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.

Router Swap, anyone?

In a reaction to Google's wardriving, I'm thinking of setting up a website to facilitate a mass swap-meet for people to exchange their wi-fi routers.

Google stepped a bit over the line (again) this week. This time, it was focused around a new effort to make it easier to geo-locate a web browser's location.

As they've been driving around in those cute cars taking images for the google maps Street View tool, they have also been mapping the identifying information of every available 802.11 wireless access point (wi-fi) and storing that information along with longitude and latitude information. I'm not sure how I feel about the image street views has of me walking down Central Park West after a meeting, but the idea that they have locative information on my wireless access point definitely upsets me.

Having been helping the folks at Open Greenmap with technology planning and development, I understand the desire to map this information. Most cellular devices (phones, iPhones, androids, etc.) are able to report their GPS coordinates when they request data from a web server. This allows for a site like Opengreenmap.org to give a mobile devices information on interesting places in proximity to where the user is at that time (that's a hypothetical, opengreenmap.org will be able to do this soon). This is not possible for people using laptops (or desktops) connected to the net via a wired network or a wifi access point. Someone looking for interesting green locations from a coffee shop has to go through a few more steps to search the maps.

facebook community pages might need some rewording

By now, I'm sure you are all aware of the storm of criticism and concern about privacy that has come about in response to the badly thought out addition of Community Pages at Facebook.

Like many others, I've deleted a lot of information from my profile. I did not want to link my profile to these pages that are accessible to anyone on facebook, and in some cases anyone on the internet. After my initial freakout, I have calmed down a bit. It seems that by limiting my participation in facebook as a whole, I can keep a certain level of privacy.

One friend told me a story of a musician friend of hers who has been impacted by this new feature in a rather negative way. Her fan page is now overshadowed by the community page that has her name. Where she once had a place for her fans that she could moderate, most people now end up at the fully un-moderated aggregation of posts that mention her that is the facebook community page. They have essentially replaced a well defined relatively safe space with a free for all with content that would never have been allowed on her fan page.

Another problem is the text on the top of every community page. It assumes and implies that anyone who's liked the page or had their status update automatically posted to it have "a passion" for the topic.

all that white space is begging for tagging

A lot of the iPad ads around the neighborhood are being amended by someone with a big marker. I have to admit that ads with all that white space are really asking for it.
I missed getting a photo of the one that said iFad, but I managed to remember that my phone has a camera on it so I was able to get a bad photo of iPad Thai

starting off slow

I've really been meaning to start posting more, but keep finding other things that seem more important.

However, I've made a commitment to myself to write at least two posts a week for the next couple months.

Now, I can't decide what to write about so I decided to start slow with something silly instead of highly political or technical.

I got a funny email yesterday. Someone in Canada searched the words hotels.com confirmations back on bookings using google. That led them to my two year old rant about hotels.com. Somehow they decided to click the "Get in Touch" link at the top of the page and use the contact form to make the following request of me:

I booked on line with Hotels.com and have Not received a confirmation of my booking. This is a booking for only the Roosevelt Hotel and cannot be changed because of my meetings scheduled with clients in your hotel. Must have a confirmation back today. No other Hotel will be suitable, Thank you for your prompt assistance on this matter.

Well, Mr. Pederson, I wish you luck but as I'm sure you figured out: I have nothing to do with your reservation or hotels.com.

Free Software, Drupal, and Kittens

This past Saturday was the 7th NYC Drupal Camp, and apparently something I said started a little bit of a twit-storm.

As part of the introduction to the event, I was asked to give a quick introduction to Open Source/Free Software. I've given similar presentations at many of the past camps and other conferences, and it was a busy week so I did not really prepare as well as I should have so I improvised a bit more than I usually do.

I pulled out one of my earlier presentations and gave the fastest possible history of the GPL, Free Software and the relationship between the copyleft nature of the GPL sofware license and the community-centric development process of a tool like Drupal.