Scripting News for 11/4/2006

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Rube would love it 

Remember the upstairs office, the one with the nice view of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. Well this was moving week, my office moved from the den downstairs, where the DSL line enters the building. I have great connectivity upstairs now, but it wasn’t easy!

First, I asked for a bid from a contractor for a hard line connecting the two rooms, and I didn’t like the price. For that amount of money I could buy a great color laser printer. I’ll just use wireless for now, and see how I like it. I had tested it with my MacBook (which is working fine, no random shutdowns since it was repaired, knock wood) and it was able to get a strong enough signal to get on the net. Not very strong, but still good enough.

So I took apart the dual CPU G5, and moved all the pieces upstairs (where I have a nice Aeron chair) and hooked them up, turned on the Airport, and it couldn’t find the wireless router. Gulllp. I guess the desktop doesn’t have as good wifi as the laptop does? Hmmm.

Okay, I had bought a second Airport Express, because I wanted to experiment with piping music around the house from my desktop, so okay, let’s try using it to extend the range of the Mini, which I was using as my wifi base. Well that didn’t work, because apparently it can only be used to extend an Airport. The problem then was that the new Airport Express didn’t work. After I set it up initially nothing I could do would make it show up on any of my computers. Every attempt to reinitialize it failed. So I went to sleep and figured I’d go down to Best Buy and get a new Netgear or Linksys in the morning.

But when I woke up, I had fresh energy, and I did some searches and found that the Airport has to be plugged in when you push the bent paper clip into its port and hold it in for five seconds and when I did this, sure enough the light started flashing orange and then green, and I carefully set up both Airports, took frequent breaks to contemplate my good fortune, to pray for wisdom from Murphy, and crossing all my fingers and breathing deeply, and being totally sure a dialog would appear telling me it didn’t work. After a number of attempts, with proper humility and low expectations, everything worked!

I’m on the second floor, the second Airport is directly below me in the living room, and it’s wirelessly connected to the other Airport on the other end of the house, which in turn is connected to the DSL router and onto the Internet. The Mac Mini has a hard line into the router, and all the computers can see each other and share files and I’m one fukcing happy dude!

That all happened yesterday. Today I recieved guests from NYC, and then went out for a walk. When I came back I decided to tempt fate and try to use the same Airport I used to extend the reach of the other Airport to pipe music from the desktop upstairs, wirelessly to a radio in the living room, connected to the Airport by a mini jack.

And, again, holding my breath, crossing all my fingers, I jacked it in, and damn if it didn’t work the first time!

I am the wizard of my domain. Master of the airwaves in my Internet craftsman house. Ready for new challenges!

Thanks Doc! 

Doc Searls: “Where would RSS, blogging, podcasting or outlining be today if Dave Winer had locked his ideas behind patents?”

Thanks Doc, I really love getting credit for my work. That’s why I proposed that the tech industry grant honorary patents with no legal value to people who contribute their creative work for free. A nice award you can put on the mantle over the fireplace, and for adorning the Wikipedia page with, but not in any way keeping people from using the ideas. Something like the Creative Commons, but for patents.

I suggested this during the One-Click controversy, not sure if anyone was listening. πŸ™‚

In 2002, after the World Series, I wrote of baseball: “Baseball is nothing if not history. That’s why the business of baseball is so disconcerting.” I realize now that the same is true of software. It takes a huge amount of trial and error to weed out the nuggets and then infinite patience to help other people see the light, only to have greedy business people come along, after all the work is done, and say the idea was obvious, or worse, theirs.

If I could get one idea through to people who write about the business people as if they were the Hank Aarons and Ty Cobbs of software, that would be it. You had to love baseball to love Pete Rose, but there’s a bit of his spirit in every winning idea in software. And sure, some people don’t like Pete Rose, but then what do they know about baseball?

BTW, if you watched the World Series this year, did you see a bit of the Charlie Hustle spirit channeled in the series MVP, David Eckstein?

Haggard & Foley 

In the last month, two leading gay Republicans have been outed. If Foley hadn’t also been implicated as a pedophile and Haggard as a meth user it still would be significant because their party makes such a big deal of its homophobia.

You have to assume that both Haggard and Foley were aware of the risks, still here are two Republican men who chose not to (or maybe can’t) control their sexual attraction to other men. How many more must there be who are more careful. It seems that party preference may not be an indicator of sexual preference.

Homosexuality is not a major issue for our country. Yes, there are homosexuals. I think most Americans understand that, and now the news is available to the Christian Right.

Let’s get beyond villifiying ourselves, esp ones who aren’t doing harm to others, and focus on Republicans who are willfully causing the deaths of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

Andrew Sullivan: “The election intervention is next Tuesday.”

Exciting move by Gannett 

Wired: Gannett to Crowdsource News.

Wow, that Wired story on Gannett is big news.

It’s going to work, for someone, at some time. Gannett may be biting off too much at once, but really big kudos to them for taking the dive. I’d love to help with this, so if anyone from Gannett is tuned in, how can I find out more?

I wrote about this just last month, counseling a more gradual transition to the web and incorporating reports from the citizen media.

I don’t like the term “crowdsource” — it’s demeaning and not accurate, and betrays an arrogant point of view, kind of like calling your customers “consumers.” Yuck.

Also, to my friends in the tech industry, you can build from the other direction too. Last month you could have bought a major newspaper for a song. Imagine a web-citizen news organization called The Philadelphia Inquirer. The brand alone is worth a fair amount of money, imho.

Another point, I love how they’re transitioning the newsroom! I was thinking about that too.

Here’s a diagram of my Newsroom of the Future. πŸ™‚

8 responses to this post.

  1. Dave said: “In the last month, two leading gay Republicans have been outed. If Foley hadn’t also been implicated as a pedophile…”

    Foley isn’t gay, he’s a pedophile. There’s a difference, and members of the gay community will be very quick to point this out to you πŸ™‚ It’s a sexual orientation- You can be gay, or you can be straight, or you can be a pedophile. You can’t combine them.


  2. Gus is, of course, wrong. There are gay pedophiles who wouldn’t even consider a youngster of the opposite sex, just as there are straight freaks.

    Re “it still would be significant because their party makes such a big deal of its homophobia”, I think that your choice of words is deliberately inflammatory.

    One doesn’t have to be phobic about a belief or behavioral pattern to find it undesirable in leaders. Neither is it unreasonable to make that part of a political platform. After all, Islamaphobia is essentially expected in next week’s election.


  3. I don’t know if Gus is wrong, but the gay point of view isn’t the only one that matters.

    People who vote for the Homophobia Party of America are likely just as shocked by his deisre for males as for young males.

    I’ve said before I’m doing my part to make Republican a dirty word.

    While I can’t claim full credit for the trend, it seems to be working! πŸ™‚


  4. Aeron! Yay to that!! Go Hermann Miller! πŸ™‚


  5. Hey Dave,

    You probably don’t remember me — we met a couple of years ago at the Alexandria, VA, Scripting News Geek breakfast and I still enjoy reading Scripting News every day. Anyway, I don’t want to start anything or sound like an Apple freak, but you’ve really been unsparing in your criticism of Apple in the past couple of months as you’ve gone through trouble w/your MacBook. Now you’ve just told a great success story where Apple technology (specifically Airport and Airport Express) “just worked” and did exactly what they were supposed to do, yet you didn’t give Apple a single prop for that. If you’re going to be so generous with your criticism, how about giving a few raves once in a while when/if they’re due? Just a suggestion.

    I’m very jealous of your view. I used to live down on 5th St. in Berkeley so I had no views and my relationship to I-80 was that the noise from the traffic was a constant companion, but I still loved it. If you ever want a great place for a walk on a nice day, try the Berkeley Marina. Talk about great views of Alcatraz and the Bridge….


  6. About awards: I can do a little cross-stitch thing for your desk or fridge, as a token of appreciation. But maybe you hate corny cross-stitch thank you notes.


  7. Re making Republican a dirty word – what then? Do you imagine a Democratic monopoly as a utopia? What a disaster that would/will be.

    A new definition of the center is what’s needed. This is interesting:


  8. About the honorary patents idea,
    How many wonderful ideas are out there waiting to be built upon but are locked up behind the fear that some patent savvy company will patent the idea and try to profit from it. We need a creative commons for patents that people could add to, wiki like, collaborate and then have a record of those that built the idea, so that they can receive thanks. Open source idea creation and refinement. So that partial ideas can be built into working things.


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