The Real Paul Jones

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Category: General (page 4 of 134)

My intro to computer messaging

When I arrived at the University of North Carolina in 1977, I had had no experience at all with computer messaging systems. In fact the term “email” wasn’t invented yet. 1977 was the year that the first of the RFCs regarding email was issued (RFC733 – “Standard for the format of ARPA network text messages”). Although the Computer Science Department was nearby, those of us working on the IBM 360/75 had to be content with a non-networked mainframe and its primitive time-sharing system CALLOS which called nothing much but allowed for some simple messaging and light weight programming. CS would soon be using UUCP (The Unix to Unix Copy Program or occasionally and more properly Protocol) developed by Mike Lesk, but for the moment even their email was mostly on the same computers. Usenet’s invention was only a few years off (2 or 3), but CALLOS was about as good as one could hope for — if one’s hope weren’t too high.

Somehow I managed to get to share responsibility for CALLOS with Martin Feinstein and tried my hand at a few scripts that I used to create games which were more like question answerers than games. I never got very far but I was heavily influenced by the folks I saw obsessively playing “Adventure” aka “Adventure Cave” on the teletype machines. Nothing on CALLOS could approach the complex Fortran-based Adventure with its dwarves, canaries, dragons and the secret word passed on from player to player – “XYZZY” .

Years, not so many years, later a City Planning student, Howard Cherniak, who had completed the Adventure give me a printout of the Fortan code. I have no idea where it is now nor do I know what became of Howard. Perhaps he has returned to the edge of a dark forest typing downstream and hoping to rejoin the cheering band of friendly elves.

The Kids are Right Alright; email is next to useless

More that one study, more that one observer, more than one predictor has noticed that teens as early as 2005 were abandoning email. Chad Lorenz writing in Slate spent some serious time in anecdotage whilst writing his article, The Death of E-Mail
Teenagers are abandoning their Yahoo! and Hotmail accounts. Do the rest of us have to?
back in 2007, but he also cites some of the early Pew studies on teens and email.

Lorenz would be even more pessimistic about email if he could have leapt to the future and read this 2010 report on teens and their communication choices.

Also worth reading and following The Pew Millennials Project. which is ongoing. And fun to take the “How Millennial are You?” quiz.

Teens and communication choices

The M$FT view of email – Past, Present and Future.

Whilst this report reported on at Mashable is done by an independent research group commissioned by Microsoft, the resulting graphics completely overstate the importance of Outlook and of Microsoft in the creation of email culture and use. M$FT was very very late to the party and Outlook continues to fail to play well with most standards due in large part to a creative misreading of the RFCs and a continuing impulse to embrace and extend the protocols. Not that M$FT hasn’t contributed to my own decision to quit email despite the perceptions, reported here, that email is so essential that it cannot be abandoned.

Brief Opts Out of Emails

Most folks leaving email do it as a kind of a stunt as Peter Bauer of Mimecast did in 2008 for one week at the behest of the Financial Times.

These result in little vignettes and sketches of withdrawal and envy of others still using email (or chocolate or coffee or whatever has been given up). But one week? That’s hardy a change. Lent is longer that than (40 days if you are unaware).

And these experiments such as they are don’t offer attempts are an advanced replacement of any kind. If there is any substitution, it’s usually backwards looking — paper, phone, fax — fercrissake fax! — or face to face as if that were the only alternative.

Not what I’m after at all. I’m looking to see how folks will sort out the various richer and more appropriate communications options offered online and off in the absence of email.

Tyranny of Email – John Freeman

I see John Freeman (not a nom de guerre de email) is more of a rejectionist than an alternativist like Luis Suarez, but Freeman does have some points I agree with. I’m afraid that Freeman, given the answers in the question section, looks back to better times; Suarez and I look forward to better solutions.

John Freeman talks about The Tyranny of E-mail: The Four Thousand Year Journey to Your Inbox.

The former president of the National Book Critics Circle and current American Editor of Granta, gives us a history of people’s need for correspondence. He examines the astonishing growth of e-mail — how it is changing lives, and not always for the better.

Learning from Luis of Living in a World Without Email

Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez, IBM Social Media evangelist, has been living in a world without email for three years. He presented a bit about what he learned — so far — from his experience as a mind map called “Email is where Knowledge Goes to Die”. I’ve learned a lot from @elsua already and so far am following in his steps closely even tho I had no idea of his good preceding work before yesterday.

There are a few differences between Luis and myself. Luis has been living in a world without corporate email; I’ll be trying something broader. Luis has some integrated IBM tools, like Lotus Connections, to rely on as alternative communications; I’ll be using only those openly accessible to anyone on the open internet. Luis hasn’t really spent most of his adult life developing and using email; I started with a proto-email system in 1977 (more on my own experience developing email, BITNET, and the Internet in later posts).

The Oatmeal hates Email too

These are some of the reasons that I plan to divest from email beginning June 1, 2011.

Email for collaboration?

Good Bye Email (or is that E-mail?) – I’m divesting

Giving up email beginning June 1, 2011. You will be able to reach me on Facebook and on most socialnetworking sites as smalljones including Twitter, Gtalk, AIM, Skype, Quora, Hunch, LinkedIn, DropBox, YouTube, XtraNormal and here on this blog

My calendar is on Google Calendar as You can pick a time there and schedule your best time to meet face to face.

I’ll probably be on freenode too

Internet Addiction – Not : One Year Later

About a year after a poorly researched piece by Tara Parker-Pope on Internet Addiction in the Science Times section of the NY Times, a more perceptive and better researched piece by Virginia Heffernan appeared in the Opinion Pages today.

Heffernan quickly identifies Kimberly Young as what sociologists would call a “Moral Entrepreneur” only slightly removed from con man Harold Hill of the Music Man. Hill sells his 76 trombone remedy to River City as a cure all but in particular a cure for the folk devil — pool (We got trouble right here in River City). Then Heffernan points out the differences between passions, interests, habits and addictions through the story of steampunk Gabriela.

About a year ago, I did a talk not unlike Heffernan’s for the Morehead Science Center (slides below). We covered much of the same ground but some of you may appreciate the pictures of various “addictions” that I dug up and the references to serious studies of addiction claims, happiness or alienation claims and the aspects of Moral Panics, Folk Devils and Moral Entrepreneurs.

SXSW themes Gamification, Anon. vs Authenticity, Location(still), NetNeutrality(sorta), Open Gov, DataViz, MySpace 3.0

I was in Austin last week holding a Core Conversation at South By Southwest (aka SXSW) Interactive in Austin Texas. SILS was well represented with panels featuring Ryan Shaw and Evan Carroll. Also attending was Adam Rogers who is now a Library Fellow at NCSU. Several of the News21 folks from the J-school were there as well.

There were 20,000 attendees at the conference which was well-covered by media if in a fairly superficial way. As the subject says, I saw the main themes as Gamification, Anon. vs Authenticity, Location(still), NetNeutrality(sorta), Open Gov, DataViz, MySpace 3.0 A bit about each.

Gamification is an inane term for adding the “game layer” to any use of technology be that education, eating out, taking trips, partying, purchasing anything, or just passing time on Facebook. New startup SCVNGR’s boy wonder and Mark Zuckerberg wannabe, Seth Priebatsch, gave a well received — if snarked at — keynote pushing the subject into the stratosphere and remarked on here in the Guardian Just say Games it’s much less painful than “funware.”

If you follow the link to the Guardian, you’ll see that Priebatsch’s talk was turned into a poster by Oglivy Notes. This may remind you of work done a conferences like PopTech (by AlphaChimp ) or Royal Society for the Arts etc (RSA Animate Oglivy had illustrators/sketchers/cartoonists at many of the talk and those large posters were changed into limited print runs (I have a few) and are also available online here:

One of the key tensions covered was that of Authenticity and vanishing but important Anonymity. Facebook Connect seen as the champion of authenticity (carp as you will) and on the other end 4Chan as the champion of anonymity. A keynote by 4chan’s moot aka Christopher Poole took on the Zuckerbergification of identity and is described here at ComputerWorld Note the story at the link includes an Olgivy Note poster.

Location as service, as a way to target services, as a way to game. etc was still big everywhere including journalism and advertising. Gowalla which adds games, interacts with existing location apps like Facebook Places, Twitter, Foursquare, and Tumblr spent a lot of $$$ to get their name out to attendees. They’ve also partnered with Associated Press and others to gain a presence on several college campuses. See to see how they present themselves and their gamification badges.

Senator Al Franken gave a very well attended talk on Network Neutrality. Covered here by TechCrunch ending with the memorable call to action:

“Let’s not sell out. And let’s not let the government sell us out. Let’s fight for net neutrality. Let’s keep Austin weird. Let’s keep the Internet weird. Let’s keep the Internet free.”

Franken was followed by a series of Network Neutrality sessions including an intimate conversation with Master Switch author Tim Wu.

Open Government whether as a term on its own or affixed with a 2.0 or 3.0. Kicked off by Tim O’Reilly’s fireside chat and his support of Code4Gov and other Open Government initiatives. for some happenings in that area.

I’m late in this report to be mentioning Ryan Shaw’s data visualization panel which filled a very large room and gathered a lot of attention far beyond the Humanities information being visualized as the example. Journalists in particular were quick to pick up on how the geo-temporal issues in visualization could be generalized. for some of the presentations (I have more links some place).

As you might guess, several trade show companies were trying to justify their staying over for the Music week as well. To that end, many had an Interactive pitch and a Music pitch in reserve. One of the more interesting to me was WebDoc which assist in threaded multimedia conversations. The Music pitch: fan created material can easily be curated and presented with official band or label material. Fans and bands and anyone else can also easily Perez Hilton-ify their photos for example (If you don’t know what I’m talking about you are living a better but too safe of a life).

A conference this large has much more going on, but I have the schedule, some Olgivy Notes and a sharp memory in case you have any questions for me.

I can also chat about how the official Journalism sessions were mostly retread of older sustaining and perplexing topics — bloggers vs journos, pay walls, citizen journalism as being mediaActive, Googlization (at a time when Facebookization is on a lot more minds), etc.

Peace out,

Internet Evolution at SXSW (March 15)

Our Core Conversation at South By Southwest Interactive aka SxSWi, “Internet Evolution: Hyperconnected, Hyper-real,” will be held on Tuesday March 15 at 11 am. Joining me will be Janna Anderson @jannaq the organizer, Chris O’Brien @sjcobrien of San Jose Mercury News, and Mike Nelson @MikeNelson of Georgetown University.

Our Video-based class in the Chronicle of Higher Education

Jeff Young did a nice write up about our Video-based course from the fall of 2009 in the current issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education

More later.

Andy Warhol’s Empire

This evening I took part in a recreation and reshowing of Andy Warhol’s eight hour epic film, Empire (1964). I wasn’t there for eight hours–who could be on a snowy day in December–, but I was at the Varsity Theatre for about an hour of the showing and the related simultaneous events which included a variety of experimental music performed live in front of Empire (which is silent) and readings from The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (1975).

I read Chapter 9 – Economics from the Philosophy book. It’s very funny Warhol take on money and on being and not being rich ending:

I don’t feel like I get germs when I hold money. Money has a certain kind of amnesty. I feel, when I’m holding money, that the dollar bill has no more germs on it than my hands do. When I pass my hand over money, it becomes perfectly clean to me. I don’t know where it’s been—who’s touched it and with what—but that’s all erased the moment I touch it.

The showing was curated by Rich Cante of UNC’s Interdisciplinary Program in Cinema and the event co-sponsored by the Program in Cinema and the Ackland Art Museum.

Net Neutralities

NCREN Community Day Panel on Net Netruality with Tucker Jones

The end of last week, I spoke at two different venues about Net Neutrality trying to make the case and to help clarify what the suggestions that we sent to the FCC earlier.

I was to be on a panel at North Carolina Research and Education Network’s Community Day. I almost missed it tho. The dentist put me in the x-ray room and left me there for far too long. No the x-ray wasn’t on the whole time, but I couldn’t just run out through those lead lined walls. Luckily the event was being held at the North Carolina School of Science and Math. Tucker and I were in touch via Twitter as were Mark Johnson, the panel organized, and Joel Dunn of UNC – Greensboro. I gave Mark a warning of my delay. I sent some of the material that I planned to reference to Joel. And the two to them drafted Tucker to join the panel using my materials and whatever rants discussions about Net Neutrality he could remember having with me. Then they billed him as @smalljones2.0.

He did a fine job as you can see here (start at about 1:06 into the stream)


The next day, I joined UNC Law’s Andrew Chin and UNC System attorney David Harrison on a panel about Internet Regulation for the UNC Scholars Program. I had been handed some great material by accident by some of my panel members from the day before — unintentional on their part — “Give us the right to sell tiered, metered services or illegal music traders will kill your grandmother!” They meant that telemedicine should have some sort of engineered preference over day BitTorrent, but things quickly degenerated into hysterically outrageous rhetoric. The result is this brief Prezi:

Tales of Beatnik Glory – Charlotte edition

Friends with whom I helped run an underground paper in Charlotte NC in 1968 and 69 will be on the Charlotte Talks show on WFAE tomorrow, Wednesday November 10 at 9 am.

Charlotte Talks says:

The Inquisition
In 1968 a few young men at East Mecklenburg High School began publishing a magazine out of a shed in one of their backyards. They called it The Inquisition and those boys made what some folks say is history. The liberal content of the paper – promoting civil rights, opposing the Vietnam War and more – caught the attention, and the ire of much of Charlotte’s authority figures. What happened next became fodder for legend. It was the first case in America where the free press and the first amendment came in conflict with simple zoning laws. Our guests today argue that the court case involving The Inquisition and its editors help blaze a trail for the entire southern underground press movement. We talk with two of the original editors of The Inquisition and a writer researching their story.

Suzanne Sink – English Instructor, Author of an essay on The Inquisition story
Lynwood Sawyer – Former Editor/Writer, The Inquisition
Russell Schwarz – Former Editor/Writer, The Inquisition

Watch the Fountain with producer Eric Watson

The Fountain

Tuesday November 9

7 pm – showing of The Fountain and discussion with Eric Watson.

Where: Howell 104 UNC Campus

Inside ‘The Fountain’: Death and Rebirth (scenes from the making of The Fountain)

Watson interviewed about producing The Fountain by Daniel Robert Epstein.

With director Darren Aronofsky, Eric Watson produced his first feature, π, in 1995 in New York City. The film debuted at the Sundance film Festival in 1998 and earned Watson an IFP/West Spirit Award nomination for Best First Feature. It also earned praises from Robert Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times as “a study in madness and its partner, genius.”

Equally impactful is his film Requiem for a Dream, lauded by Rolling Stone as a movie “no one interested in the power and magic of movies should miss.” The film earned Watson another IFP/West Spirit Award nomination for Best Feature and was named one of the Top Ten Films of 2000 by The New York Times, Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly.

Watson began his career as a Broadcast Communication Arts major at San Francisco State and continued with Motion Picture Production at the American Film Institute, where he was awarded the Mary Pickford Scholarship for Excellence in Producing. At AFI, Watson first met and collaborated with director Darren Aronofsky and cinematographer Matthew Libatique.

Watson is currently developing several projects including the film, What’s Wrong With Virginia, starring Liam Neeson and Jennifer Connelly, and written by Academy Award Winner Lance Black (Milk, Big Love). He is also working with writer and film producer Susannah Mills on a collaborative narrative project intended for a Web audience.

Identifying the Internet (for the FCC)

Seth Johnson (in Silicon Angle story with full Scribd post), David Reed, David Weinberger and others (listed below) have made a strong response to the FCC’s notice of proposed rulemaking, “Further Inquiry into Two Under-developed Issues in the Open Internet Proceeding.” The group of IT luminaries answer with their own On Advancing the Open Internet by Distinguishing it from Specialized Services. Not only worth the read but essential to our communications, commercial, and social futures.

The response is (so far) signed by:
(Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.)

Bill St. Arnaud, Green IT Consultant, St. Arnaud-Walker and Associates Inc
Scott Bradner, Harvard University, long time IETF and ISOC participant,
ARIN board member and Network World columnist
Dave Burstein, Editor, DSL Prime
Kenneth Carter, Senior Research Fellow, Columbia Institute for Tele-Information, Columbia Business School
Robin Chase, CEO Meadow Networks, co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar, member, Dept of Commerce National Advisory Committee for Innovation and Entrpreneurship
Gordon Cook, Editor and publisher of The Cook Report on Internet Protocol, Technology, Economics and Policy since 1992
Bob Frankston, Telecommunications Analyst and Visionary
John Furrier, Founder Broadband Developments, Inc; and Founder Editor of
Gene Gaines, Gaines Group, telecommunications engineer, Open Internet activist
Robert Gregory, BSEE UCB, I.T. Director for a non-profit human services agency, and BSD, open source and IP network evangelist since 1980.
Dewayne Hendricks, CEO, Tetherless Access
Paul Hyland, CTO, Digital Operations, Education Week; member, USACM Council
David S. Isenberg, Ph. D., Principal Prosultant(sm),, LLC, former Senior Advisor to FCC Omnibus Broadband Initiative, and Author, “Rise of the Stupid Network”
Seth P. Johnson, Information Quality Specialist
Paul Jones, and University of North Carolina
Dean Landsman, Digital Strategist/Connectivity Consultant. President: Landsman Communications Group
Jon Lebkowsky, President, EFF-Austin
Andrew Lippman, Sr Research Scientist, MIT Media Lab, associate director
Michael Maranda, Co-Founder, Chicago Digital Access Alliance
Sascha Meinrath, Director, Open Technology Initiative, New America Foundation; Co-Founder,
John T. Mitchell, Interaction Law
Steve Mossbrook, Founder and CEO,
Bruce Perens, co-founder of the Open Source movement in software
Tim Pozar, Telecommunications Engineer and Community Broadband Activist
David P. Reed, Ph.D., Participant in the original design of the Internet Protocols and well-known expert in network and computing architecture
Clay Shirky, Interactive Telecommunications Program, New York University
Jay Sulzberger, Consulting statistician
Robb Topolski, Adjunct Technologist, Open Technology Initiative, New America Foundation
Brough Turner, Founder, netBlazr Inc., co-founder & former CTO of NMS Communications and of Natural MicroSystems, open spectrum advocate and lecturer on 3G/4G wireless
John G. Waclawsky Ph.D., Technology Advisor and Consultant, Chicago and Washington
David Weinberger, Ph.D., Senior Researcher at Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society

October Unsurprizing

Plenty of speaking and teaching but not much posting here this month. Working backwards:

Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont. Book event/poetry reading. Fly Leaf Books. Chapel Hill, NC – October 30

Secrecy, Privacy, Transparency and Publicity for the Elon Law Review Symposium – October 29

Social Media Use & Misuse panel with Fred Stutzman, Will Cross and Anne Klinefelter – October 28

Communication for Social Change seminar (JOMC guest lecturer) – October 27

Open Source Licensing: The Basics, The Benefits, The Buzz Cyberlaw class (UNC Law School guest lecturer) – October 26

Visualizing Copyright: Debunking Open Access and Copyright Myths about Film and Visual Media. Invited moderator. Open Access Week. UNC Libraries. October 18

“Computers changed my life” Invited speaker. Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Carol Woods Retirement Community. October 4

Jones receives IBM Faculty Research Award

From the School of Information and Library Science news site:

IBM logo from WikiCommons

IBM logo from WikiCommons

Paul Jones, director of ibiblio and clinical associate professor at the School of Information and Library Science and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, has received a 2010 IBM Faculty Award for $29,000. The Faculty Awards are competitive international awards that recognize full-time professors who have made significant contributions in their field.

Jones is one of 95 award recipients worldwide and one of only two recipients from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Patrick Dreher, chief domain scientist for cloud computing at the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI), was the other.

“It is an honor to receive this award and to see the School and the University receive industry support and recognition,” Jones said. “Keeping a good relationship with IBM helps provide faculty members opportunities to collaborate, gives graduate students opportunities for research and internships and gives graduates from our programs job prospects.”

The IBM Faculty Awards are given annually to foster collaboration between IBM and researchers at leading universities worldwide and to stimulate growth in the areas of computer science and technology. Candidates must be nominated by an IBM employee with common interests.

SILS Dean and Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor Gary Marchionini was the last person in the School to receive the award in 2006. He said he used the money for video-retrieval research, which also helped support a doctoral student with her dissertation.

“They don’t give these awards to just anyone,” Marchionini said. “It is a feather for the School and a feather for the research team. It is an honor, and I’m thrilled for Paul and ibiblio. He has been doing this work for years now, and it is great to see him earning greater recognition.”

Jones said the award money will be used to hire graduate research assistants to help with the virtualization of, and to help with travel expenses related to conferences and trainings for research advancement.

“This is essential because virtualization is in a big time of turmoil, and we need to maintain strong collaborations with our partners,” he said. “Typically I can send people to important meetings, but this is a time when the state budget money is not there. It is very important to show up once a year and present the results of our work at conferences.”

Net Neutrality on WUNC this Tuesday at noon


Listen to the show here.

At high noon on Tuesday, September 28, James Boyle (Duke Law and The Public Domain author) will be discussing Network Neutrality on WUNC’s The State of Things. The crux of the discussion will be over whether all bits, servers, protocols etc are equal as Vint Cerf (inventor of the Internet Protocol) has said or whether carriers and ISPs should be able to offer tiered services giving higher priority to certain sites, protocols, services, etc as Bob Kahn (inventor of the Transmission Control Protocol) has held.

One way that the debate has broken is that services like Google, Microsoft, Facebook etc are pro-NN (in many cases) and ISPs like AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner Cable would like to sell you and the servers different rates of access at differing prices.

Rather than argue here — time for that is Tuesday — I’m posting a few resources:

Please feel free to suggest additional (non-astroturf sources).

These from Fiona Morgan:

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