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Tuesday, December 31, 2002
Living In the machine age

I had some thoughts about the Napsters and what not. With the demise of Napster and AudioGalaxy and the stone weight label of thieves hung about the neck of Kazaa. And with universities and corporations being bullied into chasing file-sharing off their networks. It's hard to see who currently has the upper hand or moral high ground in the Mp3 and Ogg Vorbis versus the recording industry wars (choose your poison - Apple's iTunes now supports Vorbis). So I decided to sit down and try to organize my thoughts and feelings on the subject. This piece is what I came up with.

[note: after I wrote most of this, I read a article that Tim O'Reilly, (the O'Reilly in O'Reilly books) wrote for his site, giving his views as a publisher on openness of distribution and use which I thought very illuminating on the subject So I thought I'd give a shout out to it here.]
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Monday, December 30, 2002

Funeral for punk hero Strummer. A private funeral for Clash star Joe Strummer, who died earlier this month aged 50, takes place in west London. [BBC News | Front Page | UK Edition].

Its been a week now since Joe Strummer died. I've been looking for some time to get out my Clash records and listen through them, and also for some time to put away my Clash records and think about the man, the rude boy, rock star, balladeer of 70's anglia, mesqualito, everything he was. Fame means you get to mean something to many many people. Of course you will mean something somewhat different to each one of them, rarely more than a thin slice of yourself. The depth of your art - your talent will affect how much you mean and how much of your being is in it. The Clash, Joe Strummer in particular, meant a great deal to me. It could be, probably is, a case of a closely tuned string vibrating to a overarching harmonic. But it was in Joe's garage and on Joe's guitar that that string was plucked picking out guitars in many hands across England, the US, and elsewhere and turning them into bullshit detectors. A writers or singers words will echo back to them. Some will consider the line from Bankrobbers: someday you'll meet your rocking chair because that is where we're headed, what's the use to comb your hair when its grey and thinning as a sign that Joe Strummer subscribed to the live fast die young school of thought. The message was to live fully. To get into the moment with your feet on the ground and all the strength of your mind, your fingers, and your back while you can and to never let someone convince you to do otherwise, or trade lies for truth. His writing always showed his awareness of a larger world and a larger awareness of that world, which struck against the Orwellian citizenship favored by the modern corporate state. With songs like straight to hell, he showed that a true worldview was not the same thing a globalism. When my friend Robert lent me the Mesqualitos album last year I knew as I listened that he hadn't forgotten or forgotten how to tell it since the days of the Clash. To die at 50 is too young, at least for me he will be missed.

Does the eagle know what is in the pit or wilt thou go ask the mole? Can wisdom be put in a silver rod or love in a golden bowl? -- William Blake Book of Thel
I don't want to know what the rich are doing. I don't want to go to where the rich are going - they think they're so clever - they think they're so right, but the truth is only known by guttersnipes -- Joe Strummer Garageland -- the Clash 1977

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An article in the New York Times on 3D photography caught my eye the other day. I've always liked 3D photography, would always stop and attempt to view any 3D photographs I came across. In the Navy I was an aerial photo interpreter and got to work with stereo images. I came to understand the power of the 3D image working that job. A flat photo will catch a great many details which your eye will process quickly to present your brain with a unified image of the scene - the big picture. A stereo picture puts you in the presence of all those details to consider their size shapes and textures separately. The Navy stuff involved an RA5c Vigilante and good behavior from the 18" pan camera to work right. A pricey approach, but before eBay that market aggregator of junk to junk-buyers it was hard to find equipment from previous eras of 3D enthusiasm.

A year later my friend, George Springston, sent me a pack of photos (buildings and parking lots around the Clemson campus - I still have them) taken using a procedure he learned in a geography class. Using two short lengths of 2x4 and1x4 mounted at a right angle and given a threaded collar so it could be mounted to an ordinary tripod. He had a rig that would take passable stereo images with a single 35mm. He used a shutter trip and would take an exposure then slide the camera down the board to an indices 2.5 inches away and take another. Not great for sporting events or children but fine for landscapes. I took a number of pictures using that method myself throwing in the added measure of increased separation. The parallax that produces the stereo effect is minimal after about 100 ft, so to get strong stereo imagery in landscapes it's often advisable to increase the stereo separation. I found a simple formula in one of my Navy manuals for this. The general idea is 2.5" (normal separation) is to your desired apparent subject distance as the needed base separation is to the real subject distance. The only trick is to keep the axis of the camera parallel between shots.

A stereo camera would make things a lot easier, and if rain drops were gumdrops there would be a range of them on the market. At least this way - the poor mans stereo-cam - a 3D pict is never out of your reach given a little forethought and finesse.
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Who Owns the Internet? You and i Do. Joseph Turow has begun a crusade to de-capitalize the word Internet and, by extension, to acknowledge a deep shift in the way that we think about the online world. By John Schwartz. [New York Times: Technology] Good to see that somebody still thinks along these lines.
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Tuesday, December 24, 2002
Two Towers

I saw Peter Jackson's the Two Towers over the weekend. I enjoyed it, I think all the more because until recently I had never read the books. I had read the hobbit back when I was in fifth grade, so I knew about Hobbitses and such. I did not know so much that I felt a pressing need to take great exception with anything Peter Jackson had done with Tolkein's story. Movies are movies, it's what they do. Either the camera or something the camera see's needs to be moving. Somebody or some thing has to be doing something. Film extracts action from a narrative, the over-arching rule of the filmaker is show, don't tell . Anything the audience needs to know must be recast into a language of visual symbols.

Tolkein's models were the Norse Eddas and Germanic legends, and the scholarship of studying them. All lists, extrapolation and exposition, and a vaguely third person cast to any actual event related. Tolkein's stylistic point of reference was born of this. In the film the story had to be in front of you, happening. Jackson also had the task of trying to make three movies of roughly equal length. This would require that he alter the pacing of the narrative in the final section - slowing it down in fact for the final section where generally stories begin to accelerate their narrative. Alternately he could depart from the scene blocking of the print volumes. Clearly much of the fun of there being a movie is considering the decisions made in bringing it to light.

Having read all but the last book now, I also am intrigued by the incredible comprehensiveness of Tolkein's mythopoetic creation. The creation of a world, its people and its story. Those educated and working in the twentieth century were modernists. Their work, whether in reaction or addition, part of the dialogue of modernism largely the world view and understanding of the self belonging to the technologically oriented west. Some of the things I've read on this theme recently such as David Brin's Article in Salon strike me as being somewhat off the mark, trying to pin Tolkein down to a simple dichotomy of perferring a romantic vision of kings and wizards; fonts of divine or natural goodness vs the political, manufactured realm of power relations. I find myself thing more in terms of what Benjamin Barbour or others might say about what stories like this say about how we want to live in a world that technology can't be removed from.

I think I'll finish reading it first, before I try to force any conclusions
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Monday, December 23, 2002
The Pearly King is everything.

I want to spend a moment reflecting on the person of the Pearly King. The Pearly King is the nickname for the stage persona Henry Croft who appeared in this years Christmas Revels, Washington DC edition. For those who do not know what the Christmas Revels are - there is little I can say here and now that would help. What sum I know indicates to me that it is some type of theater meme that has propagated from New England, I believe (Boston most likely), out across the land. I saw the production at the Lisner auditorium last weekend for the first time. It is my sister's thing to go to this, and has been for years. It was pretty much everything I understood it to be: An evening of earnest, well rehearsed, studied nonsense of the singing dancing revue variety. Designed to place one in a suitable mood of holiday cheer, irrevocable for the duration of the season.

The next day I found myself back at the theater as the brief run closed, at the children's cast party. Piccadilly Pipsqueeks by name, of which my niece Nicole was one. The passion of the mother has passed on to the daughter. Further, those boards nailed end on end are walked on by the dawning generation. Now this is where Henry - the Pearly King makes his true appearance realized by James Houton. Mr. Houton arrives down in the lower lobby of the Lisner where the children's party is underway to put in a brief appearance and grab some food. He immediately finds himself surrounded by a cloud of 9 and 10 year olds. The concept of a pearly king resonates strongly with this crowd. The real Henry Croft was a costermonger and amateur philanthropist in London of the 1880's (a story of sorts underlay this production).

The wee folk take his pearly hat, they took briefly his pearly jacket, and then they chased him and were chased by him running around room with it, playing keep away. They pummeled him and poked him and they make him sign all their shirts. And yet James stayed. He stayed on suffering through several rounds of this abuse. The teenagers of the production showed up after a while and stood in the back in a group, James behind them, as the children sat in a circle to receive their presents and keepsakes from the director and handlers. Watching the teens I understood something. They themselves had sat in that same circle of flush bright-eyed intensity only some few years before. I have mistakenly held the belief that a cast party was like any other party; simply words to lie on a page or spoken to fly through the air. I never understood the power of the thing. The sense of accomplishment and belonging, of community and creation. I understood that the relatively small group of Pipsqueeks represented the heart of this production in many ways. The special hold of the theater is being inoculated in them for some to take lasting root. A sense of possible ways of being awakened. James, late the Lord of Misrule to a London borough built on the stage of the Lisner stayed through to the end as the little troupe was fetted and celebrated, then retrieved his pearly hat and handed back all glitter-markers and vanished up the staircase into the December night.
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Friday, December 20, 2002

0921 on the 20th of December. Raining. at least the shuttle buses are still running. All I'm attempting to determine here is whether I can get this to ftp to a sub-folder on my WAM site, Ie whether I can get an auto ftp process to drill through the layers to the folder I've given it or whether Maryland server will go to its apparent default folder home " not see the correct path and not do anything "550 file not found" or something of the like
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11:59 pm I think I may have this thing figured out. I thought radio Userland was supposed to be simple, but I underestimated my ability to complicate anything.
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Thursday, December 19, 2002

What? What is this thing trying to tell me
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At home in the woods
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2006 Paul Bushmiller.
Last update: 10/22/06; 11:50:48 PM.