Red Cross Tally

OK, it is midnight at the turn of the month, so the final tally for the fund drive are in. For the month, 19 stuff packages were sold to 16 or 17 people (some folks bought two). My portion of the donation from this is $475, which with the match goes to $950 to the Red Cross hurricane relief fund. Thanks to everyone that bought a package. This was actually more than I was expecting, so I’m quite pleased with this. Y’all rock!

Update: As noted in the comments, some folks have not received their stuff. I had a run on certain size and color combinations, so I had to go back to press on the shirts. All the orders for which I had the shirts have shipped, so if you haven’t gotten it then I ran out of your shirt. I hope to be able to get them back from the printer early next week and get all of them in the mail in the next few days.

EGC Clambake for September 30, 2005

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for September 30, 2005.

I talk about my brief encounter with the Duke Podcasting Symposium and seeing new media friends; I play a new song from Jonathan Coulton; I mention watching Viviendo con Fallas and ceasing to watch the Blind Date TV show; I talk about the Podcast Network and being interviewed for G’Day World by Cameron Reilly; I play a song by the Gentle Readers; I welcome my nephew to the world; I thank everyone for buying shirts during the month with the Red Cross charity deal.

This episode is sponsored in part by the fine folks at iPod Observer! Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package.

This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 1.0.

Links mentioned in this episode:


Back in Town

I spent a chunk of this week up in Raleigh, at the new home offices in Research Triangle Park. It’s kind of cool, being right there next to the IBM facility that kicked off RTP. I have to say that all in all, I much prefer driving to Raleigh over flying to Chicago. Chicago is nice and all, but when I’m up for work there isn’t that much time for fun and socializing anyway so I ended up always doing the same couple of things within a few blocks of the apartment in Lincoln Park.

I did make it up to Duke on Monday night and got to spend a little time with Mike Geoghegan and Doug Kaye and Sam Levin and Tim Bourquin and JD Lassica, as well as meeting a boatload of new people or people I know from online but had never met in the real world. I wanted to go back Tuesday night but I just didn’t have it in me to make the haul back one more time. I missed seeing Tony Kahn and Eric Rice couldn’t make it at all, so that was kind of a bummer.

I started to listen to one of the sessions yesterday (after they finally turned it on so you could get the streams off campus) and the Duke dude introducing it was so factually incorrect on so many points that I didn’t think I could concentrate on work whilst listening to it. I’ll have to go back and relisten to the podcast of it, and maybe play it on my show. All I could think was “Wow, that’s really …. something.”

Night Vision for CVS Camera

Lately for whatever odd reason, I’ve been watching Attack of the Show and I just saw on a recent episode where David Randolph did a hack to make the CVS camcorder into a night vision camera. It’s as simple as removing the IR filter from the lens and adding in IR LEDs, a switch for the LEDs and a 9 volt battery to power them. Cool!

If I’m going to be popping open the case and drilling holes in it, then I’m also going to put in the nut with the proper threads to be able to attach this thing to standard tripods and camera accessories. If so, I might make the soda bottle tripod.

New Videoblog

I have finally published a second videoblog, this one not about the gizmos. It is some simple footage of lizards in my backyard. The music behind it rocks, and although it is CC licensed as No Derivative Works, I asked for and obtained permission to use it. It is by Monk Turner from his album In a Barn.

I’ll take my camcorder with me on my business trip to Raleigh and hopefully get some footage of me crashing parties at the Duke podcasting symposium in the evenings. I have other techy stuff I have shot, like my podcasting setup but I wanted to publish something that wasn’t a behind the scenes machine video before I did another one of those.

If you want to subscribe to my videoblog feed either with FireANT or any of the podcatchers that handle video like iPodderX or whatever, the videoblog RSS feed is here.

More CVS Cameras in the Wild

I heard my name mentioned on the most recent episode of the Linux Link Tech Show. Allan was using a CVS camera and mentions having watched my video. Even before that, though, I knew he had one because I could hear the telltale sounds of this device’s startup and shutdown during the show. The same cable that allows you to get the videos off will allow you to use a program to alter files on the camera. This lets you change parameters (like mine will now record 40 minutes of video, but I could also be recording in 640X480 if I wanted to) or swap out arbitrary files on the camera. I’ve thought about putting different WAVs on there so that the various sounds are more interesting than the standard beeps. Maybe stopping a recording should be Samuel L. Jackson saying “Did I break your concentration?”

EGC Clambake for September 21, 2005

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for September 21, 2005.

I talk about the documentary on spaghetti westerns on IFC and how I think that fits in with where I stand in new media; I relate an anecdote about meeting Sonic Youth and play a song by them; I talk about how Hugh Macleod and Gaping Void lost a business card sale; I play a song by Michelle Shocked and head out.

This episode is sponsored in part by the fine folks at iPod Observer! Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. For the month of September, $25 is donated to the Red Cross hurricane relief fund for every one sold, and donated through a match for a $50 total donation.

This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 1.0.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Out and About

The cable modem was out this morning, so I spent a big chunk of the day at my branch office. I’m fixing to move it back to the house. I can now ssh into my home linux box, so I know the connection is back up – a side benefit of being a dork is not guessing in situations like this.

As it turns out, I will in fact be in Raleigh next week during the Duke Podcasting Symposium. I never registered because I thought I couldn’t make it, and now I can’t even if I want to. That’s not a biggie, because I have to work during the day far enough away from Duke that it isn’t reasonable to bop back and forth. However, that does mean I’m available driving up to Durham for meals and/or libations in the evenings. If you are going to be at that thing and want to hook up, drop me a line. I’m thinking a nice central hotel bar might be a good meeting place. Any suggestions?

Harry Shearer, Media Mogul

Harry Shearer is someone I’ve been listening to a lot lately. Since KCRW added the podcast of Le Show, I can finally listen to it. I’ve never had access to it on the airwaves (or known that I did.) Now I’m a big fan and catch it ever week. A few days ago, I saw the news that Harry and his wife Judith Owen are starting a record label, Courgette Records. There is not much at the website now, but according to the press release there should be some good stuff coming soon.

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EGC Clambake for September 18, 2005

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for September 18, 2005.

I play a song from Ronnie Marler and Marty Keil; I talk about the Small World Podcast and play a snippet from the interview with Douglas Rushkoff; I discuss how I am a nonparticipant in all podcast groups; I play a song by Jonathan Coulton; I play a bootleg from the Butthole Surfers and move on.

This episode is sponsored in part by the fine folks at iPod Observer! Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. For the month of September, $25 is donated to the Red Cross hurricane relief fund for every one sold, and donated through a match for a $50 total donation.

This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 1.0.

Links mentioned in this episode:


Seeing and Hearing

Here’s some stuff lately that has interested me, bothered me or amused me in citizen media.

Today’s episode of Rocketboom mostly reruns this thing some guys in Berlin did where they stuck a projector outside a train and showed movies on the subway walls. Although the project is kind of cool, I think the actual execution was grotesquely irresponsible. A train pulls up, this guy sticks a metal case to the outside of a car and then it takes off. I would like to think that had I seen him do this, I’d have at least called 911, tried to keep the train from leaving and/or knocked the mother fucker down and held him for the cops. I can’t believe the crowds of people who just watched him do it. I’m all for dadaist street art, but now is not the time to be affixing suspicious looking gear to commuter trains. These guys could have caused the transit system to get shut down or possibly taken a bullet to the head, depending on whether they ran into sufficiently twitchy cops. The stupidity and creation of pointless risk made me too angry to enjoy the art of it.

I watched the first episode of Robert X. Cringely’s new video thingie, Nerd TV. The interview was with Andy Hertzfeld and was pretty interesting. Is it just me, or does Andy look like he could easily be Bruce Sterling’s brother? It’s licensed under Creative Commons, so I suppose if you wanted to take all these shows and edit them into your own non-commercial documentary you could. Pick one topic and just take out the interviews on that point, for example, and create a 30 minute show out of the whole season. That could be quite interesting. It should be pointed out that Cringely now lives about 90 miles south of me in Charleston SC and that they really really need an enclosure feed for the video. They’ve got them for podcasts of the audio, but not for the video. Why not? Am I going to have to scrape my own?

I’ll mention three shows from IT Conversations, two I loved and one I hated. The two I loved:

One was Jason Fried of 37signals giving a talk about the lessons learned building Basecamp. I agree with a lot of the philosophy about doing things cheap, avoiding the pressures of VC money, iterating often, etc. It sounds like all the good stuff of agile development without the woowoo bits of extreme programming that make me itchy.

The other was Doc Searls who talked to Sig Solares, the guy who kept his data center in New Orleans going through the hurricane and flood. It was fascinating on a technical level and horrifying on a human one.

The one I hated was the Larry Magid interview with George Gilder. I’ve heard multiple podcasts with Gilder recently and he strikes me as one of those pundits that people pay attention to but I’m not exactly sure why. Even though I overlap with his opinions on many points (citizen media being a big one), I find listening to him highly annoying. Mostly, his depth of criticism seems to consist of making up goofily insulting nicknames for the things he doesn’t agree with, like “fool cells.” Thank you, Deep Thought. His shallow dismissals for spurious reasons some technologies makes me nervous when I hear him high on technologies I am also high on. It makes me think that maybe I’m actually wrong, if I’m on the same side as him on that point. I heard him on the Gillmor Gang a few weeks ago and had a similar reaction to that.

Both Benjamen Walker and Bazooka Joe had interviews with Dr. Ben Marble, the infamous “Mr. Cheney, go fuck yourself” guy, on Theory of Everything and Small World (no permalink for that episode that I can find) respectively. Usually I fill with disdain at people who do everything to milk a buck out of their 15 seconds of fame, but the guy just lost everything as hurricane Katrina flattened his home and recording studio in Gulfport MS so I guess I’ll give the poor bastard a break.

Small World Podcast

One of the shows I have added to my subscription list lately is the Small World Podcast. That guy really cranks them out, doing an interview most days. Damn, I can’t come close to that. Much like the G’Day World incident of yore, there are so many files in the feed that when I added it, even after saying “only get the most recent three”, a few days later something like 30 episodes came down. I’m enjoying them so I continue to listen, but there is the giant bolus in the middle of my playlist. It divides everything into “before and after Small World”, and until I listen up to a lot of these I don’t really get many things before that period on my shuffle.

The Upside of Google Juice

If you do a Google search on “evil genius” (even without quotes), I am the #2 hit. A few years ago, the top 50 or more were all about the computer game. Now I’m above all but one of those links.

If you do a Google search on “evil”, I’m the #11 hit – the first one on the second page. But even cooler, in either of these searches you see my logo in the upper left hand of the screen. When did that start?

Update: Now after asking other people, it seems that my logo is only up in the corner for me. What is going on with that?

The Blame Game

I said something like this in the most recent podcast, but I wanted to inject this sentiment into the text blogosphere. Not only am I sick of hearing that we “shouldn’t play the blame game” but in fact anyone that I hear say it is being marked as a dangerous tool in my opinion. You see, I live in an area that not only is affected by hurricanes but is being affected by a hurricane as I type this. To me, this is not a fricking “game” but basic questions about life and death. I will attempt to mitigate the danger to myself, but if things go crazy and I find myself in need of help, will I get it?

Last night as we went to bed, the news was that things wouldn’t be so bad in my area, that Ophelia was relatively weak and will be hitting to the north of us. Suppose that immediately after that it strengthened, changed course directly towards us and picked up speed. We might have awoken to find that it is right on us and worse than expected. In that case, if there wasn’t time to evacuate or evacuating was more risky than staying put and we got hit by a hurricane, would we find ourselves getting the help we need? If our local responders were themselves hit too hard or stretched too thin to provide aid to us, would anyone be backing them up? Will I be left to die, will I find guns pointed at me if I tried to walk out of a disaster area? I don’t find asking any of these questions “a blame game”, I find them holding an administration that has spent four years exchanging my rights for the perception of safety to that promise.

You ran for re-election on a platform of keeping people safe, and now I and much of the country have no faith in this government’s ability to do that. It seems that rather than beefing up our capabilities over the last four years that they have actually gone backwards. Where has that money gone, what happened to the organizations that have previously been able to respond in better fashion? Why are you failing at the most basic function of a government, to keep its citizens alive? If the only thing you have to offer is demeaning the questions, that reads to me like your admission that I am fucked. I deserve better, the nation deserves better and anyone that suggests otherwise by suggesting that accountability to the merest level of competence in the most fundamental governmental responsibility is a “blame game” is an accessory to criminal negligence.


It has weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm, thank goodness, but Ophelia is now coming right through here. It is more likely to hit Wilmington NC, but landing at Myrtle Beach is quite possible. I don’t expect much drama in our neck of the woods, but stay safe out there. I take every one of these things seriously. You don’t need 150 MPH winds to kill you, a 70 MPH wind can do it if it topples a giant pine on your ass or shoves your car off of a bridge.

A Great Nation Deserves Great Excuses

Via Making Light comes this link to a (parody) article about a White House apology for the federal response to hurricane Katrina. The whole thing is funny in that way of a joke that seems to tell a deeper truth than the official “truth”. Here’s a choice bit:

“The government’s response to Katrina was lackidaisical and unengaged, and made a bad situation worse than it should have been,” McClellan told reporters. “We have heard the American people speaking, and they have told us that our work was unacceptable. We have heard, we have listened, and we have changed. In future – whether dealing with a hurricane in the Gulf, an earthquake in California, or a terrorist attack against our cities – we will be pro-active in our approach to evading responsibility. This is our promise to America.”