May 30, 2005
Weekend in a Nutshell


1535: Leave the loop for the Southern KJ Annex.
1700: Stuck in trafffic on the Dan Ryan. "Hey, is the brake a bit soft?"
1730: Stuck in traffic on Skyway. "Dang, the brakes are really soft."
1800: Stuck in traffic on Skyway, execute clever UTurn in "authorized vehicles only" turn about and slowly drive car home. Brakes work, but occasionally soft.


0900: Off to Enterprise Rent-a-Car!
0910: Arrive Enterprise Rent-a-Car!
0940: Drive off lot in Suzuki Alero
0945: "Hey, is that the check engine light?"
1020: Drive off lot in Nisan Sentra.

Saturday/Sunday/Monday AM, lovely time in the Southern KJ Annex visiting friends, marveling at what 15 years since meeting in the Southern Annex has done, eating ice cream, and generally enjoying ourselves.

1230: Leave Southern Annex, new plants provided from a friends garden safely tucked into the back seat.
1645: BAM! Rearended in backlogged traffic on Skyway bridge heading to toll booths.
1651: Turns out that the van HAD FAILING BRAKES
1655: Find out that we need a police report before we can deal with Enterprise.
1657: Call Police. Wait.
1735: See police car drive past, on another call.
1820: Follow tow truck to staging area. Complete police report.
1835: Call Enterprise. Determine that if we can get the bumper into the back seat, we can drive home and deal with this in the morning at the local Enterprise shop.
1920: Groceries
2000: Home at last, bumper in a car parked on the street.

Someday this will all be funny.

Posted by esinclai at 10:17 PM
May 27, 2005
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May 26, 2005
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Posted by esinclai at 12:19 PM
May 25, 2005
The Humpback ReMixWhale

Joi Ito brings out a memory....

Masters of Remix - The Humpback Whale:
I sat next to Dr. Roger Payne at lunch. He talked to me about the songs of the Humpback Wales that he has been recording for decades. He is the authority of this field. He explained to me that Humpback Whales sang beautiful songs. They copy from each other, remixing the songs and add to the songs. These songs evolve over time and riffs get passed from whale to whale across the world. The songs have lots of interesting variations and even have rhymes. He made an interesting observation that the whale songs of the 60's were much more beautiful than the whale songs these days.

I suggested that he made some of these songs available online via Creative Commons and he agreed that this would be a cool idea and agreed to work on this.

When I was a child, my father took me to see Roger Payne give a seminar at Indiana University - this is what faculty kids grew up with, which may explain a lot... I remember being transfixed by the songs, finding them curiously lovely and complex - baffling. For all I know this explains my periodic divings into 'difficult music for difficult people.'

What I can't remember at the moment is if this before or after the time I got bleeped on the Cowboy Bob Show for Greenpeace....

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Posted by esinclai at 11:00 PM

For the past few months I've been working on pulling together a web and email presence for our local community organization - the Greater Rockwell Organization. The organization has been around for a couple decades, I believe, and in the last few years has been using 'e-Blasts' to rally members to various causes, from an annual Potluck, to communication about meetings to save local businesses surrounding our beleagured L station, to all the other things a community organization might want to bring people together around. These e-Blasts are managed by one or two people with an AOL account and a huge BCC list. Those readers familiar with the bloofgamatic mailer may be familiar with the vagaries and risks of CC and .forward based distribution mechanisms....

It's been a bit of a lengthy process. A couple years ago another community member, Mike Fried, took the generous step of reserving the domain name, and even went so far as to put together some prototype web sites for the GRO board to review. But for a variety of reasons, Mike never got traction back from GRO, so his work languished and - as the way is for electrons - eventually disappeared. But he kept the domain registration live.

A year or so ago I volunteered to help pull things back together. Mike was able to redirect the domain to a hosting provider (, who also host and And I've started the slow process of getting things going.

My initial plan was to set up mailing lists for use by all members for various purposes. However, the GRO board prefers to protect members from unwanted emails - so instead we will be setting up an announce-only list. Discussion lists will be configured for the various working groups that make the GRO organization run; the web development team is the first operational example of this (and for those readers in the Greater Rockwell area, let me know if you want an invitation...)

Thankfully - given my archaic and rudimentary web design skills - another community member stepped up to design the website. Progress is ongoing, and there should be something available at the, on the illustrious port 80, soon.

What this has brought out is a bunch of thinking about how best physical communities can organize online. Ed Vielmetti has done a bunch of thinking and action in this area, so when I got the chance to sit down with him a couple weeks ago I was able to pick his brain. I'm still digesting the discussion, but a bit of the nutrition has hit my bloodstream....

One of the key items was that an online community is best organized around a specific need or problem.

It's not enough to just want to to get people to talk, you have to give them something to talk about. Thus mailing lists for the working groups that are dealing with special budgets, garden walks, etc. It may be that this lack of focus is part of the reason that projects like iNeighbors (even the one for our own neighborhood) never took up much traffic.

A second element would appear to be a need for mentoring and sheparding. Just as a wiki needs occassional gardening, and a garden needs pruning and tilling, an online group needs guiding - perhaps particularly in this case where for many participants it's a virtual terra incognita. Ed accomplishes this in the vacuum community by quietly slowing or speeding discussion through moderation of the mailing list. In GRO's case this is the role of the "" editor. As one of my plans is to set up a general opt-in discussion list to complement the opt-in announcement list, this may be a good technique to remember.

Do you have thoughts on how online reflections of real world communities can take shape and build?

More updates as they happen in this experiment. I'm looking forward to a snowball effect.

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Posted by esinclai at 06:38 PM
Honeypot Trends in a Small Ecosystem

Per Thomas Stromberg, who admins a bunch of systems on the same campus at which I used to work:

Honeypot Trends in a Small Ecosystem:
Overall, I see at least an intrusion attempt every two days, and probably one intrusion every 10 days. Most intrusions are just annoying worms, but every month something more exciting comes around. I find honeypot’s to be a very good way to discover misbehaving machines on a network, and would recommend it to anyone who has the time.

Holy cow! an intrusion every 10 days? And his environment is relatively closed...

Reminds me of what my friend Larry used to say on the rare occassion when one of his boxes would cracked or even show signs of the attempt (do you remember the early 90s?) - "Not enough homework".

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Posted by esinclai at 06:38 PM
links for 2005-05-25
Posted by esinclai at 12:19 PM
Support Your Open Projects (and IRC)

It's that time of year again, the Peer Directed Projects Center is having their fundraiser. Proceeds go to support the various services they provide.

For my part, the primary service is the set of irc servers they offer to the community, used by a number of OSS projects and teams, but also by lifehack proponents at #43f and yakkin' and chinscratchin' participants at #joiito.

Registration cloaks up your nick, which can be handy, and really does provide a good service for the community. And this year a quarter of donations are applied to Unicef - so your money goes even further toward doing good!

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Posted by esinclai at 07:00 AM
May 24, 2005
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May 23, 2005
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May 22, 2005
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Posted by esinclai at 12:22 PM
first we're a "virus," now we kill people with AIDS

Lawrence Lessig takes up the process of corrective behavior in a piece today entitled "first we're a "virus," now we kill people with AIDS:"

Matt's angry about an article in Billboard that is being distributed by Reuters. The article deserves some context.

It's an interesting essay providing surrounding data to what would appear to be sketchily researched and edited pieces - where facts get muddled in the process, perhaps, or context elided in the interests of space.

What I'm interested in watching for is if there's any subsequent change in behavior. One of Lessig's complaints is that the author of an inaccurate piece was subsequently assigned to produce a followup corrective piece which, if I follow his argument, muddies the water even further than the initial piece did, exaggerating threatening elements to the Billboard readership.

Of related interest in this thread, imho, is this morning's NYT piece about moves on the part of some Swedes to correct WH Auden's rendition of Dag Hammarskjold's "Markings" (or "Waymarks", part of the debate is the title itself). Once information enters the domain of ideas, and has the interpreter's particular imprint, how readily is it updated?

If it's taking 40 years to correct Auden's interpretation of Hammarskjold, does the online world provide (as we all likely believe) for more rapid response and corrective behavior for Butler's interpretations of the Creative Commons authors? And what if it's a cross-media corrective, between print and online debate?

One to be watched.

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Posted by esinclai at 11:41 AM
May 20, 2005
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May 19, 2005
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May 17, 2005
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Posted by esinclai at 12:20 PM
May 15, 2005
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Posted by esinclai at 12:19 PM
May 14, 2005
Past Blast

AZ and I have been excavating ourselves from a storage space we procured some 5 7 years ago. It's been a delight in many ways, voyaging back to our pasts together and apart.

Here's one snapshot from the archives that will be useful to at least one (or more) readers of this here webbity. Messrs Mike, Matt and Nate back in the day on an art project.

Mdw Mpu Ids 19880610

Is this the game piece that Ohm put together?

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Posted by esinclai at 05:44 PM
May 13, 2005
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Posted by esinclai at 12:19 PM
May 12, 2005
scenes from a delayed flight on the tarmac

nutty coworkers talking about the non present and sending their leftover potato chips to the boss in 2A.

harried salesguy on the phone to corporate text support debugging his failing Windows laptop.

tiny bags of pretzels for all!

whoo! time to take off!

Posted by esinclai at 05:50 PM
May 09, 2005
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May 08, 2005
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May 07, 2005
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May 06, 2005
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Posted by esinclai at 12:18 PM
May 05, 2005
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Posted by esinclai at 12:18 PM
Dining at Blackbird

As yesterday was ESDay, AZ and I had our 'nice night out'. I'd opted for Blackbird, based on some decent reviews here and there (and some praise for the owners of Blackbird on the part of Tony Bourdain in a recent Gourmet column about counter eating.

Blackbird is, as AZ pointed out, another in a line of minimalist (white, flat color decor) restaurants we've been to. Presumably this is focuses the attention on the experience and on the food. And the food was indeed lovely.

AZ started with a variation on a favorite dish of hers, fried clams. These were pan-fried, lightly, served with some greens and a sauce. I had a 'cheese salad' of figs, a lovely double-cream, greens, white asparagus and haricots verts.

For entrees, AZ surprised me a bit by choosing a venison with rhubarb; the bite I had was lovely - a warm rare meat, strongly flavored with a bit of punch on top from a homemade worcestershire sauce. For my part, I had the lamb t-bones, which were served with a hint-of-mediterranean yogurt and garbanzo.

One of the items highlighted by Bourdain in his review of counter eating was the homemade sausages at Blackbird's sister restaurant, Avec. There was a smattering of them served with my lamb, and they were a delight - spicy, meaty and very, well, sausage-y.

All in all, a lovely meal, accompanied by a St-Emillion red and finished with some tasty desserts.

A fitting companion to conversation of the days musings and plans.

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Posted by esinclai at 06:55 AM
May 04, 2005

Over the weekend work kept me from making the upgrade to OSX 10.4, even though I received my pre-ordered upgrade a day early (courtesy of living at a transport hub...).

Just as well, because it gave me a few spare moments to reconsider my upgrade strategy. Rather than performing an archive and install as I normally would, I went ahead and pushed out an erase and installl, followed by an import of the user and application preferences I cared most about.

The advantage, from my perspective, of this process is that I ended up with a truly (and tested) bootable archive (courtesy of SuperDuper) in case things go horribly awry. That and three CD-Rs of extra backups and the ongoing Retrospect backups let me feel reasonably secure.

But boy, did it take some time. I don't have that much data I use regularly on the PowerBook, but I do have a ton (about 20GB) of audio content on the iPod synchronized with iTunes. Copying that back and forth to the external FW accounted for a lot of the upgrade time. That and the thorough checking of the upgrade DVD. But once I started this morning, I was back up and running in under 2 hours, including the applications I most care about.

Idle notes:

  • Spotlight is keen, but the delay in getting caught up on initial run (mail, addressbook, etc etc) is confusing.
  • The user migration tool is very nice and seems to have done a solid job, but it can't calculate time very well. I was left at under a minute for about 10 of them.
  • New mail interface... hrmph.

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Posted by esinclai at 01:54 PM
links for 2005-05-04
Posted by esinclai at 12:18 PM
Day of Solipsticity

Today's the rollover day on the ES calendar, and borrowing a page from the AZ calendar I've taken the day off to devote to thought and self analysis (I can hear the audience now "what's new, then?").

A day of combined runway and 20-40K thinking and a system upgrade.

Some topics for the day

  • academic pursuits - overlap and time
  • several potential nuggets of growth in the last 24 hours from emv
  • Reflections on Marjane Satrapi's talk
  • projects - whither progress? Whence the jealousy of overlapping success?
  • how to move the kj dreamplans into a set of actions

Probably more than a day here, but outlines at least. Updates to follow.

Posted by esinclai at 08:48 AM
May 03, 2005
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Posted by esinclai at 12:19 PM
May 02, 2005
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Posted by esinclai at 12:18 PM