in the grand scheme of things i've realized that no longer am i working on just a series of integrated topics, but an eco-system of systems and values. before i start tripping over myself in post-calvinesque arguments (i am in geneva till saturday), i'm struggling to iron out the complete landscape that sits beneath (or behind) the past seven months. for now let's call this an re-introduction to the luck of seven.
not only have i decided that i'll parlay the past seven months into a new media experience (children's book, a vlog reboot and movie), but i now understand the seven topics to be the basis of a strategic framework. when i first wrote down the seven topic, i had this notion that i was setting out to document the best of the best of our new world. if there was ever a cataclysm, we could use this framework to rebuild society. now more than ever, i see that this notion is not too far fetched from those ideals, but need to be crystalized into a yummy chocolate bunny for the masses.
first you'll need to understand that this is an eco-system. as established from the Wealth of Networks, this network has revolutionized all methods of production. we are sitting within the new age of mechanization. the highly organized world of central nodes are struggling to keep up with the ever adaptable biological structure called humanity. last year at this time, my brain imploded when i heard ben cerveny give a presentation on metaphors. at last year's LIFT 07, he linked technological metaphors to biological systems. one year later with several more books in my head and thousands of kilometers beneath my feet, i have a hard time seeing metaphors. i see we create networked systems in attempt to mimic the biological systems we are... granted this is a viewpoint from a high vantage point, this is the beginning of it all.
welcome to my / our new world.
as i've tried to explain countless times this is not just a basic networked system but a system of systems of systems upon systems. i know a few people are trying to ground this system in trust, kharma, love, lust, id, etc... and i have yet to discover the core of why people self subscribe to this society. maybe it is the fact that in this age you can be whom ever you want. not in the simple context that we can change our bodies, but in the fact we can adapt our brain to systems that are expressive to our own identities.
wither it's drupal or joomla, or myspace or facebook, we cling to the notion of brands because they are labels of culture we know. as far as i know brands will always exist... brands extrude reputation. how is this central to my argument? well in this world we can create any brand we want. if we know how to have a conversation, phrase an argument and use the digital / social tools; we can build anything we want... the idealist world we dream is at our finger tips.
how do these networks operate in the real space? are online values and systems transferable to the physical world?
the past seven months have not only been a journey around the world, but a journey into the internet. a journey i thought one could ever take. from one email to another, i came to the realization that my conversations things connected me through the internet. they connected me to the medium of the world.
now there are many more questions than i have answers. i can only proclaim what i've seen. i can only tell you what has happened to me and what i've touched with my own two hands...
what i have seen is a system built on the idea that the world is a free place. the world is not to be abused, robbed, raped, or pillaged... granted these things happen but in the end that is not the central activity of the world. there is giving, there is taking. there is a free and open exchange of knowledge. not everyone is willing to give up the same information that someone else has, but in the general context of things, most individuals will offer assistance when asked. sometimes, they'll give more assistance than nesscary.
when connected to an information network, the cost of entry to a global conversation diminishes. yet these acts of selflessness, greed or pride amass an unprecedented amount of knowledge and participation... this is the world we are in now. you can easily find the world's knowledge at the click of a button. wether it is right or wrong is a whole nother question, but it's there.
the more that we toyed with these spaces the more we found out that we can bring these ideas "offline" and into the physical space. egalitarian notions of software was just the beginning. from email to blogs the democratizing of information drove us to the point where we no longer needed someone to tell us how we can participate in the conversation.
if you look at the explosive growth of freelancers (some can be considered outsourcers, or out-sorcerers), you will see nothing more than an the democratizing of work. this work has always existed, this has always been the central tenet of industrialization. yet in the 21st century, this has spread forth across the globe and evolved into a multitude of ideas unheard of several years ago, BUT that doesn't mean that these elements of culture didn't exist before hand... they have always existed. some were too expensive (multimedia production); others were too obscure to discover (couchsurfing.com / global freeloaders).
when it comes to information, the merchants who raised great sums to bring us the best of the silk road no longer are needed. as the past ten years have taught us, the networks between us all shrink infinitely when we reach out. albeit it is still a costly investment, the new silk road is assessable to more. from electricity, to hardware, to communications infrastructure, to education... we are slowly whittling down the cost of access. once on the road, or as it was one called "the information super highway" we are privy to the world's infinite connections of enlightenment.
when it comes to the physical, many have realized we are no longer are we willing to deal with the limitations of a world dictated to us. if we can freely converse online, who is to limit our ability to organize physically? if we have the ability to build online, we are freely able to build upon other's words for the betterment of our collective knowledge, goods and services. for the past seven months i've been blessed to freely exchange ideas, content and build physical structures were the net benefit is the sum of all of its parts.
the world online is no more online than it is an offline activity. for the past five years i've been privy to a front seat exploration of politics, policy and products are free to change and grow as we see fit. incredibly we've openly recognized that we can not exist in an online only environment. some of us call it jelly, coworking, foocamp, unconfrences, barcamp, mashpits, meetups, devhouses, saturday houses, workshops, clubs, etc...
more and more we are coming together to physically represent the world we see online. if there isn't a physical representation, we dust off obscure solutions or build replacements for a world once dominated by a heroical structure dominated by others.
we have the power. we are the future. without a doubt, the world today is dominated by freedom. freedom to move from one system or another... from one workshop to another... from one conversation to another... from online to offline... it is now up to us to perpetuate the love of knowledge into an eternity of wisdom.
this is the wealth of networks. this is the luck of seven. we are the starfish generation!
(click on your favorite unfocused smile to see more photos from my time in houston. the back story to this photo is fairly remarkable. i walked into the Brazilian consulate and discovered that i had forgotten my headshots. with a point to the closest CVS over a mile and a half away, i knew that i'd never make it there and back before the visa window would close. as a buckeye, i knew microcenter as one of the first computer super stores to have fully functional products on display. located two blocks from the consulate, it was serendipity. with a quick "hello, i'm a geek traveling around the world..." mike from the printer section "demonstrated" the printer's ability to print out photos. in less than 15 mins, i was back at the console. THANK YOU MY GEEK BUDDY! YOUR RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS SAVED MY ASS!)
today marks my fourth day in houston, tx and i already feel at home. i must thank erica o'grady, matthew wettergreen, michelle calabretta, patrick and christina kwiatkowski and the mike from microcenter. like a long distance runner, i can feel the weight of every step. i know that this run, no matter how long i'd like to extend it, must end; ever step brings me closer to the finish line. yet, somewhere over the oceans of humanity, i know what i've set out to accomplish will never end. the final jaunt between houston and new york lies the sprint of a lifetime.
while my houston adventure is shaping to involve debauchery, religious, intellectual, artistic, spiritual, social and technological adventures... my psychosis is carefully balanced between the fine line of editing 15 hours of footage and planning out the last two exploratory months.
it's important to note that the next few steps are extremely important. while my travel funds are running on fumes, i still need to balance the acquisition of tickets with the need of cash to pay for these tickets. after much research and soul searching, there are two goals i must achieve
- visit antarctica
- interview the largest open source community in south america (aka brazil)
i'm tossing in argentina for a bunch of historical, logistical, political, and coworking reasons. if you're in buenos aries, you now have a coworking facility to visit - check out Cowork Central. i know i'll be looking forward to my time.
the following is a sampling of events and/or interviews i'm looking to achieve.
Dec 15th - Jan 11, Ushwaia, Argentina
- start my hitch hike to antarctica
- christmas and new years at the bottom of the world
- interview couchsurfers
Jan 12, Buenos Aries, Argentina
- back for a night / layover
Jan 13 - 27, Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Andre Avorio, barcamp & open source evangelist.
- citizen journalists
- potentially mozy on over to brazilla or Rio to interview a bunch of government officials / business owners who use open source. (i still need contacts!!!)
Jan 28, Buenos Aries, Argentina
- one last night in Buenos Aries / layover
Jan 29, New York City, USA
- arrive in my home city and couch surf for a week before traveling to an undisclosed location to present my findings.
if you know of someone who has a couch to spare, shoot me a line...
if you're in any one of these areas and would like to meet up. please, contact me...
if you know of any cool organizations that would augment this global documentary, shoot me a line...
if you have access to a government official or educators who promote open source, hook me up...
i need to find some market statistics on the amount of capital based on the use of open source software. i can't seem to recall any particular statistic, but if my guestimication is correct, the world is pawned by open source. as i journey further down the rabbit hole, i can't help but to think of the digital ecology that surround this trip. i can't stop thinking about the alternative economy that we have built.
for now, i'm going to address the ecology of things and research later the market statistics...
there is one person who i can thank. while mr. meyers and i stayed up late chatting about the world, some english movie writer bloke inquired about the two stoic americans sitting at the hotel's gas fireplace sippin brews. after a bit of introduction, the tall overly intoxicated english bloke said this project was ALL wrong. now i'm paraphrasing what he said but it went something like... "arrrr matie, these fish scales don't add up... yarr, ecosystem is the wrong term..."
i asked him why, and he couldn't retort...
ok, so i know it's a bit freaky to think about computers as a part in our "organic" world, but stick with me for a second here... if we think about what we put into our bodies, do we ever really think about the converse?
do we think how our bodies are put into tools?
for the sake of the argument, i'm going to write some proofs. first, we use tools to make things. therefore, these tools became a conduit for the creation of a physical organic object. (this might be an overly materialist perspective, but i'll eventually find a master theory) almost every object we have in our possession creates some-type of emotion. just think of all the nicknacks you have in your house. better yet, think of your cubical on a monday morning. what type of emotions do they invoke?
well, in today's world, the digital tools we have at hand also have the same ability to create a similar emotion. these tools do not always create physical things, but the things we create still invoke emotion. while i've been on the road, any personal email revives the thought that someone cares about me. every comment proves that someone is reading my babble. while i might be a million miles away, these messages invoke emotional responces. i am tied to my friends THROUGH the tools at hand.
these tools also help us connect efficiently. just imagine if this trip would have been done 20 years ago. email, wikipedia, flickr, facebook - all nonexistent.
now that we've efficiently connected our mental communication, i still see our desire for physical connection. not to say that the physical connection is any more efficient, but we are discovering new pathways of physical communication efficiency. just take a look at meetup.com, care2.org, any one of the leading american presidential candidates... these all have multiple digital tools bring individuals together to make a physical organic meeting blossom.
yet, time and time again, i find people disassociating the value of the "technological" tool. many do not see it as an out growth of an organic being. if i was to talk about prosthetics, medicine, automobiles, gps, etc... it's easy to see how technology helps connect us. yet, many find it hard to see digital tools are elements of our organic being.
as my life's journey has taken me here and there, it took me awhile to fully understand why... it seems that we are too soon to adopt "geek" speak as branding and disassociate the product from society. maybe it's our inherent distrust of advertisement, or maybe it's our inherent buy-in? in the end, it seems that we disassociate the tool from it's utility. "this is not a cell phone. this is an iphone. it is a revolutionary device!"
no longer can i disassociate the use of technology from it's heritage of connecting people. through greenpeace's green my apple campaign, i've become acutely aware of the harm our digital tools can produce. at the same time, i see digital tools as an extension of the hammer, shovel and plow. regardless of marketing, the digital tools are here and they are extend our environment. through the seven topics, i am now acutely aware of a peer to peer ecosystem that seeks to coexist within a broadcast ecosystem.
as contributions continue to trickle in, i find my self in total awe. my friends (known and unknown) have installed a new version of "core." i have profuse thanks for michael meyers, cto of nowpublic.com, for hosting me in his hotel room and proving to be one amazing friend. without michael, i would have been one hungry mo-fo... many thanks to alex, boris, rolando, eric, and brian for bailing out a "brudda from a different mudda." my trip to vangroovy couldn't have happened without your help. THANK YOU!
as you might know, i've been twitter'n my inner most thoughts. instead of cluttering up the public space, i'm letting loose on the private space. so far, it seems that some readers have left and others have picked up the trail... as this journey unfolds, twitter is truly beholden to the best (#2) and the worst of this trip.
despite the fact i had no money in my checking account, a few days ago i tweeted a problem with my ATM card. within a few hours, i received a facebook msg from, ruby on rails evangelist / developer and nyc buddy, jeffrey ng.
apparently, the gang at eastmedia (which jeffry is a founder) was wondering "WTF" was going on with the message... i was honest and told him that i had run out money and about to start a sponsorship drive. low and behold, east media has decided to contribute $500 to the journey.
so, to the right you'll now see a little east media logo... if you're in nyc and happen to cross their paths, look them up. they are really good people.
btw, there's an anonymous donor who will be contributing $1000 for production. does anyone else think that that is fucking amazing!!! also, i'm in discussion with a few "community" based sites who are interested in contributing funds...
Technorati Tags: east
Recoded: 4 Sept 2007
Locations: cairo & giza, Egypt; sharjar, UAE
Tags: eglug, pyramids, cairo, Alaa Abd El Fateh, open source, kifaya
Music: Cirrus reborn (dalia mix) by jaspertine and Animal by dgeis (both from ccMixer.org
About: after attending the Egyptian Linux User Group install fest, on my last two days in cairo, i pinned down with alaa (globalvoices interview) for a 40 min Q & A. here's just a few mins of the ELUG install fest, Alaa, my trip to the pyramids and the coast line of UAE.
as i check my global feeds, you should note the following...
- BarCamp Bangkok (google group) is kicking off! (good luck sugree and kenggg)
- kenggg i too miss you!
- tactical tech is hiring for three positions - Director of Operations, Business Development Lead, Communications Coordinator - if i wasn't on this blasted (joking) road trip, i would apply for the business development lead just to roll the dice.
- Open Source Initiative is also hiring! they need a spankin' programs manager to build up OSI's capacity and turn it into a rock star organization.
- thursday, ubuntu gutsy is released and the sydney linux users group has invited me to party with them.
- my friend zadi sent me (via twitter) sent me a "right brain v. left brain" test. not only does the test seem to short circuit my brain, but i'm disturbed by the attention to "detail." maybe my attention to detail is short circuiting the test...
- if you're in australia and if you have an old computer in your closet, consider donating it to IT Share.
- in sad news for all you 'creekers, Brian Jones, class of 96 member, passed away. my thoughts go out to his family. if you're looking for more info on his wake/funeral arrangement get in touch with *kristy* on myspace
lastly, today is day #3 in the northern territory library and it is located in the territory's legislative building. doors open at 10 am. at your disposal, you will find an assortment of global newspapers, a few lonely planets and 10 - 12 computers for public use. if you want to use the computers, you better show up early! within an hour of opening, the schedule for every computer is booked. if you have your own laptop, show up, latch on to their open network and plug-into one of a million and one power outlets. oh did i tell you that the internet is wicked fast?
oh and it's my last day in darwin. now that i've spent a week in "civilization" i'm shocked at the stares and weird looks i get. for two months, i walked down numerous streets not thinking to bits about my hairstyle. now, everywhere i turn i get glances of disgust or comments of hate. it SUCKS to find "civilized" people so self conscious of others. it's a shame there they have nothing else to worry about.
for the past three months, i've been super diligent in making up an itinerary and following it. today, i screwed up. for some-reason, i didn't look at my flight details until it was too late. stuck in darwin two more days than i really want, i have many thoughts mulling an escape. conversely, i'm given much needed time to reflect. with my back up against the ocean, i have laid out a tight time table for my journey to adelaide, melbourne and sydney.
friday morning at 3 am i depart darwin; i arrive in adelaide at 6.30 am. upon touchdown, i am to trek to the central market, meet my friend jo, make fun of her, wish her a happy birthday and then get further instructions.
jo is also the second person who's meeting will span two continents (matan you were my first). jo and i first met in prague while she participated in TOL's New Media course. with the utmost joy, i get to spend the weekend celebrating her birthday and picking up where we left off... starring into the bottom of a glass.
with much sadness i am having to cancel my dinner plans with benbalbo.com and his coworkers. on monday, 15 October at 6.40 pm, i will arrive in melbourne via the Indian Pacific train. my hopes are to spend two nights catching face time with drupal enthusiasts, reconnecting with ben balbo and his peeps, ride trams snapping pictures of the notable street art and attempting to get a bite on the colonial tramcar restaurant.
on wednesday night (17 oct) at 20h i will depart via bus and spend the night driving to sydney.
with aspirations of a glorious sunset on camera, i will arrive at 8.30 in the morning. with 36 hours to gallivant through the sights, i am looking forward to getting the inescapable photo of the opera house. before i depart on the 20th, i am hoping to meet as many geeks as possible, have dinner with a bunch of bloggers, play a little AD/CD kerroke and visit the national maritime museum or the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Recoded: aug 2007
Locations: istanbul, turkey; amman, jordan; the israel/jordan border; jerusislam, tel aviv, jaffa, israel
Tags: august penguin day, dotan mazor, matan kaminer, eldad brin, the dome of the rock, jerusialm, hair cut
Music: The City Awakes by stefsax and Revolve by His Boy Elroy
About: on my way through the middle-east, i found my self in isreal with a real hankering for falafel and in a desperate need of a haircut... i hope you enjoy!
THANK YOU: dotan mazor, matan kaminer, dana gordon, iddo dror, adylin luckle, ...and the family of luckles..., eldad brin, shachar shemesh, the person who invented falafel, judas, the romans, moses, mohammed, jesus, mary, mom & dad
with a dirty collar, slight taint of unshoweredness, and a backlog of stories to tell, photos to upload and episodes to publish, i've arrived at opencraft with omar. regardless of the outstanding bills of the day, today will be MAGICAL. here in cairo we will talk about drupal tuning, LAMP stack, linux, apache, MySQL, PHP, and most importantly the Drupal API.
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?
Recoded: 24 July 2007
Locations: Paris, France
Tags: documentary, coworking, barcamp, activist, paris, france, technology, luck of seven
Music: On the Carousel - The Hollies
About: Christophe Aguiton, Orange / France Telecom labs, lays out the plans for future coworking software. he also articulates why coworking and barcamps are so important to the nature of production and the protection of society.
Recoded: 20 July 2007
Locations: Angel, London; Brighton, England
Tags: erider, tactical technology collective, luck of seven, documentary, citizen journalism, hacktivism, non-profits, open source
Music: random band at moo.com party
About: on the worst possible day to travel, i decided it would be a smart idea to travel from london to brighton. with the tube flooded, freeway and surface trains submerged, i arrived in brighton a few hours later than expected. despite nature's attempt to thwart my meeting, dirk slater and i spent the afternoon talking about technology, hacktivism and non-profits.
Tactical Technology Collective
GRO Case Study
Circuit Rider - the global eRider community
Tech Rider Email list - http://npogroups.org/lists/info/riders-tech
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.
Recoded: 17 July 2007
Locations: Berlin, Germany
Tags: coworking, travel, berlin, twittervision, dave troy, travis todd, popvox, growvotes
Music: a little boy playing the accordion, background music within coffee shop
About: while on my global hunt, i popped over to visit my friends will and sue. for two months, they are honeymooning and taking in the sites, sounds and joyful company of friends.
while i was in their company, i scheduled a few interviews. this particular interview was from travis j. todd (growvotes) and dave troy (twittervision, popvox) where we discussed everything under the sun. a thinthasied version of my thoughts can be found here.
check out more information on locations for freelancers, independents, and free thinkers, check out http://wiki.coworking.info