Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

The Keys to Sputnik

This has been, emotionally, a very complex weekend for me, giving me a lot to think about. I'm not done thinking yet, but I'm starting to come to some conclusions.. or at least inclinations.


On Wikipedia, I find myself very upset at Jimbo's "campaigning for people" on the foundation list. I'm unhappy because his position on the project is special, and it feels inappropriate to me for him to speak on the matter. I suppose that's not really fair to him though -- it is a shame when one is in a position where one is expected not to speak on matters important to one, and one feels one has something to say. I don't have a resolution for my feeling that it's inappropriate and my feeling that he should be able to express his opinions like anyone else. I'm still upset anyhow. I have opinions on most of the people running, including of course myself, but I don't feel comfortable sharing them partly because I may eventually find myself needing to work with those people, and partly because I know my feelings on some of them would upset them, and they don't need that.


  • I regret that I won't have be able to go to Gothcoming 2006 in Columbus. I'll do my best to make my way out there for Halloween though.
  • The Allegheny county airport is closer to Pittsburgh (10 miles from downtown) than the Pittsburgh airport (16 miles). I learned that I can apparently not book a flight from one airport to the other. Darn. :)
  • Lemmings in DHTML. I am impressed.
  • The joys of politics... This is a textbook case, in my book, where overriding democracy/giving weight to the interests of some groups is much more important than giving everyone a voice.
  • The BBC has a weekly news quiz. That's kind of cool, although some of the headlines it focuses on are not that important. I think it's pretty cool that ultra-skinny models are banned from the beauty show -- it represents, I hope, a move towards a more healthy notion of beauty. This should not, I stress, be one of those "fat is good" things.
  • Something is seriously messed up with my keyboard, or possibly the gtk widgets that handle keyboard input. I'm getting missed keyboard events regularly, wireless and with wires, typing takes longer to show up than it should, and typing in text fields in firefox is now slow. I wonder what the source of the problems is.. if it's hardware or software.
Larry Sanger, unrelated to the Digital Universe project (which I think is ill-concieved) is starting another project that aims to fork Wikipedia. His fork will be called Citizendium. It suffers from an even worse web name than Wikipedia (which at least, when people understand the pronunciation, will find it unique and easy to spell). He has some interesting ideas this time -- I may, depending on how things work out and the direction their project goes, and depending on if I join the Wikimedia board, involve myself with Citizendium as well - I'm interested to see how different ways of doing things will result in different results. Having too passionate involvement in any particular way of doing things often leads to stagnation -- being involved with both Wikipedia and Citizendium sounds like a good idea to improve both communities with cross-pollenation of ideas, provided it would be mutually acceptable to both groups (and, of course, provided I were not elected to the Wikimedia board, where it would lead to a clear conflict of interest, plus, of course, lead to my likely not having time to do Citizendium). Why this form and not another? Unlike most other forks, this has a decent chance of surviving, at least for a time. Unlike the few other long-surviving forks, like Encyclopedia Libre, I can actually understand the language and am theoretically qualified. If loyalty is demanded by either camp, I'll go with Wikipedia because I've been with it longer and I have more faith in it than Citizendium, but I would hope there would be no demands of this sort.

I tried going to a concert held in Second Life for a musician I like, Jonathan Coulton this last Thursday (I think). It was the first time I logged into Second Life in several months -- things are, predictably, much larger. As for the concert, it turns out that, like in real concerts, they had opening acts (which in real life are generally tolerable at best, usually mildly bad, and only sometimes amazingly good). The opening musicians for Coulton were really, really bad -- so bad that I decided to leave. After wandering around for awhile, I found my way into Burning Life, an area that has the theme of the Burning Man festival. Most of the exhibits were very well done - in one of them, someone was showing off the playing of movies (as in real movies one can buy on a DVD) on screens bigger than a single object, and in another few, people had stitched together many large screens to make omnitheatre-like displays of various scenes. There were a number of other cool exhibits -- I admire the creativity people can use in doing things in the Second Life environment. I enjoyed programming objects in their scripting language when I was active in the community. A few more pictures here.


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