Welcome to my site. Here you will find some info about me, the things I do and a listing of upcoming (and past) presentations and lectures. While I initially expected most of my posts to be about Open Source/Free Software (hence the name), these days it's mostly rants and ramblings about running.

links and photos for a sunday afternoon

Gene Sharp's 198 methods of non-violent action
In the printed version, there are historical examples of each, some of them are amazing. I hope I'm remembering this right: one of them was about a standoff between Soviet and Chinese army units. Each morning they would line up on opposite sides of a river and it seemed only a matter of time before one would start to shoot. The Chinese started a daily ritual where they would drop their pants and moon the soviet army, taunting them. Instead of shooting them in the butt, one morning the Soviet troops all pulled out portraits of Mao when the Chinese started to moon them. Not wanting to ever again be accused of mooning Mao, they never did it again. Now that's non-violent action!

another one of those things that makes me think "yes, this is what the internet was created for"
New York City launches mobile phone app for free condoms

The New York City Health Department on Monday unveiled a smartphone application that will help users locate the nearest place in the area giving out free condoms.

"We want New York City to be the safest city in the world to have sex," said Dr. Monica Sweeney, the city's assistant health commissioner


The American Civil Liberties Union has taken up the cause of a Maryland man who was forced to cough up his Facebook password during a job interview with the Department of Corrections in that state.

According to an ACLU letter sent to the Maryland Department of Corrections, the organization requires that new applicants and those applying for recertifications give the government "their social media account usernames and personal passwords for use in employee background checks."


Today's photos:


don't slow me down.

I tend to open a lot of tabs in firefox. When I have time, I go back and read the content. I'm getting so tired of having my browser slow down because so many blogs want to be slick like facebook. I really don't want to see your list of tweets update every 30 seconds; I really don't want to see lists of other "related content" scroll by as I read. I came to your blog to read what you wrote, I can click links if I want to read more, I can click links if I want to see your tweets. If your site slows down my browser, I'm less likely to come back. I don't think I'm alone. Stop blowing smoke up your own shorts, focus on your content.

I guess I should go back to using the noscript firefox add on. For now, I just add the annoying things to ad block plus's list of things to block. Today I added the following entries:


I might just start a "what I'm blocking this week" slot in my daily posting routine.

Today's photos are two shots of the latest yarn-bombed bike in the neighborhood.


links and photos again

I had hopes I'd finish my next protest story for today's post, but I just have not managed to get it even in a rough enough state to post. Instead, here's the links of the day

Very cool data visualization experiment/art project. Cartographer Daniel Huffman maps some rivers using mass transit maps of systems like the Washington DC Metro and the London Underground as inspiration.


The New Internationalist's debate on the validity of property damage at demonstrations

today's photo:

not dead yet

The "rock star" meme in the drupal community drives me insane, but I seem to be in the minority on that. To me, rock stars (in the music world) tend to be the least talented, they tend to be splashy and lack substance, but if anyone in the drupal community deserves start staus, webchick is certainly among them.

Tonight was the NYC stop on webchick's world tour. Webchick, aka Angie Byron, is the lead on the 7.x release of Drupal. The leadership she's shown in the drupal community is really impressive. She's traveling around doing training sessions and some folks in the community used her NYC visit as an excuse to have a party.

It's really nice to be able to debate, even strongly disagree, with people in the NYC Drupal community one day and then the next night be able to be able to sit around with many of those folks, have a beer and have the discussions be full of respect and finding common ground.

I'm still concerned about some of the changes in drupal and the community, but I'm happy to say it's not dead yet.

today's photo is of an entrance to one of NYC's oldest subway stations which also now is home to a subway sandwich shop.

the un is not optional, or the gentrification of drupal

I had an amazingly frustrating debate today on the NYC DrupalCamp organizers mailing list.

It seems that there are a lot of people who come from very mainstream backgrounds that seem to think that they have the right to appropriate anything they want. They want to redefine terms and ideas because they feel a sense of entitlement. They don't intend harm, they think everyone thinks like them and can't imagine valid alternatives to what they believe. The end result is actions that tend to erase history and turn new ideas into the same old thing.

Slowly things move towards self-promotion and traditional models -- from being a unique process to being a brand name, from substance to slogan.

The specific in this case is use of the term "unconference." An unconference is a very specific thing. It is not simply another term for a small conference, there are specific things that are required for something to be considered an unconference -- just as there are 4 criteria for something to be considered Open Source/Free Software.

What distinguishes an unconference from a traditional conference is the way it is organized. It is all about how the schedule is made; it is about everyone showing up to participate; it is about breaking down distinction between student and teacher/attendee and presenter. It's about mirroring the community centric model in how it is organized, not just in who is organizing. If you organize an unconference, you are putting your trust in the power of the community. You are putting in effort to organize an event you do not fully control. That's the entire point -- amazing things happen when you put talented and curious people in the same room with each other.

To paraphrase Kaliya Hamlin from Unconference.net, if the agenda or schedule is set ahead of time by a small group of organizers and not the day of the event by all the participants, it is not an unconference.

I've organized both, they each have their strength and weakness. I have no problem with people wanting to put their time into a more structured event, I do however find many problems with trying to appropriate the title Camp or Unconference.

For me, this feels like gentrification. Just as my neighborhood was slowly turned into a playground for rich youth who would rather eat at a chain like Papa John's instead of the local pizza shop, the same forces seem to be at work gentrifying the drupal software community. More and more, the community is dominated by people who want to talk about the business of drupal.

Somethings just can't be stopped, but some things can. Go ahead and organize a formal style conference, go ahead and put self-promotion and business ahead of community and collaboration, but DO NOT erase the history of what came before you. Drupal Camp is an unconference. An unconference is not pre-scheduled.

Just as the GPL is more interested in protecting the rights of the end-users of software over the "owner" than traditional licenses, unconference is more interested in the participants. I hope to do my best to keep it that way.

Today's photos