With one lobe tied behind my back

· Music

my workspace today
In New York my work laptop starting shutting itself off without warning. With the help of savvy Mac users at Yahoo I determined that it was a known bug with aging G4 Powerbooks wherein the trackpad falsely reports a severe temperature spike (“overtemp” according the log) and the system initiates a shutdown to protect itself (but not your data or your peace of mind).
As I was on the road, I was unable to get this addressed. Back in the office Tuesday I took my laptop to IT to initiate the process of having the thing condemned and replaced perhaps with my long-promised MacBook Pro.
Instead I was issued a slightly newer G4 and the local IT guy in my building started working on migrating my setup over, but the overtemp shutdown problem made this impossible. Finally, he gave me the two computers and let me have a try.
I linked them by firewire and copied things over by hand. First everything in the xian section of the machine and then the shared stuff, like – oh, I don’t know – applications, and a bunch of library settings and preferences.
As a backup I also restored my meticulously updated backup files to another folder, just in case I needed them. I learned, however, that they included all my personal user stuff (the xian tree) but none of the machine-wide stuff, like – oh, I don’t know – my applications.
This afternoon after several reboots I successfully started up the new machine and found just about every detail correct, including my desktop backgrounds (as shown above), the items in my dock, my passwords, and so on. Somewhat exhilarating for a geek like me.
Needless to say my productivity was severely hampered most of this week. I felt like half my brain was unavailable to me, like I was cooking without thumbs. I worked mostly on a PC, which is – you know – *similar* to a Mac, but in a thousand ways it was slightly less convenient and it lacked all my custom little touches, recent notes, ergonomic habit supporters and so on.
But I’m back, baby!

Sisters are doing it for themselves

· conventionology, The Power of Many

At BarCamp Block I first heard about plans for She’s Geeky, a tech (un)conference for women by women. Immediately, I was intrigued. It sounds like a great idea, I love the title, and the organizers are some of the coolest folk I’ve met on the geek circuit.
One of the prime movers is Kaliya Identity Woman Hamlin, a strong advocate of the OpenSpace unconference model for events.
She’s Geeky takes place October 22 and 23 in Mountain View, CA (near Palo Alto). Here’s a description In their own words:
> This event is designed to bring together women from a range of technology-focused disciplines who self identify as geeky. Our goal is to support skill exchange and learning between women working in diverse fields and to create a space for networking and to talk about issues faced by women in technology.
Kaliya goes into some more detail about here “motivations and hopes” on her IdentityWoman blog, and addresses any concerns folks might have about exclusivity (which is a good thing, because even in this male-dominated tech world, I sometimes get that twinge of entitlement when something is for me, about me, catering to me and my ilk, etc.), saying, “My motivation is not to create an event that is ‘exclusive’ but to help create a space for women who some times are very isolated in different niches of the tech world. One women I spoke with yesterday recently found herself being one of only 12 women at a tech conference of 600.”
I have no doubt that She’s Geeky will be a watershed event and I look forward to reading about it and studying its impact.

Sifry steps down as Technorati CEO

· Applications, Searching and Finding, Social Design, The Power of Many, User Experience

Maybe everyone else in the blogosphere knows this already but I just read that Dave Sifry is stepping down as CEO of Technorati: Technorati Weblog: A Change In Seasons
Looks like Tantek’s timing was impeccable.
I first met Dave during the dotcom bust when blogging was booming (again) on the backs of a lot of underemployed folks, myself included. I was working hard, updating Radio Free Blogistan three to seven times a day, hanging out on the #joiito channel on irc, and going to various blogger dinners and shmoozes here in the Bay Area.
I met a lot of folks with interesting startup ideas or who were looking at various ways of turning their passion for blogging and or social networking into businesses or publications or both. Dave’s idea was simple to explain and easy to understand, so I wasn’t surprised to see it get funded and take off.
I’ve got other friends working there now – some of whom I introduced to the Technorati people. I guess I consider myself a friend of the company, if that’s even a possible thing to be, and I’ve hesitated to complain or criticize too much when I’ve found the service sluggish or otherwise frustrating.
I applauded their recent redesign and I still visit the site when I am in the mood for some egosurfing (usually disappointing) or to see who’s been blogging about the Yahoo! Pattern Library recently.
It sounds like Technorati is having a tough time right now. Valleywag reported something like eight layoffs in addition to the CEO vacancy, and people don’t seem to talk about how Google or Yahoo! should buy Technorati so much anymore.
(Disclosure: I work at Yahoo but I have absolutely no knowledge regarding acquisition plans or lack of them for any startup out there.)
I’m sure the next thing Dave does will be interesting and I wish him the best.

Multitouch OS X video iPod coming?

· Music

AppleInsider | Multi-touch video iPods to arrive in August – report:
>During a private meeting last month, Apple’s traditionally tight-lipped chief executive Steve Jobs all but broke the silence on the future of the video iPod. Speaking to employees at the Apple Town Hall, he said a division of the company was hard at work on next-generation iPods that, like iPhone, would run an embedded version of the Mac OS X operating system.
> Picking up on Jobs’ comments were Wall Street analysts such as Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster, who in a report to clients earlier this week suggested that the current iteration of iPhone represents much of what Apple’s flagship iPod line will soon be.
> “Specifically, we expect Apple to release high capacity iPods based on OS X sometime during or before Macworld ’08 in January,” he wrote.
If it’s got wifi (hmm, and especially if I can add Skype), then I won’t *need* an iPhone.

Podcast of my SXSW panel now live

· conventionology, Social Design, The Power of Many, User Experience

If you missed Every Breath You Take: Identity, Attention, Privacy, and Reputation last March at South By here’s your chance to hear me, Ted Nadeau, Kaliya Hamlin, Mary Hodder, and George Kelly take on these topics, very early one Sunday morning after an untimely daylight savings change and, for many people, a night of carousing and drinking free drinks sponsored by startups and web behemoths.

Blogging and identity panel proposal for SXSW

· Music

Hugh Forrest, the indomitable lead organizer of South by Southwest Interactive has announced a public process for voting on and vetting panel ideas for next year’s conference. Apparently it will take several rounds, with the first round narrowing down the 173 panel proposals.

The voting is open to anyone, but the votes of past attendees of SXSW are weighted more strongly and those of past presenters are given even further weight.

Here’s part of Hugh’s announcement:

I wanted to alert you that the online interface for panel proposals for the 2007 SXSW Interactive Festival is now live. This page allows users to give us their feedback on which of the many outstanding panel proposals they feel are most appropriate for next year’s event.

Complete directions for the voting process are listed on the site. Deadline for voting is September 8.

I’ve got two panel proposals in the running, the first of which is more directly related to the mission of this blog:

Every Breath You Take: Identity, Attention, Presence, and Reputation Online

No privacy? Spy on yourself and commodify your attention stream! Countless representations of ourselves flood the net with information daily. What is happening to our models of attention? trust? reputation? Rate my new fighting style unstoppable and I’ll trade you this artifact I forged in Worlds of Warcraft… Expect a lively debate from noted experts on attention and identity and skeptics who think most of the sentences above are content-free.

(filed under blogging and education / sociological)


You’re It! Tagging is so over! It’s the People, Stupid!

Resolved: the tagging meme has overstayed its welcome. No, tags aren’t going away but they are not a user-experience panacea. Are we folksonomic yet? Some ideas about the next frontier in malleable, emergent information architectures and classification schemes. Plus, how to apply the lessons of the global social internet to more niche oriented web application development projects. Tag pioneers, theorists, and skeptics beat a dead horse.

(filed under social networks and user generated / open source)

Vote for my panels and eight others! (occasional RFB contributor Liza Sabater has three great proposals up, including one on net.art and another on blog “sheroes” and Jon Lebkowsky, my partner in hosting the blog conference on the Well has a couple more worthy of a vote). I also recommend Prentiss Riddle’s panel idea bout teaching children to program with Lego Mindstorms.