June 06, 2006
I Can Drive...

Per Mr Danelope, a lovely short film of what happens in the ATL when you drive 55mph on the circular: 55: A Meditation on the Speed Limit Around the Perimeter. Brilliant. And having been on the roads in the ATL recently, harrowing.

Posted by esinclai at 06:44 AM
June 01, 2006
Long Slow Death, Film at Half Past Eleven

Back in the 1990s, when I worked at UCS, I was involved in the publicising to (and ideally the migration of) users of a small BBS community, FORUM away from that system to alternatives - in this case Usenet, though I recall that another system had been proposed and langushed. As Jon lays out in the definitional entry there, it didn't go too well - while we in the provider side had a mandate to change the structure of communication and server utilization, but that doesn't mean you can mandate what people want to or will use to communicate (roll tape of self-organizing software in enterprises here). I'm still sorry I had to learn that lesson at the FORUM community's expense.

Imagine my echo of sadness when I read that the last of the Usenet systems at IU we promoted as a replacement is now being advertised as down to the decom knife on July 3rd. No more iu.* newsgroups. No more "TOO MUCH SIDEWALKS, I'VE GOT TOO MANY MONEY'.

Oh, the days.

Kibbitzing from afar (because really, who can resist), is groups.google.com a viable replacement? Why not promote any of the alternative services out there (like the one bundled with Panic's swell Unison) as well? I'm not saying IU should maintain trn or other text readers on their hosts (and where would they put them, now that Pine is gone?), but that alternatives beyond the web are out there - moreover local alternatives were part of the joy of FORUM, the iu.* newsgroups, freeform joys that I doubt a managed and shared IMAP mailbox quite promotes the free join/part and flow of information... Does Sakai solve some of these problems for an educational institution?

Or is, as the technopundits tell us, centralized communication heading toward a ecosystem death in (no longer so-) new environment of RSS/Atom feeds, trackbacks, weblogs and microsearches?

All the kibbitzing aside, I'm sure the boxes cost more to maintain (and despam and dejunk!) than their usage counts would warrant. History is built of these tactical decisions in aggregate.

Posted by esinclai at 10:05 PM