Thursday, October 30, 2008

Good Will Hunting

No, not the movie, talking about brands seeking loyal customers, say in the coffee shop business.

The name of the game is "steering through consumption", giving customers the privilege of voting with dollars, meaning we've earmarked some of the goodies with cause-related info, tagged 'em with tokens somehow (probably in software).

Say when you buy a chocolate bar from some (Quaker?) company, an LCD shows positive changes vis-a-vis the advertised beneficiaries, the retailer remitting sales info in exchange for a discount (a mutually beneficial trade). Buy this scone, help a kid in Zimbabwe; Newman's Own (brand) pioneering in this regard.

Such microtransactions do add up, but are counterproductive to track manually, too much nickle and diming, which is where open source software enters the picture. A back office profile will store the fund accounting tables in SQL engines, such that beneficiaries have a way of checking their balances, perhaps through a bank.

Shops will differentiate within zip code according to customer demographics, i.e. in some necks of the woods, a beef jerky purchase might net a few dimes to the NRA. That doesn't sound much like Portland though, a test market for these concepts, as well as LA?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Cosmic Tourist

Il Purgatorio
Paul Loffoley's 1975 rendition of Purgatory per Dante's Divine Comedy.

"But do they allow iPods?"

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Geek Esoterica

with thanks to Aimeé

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Diplomacy R Us

After an enjoyable session with Patrick @ Angelo's on Hawthorne, I meandered back on Lincoln, crossing 39th by Fine Grind, to continue telecommunications with Ian.

Earlier, walking Sarah with Glenn, I noticed Madeline Albright's name on the Bagdad marquee and resolved to attend. For those who don't know everything, she was Secretary of State pre Colin Powell who was pre Condaleeza Rice.

Well, what I didn't know was this event had been sold out for two weeks, at $25 or so per ticket. That explains the well-dressed crowd, probably Methodists from like Lake Oswego, some of them, liberal in that well-to-do sense.

The talent hadn't arrived yet as I wandered back to the ranch, somewhat disappointed. I'd read some of Madeline's thinking in an airline mag, good analogies with billiards, proves she knows at least something about world game playing. Both Glenn and Patrick had good things to say about her.

The police, with bicycles, were awaiting the motorcade or SUV or whatever, making sure theater goers obeyed, as in "too bad if that seemed like a lucky parking spot, you're facing the wrong way lady."

Hey, there's an Airship Ventures zeppelin on CBS News just now (Trevor would like that)!

It's seventy years later and these still look like a promising technology.

Maybe we'll deliver some 4D Towers with 'em, just for grins.

G'night Katie (I'm a Facebook fan).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bureaucratic Delays

Yesterday's news:
Despite his stated desire to close the American prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, President Bush has decided not to do so, and never considered proposals drafted in the State Department and the Pentagon that outlined options for transferring the detainees elsewhere, according to senior administration officials. ( Steven Lee Myers, NYT, 20 October 2008)
Of course one always has the option to disbelieve such senior administrators, known throughout the world for their ability to misinform.

However, I'd be the first to admit to some radical thinking coming out of the Pentagon, too scary for workaday civil service types to wanna have to deal with.
But Mr. Bush adopted the view of his most hawkish advisers that closing Guant√°namo would involve too many legal and political risks to be acceptable, now or any time soon, the officials said.
The down side of being president is everyone gets to speak for you, once named to the team.

People come out of the woodwork, "serving the president", sometimes with the most amazingly twisted views (thinking of G. Gordon Liddy, other yes men).

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Opening Night

Given my apparent gluttony for BBQ, in this namespace a colloquialism for all things buckaneer, I was more than pleased to get D. W. Jacobs' expansive welcome to his show on opening night, this on top of having had breakfast with Allegra the very same morning. What an action packed day this has been!

My only comment as play critic this evening was that I noticed the projected labyrinth when Bucky's dad dies. I noticed it last time too.

I was also grateful for the opportunity to sample the energetic Darla Cash, resident of the big island in Hawaii (check the program, she's strongly into set design). She and I drove around downtown looking for the right bank, exchanging esoterica, so she could cash a certain check to buy celebratory chocolates.

I was able to bring Trevor and Glenn, in addition to Tara and Carol. Having given Allegra copies of Trevor's books this morning, I was happy to see them actually meet and start talking.

My special thank you to Doug Tompos, the star, for really putting so much of himself into this challenging role. Having such an intelligent multi-media approach really helps, but at the end of the day those are just props, literally.

I'm glad you could join us for dinner at The Bagdad that time, my daughter is appreciative of you're being in that episode of Angel, makes her dad seem cooler that we'd travel in overlapping social circles.

I heard many appreciative comments from others in the audience, but will let the Portland based press share for awhile (I've had my turn).

I'll be back in to watch again though, looking forward.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

PPUG 2008.10.14

I'm here at CubeSpace learning about the newest Pythons. Jason has a green console for 2.6 and a scarier red one for 3.0, the backwardly incompatible one (scream!). Right now, we're getting a demo of the new fractions module, way cool.

Jason kicked off the evening with attrgetter, one of his favorite microfeatures. He's right, it's nifty and cute.

My lightning talk
was sponsored by Fine Grind Productions, a new mathcasting brand I'm marketing, in association with a neighborhood coffee shop looking into the open source subculture as a possible source of future bookkeeping tools, ala my Wild West high definition visualization libraries.

Sometime in the future, when you buy that Cup o' Jo, you'll see where your pennies go, some percent to Mercy Corps, some percent to AFSC or whatever (depends on the shop).

I'm spoofing the apocalyptic mindset, ala Y2K, suggesting we write a PEP for a new snake dance called The Writhe. I suppose this is one of those "you had to be there" jokes. My audience seemed receptive. Watch YouTube for examples.

Now we're looking at a talk about multiprocessing (import Process), thanks to Adam.

Google's Blogger is down at the moment, inconvenient but I'll live. I hope Jody isn't bored out of her mind (I'm sure she is, I didn't mention it was OK to use a laptop while others are presenting -- considered rude in other subcultures but not in geekdom).

She'd never seen CubeSpace before, so maybe this was worth her time, hope so.

I should have used this blog entry in my slides, instead of the one I did, as the I Ching module I wrote works in earlier Pythons (talking about Unicode). [Later moved to Google App engine, then it went out of date with changes to the latter's API].

The open source coffee shop project has merit, maybe we'll take it somewhere. Glitzy LCDs are a part of the plan, though they could be subtle, low key, depending on existing theme and decor.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Attending Esozone

I'll be getting back to more writing about these talks, didn't make it to all of them, having a lot on my plate. However I wanted to register my gratitude to both Paul Laffoley and the Angel Tech guy, for feeding me lots of intelligible and useful information about many topics of mutual interest. You guys rock.

D.W. Jacobs invited me to the rehearsal tonight, and I'm grateful for that. Sorry to be missing Allegra this time. We're moving right along here in Portland, looking to have a say in the future, along with sister cities around the globe, other networks.

I was just repeating to mom, Paul's story about Lovecraft, seeking out this painter and following him back to his digs, the velvet curtained tableau he made to memorialize this story. And of course we got the Gaudi tower at ground zero NYC, reminiscent of Fuller's Geoscope in the East River, near the UN, in the sense that even just the idea has healing potential.

I finished my evening back at Mother Ship (what I'm somewhat jokingly calling our UFO on Stark Street), joining teens in viewing a DVD using mom's Vaio laptop hooked up to the Meeting's projector, Andy's speakers.

I was glad Glenn Stockton could join me for the Laffoley talk. Having another witness helps me sound like less of a liar when I tell the truth about this guy, a great artist.

Thank you DemocracyLab for mailing the requested merchandise, I will be gladly paying that invoice shortly.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A Studious Nation

Some of you following these blogs will recognize this blend of coffee shops and philosophy, not my invention, more like from Paris, post WWI, a matrix for existentialism, experiments in modern art, other pioneering. France became like a Mecca for a lost generation, or something like that.

Nowadays, we're looking at lots of job changing, career switching, people eager for new training, to get with some new program, perhaps with overseas dimensions, definitely socially responsible in many cases. But sometimes the skills needed are pretty high, like doctor level, other manager types, with a need for internships, apprenticeships, guild certifications of various kinds.

Portland is known for its many world class cooking schools, with chefs in the making building strong resumes based on real experience. As a result, we have many good restaurants in this town, more than many other cities of a similar size. You can't learn to be a great chef just by watching Julia Child on Youtube, although that's certainly a fun component. You need hands on experience, likewise with other jobs. It's not all about staring at your laptop, a kind of navel gazing in some circles.

That being said, there are many walks of life in which intensive reading, like book learning, goes with the territory. In those cases, coffee shops with free wifi come in handy, especially if there're other food options.

Coffee shop managers have their own relevant skill set, which includes finding a right balance between customer turnover and/or outlay for offerings, versus getting those steady students who maybe get lost in Safari (an O'Reilly campus), yet help bring the right buzz and conversation into focus, plus you need wall art, LCD ads, maybe a full bar if doing like Nirel's gig ala Schroedinger's Cat.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Pythonic Math

:: britney ::

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Map Quest

:: map store ::
Pursuant to my curriculum writing agenda, I took off on foot in search of a Fuller Projection this morning, passing Bagdad Theater, an art car, religious and eating establishments, e.g. Burgerville.

I found both a tubular and framed version at Pittmon Map and Travel Store, next to Lucky Lab.

I walked home, grabbed Razz, and went back for the framed copy, stopping by Lucky Lab for lunch, and the vet's for some specialized cat food.

While walking home, I was stopped by a Mercy Corps person with a clipboard and I started gabbing about this map, how it's so hard to find in some USA cities.

"They just won't tell you about this map in school," I mentioned, "very Stalinist." "I feel sorry for all the oppressed people here" I continued. She gave me a funny look.

Yep, you meet all kinds of weird clowns on Hawthorne.

This Flickr scenario tells the story in pictures.

:: art car ::