September 16, 2006

Hook Esther Up with Mike and Maybe Good Can Happen

South African poet pictureman blogger, Mike Golby responds to Esther's post about broadband in South Africa. Esther is on the President’s International Advisory Council (PIAC) on the Information Society, which recently met in Johannesburg, where she also attended the tenth birthday meeting of its ISP association, ISPA, in Johannesburg. I am sure Esther herself would tell you that the view from the Johannesburg Park Hyatt is different from what the majority of citizens experience. Mike has offered to show her around next time--I hope she takes him up on it. Mike Golby and Esther Dyson--now THAT would be a summit I'd like to see. Talk about some shit getting done!

In his post, Mike explores some of the intricacies of life in South Africa -- beyond availability -- that make broadband Internet use impractical still for most South Africans. Intricacies that are so wound up in the social fabric and culture that the promise of broadband Internet must almost deliver itself ahead of time for that promise to be realized. Eh? Eh.


Mike looks at some of the larger issues:

Lack of affordable service:

"Anything's arguable, but the truth is generally found elsewhere. I shared broadband with my son ten years ago, using a home network. It made it affordable. When he moved out a few years ago, I went back to dial-up and stayed a hole-in-the-wall blogger until about two months ago. Why? Because the Web's a priority for me and prices have come down on ADSL (we're still the most expensive worldwide — a home Internet account is typically 192K and 1GB boosters on a 3GB cap cost $17 — a fair whack for people earning around $1500 monthly — about 10 percent of one's salary)."

Not likely to get cheaper:

"The Second National Operator? Esther says it; "...another giant, state-connected entity." Just like the Democrats. Deference might be accorded competition initially, but once the advertising brouhaha's died down, it'll be back to cartels as usual. Telkom's not dumb. They own the lot and when you're in a position to create your competition in your image (and take a 50 percent share in it), you do so."

Why Bother:

"...the Internet/Web (broadband or dial-up) — which offers the most promise — is not a priority. Why? Because we just don't get it — in every sense. Just as Esther quotes Goldstuck articulating the short-sighted marketing policies of the stink-rich few, few southern Africans have access to the Web and fewer use it as they could and should.

"Again Esther says it: '...there are about a million dial-up accounts and about 280,000 broadband accounts, some of them residential.' You probably have more people on the Web in Atlanta, Georgia than we do in the whole of Africa. As for those that do use it..."

And that's just the white folks!!! What about everyone else?

Can't Protect It

"The majority of South in tough areas. Where would they keep computers? Seriously, it's a practical problem. The average person, who wouldn't have a clue what to do with a PC, wouldn't keep it longer than a day before being shot for it. School laboratories are being set up by the Shuttleworth Foundation et al, but they're heavily secured and are located in wealthier areas or universities — where the electric fences are.

"A lack of domestic money — the private sector has lots, concentrated in the hands of very few — crime, and other priorities make computing impractical. Wi-fi is not for the poorer areas — cell phone masts are cheaper to replace."

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what past

would you mind if we talked about the past, you said,
what past i ask,
how far past is this past
for me right here and now,
my past is never, so
what past do you mean I ask?
you say which past do you want?
i want to say:

cracked skies and thunder rage
unaware, unthere, how deep is a need
when a child rips apart her fingers
to remember she's alive and peels
skin off the bottoms of her feet,
shame when she walks.

that past? is this the one?
or the back porch where they slept us
he snuck into sacred folds exposing
my heart, he might as well have, might as well
have slit my tongue, forked, as he skewered me
'never tell.' That past?

Or the other past? The absence of
strong arms to bathe me in safe
smells of tobacco and bar soap,
perfect rings of smoke, magic,
carry all i remember of him
inhale, just, jesus how much is to ask
to have one hand back, a forearm to rub
against, trace his hairs.

what I have lost
what's not there
the screaming of the missing
never quiet, my ears,
fingers still tingle as
skin unravels,
if i could dig in the dirt
claw my way there
dig him up,
that would be something.

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every day i
i   and and and
i more and more

i - practice losing
until i have it right,
you are dying in my ear,
dying behind my eyelids
where you still have skin
i can touch,
can't see you
to be with you
would be holding on
not letting ,
i have to
i and and and
hypnotize me
it feels just like love
who would know
oh. your.
i can't bear your .
please don't you
rake me raw
jesus if i could give you
safe harbor
i forgive you
i would
walk the sunset back to morning
for a fix, to
i can't .

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September 15, 2006

dole drums

the reign of shame falls mainly on my pain.


windy sculley
John Sculley
Originally uploaded by Esthr.

The White Male Future of Web Apps

ABOVE: Mike Arrington Sings
"You Fill Up My Senses"
Through His Nose

Kudos to Chris Messina for takng the time to address diversity vs. USian white male privilege rampant in the conference and tech scene. He looks at it from the scene of the crime and the seat of his pants. Tha's cool wit me.

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Stowe, Ross...

I hope you are as proud as I am.

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"It's like riding a bicycle..."

Oh, you mean scary as hell?

Because I bought a bike yesterday and took my first real ride this morning, and let me tell you that I was scared out of my ever-loving mind. Something about SPEED I forgot entirely, something about balance that makes no sense on two wheels, something about pot holes and not remembering how to go AROUND them. Steering--when did I unlearn that? Something about the fear of falling and breaking pretty much everything--where was that fear when I was a kid?

What is it that awakens our bones to danger in our 40s that was completely dormant while we were young? I used to fall off my horse all. the. time. The answer was simple--don't learn to ride better, just get back on. Permission to fall was the default. Permission to speed. Permission to surpass the bounds of that which might injure or maim. Back in the day when I rode bikes and horses and played driveway hockey without thinking of protecting teeth, head, or spine, my  body was my ally. When did it become my opposition?

Honestly, peddling this bike thing felt like nothing I'd ever done before. How can 30 years off a bike make that much of a difference? But I finally got the smart idea about how to get used to two wheels again in a relatively safe way, considering our hilly terrain. I walked the bike up the hill to our cul-de-sac (Culture Sack as Jenna calls it--great band name), and I rode around and around and around and around.

I went 20 laps one way and 20 the other, and then carefully applied breaks all the way back down the hill to our driveway. And just for a split second, when I let the brakes go, and my hair blew back, I remembered what it was like to fly without four wheels and an engine, remembered earning speed.

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Wireless hotspots at 150 airports

A helpful list that gives wireless hotspot locations at major airports from ATL to VIS and beyond.

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September 14, 2006

If you do nothing else tonight...

please o please tune in to valleywag's semi-live OMGLIVEBLOG Listening to Matt at The Womanless Future of Web Apps (oh is there an extra word in there?) Conference rundown because it is OMG so funny.


Wag: not that i should talk, but when pubsub happened was arrington even around?
Matt: browzar is malware
Matt: squidoo!
Matt: I wonder if I can stream audio to you
Wag: please don't
Matt: heh

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September 13, 2006

sleep acnea

so i'm laying here doing my favorite thing since the invention of the laptop--in the king-size bed, head on a billow, laptop stretched out in front of me, eyes closed, and I write.

I write about what we are missing here now, the punditization of the web, the loss of the amateur joy, or the replacement of lovingly-glitchy interactions with polished conversation that leaves me wanting.

A week ago, I got called some names by the office 2.0 conference organizer via email - uncivil being one of the names, and violent being the other. Of course people who I LIKE actually would say to me: You are an uncivilized freak, AND you're violent. Because I could say, No I'm Not, and then pass gas and kick their shins to prove them wrong.

The kind of people I DO NOT like, say it in a different way; they reference you in comparison with their high standards: They say, I prefer to have civil exchanges, not ones marred by violence.

Violence? NOTE TO ALL WHO THINK WE MATTER: THESE ARE PIXELS ON A SCREEN. If you want to see violence, we're going to have to get a little bit closer. Sound good little red riding hood?

It's the punditization and the punkization of the net. How many times I have felt like letting some ageism rip: SHUT UP YOU PUNK. But that's not so nice to do. Not Civilized. Remember, being civilized is what differentiates us from the homeless and third-world nations. What kind of bullshit is this 'civilized' mantra?

Okay, so here's a big loud I DON'T LIKE YOU one more time for the Office 2.0 conference organizers. Enjoy the show, everyone else, but I'll be hanging out my less than civil self, picking my cuticles and deciding if that really is Tommy Lee's pubic hair or not.

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head down, hands on keys.

working ass off.


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Dave Pollard has an amazing post on meaning, knowledge, hierarchies and understanding. It would take me more than my late-night 20 second attention span to do it justice, but allow me to point out a key graphic and some quotes that put it in context:
Most other languages use the term comprehend (=grasp) instead, though most have a second word equivalent to the French entendre (=stretch toward) to convey a nuance of the learning process that English seems to ignore. The 'understanding' process in other languages, then, is not just a means for passing on instructions, but rather a means of coming together, a meeting of minds, for no necessary purpose than the sheer joy of communicating, sharing thoughts powerfully and effectively. It was of course an anglophone, GB Shaw, who said "The biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred". To us anglophones, I guess, the only way we know if our communication was 'understood' is if it was effectively conveyed on and carried out by our subordinates. No wonder there's no precise English translation for joie de vivre!

So how do we 'understand'? By what process do we 'grasp' and 'stretch toward' each other to gain meaning and value from the information we convey? And what tools and devices can we employ to do so more effectively?

To answer these questions I went through a cross section of my library, and websites about learning, comprehension and communication, and compiled the following table of processes, results of those processes, and supporting tools that can be used to enhance understanding.

The table that follows, at a 30,000-foot level, is green, yellow and blue.

Now, don't get me wrong, this post is worth the time it takes to wade into it with a good dingy at the ready. But I've spent the greater part of my life editing, which includes cutting copy when extra words make extra work for the reader. With those skills in hand, I have taken the liberty of editing Dave's post down to some key takeaways:

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September 12, 2006

Not to Beat a Dead Whores, But...

Wow! There's one whole woman on Edelman's new PR portal/gatweay/blogfront/thingamabob! What, is there like 17 guys? Given the number of women in PR, that's just SUPER!

(cheek. tongue. no relation to post below.)

The end.

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Modest by Today's Standards (And Tommy's)

Upon further review, and not that this marks the first time these words were uttered in public, but is that not Tommy Lee's pubic hair?

I mean, I don't go around looking for these things; sometimes they present themselves.

The nearly full monty in motion here:

You tell me. TPH? or no TPH?

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Not Just Tech

Good stuff from Sya on Blog Sisters:

Lately, I've been following an interesting conversation over at ScienceBlogs. In The Pipeline Problem, Chad Orzel, a college physics professor, argues that the lack of women in the sciences is not his fault. Sure, there are sexist pigs in every field, but he implies that the problem lies primarily in the grade school years where girls are discouraged from going into the sciences by disinterested teachers and peer pressure. Suzanne Franks posts a rebuttal: one cannot pin all the blame on elementary and high schools. Even university professors must shoulder some of the responsibility--their lectures may be turning young women off or their faculty ratio may not be so great. More subtly, they may not even realize that they've only invited male speakers to a seminar or show only pictures of guys on their recruiting website.

Sometimes we can make it perfectly obvious that this is exactly what they're doing.

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Amanda Congdon on Chick Advisor

Who's the vid-chick with the mostest? We know you know the answer, Frank. Put your hand down. (that was your hand, right?)

In today's post about ChickAdvisor (whom I'm advising), Amanda wonders aloud what cafes and dentists have in common when it comes to reviews by women on the new social shopping site out of Toronto. If only she were sharing this with us on video, because I can only imagine what she might be chewing on and drilling simultaneously while asking "wtf?" about dentists:

Chickadvisor is very new, very cute site that reviews women-esque things like handbags and makeup but also goes as far as cafes and dentists (wtf?). Right now, they only cover Toronto... but promise to cover more cities soon. What I like most about the site is the bloggy-ness of the reviews, the woman-to-woman advice factor and the variety of topics.

Amanda, you have to check out my childhood encounter with Dr. Sadist to see why this matters. Repeat after me: "I will NEVER go to a sadistic dentist. I will NEVER go to a sadistic dentist."

<find happy place, find happy place, find happy place>:

i'm sure you're busy bothering unbaptized babies right now, but if not i wanted you to hear some things i didn't get to tell you as a kid. 1) about your big black bulbbed mallet--that wasn't okay hitting me on the head with it every time. 2) it wasn't okay that when Novocain came along you never bothered to use it on us because we were your special circumstance. 3) it was really not okay that you told me all those years that if it hurt, all i had to do was tell you and you would stop, and i sucked it up and got through every filling without any meds plus your pulling my two baby teeth, and the one fucking time it hurt too bad for me to stand I said Stop and you didn't.

You didn't stop you bastard. And i said it again and wriggled and cried, please stop, and you waited until you were done. then you pretended you didn't understand. that made you a piece of shit in my book. you hurt me bad that time. all the other times were only sort of bad.

So for not-so-girly-girl that I am (makeup: only in winter; handbags: often; shoes: how comfy?; business casual: sweats), the ability to review and share and rate and fav health-related services, like local doctors and dentists, and anything else that matters to women (think childcare providers and extended care facilities!) is a major turn on. AND HIGHLY recommended by my therapist after hearing my childhood denthell stories.

Oooo, cool, I should go review my therapist!

(See Also: Nick Gonzalez: Chicks Advised to Start Own Product Review Sites)

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September 11, 2006

It's not every day I talk about digestive disorders. Well, not every minute of every day anyway.

Apparently I didn't make myself clear about needing donations to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation for my nephew's walk in about a week. They only need $88 to meet their family goal. Give if you can. Thank you.

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September 10, 2006


in every single way - christina aguilera

by Linda Perry

Every day is so wonderful
Then suddenly, it's hard to breathe
Now and then, I get insecure
From all the pain, I'm so ashamed

I am beautiful no matter what they say
Words can't bring me down
I am beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can't bring me down
So don't you bring me down today

To all your friends, you're delirious
So consumed in all your doom
Trying hard to fill the emptiness
The pieces gone, left the puzzle undone
Is that the way it is

You are beautiful no matter what they say
Words can't bring you down
You are beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can't bring you down
Don't you bring me down today...

No matter what we do
(no matter what we do)
No matter what we say
(no matter what we say)
We're the song inside the tune
Full of beautiful mistakes

And everywhere we go
(everywhere we go)
The sun will always shine
(sun will always shine)
And tomorrow we might wake on the other side
All the other times

We are beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can't bring us down
We are beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can't bring us down
Don't you bring me down today

Don't you bring me down today
Don't you bring me down today

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Clap your hands now

The Funky Meters

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Chick Corea


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dixie chicks

Not Ready to Make Nice.

I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should

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Walking to Cure Crohn's and Colitis

My brother and his family are walking to raise money for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. As you may remember, I wrote that my nephew was diagnosed with Crohn's earlier this year. As you also know--if you know anyone with Crohn's--it is a difficult and painful disease. My nephew has been quite ill. There are medicines that help ease some of the symptoms, but as of yet, no cure. So they walk.

Their family goal is to raise $500. They are up to $120. I would appreciate your help in blowing past their goal.

CCFA Facts...

CCFA was founded in 1967:

Today Crohn’s and colitis affect more than a million Americans.

Approximately 30,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.

Each year, more than 100,000 children suffer from inflammatory bowel disease.

Dollars raised will go toward:

Summer camps for children with IBD

Information and education for 1.4 million patients and their families

Support services and research programs

Nearly 81 cents of every dollar CCFA spends goes directly into research and educational programs.


I'm off to donate now.
Thank you.

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Love, not love, and the dynamics of disability.

A wise and tremendous post by Tish, full of so much that rings so true that I am not sure what pieces to show you. Every daughter and mother should read this post. Every paragraph is rich, reaching into my past and present with shocking relevance. Thank you Tish...

There are few days that go by where my mother's pain does not come in to my consciousness--sometimes out of guilt that I am living my own life. Some of this is out of anger--anger that she couldn't be the kind of mother I wanted, anger at my grandmother for being so abusive towards a small helpless child who did not ask to be born, and anger at the secrets that wrapped us in crippling shrouds from which none of us could escape.

...I remember saying that both my life and my sister's were all about this ending, and that neither of us had prepared for a life without our Mother--because my Mother never helped us plan for our own Futures.

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The wedding, it was so sweet, pickles, they were bad.

The wedding I posted about below came and went, and it was quite beautiful to see two people who went through hell and back still love each other enough to say "I Do" after saying "I Don't." Yeah, I cried. I didn't weep though. So there. George looked so handsome, and Jenna brought along her friend. It was a nice outing. I even talked to live humans who were quite joyous. Color me offline!

Then I came home and ate a bad pickle.

I didn't eat the WHOLE pickle. I just had a bite of it before I figured out it tasted like three-year-old cardboard (which it essentially was), and then spit it out in the sink, except that little pickle seeds stuck to my teeth, and I swallowed some, and since then things have gotten just plain ugly in the bathroom department.

So, anyway, that about covers it.

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Elaine likes Storm Large

I like her too.  Ladylike? Uh huh.

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