August 31, 2008

The making of

Category: Academic,Books/Articles,Chris_Kelty,F/OSS,IP Law,Politics,Tech — Biella @ 5:34 am

One of my favorite things to watch are the “making of [movie, documentary etc] segments that are now routinely included in any DVD. It is nice to look behind the curtain and see exactly what choices are made, what is excluded, and why they are made.

I wish that more books, especially academic ones, had a “making of” section, giving a window into these choices. We are not exactly encouraged to include this commentary in the book itself but one can find this type of insight in author interview. I recently read one such interview with the author of Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software. The interview is on his site and the original is here.

There are a couple of things that I found particularly interesting, such as how to treat iconic figures such as RMS and ESR [not as researchers, for example :-) ] and the importance of letting your research and thinking brew over a fairly long period of time, despite the pressure of publishing fast, quick and dirty, which is especially strong with anything “digital.”

The book is hefty and long, but as is emphasized in the interview, it is also pragmatic and readable. If folks on Planet have not yet checked it out and are not ready to commit to a long book, I would checkout Chapter 6 on the creation of the copyleft. It is sure to please academics and geeks alike.

August 30, 2008

Ok now just the link problem

Category: Uncategorized — Biella @ 1:07 pm

Looks like I can now post full entries without them being cut off but links still don’t work in readers. I think it is a problem with my feed.

A smiling machine

Category: Humor,Tech — Biella @ 11:13 am

Sometimes what circulates on the Internet, such as this little visual comparison may not accomplish much, except create a whole lot of smiles. That is good enough for me.

August 18, 2008

Anthropology of/in Circulation: The Future of Open Access and Scholarly Societies,

Category: Academic,Books/Articles,Open Access — Biella @ 4:00 pm

Anthropology and the social sciences in general are not at the forefront of thinking of open access in publishing but thanfkfully there is a crew of anthropologists who are thinking about such questions and have some insights about the (sorry) direction our national organization has decided to take. Read more about it here. The interviews are featured in this Cultural Anthropology piece.

August 14, 2008

Where the UNIX geeks at Queen’s college should live

Category: Humor,Tech — Biella @ 4:24 pm

chown hall.

Debconf 10

Category: Debian,Tech — Biella @ 3:40 pm

Though Eric gave me some props, my suggestion that Debconf 10 should be held in Montreal never really caught fire. But there were a few folks that did send emails of support. Problem is, of course, that as much as I wished I lived there to get the ball rolling, I don’t so…. Right now it seems like the two potential bids are Venezuela (my place of birth) and NYC (my current residence). Although it might be nice to have Debconf be a subway ride away, I am actually a little skeptical that we can find the right local space in NYC to accommodate all the Debianistas though I hope to be surprised. Since I have attended 4 Debconfs, my feeling is that the venue is actually more important than the country where it is helod. In fact, I think it is key that nearly everything one needs to do (notably sleep, eat, hack, party) can happen in more or less the same area and better, that there is some outdoorsy area too (lawns to hang out on, pools to swim in, sunsets to see etc.). Oh and of course a solid internet connection. In this regard, I think that some lake resort 1-2 hour north of Manhattan (think some old Jewish run Catskill resort) is more amendable and realistic than the city itself, which tends to be kinda, well, gross and hot and sticky over the summer. But I look forward to seeing/hearing of other proposals!

History of Phone Phreaking

Category: Hackers,Phreaking,Tech — Biella @ 3:27 pm

I am so happy that someone, Phil Lapsley to be exact, is writing a proper history of phone phreaking. Find out more here. Oh and here is something else you should check out: Project MF: “Project MF is a living, breathing simulation of analog SF/MF telephone signaling just as it was used in the telephone network of the 1950s through the 1980s. It lets you “blue box” telephone calls just like the phone phreaks of yesteryear … except that it’s totally legal! ” (Phil Lapsley pointed it out to me for me to use in my hacker class to begin pretty soon..)

August 11, 2008

Oh Montreal

Category: Canada,Debian,Tech — Biella @ 1:29 pm

Rumor has it that NYC may be proposed for Debconf 10. While that would mean I would most likely go, since I do live there, now that I visiting Montreal, I can’t think of a better place for Debconf…. Wonder if anyone else, especially from there, shares my sentiments :-)

August 5, 2008

Nice Website

Category: Academic,Aesthetics,Canada,IP Law,Politics,Tech — Biella @ 5:37 am

For the most part, university websites are not the most flattering in the world, nor are academic conference websites. But this one Copyright’s Counterparts is quite nice (and the theme also interesting). Makes me wonder, actually, about how copyrightable the design of a website is. Does anyone know? update: Not sure why my links don’t work on planet :-( I will have to figure that out after I get back from Canada.Update again: OUCH, ok there are issues with the website thanks to le flash raised in the comments. But I still think it looks good and I am sure that aesthetic could be transfered using non-flash technology!

August 3, 2008

New Foundations

Category: F/OSS,Politics — Biella @ 8:29 am

Over the years there have been a pretty steady number of foundations that represent the world of Free Software and Open Source. Now there are new foundations that are distinct and with different goals but related such as and now Open Web Foundation. John Eckman has penned some first thoughts on the pros and cons of the OWF in specific, which are worth thinking about.