Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

Archive for November, 2004

Release 1.0 / Fresh Produce / Comment RE: What Money Buys

Posted by shannonclark on November 30, 2004

Release 1.0 / Fresh Produce / Comment RE: What Money Buys

My comment is up at Release1.0. Take a look – feedback/reactions welcome.

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An Ongoing, Erratic Diary – Advice to writers in MFA programs

Posted by shannonclark on November 30, 2004

An Ongoing, Erratic Diary

My friend Mary Anne (recently now Dr. Mohanraj having successfully defended her PhD earlier this month) writes some great advice to anyone who is in an MFA or PhD program in creative writing. Her advice I think is likely also relevant to any writer who is not in a formal program (though such writers, like myself, are unlikely to finish a book or set of short stories in as compressed a timeframe as writers in a formal program).

Mary Anne sold her PhD thesis collection of short stories, along with a novel to follow on the same characters, to Harper Collins for a very good contract. She does have the advantage over average academics of having an already established “name” – she’s had a journal on the web since 1994 (making her online journal one of the very first “blogs”) and has previously edited books which sold out multiple printings and did very well.

So, if you are reading this and are or are considering becoming an MFA or PhD student, go and read her advice.

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At Renaissance Weekend – email may be down

Posted by shannonclark on November 24, 2004

A quick blog post – am at Renaissance Weekend (which is off the record, so nothing here about what other people say, though I may post a bit about what I say/do if I get a chance).

My email at JigZaw may be down at the moment – if you read this, have emailed me, and have not gotten a reply by later this weekend – try commenting here or emailing me at meshforum.org.

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Jeremy Wagstaff’s LOOSE wire: The Price Of Sleep: 70 Cents A Minute

Posted by shannonclark on November 23, 2004

Jeremy Wagstaff’s LOOSE wire: The Price Of Sleep: 70 Cents A Minute

I posted a short comment on sleep pods – interesting idea, not sure I would pay it, but there have certainly been days when I would have considered it.

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Summation: Brown belt and black shoes — why fashion is stupid and makes no sense

Posted by shannonclark on November 23, 2004

Summation: Brown belt and black shoes — why fashion is stupid and makes no sense

I posted the following comment on Auren Huffman’s blog about fashion, ties, design, and grammar online:

Well a few thoughts.

– “fashion” in the sense of the latest,
seasonal “in” stuff is indeed fairly foolish. But “fashion” in the sense of high
quality, comfortable clothes that fit well – that’s not foolish at all.
Seperately from how it effects how others perceive you – for me, at least, it
effects how I deal with the world. When I am in a t-shirt from a tradeshow, worn
blue jeans, scuffed shoes, and a worn coat – I project a more casual, less
serious air to the world.

In contrast, when I am in a pair of pants that
fit, are well made, and clean, an interesting yet well fitting shirt, perhaps
with a nice sweater or a good jacket, polished shoes, and a clean outercoat – I
project an air of confidence and comfort that changes how I deal with others. It
can be a subtle thing – but by reducing minor aggrevations (slightly scratchy
fabrics, shirts that don’t quite fit right, etc – there is less negative and
more positive surrounding me as I deal with the world.

I have clothes
that range from Italian designer to thrift store specials – when I spend the
time to care a bit about how I appear, it follows me into the rest of my
interactions that day.

Likewise, with respect to grammar and spelling –
especially online – I find it can be a proxy for context and seriousness of the
interaction. Casual, hurried interactions with little (usually) thought given to
them tend to also be full of grammar and spelling errors (SMS messages being the
perhaps worst case of this, though it might be argued that they are evolving
into communications in a new, pidgin language)

In contrast, a well
thought out and edited email or long-form blog post/webpage shows a different
level of focus and attention than the majority of blog or email communications.
This extra step communicates to me a greater investment in the communication –
and hence in the interaction.

For example – if someone sends me a
request to forward an introduction via a service such as LinkedIn or Spoke that
is full of spelling or grammar errors (or is even just to casual for the type of
communication) I tend to refuse to forward it for the very reason that the
communication appears unprofessional.

In contrast, a well written,
clearly written, concise email, even from someone I know only loosely is much
more likley to get read and acted upon – as their attention to detail is
telling.

My first screen in any mail or email I get is often right on
the addressing of the communication – anything sent to me as “Ms. Clark” or
“Mrs. Clark” is immediately significently negatively viewed (I am male –
something that anyone who meets me or spends a little time looking me up online
should easily be able to determine). It takes a great deal to get past that
initial gaffe should it be made.

If you think of Fashion as being
related to Design – perhaps you can also rethink its seemingly lack of purpose.
Good, classic, well fitting clothes do serve purposes – they employ various
tricks to hide/emphasize different aspects of the wearer. They change how the
wearer stands, sits, perhaps walks – all of which then, in turn, change how he
(or she) interacts with the world around them.

In part this may be a
West Coast vs. Midwest thing – here in the midwest, clothing besides being
comfortable/covering is also often functional. In the winter, especially, layers
offer great protection from the elements.

Shannon

(my rule of
thumb for ties – I try to wear only ties that random strangers on the street
might stop me and remark “cool tie” – that is a piece of clothing that goes
beyond “working” with my suit to commanding positive attention – usually works
pretty well, though it can be hard to find ties that fit this some years,
especially the past few)

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Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger

Posted by shannonclark on November 22, 2004

Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger

I commented on Scoble’s post on ClearType – very nice feaure I had not been using.

I tried the ClearType tuner on my laptop (IBM T40 running XP service pack 2) and found the process painless and effective – may do a bit more tweaking, but definitely an improvement which will be useful as I tend to spend well over 12 hours a day, often more, looking at this screen.
I didn’t download the downloadable tuner, so perhaps only that requires the CD and a reboot.

This is definitely the type of feature that should, but unfortunately is not, by natively installed and used whenever an LCD monitor is detected – definitely helpful.

Shannon

Shannon Clark 11/22/04; 6:34:11 PM

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At Holocaust Museum, Turning a Number Into a Name

Posted by shannonclark on November 21, 2004

The New York Times > International > Middle East > At Holocaust Museum, Turning a Number Into a Name(registration required)

Perspective is important. Somewhere in the lists at Yad Yashem are ancestors of mine, members of my family who remained in Europe while my immediate ancestors immigrated here to the US. Ancestors who should have lived. The roles may never be complete, too many people have died, too many died anonymously, but each were a mother a daughter a father a son, an uncle an aunt.

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UC DATA Home Page – Analysis of Election results in Florida for 2004

Posted by shannonclark on November 21, 2004

UC DATA Home Page

A scientific analysis of the voting results in Florida, which shows a statistical correlation between the use of electronic voting machines and gains in support for President Bush. I haven’t yet read the full paper or the data sets, but looks very worth looking at.

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FreshDB.com

Posted by shannonclark on November 20, 2004

A new site promising listings of what’s new around the web:FreshDB.com

Looks worth further reading/investigation/use.

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Rebirth of the Nation

Posted by shannonclark on November 19, 2004

This past evening (Thursday Nov 17th, 2004) my girlfriend Julia and I attended a performance by DJ Spooky of his remix of Birth of a Nation at the MCA here in Chicago.

First, the show itself. A fantastic mix of visual and audio, mixed in a live demonstration of DJ and “VJ” skill DJ Spooky reinterprets an important, yet very troublesome film (if you are not familiar with Birth of a Nation is a 3 hour epic silent movie film which combines phenomenal skill and visuals with propaganda for KKK.

What DJ Spooky does is a demonstration of what creativity and software and a modern sampling perspective can create – art that works on many, many levels – is visually compelling and great to listen to, but also full of influence from the improvisation of great Jazz.

If copyright laws were modernized (and not seemingly infinite in duration) more amazing examples like this could be created. I know that I, for one, would love to see what someone like DJ Spooky might do with a film such as Apocolypse Now.

A project I am trying to work on might help – though not, alas, with respect to movies, but if it goes well I may help add hundreds of gigabytes, perhaps more to the commons for creative use and reuse. It may not be 100% free of restictions, but hopefully it will be quite open to experimentation, reuse, and creativity. Further, there will be a compelling (I hope) economic envelope around the whole project – ensuring that not only can people use the content in creative ways, they can – perhaps – see those uses rewarded.

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