The British are coming!

The 2003 O’Reilly ETCON programme is live, and we’re a’coming.

The ETCON Brit-Pack (partial-list):

Also, from the New World, Butterfield, Hourihan, Kahle, Rein, Shirky, Rheingold, Gillmor, Weinberger, Johnson, and Alan “The Daddy” Kay!

Hopefully see you there!

Niche humour

Dan is right, J. Bradford DeLong is funny:

“My feet hurt. These marble floors are hard. I want to go sit down.”

“But here comes David Laibson, the master of hyperbolic discounting. If we stay here, we can talk to him.”

“But then our feet will hurt worse later on in the afternoon.”

“Ah, but right now we don’t care: you see, we are hyperbolic discounters, and so underweight future pain relative to present pleasure. It’s true that later on we’ll regret the fact that we spent so much time standing around and did not sit down. However, right now the benefits of discussing hyperbolic discounting with David Laibson are irresistible!”

“But if we stay here, we’ll be doing the wrong thing…”

More niche humour from James, yesterday:

“Two atoms were walking down the street. One turns to the other and says, “Oh, no! I lost an electron!”

The other responds, “Are you sure?!?”

“Yes, I’m positive!”

» J. Bradford DeLong: The Non-Work Side of the American Economic Association’s Annual Meeting

» Pretty Punny Physics Jokes


This is a great chewy chunk of stuff from another aspect-of-the-Matt-cloud: “Adaptive design for weblog software”.

“The spectrum of software development has two ends. On one end is the push model (yes, I’m going to lapse into the push/pull dichotomy again), which is the model where you set your sights on a goal, and build a tower to get there (like Windows). On the other end is the pull model, which is more like an ecology. Tiny steps, filling niches, each new piece of development just taking advantage of what’s already there, and creating new capabilities — like, life creates conditions conducive to life, in everything that it does . But it’s undirected, not goal oriented, and slow. It can’t be forced. “

Welcome to the New Cambrian.

» Interconnected: Adaptive design for weblog software

Hiplogging / The Office of Personal Copyright Awareness

Danger (who designed/produced the Hiptop) have launched Hiplog, their moblog environment. It’s a near-clone of amateur effort HiptopNation, which preceded it’s commercial equivalent (as is now common in the New Cambrian Era of the web) by a number of months.

Joi Ito thinks that they share some DNA [update comments on Joi’s site indicate that they do not], but where corporate nuture is taking over from open-source nature is clear already from this, one of the inaugural posts to Hiplog:

“Unless my posts can be under a Creative Commons license, this is the only post I’ll be sending here… This is what I think of your terms of agreement [pictured]. I prefer to retain copyright on everything I produce, and give it away as I see fit”

I know that the owner-demographic of the Danger at the moment is in all likelihood techno-savvy, early-adopters who are ultra-aware and ultra-paranoid about their personal information and content, but wouldn’t it be great if this kind of “personal copyright awareness” went mainstream… Sounds like a job for a public-service media organisation…

Looking? Looking?

Noticed this at

“Nowadays I seem to get more pleasure from reading on the web than looking at the web – I don’t know whether that’s symptomatic for the design scene as a whole (which seems to be in a rather disjointed state), but it does give me an opportunity to shine the light on some of my current favo[u]rite “wordy” spots.”

Least said, soonest mended. I think it was Spiekermann who said: “You cannot not communicate”. Strikes me – whether it’s written or graphically communicated: you cannot not read the Web. The “design scene” knows that surely? You’re losing out if you’re just looking or making things to be looked at, not ‘read’, not engaged with.

Having said that, maybe looking vs reading is just a symptom we’re heading nicely into the snowcrashed century.

Taking a STAND on ID Cards.

This week’s NTK says it best:

“Into the final days of the government’s Great ID Card Consultation – and the Home Office couldn’t be more excited. Lord Falconer continues to tell everyone who’ll listen that over 1500 people have responded, and the majority of them were extremely positive on the idea.

Now, given that they’re proposing a massive IT project to introduce a universal identifier for all citizens, with a centralised database of personal details, kept accurate by making a new crime of withholding your current address from the government – well, we can’t help but think that more people would a bit squeamish on the principle.”

The lovely folk from have created a tool to make your voice heard in the consultation on Identity Cards, making it easy to go and do your bit.

» A Cynic’s Guide To Entitlement (*cough* ID *cough*) Cards