Sunday, August 28, 2005

A day of conversation (with some self analysis)

I belong to a computer club called APCU. We meet monthly to help solve each others problems though a part of the meeting called "Random Access". During Random Access, we have a moderated discussion (with a series of hand signals to make it easier on the moderator), in which we try to solve the technical issues which have arisen for us in the past month. We also address any other technological questions that may arise. We then usually have an hour of random access, followed by a presentation on a technical topic from one of the club members, or a vendor. We don't tollerate sales pitches, so the technical talks tend to be quite valuable to us.

Because of scheduling conflicts, we didn't have the presentation yesterday, and so we had extended random access. I used the opprotunity to bring my "windows apocalypse" thread into the conversation there. It was very enlightening, to say the least, and I found it quite valuable.

I managed to get some concensus from the group on the overall subject of security:
  • ANY system is more secure in the hands of Proficient Technical users
  • ANY system is less secure in the hands of an "average" user
Now, because we like to think of ourselves as technically proficient, we might be a bit biased, but I felt it quite rewarding to reach this agreement as we ran out of time.

Lunchtime conversation was quite interesting, as I solicited doomsday scenarios (which had crept up in various comments at the meeting). The Avian Flu Pandemic scenario is a new one to me... and given the reputation of the member who brought it up, is something worth worrying about. The Peak Oil scenero ended up being the topic of conversation, however.

As time went on, I found there were a few camps to which one could belong, but we didn't get to any concensus. I don't know if it was a limit of time, the less moderated nature of conversation over excellent food, or the overall nature of the topic, which prevented this.

After sleeping on it, and looking back in retrospect, I find myself wanting. I want to get to the truth in all of this. I want to participate in a dialog, and explore the idea space. It there truely is a problem, I want to be part of the solution. I wonder how well this blog, as well as all of the other means of conversation at my disposal (Phone, IM, Email, Letters, etc.) will work towards this goal.

All of this leads to this question:

  • How do I best use this blog as a means of seeking and sharing truth?

I'll be listening,


Bryan said...

Helloo again Mike-

You're asking some pretty big questions, and it's a dialog I'd love to be a part of.

So, if you don't mind a little criticism, I'd like to humbly suggest that you're gonna need a better forum for the dialog; blogger ain't gonna cut it. Too easy to lose stuff as blog posts & their comments roll into the archives. We need something that allows threaded discussion! And a bigger commentbox, maybe with rudimentary WYSIWYG, would also be nice ...

I've got Drupal running at, and would love to host this dialog, if you haven't got something/somewhere else in mind ...


Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,

Since this is an 'old' post I hope you see this.

I have been reading Doc Searls off and on for a few years. I'm pretty sure I found out about him from Dave Winer who I've read for a longer period.

I'm posting this because of your post at Doc's about Peak Oil. I've read The Oil Drum daily since '07 and have learned much there. One of the things I have learned is who one can listen to for more informed opinions on this subject.

One of those I listen to about this subject is Robert Rapier who has a book review over Jeff Rubin's book.I haven't read the book but I trust RR's analysis.