Saturday, July 30, 2011


:: hb2u lw ::

One of our staffers left her computer / bag aboard the Max from the airport (Red Line). Honest Oregonians disturbed it not, and it joined a gated community facility, a forlorn kind of Toy Story place where many lonely toys are not found. This bag was though: I retrieved it in the "escape pod" Lindsey used to eject from the State of Georgia (her birthday today, having a small dinner party, Melody our cook).

My route was from the marina adjacent PDX down Columbia Blvd to Lombard, into St. John's, over to Hwy. 30 past Sauvie Island to Cornelius Pass, up into Jenkins/158th area, near the Costco. Same way back. Quite a good drive. The Nissan Maxima, performed well. Lots of building going on. Intel expanding etc. Yet lots of rolling countryside, lots of farms.

We saw them all off at the Max again this morning, bound for divergent destinations. Staff is spread out. Sebastopol was like a northern border with Russia in the early days, with Hispanic mission based culture coming up from the south. The Bay Area was a center of contention. Fun history to know, if you think of that Russian Imperial Museum in Minneapolis, housed in a mission-style building. What does it all mean?

I shared some some history too, learned from Les (CIO) about those bad ass Haida, and the Hudson Bay Company's response: to import lots of Hawaiian muscle to keep pushing a lucrative fur trade.

Those Euros couldn't get enough furs, having already managed their property unsustainably. The Doctrine of Discovery allowed for title transfer into church holdings, of vast tracts of valuable land. Much of this was protected by a lay populace of faithful, willing to champion their ethnicity in a kind of zero sum game.

Anyway, Hawaiian names decorate the coastal areas, Camano Island for example.

Dignity Village was on the itinerary again, this time from the marina, not the airport. I refer to it as "Epcot West", America's best futuristic thinking on display.

Later, I played some Idiocracy again, while picking up the living room, dusting and so forth. I even changed where I hung some of the pictures. OSCON has clearly changed my mind in some ways. That's what circuses do sometimes: they expand one's idea of what's possible, by showing one freaks and geeks of various types, in a fun house of crazy-making mirrors.

click for author's photostream

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

OSCON 2011 Continues

No bizmos at OSCON this year. Maybe someday we'll get one into the exhibit hall, a small version, but an open source one (open hardware, not just software).

The keynotes today were somewhat ironic, with Microsoft seeing the cloud as another "commercial software" environment, with Windows Azure the latest back end.

The announcement that it supports PHP, other open source, was perhaps underwhelming, somewhat like announcing a car with an "ignition key" as a feature.

The next public splash came from Nebula, with the CEO whipping up enthusiasm for and industry-supported convergence of OpenStack and OpenCompute. The goal: generic cloud services built with open hardware and software at the core. Was it a coincidence that Al Gore appeared in the promo, and a forklift was used as a prop to wheel out a rack?

F151 was a deep silo discussion of CONNECT and Aurion, presented by the Alembic Foundation. CONNECT is a project to facilitate the exchange of medical information (HIE). Hey, the guy said "default" -- that's the first time I've heard anyone mention the WDC-based soap opera going on these days. It's buzz word city in here. Not clear to me Lower48 are where it's happening these days, where electronic medical data is concerned. Too bureaucratized, even though we're talking big money. Count me a skeptic.

Chairman Steve gave awarded the Frank Willison award to Georg Brandl. I brought Naga, the PSF Snake, on the Max. After the keynotes she went straight to the DemocracyLab booth, remembering Deb Bryant (she's on Mark's board). The Perl Foundation was immediately adjacent, so she next jumped over there and gave a ride to the camel. Chairman Steve has a debate later with one of the Perl avatars. Both write curriculum for O'Reilly School of Technology, so it's somewhat a punch and judy show. We're all family here.

The talk on NORC's study, done for the US Congress, on open source EHR systems used in safety-net health-care clinics (so-called) was illuminating. The clinics tend to get more deeply into using their systems as a function of both needing and wanting to customize them.

R0ml took up the topic of internationalizing source code, one of my pets. He conceded at the beginning, somewhat sarcastically, that "everyone should learn English", satirizing the predominant Anglo imperialism (paradigm). He used Portuguese as an example of another source code language for Python. I already know from chatting with my Brazilian friends that top-level names, minus keywords, built-ins and standard library, are already in Portuguese in many a Python program.

I introduced R0ml to Henrique in the Expo Hall later. I also went back to the Perl booth where Michael of Food Not Bombs was hanging out. Mention of FNB brought up an interesting opportunity to compare notes, as the Perl guys were from Orlando.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rainbow Gathering (musings)

:: bioneering project by jim murosako ::

I didn't go to this Gathering, but many FnBers did, and I'm pumping them for information. Satya's group walked the whole way there. The aftermath, involving cleanup, is a kind of Part 2. I got reports about the trash, the detritus, from that many people camped in the forest for that long. The reports make it sound a lot like the Gathering of Western Young Friends but on a much larger scale.

Expanding FnB as a way of training cooks, improving coordination and logistics, using food about to go to waste anyway, seems like a good idea. I'm surprised how below the radar it stays, given so many chapters.

I wonder about this Quaker network of safe houses or whatever it is. LW and my friend, another chef, are thinking about scoping out more of Yamhill county. I sent an email ahead, to one of the property owners. There's no substitute for reality. Dreams without substance accrue no inertia.

I was thinking back to my research into Unicode and OLPC today. Sinhalese and Tamil were on my screen at CubeSpace, seems a long time ago by now. I alluded to that chapter in my recent post to edu-sig. The entire thread is interesting I think, relates to diversity (I have related threads going on both Diversity and PSF-members).

Should Global U students travel more? Many of the more conscious and aware types, such as those in my current household, think a lot about peak oil. We mostly walk, bike, take the bus, though I gladly do chauffeur duty (company car) for the 82 year old.

Adding more electronics and doing more virtual meetups still seems like a realistic way to go. But again, there's no substitute for reality. Sometimes one really needs to go to a place, to broaden one's perspective.

We should probably run these conveyor belts faster, get more turnover going. But that takes software. I've imagined CSN as a supportive business, but one can't live on coffee shop fare, if that means your standard airport concourse coffee shop (which CSN shops are not -- some may require membership).

One needs to have substantive protein. Lyrik does a lot of its own baking. Jody may have known about Calibri's operation but I was too new to CSA (community supported agriculture) to grok the background story.

The idea of a disaster relief corps is already well established with AFSC. Of course the vast majority aren't Friends, but you may still find a lot of your own plans and dreams mirrored, just in a different namespace. Happens all the time.

Should we take applications? Who else wants to join our Global U project? Metaphorically, it's what we're already involved in (Global U = Spaceship Earth), but on the ground you have all kinds of resource and personnel allocation strategies. LW used to read resumes a lot, back in Savannah. She might help select her own replacement for when the time comes to change the scenery (scene), not saying I'm bound here either (turnover is a fact of life).

Alex, newly a US citizen, said photography and cinematography were discouraged at the Gathering, so I may not find as much on Flickr as I'd hoped. Burning Man, in contrast, is well covered by photography.

As I was mentioning tonight, if the goal is community, then your designers need to know right away if you're accommodating the very young (newborns) and the elderly. There's a tendency among the young to think in terms of their generation as the anchor. However, many of these communities would likely happen more quickly if the seniors saw them as a solution as well. Segregation by age has its consequences.

Lots of anthropology branches off from these rather scattered remarks.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Checking In

Once again from your business crew, some Bizmotica...

Quakers convene for business yearly, in what's called Annual Session, to have these plenary sessions. There's an esoteric inner faction among Friends that's saying plenary, rhyming with canary, which of course is the wrong emphasis. Fabik and Scholl went at it, first Lew with the Droid, then Dave with the iPhone, to find other rhymers, such as Harry.

Good segue: in some Xtian sects, that Harry Potter stuff is too distracting or "of the devil" or whatever, to be permitted a core focus of any official religious event. Not so at Annual Session this year. Joe Snyder took a posse of some 39 ticket holders to opening night of Part 2 of the latest, with the whole group watching Part 1 in the lounge at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU), where we stayed (wandering gypsies that we be).

Another highlight for me was watching that satirical look at the emerging Facebook culture through the eyes of South Park Studios. We watched on his iPhone. Google+ has just launched, around the time of this writing, so throwing people into circles (e.g. "to the lions") has become a big part of the buzz.

The PSF snake, Ms. Naga, was a stowaway with the 3.1 computer speakers (with woofer). She's the stuffed totem we cart around as another "cult symbol" (hacker speak) in Python World. In the comix, she's a good natured, adventuresome type.

During Quaker Fair, when organizations paraded their stuff, like so many stationary floats, the anti cruelty to animals guy discovered he'd forgotten the power cable for his speakers. I was sitting right there, doing my day job teaching Python over wifi, and quickly volunteered that I had some back in the room. Timothy Travis returned me by golf cart, forthwith.

Of course Naga came along in the bag and curled up at the exhibit, where the movie kept playing. I got the soundtrack over and over as I continued my grading, hearing about the terrible things humans do to other animals. This was a good position for a Quaker animist to take, and another score for FnB style cooking.

The two booths I spent most of my time at during this Fair: AFSC and Western Friend. Susan was showing some poster art reminiscent of Shepard Fairey's, prompting a quick visit to the Obey Giant website. Hyzy, WF editor in chief, was like Lucy in her booth in Peanuts. Thinking of Linus, I remembered my security blanket (blue).

I've also been reading and writing about Wittgensteinian philo, chatting with Nick, DK, wondering about my peeps, so spread out and around.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Diversity / Python Nation

Excerpt from one of my posts from earlier today (I added some hyperlinks for the blogged edition):
A lot of people go by "hurt feelings" as their guide and naturally aim for
a world, by whatever means necessary, wherein their feelings are
better protected. A kind of truce is trucked out: "I promise to not
hurt your feelings if you promise not to hurt mine". Those who apparently
continue to hurt others feelings are in abrogation of this truce and are
worthy of punishment to make them stop.

There's an imperiousness to this however, in that you will look for
and expect people to automatically change their behavior when
they see you're offended. The missionary shows up and is offended
that people are not covered up, not modest, in the way God ordains.
Will there be consequences if the locals refuse to modify their
dress codes? What if they continue to school their young in how
to use various weapons? Does it hurt your feelings that they won't
accept the new edicts (e.g. the so-called "Bremer Edicts" in Iraq --
which hardly anyone remembers anymore).

What offends people *a lot* is when they are not *obeyed*. They
may feel deeply hurt, quivering lip and everything, because the
servant says "no, I must take care of my sick child".

The flip side of "you must not hurt my feelings" is "you must obey
my will, within reason" (but who defines "reason"?).

So, yeah, I'm very suspicious of ethnicities that use "hurt feelings"
as a guide. Americans do this a lot, but they inherit so much from
those Anglo-Euros when it comes to an imperial mindset. Not a
good guide for the future. Behind those "hurt feelings" is a
hypocritical willingness to use force. They whine they're not
getting enough health care, but are in no hurry to stop manufacturing
drones and cruise missiles, and using those on others, because
that means jobs jobs jobs. I wonder how we might use Python to
further reduce the influence of such people.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

A Senior's Musings

:: bioneering project by jim murosako ::

I heard from Nick this morning. Looks like he'll be getting that apartment in Hillsboro. He's been in Eugene.

Today was the Blue House's turn at bat with FNB, as usual. People were trickling back from the Rainbow Gathering. I got my first reports.

The phrase "check your privilege" was a theme today. I did some cross-fertilizing, in typical Wanderers fashion. Mandelbrot:
“Science would be ruined if it were to withdraw entirely into narrowly defined specialties. The rare scholars who are wanderers-by-choice are essential to the intellectual welfare of the settled disciplines.”
After the call from Nick, I did my 14 mile loop on EmoKid, the refurbished bike, successor to TinkerBell.

I'm officially a senior now, after last night. The guy at Burgerville gave me a Senior Coffee. I drank three cups, a kind of baptism.

As I was mentioning to Lindsey, in recounting this story in the meetinghouse kitchen, I take "senior" in that schoolish sense also, in the sense of "senior privilege". I get lots of power and control in this chapter. Other connotations might be held at bay for a bit, while I manage these institutions.

Could I be CMO from Coffee Shops Network, and still be CTO for a government agency at the same time? It's a theoretical question, but as the former offers an open source business plan to funnel money to worthy causes, it's already doing more than many government agencies, not to mention NGOs (a self serving suggestion).

So in my own mind at least, the answer is yes. One should have a minimum of two work identities. We want more than one job, for their synergetic potential.

I was amused by Glenn's stories of the BBC helping to shed more light on this Scientology business. That was never my camp, though I've done some ethnography. At least one of their security chiefs has defected, and that makes it easier to expose some of the inner workings.