Muni to Run… Windows !?!

As seen on SFist, SF MTA is asking for $300,000 to update the ATCS (Advanced Train Control System) — the software which runs the subway — to Windows. Great. There may be carnage, but at least we’ll have Aero.

date:2008-09-23 15:37:28
tags:muni, wtf

Technology Summit

Yesterday was the first ever Creative Commons Technology Summit, hosted at Google. My photos and better ones taken by Joi.

I drove the Nerd Van (myself, Asheesh and the interns) to Google.

I’m still recovering (and inflicting pain — CC board meeting today) and collecting feedback, but I think it was a really successful day. We learned some things we’ll do differently next time (yes, there will be a next time). Anyway, special recognition to the CC interns for live blogging the event and for generally doing anything asked of them. I feel like I should write more about the event, but I’m feeling pretty brain dead at the moment.

date:2008-06-19 14:13:13
category:cc, General
tags:cc, nerd van, techsummit

Getting Things Zero’d

I really love task lists — especially the crossing off part — but lately they haven’t really been helping me out. Between the day job, consulting work, dating, and a more active social life than I had in Indiana, it seems like I never quite get to the crossing off part. This has become particularly clear at work where I use two simple labels for email: action and reply. I’m a little ashamed to admit that the action queue currently has 196 items in it, the oldest dating to August of last year. My CC inbox has 404 messages in it right now, of which 182 are starred. Starring is supposed to indicate something that needs my attention. Somehow this doesn’t seem productive. Mike, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry. Believe me, I’m sorry.

So I’m trying something a little different. This evening I watched the Google Tech Talk by Merlin Mann on Inbox Zero. While the second half played I managed to clear out my inbox.

Tomorrow I’m planning to create an email DMZ and begin at zero with my work inbox. Just keeping the flow of information to a reasonable level is just the first step, though.

I’ve had a Remember the Milk (RTM) account for quite a while but never got in the habit of using it. After watching an introduction to Tasque, I decided to look again. Tasque is a simple task list application for Gnome, in the same vein as Tomboy for notes. I love Tomboy. I think I’ll love Tasque, too.

I don’t know if the RTM elves have been hacking away at the site since I last looked or if I just never really dug in, but it actually seems to have the features I want in a task list. And there’s even a handy blog post on how you can use RTM to GTD (get things done).

Finally, the piece that ties both sides together: their Firefox extension. My workflow this evening looked like this:

  1. Go to the next email
  2. Decide that had some action associated with it
  3. Add the action label to it, which also created it as a task to RTM
  4. Later, when skimming through the action list I saw one I could knock out in a few minutes. And when I finished and removed the action label, the task in RTM was marked as complete. Sweet.
date:2008-06-11 23:18:16
category:cc, General
tags:cc, gtd, inbox zero, rtm

Friend Devaluation

I can’t take credit for finding it — that goes to Matt — but this video is a hilarious take on Facebook in real life.

Seeing this reminded me of something I’ve thought for quite a while: sites like Facebook, MySpace, etc all devalue the label of “friend”.

Some context: Facebook and Linked In are the only social networks I use with any regularity. I’ve had accounts on others (Orkut, anyone?) but those I haven’t deleted have long since gone fallow. I use Facebook and Linked In for two distinct purposes: connecting with friends and connecting with work contacts, respectively. For some time I’ve been taking a rather hard line in both respects. For example, working at Creative Commons gives me an opportunity to work with our international affiliates. One of them really wanted to be my friend on Facebook. The problem is, we’re not friends. I think he’s a perfectly decent guy, but I’ve never met him, never hung out, never done the things friends do. So I declined him, again and again, finally sending him a message saying “look, I get it, but we’re not friends”. His unexpected reply was not combative or offended but rather, “Oops, I was using the contact finder feature, I totally get what you’re saying” (note that I think this supports the idea that social networks enable socially acceptable spam).

So if you don’t want your mom (or co-workers, or boss, etc) to see pictures of you covered in “puke and piss”, do two things: learn about the privacy settings in Facebook and only add friends who are your, well, friends. Alternately don’t put yourself in situations where you can be photographed covered in puke and/or piss, but really, let’s focus on achievable goals.

date:2008-05-05 10:23:09

Web 2.0…

Struggle as you may to define Web 2.0, the folks over at Tagly have figured it out.

Tagly Screenshot

Tagly Screenshot

It’s all about ripping off Flickr‘s visual identity.

date:2006-09-24 18:09:59
category:aside, General

Licenses for Blogs

John Palfrey of the Berkman Center wrote a post proposing licenses specifically for blogs and feeds, based on Creative Commons licenses. I completely agree on one hand — more explicit licensing and discussion of rights and responsibilities is always a good thing. On the other, I don’t think we don’t need more licenses in this case. His suggestions and my comments (with props and attribution to Mike):

Option 1: Full-text republication, with attribution and link-back: I consent to the republication of the copyrighted works that I publish via my source, whether alone or repurposed with other sources in a derivative work, with no restriction on how much of the feed is rendered or how it is used, so long as republication involves attribution to me and a link from the aggregator back to the primary page where my source is published by me.

Great idea; see Attribution 2.5.

Option 2: Truncated-text republication, with attribution and link-back: I consent to the republication of the copyrighted works that I publish via my source, whether alone or repurposed with other sources in a derivative work, so long as only 200 words or fewer are included in what is rendered and so long as republication involves attribution to me and a link from the aggregator back to the primary page where my source is published by me. (This option would presumably be the one that Susan Mernit suggested in the last go-round.)

So this one is a little different, but I’m not convinced it requires an entirely new license. This is basically applying Attribution 2.5 to the first 200 words of your work. Why not just publish two feeds: one with full posts under something more restrictive, another with the first 200 words, under Attribution 2.5?

Option 3: Personal aggregation only: I consent to the republication of the copyrighted works that I publish via my source, but only for strictly personal, non-commercial use.

Is a license needed for this? Earlier in his piece Palfrey states: “What I think I’ve heard is that every blogger expects that other people will, at a minimum, be able to render your works in an aggregator for personal use, or else they would not be offering an XML feed.” I suppose being explicit is better than implicit, but why not Attribute-NonCommercial (or one of it’s ShareAlike or NoDerivatives cousins)?

Option 4: No aggregation except with permission: I do not consent to the use of my source for any purpose, except with prior written permission or as required by law.

See: fully copyright; no license required.

Option 5: No restriction: I place no restriction on the use of my source for any purpose.

Hmmm…. sounds like the Public Domain.

This shouldn’t be intepreted as a slight to Palfrey; I think its good that people are discussing exactly which right they want to retain and which they want to release. I just think we should look at the tools available before creating new ones.

(Disclaimer: I do not represent my employer in these comments)

date:2006-03-18 07:50:32


It’s Snow!

…and it’s still coming down…

date:2005-12-08 22:06:37

Continued Craziness

Last project due today and then perhaps the sleep deprivation will stop. I got up this morning and checked my email. One message was from the Apple Developer Connection with the subject Tell Us About Your Transition. “What the fuck?” I thought, “I’m gay, not transgendered!” Oh wait, that transition…

date:2005-12-08 07:24:26