Archives for October 2006

The wiki way to a resume

I was shocked when I started this exercise that I hadn't built a resume since about 2001. Readers will be less surprised to learn that I haven't been actively maintaining one on the off-chance. Recently I've been discovering just how hard it is to start from scratch, especially when you have such an appalling memory.

After abortive starts using Word (too 1996), HTML (too 2000), hResume (too complicated), I followed Rick Klau's example of building a resume in a Wiki and found he's hit on something really good.

Now that it's easy to update, I can keep the CV up to date with a minimum of effort. And I can easily capture additional content that I hadn't done in the past, like links to blog posts made by people who wrote about my presentations. (Check out some of the "feedback" links on recent speaking engagements.) Going forward, I'm going to try to upload audio and/or slides when I can -- it's a shame I don't have some of my older presentations, and this will make responding to the occasional requests for slides much easier.

Rich's choice of PmWiki was a good one. It's easy to install, has a nice mix of features, and is pretty flexible (check out the Cookbook for some hints). Luckily for me Rick was also happy to share which theme he'd used and so on. tips about how to set up PmWiki like he'd done.

It's a good deal longer than a paper resume. However it contains a fair amount of detail and is built in sections so you can zoom in on any particular section of interest. All suggestions for improvement warmly welcomed. As are offers of work!

31/10/2006 12:27 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Are you serious?

The Macalope wonders if we're really serious about switching to Windows Vista ;-)

30/10/2006 16:31 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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30/10/2006 10:57 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Ashamed of my test record already

Also from Assaf comes news of a way to shame yourself into writing more tests. This is a real weakpoint of mine. I've read two books on the subject (as well as the relevant chapter in AWDwR) and I still can't get into it as a practice.

I think this is one case where I really need mentoring. I don't suppose anyone out there fancies the job?

30/10/2006 10:52 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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By their homepage ye shall know them

From Assaf comes a quote by Rachel Cunliffe:

"The bigger the organisation, the more complex the homepage."

(go read Assaf's post for the counter example)

I got a classic example of this yesterday when I went looking for the Livelink homepage. Livelink was a pretty good intranet solution I was involved in deploying many moons ago. It comes from a company called OpenText and, if you weren't already familiar with them I can't imagine their homepage would leave you much better informed about what they do beyond stuff.

As organisations get bigger they seem drawn to start violating the 12th Law and extending their brand all over the place until it no longer stands for anything. Even the mightly Google are not immune to this and are sprouting line extensions under the G brand all over the place.

When I got involved with Livelink in 1998 OpenText was an intranet document storage & search company. That's a problem I can (and did) imagine having and looking for solutions for. Does anyone but an analyst ever say "Hey guys I think we have a problem managing our enterprise content"? If you use the WayBack machine to look at the OpenText homepage from Dec 1997 even though none of the images don't load the page is still much clearer about what the company actually does.

And I never did find the Livelink homepage.

30/10/2006 10:36 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Sweet ruby logic

One of my on-again, off-again, learning projects over the last couple of months has been the Prolog programming language. It can be a bit of a brain-teaser because unlike languages like Java or Ruby where you write each step of how a program goes about solving some problem, in Prolog you give the program a set of rules and a set of beginning facts and it deduces the solution itself (if it can).

Here's an example Prolog program:

fallible( X ) :- man( X ).
man( socrates ).
?- fallible( socrates ).
yes

In Ruby this might look like:

class Man
    def fallible?
        true
    end
end

socrates = Man.new
puts socrates.fallible?

In Ruby we've had to lay it all out but Prolog doesn't have to worry too much about how things get done, it just sort of does them. Once you start grokking it, it's very elegant.

My biggest complaint is the lack of a stylish Prolog environment on MacOSX. I've tried XGP but found it a little hard to get on with and it has a bug that is particularly irritating for a noob in that it crashes under infinite recursion. I also tried SWI-Prolog. It is perhaps a better environment being integrated with emacs and has graphical debugging & tracing. But SWI's XPCE GUI is an X application that looks & feels alien to a Mac user.

What lies behind my desire to learn Prolog is the ability to build hybrid applications which use Ruby (or maybe Objective-C) where it makes sense, generating declarative Prolog sub-programs to solve problems as necessary.

So I was very interested to read about Mauricio Fernandez experiments with a Ruby implementation called tiny-prolog.

Now the Ruby example might look something like:

fallible[:X] <<= man[:X]
man[:socrates].fact
query fallible[:socrates]

Not quite as nice as the Prolog version but a step forwards none the less.

30/10/2006 09:50 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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A better background

Ezra has announced BackgroundRB 0.2 which is, despite it's diminutive version number, is actually a big step forward from 0.1 being a complete rewrite that supports cron-style worker scheduling and multi-process workers!

I use BackgroundRB to handle rendering & publishing in Squib and am considering using it to implement a multi-stage analysis pipeline in another project.

30/10/2006 09:32 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Dimensionally challenged: that's me!

Most people don't believe how dimensionally challenged I am. One of the many things I can't do, for example, is mentally rotate maps. If a map doesn't align properly I need to rotate it which can be akward if it is, for example, screwed to a wall. This has lead to odd scenes of me scribbling quick copies of maps on paper scraps so I can orient them in the direction I am facing.

So it's very good to hear that I'm not alone. David Weinberger too has dimensional challenges:

When I take a shirt out of a drawer, I can't predict which half will be on my left, although I do pride myself on rarely going wrong about which will be the outside.

I can't make that claim ;-)

30/10/2006 09:23 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Counterpunch analysis of the Lebanon conflict

Alastair Crooke and Mark Perry are the co-directors of Conflicts Forum, a London-based group dedicated to providing an opening to political Islam. Crooke is the former Middle East adviser to European Union High Representative Javier Solana and served as a staff member of the Mitchell Commission investigating the causes of the second intifada. Perry is a Washington, DC-based political consultant, author of six books on US history, and a former personal adviser to the late Yasser Arafat.

"It seemed to them [USAF officers] that Israel threw away the book in Lebanon. This wasn't surgical, it wasn't precise, and it certainly wasn't smart. You can't just coat a country in iron and hope to win."

Here is their insightful account of the recent conflict between Israel & Hezbollah forces in Lebanon.

30/10/2006 09:12 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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As I was just saying to the Bishop of Rochester...

Got an email from SaveParliament this morning about the abolition of parliament bill that's coming up for it's 3rd reading in the House of Lords this week. I just mailed a bunch of Lords (until the system said I was done) to ask them to consider voting for an amendment that makes the legislation less open to abuse by government ministers.

I wrote to a few lLabour peers as well as a load of cross-benchers. It's perhaps not likely that a Labour will rebel but I felt it worth pointing out to them that even if they don't believe it could be abused by Labour ministers -- they won't always be in power.

They only asked you to message one Lord but I kinda got into it and they have such cool names. I mean when else am I going to be writing to Baroness Howe of Idlecote, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe, Lord Jauncey of Tullichette, Lord Brooks of Treforma, and The Bishop of Rochester!

28/10/2006 10:55 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Zubka: Stupid name for an interesting idea

Via my friend Allan Englelhardt I got to hear about Zubka:

Zubka is not just another job posting site. It is not for those actively looking for jobs for themselves. Zubka works by allowing people to refer their past colleagues, friends and other contacts for jobs which they think they will be great at.

Interesting idea. LinkedIn allows recommendations to be left for people but doesn't give you a very easy way of recommending anyone for a specific opportunity. In fact the recommendation model is a little clumsy as I discovered recently.

I signed up to Zubka as a referrer. Partly because I am happy to refer people if I get an opportunity but mostly because I'm still looking for work (yep still looking for something) and I wanted to see if there were jobs someone else might be able to refer me for.

Not a good start that they had no IT jobs mentioning Ruby in the entire UK. Not that many jobs at all that I could see. And how on earth do I find people either to recommend them, or have them recommend me? I'm really not sure how one would build a network here since the purpose is so focused. I guess it depends on whether the financial rewards for referral make the system work but it doesn't feel quite right.

This is a clear case of a potentially useful social networking tool that will falter because of a lack of integration with existing social networks. Maybe a distributed FOAF style solution would have worked better: friends of my friends of my friends tagged with 'ruby' and 'rails'?

27/10/2006 13:25 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

One account to bind them all

I wish Google would start designing for people with multiple Google accounts. I have one from when I registered my original GMail account (and a couple of other single-use GMail accounts). I also have, at present count, five Google Apps for Domains accounts.

Right now it's a complete mess as every google service more or less assumes that you want to use the Google account you are presently signed in with. It's making using Google Docs & Spreadsheets very awkward in terms of access control.

What I want is one Google account to bind them all. Or, better yet, to be able to attach them all under an umbrella OpenID (such as my i-name). Like that's ever gonna happen.

27/10/2006 11:56 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Guerrilla guide to hiring

Joel Spolksy just put out version 3.0 of his Guerrilla guide to hiring. I think it's pretty good because you can summarise the core of his advice as:

Only, only, hire smart people who get things done.

and his method is based around the principle of teasing such people out of the crowd. I'm not enamoured of his fondness for C pointers. I agree that pointer arithmetic is a differentiator, just that it's not necessarily the best or only one (unless your project is C/C++ based).

For all programmers recursion should be a stock technique so that's safe enough. If you're hiring a Ruby programmer than a working knowledge of blocks and how they interact with collections ought to be good starting point. For more advanced work a grasp of metaprogramming principles might do (use of metaprogramming seems to be a good deal more common in Ruby than similar languages). A good understanding of metaprogramming is not only useful to know how to do it, but also to know when to do it.

I'm not sure what the the questions should be for Java, C#, Python or PHP but I suspect there must be some. I'd suggest working out the kind of questions that matter to you.

26/10/2006 09:32 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Olbermann on Limbaugh on Fox

Rick Klau linked to another Keith Olbermann piece this one about Rush Limbaugh's attack on Michael J. Fox.

Listening to Limbaugh is a slightly sickening event. Not because he believes what he's saying (I suspect he doesn't and is mugging for the camera in just the way he accused Fox of doing) but because it makes you think of all the ignorant bigots whose sickly reality bubble needs reinforcing with such poison. If the likes of Limbaugh soothes your conscience then you've got problems.

Has the entire republican party now been consumed by religious fanatics?

26/10/2006 08:54 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Firefox 2.0 not working properly for me

Hrmm... tried Firefox 2.0 today on my PowerBook. Got a very weird effect where the "page" was rendered in a strip about 1.5cm wide at the left of the window. The strip had a scroll bar and seemed to contain the complete page. The remaining space in the window was blank.

Is anyone else having similar problems with FF2 on MacOSX?

25/10/2006 18:52 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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25/10/2006 16:28 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Cool Vienna

Not the city, although that's cool too. No, the Vienna I am talking about is an open source MacOSX RSS newsreader. I've been trying out the 2.1beta this afternoon after compiling it myself using the supplied XCode project. It's pretty neat and imported my 169 bloglines subcriptions without problem.

Neater still is that it's a pretty nice, full-featured, application that I can digest the source to. Over the last couple of weeks I've been dabbling with building Objective-C/Cocoa applications but there's nothing like seeing something full-fledged to get a feel for how a "real" application is written. Vienna looks like the business in that respect.

One of the nice things about being a programmer is that you can, usually, scratch your own digital itches. Hence Squib is my blogging tool not Radio. I've been writing a little diet management app and also a concept futzing tool. I might release either or both at some point.

I'm also going to stick with Vienna for a bit and see how I get on with a desktop reader.

25/10/2006 15:53 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Social Software Search Engine

Don Park pointed me at Googles new co-operative, specialized, search engine feature which he refers to as SearchPoint.

Why did I call the idea SearchPoint? I named it SearchPoint because the idea originated from my vision of seeing keywords and topics as holes in a endless veil that separates users and information.

It sounded interesting so I signed up and created a Social Software Search Engine which I've preloaded with a couple of sites and blogs.

Suggestions for sites to add and volunteers who are also interested welcome.

24/10/2006 14:47 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Cornflakes are 70% human

Neat item from Richard Bartle about the familiar old chestnut of chimps and humans sharing 98% of their DNA:

Then again, we share 70 with maize (horses share only 66 with maize), which rather puts things into perspective. Those cornflakes you have for breakfast are around 70% human...

Worth a read if you find it frustrating too...

24/10/2006 13:58 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Olbermann: The presidents blank cheque

"And if you somehow think Habeas Corpus has not been suspended for American citizens but only for everybody else, ask yourself this: If you are pulled off the street tomorrow, and they call you an alien or an undocumented immigrant or an "unlawful enemy combatant" — exactly how are you going to convince them to give you a court hearing to prove you are not? Do you think this Attorney General is going to help you?

This President now has his blank check.

He lied to get it.

He lied as he received it.

Is there any reason to even hope, he has not lied about how he intends to use it, nor who he intends to use it against?"

I think it was Dave Winer who pointed me at this passionate response to the Military Commissions Act by Keith Olbermann of MSNBC news.

It's the first stirring I have seen of a real, reasoned, response to the Bush doctrine of "sacrifice everything in the name of the fear" from the mainstream media. Is there hope that we are not seeing the end of America, but the beginning?

I'd feel a lot more comfortable about that if I was hearing more about the Olbermann piece. Did it fizzle?

23/10/2006 17:46 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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23/10/2006 12:17 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

"Social exclusion" sounds a bit like "quality" to me

According to Radio 4 news this morning we have a "Minister for Social Exclusion". What will they think of next? Obviously if you're trying to create social exclusion it helps to have a minister pushing for it. But doesn't it sound a bit like having a "Qwality programme"?

20/10/2006 08:09 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Real uses for tagging

Back when Paolo and I were thinking about how K-Collector would work we were thinking very much in terms of tags. We could see a number of ways in which tagging (now I see why the word 'tag' is effective, you can't say "topicing") could be used to surface information from backend systems with users being in control (by mixing tags of interest).

Stowe points to an idea which his partner Greg Narain calls beacons. Beacon tags are an external tool for gathering intellgience from customers and partners. You publish a set of beacons and then watch for them.

I think we're at the beginning of finding the real uses for tagging in the wild.

20/10/2006 07:50 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Not decaf

When sneaking a last minute decaf coffee before going to bed it is vital, repeat vital, to make sure you use decaf. Those poor fools who mix up the coffee cans are likely to spend a very long time getting to sleep.

20/10/2006 07:42 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Full stops are really quite useful actually

Flemming quotes Buckminster Fuller's 152-word statement of his life's intent. I challenge anyone to read and comprehend the whole thing in one go! Nevertheless this bit jumped out at me:

...I seek through Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science and its reductions to physical practices to reform the environment instead of trying to reform men being intent thereby to accomplish prototyped capabilities of doing more with less...

It's close to a defintion of my own, less grand, intent to build tools that change the environment in meaningful ways that enable us to achieve, with less effort, more than we thought possible.

19/10/2006 22:01 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Learning about Maiden Hythe

I've lived in Maidenhead for about 7 months and (through my Dad living here) been visiting here much longer. But I never troubled to look much into the town. I am one of those people for whom surroundings are like the scenery in a play or movie set. You know it's there, but you spend your time concentrating on the actors.

Today I read a little about the history of Maidenhead. The name originates in a new wharf (or Maiden Hythe) that was built across the river Thames some time after the year 1255. As with so many places bridging a river created new opportunities and the town sprang into being.

On the page I have linked to above there are some postcards of the town from 1944. Bought by a US service man stationed near by and carried through the Normany landings they should a town that is, at once recognizable, and yet totally alien.

Now I'm off to visit some history.

18/10/2006 14:05 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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A new holding company

Today I switched mattmower.com over to Google Apps for Domains so that I could create a simple holding site that had been missing previously. I'm hoping this will pick up a little page rank and appear somewhere in the useful part of the result for searches on "matt mower" which my blog no longer does.

I got a reminder of what a problem my disappearance from Google can cause me when someone I was talking to about hiring couldn't find me at all. It never occurred to him to try Yahoo or MSN which doesn't surprise me.

17/10/2006 19:50 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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It'd never work

Euan pines for a MetroNap pod and I can't say I blame him, I'm also a pzizz'r and I'd love one of those babies.

But I don't see it working in practice. You put one in the office and the bloody warfare that would spring up around who gets to use it next would surely disturb the quiet required for a nap!

14/10/2006 12:35 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Pocketmods to go

I love the pocketmod organizer. I've been using them, on and off, for about a year now as a replacement for an electronic organizer and they work quite well.

Two things hinder my effectiveness with them:

  • remembering to print one and get it ready every week
  • actually folding the damn thing and make it square

It's a blessed nuisance even with the folding guide, a ruler, scissors, and pritt stick. If I don't want to spend 25 minutes at it (and I don't always have as much time as I do today) mine tend to look like they were made by a 5 year old. Graham will vouch for my inability to fold paper.

What I'd really like is a service where I could order a pack of, say, 10 of these things with my page load-out, professionally printed (on nice paper), and carefully folded and stuck down. If 10 wasn't economical I'd probably order more - I tend to use the same layout pretty much all the time.

Does this make sense to anyone else?

13/10/2006 11:45 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Whales ahoy!

I see Stowe has taken off the wrapping (and a pretty big wrapping it must have been) from Blue Whale Labs the new venture he's started with Greg Narain and Ranvir Gujral. I had a great time with Stowe and Greg a couple of years ago when we did STES and it was my pleasure to bum around with Stowe for a few days after he came back from Lisbon.

13/10/2006 10:18 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Apparently they couldn't get the insurance

I was just watching some little birds playing in the pond in my Dad's garden. They were hopping about, ducking, splashing each other, bumping into each other, flying off, flying back. It reminded me of nothing so much as that great movie that never was The Three Stooges go mad with jet-packs.

11/10/2006 14:44 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Free agency here I come!

Like the great slugger Barry Bonds I find myself on free agent market after a long time with one team. Unlike Barry I am under 40, my knees are (touch wood) not a problem, I haven't tussled with a grand jury, and I get on okay with the press.

Yes, unfortunately, my gig with PAOGA has not worked out the way I'd hoped. It's the usual story with early stage startups and, as one of the few salaried employees, I knew there was a risk I might get laid off. And so it proved. I've nothing but good things to say about Graham & co. I hope what we were working towards will come to pass. Alas I cannot be there to help make it happen, but I wish them all well.

Now I must turn to the subject of saving my season and making it to the playoffs. I'm working on my resume (my LinkedIn profile has a precis). I haven't written a resume in a few years and it shows: right now it reads very boring and stilted and I don't think that's me at all. I'm going to keep working at it and hopefully it'll be ready in a day or so.

Over the last couple of years I have been more heavily involved in product management, business development, and marketing strategy than nitty-gritty programming. I've learned a lot and combined with my experience building software I think it gives me an unusual and powerful perspective on building the right product. In my spare time I've maintained my interest in development, learning Ruby and then Rails and releasing an open source package (Squib) and several libraries.

Right now I think I'd enjoy building a product from the ground up again. Not having hit the jackpot yet doesn't seem to have diminished my enthusiasm for startups. I'm also considering contract work and consulting. I'm keen to explore all the possibilities that might be open to me.

So I'm reaching out to you: the people I know, the people I've just met, and the people who come here but don't know me well yet. If you can help me find some work either in the short term (to help keep the wolf from the door) or the long term (the one!) I'd really appreciate it because, unlike Barry, I can only hit 30+ HR in a video game!

10/10/2006 23:43 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Blogging rules (okay?)

I notice Don Park has switched to his new blogging tool called Daily. I'm not sure what Don's reasons for writing his own tool were. I wrote Squib because I wanted to satisfy my own requirements in my primary writing tool and to have a platform where I could experiment with the medium (not that I've had much opportunity yet!) Writing your own blogging tool is a tough road and doesn't necessarily make a lot of sense - especially with great packages like Mephisto and WordPress about - but I think it's worth persevering.

I'm looking forward to seeing what Don does with Daily and especially what his plans are for JBoss Rules (ne Drools). I used Drools a few times when I was developing in Java and thought it was a very interesting piece of technology. I haven't thought of any applications in blogging yet.

What do you have up your sleeve Don?

09/10/2006 17:41 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Why is there a war on drugs?

The war on drugs (on vice generally) is a recurrent theme in all Western governments, why? Wilt Aston quotes "Jake" from the Freedomain Radio Forum:

"There is a war on drugs because the people who control the State do not want to be stuck answering the phone, they want an excuse to break down your door. In other words, they don't want to be limited to providing dispute resolution services, they want an instrument of social control that they can extend. Real dispute resolution has to serve the requirements of the customer (a member of the public calls up and says that someone has stolen his car, requiring you to try and find it). The state in this role is at the beck and call of the public. If the public just goes about its own business, the state has nothing to do. However, victimless crimes offer a whole new opportunity for actively interfering in peoples lives: now the state is truly following its own agenda and can try to arrest people without the pesky problem of needing a complainant."

Whenever I hear "war on" I wince and reach to down to check my wallet is still there. I can't be the only person fed up with seeing my taxes go up to fund state intrusion into our lives can I?

If someone wants to smoke a joint in their own home what do I care? Why am I paying for a whole apparatus designed to make smoking that joint criminal and expensive? Same thing for cocaine, heroin, LSD. They all have consequences but what doesn't?

I think Jake is right.

Why do so many people support this stuff?

05/10/2006 11:13 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Who wants to be apprentice claw sharpener?

Wagner James AU writes at GigaOM about a new Marvel universe inspired multiplayer online world:

Sony Online Entertainment learned this the hard way with Star Wars Galaxies, and a game based on Marvel comics is sure to endure similar (insurmountable?) challenges. Can you create a superhero game where everyone wants to be Wolverine, but no one wants to be Wolverine's apprentice claw sharpener?

The only MMO I've actually played is GuildWars which I chose because you don't pay to play. I like games to fit into my life and a monthly subscriber fee didn't feel compatible with that.

The way GuildWars scale is to have specific areas in which you can interact with large numbers of players but constrain actual questing areas to (if memory serves, I haven't played in over 6 months) 4 players.

Each 4 players entering such an area get their own spawned copy of that area including it's NPC specials. I can see such a system working very well in examples like Marvel and Star Wars.

By constraining the number of players in any one area it's possible for them to interact with the game heros/jedi more directly or to be those heros (although the idea of dozens of Wolverines mooching about in shared areas is a little silly).

In my experience knowing that I was one of thousands of players playing in my own copy of that quest didn't spoil the experience for me. It also seemed to prevent many of the less pleasant aspects of MMO that I'd read about.

I wonder if this is the approach they'll take.

04/10/2006 08:24 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Worth paying attention after all

Gene Callahan on the nasty surprise in store for Americans:

We've now gotten to the point where Nazi Germany was, say, in 1934. Remember, at that time, if you had told a typical German what his government would do over the next ten years, he would have looked at you as a madman. After all, his land had been civilized for over a thousand years. His was the nation of Albertus Magnus, Gutenberg, Goethe, Schiller, Beethoven, Bach, Kant, Hegel, Schelling, Fichte, Heisenberg, Reimann, Mann, Lessing, Herder, Handel, Dürer, Leibniz, Gauss, Helmholtz – he could have gone on, but you get the point. His nation could not possibly descend into barbarism! If you tried to tell him he was living in a police state, he would have pointed out that his government had used its vast new powers very judiciously, and only against a few trouble-makers. So far.

04/10/2006 07:45 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Brittle China

O'Reilly Radar has a summary of talk given by, long term China watcher, Orville Schell to the Long Now Foundation. He was talking about the dichotomy that is modern China.

On the one hand there is the robust, growing China, and on the other hand:

BRITTLE CHINA

  • Not much arable land, so a growing dependence on imported food
  • Two-thirds of energy production is from dirty coal, by dirty methods, growing at the rate of 1-2 new coal-fired plants per week
  • 30 percent of China has acid rain; 75 percent of lakes are polluted and rivers are polluted or pumped dry
  • Of the 20 most polluted cities in the world, 16 are in China; you don't see the sun any more
  • Some industrial parts of China are barren, hellish wastes
  • Driven by environmental horrors and by widespread corruption, there were 87,000 instances of social unrest last year, going up every year
  • The population is aging rapidly, with no pension or welfare, and a broken healthcare system
  • The stock markets are grossly manipulated
  • Public and official amnesia about historical legacies such as Tiananmen Square in 1989

What struck me was not only the scale of it - Victorian England on a megadose of steroids - but how it screams out for imagery.

Where is the Flickr photostream of brittle China?

03/10/2006 15:34 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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They're not permalinks damnit!

All you people using FeedBurner links as a replacement for permalinks in your RSS feeds are really beginning to tick me off. I'd not seen this a week ago, now I find three blogs using them and presumably more to come.

I appreciate the gluttony for stats but it's irritating to be forced to click through from Bloglines to get the real permalink for a post I want to reference.

03/10/2006 15:29 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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It's not about "top down" or "bottom up"

2. My history didn't stop when I left the BBC. I have learned more in the last six months than in the last year about people, organisations and what are the blocks and enablers when it comes to the business use of social computing.

Euan's reviews Consulting 101 and what he's learned from his first 6 months being independent. It turns out to be quite a lot.

03/10/2006 14:43 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:

Of course there's nothing wrong with the system

So I watched this interesting talking heads segement pointed to by Dave Winer. A republican and democrat spokeshead go toe-to-toe over whose party is more corrupt and has more members heading for jail. The cards are pretty heavily stacked against republibot and she more or less goes down in flames.

Putting that aside for a moment look at the underlying picture though. The democrat guy is listing dozens of congressmen and senators involved in criminal scandals or already in prison and, given a long enough show, didn't look like stopping. Either you figure America got unlucky this time and the entire population accidentally voted for every sleazeball going or there is something fundamentally wrong with the system.

American's (and the rest of us) should get ready for years more of this shit because electing a new bunch of reps, even a new president, does nothing to change the system.

03/10/2006 08:24 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Attention slots

I've writtten some stuff recently about the idea of using DataSlots to manage data about you that is held by suppliers you do business with. This is the other half of Supplier Relationship Management (which Doc calls Vendor Relationship Management).

This morning Stowe pulled the wrapper off APML which looks like it could be the "slot format" that would be needed to make the idea work.

01/10/2006 11:47 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments: