Uplifter Waning

It seems like the meeting is winding down. There are ostensibly 45 more minutes left, but everyone left a little bit ago so I think it is effectively over. It was a really good meeting, a number of people of various levels of experience and question. People were helped, questions asked and answered about blogs and vlogs and podcasts, recommendations put forth, conversations had and connections made. A number of Charlestonian techies met each other and were introduced, some who knew each other but didn’t know they shared these interests. In short, the theory worked in practice, god love it. I’d have to go look at the sign in sheet, but it seems like 20 or 30 people came through at one point or another. That’s actually a better turnout than I was expecting. I call Uplifter Charleston a wild success.

Thanks to Dan and Janet for organizing it. It was a great afternoon.

Here in Charleston

I’m at the Uplifter meeting in Charleston, although I think I’m preceding it by some. My stuff is mostly still in the car and I just realized that I didn’t bring my CVS camcorder cable. Damn it!

Dan just showed up, so the nerding begins. I’ll try to flickr some photos throughout the day.

Change of Address

Whoa, I’ve been on this same cable modem system for almost two years, and today I got a different IP address. Previously, I’d had the same one for the entire life of this service. Freaky. If I weren’t spasticly taking a glance at AmigoFish server logs, I’d not have known it and then tomorrow if I tried to SSH into my home box from the Uplifter meeting I’d have been screwed. Time-Warner is just trying to screw with me and my populist media agenda!

Communication Backlog

It’s been a really busy couple of days at the day job, so I haven’t been able to blog or podcast. I get really agitated when I can’t, I feel like something is missing. It’s like trying to get by for a day only hopping on one foot or using your off hand – it just feels off.

Expect a more thorough post on this subject later, but as someone who makes his living writing enterprise server side Java (with dashes of client side for fun), I love Ruby on Rails and that love is just growing every day.

Uplifter Charleston

Don’t forget, if you are in south coastal South Carolina or north coastal Georgia, there will be an Uplifter meeting this Saturday in Charleston. I’m planning on being there, so if you can (even if you aren’t close but willing to drive) please come and talk to me. We’re there to teach, learn and increase the edification quotient all the way around. I’m planning on bringing my soldering iron and some stuff to build another CVS camcorder cable right there in the coffee shop.

Also, Uplifter Seattle is that same day. I like that both Carolina meetings have been simultaneous with other ones around the country. I just find that cool.

EGC Clambake For April 24, 2006

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for April 24, 2006.

I play a song by Mutandina; I let slip a hidden secret about “streaming only” URLs; I tell the story of the worst days I have experienced with the AmigoFish project; I play a song I lifted from Bob’s Slacktime Funhouse which is by Evolution Control Committee; it’s dead, Jim.

You can subscribe to this feed via RSS.

This episode is sponsored in part by AmigoFish. To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media. 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 2.5.

Links mentioned in this episode:

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Frappr Spam

I guess it was bound to happen eventually. I had 8 or so people join my Frappr map all at once, and when you look at them, they have links to pharaceutical spam URLs. These scumbags are the fire ants of the online world – eventually they get into everything and when they do it’s swarm time.

Akismet

I have previously given the Akismet WordPress plugin glowing praise for almost completely eliminating my comment spam problems. While that is true, in the last month or so, I’ve had more of a false positive problem. In fact, it has now caught my own comments several times.

I wonder if there isn’t some kind of poisoning going on, where spammers try hard to create messages much like legitimate ones in order to make more false positives happen. As we’ve seen in countless movies, the true way to defeat an alarm like those in store doorways isn’t to keep the alarm from sounding, it’s to cause so many false positives that people just wave you through. If the scumbags can increase the level of false positives to the point the tool is no longer useful, they have won. I hope that isn’t what is happening, and instead it’s just some flukes.

Life in Conway

Between my house and Port City Java are two stoplights – one around halfway and one downtown one block from the shop. The other day I was stopped at the latter around 5 PM on a weekday, and there were five or six cars in front of me at the light. In all seriousness I said out loud “Traffic is bad today”, and then two seconds later burst out laughing.

Of course, I almost never have to get out on Highway 501 in rush hour, where there can frequently be serious backup traffic. The days I leave the house are a rarity, lately.

Bob Burden Hospitalized

Bob Burden, creator of Flaming Carrot and the Mystery Men, has been hospitalized. Apparently this is related to a virus he contracted while visiting New Orleans. Get well wishes and cards can be sent to:

Desperado Studios
c/o Bob Burden get well wishes
51 South Peachtree Drive
Suite 8
Norcross, GA 30071

Bob was one of the first people from the SF/comics world I ever interviewed, way back in the depths of 1989. He’s a really nice guy, the first person I ever saw walk into a room wearing a Mexican wrestling mask (and helping birth my obsession), too naturally Subgenius to ever really be involved with them, and just a great guy. To this day, if I run into him in a bar, he always buys me a drink and sits and chats for a while.

Get well, Bob! We need your crazy dada visions – they are the only sane thing we have left in this world.

Future of Work

I heard an interesting talk on IT Conversations, Thomas Malone on the future of work. The basic thesis is that democracy is a function of the cost of communication, and that as communication costs dropped in society democracy emerged in governance. He posits that we will see democracy in business governance in the same sort of way. I can tell you that I’m a beneficiary of that sort of work organization, where cheap communications obviate my having to sit in an office with everyone else.

I have a magic phone on my desk, where I can dial an extension that rings hundreds of miles away, the main number can rollover to me if so desired, and my voicemails get emailed to me as an attachment. The majority of communication with my coworkers actually occurs via instant message. To me, the idea that less of our energy of the workday (human and chemical and mechanical) goes into moving our atoms from home to work and back and more goes into moving ideas and electrons is a win for everyone.

And in a barely related topic, somewhere around here is the five year anniversary of the only layoff of my career. Now there’s an event that changed my relationship with work permanently. When a company that asked so much of me professionally and personally threw me overboard for their own convenience, it forever altered how I look at such requests.

Doctor Who

I’m watching episode #4 of the 2005 Doctor Who series. I’ve heard good things about this, and for the umpteenth time I take the contrarian view. Either I or everyone else has gone crazy. I’ve stuck it out for four episodes, but I don’t think I can take any more. I liked the character as a kid across the Pertwee, Baker and Davison versions. I like Eccleston as an actor (thought he was fantastic in 28 Days Later) and yet … this show isn’t doing it for me. Despite the larger budget and better effects, it does not interest me. Note that this is exactly the same way I feel about the modern Battlestar Galactica It looks better, is much slicker and yet feels empty, vapid and soulless — and that seems to bother no one but me.

I tried to watch the 90’s TV movie version about a year back, and erased it from the DVR after 30 minutes. I’ve stuck with this longer than that, but I’m hovering on the brink of erasing the season pass. Watching it feels like work, and I now feel like I’ve fulfilled my obligation to give it a fair shake. Luckily, I still have 10 episodes of Firefly to fall back on. God help me when I run out of those. Nothing like modern scifi TV to make you feel like you are on the desert island.

I see from the coming attraction that Daleks are in the next episode. I’ll give it one more chance, if for no other reason to hear “Exterminate! Exterminate!” Don’t screw this up, Doctor.

Update: Rogers does not agree. Honestly, I wish I liked this and am hoping the Daleks episode does it for me. If only for nostalgia’s sake, it would be great to be enthusiastic about this show after almost 20 years away.

Beachy Keen

Late last evening we took our first trip to the beach this spring. I think around Christmas was the last time we took a stroll on the sand, this is the first one warm enough to kick off shoes since last fall. It was fun and I took some video of the dog frolicking about.

Unfortunately, this weekend is also the first drowning of the season. I walked ankle deep into the water, and my guess is that this poor kid was in serious trouble ten minutes after he was pulled out into the rip current. I’m a little amazed that anyone was willing to swim in water that cold. 20 seconds of my feet submerged was plenty for me.

AmigoFish Upgrades

Over the weekend I made some upgrades to AmigoFish. Well, to be technically correct I rolled into production a bunch of stuff from the last month. The site should be faster and more stable as I’m using a different webserver now, one that is better than Apache for running Ruby on Rails sites. Also, the searching has been improved and simplified. Your searches should be faster, and now search across the title and description and url simultaneously and return the whole list via relevance order and paged. It beats that weird 3 tiered thing I used to have going on.

Try it out and let me know what you think. If you haven’t been back in a while, there’s a lot of new functionality in. If you haven’t ever signed up, what are you waiting for? Life is short, sign up, subscribe to a prediction feed with your podcatcher and Find New Stuff You Will Like! People talk a lot about how hard it is to manage the enormity of possible podcasts and vlogs to experience. This is my crack at the solution. Seriously, try it.

EGC Clambake For April 13, 2006

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for April 13, 2006.

Hurry up offense, I get right to it by playing a Jonathan Coulton song; I discuss Videoblogging Week 2006 and my Converge South video; I talk about seeing David Sedaris in Charleson; I profess my love for the Penn Jillette radio show; I talk about the Chris Bliss and Jason Garfield thing and point out that being a bigger technical feat don’t automatically make it more fun; I play a song by Danny Schmidt; I read a quote by Emma Bull; I talk about doing it for love and making money; I play a clip of myself getting interviewed by Ted Riecken; I do a little mike test to demonstrate cardiod vs. omnidirectional; I play a song by Diana Obscura and Damon Young; adios.

You can subscribe to this feed via RSS.

This episode is sponsored in part by AmigoFish. To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media. 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 2.5.

Links mentioned in this episode:

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Converge South Video (for real)

Had I known it would be five days before it was actually available, I would not have made my previous post announcing this. Sorry, folks. I thought it would be at most an hour or three when I posted that. I guess I can no longer pretend like I had anything to do with Videoblogging Week if it has been over this long before my piece goes up, so it’s just me doing my thing.

My Converge South Video walks the earth! Oh no, there goes Greensboro, here comes the video!

Vegetarian

Without much fuss, at the beginning of this week I made the switch to vegetarianism. This may shock some, who know me as a guy who can put away a big steak. At those restaurants where they have a “eat this giant thing and it’s free” contest, I’m your go-to guy to get that done. However, I’ve been eating less and less meat lately and wanting to get healthy, lose weight and keep a good quality of life for a long time. I’ve approaching 40 years, and I want to make sure that I’m vital and active for the next 100. I’ve also become more interested in sustainability, and wanting to eat more locally produced food. In part, this is to reduce the fuel consumption in getting food to me, but also to keep more of my food money inside my community. I happen to be fortunate enough to live in a place where within a 3 mile drive of my house are about a dozen roadside produce stands from local farmers, a few actually on their farms. If they are out of something you want (and it is ripe/ready), they run out and pick or chop some more for you while you wait.

In an odd way, this very simple post from Will Shetterly helped push me over the edge. It just hit me at the right time, and I decided to go for it. Last weekend we cooked up all the meat in the house and had “meaty gras”. Since Monday, I’ve eaten no meat. I’m not vegan, which means I’m still consuming dairy and I suppose eggs although I haven’t actually eaten any. I’m not a hard-ass fundamentalist on it, and in a pinch with nothing else to eat I’m not going to barf at the prospect of downing a hot dog. As a guy with impulse control problems, I need to set up systems that make it hard for me to do the wrong thing. It will be a challenge to eat enough broccoli and tomatoes to become a problem, although I’m sure I will try. Wish me luck.