Inventing the Future

What's New?

People are often pretty good at walking into a room they are familiar with, and instantly knowing what has changed. That’s pretty useful for 3D operations team rooms. But what if things have been “redecorated” — moved around for better functionality without changes to the important content? What if the user has been away for a long time? If the user isn’t visually oriented? What if the “user” is an external computer system? < %image(20090629-rss-forums.jpg|363|472|Firefox RSS feed of some of my forums.)%>

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My Thoughts Exactly

When I talk about the WASP threat, I'm not talking about White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. I'm talking about wasps!

First we find out the government is training wasps for ‘the war on terror’. Now we find out about radioactive wasps at “defunct” plutonium-enrichment facilities. (‘Defunct’. As if.)

How long before TERRORISTS hijack and marry these two technologies and we find ourselves ATTACKED by swarms of GIANT RADIOACTIVE WASPS possibly with toxin that predisposes us to CONVERT TO ISLAM???

I can see only one solution: put all wasps under administrative control of the Department of Homeland Security, and instruct the NSA to monitor all of their communications.

(P.S. Attentive long-time readers of Wetmachine may wonder why I, and not Gary Gray, posted this story. I can only respond that I don’t know. However, I did suggest it to him, and he did not pick it up. Does that strike anybody else as suspicious?)

Posted in I Fear These Things, My Thoughts Exactly | Also tagged , , , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

Inventing the Future

Going somewhere?

Dear Diary,

I haven’t even written about the neat stuff in our 2.0 release, and now I’ve got a new project to keep me busy. I can’t talk about it.

But I do want to note that I feel like I’ve been looking forward for a long time to a particular — yet somewhat ill-defined — exciting trip. Now all of a sudden I’m going, and I realize I’m not packed!

Posted in history: external milestones and context, Inventing the Future | Tagged | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

Inventing the Future

Publishing: A “New Yorker” for the 21st Century

I’ve bumped into a series of issues related to publishing recently. I don’t know that they ever will or should combine to form a coherent idea, but it feels like I should record them as though in a design notebook…

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Posted in Inventing the Future, Philosophical business mumbo-jumbo | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

Comcast Not On Notice? They Were Told Point Blank!

It is a rather trite cliche that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. But in law, where concepts such as precedent and law matter a great deal, there’s an even bigger problem: Those who do not learn from history are likely to miss the obvious.

As we all know, Comcast has invested a lot of time in arguing that they lacked notice that the FCC would enforce the principles of the policy statement via a complaint against them. “How could we possibly have known?” Comcast has asked, winning sympathetic nods from a variety of folks. “Policy statements aren’t enforceable! How can you possibly punish us for something we didn’t know we might be held accountable for, all our public statements to the contrary?”

Well, let us suppose that Comcast was told two years ago today that the FCC would entertain complaints if Comcast blocked or degraded traffic. Would that make a difference? If the FCC had said directly to Comcast: “If in the future evidence arises that any company is willfully blocking or degrading Internet content, affected parties may file a complaint with the Commission.” I would think we could all agree that this constituted “notice,” yes? Perhaps not notice of whether or not the behavior at issue constituted blocking or degrading — that is, after all, what the Commission determines in a complaint. But certainly if the FCC had told Comcast directly, to its face, no ifs and or buts, the above quoted line, I would hope we could all agree that Comcast had received reasonable notice that parties could bring complaints to the Commission, asking the Commission to determine whether the parties had behaved in an inappropriate manner.

Because — Surprise! — exactly two years ago today, that is exactly what the FCC told Comcast.

More below . . . .

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Posted in Series of Tubes, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

Inventing the Future

“Well, no one told me about her… She's not there…” (The Zombies)

Getting nothing but a red screen at CroquetCollaborative.org? Here’s why.

Croquet keeps track of everything ever created, so that anyone can tell each object to do stuff. Most of the demo applications in the current SDK keep track as long as they are running. That creates a problem for our KidsFirst Application Toolkit demo,
and its public space at the Collaborative for Croquet. The public space is meant to be a long-lived environment, in which you can come and create (or destroy) stuff and rearrange it, and come back later to see things as you left them (perhaps evolved by someone else).

So we resort to a very old programming technique. And if you’re a developer, we need your help!

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Posted in Inventing the Future, KAT | Also tagged , , | 3 Comments (Comments closed)

Inventing the Future

Total Government Awareness going the way of John Ashcroft?

A long time ago, I think I mentioned in a comment to something that there was a project at the MIT Media Lab to keep a database of uncorroborated information about government officials, analogous to Ashcroft and Poindexter’s “Total Information Awareness” monstrosity.

The project had been written up in several places, including Wired and slashdot, but now it seems to have shut down.

Why? Lack of interest (we get the government we deserve), or were they shut down? I have no idea.

The TIA project (ephemistically renamed “Terorist Information Awareness”) seems to have disappeared from the DARPA site, too. Does that mean it has been abandoned, or just gone silent.

Posted in Inventing the Future | Also tagged | 1 Comment (Comments closed)
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