marsden_online: (write)
Topic warning: sexual harassment

Context: Yesterday a #metoo campaign to raise awareness of sexual harassment and assault started to spread on social media.
If all the people who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote "Me, too." as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.

content behind the cut )
marsden_online: (write)
So this weekend the periodically re-occuring discussion on behaviour and consent at KAOS parties fired up again. And it feels like there is a new vibe to it this time, a more positive one than I have experienced in my going-on-20 years of seeing it repeated.

This post collects a lot of my thoughts and opinions on the subject into one place. Because FB discussions are hard to reference later and verbal discussions even more so, and heck some of these are just jotted down in my notes for my contribution to an somewhat improvised speaking at the 48-Hour party just been.

Rules and Disclaimers

1. Mild trigger and hot-button warnings for conversation around sexual assault, non/consent and KAOS party behaviour.
2. I've tried to keep this as gender neutral as possible - I know we're socially conditioned to automatically cast thse events in a M-on-F light but F-on-M, F-on-F and M-on-M events are equally problematic, and often more difficult to speak up about.
3. Comments on this post to be directed at the Dreamwidth version please. Anon comments will be screened automatically.
Update: conversation seems to have started at the Livejournal post anyway, so comment there.
4. These are my opinions; opinions do not exist in a vacumn. I'm happy to engage further in conversation/debate; I'm happy for people to share their experiences if they feel like doing so; I will not tolerate personal attacks, criticism of peoples actions/reactions in an event or well-intended advice in response.
5. At points in this post I've straight out borrowed from a few other people who have already said the things I would like to say, often better, with permission for the big chunks. I haven't attributed these because I want people to be able to choose if or how they enter the conversation. If you recognise someone's voice or comment from elsewhere please respect that. If you see your words in here, thank you.

A matter of scale )
Surfacing the experiences )
Framing the problem )
Partial solutions )
Missing stairs )
Calling people out )
Your responsibilities when you bring a friend to KAOS )
Modelling consent )
marsden_online: (write)
Last week Public Address put out an appeal for donations not just towards keeping the server lights on but towards keeping the site owner/manager paid. The latter bit was new, the former happens periodically. Aggregated I probably throw $100-$150 at PA a year (or would like to), that's probably comparable to the cost of a quality dead-tree subscription (I really have no idea.) That is a measure of the value I see PA providing as a current events forum and community.

Comparatively I did not sign up with the NZ Herald when they experimented with a paywall a while back regardless of the amount of personal value I was finding find in their site because they were locking the content away from everyone else. (And signing up for a subscription / having to log in to see stuff / just seemed too complicated. There's a low but non-trivial barrier there.)

I repeatedly refuse to take out a subscription to The Press (local dead-tree paper) when the telemarketers call because I have no interest in the bulk of the content, even though it would leave me better informed on local events and I do eagerly read the interesting parts of the paper whenever I happen across a copy. I would probably subscribe to a pdf version of selected sections delivered to my inbox daily.

Back to PA - some discussion surfaced over there about how to pay for "the good stuff" in general - not just stuff that brings value to the individual but that adds to the entire conversation. Or provides the forum in which to have the conversation, which PA excels at. As Russell sums it up (emphasis mine)
But there is another model. The subscriber radio model. My readers don’t actually need much persuading that the argument for paying so that everyone can have nice things is a strong one. In the past two years, I’ve made more from asking them for a contribution than I have from advertising. Keith Ng has also had some success in asking readers to crowdfund his stories – after he’s published them.

But this needs a permanent structure, and it needs to work for all of us. One solution I see is this: a simple, voluntary subscription system which can be joined by any New Zealand website or blog at one end, and any reader at the other. In concept, it’s simple.

As a means of funding advertising just doesn't cut it, especially for the niche sites and site-specific subscription models / paywalls only seem to work if you have a (large) critical mass of subscribers who find personal value in what you deliver.

But the things I find myself paying for in something like a subscription manner are those that match the bit I emphasised in the quote above - those who can afford contribute so that *everyone* can have nice stuff, and can hopefully be secure in the fact that should they fall on hard times they (which includes quite a bit of "I") will still have access to those services.

This is the model Livejournal used to have before it was sold to someone who wanted to make a profit from it and the model Dreamwidth is emulating since it opened up basic accounts.

Wikipedia is another site that I consider "new-media" which I contribute to periodically. And I have put my bit towards crowd-funding other initiatives like NWZ

Heck even the photo-hosting I pay for is to ensure others continue to get use and enjoyment from my putting them out there, off-site backup is a bonus.

I'd happily pay for the things FaceBook does well - essentially providing hyper-local news about my social circle and event management - as long as it meant that my friends also continued to be able to use the service and were treated a little less like "product". I'm not sure how much I'd be willing to pay; maybe around that $100 a year; maybe up to $300 in small chunks. That might sound a lot in this digitally priced age but remember conceptually I would be paying not just for me, and it would still be less than a dollar a day.

There is certainly a personal use component - Twitter or Tumblr could both operate on the same model and at the present time I wouldn't "subscribe" because I don't use them a great deal although I have accounts and follow some people who surface interesting stuff. But I'm certain there are plenty of people who would.

Another model I saw some time ago - and I can't remember what it was called now - was a Tip jar model where you paid in some amount each [time period] and sites authors could embed a click widget - at the end of the [time period] however much you had put in was divided among the people whose content you had found valuable enough to 'Tip' on. As I recall the service folded because of not reaching critical mass.

And that is really the rub when it comes to setting up a mass provider/subscriber model. Not only do you need the people willing (and able) to pay for the greater good and the people willing (and able) to help generate content with value (including the work of maintaining the spaces/communities where good conversation happens around the content) you need to strike the balance where they break-even. I say break even because I don't think there is a for-profit model here. Instead you have people being paid for producing content, people being paid for maintaining communities, developers being paid to improve those communities with new features, web-hosts being paid to host them .... quite a lot of people (hopefully) making a living, quite a lot more people getting value from the work they do, and really what more do you need?
marsden_online: (Maniac)
* although actually we updated so C could have more data before going over cap.

After a few technical glitches and two visits by a slightly frustrated technician can haz TelstraClear Warpspeed internet connection (100Mb/10Mb).
Of course since it's feeding into a router which can at best handle 100Mb wired and less by wireless we're not going to get the full benefit of that, but still an advance on 15/2 and I might look at upgrading the router next time I have a good month.

... of course the main issues with speed on this system remain software related - I don't know if it's windows, the browsers of the firewall/virus checker but my initial tabs are all really slow to load when I open a browser.
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
Rape Culture 101
The new, silent, French revolution - Paris trials help-yourself, electrically powered hire cars on the same model as the Paris do-it-yourself bicycle hire scheme.

The Economy of Ideas written about the issues surrounding digital property sometime in the 90's I believe, issues still not resolved.
Throughout the time I've been groping around cyberspace, an immense, unsolved conundrum has remained at the root of nearly every legal, ethical, governmental, and social vexation to be found in the Virtual World. I refer to the problem of digitized property. The enigma is this: If our property can be infinitely reproduced and instantaneously distributed all over the planet without cost, without our knowledge, without its even leaving our possession, how can we protect it? How are we going to get paid for the work we do with our minds? And, if we can't get paid, what will assure the continued creation and distribution of such work?

Since we don't have a solution to what is a profoundly new kind of challenge, and are apparently unable to delay the galloping digitization of everything not obstinately physical, we are sailing into the future on a sinking ship.
Personal names around the world
People who create web forms, databases, or ontologies are often unaware how different people’s names can be in other countries. They build their forms or databases in a way that assumes too much on the part of foreign users. This article will first introduce you to some of the different styles used for personal names, and then some of the possible implications for handling those on the Web.
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
Some ways the internet and other information technologies are allowing farmers to accelerate and fine tune their response to the market.
Connecting the clever farm
From an armchair in South Canterbury, he can follow a wool auction in Melbourne via satellite and track the prices other growers are getting for their lots.

"Watching prices gives me a pretty good lead," Aubrey said.

"With the sales coming through I might recognise some of the property names from New Zealand and its characteristics and that gives me a good steer," he said.

"If we think the market is where we want it, I send an email through to the selling company and off we go."

This level of connectivity and the ability of farmers to access real-time information is becoming the lifeblood of agriculture in the 21st century.
"The modern No 8 wire is data and how it can be converted into meaningful information, how it can be twisted and bent and used," Walker said.
marsden_online: (globe)
It took tens of thousands of years for writing to emerge after humans spoke their first words. It took thousands more before the printing press and a few hundred again before the telegraph. Today a new medium of communication emerges every time somebody creates a new web application. A Flickr here, a Twitter there, and a new way of relating to others emerges. New types of conversation, argumentation, and collaboration are realized. Using examples from anthropological fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, YouTube, university classrooms, and “the future,” this presentation will demonstrate the profound yet often unnoticed ways in which media “mediate” our culture.

[Edit: Fuck it LiveJournal, why won't you embed the video?]

40min, which is why it has been sitting in my inbox for 2 months.
marsden_online: (globe)
Tracking the cyber footprint - NZ Herald reveals how it has used the internet (Facebook, Google et. al.) to track down people of interest...

Quitting the web Cartoonist James Sturm chronicles 4 months deliberately avoiding the internet (10 part series)

Tischen "aims to rid the world of unemployment" and seems set up for people with odd skills and schedules (so part timers, work from homers, night owls, freelancers...) It gives you a nicely templated, personalisable page to list your skills for free. I haven't signed up yet but may well do -after- my long overdue site rebuild (approaching critical mass for motivation).
marsden_online: (Default)
Returned from a weekend away without internet - to an internet outage. Was Not Impressed. Even less impressed when the outage continued for a second day.

OTOH, the car got washed (2 or 3 times over two days) and some gardening done.

Winter Weekend happened. I had fun. There were board games and bad movies and large amounts of food. My predilection for relatively early nights meant I missed out on various fire-related activities. Had a very dirty car upon returning to Chch, hence the washing.

One person asked if I had met my victory conditions for the weekend. I replied yes, but not sufficiently to declare Total Victory.

I have the feeling that whatever good it did me may have slipped away already. Last night was my first solid nights sleep in forever, but I still didn't manage to get out of bed until much later than I was awake. And much of today has been a loss, leaving me looking forward ot tomorrraw with something resembling despair.
marsden_online: (globe)

Zoomable right down to the block level, although the juicy stats (like median income) aren't available past suburb level.
marsden_online: (globe)
I've been meaning to repost this for about a month. More detail from one of the organisers of the Wellington-based 'noir-themed transmedia story' I mentioned after BarCamp Chch.

Initial fundraising ideas really did include cupcakes and teeshirts. In the end, we decided to stick with what we knew. We knew our Twitter community, and we knew how well attended Tweetups were. We decided to hold a Tweetup “like no other”. We settled on the idea of creating a noir-themed transmedia story that our community could follow online. The story would end at noir-themed fundraising Tweetup at a secret speakeasy.

We started to think about the story and how it could be told. Timothy has a background in gaming, and Chelsea in improv comedy. Watching the two of them weave a noir world from their imaginings was fascinating. We kept referring back to our community. How could we tell the story in a way that people could follow. How do we meaningfully include them?

The project included two major parts: a noir-themed transmedia story and a noir-themed fundraising event.
marsden_online: (write)
Neighbourly goodwill is being kept alive in the Christchurch suburbs by special online communities.

Residents of Condell Ave in Papanui have come together online to share excess vegetables, borrow ladders, find babysitters and even stop parties from getting out of control.

The online street list, thought to be one of the first in New Zealand, was set up by market researcher John Veitch as a way to revive community spirit.

What I find most interesting is how
- easy long-distance communication broke up up the idea of ' neighbourhood' as distance ceased to be a barrier to people keeping in touch with their tribes,
- and now the technologies have reached their global maximum and come full circle, helping people build communities around their immediate area
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us (or, the evolution of text in the electronic age)

Internet in the Home as predicted in 1969

Yoinked from Top 10 YouTube Videos About The Web @ ReadWriteWeb
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
So I spent most of yesterday at the Christchurch BarCamp unconference (twitter #tag #bcchch)

It Rocked.

I don't think an official head count was ever done, but there would have been between 30 and 40 people from the web dev scene in Christchurch there, ranging from random webmonkeys like myself to high-powered programmers living in NZ but teleworking for outfits in Australia or the States. There were even a couple of people down from Wellington.

Topics covered (not in order)
- introducing open source projects with local connections like CrowdFusion (publishing) and GroupServer (mailing list management),
- an introduction to Forensic Computing,
- background on the ACTA and publicACTA meetings which were happening in Wellington yesterday, and why ACTA is bad, mmm k?
- The Case of the Midnight Note (roleplayers especially LARPers - follow that link!) a 'transmedia' game which the Wellington tech community ran across Twitter/Facebook/blogs/the real world as a fundraiser to send people to Webstock, and how the team behind it is partnered with DigitalNZ to see what sort of Augmented Reality games you can create merging the world of today with the archived history of yesterday.
- ethics + sustainable development practice for programmers
- some of the really shiny stuff you can do with html5/css3
- Idea management
- A round up of various informal groups that meet up regularly in Christchurch to discuss internet technologies & issues
- and more

I even got a solid line on a co-working cluster with space available here in Christchurch :D

Edit: And next year I'm totally taking my laptop -with- me
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
Commenting on my previous post [ profile] mr_orgue pointed me at this post about the recent RWW/Facebook login mixup.

Basically, a post on Read Write Web about Facebook became the #1 google result for "Facebook Login". This resulted in a lot of people using similar behaviour to that mentioned previously clicking through in an attempt to log in to their facebook accounts. Because commenting at RWW supports OpenID, there was a facebook logo you could click on to autheticate with your facebook details... (OpenID of course connects you to the authenticating site briefly to enter these).

Despite RWW adding a big bold disclaimer at the top of the post people kept doing this. These weren't stupid people, they were just looking to login like they had done every time previously and faced with a different visual assumed it was some sort of redesign and scanned for something recognisable that would help with that task. Like a button with the facebook logo next to a form field.

The post linked above talks at length about about the implications of this.
If you are an interface designer, a brand manager or a security expert, your reaction to this incident should be one of deep humility. Your interface, your brand and your security scheme is much more fragile than you'd ever dared to fear. All of your work has come to naught.

These people represent the vast majority of internet users. It's a rare breed who actually 'Use the Internet' in terms of urls and pages links. Most people 'Log into Facebook' or 'Watch Youtube' or 'Order a Pizza'.

We can't feasibly make all these people 'more like us' (developers), nor should we try. We build websites that they can use, and they shape a future where 'the internet' means about the same as 'the pavement' and requires about as much thought when it's used.
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
I fully expect everyone reading this does. But just like a lot, possibly even the majority of internet users think the 'address bar' is the search box on their favourite search engine homepage and the quickest way to any website is to enter the address there a click on the first result, most people don't know (or care) that the program they use to access the internet is called a browser. (Some may not know that the general general term is 'program'.)

And there are really good arguments that they shouldn't have to know or care. As website designers and builders we have to bear this in mind and not rely too much on assumed knowledge. Videos like this one (via [ profile] badasstronaut) are a good reminder of who we are really catering to (ignoring the fact that it's a stealth ad for Chrome).

marsden_online: (write)
For those with an interest in education there's some really good conversations going on at Public Address, from Russell's post on National Standards and Jolisa's accounting of their experience with the American system.

This quote in the Herald from Paula Bennett about National's approach to tightening up social welfare riles me.
"This may include practical training, attending a basic skills course or attending drug and alcohol rehabilitation," the policy said.

"After that, they will be required to actively look for a job, to go to any job interview they are referred to, and to accept any offer of suitable employment, whether fulltime, part-time, temporary or seasonal.

"If they do not comply with these obligations, they will have their benefit reduced in the first instance, then suspended and then cancelled."
rant1 )
Similarly, this whole shake-up to weed out 'lazy' students
In his statement yesterday Prime Minister John Key said there were "increasingly urgent problems" in tertiary education, pointing to low-quality courses and students who were lazy or studied year after year without going into the workforce.
"We will also take a careful look at the policy settings around student support to ensure that taxpayers' generosity is not being exploited by those who refuse to take their tertiary studies seriously or who show little inclination to transition from tertiary training into work."
rant2 )
Finally and completely different, I wouldn't normally talk about internet dating sites but this Christchurch startup (Stuff article) falls into both the 'that's a new take' and 'why didn't someone think of that sooner' categories, and that amuses me. The idea is that since people are pretty crap at writing about themselves, you have to get a friend to write your profile. The url given in the article is actually buggered, try, not .com.
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
Slander and Unity: the year online in Indonesia
In 2009 the number of Facebook users in Indonesia grew 1500% to over 14 million. This article chronicles some of the things they achieved along the way.

via Simon Grigg at Public Address
marsden_online: (Default)
$136.73 = 115.66 + 21.07 : current plan 
          (phone + digital cable TV w. movies + 4Mbs/10G internet)
$116.90 : drop cable TV, upgrade internet to 10Mbs/20G
 ------  : subtract

$ 19.03 : cheaper
$ 23.60 = 2.95 x 8 : the cost of 8G of extra data above cap at current 
          rate (normally spend 5-8G, being careful. Used 10 last month)
 ------ : add

$ 42.63 : approx amount actually saving
$  2.95 : cost per G of extra data
 ------ : divide, round down

G 14 (14.45) : extra G that amount will purchase

$146.90 : upgrade internet to 10Mbs/40G (+20G), xs data in 2G increments
$116.90 : 10Mbs/20G
 ------ : subtract

$ 30.00 : cost of upgrade (still saving $12.63 on current spend) 
$  2.95 : cost per G of extra data 
 ------ : divide, round down
G 10 (10.17) : regular excess over 20G cap at which it becomes more 
          cost-effective to upgrade again than continue paying for 
          extra data monthly
marsden_online: (Maniac)
Not the complete Herald title (slashes), but funnier in a sick sort of way. I'm left wondering whether someone at the Herald is clueless, or has the right sense of humour. , or the original,

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist, said there was no good reason for them.

"Really, if you think about it, it doesn't need the //. I could have designed it not to have the //", The London Times reported.

He said he could not have predicted 30 years ago that the two small marks would cause so much annoyance.

"There you go, it seemed like a good idea at the time," he said.

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