles are added to Wikipedia each day, along with ten times as many updates to existing articles.
Wikipedia is created entirely by volunteers who contribute, update, and revise articles in a collaborative process. "The idea of sharing knowledge is powerful," said Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia's founder.
Wikipedia's process is governed by Wikipedia's official neutral point of view (NPOV) policy, which requires that contributors work to avoid bias in writing articles. Even articles covering controversial topics can be developed using this process. Contributors build upon each other's changes and flawed edits are quickly repaired. "Everything is peer-reviewed in real time," said Wales.
Wikipedia now ranks as one of the ten most popular reference sites on the Internet, according to Alexa.com (http://www.alexa.com). It is increasingly used as a resource by students, journalists, and everyday researchers. Wikipedia has also been cited thousands of times in a diverse array of documents and publications, including news reports, books, academic studies, and even legal documents.
With its dedicated community of volunteers, Wikipedia has also gained recognition as a website for community interaction. This has led to Wikipedia winning two international prizes in 2004, the Prix Ars Electronica (http://www.aec.at/en/prix/winners2004.asp) for "Digital Communities" and a Webby Award (http://www.webbyawards.com) for "Best Community."
Wikipedia runs on a wiki software platform called MediaWiki, which allows anyone to edit a page at any time and have one's changes visible instantly (wiki means 'quick' in Hawaiian). Visitors can also examine older versions of pages to see how an article has developed.
In addition, static versions of Wikipedia are being prepared for release on CD or DVD. Soon to be available is a German-language version distributed by Directmedia Publishing. Wikipedia is working on a bilingual French/English DVD release of the encylopedia in collaboration with Mandrakesoft (http://www.mandrakesoft.com/), publisher of the Mandrakelinux OS(http://www.mandrakelinux.com/en/), which will be included as part of an upcoming distribution.
All Wikipedia text is published under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licence (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html#SEC1) (GFDL), which lets contributors enhance and modify each other's work based on a principle known as "copyleft." This means the licence allows third parties the right to reuse Wikipedia articles as long as they pass on that right to others. The MediaWiki software is available under a similar licence designed for software.
Wikipedia is becoming increasingly multilingual; for the past year, it has experienced most of its growth in languages other than English. Out of the more than 100 Wikipedia languages, 14 currently have over 10,000 articles (English (http://en.wikipedia.org): 348,000, German (http://de.wikipedia.org): 141,000, Japanese (http://ja.wikipedia.org): 72,000, French (http://fr.wikipedia.org): 52,000, Swedish (http://sv.wikipedia.org): 40,000, Polish (http://pl.wikipedia.org): 38,000, Dutch (http://nl.wikipedia.org): 35,000, Spanish (http://es.wikipedia.org): 29,000, Italian (http://it.wikipedia.org): 24,000, Danish (http://da.wikipedia.org): 20,000, Portuguese (http://pt.wikipedia.org): 16,000, Esperanto (http://eo.wikipedia.org): 15,000, Chinese (http://zh.wikipedia.org): 13,000, and Hebrew (http://he.wikipedia.org): 10,000).
In addition to Wikipedia, the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation (wikimediafoundation.org(http://www.wikimediafoundation.org)) supports several multilingual sister projects, including Wiktionary (a dictionary and thesaurus at wiktionary.org), Wikiquote (a compendium of famous quotations at wikiquote.org), Wikibooks (a collection of manuals and textbooks at wikibooks.org), and Wikisource (a repository of public domain documents at wikisource.org). All of these projects are published under the same licence and run on MediaWiki software. To support these projects, the Foundation has raised over US$100,000 (£55,000 or €80,000) since its creation and is holding a fundraising drive from September 20 to October 3 with the aim of raising an additional $50,000. More information is available and donations can be made at http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Fundraising(http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Fundraising).
With changes being made every minute of every day, it is impossible to predict where Wikipedia and its sister projects will be one year from now. But Wikipedia's rate of growth has continued to increase in recent months, and at its current pace Wikipedia would double in size again by next spring.
Been doing lots of reading on various releated subject, democracy, politicial systems, economy, etc. in case they decide to ask me something. I found that writing stuff down is the best way to learn them - and is there a better place to do it then Wiki? I learn and at the same time create resources other can use. That is what I call 'nifty' :D
In other news. Gaim 1.00 has been released. It replaces ICQ, MSN, YIM and other clients (yeah, it let's you keep old contact lists), with its slick open source great UI window. It works on all OSes. I wrote more about it few weeks ago, so feel free to dig into blog archieves for more info if you dont feel like reading about it on the official page or Wiki. Anyway, try it out!
Speaking of useful open source tools, I think this is interesting: a html editor that apparently works like an add-on to a browser. FCKeditor. They have a demo on the page so you will see what I mean better then if I were to explain it here...