“Mixing Pop(3) and politics, he asks me what the use is…”

“I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses”
~ Apologies to Billy Bragg.

As a response to the Digital Fundraising Democracy Teach-In at EtCon, and in particular the ludicrous 45 minutes in granted to “Emerging Democracy Worldwide”; Tom Steinberg is staging a UK-flavoured Digital Democracy session at ConConUK:

“Tom mySociety Steinberg is organising a UK digital democracy teach-in (think My Society, iCan, Fax Your MP, Vox Politics and Up My Street).”

Hopefully, Rod/the YourParty folk and some of those blogging MPs might also show up…?

I wish that someone from Estonia had been invited to the fun in San Diego.

“President Meri — who answers his own e-mail and can be reached at www.president.ee — has even grander plans for Estonia.com. In 1997, he helped establish the Tiger Leap Foundation, an organization that united the Ministry of Education with Estonia’s computer sector in an effort to have one computer in place for every 20 pupils in Estonian schools. That goal was reached this year, and now Meri wants to create ‘a virtual government’ that would greatly downsize the state apparatus, replacing bureaucrats with online government services.”

Perhaps if there had been more than 45 minutes for the rest of the world.

Moreover – where was Dr. Gøtze, or the UK’s own professor of digital democracy, Stephen Coleman, from The Oxford Internet Institute??!??!? They are joint-authors, of Bowlingtogether.net, a spin on Puttnam’s “Bowling Alone” cited famously as an influence by the founder of Meetup.com.

At a time where wars are being fought in the cause of “installing democracy” worldwide, one might think digital democracy – somewhat advanced in places other than just the USA – might be afforded a worldwide examination by O’Reilly.

Ah well… Thank goodness for ConConUK.

It’s like Billy says:

“If no one seems to understand
Start your own revolution and cut out the middlemaaan

Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards

In a perfect world we’d all sing in tune
But this is reality so give me some roooom

Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards

So join the struggle while you may
The Revolution is just a T-shirt awaaaay

Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards

Segusoland, and open-source UI development

Had a couple of conversations with Danny and Quinn in San Diego about why Open Source UIs generally aren’t… Erm… Well… They suck*.

Here’s a half-formed one that was the basis of my side of the discussion with them.

Design generally operates at a different clock-speed, and generally evolves best over time when certain strata of it’s basis are moving slowly, such as the requirements, the code base or the context of use cf. “How buildings learn”, “Adaptive Design” etc.

Does the speed and diversity of open source iteration leave a designer – if they are involved at all – building on shifting sands?

Segusoland – a novel file manager seems to buck this trend, or at least suggest a new way forward in working with UI design in an open-source-context by establishing and publishing open-source human interface guidelines, to co-evolve with the code.

» Segusoland: Human Interface Guidelines
[via the more.theory weblog, and NooFace]

* I may just think Open-Source UIs suck due to my ignorance and lack of exposure to excellent open-source UIs. If you know of any, or wish to offer an alternative appreciation based on your wider experience – then please let me know in the comments!


Growing up in the UK in the 70s and 80s, one sometimes heard mention of Cronkite.

A word synonymous with the news, rather than a person who read it. It sounded like a fantastic material – an element, unbendable and unbreakable that history was made of; over there in the wonderland of Shuttles and Star Wars.

Via the excellent Hypergene Mediablog, come some choice chunks of pure Cronkite, shaped into commentary about erstwhile colleague and essayist Eric Sevareid and news media past:

Rules of an essayist
Sevareid speaking in his farewell essay, shared his self-imposed rules of journalism that guided his essays:

  1. Not to underestimate the intelligence of the audience, and not to over estimate it’s information.
  2. To elucidate when one can, more than to advocate.
  3. To retain the courage of one’s doubts, as well as one’s convictions, in this world of dangerously passionate certainties.
  4. To comfort oneself in times of error, with the knowledge that the saving grace of the press, print or broadcast is it’s self-correcting nature.


“…when society values the impulsive spoken outburst, over the reasoned elegance of the written word, the implications for an informed citizenry are dire.”

Monitor-top manoeuvres


Playing with my new Casio Exilim EX-Z4. I first got tempted when Barak showed me his Exilim and some of the neat features like the auto-white balance graphing.

On first impression, it’s a very, very nicely designed product – with the UI and the industrial design both delivering utility and delight in equal measure.

The proof of the pudding will be in the eating of the photons though.