quick question, does your ISP/hosting provider have a blog? while you might wonder why it's important, check out network redux's rationale for starting up a blog...
This weblog serves several purposes for our community; an inside perspective into the operations underlying common dicussions and issues on our NOC List, behind the scenes discussion on the fundamentals of managing a web hosting company, and most importantly an open door of communication to our user base.
Founded in November, 2004 — we have noted substantial improvements in our service levels as a result of multi-channeled communication with our customer base. This has taken fold via our Network Operations List, our Community driven forums, and our Wiki style FAQ.
...and here's my advice...
i'm really glad to see that you guys are starting a blog. i hope that you take the time not just to discuss the technical operation, but i also hope that you talk about the grander issues that face small businesses, the environmental impact of running a server farm, and the government regulation impacting small business/ISP/hosting companies.
i look forward to hearing more from you guys and look forward to hearing the brain dribble.
network redux should also set up a twitter account to send out updates about server status, notes to this blog, and events/things you guys like!
many thanks for being so awesome!
ps - network redux is contributing their services and host luckofseven.com
it's not really your traditional sense of "coworking" but once i mentioned the idea to omar, he passed it along to his boss and thought it would be a great idea... if you haven't heard about coworking, that's alright... most people haven't... it's a variable meme popularized by the independent and freelancer community... after attending a few of Amit and Luke's Jelly NYC sessions, i fell in love with the idea and with the help of beka from Not an Alternative, we crafted a little space...
the community actually defines "Coworking [as] a movement to create cafe-like community/collaboration spaces for developers, writers and independents."
-= back to cairo =-
after breakfast at the cairo equivalent of denny's, omar and i set out in one of the cities illustrious cabs. winding thought the dusty petroleum clouds, i wondered what was next. when i walked though the doors of OpenCraft, i clearly knew i would no longer need to worry. after meeting abdel karim (aka Mardini), a majority of the business staff and a few members of the tech team - it seems that OC's tech team is just like the US, late risers ;) - i was quietly given their conference room and a cup of turkish café.
to be honest, i'm really blessed to be connected with this community. i guess i should tell you why...
well, my original contact has turned out to be quite unreliable and a bit of a flake... within that void, a part of the cairo technical/political/drupal community... we at least omar, amr, khalid, alaa and manal have done what they can to help me find a place to sleep, locations for food and wifi, beers to drink, a quite location to work... and soon subjects to interview... and for that i'm completely and absolutely appreciative.
not only are they working hard promoting and exploring the world of open source, but they too are in a similar fight to find and protect the few remaining elements of freedom. amid a world of injustice, without a doubt, i know i am in the company of brothers and sisters...
PS - as i write this, i am encoding Dries' interview and see there is a new addition to the family!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
after a long slog emailing and coordinating this weeks activities. i got three wonderful phone calls.
the first came Alaa Abd El Fattah who promised to take me out drinking and throughly get me into trouble.
the second came from kareem el buckley who's promised to take me around cairo and show me the more sinful sites.
the third came from Omar Abdel Wahab, who works for OpenCraft a drupal development shop.
awesomely, omar and his friends/coworkers will host me for the rest of my time in cairo. too boot, Omar contacted his boss - Mardini, who in turn has opened up his office for me to produce episode 13. which is ironic because EP13 will be my interview with Dries, the founder of the drupal project.
actually i'd like to note, Khalid Baheyeldin made the call to Omar... which is perfect because they will be hosting a Drupal related workshop on saturday... AHHH.... can you feel the Drupal love?
it's been a month and a half since i left NYC and now i am in cairo!!
after a 15 hour bus ride from tel aviv, i have finally made it to africa. upon arrival and in the confines of the Sheraton Cairo business center, i discovered that i had no place to sleep. the super kind attendant, imat, hooked me up with an internet connection and offered a special hotel rate with the price tag of $260 USD. in all honesty, i thought about it... and decided to let my fingers to the walking.
twenty mins later, i discover a little hostel named Lialy. after a herroing taxi cab ride that ran three lights with one featuring a near head on collision, i "arrived" at 3am. with complete understanding of my situation, the midnight attendant shepherd me into freezing three bed room.
waking at 9am, i was presented with two options...
1. wait to see if a room is available.
2. make my own booking at another hostel.
in haste, and after looking at fellow blogger reviews, i have made arrangements at Meramees hostel but have also been told that there is no availably after tomorrow. so, if you are reading this and know someone in cairo... help a brudda out and have someone contact me via my american sim (+1.917.657.6999).
in the meantime, i'm going to find an egyptian sim, check into the meramees, find an internet connection and start pounding away in some IRC chat rooms.
well it appears that i have more night in the luxurious accommodations of midan talaat harb square. in a striking similarity to columbus circle in manhattan, cars, scooters, motorcycles, bicycle peddlers, street merchants, and pedestrians all vie for the right to pass. littered with parked cars, torn up sidewalks and air conditioning water droplets, the sidewalks wreak of mayhem.
there is one sad passing note that i should mention about the little hostel named lialy. when i went back to pick up my bags, the day attendant told me he now had a room for me. a little shocked, i told him that i already had found accommodations and that i would be moving on.
after already charging me a egyptian pound (EL) for one hour's worth of internet usage (25 US cents), he proceeded to ask for payment. despite the fact i had already paid him 50 EL (10 USD), he now wanted 150 EL (30 USD). full aware of this scam, i politely told him to check his records. after confirming my payment, he asked that i hurry up and clean my barely used room.
in the room, i was pleasantly surprised to discover the two other travelers whom i awoke at 3am. (btw, they also loved staying at the big apple hostel in istanbul.) in my departure i mentioned the small billing snafu, and they proceeded to tell me about another little shamble. apparently, while my roomies were eating their falafel breakfast, a group of three arrived. at 100 EL per person (twice the normal price), the three french started their negotiations to secure a room. after a few fleeting moments of delight, one of the day attendants noticed my roomies and ended negotiations.
note to fellow travelers in cairo, be armed with a big smile and distain for comical negoiations. don't be rude, but be prepared for the unexpected.
first - get a receipt!
two - once you have decided to move around, get to a hostel quickly. while many people might have great things to say about their experience, most of these places are on a first come first serve basis. while hostelworld.com really does not overtly tell you, the small deposit you are charged is just a shrewd formality for the possibility of a booking. hostels are not big chain hotels and are frequently owned and operated by a family or a few friends. things change at a moments notice.
three - always remember, get in good... get good service...
tomorrow, i head to egypt and cross into my third continent.
it's weird to think that tomorrow might bring some new delightful ray of enlightenment, but sadly it will bring 13 hours cramped into a bus. as i write these words, i have no clue where i will be staying, nor if my egypian contacts have gotten my messages about my arrival.
nonetheless, in true form, i've gone out and done something really crazy. i've shave my head, but kept my beard. it's not your normal thing to do before heading to a country that has a love/hate relationship with the country you are in... but as i set forth on this journey, no longer am i too concerned. i know my path is vague and the journey is just part of the process.
...and haircuts are just part of the process...
now, with adylin luckle, my host in isreal...
ps - it's been 15+ years since i've let a barber touch my head...
speaking of sanity, i called up the indian embassy in ciaro and they told me it take five days to process visas. so, knowing reality to be somewhat a figment of consciousness, i'm not worrying about my visa until i walk though a metal detector and finally sit down with someone.
if you are planning on doing something as insane as this venture. you have two options, one get an ambiguous visa while you are in the states, OR drop into the indian embassy in paris or london. both locations will expedite same day visas (or following day visas) if you are willing to pay twice the price.
despite these headaches, tomorrow i'm venturing into one of the craziest cities in the whole world. tomorrow, i'm heading to jerusalem...
don't misunderstand me. i'm calling the city crazy, not because of all of the religious zealots that flock annually... no, not because of them... i'm venturing to the "holy" city because it's one of the oldest cities in the world and the "old city" is smaller than a square mile.... oh and did i mention the all the small tiny streets?
oh and if that didn't wet your whistle, i'm looking forward to finding a bus to Bethlehem to experience this lovely "security fence." i really don't understand the whole thing... from my conversations with activist, matan kaminer, this issue is deeply rooted in economics.
from my conversations and terse research, the Ashkenazi jews have long oppressed the middle eastern jews and Palestinians (muslim and christian). let's not even get into the armenian and Moroccan side of things... 'cause, that really starts to blow my mind...
nonetheless, with a country that is the cradle to three of the world's largest religions... let alone, a town that is cradle to three of the world's largest religions... it's bound to be crazy. maybe i'm too secular. maybe i've long lost my faith in a specific religion, but one thing has emboldened my perspective from the past few days...
these "holy warriors" would love to have an iphone, ipod, imac, internet, youtube, air conditioning, power, clean water, transportation, education, the opportunity to travel and the ability to move freely. so many of the Israeli's whom i've come across live a comfortable middle class southern californian suburban lifestyle. from shopping mall to shopping mall, from strip mall to strip mall, from gas station to gas station... the modern israeli is no different than the community i was born into nor the midwestern community i grew up in.
hopefully, tomorrow i will get to see a different perspective.
(photo discovered on fejron's flickr feed but obviously stolen from somewhere else...)
perched in the arid land of zionist deliverance, i mull over the next few hoops. from these mounds of sand, i move southwest into the land of the pharaohs. all along the way i am perplexed by my next journey. after visiting the river nile, i am to venture onward to india.
like an impatient child, i neglected to pick up a visa in new york, and with less time to waist, i ran away from the visa services line in paris. now i am faced with a dilemma. relinquish my passport to a travel bureau, wait 10 days bouncing up and down in israel and miss an opportunity to visit the occupied territories, or i can venture onward to egypt, re-negotiate my travel plans, and hope that i am not detained more than necessary.
i should note that within this predicament there is a silver lining. my original departure would have shuttled my soul before the full moon. now with a vague statement of 10 days to process my visa, i will be in forced to capture my second full moon on my second continent. oh the pain and agony of watching a bright and beautiful moon amongst the company of random strangers.
i've finally got all of my photos from istanbul and the rest of my european journey on flickr.
as i'm out skipping around planning my journey to Cairo and india, check out the montage of images.
israel is one big metal detector. unshaven and caring a bag of electronic goods, i'm setting off alarms.
today, the shoe is on the other foot. for the next four hours, i'm attempting to understand hebrew and get hands on conversations with attendants of August Penguin 2007 - The Israeli Open Source Community Conference.
organized by the hamakor non-profit, the conversations today will present a brief synopsis of open source in israel and provide an opportunity for FLOSS members to mingle.
things to note...
- all presentations are in hebrew
- open wifi, but only in the lobby
- within the hall, most attendants did not bring laptops, and are concentrating on the presentation.
- the first speaker has mentioned DRM and DMCA 10 times... apparently in israel, they saw what was happening in the united states and thought it would be a good idea to replicate the DMCA.
- they are handing out fresh hebrew copies of open office and ubuntu
- did you know that five years ago, this event started when people needed to find a venue to watch a movie on open source.
- also, did you know that the state of israel funded the localization of open office into hebrew.
today's journey brought me through three countries, currencies, and languages; fifteen check points, six bag scans, five metal detectors, one air puff blowing device; six taxis and one bus.
luckily, i was greeted with open arms by adylin luckle, her family, and a feast of knish, hummus, cucumber, tomato and ice cream. ah, how wonderful it is to have a simple, healthy meal.
today, i venture into the unexpected.
from istanbul, i fly to amman jordan and hop on a bus to one of a handful border crossings into israel. while i could have taken a plane, my wit and fortune did not find a suitable route. after reading several other travelers entries, i do not fear the crossing nor the 6 hours or more to travel 50 miles across disputed territory.
after traveling through the west bank, i'll find my way through jerusalem to a train bound for tel aviv. by the days end, i will have traversed more security checkpoints in 24 hours than i've traversed in the past 34 days.
with my whole life wrapped around me in two bags, will i feel safe?
not one bit, i will always fear losing sight of my thoughts, dreams and tools. no dog, metal detector, security checkpoint, will make me feel safe in a world where the pursuit of liberty is masked in the search for next new phone, social tool, president, ipod, car, stove or relic.
freedom is not a tag. freedom is not a twittering digg or new application for you ponce over. freedom exists beyond the loose keys that sit beneath your fingers. freedom is what you find beyond the thunderdome most call the work place.
for the next few days, please take A photo and add it to the flickr group luck of seven and tag it "luck of seven."
the rule, you can only upload one image that best illustrates your perception of freedom. if you do not have a flickr account, point me to the URL or email me a copy of the photo...
see you in israel...
it's been 768 hours since i departed and it's time for a bit of reflection.
first and foremost, it's been grueling.
there are many ways to think of the situation. first, one can view this as work and prepare everyday with a schedule of productivity and think that you can accomplish what needs to be done. then once you start traveling, you start to realize that all those things are hog wash....
on the other hand, now that i've started this journey. i can quickly see how this trip can quickly turn into a whole nother realm. honestly, backpackers and fellow global travelers have some really funny stories to tell. but it's better creating those stories, than actually retelling someone else's. ;) AND that's a whole nother story all together!
...before coming to istanbul, i pushed my self hard to be the man of many feats. between interviews and late night conversations, i found my self blowing quite a few mental flat tires. needless to say, that's why i haven't uploaded an interview in a week... i needed a break from both...
since the meal to end all meals, i have tried diligently to reflect on the past month, and honestly there are thousands of stories that flow once . actually, there are thousands of words to describe every second that passes. i've been torn on how to lump it all in....
it also helps that i'm at a hostel and have been wetting my chops to impress the english speaking women... but that's not the point of this self reflection... speaking of self reflection, i've lost a few inches around the waist and my shoulders and back are taught as steel. (are you listing ladies?)
as i gear up for my next round of travels, i recognize productivity comes from being able to sit someplace quite and a working electrical outlet. then again, i've been thinking of ways to tell this story via video, but without having to go through so many interviews. maybe this is where i scream and ask for a producer, editor, and camera person...
during this contemplation period, i've been thinking about how to tell my story. just two nights ago, i realized that i have a wealth of on the road stories. shortly before the teeth get longer, or the faces get uglier, the mountains taller and the rivers wider...
...before all of that, i want to think of a ways to preserve the morsel of truth and honesty. i want to tell my story before it gets lost in the mundane of the world's bitching and moaning. more importantly, i want to tell you my story before i forget. i want to tell you a story that will not lead me to edit a 30 min interview into seven minuets.
so, how do i accomplish this?
for the next few weeks, i have four goals...
1. make, my stop overs longer. i'm estimating a week in each location.
2. more on the ground research into the areas and communities i visit.
3. relax and get 8 hours of proper sleep.
4. write more.
it's been two days since i've eaten a real meal. two nights ago, i headed out with hayal pozanti and her two friends, gokce and matan. after bouncing around from a street cafe, to an open air cafe, we climbed into an elevator to a roof top cafe for a taste of traditional turkish delights and anisette. covered in yogurt and rich sauces, we dinned in blissful content.
around 1am, we strung up our sails and departed to our abodes.
after a few hours of delightful dreams, i found my self in a place like none other. surround by unspeakable horror, i struggled to pull my self from the nightmare on elm street horror into the real world.
my eyes opened, my head swelled and my mouth filled. lucky, i was able to jimmy the door open, and rock my head toward what this hostel called a toilet. needless to say, you can put the rest together.
(warning, graphic content ahead... but like that night, if i don't get it out now... you might never make it to the plot...)
every thirty minutes or so, i found myself in another unpleasant world; desiring i was not shackled to a six room dorm room with five other unhappy, i managed to make it to the bathroom.
after the first hour, i howled every imaginable curse world and drank two liters of water.
after the second hour, i debated calling an ambulance and in between the dry heaves, munched four tablets of pepto and drank another liter of water.
during the third hour, i prayed, shat my pants and with all my might extruded the three or so liters that sat unpleasantly within my system.
somewhere among all those things. something worked. something unexplainable worked. for lack of a better term a miracle...
back in 1996, a similar incident happened, sans the alcohol part. for 48 hours, i convulsed in an american university dorm room. depleted of everything, i was rushed to the emergency room and placed under 24 hour supervision.
back in 1996, my father rushed from ohio to take care me...
alone. cold. rotting in hostel more apropo to a squat. i wondered what would take care of me this time...
one of the more interesting parts of this journey has been the discussion of faith. from the jewish quarter in prague, to a brief mash-up discussion on the streets of paris, to dries and an intimate conversation about baptism, to a punk rock bar in amsterdam drinking with three dutch jews and debating Mormonism, to openly debating religion in istanbul...
faith has become a current, but my faith does not have a title, name or singular belief. when i departed, i set out not knowing what i will find, but knowing what i will change me and embolden my faith....
... but if i was to discuss religion, what faith do i espouse?
... do i say i was a catholic, because my parents baptized me when i was born?
... am i mormon because i was raised in the mormon church and know it best?
... do i say i'm i a Buddhist, since i once studied it?
... i'm not just agnostic ...
BUT what i will say... faith comes in all different shapes and colors. don't be afraid of your passions, desires and most importantly your beliefs. refuse to take the world at it's face value... prove to yourself that mind is stronger than matter. if you want to change your world... take it by the horns and run!
i have landed prematurely in asia. originally, i thought my flight would take me into the airport on the european side, it seems my feet have wondered and have walked on asian soil.
fear not, my head lies comfortably on European soil. while the differences are minor in such a grand city as istanbul, i am now the furthest from my family, friends and what i once called home.
to be honest, what i just did was unbelievable... jumping from city to city/country to country every four days has destroyed me. it's hard to think about all the great conversations, stories, and situations by moving from one to the next.
i now hope that i can splice together a story line that is truly representative of all that i've seen.
as i sit in the cafe of my istanbul youth hostel, i know this trip wouldn't have been possible without all the great hosts and more importantly the last two great hosts, andy smith from jaiku & Nadya Peek in amsterdam and Joshua Kauffman & Gwen in eindoven. andy and nadya gave me spare keys and a huge bed to dream of a better world. joshua and gwen gave me a spectacular dinner that charged my mind and body.
one of the most unexpected benefits from this trip is seeing so many great couples. from will and sue, alex and matt, dries and karlijin, andy and nadya, joshua and gwen... i am in total awe of their love and affection, and their generosity in giving me a humble home for me lay my head.