My name is Ale Fernandez. I live in Barcelona, Spain and I'm Chilean and Italian.
I am a web developer, artist and technical researcher.
I've lived in Scotland, Italy, Spain and England and career-wise I am interested in distributed systems and their applications to improvised performance and ecology.

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12/18/2006

Setar or Rebab from Uzbekistan

Sound clip of me playing this (Setar (or) Rabab)


My brother went to Kazakhstan recently, and bought a Setar (or Rubab, or maybe it's a kashgar rabab) when he crossed through to Uzbekistan for a part of his trip. I think he got it in the city of Samarkand. It's a small rounded mandolin sized instrument, with four strings - which seem to have very different tunings, not mandolin like at all. From looking at Wikipedia, it looks like some of the strings are sympathetic strings, i.e. drone strings. Two drones and two strings that play mostly solos, punctuated by some fast strikes of the drones. In gamelan music it's the only free instrument, that only has to abide by the rule of stopping on the beat. As a rebab it's played with great style in the afghan city of Herat, in slowly reawakening musical traditions. It is played with a bow in general, and is considered to be the precursor of the violin. In the tradition of Uzbek and Kazakh people it's an instrument of great improvisation, which is only starting to show - as an actual forgotten classical tradition. It's a music which is of the same calibre as Hindustani classical at least - they share the same origins and this has also had the influence of Persian invasions and of the trade route through to other parts of Asia. It even ended up in andalusia and then came back - when spain was re-taken and many muslims moved east. It was really in the right place for a long time!

But how to tune it. I've settled for C, F, E, A - the last two being quite a bit higher than the others. This is because of a description of the modern afghan version and because of another site talking about the tuning of the Rebec, it's medieval sister instrument. This page on the other hand says there's something weird about it.

On TV there would be shows where these people would improvise songs about the lady in the third row or about what you could text in to the show, and improvising musicians would make songs up on the spot. This follows a tradition of improvised storytelling and music, and a lot of horse riding. Now though, in Kazakhstan at least, they ride 4 by 4s. Oh and they wouldn't be very nice to Borat, so I wouldn't expect a reality tv program for him there any time soon.

Here's some more info on uzbek music

On his way across the border back to Uzbekistan my brother said there was general chaos and loads of people trying to get through. The Rebab got a bit damaged then. I have to see a friend's friend who knows a lot about strange instruments apparently, and take it to hobgoblin music or somewhere in bristol that repairs and fixes these kinds of things.


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11/17/2006

The legend of the tooth mouse


Once upon a time there was a mouse called Lauchito, who was very crafty and worldly and had been in all kinds of kitchens stealing little bits of food from the humans.

The humans didn't mind too much because he was a very clean mouse and always tidied up after himself, and because long ago he had befriended a small boy who had given him some food in exchange for some of the little night that he kept in his cave, back when humans didn't have night and had to sleep in the bright sun instead.

The mouse was always playing tricks on the fox, who was very greedy and not very nice. Most of all the fox wanted to be like a human. And one day he managed to marry a princess who had a baby daughter and later became king. But he was not a very nice king and made everyone very poor by taking all their money and keeping it himself.

The princess became a queen and her daughter became princess. The fox king didn't like the princess and kept her locked up in the castle all the time. She had lots of money but no friends. The princess was bigger now though so when she lost her first tooth she put it under her pillow because her mummy had told her that a mouse might come and give her a present. So she did, and waited, and when the night came she saw a little mouse who was dressed in human clothes and was climbing up her bed carrying a bag to put the tooth in. She tried to catch him in her hands and he slipped out and ran through a hole in the room. She followed him and was able to fit through the mouse hole and had become like a mouse too. She chased him all around town and when he thought he had lost her he went along his way chased by cats and getting out of the way of the people walking everywhere while the princess chased him.



She saw him take presents and take teeth from all children around the town, some very poor children and very rich children, all kinds of children. She really liked this and made friends with the mouse and he liked her very much. He said she must be a fairy princess and that's how she was able to come with him.

She came back and the king was very angry that she had escaped, and locked her and the mouse up in the cupboard under the stairs. Her mum he locked in her room. And then he was very tired of all that shouting and being horrible so he went to bed. The mouse escaped and climbed under his pillow, and the king found him.

Hello Fox, said the mouse from under the pillow. The king was very angry to be found out to be a fox, so he punched the pillow. He pulled out the pillow expecting a flat mouse, but under the pillow the mouse was fine, and he got out of his huge bag of teeth and ka-boom he hit the fox king sending teeth everywhere and told him never to be horrible again.



From then on the tooth mouse and the tooth fairy went around together giving presents to children. The tooth fairy had only money though, so she sent that. Also they are always arguing but that's normal when people work together for a long time!




This is an attempt to make a short story to explain why my children have 2 different beings who share their teeth (they have italian, chilean and north american traditions). Here are some of the links I used to figure it all out:

http://etimologias.dechile.net/?mapuche
http://cvc.cervantes.es/actcult/raton/cuento.htm
http://fr.wikisource.org/wiki/La_Bonne_Petite_Souris
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/6413/leyendas/noche.html
http://www.telepolis.com/cgi-bin/web/DISTRITODOCVIEW?url=/1356/doc/cruzdelsur/aymara.htm
http://www.unap.cl/sociales/revistasociales/articulos/rcs_3/articulo_3_4.htm

11/11/2006

Marketing and Publicity in community action and collectively improvised music.


The Comic version of the 911 commission report is really inspiring - both as an art form following from trends in documentary film and as a way to make information accessible to the masses - making a difficult and dense report easy to understand. This is what I feel the Chocolate Box network needs - a way to communicate our issues simply so that we can truly be representative.


I'm hoping a good publicity group springs from our midst. We could take Milly's popular exhibition from the Mivart St Open Weekend - a collage of community meeting notes, videos of our meetings and encounters with the head of Elizabeth Shaw, historic and present photos and plans of the factory and what interesting ideas have been put forward for ideas that fit the 5m budget it's got to make (at least!).


We are also due to do a fundraiser in December, at the Lego Church - which I plan to take part in.


__Sustain My HEAD!__


I attended on Thursday the Sustainable neighbourhoods workshop organised by Bristol City Council and held at the create centre. I took part as a member of Chocolate Box, together with lots of groups - some of which had been going for quite some time. It was depressing, firstly because I got a look at what Chocolate box might become. It's sad how every bit of initiative, true friendly neighbourhoodly initiative is preyed upon, a trend in the market, and turned into something that is slow to move because it's stopped being young and idealistic believing anything is possible and in the real importance of the issues we fight for. Not to say that these groups are not useful, and it's amazing some of the longer running ones keep at it through thick and thin, and I don't mean this as a criticism of them - more of the way the system has bent it all. All the groups were worth a lot of praise not to mention Voscur and in my opinion Bristol City Council itself, but I just feel it could be so much more free.


On a recent copy of Bristle magazine it was mentioned that a large part of the population of this area and of maritime destinations from middle age Bristol were slaves. There are centuries of buried karma building up to form these situations nowadays, and we don't even remember it.


Another other reason it was depressing was that I realised I have so far to go and that there is really a slim chance of things actually working properly for true sustainability in this area.


I'm completely happy with this area, not that I regard it mine not even that I think I'll stay here for long, but I believe it can withstand better than many places anything that could come and challenge it's sustainability. But it's like an adventure trying to get it to really go that way.


After an initial game which I found quite useless but well meaning - we had to give examples of things we'd done following the themes behind the meeting. A coffeehouse challenge, a street party, a volunteer run gardening service. A coffeehouse challegne is a light discussion of a topic over food and drink in a community space. And then we talked about how we should network - it was agreed sustainability-friendly organisations can share resources such as large meeting spaces or knowledge, and use larger resources from the council - such as the ability to carry out professional surveys of the people we are trying to represent.


I hope this turns into something tangible, as it has to be something very simple, something that everyone benefits from in the short term, maybe something fun. Technically though, I really think we need a shared wiki - with very simple editing rules - a website we can all add to with generic information according to our needs - a knowledgebase but also person or skill finder. And with simple information and resources on taking realistic action. What is real? Only what we can build as a widely shared understanding, and it only goes as far as those who understand it that way. And mostly they just think they do, but the unity of purpose is enough to keep it going. In buddhism we call it Itai Doshin.


After the break we talked about definitions: What is sustainability in a neighbourhood? How can you say a neighbourhood is sustainable?


For the purpose of making a statement of some kind showing a shared understanding.


But I found it really challenging. I didn't want to give a definition myself because I was representing Chocolate Box and I don't know if there's a definition we agree on. I doubt it. And at the same time I desperately wanted to talk about it. I was very upset about that because a vision of possible future is really what guides your life in some ways so I realise I'm very attached to my view and at the same time it needs to be put out there for discussion. So here it is:


The world is in a very serious and dangerous situation. I don't think I need to list the problems at hand but I think no single issue can be singled out like some are being singled out now. Sustainability is work to counter that sum of issues which are threatening our livelihood in the long term. There are fundamental things that anyone on the street can do to change this, but they require organisation of some kind - even if it's spontaneous like the people who'll be going around giving free hugs out at the broadmead shopping centre before Christmas. One hug makes a smile warms a heart and pushes you on.


  • We need to develop an infrastructure that can withstand to some degree the possibility of a fast crash in fuel availability. This is needed both on a political level as resources become scarce, as on an economic level to protect against crashes in economies on which we might be dependent. This could be called antiglobalization, but applied, and applied not as an activist statement, but as what you do when you realise you've fucked up and need to tuck in your belt and get to work fixing the mess.

  • We need to lose the concept that growth is good. We need to stabilise and downsize. This should be a new indicator of a country's ability to sustain itself.
  • We need a more civilised way of running ourselves. For this I believe it should be, at some level - Anarchism. You could also call it "community". Local people just working together and helping each other. Small groups - linking in some ways to other small groups.



All these things need individual activity - pluralist but mutually respectful, building up links in such a way as to work alongside what we now know to be the downfall of centralised systems - an inability to look farther ahead.


__DOrkboT__


I also went to Dorkbot that night and met the inspiring artist Carolyn Ryves who using plans from the internet on her own adapted her bike to generate a small amount of electricity. The design is not very efficient, she admitted, but it was very interesting to many people there, as a practical demonstration of how easy it is to generate alternative energy. We talked about potential uses, and I volunteered myself to organise a workshop - I want to get people messing about with the electrics involved in building them, since bike powered generators can be made from things you can readily find second hand or on freecycle, and since decentralised energy is going to run the risk of being run by travelling cowboy technicians - insurance groups who would have the monopoly of maintenance of our wind turbines and solar panels when they routinely break down every 5 or 10 years. We need to develop these skills in the community.


I'm much closer to a complete idea through a lot of research I've done, inspired by the Grid Technologies workshops we did this summer. I think I know the basics now of how to build a small shared p2p environment - so that in a decentralised way you could navigate and share resources with other people close by. Everyone wants to make money out of things like this and no-one has thought of making a free software mobile based grid application - a myspace/napster for your mobile phone, perhaps even a complex email system - where messages travel from phone to phone dupliacted and encrypted and eventually might reach someone who knows someone who passes by someone... But also a simple way to distribute things quickly. A text file, an image, a video even - all sent en masse for example by amplifying bluetooth signals could enable a mass market device built on existing commercial technology.


(My newest phone says "Made in Malaysia" I got it for free from Virgin Mobile. It's crazy. What did the assemblers get paid and what is their pay package? Does it include good medical support? Do they fund research into the effects these components and tools have on the factory workers and their communities so you can refer that information to us the customers? Well we're going to do it for you if you don't.)


But back to the point from before I need to start a project for this, write a project plan, describe some of the protocols and apis needed, platforms it would need to support, killer app - ways to use this quickly and easily on the field as a prototype. For example by loading python s60 and a script on your Symbian phone could you put in a tiny p2p program of some kind? Like Tinyp2p even? But that program makes heavy use of libraries which just don't exist in the bluetooth world.


One thing I think of is Music distribution: You compose tunes and make them available to other people - putting them in a public profile of some kind. Logging in you'd see all the profiles in your vicinity, with images or video segments put together simply from a collection of photos from the phone, or some other simple and accessible way to figure out you have something in common with that person. It could also examine your data more in detail and tell if you have friends in common. It might even try and assemble a map of friendships and groups based on shared phone book data and frequency of messages or calls to each one. It then depends only what the software can make available to others - something either to argue out or just to provide as settings to users.


The orchestra, I now realise, is playing a gig in collaboration with Nick Sorenson of the improvising School, and in support of Eugene Chadbourne of very eccentric fame, on the same night as I'd bought tickets to see Ojos de Brujo at the colston hall!! I'll have to do a disappearing act...

10/24/2006

Bluetooth Mindboggles

Bluetooth FAQ

My only thought (one track mind) just now is how to make a bluetooth application that ran a grid over mobile phones? It would grow dynamically across any installed clients it found. You could copy in anything, and it would have metadata for that stuff. If it found a phone capable of point to multipoint, it would send all to everything around it, and it would allow things to be informally shared perhaps in various levels of secrecy, but also with various levels of social comfort:

If you were in a public space you could set your phone to something like "contactable" or "surprise me!" and this would get you everything passing by on the other phones. Animations, texts, pictures, videos, ringtones and combinations of these would be the easiest things to transfer. You might choose to keep a record of what you got, and inspect it later or search. This could be good for social purposes.

If you were in a conference, you might wish to reveal more, such as work documents, and you'd set it to "show". There are already things that do this, but you have to buy them. Buzzer I think it's called. Not worth looking up even...

There are libraries and things that can be used for this, and I guess the first step is decking out a computer with a dongle and the SDK, or a bit harder but more comfortable in the long run, is doing this with linux. Then, once set up and running, Cobain is a comms API, and you can get media streaming stuff too.

At its simplest, Cobain acts as a simplified communications API; it saves the trouble
of writing hundreds of lines of code required to discover the devices and their services,
handle the connections and the low-level sending and receiving of the packets
1


Another use could be an online world in a phone. Could be a stick man world, but where you can build and draw environments - with sound/sound effects etc, and sit in them, and where people could see yours. Would need in-phone authoring. The grid aspect would be that in logging in, again in a social scenario, you would see the world that other people had built - some chosen from "wizards", others built from a process of taking existing photos and faces grabbed automatically from the phone and getting the user to confirm/reassemble until they found what they liked. The idea would be to stimulate individual aesthetic expression. Again, there's a library that might help with this: The EPOC 3d engine at http://sourceforge.net/projects/symbian3d/ but no idea how good/supported/useful this will be. Might also be good to do this in SVG, as it's got good support on mobiles and could be easily transferred to a computer environment.

All of these depend on critical mass though, and the object at first is to get things to everyone, hence a lot of the initial effort should go to into the distribution of the applications themselves. - Apparently there is a man in London who distributes his animations over bluetooth on the bus. This doesn't need much - you just find bluetooth devices, and click send, one by one... A simple addition would be a "send to all", but how do people know what they are going to get, especially an executable? You need trust... One way is that this happens after you know the person anyway, so you'd need some kind of use case: a good reason to give them that application. Another would be to do online authentication via a download first of a checksum or a texting of one (which could pay for it) so that users would initially see this as an extension of existing web content. So this could be a plug-in for a social website.

Then there's bluetooth texting: Easy: just a program that sends texts, but sends them via bluetooth to everyone else, like a chatroom. Again, you should download and then just set to "chat with me!" to make you visible in the chat room. It might be worth implementing a buzz or a specific tone to identify you when you ask someone to join the chat. Why would you want to do this? Classrooms. (And this could be for aiding L&T not just subverting it!). Once you can have this text based back and forth communication - it's only one step further to add a storyline or an environment and make it a game, or add web links to connect with the online world, connect the texts to a real computer screen so they can be shared that way, or just whatever features emerge from it's use.

Because of the problems with multipoint etc, only very small networks can be built in a grid of phones/pdas (plus you have all the various competing OSs running on them... I go for Symbian in this, but I don't know stats...) I believe complete bluetooth grids are no bigger than 8 devices max, but you can probably get around this with partial networks - so each phone only connects to a manageable amount of other devices, and works intermittently with the others, so you have the illusion of a larger network, but actually it's many little networks each co-operating to form a bigger one.

10/12/2006

Candle based small heater


If only people like this could open their business and get a web designer in too!

10/09/2006

Weaving grid computing into the Net | Tech News on ZDNet

Weaving grid computing into the Net - article about possible union of business and scientific grids. Mentions what may be a very interesting paper to read...

http://www.3pointd.com/20060820/mitch-kapor-on-the-power-of-second-life/

Explaining some of the background to SL's grid based client/server system amongst others. Massive centralisation of object data means when you get into the world all you have is IDs for objects. Your client then has to query the central db for the rendering data to all these objects even if you created them yourself. But how could any other kind of setup allow people to relate to the real world? For example, an online world where objects were only there while their client was connected to the grid, so where client software was responsable for storing data too, a bit like with some more distributed p2p clients.

It would perhaps match buddhist thought - that each person is a protagonist and creator of their own environment through past causes they made. In this case, through designing objects and putting them online.

As long as you're connected though - the world looks the way you thought it looked, but is the light always on in the fridge even when you're not looking?

9/28/2006

Social Networking/Grid App videos/podcast links

I came across all these links looking at Miguel de Icaza's blog

Danah Boyd speaking about social networking sites such as Myspace, and funny things that happen when you don't check how your data is coming from properly (although that's always hard to do when your audience is made up of teenagers)


Second Life Client: A distributed grid application, now running .mono!
http://download.microsoft.com/download/9/4/1/94138e2a-d9dc-435a-9240-bcd985bf5bd7/Jim-Cory-SecondLife.wmv

Lots of blogs on social networks, and distributed grid game/build environments

9/18/2006

Distributed Computing VS Distributed Performance

Networks are by their nature, failure prone. Whether you are talking about a person in your extended network turning up as requested to a place, or a computer not crashing when you need it, you can't really control the remote points. But you can "influence" it - devote more time to any node and give it incentives such as quick replacement arrangements, money, systems administrator time etc.

In working on the Locating Grid Technologies workshop series' last practical event, we had to take this into account. I envisioned the connections as being a central set of maybe 2-3 nodes that we really checked up on and ensured would be functioning on the day, and then as many other nodes as needed, but with no checks or involvement from us.

In a much larger network we'd have had the chance to test out many more of the fallacies/problems/opportunities of distributed computing, but I'm impressed at how much a social/performance event resembles a generic computer procedure in distributed computing.

A good start for this might be some of the accompanying materials to a recent interview to a data grid enabling technology Jini developer Van Simmons on javaposse.com: http://weblogs.java.net/jag/Fallacies.html our problems mirrored these - and our expectations did in fact mirror the fallacies on that page.

A quick summary:

  1. Latency: we saw this in sound, but probably also video is late in arriving to another node by a few milliseconds. So synchronisation is a known problem.
  2. Uniformity: some AG nodes run inSors, some run AG in various sometimes incompatible flavours.
  3. Partial Failure: Partial Failure could be seen in the case of the Japanese and U.S nodes which didn't make it, and the London node, which very nearly had to be pulled out at the last minute. In organising events for the Orchestra Cube or at other times, you have to know what any performer or group is doing and be in touch habitually to some extent to know they are not going through something which might mean they can't perform on a given date. With distributed, far away performances, you have even less control. On the other hand the "partial" bit is positive: if there is a sudden unavailability of a venue when doing a traditional performance, you can't have much "partial" success other than doing it out on the road!
  4. Concurrency:
    Concurrency, on the other hand, or "The illusion that two or more tasks are being performed in parallel" (definition from developer.novell.com/research/devnotes/1999/october/04/02.htm) was what enabled our little experiment, but it's failure is race conditions or deadlock (when more than one person use a single shared resource - like a camera for example, resulting in unpredictable behaviour) and I didn't hear from anyone if what we went through proved this was happening, except in the actual performance, when a great many actions by Mmmmm in the london node didn't actually get put across because they had no technician, and therefore little control of the cameras.
    I think concurrency problems did happen though - because as a partial observer of the whole thing ( I only took part in some placing of screens and a couple of comments to the orchestra every so often) - you often had many screens vying for attention at every moment, sounds and visuals everywhere, and around the room, so I had a classic case of information overload. I think we are wired up to handle this to some extent though - and it would be good to experiment more with concurrency in distributed performance.


Another note about concurrency is the idea that 2 people can communicate any one piece of information (which could be for example a new bit of narrative or plot sequence) and they could do it concurrently to aid people's understanding. An interesting example which I read about recently is that in small self sufficient communities (where there is usually a flat heirarchy and decisions are usually made by consensus), little bits of information (who has the keys to what, where is X etc) are known by almost everyone. These redundant bits of information mean the network itself is less prone to errors, and if a person (or node) goes down (on holiday, dies, forgets etc) someone else knows this anyway. A point I've left out of this list is also in the paper mentioned below:

Local versus remote memory access: I left it out because it goes into the problems that happen when programmers access a computer's memory in distributed grids. I can't find a comparison with distibuted events, but I think there is a problem to do with the memories and fragments of understanding of "what we are doing here" with everyone else.

A social construction happening in distributed space is going to be what? This is another experiment that would be really useful to examine by using the AG in performance. For example, inviting people on two occasions, perhaps a year apart, or using existing data and their memories of a real life event, and then doing a live reconstruction of what happened using the AG with Memetic. Another experiment would be to invite people to do an AG based event, but leave out some important details and see how people interpreted what they thought should happen despite this lack of information.

The note on distributed computing is the paper I mention. So in what ways does distributed computing *not* mirror what we found out in devising these workshops?

A good note also is that Jini could be a good technology for building compute grid applications, although the one used by the BBC Weather and I think SETI, could be quicker to write in the short run and is also open source.

It's important in doing research to build either compute grid apps, or AG enabled apps for performance, that we step back from what we're trying to do now (for example, run "distributed improvisation" events to inform the devising process), and really look into the possibilities and nature of distributed computing and into distribution where found in the natural world, and try to use that to allow for possibilities for performance that we've not even concieved of yet.

9/16/2006

Airless Sound

So much has been done already around the AG and we're all just doing the same little things with it to get it to the next level. It's quite clear what it needs:

*Good quality sound
*Streaming Tools - maybe grid enabled annotation devices, or just note pads, but that work across and take full advantage of the medium
*Moving cameras
*DJ-VJing/advanced editing/processing capabilities.
*Tools to deal with latency and compression faults imaginatively.

The interesting thing is that a lot of these problems are solved technically in other video/audio transfer software available already around the web, or in people's studios. What is missing is the link between universities and artists to make things happen. What about a series of funded performances in partnership with willing institutions, in return for some publicity for their meeting rooms?

It's also a great medium for collaborative performance, of the really deep higher art kind - because it allows for intensity and over stimulation, but it's also art that can be incredibly immersive and entertaining, with just the notion that projections can happen anywhere and anything can happen in each one, which has bearing on what happens to you or where you end up next.

8/09/2006

PARIP Explorer

Web applications nowadays do everything you could think of - information-wise at least. You can look up any item of human knowledge and using hypertext trace through all the links to other topics, buy any book, listen to any music or see any films - and see the connections between your tastes and those of others, aggregated into lists and links both to help you and to provide information to others. As well as overlay annotations on geographical maps etc - we're really starting to map all our knowledge, as well as it's links and relationships.


It's obvious then that there is a need for an easy to use, accessible and simple looking general purpose application that allows relationships between concepts etc to be built and displayed by the general public.


Enter PARIP Explorer. It's software that is only and all about relationships between things. At the moment it describes arts researchers, their friends/aquaintances, interviews they've had. Since last week, you can link in to shows artists have done and view clips from them too. But a recent feature request has been to open it out and make it more generic, and work on this is underway by developer Simon Price.


Suppose you wanted to describe a riff, break it down, give it tempo, speed, notes, transcription, notes from the composer, video of it being played - everything could be there if it was needed for a lesson. If you wanted to inspire creativity in the way of an indian raga, you could explain it, tag it, and thus get it to people in a way in which it can be adapted - a high quality sample of the main melody for example - but easy to find and navigate to. This is happening a lot already but the connections don't have a pretty way of being shown. And it doesn't have to be about art related content (it's said a secret of myspace's success has been that it doesn't tell you what it itself is for)!


It needs:

  • A history mechanism. A parallel RDF file that is tagged with editing times for the rdf. This way you can go back to prior versions - that let you specify dates and enter information about them. Existing semantic web software like Memetic could be used to then display a timeline. This could have zoom capabilities - so that it could describe things with greater or smaller granularity. A sequence of actions, a performance, or a career. Other "dimensions" surely follow, such as languages used to describe things... Nothing new there.

  • It needs to be rewritten as an online application that allows you to share RDF with other people.

  • Python and turbogears??? ;)

  • An option, but an interesting one explained below: make it distributed (a grid application similar to Seti/bbc weather etc) and add a cacheing mechanism to create a mesh network while files are online or in demand.




Maybe it shouldn't be a distributed application - maybe it should be a central database, but that database would have to be maintained by and be dependent on an institution or funder. As a mesh/grid application, using only resources(storage space, processing power, databases) from machines running nodes, and using algorithms from the freenet project we can see how to maintain in demand data. The system is not infallible: an example taking from my experience with art collectives is that there are always one or two people shouldering most responsibility, and true distribution of work/responsibility is rare and difficult to set up. On the other hand, this would also allow for brokerage of disclosure of sensitive information like - for example - personal social networks.


Actually, rdf data could be kept tagged with freenet keys, and could run in combo with that, running then on a local parip server in it's current guise. Running a server makes it's public information accessible to all other nodes. Private information could be for example contact/travel information if you were to visit an organisation. This could also be given via RDF (directly into an application that could interpret it), as well as a quick knowledgemap of the people you were meeting in the company(who knows who, past projects etc), but only to people who were actually authorised. This kind of system, in performance, means we can specify what we want without damaging the critic's view of the information, or that of the audience.


A similar application, perhaps quicker to demo would be to map wiki based info into Parip Explorer. Here are some links that talk about mediawiki(wikipedia's base software) and it's adaptation to support RDF export:


http://www2006.org/programme/files/xhtml/4039/xhtml/fp4039-voelkel.html

http://wiki.ontoworld.org/index.php/Help:RDF_export (This software allows you to set up a new wiki and easily add this info to parip explorer, but getting some of wikipedia's data would be much more impressive!)

7/17/2006

2 Needs for UK Sustainable energy infrastructure

  1. A financing company or quango - needs to allow people and businesses to invest in renewable energy - solar panels, wind turbines, etc but pay it back slowly so as to immediately see any rewards in terms of lower monthly prices etc.

  2. Home energy management infrastructure: So that lots of small renewable energy solutions can be used together seamlessly - all plug into "inverse" plugs for example, which feed energy into the house (or back to the grid, but mostly people won't have the money to invest in something that generates that much energy - only the Camerons of the high income world). Lots of renewable tech charges batteries for example - perhaps this aspect should be seamless: on a windy day more energy would come from a turbine, on rainy days from the hydro, from sunny days from the sky... This shouldn't matter to people. The equivalent of the IBM PC or of USB plugs - if one thing doesn't work, plug in another one and use that...


Problem is, the government might never fund or start this kind of thing on their own! Who will do it?

5/26/2006

George, Keith and the Chocolate Factory


Just back from the Chocolate Box Architects meeting. This step in the campaign consisted of getting two well known architects active in the area to come and give their opinions and expertise. We met with Keith Hallet(who has set up many local wonderful places like the scrapstore/better food company and redcliffe futures - all with a running theme of community involvement) and George, were joined by Jackson and Paul, as well as a lot of the core Chocolate Box people and of course local residents. The architects seemed very capable and very open to the very same community participation, sustainability, and self build ideas, although offering their own improvements to our ideas by saying that the self build could happen within the framework of the existing buildings (thus offering many many more self build plots), and seemed to warm to the idea of a reduced traffic build that favoured bike access or connections with the railway.


I arrived early and got a chance to speak in person to Keith, then George about the leaked planning application plans we all got a look at. It had been put in that day by Persimmon and the building plans were there for us to see. They had a quick look and could make lots of comments on it. They both agreed this was a useless plan, below average, seemingly not worked on since the consensus meeting back in April - except now it had a bit of mixed use, but still complete demolition of all existing buildings and no environmental assessment. Not to say they are useless: Persimmon had bought this smaller company which in turn had bought the option to buy. And this was George's fault! So it's perfectly fine to believe that Persimmon have done this on purpose so as to get rid of the burden or to quickly get it passed through so as to do something else with the site at a later date, or because of the deadline imposed by Elizabeth Shaw.


Let me explain about it being George's fault though - he went once to a party in the fantastic covered streets that form the main three routes though the factory. He thought it was a wonderful place then - with so much very clear potential for a bustling market place, a thriving community area like the Coin St Market in London (where the local people turned the table on plans to build executive apartments and luxury hotels, and to this day are involved in keeping the original feel). George suggested to the owner that they should buy the plot (at the time they had only the long term lease of the land). Now they have done so, but it's a bit of a shame they weren't able to carry on with that idea - not just ecological and architectural, but ultimately this site can make much more money if made through a participatory process with the community than another blank suburbanisation(I made up a word!) of the community landscape. So it's all because of George that Elizabeth Shaw got the factory in the first place. Oh well, can't blame him. Now he wishes he'd stayed quiet so he could just buy it himself I guess... :)


We talked about all sorts of things - including the objection which is legitimate at this point and until Wednesday: EVERYONE - please say this in your letters to Ian White (which I think are better if printed and with signatures, addresses etc, but can be emailed as well - you still have to say where you live) - Say something like this:


My name is xyz, I am a resident of xxxyyyzzz and I am writing to express my objection to the current planning process for the Elizabeth Shaw chocolate factory site. I understand there was a two phase consultation involving one meeting with residents of Carlysle Road, one meeting with some more adjoining streets, where already drafted plans were simply shown vaguely at the few residents who could turn up, and no evidence of actual participation of the huge amount of local residents who have lived and work alongside this huge piece of history we are so lucky as to have in our area. I do not believe this constitutes a consultation.


And if you didn't live on the streets that were flyered in the second "consultation" you could add something like:


"For this reason could it go on record that I was not consulted, and I judge this to be a failure on the part of those involved in planning this development."


We have until Wednesday 31st to send these as emails or whatever. Another template has already made it's way to the easton bristol discussion group. The chocolate factory website has Ian White's email address and I imagine office address - if he gets it on Tuesday it still counts.


The other thing we can do is form a neighbourhood development trust - which can be as anarchic or as authoritarian as it's members want it to be, and would guide and centrally manage the actual planning process which would follow from having got rid of Persimmon(don't quote me on this last bit - I tried to get more details on what the role of the trust would be but although it sounds brilliant I don't really know what it all entails in terms of our involvement). Persimmon probably don't actually want the site, but if they do, George says he can prove very easily that they are not making as much money, or extracting enough value in terms of voters(which might interest people in the city council), and of sustainability and value creation for Bristol. His experience of working with Persimmon is that he would never do it again.


The neighbourhood development trust in Coin St in London comprised 18 families who dropped everything to constitute it and get everything going with the initiative of the neighbours. Community participation. They created a 30 page document with a proposal. I didn't get the details of that but Dave taped the meeting on video... We spoke for the first time also of trying to involve the Muslim community, although we hear the elders are insular and probably won't get involved, the younger generation is a bit more business minded and might want to help sort out the plans so that we consider muslim house building rules for example.

5/14/2006

Equilibrium Epiphany


So came my epiphany. In the realisation that no-one knows when the end will come, and that we are actually in charge of deciding this. Peak oil is just a tiny part of a much larger point which is our having grown to this size in terms of our consumption of resources for the first time in the history of life. As a Buddhist this is significant because it's a turning point for humankind. If we can survive this issue, we will really be making an incredible cause. There is only one way to do this, and it's to finally realise the connectedness, or even just see the logic in not taking the world to the extremes we've taken it. We have already gone too far and it's not going to be easy to get out of this mess.


But there are changes afoot - even Google realise that working with small companies and not seeking to dominate is the business. And one little bit less do we resemble a steaming pile of maggots over a corpse, now lacking the larger millipedes who storm around or the larger ants. And now each of us has to stop and eat a big leaf so our stomachs can stop hurting.


A Study of bus companies operating in rural regions found, in a very innocent manner, that


In addition to conclusions stated in the APTRA paper (Brown & Tyler 2001), to
achieve, maintain and improve ridership and revenue on new community run
local bus services it is recommended that:
a) the service should be set up for a minimum of two years based on full
community consultations concerning frequency, costs, fare structure, funding
and bus stops
b) timetables should be as simple as possible
c) amendments to timetables, routes and fares should be minimal, after full
community participation.


On the other hand
over here, no-where like that amount of money would go into a community run bus service, like the usbus. But really the way to run these things is through public consultation at all levels. Local people are like shareholders of the service and can boycott it, or work with it to improve it so we already have these rights and can make them work for us. It makes me wish I could somehow join a green party as I see that so much of this - like decentralised energy is actually proposed with no idea of the technical and social implications of switching to these systems. How can you go to a government and not include a demonstration of something like this? They need success stories, they need proof that British people can club together if put under stress, that we can create things through our own efforts. This wouldn't be news to anyone I know around Bristol - making the greatest things happen, from an experimental collaborative orchestra to a volunteer-run cinema, to improvised parties in the street to fight for the chocolate factory with decks and reggae and barbeques and children playing football in the street followed by heavier drinking in one of the houses later on. This with people I'd never met before - such a great experience!


We create and are part of and hear of and help in so many community and locally run services, as well as the groups and rooms we might be a part of in the online world - and the thing about them is that they are driven by our interest and the desire to make things happen that are not happening. This is a magic that the government could tap into and run using incentive streams. This would suit Tories or other posh gits on bikes with the executive car behind them. It would make the government smaller and reduce taxes just through not having to pay people more, but just devolving the running of services to community formed organisations. And these could be like small businesses.


It has been said and attempted before, but no one has tried to make a participative state using the telecommunications technology we have, and which is not going away too soon. You can make a computer out of lots of locally sourceable materials, and it could be possible to maintain a highly specialised production of slower computers even without the bits mined in Africa to make them go faster. Ricardo Semler, from Semco in Brazil - the absolutely participative factory which was a success story twice in it's career, recently avoiding the web bubble crash by having chosen not to go down the lane of venture capital funding, which they thought would somehow control them - he has something quite unique - a pedal powered laptop for reading his email. This really forces him not to spend too much time just messing around on a computer.


We should use computers and telecommunications - mesh networks, wifi networks, telegraph poles, text messages - try and get them to run on a minimal infrastructure and set up day to day voting systems to help run the decision making process.


It doesn't have to be on a national level, just even as a subversive alternate decision making process, but a well made one, a believable one. Efficient Anarchy.

4/20/2006

Save our Chocolate Factory

Today the chocolate factory has been the talk of the neighbourhood. Already a yahoo group has been hijacked and is the subject of much discussion at the local volunteer run free wireless non profit, and maybe soon at the cube or even my work.


It's an old ramshackle looking chocolate factory owned by Elizabeth Shaw who used to be called Packer & Co and sell their fancy chocs to marks and sparks. So with the sparks not flying so far anymore, they are closing down.


The chocolate factory used to have 2500 employees, workhouses, a school and even the cemetery used to be a part of the ecosystem that was Greenbank in the last century. It was vital for all the people in the area. And this was a very industrial area, with the gasworks and the chocolate factory, the hawks gym - what was that? Mivart St... the big train station (I wish there had been a picture of the mural on that station - it's incredible). They all stand like giants in our wake. Now the tide is turning and I don't believe cities can stand to be so dependent on other cities, and especially not so dependant on dwindling fuel. In a way, Greenbank and Easton around it could go back to the 19th century in terms of want. It's not sustainable to want what we want these days. But up until the 40s I believe it was. It's not our fault the population grows exponentially. Well, um. make love not war? Oops...


Anyway I'm rambling. The factory is going to be closed down in June I think - oh it would be great to have a wee celebration and some flags to commemorate it. We could get Liz Shaw and pals to come too... Pity Miss Horner can't come.


Naturally, someone has come in and said "Hello everyone, I am going to demolish this old factory and build high density inner city flats which I will sell for the highest prices possible (he he) and then make a quick getaway before the housing market starts slumping again. Of course 30% will probably have to be affordable, or we won't get permission, and maybe we can have some shops or offices. But best of all you can all have sunlight in your back gardens, which will increase the value of your houses - chu-king!" I hear the tills in his eyes already. That someone is Persimmon, the construction company. I could be wrong but I hear they don't employ architects because they always build the same thing!


On our side, however we have Royce - local resident with a shiny yellow motorbike that looks like a hover bike, Sarah is a local VCP - very clever person - a researcher into usability and children's games in fact, who lives a few doors up and organised a meeting last wednesday with our neighbours to begin to oppose the planning. The companies it seems, have seen what has happened next door in Packer's field. They haven't even applied and did a public consultation (yesterday, at the church down the road that looks like it's built out of lego. Only a few original bricks remain. Maybe it was the blitz?).


Then there's Caroline - who I have no catchphrases for except she's really nice and really thinks about her children and wants them to take part in the campaign. They are from a road that little bit closer - where if you walk up the imposing building is just a part of life - and has become part of the family - it's amazing the difference in perspective from street to street. And she, through another neighbour showed me about what seems the best alternative to gentrification:


BedZed!


I'll drink to that!


Such quick growth in a campaign - really in the space of 10 days it's very impressive and further proof of how expensive those gardens should be if we have such good neighbours! But it's got it's teething problems and the first differences of opinion and allegiance are starting to emerge. Still - as long as we don't tell anyone, we can lead from behind and let everyone just be able to express themselves and they will be practicing anarchist management theory of participative organisation without even suspecting it!


Meanwhile I have stupidly volunteered to "do" the website. Fortunately, Beef have volunteered to do the design and hopefully the setup as well. I have to email them in the morning. Tall Paul has offered to get the domain registered, and now all I need to find is easy access hosting somewhere. I'm tempted to run it on sparror and will ask the nest, and bristol wireless too.


On Saturday there is going to be another meeting. I hope part social - that would help defuse things a bit... By then I have to figure out where to put the website (needs easy access so another person could replace me as admin so sparror seems more likely than my work - the ILRT, although the university provides I think 100 meg free space which we could use). Also what needs to be on the website:


  1. It should have a wiki

  2. Apache + PHP probably

  3. Reasonable storage space? I have no idea how much but it could be very little

  4. Hostname - DNS - http://www.saveourchocolatefactory.org.uk/ ? http://www.greenbanksweettooth.org.uk/ whatever we choose.
  5. ok this is a new idea: a video diary. We could store at my work or on the internet archive - and go around recording people's views on the chocolate factory. This could involve said children - and old people etc as they wouldn't have to log in to yahoo before they could take part. Would take a lot of faffing about with video cameras and sending huge files around...

  6. As beef are involved, and they did a brilliant little app involving texting your level of happiness to a google map application that then showed how happy/sad bits of bristol were, I want to get them to do something else with texts - unless of course that bit is too expensive... This would be "txt your views" - people could text and their view would appear on a smaller easton sized google map. This could also go in people's profiles.

  7. Profiles as well - ok this is me getting into social software stuff - as there are differing views that we need to embrace - even those of Persimmon and Elizabeth Shaw, and if it's a wiki that lets you log in for example (it would be cool if you didn't have to register but just said what house you lived in!), it needs to let you give a view. These would be displayed when you logged in, all grouped together like a tag cloud - so that you'd see all the differing opinions, and some would be similar so you could get the gist of them... And if you went to a user profile you'd get their individual ones. A bit like the one on flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/


  8. And we need to get the children making chocolate! My secret dream in all this is that some of the chocolate making can survive - maybe even just a machine that very irregularly spreads cream on chocolates...



Ok that's it for now! Getting into a techie nightmare! I really want to explain what a wiki is properly to Sarah... I'm glad I've got the experience of Cog Coop and the Orchestra Cube behind me with using IT for decentralised organising, I hope we can put this stuff to good measure, but I really hope most of all that we keep having our well deserved chocolate...

Slashdot | IBM to Oracle - You Can't Buy Open Source

Slashdot | IBM to Oracle - You Can't Buy Open Source


IBM? Oracle? Pffft! You're standing on the sky scrapers and only see the giant peaks that come out over the clouds. What happens when the mountain falls?


So here I am stuck in Peak oil world - that devastating feeling you get after eating too much and realising you just popped your stomach. Oh shit. But it's just a world, and it'll pass, and be replaced soon enough by my peak oil epiphany.


I've known for long and have had glimpses in my dreams. "Daddy - the chickens are sick" - and me, "Stay away from them!". The world where every resource had been taken and was being used to the full amount it could, renewably. So the only way to win over the others would be to destroy a large amount of the land through war or something equally hellish and then run in and invade it.


"We have to go on our annual pilgrimage to feed the Chinese soldiers. We will not have to donate a child this year. They carry chinese blood."


Anyway enough of this nonsense. People are so stupid!

4/19/2006

Reactions to peak oil

Is this the answer to peak oil?


I've spent the easter weekend enjoying children and festivity and friends in Bristol, sometimes coming out of my little happy hole to look out and see really upsetting headlines - another oil price hike, unrest and mad violence at oil sites etc, and a very good documentary on more4 last week which pushed me to finally unite my family's dreams of moving on somewhere permanent, with the peak oil idea that the current society really risks very turbulent economic times within the next 5 years or so, and that after that most resources will dwindle in similar ways - such as natural gas and coal, and we'll be left with whatever we can take to the next level. Just like you shouldn't move to San Francisco if you don't like earthquakes, you shouldn't live in oil dependent areas if you fear recession.


The next step has to somehow keep some of what we've learnt during this time. Like the Roman times hugely influenced the middle ages, we're now going to enter ecotopia, but it will be a burnt out version a bit like the middle ages, just maybe with such beautiful inventions as online extended social networks (usually comprising extended family anyway) and long range travel, however reduced compared to now. How will we do that, and at the same time maintain a renewable footprint in all ways?


I've known about all this for a long time, since my biology teacher in high school told us that Elephants have s-shaped curves. They tend to have one or two children at a time, so their population grows by very little and very slowly, in response to changes in availability of food/etc. Fruit flys on the other hand have j-shaped curves. They see a fruit and grow and grow in population size, eating everything until there is absolutely nothing left, and they then all die. Somehow, a small amount of flies must make it to the next piece of fruit in some form or other, which might be their eggs. So our fruit has been the discovery of oil in 1850. Our egg is sustainable, carbon neutral survival. And this is not an egg that will simply get us to the next fruit, because this is not the reality that I want humanity to be in. We are not, I hope, only here to ceaselessly consume everything in our path until there is nothing left, like interstellar parasites.


More likely there should eventually be a middle way, most likely, when most alternatives have run out. Even war will probably not be very useful for oil in the long run.


Easy for people to say that we can switch to nuclear, gas, coal, rail travel etc, but these things will only work in the short term, although most predictions sound grim because they probably can't take into account the way the world is going to change as a result of this.


So it will definitely change for the worse if you maintain a capitalist and closed minded viewpoint that your children should be able to have more than you had.


And it will change for the better if you are more community oriented and even would answer "do you want more" with "no, thanks - I have enough". The saddest story in my economics education is Malthus, who realised the world had finite resources, but that human beings always want more. Unfortunately for him, he was sitting a the bottom of a big J shaped curve. It's easier to see the full picture from up here. We don't always have to want more.


In a sense, our children have always had less than we had in terms of community, social ties, values, culture etc, and this has changed probably for good as a result of the lifestyle of a lot of the western world. I suspect a lot of this will get quite decadent, and the people able to for example jet around the world and consume along a throwaway lifestyle will be greatly reduced and probably seen in a very different light.


So our social ties will be different in the future - when no centralised service will be able to provide what it has done so far, things will have to switch back to how they were before, - and perhaps with birth control or just more painfully natural selection we can get back to a reasonable pre 1900s size as a population. So communities will be important as there will be less direct contact with those far away. Technology as a practical skill will hopefully be widespread enough that more people can make use of it to power their own local lives. We can build a water heater using a wood burning stove to provide hot water, we can make a DIY solar panel to recharge batteries for small bits of expensive technology that we might be able to still buy from any remaining big industry, or to simply light our houses at night. Small electronics can also be run by cycle power - that's right! We can keep fit and still have parties with loud amplified music, and run hi tech gadgets in faraway places, using devices pioneered at raves! The only difficulty is in making the things that would be powered through it. I suspect technological gadgets will need to be able to be locally renewable or mines for the bits needed will become a really important energy resource for the next century - and maybe the states around those mines will fuel the next generation's wars, but that's only if said gadgets actually have some use or other. One use is communication - to allow us to use one other resource which we've not actually realised we have yet:


Organisation Theory: In 100 years of very large and complex, ever changing and largely competitive but also synergic organisations - we have learnt a great deal about this and can now use - as Adam Smith once dreamt, the real power of humanity to build our dreams. But not in a capitalist dumb-workforce way or a communist power to the people (with free dictator) way either - simply everyone clubbing together and using learnt organisational systems to get shit done because it needs doing - so we might all run local post services, or if we have wireless, allow packets through our networks, and we'd be in touch with the powers that be (because they have that annoying tendency to "be"), and with our neighbours. We might even, like the Andean communities where some of my ancestors came from, have festival systems for encouraging trade and good relations.


Like at any time in human history, we have a chance to shine or make this a dark time. I opt for the less violent and more cooperative way - so that my children can have more than I did at least in that way.


So, what then? A masters degree in social networks and decentralised organisational systems/IT structures? Go to the states and get some money together? Look for random ecovillages in Italy or in Bolivia (where there may be more natural gas, and there may also be war in a few years time, help - where is safe?). Or just start taking these things on much more seriously in general.


It may be urgent, but I'm going to get nowhere by reacting based on fear - I have to keep looking at the problem from my viewpoint here at the top of our J-Shaped Curve. It's a turning point for humanity. Will we be the first to intelligently adapt to our environment by switching to a type of population for whom hunger for more is no longer the fundamental life state.

3/03/2006

Creative Commons: A safe house for intellectual property

Creative Commons: A safe house for intellectual property


Interesting chat on the #cc channel on freenode - some guy who wouldn't disclose the type of software he was making, but looking for a CC rather than GPL/BSD license for it - specifically so it was non-commercial. A bit of a lost cause really because if you don't understand the mentality of openness and are trying to stop other people making money from your ideas then maybe you shouldn't be looking for these licenses. Or maybe you should and there should just be more levels to let everyone release as much as they want of things...


This guy kept repeating that he wants to make a living from writing code. Same with me with music/art using the creative commons idea - but with me I don't care if from today to tomorrow I make money from a song, so I'm just glad if someone wants to sample or reuse something. It's the skill argument - paid for what you do not what you've done.


Will cc licensed creative material some day reach some kind of critical mass like open source has done - where it's a big and life changing competitor to once towering businesses like microsoft? And then how will we make money from creative activities? Maybe it will be in line with the ecological point of view - maybe society should be very different - and along with changes in software development to follow more distributed, classical anarchic organisation - so will all kinds of things, and we won't make money from anything the way it has been before...

1/27/2006

Freedom and Responsibility - a song for google.cn

http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/01/26/1829240
http://www.boingboing.net/2006/01/24/okay_do_be_evil_goog.html

A lot of talk around the internet about the censorship problem. A few thoughts: It just occurred to me that from a buddhist point of view, no-one can rightly say "We are not evil" - like a lot of these new copyleftish companies are doing. No one is intrinsically good and unable to do something bad. We all have all those things. But saying "do no evil" is a bit of a christian or at least western block in morality - as if evil was something you were always conscious of. We are living under a lot of different prejudices at any one time: a colleague of mine who grew up under apartheid in south africa never knew that it was wrong until she visited the UK and found people mixing between races.

Our weapon against this is taking responsibility and confronting these prejudices when they become apparent, but crucially making sure they can be apparent. Also, value systems in buddhism are dictated from above, and no-one but yourself can say if you are evil or not. So I'd like to see Google blog about it's feelings - I mean the employees, the people who took this decision, who agree, who don't. Let's see some of their humanity emerge. And I'd like to see Chinese people deal with their society in their own ways. It could be that they find completely different things wrong with their country - who are we to say...

1 in every 4 people though are Chinese, and I'm a living example of that - my grandfather was supposedly a castaway chinese orphan. My dad visited Beijing once and loved it. I've adopted a religion which would never be what it is if it hadn't passed through and gained the Chinese wisdom of Tien-Tai Buddhism and their view of the sutras.

So here's a song, based on the idea that the Tienanmen protest students apparently sang this in the last days in the square. Which is something that's not reported by western media - now who's censoring! It's a bit illegal as it's done from samples of L'Internazionale which I found on a quick search. Please if you link to it, use the words freedom, mandarin, responsibility, students, anything that won't be censored by google.cn. I also want to make a T-Shirt with the tank man on it, with simple words in Chinese that can't be avoided... Let's make it impossible for google to censor everything, impossible for China not to confront it's past as Chile has had to do with the evident international understanding that Pinochet is a criminal and what happened during his rule is something that can't be pushed under the carpet. But I hope they will confront it their own way, and grow into an internationally respected yet unique country.

Google Karma

1/13/2006

Bluetooth art

Wireless Application Programming with J2ME and Bluetooth

Ok so it's possible to make bluetooth stuff I think with java, that you then load on your phone and can use to go around doing damage to other people's phones - http://bluetooth.weblogsinc.com/2004/02/07/bluetooth-hacking-for-fun-and-profit/2#comments

But this is sooo unimaginative. Here is a braindump of ideas - the end idea being of being able to use this stuff for arts:

  1. For ages I imagined a way of talking that was like extended quick bluejacking. I thought I'd use it to find things out without talking to anyone - it would be about quickly noting metadata to do with a place or time or day, and sharing only that, automatically. It would be all about the social side of it - how much do you feel comfortable sharing with strangers, and how do you create social contact in spaces where that never happens? The interface should be simple and people should want to do it. Here's a similar thing

  2. Another network idea could be a p2p file system that ran over bluetooth, installed itself on your phone, you set the size you are happy allocating to share, and then you can search and retrieve. This would be okay for phones that had mp3s in them... No one could catch you!


  3. Next of course is a system for controlling at the same time something wider than your own network can see... so you don't have to see all the people who can see each other in order to access their phone or whatever... If you could do this, you could do a mass event where you were sending to everyone. So one application could be something like a stadium gig, and while you are there you can send people mp3s of bits of the gig etc. Or you could do what's insinuated by some of the pages you can quickly find online about bluetooth hacking - that you could infiltrate something and subversively steal everyone's phone number, or their contacts lists, or send them something like an image set forcibly as background on their display. Can imagine many reasons for doing this, but social or consumer pranks seem the most innocently fun...

  4. A very simple experiment would be a bluetooth virus - a bit of a proof of concept: it would load itself onto the phone without any hacking at all. It would send a message saying "the friendly virus load me please" and if typing a pin, it would load itself. It would then, until deleted try and access all phones in the range and do the same. It could be "help me send a message to kevin bacon" and a race against time to see who could do it in 5 moves...

  5. Finally the idea is to give people a simple chat system which is completely distributed, like NNTP newsgroups - so each person's software is a bit of a distributed app which is as big and powerful and fast as it is connected by all these phones and machines... A user would be able to type things and they would appear across the top of the screen. If on a computer it would show up as an API you could import into anything else. SO for example at the cube we could have a screen and project the contents of everyone's bluetooth chats, but they would all be asked to contribute suggestions, and these would be filtered and edited by the person on the computer that sends to the big screen. So they would be the main editors of the directing (so it could be coded signals as in louder softer faster slower for the orchestra to play) but the idea is to get the audience to be directly guiding the music....

1/02/2006

Receta de arroz con carne molida...

Cebolla 1/4, aji un poquito. comino.

250 gramos de carne

arevejas, zanahorias, papas se hace un fritito con todo eso no mucho aceite

luego se pone el arroz

y el agua hervida un poco mas que lo normal para hacer arroz. Y ahi esta'!

Death of Derek and Vocals thru the post

this is not the file I am looking for...I know its around the studio
somewhere...but the Last Rose of Summer is a great song.... Jaff!


Message from Jaff, from ccMixter - Here are some thoughts as I listen to the files as they come through. This is a collaboration with some singer I've never met, whose brother posted samples of her voice which I used in a track.

Planning to do some mixing of "Last Rose" - hoping it's their own composition! I imagine a crazed improv noise madness session playing behind it...

I love soprano voices...

Sorry to see Derek Bailey go. He was in Barcelona, where I once thought I'd return to start loads of impro stuff. We have to be a new generation with this stuff. Mr Bailey had already improvised with and anything and anyone that took his fancy, we have to take this stuff now and use it in our work, taking it to a whole new level. We can mix his and his contemporaries' theories on chance meetings and unpreparedness, his approach to effects in an acoustic context, his somehow useless yet fascinatingly mathematical musical abstract surface. We can develop on ways of creating chance meetings and chance creative methods - stepping outside the realms of musical performance and of the technology and organisational theory available at this time, and use what who knows will come in future.

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