The Real Paul Jones

Accept no substitutes

Month: June 2010

Fred-mania: Slate vid, Economist, NYPost

Fred Stutzman‘s Freedom has gotten great and well-deserved press as folks realize that even Windows users can now exercise Freedom. Add to that Fred’s new release, Anti-social, which lets you work but not socialize and you have some very nice offerings for controlling your internet tendencies.

In the Economist, NPR’s Peter Sagal sings the Freedom song while the article’s author astutely observes:

“But in its severity and simplicity, Freedom (for Macintosh and Windows) may be the ultimate tool to ward off distractions: the virtual equivalent of retiring to a remote getaway, or going on a writers’ retreat, to get things done.”

The New York Post, famous for their understated headlines, screams “Fatal Distraction” as they warn us of the “attention-sucking vortex” that is the internet, that diabolic system of tubes and cite Fred’s insights that lead to both Anti-social and Freedom.

At Slate Video, Farhad Manjoo (True Enough) shows his love for Freedom:

Miss Norma C. Forde 1920 – 2010

Miss Norma C Forde dies — end of a Laurinburg NC era.

In the early 70s, I often ate at Miss Forde’s Coffee Shop, but even better on special occasions I would be treated to one of her unique train cakes. The cake — actually several smaller cakes representing an engine, some utility cars and a caboose — was handed to me on a 4 foot long board covered with tin foil. She insisted each time that I bring back the board in good repair within a week. I always did.

On one occasion, Miss Forde upset by my waist length hair snuck up behind me with large pastry shears. Clicking them loudly and clicking her tongue to add to the sound and drama, she grabbed my hair into a pony tail. I leapt up and beat it to the other side of the table quickly. We made peace and she would often give me an extra cookie with my lunch.

She and her shop were landmarks of Laurinburg for decades.

Her obit here: and here

MSFT: The Em-Ballmer and the Wiz of Ozzie

A couple of years back, I was invited to and did attend the Microsoft Technology Summit 08. (Reports and notes here). My impression, that I discussed with several people but didn’t blog, was that there were two strong forces within MSFT that were at odds with each other. MTS08 put them both in front of us — us being folks who “were opinion formers who might not be fully aware of Microsoft technological offerings” or those of us so into Open Source or Adobe or Apple that we weren’t paying MSFT technology all that much attention — at this meeting.

Sam Ramji who at the time was leading MSFT’s Open Source efforts was the convener of the meeting, but due to some odd scheduling he was pulled off to budget meetings for much of the conference. Sam represented a part of MSFT that I liked, felt comfortable with, understood and respected. He has (and had then) start up cred, broad experience, was open to the ideas of others, listened as well as spoke, spent less time messaging than trying to understand what was going on in a wide sense. Props to you, Sam. In short, Sam represented what Jane Jacobs calls the Commercial Moral Syndrome. I came to realize that Sam was also representative of the Ray Ozzie forces within MSFT.

Then there were the Steve Ballmer forces. They were a perfect example of what Jacobs calls the Guardian Moral Syndrome. They came to overwhelm us with their presentations, their tech and their talk. “Of course, if you were at the MIX conference (a MSFT fanboy conf)” I wrote about this at the time. Then I was comparing Dewey and Lippman, but now I think Jacobs has it divided best. The Ballmer people were MSFT lifers, for the most part, straight to MSFT from school with no turns or byways or so straight that they had forgotten any other jobs or ways of thinking.

Now Sam has left MSFT (in summer of 09 if I recall it), but the division within MSFT remains. Most recently that division between Ballmer and Ozzie came to our attention through a report in Business Insider called “Everything Wrong With The Steve Ballmer Era On Display At D8.”

I feel validated. Thanks, Sam for having me out. Thanks, Steve for acting out.

Upcoming Jones-ness

“Artichokes” in the Richard Krawiec edited “Sound of Poets Cooking” (as Van Morrison says to the crowd on one of his live LPs — “We’re cookin’ already”) (Due out later this summer)
“Dividing Waters” in “Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont” by Georgann Eubanks from UNC Press (scheduled for October, 2010)

He’s So Original” article in Skirt (Raleigh) (in process)

Is Internet Addiction Real? Morehead Planetarium and Science Center Current Science Forum. Thursday, June 10, 7 p.m. Hint: Nope

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