Archive for May, 2008
I’m going to start a series of articles (and references) on how our governments are watching us.
I’ll start with China, which is of course very much in the news right now for repressive measures it takes against its citizens. Many of you will know already that China monitors and censors Internet (particularly web) users, but may not be aware how widely it monitors its citizens.
This article China’s All-Seeing Eye by Naomi Klein in Rolling Stone, should get you started. Her subtitle is With the help of U.S. defense contractors, China is building the prototype for a high-tech police state. It is ready for export.
China is notable because what we in the U.S. might regard as fundamental freedoms, like the right to free speech and dissent, seem to be viewed as hindrances to social and economic development.
Ubuntu is an always-free desktop (and server, if you wish) operating system. It has all of the comforts of home. I’ve been running Linux for many years, but mostly in its server-flavor, not desktop. Over a year ago I was playing with Debian Linux and for reasons I don’t recall I decided to load up Ubuntu. It is really a great little system! Why should anyone care about Ubuntu? Well there are many reasons that it’s good to have alternatives – and free ones at that – to the big operating systems. For one, these systems are free. For another, they are for the most part open source, which means that anybody can modify or add to them. [See video of Richard Stallman talking about free software at AirJaldi 2006]
The most impressive thing about it is that it can coexist with Windows XP on the same computer. I found out about this entirely by accident.
For the most part this was a great and very positive experience. Details follow… (continue reading…)
In an article on MountEverest.net (“by climbers”), you can read about George Patterson, who rode in the Himalayas in 1949, and met the Dalai Lama, and continues at age 90 to be a prominent Tibet supporter.
Rather than try to excerpt here, I will simply direct you to the original article. He rode across the Himalayas in the winter of 1949: George Patterson’s final contribution to the people of Tibet. This is an extensive and interesting article. Read it!
danah boyd explores the question does work/life balance exist? in a recent Apophenia blog post. (I’ve entitled this article “*/* balance” because “*” [pronounced "star"] in programming terms means “fill-in-whatever-you-want,” so “star/star” balance might stand for work:life balance, or work:fun balance or work:family or whatever your particular thing is. Her blog post was triggered by this New York Times article In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop. You might also call the article, as they suggest, Death by Blogging.
I have always contended that my method in life was to avoid “work” in favor of something that I enjoy doing. And for me, enjoying means not only that I’m happy, but that I make some sizeable contribution to the welfare of humanity at the same time. So when I label something work, I am referring to something that I really don’t want to do, but have to do for some reason.
And people have always said to me “you’re always working.” But, I actually don’t do very much that I’d classify as work by my definition. I’m fanatically dedicated to what I do, but it’s more often not really work.
So let me say more about balance… (continue reading…)