An astounding AP photo of Barack Obama waving to his fans in Berlin earlier today. I saw this one scroll by on a large HDTV and couldn’t believe my eyes. There’s so much detail in the picture, so many stories, so many cameras!
This is the really cool thing about FlickrFan, btw — the best photographers in the world, with the best equipment, at the most interesting events. And lots of pixels. People who think it’s just a screen saver must think that Obama is just a politician (and many do of course).
But when you see this picture, think about all the pixels your displays have today, and how much of the photography that comes to you takes advantage of it, and you’ll realize why I pushed so hard to get the AP and AFP to partner with me to get these photos for you. Yet so few have taken advantage of it.
Anyway, this picture gives you some idea of what you’re missing.
PS: All those American flags, in Germany, give me goosebumps.
Technology is fragile. Systems go down all the time because someone forgot to maintain something, or someone deleted a file or a variable that they thought no one was using. In other words with Murphy’s Law there are plenty of opportunities to put all the pieces together again after all hell breaks loose. Just ask the Twitter folk, who are doing the best they can to hold it together.
But there’s a special place in hell for vendors who deliberately knock their customers off the air, without warning, just to get them to call. The thought is as abhorrent to a computer professional as it would be for a surgeon to leave a scalpel in a patient to be sure they pay their bill.
Comcast is going to get sued some day for what they do, and they’re going to lose billions because of it. I tend to be an outlier on the leading edge. If they’re shitting on me today, you can bet they’ll be shitting on hundreds of people next year, and thousands the year after that. One of those shittings is going to cause an oil spill or a nuclear accident, or some horrible thing we haven’t imagined yet. Maybe soldiers will die because of their deliberate outages. Maybe children. You just don’t fuck around with some things, the kinds of things Comcast is fucking with. If you’re going to turn a paying customer off deliberately, it seems you should do it slowly and carefully and covering every part of your anatomy while you do it, not the roughshod way they do it now. (And what would be so hard about slowing down the connection so it’s impossible for someone to use too much bandwidth?)
That there are engineers inside Comcast willing to do the bidding of some very poor thinking business people says we don’t have adequate professional standards. Some professions don’t allow their members to do harm. You can’t find a doctor who will administer the death penalty, or even advise on what would be a humane form of the death penalty.
Oy. This is probably the end of the line for me and Comcast. About an hour before today’s Obama speech, I was upstairs, with Slingplayer on the 2nd monitor, Audio HIjack Pro ready to record, when the net went down. I figured it was another outage, we had one here in Berkeley last week.
Net-net, it’s some kind of “security” thing, so says Frank Ellison, the comcastcares guy. I told him if this isn’t a legitimate security issue, then please close my account, both Internet and TV (for which I now pay $183 per month). I have redundant service for both, with an AT&T DSL line and a DirecTV dish, I’m hardly watching any TV at all these days, other than MSNBC and a little CNN, and while their Internet sure is fast, if they keep taking it down and insisting that I grovel and listen to lectures to get it turned back on (or worse, who knows what they have planned for me this time) — no thanks. I don’t think groveling and being a valued customer go together.
Ellison also volunteered that he liked me. My response was you’re a company rep, you don’t get to like or not like me.
It’s with a little bit of anger and frustration that I realize that Comcast paid $175 million to get Joseph Smarr to work on their network, and their answer to me is: 1. Pay $183 per month. 2. I should care whether they like me or not. 3. They’ll shut me down when they want me to call. 4. They don’t care if it’s right before Obama’s speech in Berlin or not. 5. Fcuk off Dave. (I threw #5 in there for attitude, they didn’t literally tell me to fuck off, it’s more in the body language.)
Oh yeah, they paid $75 million for a bunch of newsletters today. I’ll end this piece the way I began it. Oy.
PS: Here’s the writeup of the issue with Comcast in April.
Update: Their issue isn’t with the security on my net, it has to do with how much bandwidth I use. Can’t work with them when their method of getting me on the phone is to shut off my service, without any warning. I told them to close the account. I’m no longer a Comcast customer. I’m sure they’ll send me another bill, adding insult to injury.
I have a problem that a lot more people are having.
I use three “micro-blogging” platforms.
Each has strengths. FriendFeed can thread a discussion under each mini-post. It works better for me than the discussions on Twitter. Twitter is still where most of the people are, but — well you know the rest. It’s become unreliable. Leave it at that. And while Identi.ca has fewer of the people I care about, it’s catching up, and its commitment to be open, and the fact that I can get Evan on the phone and he’s easy to work with, well that makes me want to invest in it.
So in my mind, as of July 2008, Twitter is waning, Identi.ca is rising and FriendFeed is useful.
But using three systems presents a problem to which no one knows the solution. When I post on one of these systems, should the other two get the post too, and if so, how?
Right now, today I’m using an approximation to the ideal system. I try to enter my original post on FriendFeed, then I have an agent script running on one of my machines that routes it to Twitter and Identi.ca, with a pointer to the discussion thread on FriendFeed, shortened by bit.ly.
But this is temporary, it’s not the last word in how this will work. Somewhere in here is nirvana, a system that makes sense, that makes it possible for people who base their work on one system to communicate effortlessly with people who base their work elsewhere. When we reach this nirvana, we will have the federated network of micro-blogging systems. To the extent that we’re confused about this, and we are, is the extent that we’re not ready yet to say what federation means in micro-blogging.
I stopped keeping track of the number of people following me on Twitter, I know it was pretty high, but I also know it wasn’t a true measure of how many people were paying attention to what I said there.
Some of them, I assume, are people who tried Twitter and for some reason didn’t become a regular user. I can tell beause when I post a pointer to a picture on Twitter, somewhere between 100 and 500 people click through. How many people are reading the stuff? I don’t know, but it’s less than the reported number would suggest.
A new kind of outage started on Twitter last night, it started losing track of the connections between users. I haven’t seen this quantified yet, just various posts that indicate there’s some kind of problem. I’m sure as the days goes on we’ll learn more about it. I started this blog post in part to try to gather information.