The Real Paul Jones

Accept no substitutes

Month: July 2008

Second Life == Gopher of Virtual Worlds?

Eric Schonfeld interviews Phillip Rosedale of Second Life for TechCrunch asking “Will browser-based virtual worlds challenge the client-based Second Life?” Rosedale on video has no fears; SL will prevail. But commentors on the article are less sure.

For my part, I was there at the Fortune conference when Rosedale claimed from the stage that SL was simpler to operate than moving a mouse and clicking on a web page. I may have misheard, but I didn’t mis-see when I watched Vint Cerf’s jaw drop in concert with my own.

Rosedale was on stage with Joi Ito and Larry Lessig and their response to “2018: Life on the Net” was very different — a whole world apart from SL — which made the whole digression even odder and somewhat out of context. Perhaps Rosedale was on message from marketing as others including Eric are noticing.

Office is safe from Google Docs, err no. Neither is SL safe from a more agile competitor unless SL too becomes agile and in fact lighter on the client side. We still may be waiting on that competitor.

One wag in our office says “Second Life is the Gopher of virtual worlds; it looks so good because there is so little else to look at.” That will not remain true; there is no doubt a WWW for virtual worlds out there.

On other Second Life fronts, I went to visit the ibiblio homestead on SL today. It was gone. We must have had a subsubsubsubprime morgage the invisible second hand of SL economics moved swiftly and our building was no more.

Blog Blackout and Workcation notes

Yes the blog has been acting odd, starting about the day that we hit the West Coast. Don’s really taken this on and upgraded most aspects of this blog, but we’re still hitting some odd bits in posting.

I’ll add in our trip days once that we’re stable again. In the meantime, Sally has up a lot of pictures of the trip on Picasa here. She has several articles and links on her blog here.

I am right; Kevin is wrong

Are online campaign efforts effective?
As campaigns flood Internet, opinions vary on effectiveness

by Jerry Kammer – Jul. 9, 2008 12:00 AM
Republic Washington Bureau


One of the inventors of the Internet technology that Gill used in 1992 to send those e-mails thinks the trend is for opposing groups to isolate themselves behind virtual electronic walls.

“Folks don’t want to interact with every stranger, but to keep in contact with their tribes,” said Paul Jones, a professor at the University of North Carolina.

A Jones colleague in developing Internet technology acknowledges the tribal effects but thinks much more is going on because of the Internet’s raw democratizing power, pervasiveness and ease of use.

“I know I’m drawn to blogs and sites that share my point of view, but there’s a lot of cross-talk at the fringes,” said Kevin Gamiel, also of UNC. “There’s definitely some cross-pollination going on.”


Workcation Report

I’m not writing a report. But Sally is. Here. The line between work and play is not entirely erased nor is it entirely present.

The UN-conferences coming, recent, and almost

Startup Weekend RDU happened this past weekend and got great media coverage. Some in NandO here. It was @tuckcomatus last weekend before his macroeconomics camp, so I skipped, but the blog, video, and coverage look great.

FooCamp, perhaps the original, gets some mention on TechCrunch. (I haven’t been in a couple of years and it looks less spontaneous frankly)

This year’s BarCampRDU will be August 2nd at Red Hat World Headquarters. The registration looks pretty full, but if the past is any indicator, there will be seats. Folks will have things come up. Me for example. I’ll be happily reuniting with @tuckcomatus as we pick him up from his camp.

So much for unconferences. I’m on my way to Cali for Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech, a sort of conference clone of unconferences. Along the way, I managed to be quoted in Fortune/CNNMoney.

Brainstorm survey: What tech leaders want

Brainstorm survey: What tech leaders want

We asked attendees at our upcoming conference three questions. The answers show tech industry leaders are deeply engaged with big social problems, and optimistic that tech can help.

By David Kirkpatrick, senior editor

NEW YORK (Fortune) — As the iPhone 3G emerges, Apple’s mobile device has captivated the leaders of the tech industry. That’s the most certain conclusion Fortune reached after surveying 325 industry leaders who will be attending our Brainstorm Tech conference July 21-23.

The three questions: 1) What is the most exciting technology innovation you’ve seen in the past 12 months? 2) What is your biggest hope or fear for the future, and how does tech relate to it? and 3) What should the top priority be for the next U.S. president?

An astonishing number – about half – said the iPhone was the most exciting thing they’d seen. Otherwise, answers were kaleidoscopic. Here are some of them.


Priority for next U.S. president

“Bring access to health care in the U.S. up to the global standard.” – Paul Jones, creator,


TODAY: Open Source at SILS and at UNC

This just out, on some short notice, beginning to bring together a focus on Open Source, Open Content, Open Formats, and Open Access at the UNC School of Information and Library Science. Your ideas and suggestions welcome (come, write and/or comment)

Noon on Wednesday, July 9, in room 214 of the True Manning Hall. See you there.

Open Source Brainstorming session July 9 at high noon

Many of us in SILS make use of open source technologies, of open source licenses (like GPL and Creative Commons), of open access journals (like PLoS journals), and favor open access to information. One of the world’s most successful Open Source companies is our neighbor (Red Hat) and other companies with strong interest in open source hire our graduates (including IBM, Cisco and others). Many of us use and even contribute to the opensource ecosystem (like all of ibiblio and open-video). In 2010, the theme for the Triangle-hosted World Wide Web Conference will be Open Source, OpenAccess, Open Formats.

Now is the time for all good people to come and begin a more serious discussion on how we, as a school, can make a coherent place in our teaching, research, and service for the way of openness.

This aims to be the first of several meetings to help set directions for our efforts.

See also:

“Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software” by Christopher M. Kelty (2008, Duke University Press)

“The Cathedral & the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary” by Eric S. Raymond (2001, O’Reilly)

“Producing Open Source Software: How to Run a Successful Free Software Project” by Karl Fogel (2005, O’Reilly)

“Open Source for the Enterprise: Managing Risks, Reaping Rewards” by Dan Woods and Gautam Guliani (2005, O’Reilly)

“Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution (O’Reilly Open Source)” by Chris DiBona, Sam Ockman, Mark Stone, and Brian Behlendorf (1999, O’Reilly)

UPDATE: Notes, reading list, and soon video and whiteboard from the meeting today are here at the wiki.

Suggestions to journal editors

My Warren Wilson alumni list has been buzzing with editors and writers trying to understand electronic submission requirements. I have ideas! Slightly radical if you are a traditional or even new to electronic/digital submissions, but completely obvious to anyone doing collaborative work. Here goes:

Forget pages. Instead set a wordcount for prose and a line count for poetry. Every wordprocessor can provide both easily. Page counts are rigged by font type and size as well as line spacing so that there is no commonality between submissions based on page count.

Forget Word. (True I was one of the folks invited to the Microsoft Haters Conference, but there are other reasons). The latest Word docx format isn’t readable by Word for the Mac or any older PC version of Word. And it will be worse as even Microsoft is abandoning their OOXMPL format that underlies docx. If (and when really) you can ask for ODF do so. There will be a ton of programs that will read it including Word. OpenOffice, NeoOffice, Google Docs and other free software already does this.

Forget submissions all together.
Not as radical as it seems. Instead accept Google Doc links and keep the document in the cloud. You never have to wonder who has what version again. Editors and writers can easily collaborate on changes and suggestions. Everyone has access from every device — phone, laptop, Wii, whatever. Yes you can download and save at any point if you prefer the clumsy old way of doing business. Yes, Aaron. Mindtouch Deki could be used the same way.

PDF. It’s about publishing not submissions and manuscripts. It’s great for what it does. But it is an editor hostile format. Keep it where it belongs as posteditorial.

Paul Jones: This is Your Life

More accurately This is His Life

3 Soups of Summer

While shopping at the world famous Carrboro Farmers Market on Saturday, I realized that I could make up some good cold soup for summer from the veggies there. As it turns out, I could make three different soups. Each soup is good cold or hot, blended or left chunky. And it’s sort of a tour of European soup culture by way of the USA.

Soup number one – vischyssoise or potato, leek and artichoke soup. (France via Louisiana) Beginning with this recipe for the Tabasco cookbook but varying by using veggie broth and a few other tricks.

Soup number two – gazpacho or white wine based tomato, pepper and cucumber soup. (Spain via California) Again starting with a Tabasco recipe then taking it vegan and changing cuke for squash and adding cilantro among other things. I did it all cold too.

Soup number three – vegetarian borscht or beet and cabbage soup with ginger. (Ukraine via North Carolina)

I”ll post recipes and ingredients later but you get the idea from the names. Versatile and easy and great after any hot day. We’re set for a week or so now with no more hot kitchen for the duration.

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