Darknet – Open source editing

Posted by jerry on June 26th, 2005 — Posted in New media

Darknet by JD Lasica is a remarkable publishing experiment in open source editing – put together with public comments from a wiki, the excerpts from the book show this to be a book worth buying and having on the shelves of everyone interested in the growing divide between old media ways of thinking and new medai ways of thinking. The book raises fascinating isues about the nature of copyright in the digital age, and the question of when does personal creativity overstep the boundaries into piracy.

In short, JD Lasica has put the clutrain manifesto into practice to great effect…


Sagem MY55 phone – Review: great features great price

Posted by jerry on March 9th, 2005 — Posted in Journal, New media, Technology

Yes it was time to update the old Ericcsson brick – it was a museum piece given to me by a friend who was tired of not being able to reach me. I looked around and found little choice in Canberra for vodaphone prepaid – basically it was a choice between Nokia and Sagem. One shop told me that many customers had trouble with their Sagem phones – then I went to their website and found it full of Nokia promotions – a bit sus. So I checked out the Sagem reviews and found a generally pretty favourable response. Some didn’t like the reversed stop and go functions -hey it’s French – what do you expect? Second, was that some people had trouble with the infrared transfers. This was a critical one for me – especially when I found that the CD only had WinCrap PC software – and no mac version. How was I to download images from the neat 3 x zoom camera if I couldn’t connect to the mac? Answer? The faithful Psion 5MX!

I said to the retailer that I would only consider it if it would connect with the Psion – I would bring it in the following day and test it in the shop.

So today I went in, Psion 5MX in hand, went up to the bloke and asked to test the infrared transfer. He put in a sim, plugged the Sagem into a power adapter and took aim with the phone camera. I opened up the Psion, switched it on and hit the menu – went to the IR receive mode and at the same time the retailer put the phone down with the IR ports facing each other. It took less than a second for the Psion to say: “receiving file from Sagem…” and shortly after it had completed the transfer. I quickly opened the jpg image in the Psion’s web browser – in the process impressing the hell out of the retailer who had never seen a psion before – and I had made my decision. Transferring files between the Psion and the Sagem is a breeze! And I can upload the image onto the mac via the compact flash card reader – so no need for WellPhone software.

First impressions – this phone has an amazing array of features – fully polyphonic ring tones, colour screen, easy to navigate menus, light weight, compact size and great quality images straight from the 0.3MP (640×480) camera – like this flower in my garden:


And the price was only AU$179.00 (and in Australia the Sagem MY-55 phones are unlocked 🙂 )

I guess I’ll have no excuse not to begin moblogging now eh?

I haven’t yet figured out if I can connect the psion to the internet via the IR port in the phone, but it could well mean the Psion will have a new lease on life as a sub-sub-notebook computer that fits in a pocket. At the very least it will be a handy go-between to transfer files. All up I’m so far very happy with this phone.


LostBiro project

Posted by jerry on August 29th, 2004 — Posted in Journal, New media, Technology

It’s good to see some rain at last – but still only a trickle compared with what we need. Today has been a fixing day, replacing blown light globes in the dashboard of the car and in the speedo and tacho on the bike.

The Lostbiro web project is coming along and I have been madly preparing a site plan and getting photos taken ready for the great site building. Sharon has very helpfully organised the contents of my personal part of my ANU site into something resembling a decent site, and she has agreed to do a bunch of special graphics for me – *happy dance*!

Lostbiro? Yes, I’m now the proud owner of a domain name! I shall be moving a whole pile of stuff from my ANU site and will be building a full-on site for my band, Full Circle.

The big priority at the moment is to get the band site organised so we can go live by next weekend. The band email address is already working (fullcircle@lostbiro.com). Why the urgency now? Well, our National Folk Festival application goes in this week (first thing tomorrow), and our band’s web address is being listed – so I guess we ought to have a site ready for people to view.

I’d be interested in any ideas for things people would like to see on the site – so feel free to email me (or the band) or leave a comment on this blog entry.


Musicplasma – the music visual search engine

Posted by jerry on May 12th, 2004 — Posted in Journal, New media, Technology

Now here is a site you have to check out! It’s a search engine showing links between musicians. the interface is great! it displays results like a 3D fly-through so you get the sense of being inside the data. The site is called musicplasma – you just enter the name of a musician or band and up come the results, along with all the other musicians that have been associated with that band. It’s real six degress of separation stuff 🙂

The interface looks as though it owes something to an early alternative interface design called HotSauce, developed by Ramanthan v. Guha while he was at Apple Research in the early-mid 1990s.

Hotsauce interface
An example of the HotSauce interface

Guha’s aim was to produce a feeling of flying through the data stream to provide a visual representation of web pages in space. I remember having a go with it – must’ve been about 1996 – when a version was released in MacFormat magazine on a 3.5″ floppy disk. It was great fun, but I found it tricky to get back to places I’d been to once I’d flown past. Somehow HotSauce never quite caught on, but it clearly laid some important groundwork for data visualisation and interface design. The latest iteration of Guha’s concept is actually quite useable – check out Map Net which uses more of a terrain metaphor. It is certainly easier to become oriented in the information. Guha is a technical adviser on Antarcti.ca – who have developed the map net technology.


Cuneiform – the birth of an interface standard?

Posted by jerry on May 9th, 2004 — Posted in Journal, New media, Technology, Writing

There seems to have been something of a debate regarding a shift in assumptions about how cuneiform scripts were to be read, whether left-to-right or top-to-bottom in columns. Some argue that top-to-bottom makes more sense given certain assumptions about the way the stylus would have been held.

According to Madelaine Fitzgerald of UCLA (see the short paper in the link above) there does appear to have been a protocol to allow readers to identify the direction of reading. This involved the use of holes in the clay tablets to allow them to be held on a string – and if the tablet were raised on the string it would fall in a way that would indicated the reading direction, thus distinguishing between the earlier cuneiform scrpts of the Old period Babylonians (which ran in vertical columns) to those of the later period which ran horizontally.

And then there remains the question of why the Babylonians changed direction of their script from columns to lines. Fitzgerald gives a tantalising hint that it may have been because of the international climate of the time – ie to bring Babylonians in line with contemporary practices in other (more economically powerful) neighbours. What this seems to indicate is the application of an internationally agreed interface standard to facilitate ease of communication.