Thursday, April 19, 2007

Slight update: Lifesized blog and site

If you have not already found my new work residence online including a new blog, go and check it out at It was time to move business operations out of Google's hands (bless their souls for all the free goodies, hope they have earned a bob or two from me). At the link above you will find me writing on more serious design matters (although still from my POV naturally). I'm also writing over at the Roomwareproject's Blog. This place i will keep for posts of a more personal and frivolous nature!

Woke up at 7.30 a.m. to the sound of a sledgehammer pounding down a wall

And then i found this letter posted though the mailbox.

It says that a building project started in the house next door will continue from now for the next 12 weeks! Leuk, Shit,F*(^$@A*H&@#*L^*....
On second thoughts, breaking down walls doesn't take that long. I just need to hold out till the time they start sanding down and painting. In the meantime, better go and get some Ohropax.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Human Beatbox is living large in China

Funky fresh. I used to human beatbox...back in the even thought at one moment while i was making and producing music to do an album with all the beats done with my mouth over a concept album with "a day in life of" format. Well this was something i picked up from the Shanghaist

"So a certain Liu Feng, a multi-talented video editor from Beijing working at W+K Shanghai, traveled up to northern China over CNY to discover the secret behind a popular web video featuring a Chinese beat-boxing virtuoso.

What he found is hinted at in the trailer above. Yanji, a city of just over 400,000 people located near the border to North Korea, is a virtual breeding ground for fledgling Chinese beat-boxers. Taking elements from popular Korean, Chinese and American culture, Yanji's b-boys and b-girls are carving out a style all their own."


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Lecture of finding material correlates to spiritual states continued

"Where do our beliefs come from, and why do we hold on to some of them even if there is evidence to the contrary? Why, for example, do we continue to be fascinated by God, religion, haunted houses, UFOs, conspiracy theories, and miracle cures, even when science can dispute many of these claims? Is it because we are uneducated, or are our brains designed to interpret and seek out such possibilities in the world? Simply put: Why do we believe what we believe? "

These are the words of Andrew Newberg. I have asked similar questions in one form or another many times myself.

This is totally my kind of thing. And to answer the question whether i am a hard/soft materialist ...the answer is clearly no. I am fascinated by belief. It still astounds me how looking at the history of religious traditions, so-called enlightenment is an incredibly rare and unevenly distributed occurence. If i look at current spiritual methods, i can only see that they are in need of an incredible update. Sitting for hours meditating is a huge amount of work. From my personal perspective it is simply a matter of poor design and lack of understanding of how people/the universe works. So you can then understand why i favor further inquiry into such subjects as neurotheology.

(thanks to C4Chaos for the linkage)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Got tagged

Chain letters are not my thing usually either, but as it's the end of the year and coming from friends i thought might as well join the party. Not sure who i could pass this onto as most those people already got tagged!

1. I used to play a lot of fantasy games, dungeons and dragons-like stuff, runequest and games through the mail. Once i went for an IRL(in real life) fantasy experience in some hollowed out limestone caves in the south of England where groups of adventurers would dress up and go on dungeoning adventures inside the caves. I sat for 15 minutes inside a coffin, awaiting one such unlucky group of adventurers. I was an annoying unkillable vampire, dealing quad-damage per hit in a weird mirrored room, me being behind on of the teleportation mirrors. The poor adventurers could choose between getting ripped apart by my vampiric powers or bludgeoned by a group of undead orcs in another room. Fun.
2. When i was 16 i got into a 1950s dinner jacket, shawadeewaddy kind of look, although the jackets were always black(not light blue).
3. I was once banned from an airline because when i was a teenager and had to travel alone to meet my separating parents, children at that time needed to travel with an escort. This was usually a stewardess. I guess it was the teenage hormones/ rebelliousness coming through. I must have been a real pain in the ass to these ladies to get banned. (rescinded now i'm a little more mature)
4. I miss cooking in a theatrical context. My life has gone too digital. The balance needs to be re-dressed. Hoping to throw some events in 2007 to bring the physical back into my life. Here's a new year's resolution built into a tagged admission.

Happy New Year all,
2006 was amazing on a personal level although a disaster from a global political perspective. Here's to 2007.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

roomware devhouse2 was great

doctor what do you think?

Once again, we assembled at Peter's place in Amsterdam this time for a weekender of conjecture, coding and testing. Quite a few new faces arrived as well as a core number of people from the first dev house. What did we achieve? Well, we now have a running roomware server with blue tooth module and were able to build an application. It scans for bluetooth devices, and upon finding them pulls the name of the device. It then calls the flickr api and displays the profile icons of people in the rooms and makes a photo-slide show of the first 10 images of each of the people detected. I was NOT amazed we got so far as the team is pretty damn good. We also had discussions on the language needed to define and describe a roomware application. Now to take care of security, stability of the server. Ubi and Valerie started work on a very lightweight client.

I have spent the last weeks slowly being opened up to the "internet of things". After many chats with Ben and Tijs and Robert, i realize we really are coming at this whole space from a very different angle. The roomware project is building walls and floors on an open source license for others to then add furniture and build in features.
One of the great side effects of this project is that i seem to suddenly have made a lot of new friends!

Monday, October 23, 2006

This one keeps coming back and won't go away

(click on the link to view video if you can't already see it from within your feedreader)

"Oil, Smoke and Mirrors" is an independent 50 minute documentary on peak oil, 9/11 and the war on terror." Interesting beginning although a third of the way through it veers off into all sorts of links to "the war of terror" that i'm not supporting wholeheartedly.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Dim Mak - art of the Death Blow

(click on link to view the video here if you are reading about this via a feed reader that does not embed video)

I used to be fascinated by martial arts, and the discussion around pressure points and the supposed death-blow dark art was part of schoolboy mythology. Great to see this episode show some warrior acupuncture applications into the uses of Chi!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Anyone for some bag cheese?


Discovered at a traditional Dutch restaurant near the Leidseplain in Amsterdam, somehow i think this translation is a bit off target:) (Hang-op is yoghurt hung in muslin so the water drips out of it. This is then mixed with whipped cream, vanilla and powder sugar and good with something crunchy and fruit salady)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Executive Suitcase Coloring Book

"Subversive, legendary, and long out of print... Ad to the Bone presents a special 2006 edition of The Executive Coloring Book."

via business innovation insider

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Earth Album

Earth Album had me clicking all over the world, especially as it integrated youTube and Flickr. The video linkage just shows a taste of how the geographic navigational metaphor is so easy and fun to use, and thus powerful. I found myself clicking on African countries and peering onto their culture through uploaded music videos. A love song sung in Swahili, where the young singer is gangster'd out in the latest American sportwear gear. Maps mashups keep getting sweeter.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A wee interview with Michel about P2P

Ok, so it is not technically perfect, some err's and umm's, a rushed filming as we only realized we had a small window to find a camera and shoot something (for Robin Good) before he had to go to Denmark. I managed to get Michel to answer some questions that relate to the "ordinary person" (where possible) rather than sticking to terms and phrases that only social scientists/politicians/geeks understand. Still, there's a lot of juicy inspirational stuff in here.

Small aside
P2P Foundation blog in French will launch beginning November, led by Remi Sussan author of "Utopies Posthumaines" and journalist/writer at large.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Tricking humans into doing some of the heavy lifting

"Abstract tasks like image recognition are trivial for humans, but continue to challenge even the most sophisticated computer programs. This talk introduces a paradigm for utilizing human processing power to solve problems that computers cannot yet solve. Traditional approaches to solving such problems focus on improving software. I advocate a novel approach: constructively channel human brainpower using computer games. For example, the ESP Game, described in this talk, is an enjoyable online game -- many people play over 40 hours a week -- and when people play, they help label images on the Web with descriptive keywords. These keywords can be used to significantly improve the accuracy of image search. People play the game not because they want to help, but because they enjoy it."

by Lecture by Luis von Ahn: Assistant professor in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University

Monday, September 11, 2006

Roomware Workshop, you are invited!

We had a great discussion on the idea of RoomWare a few geek dinners ago and it was repeated in a further dinner, so we now decided we would host an event based on the theme of RoomWare.

"At RoomWareDevHouse we intend to investigate possible applications, host discussion and do some hacking while enjoying a tasty beverage. The event is free and anyone interested can attend as long as you intend to participate.

Loosely styled after SuperHappyDevHouse we hope to talk about and even build some of the applications that we will display at a later RoomWare event. Furthermore we intend to start development on an open source RoomWare platform that anyone can build on to provide RoomWare applications at their own event or location.."

Sign up on the wiki to join.

"Roomware are software applications running in a defined space. The people in a RoomWare enabled space can use the services running on a local server through their mobile phone (Bluetooth), laptop (Wifi) or other means (RFID). Possible services range from live interaction with the music or video screens to introducing parts of an online profile into the local space."

(from the Roomwareproject site)

Friday, August 25, 2006


"To some people (particularly non-practitioners), parkour is an extreme sport, to others a discipline more comparable to martial arts.

According to founder David Belle, the spirit of parkour is guided in part by the notions of "escape" and "reach", that is, the idea of using physical agility and quick thinking to get out of difficult situations, and to be able to go anywhere that one desires."

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Revisiting the theatrical

It was a pleasure to discover a play that uses digital techniques taken to the next level. Actors are still present off-screen, although they cross-over into the screen and have all sorts of data superimposed over themselves. I love seeing relationship maps vizualized alongside real-time/skin-touching emotions. Supervision created by the cross-over talent of The Builder's Association and dbox.

"SUPER VISION tells three stories drawn from the datasphere:
1. As he crosses successive borders, a solitary traveler gradually is forced to reveal all of his personal information, until his identity becomes transparent, with no part of his life left outside the bounds of dataveillance.

2. A young woman, addicted to the white noise of constant connection, maintains a long-distance relationship with her Grandmother. As she makes efforts to digitally archive her Grandmother's past, the grandmother slips into senility. The young woman is left to discover what remains of her Grandmother's life and her own outside the realm of data.

3. A father covertly exploits his young son's personal data to meet the demands of the family's lifestyle. This ploy escalates beyond the father's control, until he is compelled to disappear. His wife and son are left with a starkly diminished data portrait, and his escape is shadowed by the long reach of the datasphere."

This kind of brings two parts of me together, the performing side (in real time) and the weird tech-enhanced world. Builderassociation, pretty please, come and perform Supervision in Amsterdam. We have got plenty of screens here for you too.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My first (kind-of) award

I was kind of taken aback when i received an email from a personal friend and collaborator, that we had been listed in Time magazines 50 coolest sites for our Yu-Gi-Oh collaboration! We had done this with our micro-site for kids. The content uses stop-frame animation in a clever way. My role was some animation work and coding the whole thing together in Flash. Alma/blank tweaked the coding in LA for site optimization.

Here's the blurb:
" has selected the Yu-Gi-Oh! GXGroove Room as one of its Top 50 Coolest Sites for 2006 placing it alongside the likes of YouTube, Meebo, Pandora and MySpace among others. You can click on the link here for the full story (see excerpt below link):

Yu-Gi-Oh Groove
Here's one for the kids: a site that features characters from the popular anime world of Yu-Gi-Oh, doing something they don't ordinarily do: dance. It's silly and fun — you mix and match the music and moves. Developer Timothy Harris photographed the actual toys in various poses to create the stop-motion animations. Best feature: though sponsored by Mattel, there's not an ad or corporate logo in sight.

You'll find Yu-Gi-Oh! Groove Room in the Time Wasters section....a fun feature for kids and potential guilty pleasure for adults!!"

Most of all I'm happy for Tim. I coded in Amsterdam, while Tim designed in LA. He visited Amsterdam once, mainly because he was moving the rest of his stuff out of the city. He did some animation work here. We used Skype (voice and file transfer) to stay in touch. He came up with the total concept and did all the graphic design and stop frame animation work.

We had a big laugh messing around with Yu-Gi-Oh robot parts. This included Tim buying material for the backdrop for his Robot disco. I'm curious how the kids actually responded. Before this project i had vaguely heard of Mattel.

Define your collaborative project using some tools from Involve

A UK group called Involve do some great work on collaboration, the highlight being their publication of "People and Participation". This publically funded UK think-tank and research center, is another wonderful example of some of the good work coming out of Europe in this area. I used a lot of the concepts from within their document for a project i have been working on. It translated easily from a government focus to other sectors. Of particular strength was the unification of concepts with case studies in the field of participatory practise/ collaboration.

"People & Participation is the first publication of Involve, a new organisation focused on the practical issues of making public participation work. There have been many books and pamphlets about democratic reform. What is unusual about this publication is that it provides much needed practical detail, drawing on the experiences of over a hundred practitioners who have used new methods to involve the public in issues ranging from local planning to nanotechnology. Its starting point is that deepening and strengthening democracy depends on success in learning lessons about why some kinds of participation lead to better and more legitimate decisions, while others do not. The book shows that greater public involvement can greatly help in addressing some of our most pressing problems and countering the risks of distrust and alienation. But it also warns that too much participation today is superficial, an exercise in ticking boxes as opposed to good democratic governance, or is used to to justify decisions that have already been made. Participation works best when people feel that they can make a difference, when they have the time to fully engage with the issues and when there is a healthy relationship of mutual respect with elected representatives. It works worst when it is rushed, ill-informed and vague about the links to formal decision-making, or when it allows the loudest voices to dominate. There are no simple formulae or ‘off the shelf’ solutions to improving participation. Nor is participation a panacea – turning government into a permanent public meeting can get in the way of making difficult decisions. But in general, wider involvement is good for public organisations, improves their relationships with the public and reduces the risk of bad mistakes. As the book shows, there are some clear lessons to be learned about the methods that are more or less likely to work in different circumstances, and we are lucky in the UK in that there are now very many people with the experience and the enthusiasm to make participation work. It is rarely easy or natural for big institutions to open themselves up. But a more educated and demanding public is no longer willing to sit on the sidelines watching passively while the big decisions affecting their lives are made by politicians, experts and officials. We live in a democracy where political authority still resides, rightly, with elected politicians. But any democratic vision which stops at that point, and allows parties and politicians to monopolise discussion and decision making, is unlikely to be very legitimate – or very robust when the going gets tough. To their credit, hundreds of public agencies have taken the lead in trying to involve the public more actively. The priority now is to build on that experience and to build confidence that public involvement can lead to better, and more legitimate, decisions." "Too often, discussion of participation begins and ends with identifying methods. One-off events or individual methods are an important element of participatory processes, but they are only one part. Methods have probably become the main focus for people’s participatory working because they are the front-line for interaction, the ‘set piece’ in which institutions come face to face with those they seek to involve. But as with all front lines, their effectiveness is determined almost wholly by the quality of the planning that precedes such action, especially the planning of how to handle the results from that interaction (the products and wider outcomes), and how to link the initiative with wider decision-making processes and systems, particularly in democratic institutions such as local government. Specific methods thus form just one part of the overall participatory process, which will also need to take into account purpose and context. In summary, the key factors in participatory working are:

Purpose + Context + Process = Outcome

Purpose: It is essential to be clear what a participatory process aims to achieve. Ideally, the purpose will be explicitly agreed among all participants (“this is what we are trying to do”). Some participatory exercises may have a primary purpose (for example, to influence a particular policy decision), and a secondary purpose (such as to build relationships). The nature of the purpose contributes to the choice of methods.

Context: Every situation is unique, shaped by the issues, the people, history, location, structures of organisations and institutions taking part, wider decision-making processes and systems, and so on. These factors will fundamentally affect what can and cannot be done – and which methods will or will not work. Participatory working always needs to be understood in relation to the wider systems within which it takes place (such as organisational structures and policy priorities), especially external and internal decision-making systems. The nature of the context affects the choice of methods.

Process: The design of the participatory process is about planning how the purpose will be achieved (including which methods should be used and when).
The design of the process should always follow
agreement on purpose
– ‘form follows function’
– and understanding of the context (including how any eventual decisions will be made).
The choice of individual methods is affected by the nature and stage of the overall process.

In summary, therefore, the choice of participation methods has to be made within an overall design for effective participatory processes (however short or long term, specific or comprehensive) and will depend on an understanding of the context, and an understanding of what participation may be able to achieve so that the purpose of any single exercise (or comprehensive approach) can be clear and realistic.

The document has three main sections:
Introducing participation: Some of the issues affecting participation in the UK today (section 2).

Planning for participation: The key steps for ensuring that participation works (section 3).

Methods for participation: The characteristics, advantages and disadvantages of different participation methods (section 4).
This guidance places participation methods in their proper place in participatory working – which is as part of a coherent design with a clear purpose. The overall design will always be different depending on the particular context."

I especially enjoyed discovering the concepts of outcomes, outputs and their relationship to purpose.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

PussyCatLounge04/SoftwareSocial at Katie and Paul's

Softwaresocial/PCL 05 guests

What Tijs and I started 5 months ago has now become a steady, monthly event. We were looking for a way to bring interesting people of all persuasions together for a dinner once a month in Amsterdam. It was meant to primarily support freelancers with a focus on software and startups, thus by default throwing us into the category of geek dinner.
Katie wanted to do something similar too, so we teamed up at her place for a larger bbq. Thanks go to Hugh Macleod, Sam Brown and the Stormhoek team for sending us such a generous wine contribution. For those of you that don't know about Stormhoek, let me just say that as Kristal is to hip-hop, Stormhoek is to geek. It's a South African wine producer reaching out to consumers rather than wasting lots of advertising dollar on large billboards. Well, maybe billboards are not redundant, it's just which delivers more leverage for the cost. At our recent bbq we were happy to have Robert from Blue Ace, Peter from Instant Interfaces, people from Hives, katie and Paul of TreasureMyText and more. We are hooking up with Blue Ace to do some bigger events in the future (to be defined). This will lead us to producing 3 different kinds of events.
1. A small 6-8 person invite only dinner
2. A larger 15-25 person event
3. Largest type, 50-??? .

We are also adding more structure to events to balance: focused discussion time on interesting subject matter Vs Mindless hanging out blather, joking around, networking while eating and drinking great stuff.

Oh and i should lastly plug the p2pfoundation where i have been working with Michel,Brice, Remi, Jeff, while recently with - Sam Rose and Adrian Chan for the last 8 months..Listen to the podcast on what this work is about as its important theoretical stuff - like Lessig, Benkler.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Tears of sadness for the people in Iraq

I opened up my rss reader this morning and went over to my news feeds. For quite a while they consist of blogs rather than news sites to get a more honest and first-hand account of what is going on out there in the world. This morning Global Voices Online posted a roundup of the Iraqi blogosphere. It made me so sad, and feel so helpless. I am still wandering how i can help support the ordinary citizens there get by in their daily hell of a life often in high temperatures, being shot at, kidnapped, ransomed, tortured, murdered, without refrigeration to keep food and drinks cold, without air conditioning, with radicals issuing new and behavior conditioning rules that come from the time of the Middle Ages, random bullets from scared US soldiers, criminals preying on all, where homosexuals now have a fatwa against them, and so on and so forth.

Even with the new government having just formed, the reality of what you read below seems to nullify any possible impact of them doing any good in the context of such a chaotic country way, way, way out of control. I hope to be proved wrong.

"Flying over the Iraqi Blogodrome…
Middle East & North Africa, Iraq, Weblog, Governance, Human Rights, LGBT, War & Conflict
…almost literally (I’m plane-blogging again).

I thought about this again and again and there is no other way to describe what passes for government in Iraq. Today I give you some snapshots of a failed state. And this is the subject that dominates the Iraqi blogs.

If you read only one blog this week read this

Brian has been getting emails from Qasem in Ramadi. He description of life for ordinary people caught in a battle between US troops and the people he calls ‘fighters’ is both compelling and shocking:

At 9:30 in the morning, the US troops tried to install more snipers by occupying more houses close to the core of the city, some fighters attacked them and tough fighting continued for 3 hours… US bullets damaged many houses because of their random shooting, this way hurt many families inside their houses and my family was harmed also when many bullets sparked fire in the kids room.. I heard their screams while 2 of my nephews run away from their burning bedroom. My brother and I ran upstairs to find out what kind of hurt we will find this time… my mind was full with images of a kid killed with sniper bullet in head or burned dead body of one of my nephews. I was scared too much and I lost control of my steps on the stairs. I found my brother broke down the door and crashed the window with his hands to get out the heavy smoke and he carried out his 5 year-old son Mustafa who was startled, to get him out of the burned room. The fire started to burn some blankets, I found my way to bring water and started extinguishing the fire. It was small fire cased by the bullets …this kind of bullets used by US troops is very harmful gun for human beings or the materials-it contains lead that will be like a hot liquid inside the bullet…if the bullet get inside the body will explode and crash the body from inside and melt bones & flesh ….and if the bullet attacked a car or furniture or wood, it will burn and melt it.
The streets were empty and the fighters succeeded to disapear as usual …but the US soldiers keep there machine guns working and pointing to our houses….

I know that US soldiers want to keep themselves alive till they see their families but we also need to be alive to take care our suffering families in our poor hard life in Iraq.

On top of this there is no electricity,no water, no phones and no security. But given all this trouble where would he rather be?

Now, IF I have the choice to live in Baghdad or Ramadi or Fallujah …I will choose the 2 last choices because the dangerous side is clear but in Baghda every thing is Dangerous even Police check points can arrest and kill the people for money or some thing else …….

Beyond Blogodrome

A new blog was spotted by Fayrouz on an important subject: Gay Rights in Iraq. The need is urgent:

An anti gay pogrom is taking place in Iraq. Gratuitous killings of gays are permitted under Iraqi law, and it is a fact that George W. Bush approved the wording of the Iraqi constitution that makes it so… That Bush-approved language for the Iraqi constitution making the indiscriminate killing of gays a legal activity is galling beyond all measure and beneath contempt.
And they have had some success:

Following two weeks of negotiations with Iraqi LGBT – UK, Sistani’s office agreed to remove the fatwa calling for the murder of gay men, but has curiously refused to remove the fatwa urging punishment for lesbianism.
Riot Starter of the blog Thought Riot has got her marketing right - go to every blogger and leave a little comment. Its subtle and it works. So I will let Zappy do the recommending for me…

I don’t seem to know where she’s blogging from, but who cares anyway, as long as its a good blog, she’s taking politics to seriously.
I wish her the best.

Snapshots of a Failed State

There is a common theme flowing like a whisper through the Iraqi blogs. In a phrase: “Where is the government?”

Iraq The Model reports that Iraq’s largest power station was forced to shut down because gunmen forced the employees and their families to leave. “I wonder how the government failed to protect those families who live in a relatively easy-to-protect isolated area around the station!” Mohammed writes.

“Where is the government?”

Meemo is feeling the strain these days: “even I know nothing is going fine, everything goin as bad as it can, even the the weather …, the situation over here is kinda unbairable, ’cause everything is forbidden right nowI […] they killed three young guys becasue they were wearing the pagan short pants ..”

“Where is the government?”

Even mobile phones can be a weapon used by criminals. Iraqi Screen describes how: “you might get threats of unknown persons warning you if you do not pay a ransom you will be kidnapped and cut in pieces, beside informing you to quit your job.” And she asks ” Who is the real government? … I asked a high rank official in Baghdad police about legal procedures regarding such threats, he told me that police directorate had a huge pile of them but always impossible to verify and waste of time to follow up.”

“Where is the government?”

Zappy gets leaflets dropped in his street from the “Honorable Resistance” AKA “Zarqawi’s (sic):

Men are not allowed to grow goatees
Men are not allowed to wear Jeans
Men are not allowed to remove their facial hair
Woman are required to wear a “Juba” some kind of black gown that looks like a sack
Woman are not allowed to drive
Women are not allowed to leave their homes without a chaperon
Any one not obeying these rules will be shot. On that same day a young boy coming back from school was shot at the “Amal al Shabi” street.

One Question to the people responsible for providing security to that neighborhood “The Iraqi National Guards”, why are you not doing your F***ing Job!

“Where is the government?”

Ishtar’s phone keeps ringing from friends asking what to do. Because two women were shot for driving a car and another three for wearing trousers. She laments, “it is really unbelievable, how the reconstruction campaign falls apart whenever it starts in Iraq while violence reconstruction campaign builds up in such a rapid speed and systematic way to maintain every body everywhere.”

“Where is the government?”

Mama treats a 10 year old boy for a decayed tooth but first she needs his parents approval..

He stepped from the chair in an attempt to leave, with his eyes full of tears, and said nothing.
-”Are you coming back with someone later? I asked.
-”no, I have no one”.
-”With whom do you live?”.
-”With my younger brother, he is Mongolian”.
-I grip his shaky hands … and asked him if he knew any one?
Few minutes later he pointed to a man, he was one of the servants” H”.
I sent for” H”, and told him that I need some one of Salih’ relatives … He said “I am his fathers’ cousin, I can stay with him because he has no One close…his older brother who was taking care of him was murdered 3 days ago”…
- He was a policeman…
-”Are you hungry, did you have your breakfast honey?” I asked Salih trying so hard to hold my tears.
- ” no I did not , the neighbors did not bring us any”. he said.
Just then I could not hold my tears any more, I took his little hands and took him to buy him something to eat. “let us buy something to eat, I am hungry too” ..
-” no, I will go home” said Salih pointing to a far cottage..
- I will take him to my place, bring him something to eat, and be right back”…said” H”.
But the boy ran away….
I sat in my room, wondering how could these children survive. How could they live alone, what do they do in the darkness every day? Where is our government, are they aware about that policeman’s family….

“Where is the government?”

Neurotic Wife shouts the question out loud. She hears 6 or 7 big explosions outside the Green Zone and a bullet lands just under her room. Next day her colleague tells her she lost a cousin when gun men broke into his office and shot everyone inside; an uncle who rushed to the scene lost a leg in a car bomb explosion, another colleague gets a phone call from her daughter in Amiriya saying militias are shaving the heads of women found outside without a headscarf She writes:

And where is the darn government??? The government is deciding who takes the Defense ministry and who takes the Interior one….Wowwww!!!! People are getting killed left center and right all under the eyes of the government!!!
She asks you to imagine what it is like to be in a lawless country and a gang kidnaps your wife and daughter for ransom…

You get the money…you give it to them…and then you wait…a day…2 days…3….a week….2 bodies are found shot in the head in the garbage…Its your lovely wife and beautiful daughter…..Youve lost your family….Youve lost your hope…..

More and more stories like this happen everyday….More and more killings…More and more kidnappings…This is the plight of the Iraqis…But no one hears them.. […]

This current government is hopeless…As long as there are fanatic religeous people governing and having great popularity then forget it….As long as there are bin laden loyalists…Zarqawi criminals…Militias…so called mujahideen….There will no longer be Iraq….this place has literally become a hell hole….


But remember Iraqis are not helpless victims waiting to be killed. Meemo explains:

becareful all dudes dont show your hairy legs ‘casue that would send you to your death, its bullshit people I’m wearing now the shortest pants I have, its almost undrepants and I’m in the internet cafe right now, you know if I’m gonna die by a bullet its better than the how weather, i’ve been wearing short since I was a kid these motherf***ers wanna come now and control ma life, you are dreaming no one can control me no not even ____,

And finally

Asterism (thats me) picks up on a classic quote from Michael Rubin, a former American administration official in Iraq:

‘The reconstruction obviously hasn’t gone that well, but we have put together a lot of PowerPoint presentations about the problem.’

(via STLtoday)

With Powerpoint we will conquer the world!"

via Global Voices Online (Berkman)

Friday, May 05, 2006

Global Human Referendum's voting machine test approaches

I came across the GLOBAL HUMAN REFERENDUM group and their site WorldVoteNow via the social software weblog. They want to set up a global direct democracy voting infrastructure. Initial test is to take place May 15. I will take part and see what they have to say and how they are doing this. What is so surprising is the depth of attention and how many hours of work that appear to have been sunk into this project. There are numerous downloads (.pdf) sprinkled over their site.
To put this global voting initiative in context. Yes, we are in a process, quite a rapid one, which is reconfiguring politics, power and communication channels. Building any global system that lets people vote on important issues, INDEPENDENTLY of nation states is a step in the right direction to bringing a more embedded global culture that addresses issues from a global perspective and connects directly with people. Is that what they are attempting to reach? I don't have the time now as i write this post to dig into their material but will do so soon.
From what i can see from this brief encounter of their site, there are no discussion functionalities proposed in their voting equipment. Anyway i will report back in the post, after the voting.

Also via Knowprose: KnowProse

Friday, April 28, 2006

Secure citizen format

Just found this old picture in an old folder on my hard drive. Funny how it's still quite pertinent today.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Google Updates Maps for Europe

I have been waiting for this for a while. Here is the test case for Amsterdam.
Just see the difference between this...(old map and satellite view only)

and this....(satellite view updated)

and street maps!...

and if that is not enough, then go cruise using google earth.
here is an area of the city where i often meet up with fellow
ifccc members

Here is the URL so you can go see for yourself

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Secular slap down

"Dr. Wafa Sultan is an Arab-American psychologist. On February 21 she confronted a radical Islamist cleric on al-Jazeera television."
The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions or a clash of civilizations, It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century."
via Jawa Report

link to movie's really worth seeing folks! and use IE

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Museum of modern beta's

This is a bit too for a post, but a recent gem of a discovery if you are interesting in new web applications. The Museum of modern beta's is like techCrunch without the filters.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Collective intelligence 2.0

Nova Spinack,calls us to arms on improving the 'global supermind'.

I really liked the depth of his post and here are a few overlapping thoughts. We have already got a lot of the basic building blocks in place and there's plenty of bandwidth and exchange. What we need next is to crawl up the abstraction level and build more and better logic systems. We can then recontextualize our collective histories, reflecting through more sophisticated filters and argument frames. There is a need for new tools we need in this area. Perhaps a morals and perspectives toolkit to be added to blog post and identities that track history, are updateable and flexible. We need to be able to track our own questions and "directions" on a personal level and see how those reflect in the collective at multiple scales.

Go check his post here:
"I have often thought that the Web is growing into the nervous system of our species. This will in turn enable the human species to function increasingly as an intelligent superorganism, for example, like a beehive, or an ant colony. As the planetary supermind becomes more aware of its environment, its own state, and its own actions and plans, it will naturally evolve higher levels of collective intelligence. This evolutionary leap is of unimaginable importance to the future of our species."

Oh and Nova if this post somehow tracksbacks to your(still can't work trackback...) i can bring design skills, and tools to table(developed concepts, interface designs)

Friday, January 20, 2006

New low security prison in Netherlands with new electronic bracelet type technology

"The hi-tech jail in the central city of Lelystad opens, and locks, its doors to low-risk inmates this week.

Electronic bracelets track their moves while emotion recognition software monitors tempers - with good behaviour rewarded with privileges.

The justice ministry says the concept is a new form of detention."
via bbc

I would like to get a closer look at these bracelets. They could be useful as a self-awareness tool for non-prisoners, ie citizens living outside of prisons...
Specifically interested in their emotion recognition technology. Are they just monitoring heart beat rates or do they have something more sophisticated in place?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

More advanced avatar systems developed for use with IM

IMSTAR hails itself as the next generation of instant messaging.
It's approach is to complement traditional IM with customizable 3d avatars and a currency system. Now that's a refeshing new apporach, and i'm beginning to think, "The Sims" influence is reaching out into other domains.

IMSTARS differs in approach to other avatar supplying companies like weeworld as it is doing 2 things instead of one, although you could argue 3. It provides IM, it proviudes an avatar for each user and a virtual world with a simple currency system to enable and stimulate transactions, both emotional and purchase oreintated. Weeworld has stayed with focusing on the avatars themselves while integrating their system into other communities and platforms, eg, integrated onto mobile phones and email. I think their is plenty of room for them both. On the horizon expect to see google/yahoo/microsoft want to enter this arena as let's face it. We all have multiple identities and it's nice to have a richer visual of that beyond the classic "upload .jpg, 50 pixels x 50 pixels, no alrger than 50kb".

So here's a brief list of things i noticed (forgive me for the self-evident:
- integration with AIM instant messaging platform
- standalone program (looks like its flash-based)
- 3-dimensional characters (female characters only as far as i could see which is a bit weird, there's now a girl called james9)
- editable characteristics - "edit my face", "edit my body","look in my closet"
- characters get a currency to buy/sell and trade (excellent idea)
- character can perform actions, you drag an action onto your character,
for instance("smile", or "raggamuffin" = dance to your favorite music. also you can access this by typeing *raga* in your chat window. this is cool.
- clothing items have shelf life ie they wear out, so you need to pay to repair them.
- buddy list instant messaging functionalities including, "add a buddy", start/stop chat", "shareimstar".
- view items in a variety of ways
- sell clothes back to shop

other observations:
- It has a unique interface and visual design. (i'm not sure about the bright green although that's a personal preference.
- You can manipulate your character in 3D!, although I couldn't touch my ass.
- I really like the way you can easily try on all your clothes and execute acitons.
It's intuitive drag and drop. eg drag dress onto your body, or an action and character responds
- Had no buddies online to test chatting so i cna't comment here.
- Offline clothing manufacturers are experimenting. I was able to try on Babyphat clothes for 20 minutes. Fantastic cross-over idea and daring that a clothing line repurposes their clothes for virtual worlds. They have apparently made a whole babyfat line available for avatars.
- Target audience must be young women, but what about men? did i do something wrong here or is this only available in female avatar form?
- Interoperability: AIM (please get that on Skype and Jabber,etc).
- They are moving into MySpace...wonder what the uptake will be?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

How to Podcast made easy by FrenchMaid TV

Learning how to podcast may be hard and technical for so many of you out there, which is why FrenchMaidTV has made life easy for us all with a handy tutorial...Enjooooy!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Bathroom mirror/screen combo

I really like this cool idea of combining a screen and mirror at first glance. Notice the Yahoo Confabulator tools visible in the screen below including:
-To Do list/Calendar(i Cal or yahoo calendar),
-Clock, Weather
-News feeds
-A picture of the day (you can hook this up to flickr or your own photos)
Not sure if in the end i would want all of this, might like to hear music in the shower, or while i am brushing my teeth, perhaps listen to voicemail.

This a from CES 2006, a Philips concept/product.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

IFCCC in different flavors

I was playing around with a known google hack, offering the ifccc blog in different languages, using google translation services.
Here you can see the blog in Italian. Yum!
(*chinese - using a different method)

(*japanese- using a different method)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Search, find and call

I recently upgraded my Skype (yet again!) to latest 2.0 beta. Also in this section i noticed another little tool for Firefox; Skype integration. The next time i came online i saw all the telephone numbers on my web searches being parsed by the skype widget,

so that on mouse over, this happened....