July 31, 2009

Help Me Find This

Category: Academic,Debian,Hackers — Biella @ 5:31 am

I have asked for this before and nothing turned up. The article for which this is (hopefully) for will soon go to press so I am trying once more. If I can’t find it, there are other options but nothing as perfect as this shot!

Help Me Find This, originally uploaded by the biella.

A long while back, I wrote a blog entry about debconf4, which became fodder for a section in my dissertation, and which will be published as a stand alone article this summer or fall in Anthropological Quarterly. I am including a number of images, most of which are mine or taken from the Debconf Gallery but I have a few images of unknown source/origin and it would be great to help me find it.

The first is the photo pictured above, which I uploaded to my flickr page. Someone sent it to me a long time ago and all I know that it is from one of the Dutch Hacker Conferences, possibly HIP. Does anyone know where I can find a copy on the web? Seen it before? Are the kid pictured in the photo? Think you are the kid pictured in the photo? Sort of look like the kid pictured in the photo? Know of a service where you can upload a photo on a page and it will locate other copies?? Know of another similarly awesome photo?

The second picture is of two Debian developers Gustavo and Jonas dancing at Debconf. I can’t seem to locate it in the gallery and I am not sure who took it but I would love to find out to get permission to use it in the piece.

Finally: do you have any pictures (in the gallery on not) that capture the joy of conferencing that you would not mind published either in this article or my book? If yes, feel free to send any along!

July 29, 2009

Some fine musings on OA

Category: Open Access — Biella @ 2:11 pm

So I am not in the heart and soul of Open Access but I follow the debates and am doing my share in the back regions of academia to try to make it a little more of a reality.

There is a great new blog Free our Books and I have linked to an entry that has generated a wealth of interesting comments on peer review.

Then there is this great piece by the editor of U Michigan Press University Press 2.0 by Phil Pochoda that deserves a close read if these issues are your political bread and butter.

July 28, 2009

Get your Security On—August 4th, NYC

Category: Events — Biella @ 6:00 pm

Here is an announcement NYC area folks might be interested in:
Skillshare for Everyone Who Thinks They Don’t Need A Skillshare on
Security Culture
Don’t be Stupid, Protect Yourself:
A Security Culture Skillshare for Everyone Who Thinks They Don’t Need
A Skillshare on Security Culture

(and for others who may simply want a refresher, or even better, for
those who don’t even know what security + culture means when written
or said together)

The Change You Want To See
84 Havemeyer Street
L to Bedford, G to Metropolitan, J to Marcy

Tuesday, August 4

What for?
You’re a revolutionary and you already know your shit. You never
send inappropriate text messages. You always encrypt your
e-mails. You triple vouch everyone you work with. You are known to
shout in open and public meetings `WHAT ABOUT SECURITY CULTURE?` or
you ignore it because security culture is `alienating` and was the
downfall of some action you were part of 5 years ago. And of course,
you NEVER use social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter.

When defamed, the poor frogs can only chirp back

Category: Biella's_Guide_to_Puerto_Rico,Humor — Biella @ 6:32 am

One of the most distinctive things about Puerto Rico is its national frog: the coqui. Though tiny, its chirp is loud (visitors without a/c say “effing” deafening).

Last week I found one frozen and thus dead in my freezer, which was a little bit of a shock to see and a surprise as I don’t know how it leaped up there. It must have been that hot.. (and it has been so hot that it can make even the most calm animals crazy). But anyway, I went on a bit of a google rampage to learn more about the frog and found this great site about its life and travails in Hawaii.

You see, somehow someone trucked a few frogs over and now they are taking over and apparently Hawaiians, for the most part, are far from pleased. This website offers a strong defense of the frog and notes how they are “are victims of calculated character defamation..” My response: long live the coqui and protect him and her against pollution, freezers, and especially defamation.

July 25, 2009

(Geeks) in the Big Apple, Planet NYC

Category: F/OSS,Geek — Biella @ 5:48 pm

NYC is crammed with people of many kinds and backgrounds. Although it is no Silicon Valley, the sheer density of human beings guarantees a pretty hefty number of geeks, of many different stripes and ranks, including those that write software, make hardware, and design/do artsy stuff. While the FSF is housed in Boston and the EFF is in San Francisco, we’ve got our own alphabet soup org, the Software Freedom Law Center and one his their finest and brightest James Vasile has just jump started the first Planet NYC so as to put all the area geeks, milling around different parts of the city, in the same virtual spot.

If you have a blog that you feel belongs (and it is fine if you are from NJ, we don’t discriminate), information for joining can be found on the planet site.

July 20, 2009

A Nerd Bomber HIGH on the 1980s

Category: Aesthetics,Geekitude,Nerds,What Sorts of People,Wholesome — Biella @ 9:30 am

HIGH on the 1980s, originally uploaded by the biella.

One does not spend their adult life thinking about, hanging with, and writing on hackers and geeks if one did not have a bit of hacker, geek, or nerd inside of her own self. Well, since I did not own a computer until I was 20 (the horror), I was no computer tinkerer. I was pretty geeky about my hobbies but foremost and between the ages of 9 and 15 I was a full on nerd bomber as evidenced by the photo above…

Recently, as I was cleaning out a closet in Puerto Rico, Micah called me away from the dust to check out a new awesome site oozzzing with awkward family photos. It was a moment of total zyzygy (what a great word..) as I was JUST pulling out this very photo to show Micah the proof of my nerdliness.

So I quickly scanned the picture and sent off to the blog only to be quite disappointed (truth be told, offended) that they never published it. Well, about a week after I sent it, I got an email that the photo, being so classically awkward, is being reserved for the coffee table book. As my friend put it, the photo will be famous, awkward famous.

This photo means a lot to me and signifies a whole lot about my life back then. Though I grew up for the most part in the tropics, I went every summer to visit my very Jewish American grandmother and grandfather known as “Ruthie and Abe” in Cape Cod. It was delightful not only because I got to escape the scorching heat but it represented the land of Great Abundance. There were things there that I could not get on the island. Notable among many were: Captain Kangaroo (the show), root beer and naturally root beer floats (now available here though Seltzer water for some odd reason is not), rock candy, homemade cookies (my mother did not bother) and a constant parade of geese/ducks. It was pretty neat to be showered with the constant hugs and cookies that a Jewish granny can deliver with a serious punch, all the while chasing ducks in the backyard. I loved it.

As you can see, I am also donning a pretty flashy Pacman shirt, which I probably wore 4 times a week for at least a year. At the time I thought I was so bad ass for owning and wearing it. I was really into video games (especially Galaga, but I guess we found no teeshirt to represent the love) and I guess, I was into ridiculously looking slicked back hair and white sandals and white socks. (I just can’t believe my mom let me out looking this way, she had a much better fashion sensibility).

People have asked me what I was laughing at and really I have no recollection. Perhaps I was pointing at the ducks going across the lawn, which made me instantly happy. Most likely, I was making fun of my sister, who is wearing the braided head band (wow, the hipster kids in Williamsburg won’t even touch that sartorial Sh*t; it is that tacky) and who was clearly pissed. In fact, it seemed like childhood and pre-teenhood was marked by me being the happy goofball and my sister being… pissed (which has amounted to some serious karmic battles in our life).

Though happy in this photo, being a nerd, especially in Puerto Rico was no walk in the park. Most of the girls in my school were hawt stuff even as pre-teens (take a walk down the beach in PR and you immediately realize why a disproportionate number of Mizz Universes have come from a island the size of Rhode Frekan Island) and if you looked like I did, you stood out. Luckily, just as in the great show, Freaks and Geeks, I had a crew of geeks and we were tight, which shielded us from the worst forms of verbal abuse.

When I turned 15, however, I had enough of the nerd bombing and turned full on Freak, which entailed horribly frizzy hair aided by peroxide, a love for heavy metal and reggae, and other things which shall remain nameless. It was the year, as my friends like to remind me, I don’t remember due to all the partying and the like.
When I turned 16, I managed to unite the freak and geek in total harmony, and live out my high school with some pretty good times and now I can look back with nearly only fondness for the nerd, freak, and nerd/freak years.

July 16, 2009

Biella’s Guide to PR: MUSAC

Category: Biella's_Guide_to_Puerto_Rico — Biella @ 8:28 am

Music. It is in the air, in people’s blood, on the streets, and pulsing through people’s hands and feet. As with many ex-slave societies, since music could not be hammered out of people’s bodies, it became a privileged vehicle for protest, for survival, for cultural transmission. It is for this reason the musical traditions in Cuba, in Puerto Rico, in Dominican Republic, in Colombia and many other similar places are electrifying. So if you come to Puerto Rico, watching some live music is in order. I will keep this brief, but here are some spots with great live music:

In Old San Juan, you might want to check out The Nuyorican and Rumba

In Rio Piedras, there is a great music collective Taller Ce (with one of most frustrating websites I have ever seen, sorry to be so blunt but true.. but hey they are musicians not web developers and designers). Along with great music, there is a lawyer who holds weekly Salsa classes to fund his environmental law classes. (double hawt).

In Santurce, you can find La Repuesta the spot with some of the most innovative and varied shows in the metro area.

I will be going there tomorrow night, Friday July 17, to see one of my favorite bands recently featured on NPR the Fantasmes. They are hard to characterize, genre wise, but one thing is clear: they have a very hypnotic and dreamy quality to their music.

Kinda sick(o)

Category: Insurance,Not Wholesome,Politics — Biella @ 7:58 am

Bill Moyers has obtained this health insurance document outlining how to react to the movie Sicko. Pretty fascinating read.

July 15, 2009

Coder Girl

Category: Geek,Geekitude,Gender — Biella @ 4:23 am

I seem to be on a musical/video roll, so here is another one that I am pretty sure will make most smile.
via mike r

July 14, 2009

This Computer is like a Great Big Cookie Store!

Category: Humor — Biella @ 8:45 am

Sesame Street was way ahead of the curve when grappling with the nature of reality, virtuality and computers (and cookkkkies) . Warning: the song is pretty horrible but…