Friday, November 18, 2011

Kindle Fire versus Nook Color ~ Day #2

I have had another day with my Kindle Fire and I am perhaps a bit less gloomy than yesterday.

Don't get me wrong, the Kindle Fire is an awesome device. It was just four years ago in November that Amazon released the Kindle First Generation for $399. This device is half the price and is a gazillion times sexier. [The same month saw the introduction of the OLPC and the first Asus netbook. Each of these was also $399. I still have my first Asus netbook and it is a total piece of junk.]

But now that we are in the land of milk and honey – device-wise anyway – we can be ever so picky.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

On Facebook: Incomplete Nature - a book by Terrence Deacon

Incomplete Nature - a book by Terrence Deacon that came out this week is a work that I have been studying for several months – having been the recipient of some of Deacon's early drafts.

Although I prepared a number of comments on the text for Deacon, the book is so dense that I cannot say that I fully understand it as of yet.

What I do recognize is that Incomplete Nature is an important book and perhaps one of the most important books to be written on what it is to be conscious and what it means to think about things. It is far too early, however, for me to even begin to think of how I would structure a review of the book.

Part of the process of learning to deal with such a complex work is to approach the work from a number of different points of view. One approach I am taking is perhaps a bit wacky and that is to build and manage the Facebook page for the book.

Which brings me to this: I need help!

In order to register a username on Facebook and thus be able to obtain the elegant URL one needs to have twenty five people "Like" the page. As of tonight there are just three Likes.

So please, please - if you are on Facebook - click on the link below and when you get to the Facebook page then click on the Like button. Thank you!

You do not need to read the book. Just wait a while and I will tell you all about it...


On Facebook: Art Technology & Culture (ATC) at UC Berkeley

One of my very favorite activities is attending the lectures at the Art Technology and Culture (ATC) Colloquium at University of California Berkeley. This is a project run by the Berkeley Center for New Media.

Over the past 15 years, Professor Ken Goldberg and his colleagues have invited some of the most interesting, unique and innovative individuals on the planet to come and talk to students of new media.

The lectures are open to the public and I have become a regular member of the audience. So much so that I've been asked to help out on the ATC's Facebook page.

In these times when money is ever so precious, it is really nice for an organization that needs help to ask for help rather than money. In my case, I happened to do a little bit of both but my real pleasure is in the helping part.


Kindle Fire: First Day

Instant Video via Amazon Prime is awesome. Free movie streaming.

Accepts Gmail but no support for Google Docs, Maps, Calendar etc.

I use Google Apps frequently every day - so this is a deal-breaker for me.

My rooted Nook Color hands all of these well - plus the full Kindle Reader app

NY Times
I am already a subscriber to the New York Times digital edition.

But it looks like I would have to subscribe again in order to read it using the Kindle version.

First Impressions

It's beautiful hardware. Bright and very responsive screen.

But for the moment I am dismayed by the software and content issues.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Moved This Blog from WordPress to Blogger

If you are a heavy-duty blogger, WordPress is definitely the way to go. WordPress has a lot of great tools for writers built into the software. The software is open source and can be run on any server or  hosted by for free. The founder, Matt Mullenweg, is a San Francisco Bay Area hero and still very much involved with the company. I could and probably should write a number of posts just about the good things of WordPress.

Nevertheless I have moved to Blogger – a free service offered by Google – for a number of reasons. The first is cost. I run a number of websites for a variety of people for which I receive no money. With Blogger I have more freedom - at no charge - to control the appearance of the site than I do with WordPress. With WordPress I would have to pay $30 per year per site.

With WordPress if I want a domain name to point to set hosting service offered by I have to pay $12 per year. With Blogger I can do this at no charge. When added all up, we are talking only about a few hundred dollars a year. So the cost is not really that important.

On the other hand I do help a lot of people with their websites for whom such an expense would be too much. So I feel that my expertise with Blogger may be more helpful to people than xpertise with WordPress – for people for whom such a charge would not be feasible.

The ultimate back story, however, is what happens sometime in the future. At some time somebody will stop paying for the domain name registrations and for the styling charges or whatever. I feel that Blogger office of greatest chance so that some years from now – even with pay no money – the websites I work on will still be around and look much the way they do the last time I happen to touch them.

So what I'm saying is that the historians of the distant future will have an easier task parsing through Blogger sites than the WordPress sites. And this is very important. Since nobody today reads the stuff I write, my only hope is you guys way out there sometime in the future.

Friday, November 11, 2011

New on MangoJango: Clever Robot - Created by 3D Printer

A quick post on a cleverly made 'bot.



It's raining here today...

So Many Jobs Available in Technology - Even More Jobs for Females

There is an upbeat story in Techcrunch today by David Kirkpatrick about the current state of technology in the world today.
The fastest-growing resource in the world is computing power and storage.
How To Be An Optimist In A Pessimistic Time

And yet in most every country in the world today, too many people are looking for work. The only significant exception is the technology sector. Every major and minor player in the San Francisco Bay Area is looking for talent.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Cup of Coffee

Ever since I can remember, I have always wanted to be somebody who draws things. For good portions of my life I have been able to fulfill this ambition.

Monday, October 31, 2011

New on MangoJango: The Power of Free Electricity

Re-igniting the Mangojango web site. It will cover architecture, 3D printing, robotics, transport and design. You'll see - they all do really combine well - when you have a utopian vision of things.

The Power of Free Electricity

New on BC News: The Decrease in Crime: The Nice Thing Nobody Tells You

There was an angry and strong response to my post on the decrease in crime is San Francisco here.

The Decrease in Crime: The Nice Thing Nobody Tells You


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New White Paper: "Learning to Program"

I have written a number of white papers. As the Wikipedia link explains, a white paper  is "an authoritative report or guide that helps solve a problem". The ones I have written are usually prepared for people I am working with to build some kind of product or service. They are often written quickly casually being under some kind of deadline. Nevertheless they have tended to have some content interesting to me and, I hope, to others. Therefore I've decided to start cleaning some of the papers up and make them readily available on the web.

The first white paper I offer is called "Learning to Program". This paper shows you how to use the Internet to learn about the Internet and then using this knowledge explains how you can be  not only be a passenger on the Internet and but also one of the drivers.


Monday, October 24, 2011

You Are What You Write

The title of this topic, at least my first contact with these words, comes from an on-line manual titled Producing Open Source Software by Karl Fogel. The author introduces the topic thusly:

Consider this: the only thing anyone knows about you on the Internet comes from what you write, or what others write about you. You may be brilliant, perceptive, and charismatic in person—but if your emails are rambling and unstructured, people will assume that's the real you. Or perhaps you really are rambling and unstructured in person, but no one need ever know it, if your posts are lucid and informative.

In my opinion the truthiness of this topic goes far deeper than Fogel's pleasant comparisons. "You are what you write" is really quite primal - more like Descartes's "I think therefore I am". I think life becomes "I write therefore I am". For example, I exist only because you are reading these words.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Daughter #2 Was Published: Carpooling ~ What the Census Doesn't Show

My daughter, Cynthia Armour, recently had a very informative article on carpooling published in a major online source for news on transportation. Driving in the fast lane - as carpoolers often get the right to do - is something we should all do more often...


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New on AOTN: Internet Art of a Beastly Kind

Is Internet-enabled art really Internet art? Not so says this site's benevolent dictator for life.


Pretty Shiny, New Things

Very pretty shiny, new things – delivered by a wizened old pro - Iain Sinclair.

I still have the black version of his calculator from the 1970s
Very pretty shiny, new things – delivered by a wizened old pro.

History in the Making - One Tweet at a Time

In this post I am not discussing the merits of Occupy Wall Street, I am merely, as a techie, thinking about and commenting on certain elements of the the back-story or subtext associated with the events that relate to people's usage of the Internet. reports that the Occupy Wall Street movement began with blog post with this Twitter hashtag: #OccupyWallStreet.

The are a number of interesting elements here:

Velocity: From zero to global movement in less than ninety days. Makes you think of synchronicity, multiple discovery, collective unconscious, collective consciousness, vox popoli and  zeitgeist,  and some kind of whole earth resonance. How long does it take to start a world movement? It used to take years, decades. Now it's down to days. Will the length of time it takes to get people off their butts become even shorter?

Singularity: It started with one person. Or perhaps a tiny group. This is so different from voting. In voting you say "Each vote counts!" But ultimately each vote is just a statistic. This is much more like the lottery. Guess a number. Guess a hashtag. The lucky winner gets global recognition. Except with the lottery one person gets everything, while the results of the successful hashtag are shared. And unlike the vote or lottery, there are no losers here. Anyone who wants "in" is a winner.

Anonymity: The person who created the hashtag is not a famous person. The hashtag was not written by a Thomas Jefferson or Rupert Murdoch - a person normally associated with the creation of events or news. The creator was just a normal human being in some random place. The creation of the Tweet may have even been somewhat of a random event in the creator's lives.

Openness: We know the history of the event - right down to the millisecond of inception. All out in the open - readily available to anyone. Nothing occurred in hidden rooms. No back-room deals. It's all visible, transparent.

Documented: We don't need no historians. No historian was needed to research the event. The events are self-documenting. The role historian as a recorder of the events is a sunset industry. The role of the future historian (apart from mundane archiving) is only relevant as that of a pundit or commentator.

Big picture: There will be more events like this. Some you will like and some you will not like. Your choice.

Link via Techmeme:



Saturday, October 15, 2011

New on AOTN: Comments On Kal Spelletich At UC Berkeley ATC

I wrote quite a bit of tongue-in-cheekiness on Kal Spelletich's very engaging presentation on October 10, 2011 at the Art Technology Culture Colloquium at the Berkeley Center for New Media.


New on Jaanga: Sound As An Element in Visualizations

There's a web site for curating sound.

Can you hear me now?

Sound As An Element in Visualizations

Friday, October 14, 2011

New On Jaanga: "Magazine = iPad That Does Not Work"

A new post with a video that shows a young child trying to deal with antiquated technology: magazines.


My Big Sister Was On The Radio

My big sister was on the radio.

Tania Becker talked about her Arts 4 Alzheimer's project on Eugeria - a weekly radio show on Atlanta Business Radio that celebrates those who have given their careers to serving seniors and disabled individuals to make their lives comfortable, meaningful and fulfilled.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I've Got a New Hero

Murial Cooper was on the rare people of could visualize numbers in 3D.

I wrote a bit about her on Jaanga.

A tip of the hat to Warren Stringer of for the intro.


Posting on Facebook to Support the ATC

Last week I started helping the Art Technology Culture (ATC) Colloquium - a group under the umbrella of the Berkeley Center for New Media - with their Facebook presence.


Post on the Barbary Coast News

On October 4, 2011 I attended the re-opening of Sue Bierman Park alnong with mayoral candidate and President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, David Chiu.

In doing so I was roped into riding down the zip line that operates over Justin Herman Plaza.

Read all about the adventure along with a good dollop of cheekiness.

Link: Sue Bierman Park opens to........

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Brief Introduction to the Techie Bits of the Internet

image courtesy of Google

One of my favorite introductions the techie bits of the Internet:

What’s a cookie? How do I protect myself on the web? And most importantly: What happens if a truck runs over my laptop?

For things you’ve always wanted to know about the web but were afraid to ask, read on.