# (2) 02 Nov 2008, 09:27AM: Nandini, This Trailer Isn't On Apple's Site Yet:
Given that most people who read my site have broadband, I'm experimenting with actually including graphics, video, etc. Basically stuff you couldn't do with a telegraph in 1872.
#02 Nov 2008, 08:02PM: Whither:
Online video is now a commodity, like content management systems. I'm managing a project right now where we're customizing WordPress for a CMS and using YouTube for nearly all the video. Just as site creators reached the "why don't you just" moment last year with WordPress, we can now use ubiquitous embeddable video from free services rather than write/reuse custom players for everything, thank God.
YouTube has everyone else beat on user base, so the other services thrive to the extent that they capture some niche and provide affordances/user experience uniquely suited to that niche.
But what of Revver, Eyespot, Veoh, blip.tv, Metacafe, and the twenty I don't even know about? Each of them started for a reason, but what's the reason now?
I'm remembering the woman from Wordplay and Orson Scott Card's advice on writing: every story you write should have two orthogonal premises. Constraints make things interesting, in business and art. Cage as skeleton.
# (6) 04 Nov 2008, 07:49AM: Election Day:
I just pulled the lever for Obama, literally [photos]. Leonard suggested we get up by 6 so we could avoid the lines, but we ended up in line for about half an hour. Still a good idea.
Sumana: Don't forget to bring money for the poll tax.
Leonard: Yeah, let me make sure I can read.
I feel obligated to repost this regarding California's Proposition 8:
Post this on your blog if you're in an opposite-sex marriage and you don't want it to be "protected" by the bigots who think that gay marriage cheapens or hurts it somehow.
I say to those opponents of same-sex marriage: If you care about the stability and happiness of the American family, then work to subsidize daycare, lengthen paternal and maternal leave and move us to single-payer healthcare. If you care about the sanctity of marriage, then work to institute a federal waiting period and separate the civil contract of marriage from your religion's requirements and ceremonies. Widows, grandparents, uncles, nannies, foster children, step-parents and same-sex partners all contribute to and sustain households everywhere.
How decadent, how arrogant, how unloving, how wasteful we are to act as though we have enough loving partnerships and families! As though we can afford to spurn aspirants. How long should they wait?
What tidbits would campaigners share with the long-term reporters but not the regular reporters? What were the criteria?
What are the things that interested parties wouldn't share even with the long-term reporters, or that the reporters still declined to publish? What will never come out, or only when someone dies or an administration ends?
Did the campaigners and other reporters start treating the long-term reporters as priests for confessional, or plant gossip with them as you might place artifacts in a time capsule?
In South Carolina [primaries], the Obama campaign refused to indulge in the time-honored, if slightly disreputable, practice of dispensing "walking-around money" to activists and preachers in the black community. The Clintons, by contrast, continued to hand out the usual favors and cash. Obama not only won the black vote overwhelmingly, he also won the state of South Carolina by 30 points.
"I think we should do it," the Obama aide told a NEWSWEEK reporter. "It's just part of the culture here, and what will it cost? A couple of hundred grand? ... For a lot of people, if they don't get it, they just flat-out won't engage." (The Obama campaign ultimately refused to provide any walking-around money, though as Politico reported, some was provided by local sources.)
In each case we see a tradition of campaigning, one whose results cannot be measured or audited, that involves spending money. And Obama refused to do it, despite warnings and complaints from the traditional recipients of swag. And he won.
In this way the Obama campaign was like Google. The rules: be untraditional, don't do things if they're not provably, auditably productive, and use distributed communications/database tech. The strategy: get tons of unpaid workers to substitute for paid personnel, and reward them with good feelings.
# (1) 13 Nov 2008, 11:04PM: Kickoff, With Elaboration Later:
Next week I visit Portland and Seattle, to visit friends and to interview for jobs. I'm interested in startups there and in Boston, the SF Bay Area, and New York City. I want to help make technology that delights people, and right now I care about equity and responsibility more than salary. Do let me know of any relevant opportunities.
# (3) 15 Nov 2008, 07:51AM: Voices In The News [The Non-NPR Weekend Edition Version]:
Overheard at the office: "iconic design" mis-spoken as "iconoclastic design."
Directly heard at the office: the praise from one of my bosses that I've been waiting all year to hear.
Seen at the Indian consulate's outsourced visa processing center: absurdly limited pick-up hours, and Monsoon Wedding silently playing to anesthetize queuegoers. Best line I saw: "That'll be 50,000 rupees." "What?! I'm not an NRI!"
Serendipitously seen around NYU on Sunday: Malcolm Gladwell and Bill Santiago. I wonder if Gladwell, like Weird Al, just has a 'fro wig that he wears when he wants to be recognized, but can take off to wander about incognito.
Deliberately seen in the same area on Sunday: the 500 hats slides of Bartholomew Cubbins Lawrence Lessig, Larry Lessig himself, Sita Sings the Blues, and Nina Paley. I recommend Sita Sings the Blues to everyone who has ever loved mythology. It is beautiful, funny, clever, and touching. Showing next week at MoMA!
#22 Nov 2008, 12:34PM: Wish Me Luck:
Am now attempting to go to Seattle MindCamp without an actual ticket. Hope to present on "Three Ways to Look At Power: A Political Science Lens On Your Organization."
#25 Nov 2008, 02:45AM: Some images, tweets, and documentation from Seattle MindCamp 2008:
Please link to other relevant stuff in the comments!
I learned about MindCamp sometime Friday, Nov. 20th, and devised the idea for my talk in about 5 minutes late Friday night while going to sleep and talking with my incredibly patient host, Riana. This was the first talk I proposed and the last session I ended up leading: basic first-year political science concepts, boiled down for use by people who want to understand and change their organizations.
I eventually realized that tickets were sold out, but was determined to go anyway. So I made the 20-minute walk over and threw myself on the mercy of the front desk. Beth Goza gave me her extra registration and refused to let me give any money in return. In hindsight, maybe this is why I was determined to give extra value as a camper.
I filled out a proposal form and put it up. Andru encouraged me to propose as many as I wanted. So I did another for a standup comedy HOWTO, then another to ensure that there would be Powerpoint Karaoke (I was surprised no one else had proposed it yet), and then another to suggest the mini-debate session. I expected that about a hundred proposals would go up and that about half, including 1 or 2 of mine, would get "funded."
Then, during lunch, I discovered that there had been fewer proposals than I'd expected, and that almost all the proposed sessions would be scheduled, so I'd be leading 4 sessions. Eventually, after I swapped a few spots with people, my schedule was:
2pm: Powerpoint Karaoke
11pm: You, Yes You, Can Do Standup
8am: Zany Insta-Debates
9am: Three Models of Power: A Political Science Lens On Your Organization
I found out that Powerpoint Karaoke would be in the first session slot [2pm] at 1:55. Much thanks to David Whitlock and other troubleshooters for arranging the projector ASAP. It attracted attention, someapproval, and chickens.
After more sessions, dinner, and conversing, I went back to Riana's to enjoy her birthday party, but ended up fleeing after it got crowded. And they say I'm an extrovert.
You, Yes You, Can Do Standup Comedy - 11pm, specifically placed outside the regular session schedule by Andru to ensure everyone could come and the time limit wouldn't apply. David and about five other participants did these exercises, inspired by my Dec 2005 posts. I loved helping people develop skills in such a short time, walking in possibly scared of public speaking, walking out with some tools and something to work on.
Ride home, passed out for a few hours, woke up around 7 to hoof it back to the Synapse building for my 8am mini-debates activity. (Riana later noted that my marketing-speak in the proposal included "zany" and "quickly and reliably goes off the rails.") I was surprised that people got more into the serious topics -- censorship of profanity on broadcast TV, Prop 8 -- than the light starter on the color of Pepto-Bismol. I also learned that many participants and viewers wanted scrupulous consistency in the rules, liked having people argue a side they didn't believe in, preferred logic to eloquence, and deducted "points" if a debater did not at least try to refute his opponent's arguments.
My last session: Three Models of Power: A Political Science Lens on Your Organization. Completed the night before, despite the interruptions of the drunk guy who had to get kicked out. (You may notice that the slideshow is very heavy on the photos, which allowed me to leave my speaking parts less polished.) We started late, and only had 30 minutes and 4 participants, but I think people got some ideas out of it. The most resume-friendly talk title, but the session I feel least satisfied with. I intend to rework it for a future conference.
Much thanks to David Whitlock for running the projector at PPT Karaoke and the poli sci session. Iin the middle of all this, got rides from Nikhil & Leif -- thanks. Beth Goza and Andru Edwards let me in and started the show, respectively, so my thanks to them. And thanks to all the campers who encouraged me, participated in my sessions, and put on cool stuff.