Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sterling: Here be Dragons

Bruce Sterling continues his event speech series on disruption. This time at a conference for start-ups. He gets directly to the point, and I imagine the euphoric designers here in Berlin were squirming in their seats.

.... but that's what you do, and that will be the judgement of history for your start-up culture. They are gonna' say the twenty-teens were all about that. It was a tacit allegiance between the hacker space favelas of the start-ups and offshored capital in tax avoidance money launderies.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Props to the NYT for publishing this Op-Ed by a Yemeni detainee:
And there is no end in sight to our imprisonment. Denying ourselves food and risking death every day is the choice we have made.
I just hope that because of the pain we are suffering, the eyes of the world will once again look to Guantánamo before it is too late.

Glenzilla was on the main page of the Guardian with this concise headline for his commentary: Obama, Guantánamo, and the enduring national shame

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Bruce Sterling: annual rant at SXSW (2013)

Now, most of you in here aren’t novelists. I’m not complaining that novelists are disrupted and are very badly off — although we are.
What I’m telling you is that you’re more disrupted. You are worse off.
Whatever happens to musicians happens to everybody. Including you.
People like to say that musicians reacted badly to the digital revolution. They put a foot wrong. What really happened is that the digital revolution reduces everybody to the state of musicians. Everybody — not just us bohemian creatives, but the military, political parties, the anchor stores in retail malls, academics subjected to massive open online courses.
It’s the same thing over and over. Basically, the only ones making money are the ones that have big, legal stone castles surrounded with all kinds of regulatory thorns. Meaning: the sickness industry, the bank gangsters, and the military contractors. Gothic High-Tech.
If more computation, and more networking, was going to make the world prosperous, we’d be living in a prosperous world. And we’re not. Obviously we’re living in a Depression.
I’m a cyberpunk writer. I wanted to write a kind of visionary, futuristic science-fiction that was tied into real-world tech developments. I learned how to do that. I did it. I did lots of it.
But it was one of those situations where the operation was a success and the patient died. The world’s extremely cyberpunk now, but the science-fiction genre, this particular form of a counter-culture literature with its paper support structure of fanzines and conventions and specialty bookstores, it was a casualty.
If you really want to be involved in futuristic tech development — if you’re sincerely interested in it — why don’t you just do it? Why write fiction about it? Just involve yourself in it. Network with the people who are doing it. It’s not hard.
Full transcript.

Sunday, April 07, 2013


It is sort of like Zork with a great sense of humor . . . a game playing itself in your pocket computer/telephone.

Saturday, April 06, 2013


I've been reading some of the development stories from the first Macintosh team on folklore.org They're very cool, some of them are quite harrowing.

Here are some notes taken by Andy Hertzfeld at an Alan Kay talk.

Here's how Bill Atkinson invented the "marching ants" selection boundary for MacPaint. 

Steve Wozniak, Bill Atkinson and Andy Hertzfeld can be seen in this documentary shot at a retreat hosted by Stewart Brand (author of the Whole Earth Catalog, and the best book about architecture ever written.) I posted a link to this video a while ago, but it's noteworthy enough repost. It also has footage of RMS playing Tapper.