Just finished the pre-game show here in St. Louis. It’s already shaping up nto be a huge conference here. It made attending the fourth iteration of “the academic and the activist should be friends” worthwhile. Why do self-organizing iterative processes need to repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat? More below . . .
Right now, I’m in the “Academic Brain Trust” pre-session. 120 people getting in early to figure out how to get academics involved in this despite the fact that university departments make it impossible to do anything that relates to the real world, particularly if you don’t have tenure.
I expect I will try to do daily wrap ups rather than bug everyone hourly now that we have RSS feeds.
According to my friends at Free Press, the forces of municipal broadband won a major victory in Florida. Following a nasty legislative fight in the heart of Bell South territory, the Republican dominated legislature saw fit to impose only one condition on municipal broadband — annual reports.
Score since PA: Public interest- 3, Incumbents-0, Tie-1 (WV, where positive legislation was neutralized)
Fans of Harold Feld’s “Tales of the Sausage Factory” and/or Howard Stearns’s “Inventing the Future” will be happy to note that those columns are now their own blogs within Wetmachine. TotSF and IfF posts will continue to be integrated on the Wetmachine front page, but if you just want the pure stuff (undiluted by my ramblings, e.g.) you can bookmark the column you want.
The respective urls are Tales and Inventing. You can also get to them from this page by clicking on their links to the right, under the heading “sections.”
We’ve also improved access to the archives. Other improvments, including rss feeds, will be forthcoming.
I don’t know why software projects need meaningless codename, but they do. Maybe that’s how this ethereal stuff becomes “real.”
I can’t say that all our U.Wisconsin projects for Croquet will be named after cheese, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Not sure why Wisconsin means cheese, yet we start with a French cheese. But Brie is cool. My wife lived there for a while. The have big parties when the new cheeses come out, but you can also buy this old wrinkled stuff that you can’t get here, which my wife calls “fromage morte.”
My jaw dropped when I saw this article in in Time Magazine online describing how the Bush administration is now punishing industry folks who supported Kerry. Don’t these people understand how a _stable_ democracy works, as opposed to an unstable one?
More below . . .
My wife is getting frustrated with the medium as she constantly checks for the latest in the raging debate in her favorite mailing-list. Meanwhile, writers and researchers lament the loss of the art and practice of writing letters.
There’s no spec for Croquet. Although the architects have mature experience and good taste in evaluating technologies for what does and doesn’t work, I don’t think they set out to achieve a particular set of characteristics. Yet one of the things that appeals to me about Croquet is the characteristic that it is agnostic about what mode of communication works best: Synchronous like face-to-face conversation and chat, or asynchronous like email or a handwritten letter; Seemingly anonymous like most of the Web and multi-player games, or full of social cues like voice and video communication. Croquet is equally facile at all.(*)
But what works best? When? In what ways? My boss, Julian, has been bringing together a very interesting group of educators and scientists as initial users of a Croquet Collaboratory that we are building. Although they come at it from perspectives that range as far as art, public health, and games, I think they are all vitally interested in this issue. By having a single medium that provides all – a meta-medium – they can study group interactions and observe how different communication techniques affect outcomes.
(*) I’m not quite sure what it says that I’m comfortable saying this, even though the effectiveness of both persistence and naturalistic voice and video have only been suggested in demonstrations, rather than proven in practice. Is it vision, confidence, or faith among the developers, or naiveté and the academic environment?