Thursday, April 19, 2007

Black hole? - Try a different channel

Doc Searls worries about conversational black holes.

I was awakened to this suspicion three Mondays ago, while talking about blogging to a class in a local college. The teacher projected a browser tuned to Technorati on a screen, clicked on a Top Searches link, and there, at the top of the page, was a blog post that associated my name with death threats.
Since then perhaps hundreds of thousands of blog postings have dealt with the controversy; yet the ratio of opinion to fact in the case verges on the infinite. At a certain point I realized that it was impossible to shed light on a subject that had become a black hole. That point was reached when one person's name had become synonymous with the controversy. I realized then that I would only make things worse by mentioning that person's name — no matter how much Good Stuff I had to say about the subject.

The basic problem here is not an inescapable black hole, though can see how Doc reached that conclusion. I believe I see the true problem, which brings both bad and good news.

Bad news first: Doc, you're addicted to buzz.

Just as the view of Microsoft has changed even further since you wrote The Shrinking Subject, the views of the events of the tragedies this week will change. Things get weighted differently over time, as the fog of the present clears with perspective.

Using Technorati and other tools is great for starting a conversation when you need to build an audience to help get traction, but it's nowhere near as good a filter as the rest of us in conversation. Tools of that nature use a feedback loop which is tuned for finding the immediate and the popular, with no attention given to other factors.

You like buzz... and I'm here to caution you against the dark side. I've done it before, and I'll do it again, as will others here in the non-buzz long tail.

The good news... say what you want, we'll listen... and in the long run it'll outweigh the buzz. We wouldn't be here if you didn't believe in us. We care about things beyond popularity. We are a darned good filter, if given time to think about things, and compose our thoughts.

The recursive example is right here... it took me a few days to get this written... thoughts now and then. I could refactor it even more, as it worries me you might be offended by the personal reference to your buzz addiction... but then again it helps make the point to have specifics.

Go ahead and mention away, put the caveats in, we'll listen, in the long run.

Thanks for your time and attention.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Originally uploaded by --Mike--.
Autostitch couldn't quite handle it, so I used Hugin to generate this panorama. It's almost perfectly aligned.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


There are some who just want to give up, and restart the Internet from scratch. This is defeatism in a fairly pure form. Now I've dipped far too many times into the same well... and I've just realized it. It stops now.

The Internet is a network, just like the phone system, it is value neutral. There are technical limitations, which are being actively addressed already, with IP6 and standards coming down the well known pike. The long term stability of the Internet as a communications medium are in good hands. It's in the best interest of everyone to keep it going, and make it better.

Most of the problems that people blame on the Internet are actually with the hosts. It is not possible, given the dominant security model to have a host connected to the internet which will remain secure. I've written about this before...

We can secure the hosts, by encouraging the development of new systems which implement Capabilities. Once it's possible to keep the servers clean, the rest can be managed. I don't want to leave the impression that it'll be trival... but we'll have a very good step in the right direction.

We can clean it up... we just need to keep the long term goal in mind.

We will not be defeated.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter 2007 - First Video

It's Virgina's first Easter. I took some video with my new Coolpix L12, and compressed it to fit on YouTube.

The progress of technology continues to amaze me... But it's nowhere as rapid as Virgina's. ;-)

Happy Easter!


Friday, April 06, 2007

A modest proposal for immigration reform

This piece about the H1-B visa crisis got me to thinking about a possible solution to the problem... I have a few ideas:
  • Allow those with H1-B visas (who supposedly have skills that can't be found domestically) the freedom to work anywhere once they are here. (As suggested in the article above)
  • Require the employer of someone with an H1-B visa to put somewhere between 1-5 years of salary for the worker in escrow, to help protect the worker from mis-treatment. (Arbitration would be required in the event of termination)
  • Implement a 100% tax on the salary of the worker, to be paid by the employer (who couldn't be bothered to try to hire a citizen of the US) to the appropriate state's Unemployment fund
The thing about troubleshooting is that when you find a good solution to a problem, you find the solution can be generalized to help in other similar problems. It is with this in mind that I feel I have found the solution to the H1-B visa problem, and the bigger problem of illegal immigration.

I humbly suggest that we simply do what we do best... make everyone pay! We let anyone (non-criminal) enter the US one on one of three tracks:
  • Tourist - Proper documentation, etc... just as it is now
  • Temporary worker - Gets something like a green card to use for ID, gets taxed like the rest of us, except their Social Security payments go into a special escrow account.
  • Citizen apprentice - Same as temporary worker, but they would pay an additional 10% income tax for the 7 years before they became regular citizens. English language skills would also be required.
I'd allow upgrading plans if you wished, by supplying the documentation and payments required.

Everyone (non-criminal) would have a path to US citizenship, provided they were willing to work for it.