free culture

day 21. thank you dries & Karlijn

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last night, i had the wonderful opportunity to dine with Dries Buytaert, founder of the drupal project. after a brief introduction to antwerp, we headed to his house where i had the lovely opportunity to meet and chat with Karlijn, Dries' lovely wife and a very expecting mother.

as we talked about life and our history growing up in rural communities, we delved deep into the concept of a world that can never forget. more frightening, we discussed society as producers of content and waxed about no longer having the ability to protect our intellectual property and privacy.

divided by corporations and government, the world that surrounds us is no longer free. monitored by corporation through our consumption, capitalized by our social networks, analyzed though our credit cards and buying clubs, and tracked by CCTV cameras, the modern world is facing a fundamental battle for freedom.

while one my say that google's "do no evil" policy is great, but it also brings back the concept of benevolent dictators. with no opportunity to click "remove" and with less opportunities for successful alternatives, we blindly produce content for corporations to thrive. from flickr, myspace, and google (just to name a few)... none of these companies would exist without our explicit consent.

as users, we also live in a world that can never forget. from the way-back-machine to search engine algorithms, our online identity is forever locked in locations we can not access. traded as a commodity, our identity is no longer human.

what are our options? ultimate transparency or fascism?

regardless, we are looking at world without privacy, and at worse a world with fractured identities.

as we move forward, how do we tell corporations that we want them to respect us as equals?

day 20. sleep the most valuble currency

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words can not describe the thanks i have for the hosts who have blessed me with their homes...

as i discovered on day 18, pushing hard moving from country to country at an early morning hour, not sleeping and eating sporadically doesn't bode well for mental acuteness. actually, it's a recipe for disaster. no really, it was a total disaster.

speaking of disasters, my ipod nano stopped behaving and i was forced to do a factory restore. in many ways, i was looking forward to this moment. now, i am now left with a handful of albums stored on my hard drive and ambient train contemplation.

first, let me say thank you to all of my hosts. if the rest of the trip allows me to cross paths with exceptional characters like these, then i think the world isn't too far off kilter.

in paris and out of the blue, Aurélien Tabard came to my rescue. he gave me keys to his uncle's vacant apartment, and aurélien's hospitality didn't stop there. as he cooked dinner on the first night, we discussed our displeasure of the current political march to the right and the inability for the left to act coheranetly.

though our personal history, we compared notes on activism and our frustration working within the confines of political systems. both of us agreed that the bickering has to stop and activists must diversify their work.

we both recognized the opportunities that lie within technology. if we are unable to capitalize on building a digital world as free as our physical world, we are doomed to confinement. as aurélien introduced me to his phd thesis, we analyzed the opportunities that exist in integrating technology with our day to day actions. we both agreed that our future should not compete with our day to day, but should enhance our day to day.

why seven topics...

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20070528.jpg This is a 21st century journey to the intersection of digital and organic communities. Communicating through a digital medium that has no borders, I want to share with you how this new world interacts.

Free culture. After a half-century of broadcast communications dictating the common perspective, people are now reconnecting—one-on-one, peer-to-peer, node-to-node—and proving that traditional copyright and patent restrictions need to be reformed to promote creativity.

Free and open-source software. Software should be a tool, like a shovel. With zero distribution cost, global, boundless open-source communities are competing in a world of co-opetition.

Couchsurfers and bloggers. People—from those who blog their souls to those who reserve their couch for strangers—are using technology to augment real-world relationships and bring modernism back to our post-modern world.

Barcamps, unconferences, meetups, and coworking. The online digi-world uses physical ad-hoc meetings to socialize, share, and advance ideas.

Agents of progressive social change. Inventors and concept peddlers—though not always leaders—change the way we think about the world through technology.

The environment. When we outsource jobs, we outsource pollution, waste, and other negative impacts of consumerism; we need to continue to use technology to educate the public on the true footprint of the products we use and lifestyles we choose.

Happenstance. Receiving a random e-mail, discovering a flickr profile, stumble-surfing across a facebook page, connecting in a café—the world grows smaller with every person we meet, and there is an art to discovering their stories.”

photo by charles hope

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episode 6: renegade craft fair

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Recorded: 17 June 2007
Locations: Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York City
Music: David Byrne - My Fair Lady - http://creativecommons.org/wired
Tags: McCarren Park Pool, Brooklyn, Williamsburg, Handmade Nation Documentary, renegade craft fair, etsy, clothing of the american mind, progressive fashions, my car spotter, knit-head, pretty in punk, alyce benevides, souldier, show your soul, caitlin phillips, rebound designs, indie craft documentary, handmade nation

About:
some where between 90 degrees fahrenheit to 100 kelvin, i stepped out of my house and hopped down the street to see what wears the renegade craft fair had on display. with no money in my pocket, i scoured the vendors looking for the one desirable item i could not part. after about the third hour, i found it! nuzzled away in the far back, sat souldier. after a long discussion, i selected my materials and found a decorative strap for my camera. for the rest of the day, i bounced from booth to booth, in an attempt to fight off a dreary hangover and a the god of hades.

through the heat, i discovered that there is a documentary of the D.I.Y. craft community. while i originally intended this piece to wax poetic about how craft and free culture are intertwined... what i wanted to say has already been said. instead, i'm going to point you to Handmade Nation. (youtube clip, etsy page)

"the renegade craft fair is a unique diy event organized by sue blatt + kathleen habbley. when this event began in 2003, there was nothing else like it. we took up crafts as a hobby after college and decided to try selling our stuff in local fairs. to our surprise, no events were catering to the burgeoning diy craft community or even prohibited crafts all together. so we thought of organizing a fair of our own that tapped into this movement and provided a laid back, fresh venue for artists and shoppers alike." from the renegade craft fair website.

Episode 5 - May First / People Link

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Recorded: 17 May 2007
Locations: Sunset Park, Brooklyn, New York City
Tags: aMay First / People Link, Open Source, Activism, US Social Forum, Organizing, Brooklyn, Unconfrences
Music: "now get busy" - beastie boys - http://creativecommons.org/wired/

About: buried in the heart of sunset park, exists a worker run collective providing technology support to New York City nonprofits, ranging from designing web sites to fixing networks. growing from humble roots in 1995, this grassroots collective's primary work is to pool, improve and enhance the needs of the social justice community.

last month, i had the pleasure to visit with jamie and dan to discuss may first people link and some of the work they are coordinating for the the US Social Forum.

thoughts on glowlab's session

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i have enormous amount of gratitude to all who helped assemble last night's lab.session. christina ray and the whole glowlab crew unveiled a wonderful spread in an intimate setting. surround by the avant-garde, i couldn't have asked for a more magficicant room. after spending two days running through every conceivable slide, comment and potential conversation piece, last night's q & a session took me down an unusual path. in someways, it emboldened some thoughts, destroyed others, and created a more welcoming mental space. thank you pernod and michael~david vineyards for the social lubrication.

thank you all who attended, as my first public presentation i was scared shitless. between the droplets of rain, i feared the worse. in solace, my friend, lucia rollow, told me every would be fine. little did she know that this marauding conversation would lead into the wee hours of the morning. fueled by rich beverages, delightful caramel cheese and my nervous energy, i could haven't have asked for a more comfortable space to discuss the shackles of this project.

if i start to think about the path and the intersections of people, places and things, there is no better place than to think of than the internet. as an intersection of all the minor things to the mainstay of the global economy, we have transcended a point in time where exposure is a business. as i pondered about the best question last evening, i once again balanced the age old question "what is the balance of living your life online?" like any relationship, you voluetnarly provide information to others. in a relationship, devoid of one particular person, we find our self in a global outpour of thoughts and emotional reason.

we now find that this global outpour is commerce. a very successful commerce. these outputs of human emotion now sustain a multi-billion dollar industry. as every year progresses and new tools allow for easy convergence between thought and dissemination.

as i spoke at liberty, i began to wonder how did we enter into a time warp. my bedroom presentation, only took 20 mins... yet, when i stood in front of 20 friends and strangers, i stumbled onto a path. a path that marauded into a never ending combination of statements. oh how, twisted it seemed to cross the point of no return and take something so simple and make it completely convoluted. in hindsight, those in attendance could not have offered more welcoming thoughts and questions. i am truly in debited to those of you who attended and saw past the sweat and awkward phrasing.

for who where not fortunate enough to sit through the three hour long event, you missed me maturing 30 slides into a 40 min presentation. blinded by the projector, first i outlined seven explorers (don quixote, snoopy, le petite prince, christopher columbus, neil armstrong, my grandparents, my parents). then, i moved into a point by point walk through of the project. cursing my tongue-tied presentation, i concluded with hour and a half long question and answer session.

as this morning's hours floated by, i continued to ponder the confinement of exploratory topics. as i desire to be free and explore those things around the world that are free, yes, i can see how some may consider these topics as confinement. at the same time, i see them as a palette to paint. i take this journey from a first person perspective confined to the limitation that is my own mind.

but i do not see them as limitations. i see a canvass. while i am using a similar technique employed by many, i am subverting myspace as my central point of conversation. i refuse to use fully embrace the tools that are contrived and well worn by other explorers. i fundamentally feel that this project should show alternatives to the mainstay of myspace generation.

once from the couchsurfing "marketing" community and then again last night, people feel that this is "tightly marketed." i'm not sure to take it as a complement or as a dig. i personally feel that if it was successfully marketed, i would have all $7,777 and a line of sponsors out the door. though in the same vain as four eyed monsters who have been highly marketable, they too are in debt. (btw, if you sign up for an spout account, you can help mitigate their debt.)

in today's age with the notion that a single journalist has to be a camera operator, writer and editor, no longer do we have a single focal point for the journey. there are many viewpoints to perch. each one has it's own story. each one is it's own compendium of art forever referencing each other.

i agree with christina's that this is a "highly networked" project. i have thought over the evolution from an art project to a social media project to a digital anthropology exploration. the transition arose slowly, first from a social entrepreneur conference at harvard. then it took a new spur after podcamp. the idea of taking art, social art, holistic digital art, etc.. and melding it into a loose business plan isn't too farfetched. i wish there was more time focus directly on the work, but a fear of production, but more importantly, post-production looms over my head every morning, noon and night.

from that perspective, using modern marketing antics to change the world isn't a bad thing. hell, i think that more people should be thinking twice about the bill of goods that are blindly sold. we have a unique opportunity to change the world. if we don't find away to "sell" others a viable alternative we are doomed.

...and speaking of doomed perspectives, there were many questions that arose from the concept of failure. "what if this happens? what if that?? what if you go over budget? what if your bag is stolen? what if you don't make your brother's graduation? what if you take 8 months??"

well, i could quote bob dylan's visions of johanna - "Inside the museums, Infinity goes up on trial" but one thing is clear. what ever happens on the road, is part of the story. i think that is the true beauty of the story... being able to travel to the intersection of order and chaos is a magnificent thing. stepping into the unknown can never be learned from an FAQ. one must accept agility as your best friend.

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play a game and join the club!

"do you remember when things were really hummin' yeah let's twist again twistin' time is here!"

ah, how the words to that song always seem to twist me in the right direction. my good friends over at photogamer have a little twist to the game they've been playing. in celebration of spring, photogamer #6 says get out of the house and go someplace new and shoot five things (something tall, small, playful, something you are pointing toward, and the space above your head)... PLUS there's a bonus, "find the number 7 and take pictures of it!"

without a doubt, i'll be playing this weekend. will you?

this has been a good fundraising week, with $1,273.87 in the bank, which is a long way from $7,777.00. closing the fundraising gap is alone proving to be an interesting trip. rounding out this week, we have four new members have joined club 777! thank you so much!!!

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my twit on twitter

last night, eric, rachel, and amit had an impromptu-quasi-pannel about twitter. granted, twitter is currently the rage, but as some have stated that twitter is no different that dodgeball and others compare it to the early days of blogging/friendster/myspace.

in the pure basic terms, twitter is a novel approach to bridging the digital divide within technological devices. through a marriage of cell phone text messaging, instant messaging, desktop applications and a website. you have the power to choose, how, when, and whom can communicate with you.

why do you think john edwards is on twitter? if you have too many RSS feeds, then you monitor twitter for salient blog posts. if you have too many fickr contacts, then you wait until a friend posts something interesting from their photostream. if you're not into wading through the thicket of news sites, you subscribe to CNN, BBC or if you're interested in micro-loans you follow Kiva. like all new technologies, you can either be overwhelmed by information or think of how to harness information.

though there's one part of twitter that most people don't seem to discuss - simplicity through extensibility. with infinite possibilities, twitter in it self is a simple service. twitter would not exist if AIM and jabber did not have easy integration. the addiction to twitter would not exist if you could not get updates via your cell phone, instant messaging client, desktop application or on a website. conversely, twitter would not be popular if people didn't have an easy method to populate data into external systems. twitter would not be popular if they squelched their fandom and prevented people from discussing innovative ways to create via the twitter pbwiki, yahoo group, last.fm, IRC chat room, MoDaCo, or Flickr.

other bloggers may think they are cute by tying technology tools to UNIX commands, but as novel technology tools are introduced or shall i say reintroduced, one must think of their origin from within the construct of society. nothing was created in a vacuum. to me it's clear that we are no longer about the customer. our new world is filled with constituents. sadly too many of us think these are new methods of inclusion. in reality, these are old methods of inclusion that we forgot were key to our values and success. never forget our path of humanity - open communication, competitive dialogue, open competition, teamwork and most importantly personal relationships.

maybe i'm wrong for looking at the constitution of applications and only seeing them as community empowering tools.

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the big news...

from austin to austria, i'm packing my bags and heading to sxsw.

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SXSW Interactive i'm packing my bags and heading to SXSW interactive. if you haven't heard of SXSW, it's kinda a Mecca for technologist, programmers, and anyone who's into socializing with notables who like to party. i'm going to promote a few things i've learned, learn a few more things that i don't know, talk incessantly about of on the luck of seven project, hang out with some friends, catch up with old friends at Barcamp Austin, and figure out a thing or two about life.

last year, i learned quite a few things... most of them too personal to tell here (it might make it in my book), but this year... i feel things are different. i'm not sure why, other than i'm 100% more adventuresome and well... i've got a nifty little vlog project! also, if you haven't noticed, for the month of march, i'm vloging every 7 days. on 14 march, my next video will be sent from austria.

YUP! on monday, i'm departing austin and spending a day in the air to attend a salzburg seminar - The New Information Networks: Challenges and Opportunities for Business, Governments, and Media. once on the ground, i'll be moderating a roundtable entitled: Participation, Community, Governance and be on the roundtable Communication, Networks, and Political Impacts. i'm really stoked to be in the same arena as yochai benkler, viktor mayer-schonberger, kenneth cukier, and jo twist.

in the meantime, i'm changing my fundraising tune and for the next three weeks will attempt to rase $2222.00. i'm not sure how i'm going to accomplish this step, but one thing is for sure... if i don't push to rase $2222.00, i'm not going to make my fundraising goals. if you can't donate money, give me a suggestion on were to go or what to see and whom to visit or interview.

well.. if you're looking for me, check out my twitter and my conferenceer profile, otherwise i'll see you around AUSTIN!


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20 mins to change your perception on technology

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ekk, i know i should have had my notes from Harvard sooner, but after an hour long delay at Logan and then I mistakenly ended up on an E train with a sever personality disorder. finally, i ended up in brooklyn at three am. ugh, after an 8 hour nap, i woke to find laurent, the badass organizer of lift, had uploaded Ben Cerveny's presentation. instead of pruning and grooming my notes, i sat down and penned my conscious thoughts of Ben's metaphors...

20 mins to change your perception on technology

WOOT, tomorrow, you'll get another video!

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live blogging at doors of perception!

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alexandra sonsino, friend, fellow lift 06 attendant and canadian citizen, has found her way to delhi for doors of perception 9. over at tasty thinking, food for thought and thoughts about food, alex and Dave Chiu are live blogging and have captured some interesting notes...

Hannu Niemien, Nokia - "The one planet economy will one day look like the internet. We will be able to have personal windmills and be able to sell the excess back to the network, its an internet-like energy architecture. Music delivery allows a direct link between the consumer and the producer of music and micro-networks get organized and bypass structures that exist now."

However nothing can replace face 2 face comms and even if we have the greatest communications, we still travel more and more instead of less. The perception hasn't been changing and we don’t see any good reason why we should not travel. Are the environment challenges enough to change this? "

Debra Solomon, artist, who's talking about "editable" architecture projects.

Sanjeez Shankar & John Vijay Abraham - Udipi, family run restaurants, where for 15 rupess you get all the rice and locally grown vegetables you can eat. Not to mention, the wait staff are all "freelancers" who get housing and food as part of their agreement to work.

André Viljoen, architect, researching urban farms in Cuba.

Naresh Narasimhan, the future of sewage?

Jimmy Wales, "Participatory: we should bring together W with other partnerships with trust networks to the problem of serach. Any propritary system limits the debate and we need to find new ways to find ways to search on the internet."

Alex Shaffen, "Everything needs to change. We inherited a broken future. We are living in the middle of an ecological nightmare. It’s affecting our everyday life. We’re stetching nature to the limit. We are now on global overshoot."

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more important than money; the nypd limits your freedom

what's more absurd than having the President demand the placement of political appointees behind every door in Washington?

how about allowing the police department decide what constitutes free speech? how about making a ruling so vague that they can "enforce" the law, while yelling out "let's decide it in court?"

absurd, yes... reality, YES! believe it or not the NYPD does not like your freedom to assemble. to the NYPD's brass, your impediment of cars is not just troublesome, but you threaten the lives of everyone. yes, your ability to congregate and speak freely constitutes a threat!

Tomorrow, we rally! On the steps of One Police Plaza, we will gather and demand our freedom. Join us at noon??

CIVIL LIBERTIES ADVOCATES SPEAK OUT AGAINST NEW ASSEMBLY RULES, CITY COUNCILMEMBER MENDEZ VOWS TO REVERSE NYPD RULE CHANGE

Contact: Mark Taylor, Assemble for Rights Campaign (646) 338-5643 info(a/t)a4rnyc.org

What: Rally to Resist NYPD's New Public Gathering Rules

Who: Civil liberties organizations, City Councilmembers, bicycling advocates

Where: One Police Plaza

When: Wednesday, Jan. 31, 12:00 noon

LOWER MANHATTAN - Community groups including Transportation Alternatives, civil liberties advocates including Norman Siegel, and members of New York City Council including Rosie Mendez will rally on Wednesday, Jan. 31, at 12:00 noon outside One Police Plaza to protest New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly's most recent attempt to chill the exercise of free speech and gatherings in public places. On Friday Jan. 26, the NYPD promulgated new rules dictating when and by whom parade permits must be obtained.

City Councilmember Rosie Mendez promises to overturn these rules in City Council. Ms. Mendez stated: "I believe that the NYPD 's continued attempt to regulate our free speech is unnecessary and continues to infringe on our First Amendment rights…. permits should not be conditioned on an unreasonable and arbitrary number and they should definitely not be required by groups who stay within the limits of the law." Ms. Mendez continued: "I vow to work with my council colleagues to protect First Amendment assembly rights and reverse the NYPD's amendment."

Citizens and civil rights advocates from across New York City call on the City Council to exercise oversight of the NYPD. Police Commissioner Kelly should not be the arbiter of when and where people can gather on streets to voice their grievance, particularly considering that, at times, those grievance concern NYPD. Assemble For Rights coalition asserts that only New York City Council, as the elected representatives of the people, possess the authority to make laws affecting our civil rights. NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman echoed this position: "changes to our city's permit laws should be made by the City Council, not the police department."

These new NYPD rules, modifications of rules NYPD sought in August but met with fierce opposition, require that any public gathering by a group of 50 or more obtain a permit. Furthermore, groups of pedestrians and cyclists must apply for permits even if the group is in full compliance with all traffic laws. Anyone without a permit is now subject to arrest. Publishing the new rules means NYPD can begin enforcing them as of Feb. 25.

Section 1 a. of the newly published rules says: "A 'parade is any procession or race which consists of a recognizable group of 50 or more pedestrians, vehicles, bicycles, or other devices move by human power, or ridden or herded animals proceeding together upon any public street or roadway."

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bre and brooklyn hillary culture hack nyc

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right at the end of last last year, i was randomly introduced to an unbelievable personality - Bre Pettis. as a former teacher, Bre is known for his delightful humor, ability to build things, and wacky antics. sure enough, Bre arrived here in nyc refusing to deal with another seattle winter, yet only experience new york city for a month. as is the story with many who come to "visit" new york, once Bre started exploring... well, needless to say he's coming back in three weeks!

over the weekend, Bre and Brooklyn Hillary did a bit of culture hacking. check out Charles' blip clip. using the rastorbator software, they blew up self portraits and took them around town. if you're in the area of 11 spring street, check out their work! in the meantime, Brooklyn Hillary is raising money to purchase a new camera. Check out her chipin campaign, and help a fellow brooklynite purchase a new camera.







photo in post used with permission by bre pettis


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open access & a weekend of sevens (recap)

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on the search of sevens - 30 thanks to michael nutt, heather parker and whurley for their contributions to the flickr group! i love them all! YO thank you! i'd like to thank the following donors for their contributions this weekend!

  • Christopher Erin
  • Elana Shneyer
  • Michael Nutt
  • Sid Sowder
  • Lucas Peterson

speaking about weekend stuff, i thought about myspace - not just the website, but also the overwhelming amount of data we all see. saturday afternoon, i had the opportunity to meet up with freeculture.org's summit on open access at NYU. many kudos to the organizers for lining up the three best speakers. in summary, open access is the belief that access to digital scholarly material should be free.

since 2002's Budapest Open Access Initiative over 200 organizations have subscribed to the belief that data like information needs to be free. logically, one would think that scientists want to share information and findings. yet, the real power of science is held in the hands of ever decreasing number of science journals.

as the number of publications have decreased, the walled gardens grow larger and more obscure. Jennifer Mclennan of the scholarly publishing and academic resources coalition (SPARC) made the first astounding statement. through surveys, the average cost of science journals have increased in price by 200%! libraries can not keep purchasing journals at this inflated price, and therefore start limiting the avenues people can use for research.

Gavin Yamey of Public library of Science presented next, and not in so many words said that we are under monopolistic conditions with Thompson Scientific controlling the rating system that determines how grants and government funds are distributed. low and behold, his organization, PLoS, is a non-profit open source journal. their studies have proven that being open is not only fruitful for new discoveries, but openness allows for more citations and therefore more exposure.

finally, we were blessed John Wilbanks of Science Commons. John's slide show was the lease dense with facts and figures. he could have done his presentation on a white board with fancy colored markers. nonetheless, it was great. John's argument rolls out the following formula... science is data. data can be structured, checked and digitalized. once digitalized, it can be turned into code. once as code, it can be processed for arguments and VOLA, made into something else. why should science be codified?

if you took every scientific paper written about the b13 gene in the past six months, and started reading a paper a day. it would take you SIX YEARS TO READ THEM ALL!!! yes, six years for six months worth of publishing.

he then when on to show a bunch of cool pictures of things that are totally over my head. these far out contraptions of programmed bacteria and other things, John concluded that we must find a new common ground for science. with my brain on the verge of exploding, my buddy, michael and i departed for SOHO and Chinatown to snap pictures of sevens.

on the search of sevens - 62 then later that night, i met up with lovable, huggable, vlogable - Bre Prettis of Make magazine. some how i worked my way into an itty bitty venue aptly named, the monkey, to see modal kombat. btw, if you've ever wondered what it's like to play nintendo with musical instruments, you must catch these guys. for about an hour, the duo of modal kombat played pong, mortal kombat and concluded with mario kart (the original). if there was an emotion for "hang loose" hand sign, i'd insert it here.

afterward, we met up with charles for some "blip'in" conversations and arguments of how the world's new left is emerging. which really got me thinking of myspace, the social networking site. if you are an activist like me and you've ever consider using the groups functionality on myspace, forget about it. it sucks, flickr, facebook, hell even couchsurfing has better functionality.

yesterday, i was in a meeting with a bunch of progressive publications, and as we discussed the nature of communicating with subscribers, we brought up social networks. across the table, jason das said "we use it as a bumper sticker." which got me thinking to all the organizations who use profiles instead of groups - drinking liberally, theburg.tv, and the million and one other orgs - myspace never considered groups to be a focus... and after further poking around... why in the hell do we continue to use such a piss poor product? so without futher ado, click here to friend "Luck of Seven" on myspace.

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on the luck of seven was an open-source, around the world project by noel hidalgo, a new york city based activist, organizer, barcamper and coworker.

for seven months, he traversed the globe. using a new media voodo (blog, vlog, wiki, flickr, couchsurfing, twitter, myspace, dopplr, and facebook), noneck harnessed the collective knowledge of the internet, and report on seven topics of freedom. this trip was funded by 253 people and supported, house, fed, and loved by countless others.

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