The Real Paul Jones

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Month: February 2005 (page 2 of 4)

Bittorrent-casting? (RSS + Torrent + Osprey)

I had an idea while reading Dave Winer’s 2001 notes about adding a payload to RSS. Podcasting came about because there needed to be a little more than a payload in RSS, but you had to have that first. Now you can hook the RSS payload into a number of enhanced aggregators like ipodderX and much is made seamless.
We saw that BitTorrent has some pretty big missing gaps and aimed to address several by creating Osprey to add permaseed and managable and searchable and distributable metadata to the BitTorrent bag of tricks.
So far so good. Now if the payload for an RSS subscription were to be the the B/T Download link, we’d have a nice B/T software release service (to think of one use). John says that we already “plan to generate several rss feeds in osprey,
the first batch of which will correspond to the 3 blocks on

Flu fighting

I may or may not have the flu. I have had my flu shot which made me feel like I was protected. Like Fred, I felt a little sore in the joints and tired yesterday. No fever. No gastro that I can tell. No coughing. So maybe no flu.
Gonna up my vitamin C with some clementines shortly.

Direct from Darfur

Mark McCarthy writes that he’ll be in town mid-day Monday February 28 through the evening of Tuesday March 1 on leave from the UN group in Darfur. This means he will not be here during my class time, but we’ll be working on setting up a time when he can give a talk and share his experiences and insight on running an IT operation in the midst of a serious humanitarian crisis.

Watch this space for details of his upcoming visit/talk.

He writes:

I can discuss my role as the Data Coordinator in the Humanitarian Information Center (HIC) for Darfur. We are part of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Our role is to fill the information gaps that are present at the early stages of a humanitarian crisis.

I am the number 2 in the office. My manager deals with all the politics, planning, and headaches that I am glad to avoid. I have a team of 3 internationals and 3 national staff. In Darfur, the most immediate need was mapping. We needed to help the humanitarian actors get to the areas of need. They needed to know where the internally displaced persons (IDPs) were and how to reach them. Then we focused on mapping the needs in different regions and who was working to cover those needs.

The stage of the emergency we are at now has us beginning to take a hard look at information gathering and sharing amongst the agencies. Our mapping is pretty complete and we are shifting as appropriate.

Here is a link to information about HICs in general.

Podcasting in NYTimes

Life is not fair — and it wouldn’t take much to make it fairer. Dave Winer invents the code and the idea of adding a payload to RSS. (in 2001)He and Adam Curry shake down the details and promote the idea as podcasting. Today, it’s a front page story on the NYTimes (Saturday below the fold, but who wouldn’t be delighted with that). And the story only mentions Dave and Adam once in two www pages.

Since August, when Adam Curry, a former MTV video jockey, and David Winer, an early Web log writer, developed the podcasting technology, 3,075 podcasts have sprung up around the world, according to a Web site,, that offers downloads of podcasting software.

The story is about odd content and about “control” neither Adam nor Dave get a quote. The story may want to be an everyman can do radio, but it’s more of the these silly people who can’t work from a script or edit want to do radio about God and cooking. The Times knows podcasting is important, but they give it the pajama treatment (I am writing this in my pajamas).

Django on WCOM

I had no idea who was singing this catchy song, “American Romeo,” on WCOM tonight as I was driving home. I missed whatever the DJ said except that they were from here in Chapel Hill. Luckily Google came through for me and I discovered Django Haskins and The Old Ceremony. Pop Noir indeed. Good music even on their rough cuts.
This is one reason we need community radio. This guy is good and he’s been playing around town and I’d never heard of him — of course I’m too old and tired to be a scenester.

Make the Mook/Bagazine Arrives

Dale Dougherty‘s Make just arrived in the mail. It was a big hit at dinner with my 12 year old son and his 13 year old friend. It’s a good thing that I got the intro to the book/magazine out at FOO Camp because I’ve not had a chance to keep it in my hands for very long before it’s been taken from me.

Autonomic Computing

Went to a great talk over in Computer Science (Thanks Diane Pozefsky for inviting us) by Kathryn Britton (IBM) and Wayne Clarke (Cisco) on autonomic computing. Autonomic computing is like the autonomic nervous system. That is it is a system that operates without thinking like say your circulatory system, digestive system, etc. Autonomic computing is the evolving effort to achieve the right balance between what a person does and what technology does. IBM has a very good descriptive site dedicated to explaining autonomic computing. As well as a place to download and try out some free software for autonomic computing. The Alphaworks site also has some good introductions to autonomic computing including the very useful ABCs of Autonomic Computing by Lori Small.
Note: ibiblio is involved in information sharing with IBM at the theoritical level for autonomic computing when we are working with Rick Harper and Dave Bradley.

Abstract for the talk:

Self-Managing Systems: A Necessity for Future IT Infrastructures, the Autonomic Computing Vision

Computing technology has progressed rapidly over the last several decades with implementations and applications that were unthinkable a decade ago now commonplace. The rate of progress, however, has brought its own cost. As large IT infrastructures grow more complex the cost of managing these systems has increased rapidly. As a result a greater percentage of the IT budget is going toward maintenance of the infrastructure rather than improving its benefit to the business.

We will discuss how self-managing systems will not only help solve today’s problem of increasing complexity but, will, in fact, finally allow IT infrastructures to directly serve the corporation’s business needs rather than being a static and poorly implemented attempt to automate yesterday’s business processes. We will delineate the opportunities for, and challenges of, standardization of self-managing technologies. We will describe IBM’s vision for autonomic computing, with particular focus on problem determination, configuration, and optimization. We will conclude with some of the research areas in which further exploration is needed.

ibiblio in 40 – 50 words

So, I have to describe’s past 12 years and its future communicating clearly what the project is designed to do and how it changes and improves people’s lives while “situating the benefit within a specific business or institutional context” in less than 50 words!
Suggestions are welcome.
My first cut is:, which began its life as in 1992, is a contributor-run digital library and archive serving the world. ibiblio began as a way to share and support all kinds of free software, we now host over 1500 non-software related information sharing projects on almost every conceivable subject.

That’s 48 words.

Jones-mania (literary version)

Just got email from Jan Hensley who is doing a photo display of writers from North Carolina saying that he, his camera and my old buddy poet Ann Deagon would be coming here next week so’s he can add my photo to his show. He’ll be putting together a show of photos and first books for the North Carolina Writers Conference in July. My only book, What the Welsh and Chinese Have in Common, has some age on it, but it’s also been sold out since it was published in 1990. You can read it online where it’s been since 1992.
Some more recent poems are “Unapproachable Edens,” “Birds and Fishes,” and “Dividing Waters (1954)”.

Geek’s Guide to Understanding Women

One of the amusements of being on the staff/board of the Linux Documentation Project is that we get documents that proport to be of interest to Linux folks that are actually odd looks-into the undeveloped minds of the authors. Often I cannot tell irony from confusion, humor from confession, insight from misstep.

One such document arrived today from (confused, confessing, or comprehensive) Canadian author, Dustin Harriman.

This 25-page HOWTO is called:
“Female Protocol HOWTO: A Geek’s Guide to Understanding Women”
Download the OpenOffice Document here
…or, alternatively there is an online HTML version here

This somehow syncs with the “meet-up” and “life on Mars” articles today.

Meet-up in Space?

Fred alerts us to a exclusive, “NASA Researchers Claim Evidence of Present Life on Mars .”
The article begins:

A pair of NASA scientists told a group of space officials at a private meeting here Sunday that they have found strong evidence that life may exist today on Mars, hidden away in caves and sustained by pockets of water.

The scientists, Carol Stoker and Larry Lemke of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, told the group that they have submitted their findings to the journal Nature for publication in May, and their paper currently is being peer reviewed.

What Stoker and Lemke have found, according to several attendees of the private meeting, is not direct proof of life on Mars, but methane signatures and other signs of possible biological activity remarkably similar to those recently discovered in caves here on Earth.

Meet-up last night

Anton has the Chapel Hill Blogger Meet-up going. It began last night during the Virginia game. I needed to spend family time with my 12 year old cheering UNC and booing (mostly) UVa and hoping for a Bojangles deal, so I couldn’t go.
The attendance looks promising, but I’m wondering if the active bloggers are somewhat divided politically. Will right meet left here?
Here’s a toast to Anton and here’s hoping to be at future meet-ups.
Looking for other impressions as well.

UVa = Bojangles?

Will UNC have another 100 point night against Virginia? Bojangles better be prepping their sausage biscuits!
UPDATE: Although the Heels romped over Virginia, they were held to a mere 85 points (UVa managed to score 61). No Bojangles for us.

Must Have H2G2

I am being programmed to desire all things relating to The HitchHiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (H2G2) as panicy race to the April 29 release of the movie approaches.
Today, the (err a) trailer was released on the front page of! The movie blog procedes apace.
Unfortunately it will not be as corny as the BBC TV version or the wonderful radio show. I maybe an old codger, but there was something about sitting in the dark imaging the characters as Douglas Adams described them that no special effects can replace.
I do love the BBC sponsored website designed like the legendary Guide that preceded wikipedia by several years and is almost as amusing.

Internet Cans Welsh Librarians

Guardian (UK) reports that “Bangor University is proposing to sack eight of its 12 librarians because students can find the information they need on the internet.” But you can bet that the librarians aren’t going quietly.

P2P radio okayed – Mercora gets a nod

I wrote about Mercora, the P2P radio application, back in September when I got a tour of it during FOO Camp. I was impressed then and remain impressed. They suck in that they don’t support Mac or Linux, but they are good in that they allow real micro-radio stations on the net interationally.
The Wall Street Journal just published an article (subscription only) covering Mercora and other P2P radio offerings. The big news is that some solid agreements have been worked out with the RIAA.
Disclosure: I was introduced to Mercora by James Lussier, who’s Norwest Venture Partners just ponyed up $5 million in new funds and appointed Jim to the Board of Directors of Mercora.

Tyson Interview – Feb 15

WUNC did a new interview with Blood Done Sign My Name author, Tim Tyson, yesterday. I didn’t get to hear it (yet), but it’s in the archives and available in MP3 (go in about 12 minutes unless you’d like to listen to Congressman Mel Watt).
I’ve written quite a bit about Tyson and Blood Done Sign My Name here earlier.

Lessons Lessig learned – West Wing edition

Larry Lessig writes of what he learned from his West Wing experience. Hint: it has to do with connections, Harvard and others. Brief and worth the read.

Gillmor visit things that happened

Friday. Got to hang with Dave Winer for lunch and for a little look at ibiblio. John explained Osprey (for enabling bitTorrent). Got Dave lined up with Ruby and Brian for the evening. A very good connection for all of them.
Dinner with Anton, John E, Phil and Sue Meyers, Fred and Sally and Dan Gillmor. Good to see Phil and Dan reconnect and to hear them talk about the future of news. The rest of us were interesting too, but these two are the ones.

Saturday. Bloggers Con. Much written on this below and on the wiki. Successful beyond our wildest hopes.
Lunch with Henry Copeland (of Blogads) at Allen and Son. Others had escaped to Franklin Street. But we needed to give Dan a culural experience.
Dinner that night with Dan, Dave, Ruby, Brian, and Carrboro Alderman Mark Chilton at Tallula’s (see Conis entry). Good talk of wireless networks, towns, blogging and new technologies including podcasting.

Sunday. Off to G’boro to visit the folks at the News and Record where John Robinson and Lex Alexander are leading the paper into new areas of interactivity, transparency and citizen involvement. JR and Lex had invited local bloggers as well.
Good to spend time with Ed Cone and to have an expansive discussion of G’boro history and futures with him.
Dinner with faculty from SILS and JOMC — Jeff Pomerantz, Tom Kelleher, Deborah Barreau and Martin Kuhn (Martin is a PhD student who will be faculty soon enough). Talk here about new Public Relations developments through blogging and the net. Ethics. News libraries and access to archives and law.

Monday. Dan visited my class on Emerging Tech and Issues. The class has read his book and so Dan could also talk about his view of Silicon Valley and the future of jobs in tech and the internationization of all things tech especially.
This led nicely into a lunch with Matthew Szulik of Red Hat. Matthew was just back from India. Good talk about internationalization, open source attitudes outside the USA, varieties of attitudes toward intellectual properties and the like.
Got to spend more time with Matthew and even got to hear TJ explain the differences between covers, mash-ups and remixes.
Fred explained Lyceum to Dan.
Dan’s talk drew a nice crowd even on a rainy afternoon. He went over what he means by citizen journalism and about information sharing in the form of news. Good discussion followed and went on before I had to cut it off at 5:15.
Exceptional evening with Jennifer O’Bryan, Megan Barrett, Frank Daniels, Bob Young and Brett Dougherty. I cannot begin to capture all the good fellowship and talk that was had. I can say that few Americans can carry on such an indepth discussion of Canadian Football or even more specifically of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats as can Brett. I am impressed in a very odd way. Bob, who owns the TiCats, had as you might imagine some amusing insights into the business of Canadian Football. I was sorry to hear that the TiCats’ mascot Bengal Tiger had passed on.

Gillmor visit

Just winding up a good and long visit with Dan Gillmor. Not only was it great to meet Dan and to spend time with him, but I also managed to catch up with some old friends and to meet some new neighbors and to get a peek inside the experiment at creating and maintaining an online town square at the News and Record.
I’ll be spending most of today catching up with the work that I set off to the side while spending the good time with Dan and others. But that is a a small cost.
The folks that work at ibiblio really made the whole, occassionally complex, visit a delight by digging in and helping out often above and beyond the call and by being creative and smart about it all.
We should have Dan’s talk online shortly and the bloggers con as well.
Dan’s ideas about how to help organize citizen journalists and how to make news more of a conversation are world-changing, but built on close observation and exerience reporting on technologies in Silicon Valley.

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