October 31, 2005


finally got around to updating this site to MT3.2 and more importantly to MySQL. That probably doesn't mean much to most of you, nor should it, except that there might be a few buggy things floating around. Main one I'm working on is fixing the line breaks, MT appears to have ignored the formatting setting on all 1022 entries to the site...

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October 29, 2005

ITP Podcasts

Not going to keep posting about new podcasts, just go to http://itp.abstractdynamics.org/podcasts/ and dig. Quality varies, listen at your own risk. I'll try and get a better xml feed of it going soon...

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October 28, 2005

Last Second SF/ 2 Weeks LA / 6 Weeks NY


A bit of a late notice, but if you are in SF I have a piece in this propaganda show. A generative video collab with [sic] under the name 47. As far as I can tell it both opens and closes tonight in SF. If you are in LA this is your two week warning. In 6 weeks I'll be in a show in NY at Safe-T-Gallery, a collab with Carlos Borges.

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October 18, 2005

Six Pack

for a variety of reasons I'm not really adding to the xml feeds I have over on the right side of the front page here, but these are the six feeds not over there that technology permitting I wish were over there.. Please enjoy.


This Blog Sits at the Intersection of Anthropology and Economics

The Prudent Investor

Organic Warfare


Twenty bucks a day.

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October 15, 2005

Inflationary Reality

The market watchers have been buzzing about inflation a lot of late, and the noise seems to be picking up like a train rumbling towards the station. What it means is beyond me. I've never quite gotten the obsession with the big "catch all" concept of inflation.

Inflation has been here for years in some of the parts where it really counts, education, housing, and nights on the town. Its long been offset by Moore's "law" bring down the cost of computation and cheap Chinese labor bringing down the cost of anything that can be shipped over an ocean. This might add up to a mathematical wash in terms of "inflation", but that just hides the massive changes beneath the surface. The cost of living a life is going up fast, its been inflationary to the core for years. In strictly numerical terms its been offset by cheap gadgets and faster computers. But are they remotely equal in reality?

Are those extra megapixels on the digital camera really worth the $2,000 a year more in tuition? Is the ability to share and archive every photo on Flickr worth losing the ability to find a quality entree for under $10? The first strikes of inflation have long since hit us. Now the economists are warning us even the gadgets might start going up in price. What happens when we run out of distractions? And to take it back a step to the political-economic, it might be fun kicking Bush while he's stumbling down, but have we forgot that the worst thing about the man is that he is a position to take us all down with him?

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October 14, 2005

ITP Podcasts, Clay Shirky, Social Facts week 6

There was no week 5. I was a second late to start recording on the first one, and a couple minutes late on the second. The second is good stuff though, a summary of what the class has done since the begining.

part 1
part 2

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October 13, 2005

Conspicuous Non-Consumption / An Email Free Lifestyle

When Veblen came up with the concept of conspicuous consumption it quite clearly contained within it the idea of conspicuous non-consumption as well. Having a servant is one thing, but having a servant who clearly doesn't even do anything is clearly more conspicuous. In contemporary society nothing can illustrate this clearer then a visit to a high end jeans emporium or a stroll through Williamsburg Brooklyn. The more your clothes make it look like you don't work, beyond perhaps maybe painting or playing in a band, the more status you get, and the price of damaged denim reflects that.

In the networked lifestyle of connected elite (and by that I mean 'elite' in a rather broad sense that almost certainly includes you, my reader) nothing could convey status more than a freedom from email. Not just a knee jerk turn off the computer sort of freedom from email. That might be nice for a week or two, but reactionary is not the answer. No, what would take real skill is the cut out email from your life and remain connected, to say be able to be a freelancer or run a business, without using email. Virtually an impossible task in that particular strata of Western culture I happen to live in. So hard to obtain, and thus such a potential status symbol.

Email is so deeply entrenched in our lives its become easy to hate, but impossible to let go. If one is looking for an obtainable status symbol, the empty inbox is of course the way to go. What I'd really like though is to be free not from the emails themselves, but from the obligations attached to the emails. Waves and waves of spam have somewhat weakened the expectation of a response to an email, but they haven't killed it. And not only do emails carry a sense of obligation, but they also have a longer half life than say a voicemail. Those voice messages sometimes pile up, but the system is architected to push them out. Limited recording time, minimal visual representation, and a linearity that pushes old messages out of the way.

Emails sits in your inbox, or whatever folder they get filtered too, and they stay there, visible until you take action. A visual nag, a persistent stress on the system. Lately I've been thinking of adding an autoresponce to my email system. Send me an email and I'll have an automated reply. Something to the effect that I will read the email, but I don't take actions based on emails. If you want me to do something, call, txt or im are the ways to go. Email is for archives, reference and file transfer. One way information and maybe an occasional long slow conversation. Calls to action? They belong on active media, live media.

So I don't quite have the nerve to install it yet. There is a rudeness and arrogance to it, exactly the sort of thing Veblen took such apparent pleasure in skewering. I'm still just another data whore, racking up messages in that inbox. So what about you?

Posted by Abe at 11:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 12, 2005

ITP Podcasts: Technologies of Persuasion, week 6

Want to keep all these podcasts over on my ITP server space, but the MT install over there seems to have failed me... Here is the latest while I work out a better place for this stuff. Part 2 is better than 1, more animated discussion.

part 1
part 2

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October 08, 2005

Bubble 2.0

Yow, this has to be one of the dumbest things I've ever seen written, O'Reilly (the tech publisher and conference company) on their Web 2.0 conference: "The only problem with this is, if everyone agrees it's a bubble, then it isn't a bubble."

They went as far as putting "then it isn't a bubble" in bold AND italic. I won't step that low. They also made it the title of the piece. Apparently they think its some great bit of insight. Like if everyone agrees that the ship is sinking then of course it can't sink.. yeah. To top that off, even if somehow their statement where true, the post itself is coded to make it worthless. If the writer doesn't think it's a bubble well then everyone can't agree its a bubble can they?

Personally though, I think this Web 2.0 business is the opposite of a bubble, more like delusions of grander. These core webheads want their bubble days back so bad, they want to feel that important again, be back in that media spotlight again, be bathed in the money of suckers again. And at a conference like Web 2.0 they can close the doors (via a $3,000 entrance fee), lock out the outsiders and engage in the sort of collective ass licking, striation and wall building that any maturing industry perpetually engages in. Its good for the insiders, but for the rest of us...

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October 03, 2005

Reproductive Marketing

Viral marketing is disgusting. Nothing proves just what a cesspool the world of marketing is better then the way they picked up the term and made it their own so lovingly. When Rushkoff first coined the term it was a critique, the viruses where supposed to infect the media carriers, undermine them. Of course the situation quickly flipped, the marketers got themselves inoculated and got busy trying to infect consumers.

In practice viral marketing consists of content so insanely stupid that people pass it around saying "can you believe someone paid to make this crap!" Chickens and dancing hamsters and a bunch of other stuff you'll remember about as well as that nasty cold you caught back in the winter of 98. Yeah, remember that one, it was great wasn't it? To be a viral marketer must be worse then being a hollywood player, not only are you only are only as good as your last hit, but your last hit (and all the others) are rapidly revealing to the world what crap they are... Thank god we have elections every couple years to hire all these failed viral marketers, if they don't keep jobs I think they all turn into spammers pretty quickly.

What marketing really needs is reproductive marketing. Instead of spreading by infection these are marketing campaigns that have sex with each other, spawning new campaigns that demand excessive attention, force the creators to go home early, suck up loads of cash in tuition, and then turn into teenagers are rebel against their creators. That would be useful marketing, no? If we get lucky we'll get some real Oedipus campaigns that actually rise up and kill the people that create them...

Posted by Abe at 06:37 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack