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The Longest Now

An outlaw in Peru
Saturday November 22nd 2008, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I hadn’t seen this for years, and it took a few minutes of searching to pull it up. I repost it here for posterity.  It reminds me, too, that it is about time for a trombone-playing dinner party.

I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row.

I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru…  (more)

The XO tops Amazon’s best-sellers list
Thursday November 20th 2008, 12:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

It is nice to see the G1G1 XO, doubled price and all, topping the best-sellers list for laptops and computers on Amazon.  That’s before our national television spots started airing, and after the first day of our national website banners.  I can’t quite believe the banner metrics about the number of impressions we’ve gotten, but it seems to be in the millions.

Updates on the media campaign as it rolls out; you can already see our billboards up on a few thousand boards across the country.

OCLC catalog copyright debates heat up.
Sunday November 16th 2008, 4:07 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Aaron Swartz writes a doublebroadside; a petition against the “OCLC powergrab” is launched.  Phoebe is more generous to the Cooperative, and Jonathan Rochkind sums it up with comprehensive eloquence, explaining how he doesn’t actually want to destroy OCLC.

If you care about libraries, and especially if you care about archiving, catalogs, and community-generated data, this story is worth your attention.

I myself think the underlying issues are pretty black and white; many things that start as a collective soon stop being that way in anything but name and formal process, and OCLC’s processes aren’t particularly exciting to me as a community member.

I’d like to see what the new open library blog has to say about this.

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Food from Heaven. Or from some other Grace-land.
Saturday November 15th 2008, 10:37 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

So I am updating the OLPC blog, working through a pile of media and website updates for the end of the weekend, and I get a mite peckish.  Since I’m waiting until midnight when M&M and I are heading down to become comestible at the annual Deli Haus reenactment, my mind turns back a few generations and I ask myself, What Would Elvis Do?

Suddenly I realized I had all the fixings for a real Elvis-style sandwich, something D. H. in its heyday had loads of fun with:

  • old bread & a toaster
  • RedBones’ atomic corn relish
  • peanut butter… lots of peanut butter
  • pickle relish
  • honey

I delayed not, and in short order had whipped up the tastiest contraption I’ve bitten into since Mama Haus last took me into her kitchen and pwned me with her nuclear chicken wings.  This dish wasn’t so far off – Redbones makes the hottest relish this side of the Mississippi.

Mm-mmm!The Corny Elvis

G1G1 jumps the shar^B^B^B^B Atlantic
Saturday November 15th 2008, 1:05 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

This year’s Give One, Get One : international edition is set to launch in less than 64 hours.  And it will be open to donors around the world.  Last year it was difficult for anyone with a European credit card, not to mention a European shipping address, to get involved; no longer.  Local groups of enthusiasts who have been waiting for machines to come in by the score will be able to get larger collections for their test projects; and many more people and families that want to contribute to our cause will be able to do so.  More, and amazing video, after the jump.


Friday November 14th 2008, 11:35 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Everyone asks “how do you pronounce XO? Is it

  1. like “ch’o” in  “xocon” (nahuatl)
  2. like “so” in “roxxor” (1337)
  3. like “zo” in “xoom”
  4. like “show” (chinese)
  5. “ixo” (spanish)
  6. “sideways xo-person”

To answer you all at once, I have advice best embodied in a poem.  It is a work in progress that has been passed from person to person for generations… starting perhaps with G. Nolst Trenité (1870-1946).  Points in contention are in bold, but the advice at the end is timeless.

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Why XO?
Thursday November 13th 2008, 12:44 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Mel and I have started blogging about some of the OLPC internals at (hat tip to Seth W for temporary hosting), in the lead up to Give One Get One.  Take a look, tell us what you think, and suggest stories or topics you’d like to see the office bloggers cover.

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Simson on Wikihechos
Monday November 10th 2008, 11:03 am
Filed under: fly-by-wire,Uncategorized

Simson Garfinkel recently penned a meandering piece on Wikipedia and Truth which never gets at the heart of either subject.

Wikipedia does not claim to define truth, and tries to avoid doing more than describing what others see as truth — which could lead to an interesting discussion of reflection, meta-levels of truth, the difference between truth and awareness, or between tight and loose asociation.  However, most of the words of this essay are spent describing mundane aspects of Wikihistory and article editing.  A familiar grapelike aroma permeates — the author confesses at one point being chastised for editing his own biography.

Natural contextual parallels — a discussion of the meaning and value of truth in various other media; modern press, journals, texts, lemmas, Theorems, and Laws — are not drawn.  When you digress to share the full history of Wikipedia and are limited to four pages, there isn’t much room for analysis.  But it does make me pine for a proper review of accuracy, precision, consistency, accountability, fact checking, reproducability, and reputation in the modern collective intelligence.  Much of what I read and hear today — from experts and amateurs alike — is partly misguided or misinformed.  (Experts tend to gloss over what is not known, or pretend recent disagreements don’t exist; amateurs tend to privilege new ideas and discoveries.)   In few places outside of math and hard science is there even a clear process for steady improvement with an eye towards closure, rather than simply expanding the heap of random facts on which contenders draw and the space in which they flail.

So let’s hear it for Truth and its pursuit, and those who care for it.  And let’s hope they draw useful inspiration from projects such as Wikipedia that identify a way for millions to do better than thousands, with room for iterative improvement.

Search as microcosm of the collective conscious
Sunday November 09th 2008, 4:48 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I wrote a bit about this last month, with specifics about search terms people are using to find the Longest Now.  I’ve updated the list with some additional searches; it still makes me smile.

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Ahora yo sé cómo Palin siente
Sunday November 09th 2008, 4:48 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Eso es todo.

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