Thursday, December 31, 2009


My friend John lent me a fantastic game for the Nintendo DS - scribblenauts. And I am now listening to a podcast on the making of scribblenauts via Kotaku.

What is scribblenauts and why does it deserve its own blog post?
Scribblenauts is a puzzle game. At each level there is a star buried in a landscape - and the players goal is to type in words like, apple, jackhammer, time machine, in order to get to the star. So for example the star is beyond a plane inhabited by brown bears - what do you do. Type in 'steak' and throw it to the bears - then pass through the field while the bears eat the steak.

There are multiple solutions to any puzzle - for example - I could type helicopter and fly over the bears. You get additional points for creating less items and for using ingenious solutions.

There is a database of about 20000 words from apple to centerfuge. The work that went into this game and the fact that it is successful is absolutely mind boggling - and the fact that it is an engaging, addictive game is nuts.

What I imagine is going on is that each landscape feature has a certain set of attributes and each word has an effect on a certain set of attributes. So for example, a bear, has hunger of 5, movement of 3, and vision or 5. If you throw an apple with hunger of 2 then you have to use something else, perhaps a skateboard of movement 2. An apple will not satisfy all the bear's hunger, so you need to use another tool - a piece of meat however with hunger of 5 will completely satisfy the bear allowing you to progress with ease. Does this make any sense?

Anyway, loved the podcast! I discovered that scribblenauts is often used as an educational game. On the podcast, there was an insane story about a little 5 year old boy who learned how to write by playing scribblenauts. He would carry around a book with all of the possible scribblenaut objects and use different combinations to complete levels.
I now want to check out drawn to life.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thoughts on Pictures

I have dusted off my point and shoot in an attempt to populate my blog with more photos. To inspire myself I visited fffound this morning and, mirabile dictu, I was actually inspired. Really I was inspired by this photo of angels painting people before they are born - or that is at least what I saw. The artist, Jeremy Enecio - check out his blog - he is super talented= seemed to have other intentions. The name of the jpg is "albinopaint." When I was in college I knew a guy who wrote his senior thesis on the names of art works. Today we don't have names we have file names - and those file names actually have performative value - a file name is an actual index to the work (or a representation of the work) - not some sort of arbitrary linguistic reference.

Anyway albino paint! I love this picture because I immediately started constructing a myth around it. You see - this painting depicts not albinos but the the period before you are born. Here the angels are coloring the people before birth, and fashioning their exterior qualities. I may write a short story about this. It brings to mind the chinese folk tale about the origin of the little indentation above your lip. The painting arouses all sorts of metaphysical/religious questions - where do we come from and why we look the way we do. This, I suppose is what a great painting or image is supposed to do - open up your mind. Most of the time we are bombarded by beautiful images that tell us what to think instead of asking us to create our own interpretations.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Opening of the Day

I am in the midst of going through old emails and returning to the git rapidsms hornet's nest - and decided to take a break and play some computer chess.

But Chess was depressing. Here I was thinking entering my middle game. Oooh I'm so clever pinning a bishop with my knights. Then out of left field - or B5 (to use funky chess notation) - the enemy queen swoops into my 2 rank (that is the rank with all the pawns).

I know I am a goner.

If the queen is in your pawn rank and you cannot take her out with a bishop or something then she will take all your pawns, and then your rook and then your soul (or just your king). I cant take the slaughter - and restart the game.

Ok this time I am black. I am going to mind-f@#$k the computer - even though the computer does not have a mind. I am going to mimic every move the computer makes until the endgame. The computer moves all the pawns to the 4th rank. The computer is a f#@$king idiot - I think. Perhaps my ELO (chess rating) has gone so low from forfeiting all my losing games - that the computer is on idiot level.

Now that I believe the computer believes that I suck at chess(which I do), I change my strategy. Ahh, I breath a sigh of relief. I dont have to go through all the permutations of every movie and can just play. Sadly again the queen swoops into my pawn row and takes what little pawns I have left - with my rook and has a very funky mating procedure with the knights.

I need to do something about sucking at chess. Perhaps I should play some people - maybe I can beat them. Sadly my online chess membership has lapsed. Instead I visit and look at the opening move of the day and the opening game of the day.

The opening of the day is something called the Caro Kann Defense Steinitz Variation. The salient feature seems to be - the knight in front of the king and opening black pawn at c6. Chessgames asks if I would like to play a game using this opening. Dont mind if I do - and I am swiftly knocked in the 2 rank by the queen - Sheesh. What the hell is the point of this opening - and after googling - I find some answers for the Caro Kann defense but not the steinitz variation. There is a little paper that promises to help me in my goal of maximum procrastination and increased knowledge of caro kann - " In Xanadu did caro kann...." It seems Caro-Kann helps black develop a good pawn structure without contesting the middle. It is an explanation that makes no sense outside the context of chess theory - which is a tangent to a footnote to a conversation between heraclitus and Parmenidies annoated by Whitehead. (and reminds me of all the Foucault and discourse I have been reading for a possible doc on the history of madness and the leather clad philosophers who write about it).

But really, why do I suck at chess? I am generally good at boardgames? I dont suck at chess, so much as I cannot crack it. I cannot game the chess game. In other games such as Settlers of Catan, hearts, or even backgammon - I feel that there are weaknesses that I can exploit.

What is this weakness? Chance. I can only play games with dice rolls, or handicaps- even if I am handicapped. I can only play games that involve luck or chance. And I think this is because I am able to work very well with incomplete information, and because chance invigorates rather than depresses me - even if chance deals me a bad hand. In chess, everything is manifest -there is no chance - and if you are playing the game because you hope your opponent messes up (chance) - you are playing incorrectly. I am constantly telling myself in games and in life "act dont react". In games of chance you are constantly reactingand perhaps I am a better reactor than an actor. (depresssing ?) I also think that once I make a strategy unless I am obviously disturbed by say the capture of a piece - I tend not to notice the other player's strategy and barrel through until the enemy's queen is bayonetting my little pawns.

The one thing I can do is beat computer chess on time - that is the computer uses up all its time trying to come up with moves. My strategy is to make good but convaluted moves that forces the computer to use many cpu cycles and search many nodes in its internal combinatorial chess graph to find the optimum next move. With this strategy - I believe I could become a grandmaster but only against a computer. This feels dishonest and cheating - it does not give you that chess pleasure of figuring out the right move - it does not make a you a clearer thinker. I can use this strategy against a computer, but not against a human. And lo the day when I am to be pitted against a human - his motherboard will not fry when confronted with a bizarro move - instead he will move his queen to my 2 rank and wonk my pawns on the head.

Maybe I should code some more - a strategy game where there is no opponent.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

List O things to do

1) merge adam's and evans git rapidsms repos into my 3 pronged repo
2) work on holistic dissection project
3) down load a copy of taxi driver, cut it and then export the xml file of the cuts to generate an editing template of the movie
4) Respond to Follow up emails
5) Continue work on O singularity
6) drink smoothie

Monday, November 30, 2009

Open Source Culture: Video Mashups

Why open source?
The most compelling reason is to paraphrase Newton - to see farther by standing on the shoulders of giants.
In software development, this means that I can, for example, use django to publish a content rich website, instead of writing my own web publishing software.
This sort of example though is not very powerful, after all you could make a similar claim about microsoft word.
The additional power comes from the release of the code behind the application.
1) From a pedogogical standpoint, I can look at successful and well architected open source projects and improve my own coding abilities
2) From a practical standpoint, if I think that I can improve say the data aggregation feature in django then I can contribute to the django source code (rather than wait for the team to get around to implementing this feature)

The economic model for open source software is consulting, if I am a large contributor to django then I can go out and assist people in implementing their django implementations. Write the software for free and charge on the maintenance fees so to speak.

Open source software is very compelling as a model to emulate probably because
1) I can use software that other people make and realize my software vision
2) Perhaps I dont have the time to build an entire software package myself, but I can still contribute to an open source product and thus satisfy my desire to be part of this creative/technical/whatever process

Now writers, filmmakers, artists, etc look to the open source and are interested in emulating some of these aspects
Say I want to use the music of miles davis as the soundtrack to an animation, or clips from taxi driver in a movie, or if i want to make an animation staring mickey mouse, or I want to use parts of a the fan man in my own novel about the east village (Walter Benjamin for example kept notebooks composed entirely of quotations from other books)
Why open source culture?
The pedogogical nature is apparent.
I want to make an animated movie but I want to using an existing character, or I want to learn how to edit rather than shoot, so I want to use some existing clips to make into a movie.
However from a creative standpoint - perhaps I want to respond to a particular work by using that particular work, or an aspect of that work (think of all art that uses mass market appropriation like Warhol's brillo boxes, or Richard Prince)

But what does it mean to open source a cultural artifact and how can you use a these cultural atoms to create a work of originality? What are the atoms of cultural that we need to isolate in order to talk about open source culture.
I'll first talk about filmmaking, since I have made some movies.

The building blocks of film is the footage, the assets. In an animation, you could also imagine the assets being a character as well as all the photoshop layers of different character parts that can be animated seperately.

However the building blocks of film is also the score, the dialogue, the script, and the editing timeline.

There is a difference between releasing all the assets in a 'hard day's night', and the wav file of the song 'a hard day's night'. In the case of audio - I can go in and cancel out certain notes and frequencies. I apply certain filters and actually turn the song into an entirely new song. With a clip of a hard day's night - I am in many ways bound to the baked clip unless I want to insert a green screened character or use another compositing technique (for example forrest gump meeting past presidents, or the old coke commercials combining living performers with deceased performers). Now, it is possible that I could take all the clips of say, 'The Shinning' and turn it into a romantic comedy, however I am stuck with the framing, the acting, the lighting, the cinematography of the original movie. It will always look like 'The Shinning' more than my remix 'Winter in the Old Hotel'. A video mashup looks much different from a musical mash up. A musical mashup can still be considered a song, most video mashups dont resemble a narrative.

Another building block of film is the editing timeline. This is an interesting aspect of filmmaking that people dont really look into when considering open source culture, but is another aspect that could be shared. The cutting, the pacing, and the types of cuts will be different for Hitchcock's Rope compared to Lucas' Star Wars. In addition to open sourcing assets, filmmakers could open source editing timelines. In final cut pro, for example, you can export your timeline as an xml document. The clips are referenced as filenames that can be replaced by any other clip. So I can upload the cutting of a film for other people to use in their own films.

Further to build on open source software collaboration is the notion of version control.
In an open source software I different people can build on different version of the same software, diverge for a time, and then recombine into a master version. There is a lineage to open source software. I can see the same thing taking place with open source culture, placing culture within a context, an artistic lineage.

I am going to explore this a bit more in a series of studies providing the editing framework for classic movies - stay tuned!
Also - please contribute comments, criticisms, and suggestions.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lost in programming translation

So today I am starting to follow up on some work that has piled up this week...

first up rapidsms on the malawi server. This has been a big issue because we switch ISPs, then I was unable to log on, then it seemed to be an issue with verizon fios (rather than malawi ISP), and now I am actually able to log in from my verizon fios - although we just lost internet.

also up is rapidsms clean up & easy install (setup tools)

For this integration testing I will probably use the
Cruise Control tool developed or adjusted by Jez
Humble. An example with some rapidsms forks is here

Seeing that this is a ruby tool has made me feel even worse about myself not using ruby, but really I dont have all the time in the world to develop on every platform known to man, and I have heard that ruby websites have some performance issues (thats just what I hear). So does python, but not as bad as ruby. Perl is best (really c is the best or assembler)- but it encourages idiosyncratic code. I sort of like to think of all these different programming languages as evolutions of natural language. For example perl (or perhaps assembler) is like egyptian heirogylphics - you need a specialized class of people (scribes) to read and write this language. Then eventually we get coptic (egyptian written in greek), and everyone can read and write it - it is like ruby - but perhaps you lose something in this.

Another analogy - different chinese transcriptions. There are different ways of connecting chinese sounds with the roman alphabet:for example Wade–Giles and Pinyin. Each system captures certain features of chinese, but neglects others, what you get in ease of use in using either system you loose in precision (of using the actual chinese)

Translation is hard

I also succumbed and picked up a git oreilly book. I am sick of scowering the web everytime I something unexpected happens during a merge, or push, or pull and I think I just need to cuddle up with a git book and a hot toddie. My current method of using git is rather sloppy and I would like to be sure and do everything the correct way as I start integrating the rapidsms apps/core etc.. More on version control another day.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Online Friendship

Should everyone be friends online?

One of my favorite talks at the IDF conference last week at the New School was Sean Cubitt's talk on the immateriality of labor panel. He mentioned friendship in relation to Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics (how there are different types of friendships -his example was between the artist and the patron). He contrasted this with friendship in online communities - where friendship is now commodified and 'has a history.' It becomes more akin to joining a guild or a society than becoming 'friends'. This online friendship is not Aristotle's friendship. But what is it?

First what is Aristotle's notion of friendship? (Book 4 Nichomachean Ethics).
Well the idea is, what good it is to have happiness and success if you have no friends to lavish gifts on, or friends to celebrate you. If you are unhappy friends give you support, if you are airing in your ethical conduct friends will shame you into acting correctly. Friendship is what binds you to society at large. It sort of presiages the panopticon. So how is this different from online friendship?

The main difference is transparency. Online friendship is not really the friendship between two people, but is more of a specticle - it is mediated friendship This is what we are really talking about. It is the impression of friendship and the acts of friendship in an open space so other 'friends' can see that you are friends with other people. This sort of relationship is mistakenly called friendships. Really it is more like social status. Now there is another measure to which people can be judged. With regards to money, position, and popularity.

As I get older I find Aristotle more and more interesting. This probably means that I am becoming more and more boring.
In any case, there are two points in Aristotle's Ethics that I think are applicable to the online community space.
1) Friendship - there are different kinds of friendships - not everyone can be friends in the same way,
2) Gifting - not everyone can bestow gifts (or rather not everyone ought to bestow gifts)

The gifting idea is more radical in a way - namely that the virtue of a gifter is in the size of the gift relative to his capacity to give it. So is it ethical for a journeyman programmer to 'gift' his code in an open source project. Or is it perhaps incorrect to think about open source as a gift economy. Rather the journeyman is paying his dues - in a guild type system - building up capital. Is open source programing really a gift economy. Am I giving a gift when I send someone a cow on facebook, or am I giving a gift when I share my photos? Am I giving a gift - or am I accruing social capital? What sort of transaction is this?

I used to like to say that Morgan Stanley (where I worked) operated on a gift economy. I would need something from the market data team and they would give it to me, even though they dont report to me, because I would give them a mexican interest rate model (for example). A gift though really is not something that should operate in an economy, but rather should be an end in itself, or rather for the glorification of the gift giver.

I suppose capitalism turns everything into a transaction. I dont know if this is good or bad - but it makes it difficult to produce heros in the classical greek sense.

This obviously needs to be fleshed out a bit - but it has already languished a week in my drafts folder so better blogged than nothing

Singularity Song

I finally was able to get pd-extended to run without crashing and so revisit the singularity song. I think that PD is the way to go other than csound, because with pd it is easier to play around with a composition. I am not sure what frequency I want my sine wave to be in. Tonight I was able to record some voice samples and play them in PD while applying various frequency modulations to them.

I used the B09.sampler.loop.smooth patch to get started and now how to figure out what all the objects are actually doing so I can do this myself.

The work flow for this song will be as follows:
1) Record individual words for sine wave lyric parts
2) figure out what phasor, cos, hip and *441 do - yes it has been that long since I've used PD
3) record gospel/spiritual section. This will probably be manipulated in an audio editing program rather can garage band. My plan is to adjust pitch and tambre and perhaps add some instruments.
4) Finally I will probably add some instrumentation or maybe just beats.

I really have to say that in testing out this song, I really think PD will be helpful not just as a performance tool but as a compositional tool - similar to the use of the piano as a compositional tool. Interactive music applications are not just for performance but for composition (real-time versus batch - csound is batch)
Can I write a script to play PD - probably using pymedia or osc. That is probably the ticket. PD is the instrument, the script, or program, is the score.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Notebook Regained (not really)

Last week, I tried to cram too much detriteous into my japanese school kid backpack - and my little black notebook fell out. I have tried to develop a zen detachment towards all things - atman/nahman - so this only urked me slightly. However, it led me to consider why I keep a notebook at all. I have kept a notebook rather consistently since graduating from college. I started out with these little spiral bound books, moved to composition books, moved to blue leatherette bound books, used some moleskins (which I seem to have an endless supply of since I people get this for me for my birthday - ps just get me nintendo ds games), some muji notebooks, and now have a large supply of free notebooks from conferences and training sessions, as well as personalized notebooks with my maiden name and Morgan Stanley (my old sugar daddy).

I keep the notebooks in a drawer and in a shelf above my desk, between mass market paperbacks about intergalactic social experiments, and anachronistic digital culture books. I rarely if ever look at these notebooks. These notebooks dont really contain anything terribly deep or legible - I cant spell and my writing looks like ancient Akkadian. So why do I keep my notebooks? I think I keep notebooks so that I can better remember what I write - or so that I can at least go through the process of differentiating somewhat thoughtful thoughts from the endless stream of bunk running through my head.

I further reconsidered journaling (or notebooking) when I read Dave Hickey's article
(I love Air Guitar) on Susan Sontag's redacted notebooks. He posits that Susan Sontag did not actually want her notebooks to be published. I forget why he said she kept notebooks in the first place - and I would go back and reference the on line article, but it is inaccessable unless you have a harper's subscription. I just read Paul V's paper bound copy.

Where am I now? My old notebook lost, my older notebooks potentially used with out a use and might as well be lost. Should I just stop journalling??? No... What I think I will now do is perhaps every now and again review my notes and post journal greatest hits to the blog. That way I can at least review what I attempted to remember and differentiate from my stream of consciousness. My new notebook is a spiral book reporters notebook that Paul gave me after I shamed him - saying that he actually did not use these notebooks (apparently he does).

Greatest Journal Hits Sunday November 14:
a list of things to do: guitar, kf, rapidsms & paper, actionscript for lian, iphone game thing, draw somthing (13bit 1-6), found Foucault Archaeology of Knowledge.
future list of things to do: get novel working on github, iPhone app a week, rack space, where did i put that singularity song i wrote?? it is in the back of a book but which book?
Thoughts o Moby Dick of Code: What is it about obesssion? Obsession with the code as a representation of the world, obession with endless refactoring? Who is obsessed? Be sure to include long boring passages (except to you) on different programming languages, paradigms, and operating systems, and the uses of whale blubber.

"Call me Ishmael??" What is this - he is an outsider?? he is illigit??
What should my protagonist be called?? What are the names of some of my favorite protagonists? Scout, Horse Badortes, Hmm How bout some favorite books? Red and the Black (Julian), Madame Bouvary (Charles/Emma), Man without Qualities (what was his name? Hans Castorp? No that was Magic Mountain (not a fan of Thomas Mann - hate to say it) Tin drum?? Ok Sci Fi? Canopus in Argus, The foundation (Elijah/Jezzibel). Ok that is it

My handle is Je33ibe1. Git novel
(Jezebel was Ahab's wife)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Internet as playground

Otto and I met Cindy Jeffers this morning and preceeded to the Internet as Playground conference at the new school. Basically it is about labor practices and the internet.

Most basic points are

- we are all exploited because companies mine our internet activities for profit making ventures. But are we being exploited??? Google provides me with blogger, a free tool, in turn, use blogger to post content and links that google can then use again to improve search, sell ads, or take over the world.

- virtual / reality - is virtual labor real?? what happens when people bring up the epistemological status of knowledge gained from the internet? If this knowledge is questionable, then how about digital work - is that questionable too? We need new standards of virtual truth - a socrates of virtual logic to combat virtual sophistry - an aristotle to outline the logical rules of virtual rhetoric.

-what are the economics of open source ?

other thoughts....

everything you do online is a commodity for some company ... companies that use this data are creating data derivatives

I am really enjoying the conference -and the twitter shadow conference.
I am playing the backchannel twitter game and totally want to game the system by tweeting my words. I think you can totally game this game.

Time to go to a talk on immaterial labor.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Safety Dance

13Bit may be embarking on yet another documentary - about yet an other forgotten artist. This one is Margie Beales - an improv artist in Manhattan's Tribeca. At first, Paul and I were skeptical about making another documentary like Lumia. But this will not be another lumia - hopefully more fast cheap and out of control. Once we met margie - we were sold. A 73 year old former improv dancer - with no formal improv training - is a true new york personality and a fantastic individual. Her personality is truly compelling. We started watching some of her dance videos from 30 years ago and just fell in love with the idea of a documentary or her, or on ny avant garde dance - or something like that.

I know nothing about dance. In fact, growing up I sort of despised dance as a pansy activity. However, I take Kung Fu, and many of the best Kung Fu students are dancers. So - I am gaining respect for dance. I have especially developed incredible respect for the ability of dancers to remember dance steps - Kung Fu steps are difficult enough to remember.

In order to learn about dance, I am immersing myself in dance literature, dance documentaries, and actual dances. Paul and I will also be speaking to dancers and choreographers. The research phase of a documentary is always a lot of fun. You learn about a new subject area as you grope around for the story.

I just finished The Art of Making Dances by Doris Humphrey and am about to embark on bios on Isadora Duncan and Ruth St Denis and Anna Halprin. But first - I am going to get a background history by reading Ballet and Modern Dance. Over the weekend I read Twyla Tharp's book on creativity. Normally, I shy away from books on the creative process - because really they all say the same thing. But I was curious about the creative process of a choreographer - and I do like her box method of organizing projects. I may try it - it sort of reminds me of the folders in 'getting things done'.

The sustainability doc is going well - we will start logging the footage probably next week - and are planning a field trip down the colorado river in the spring. We hope to be finished by the beginning of summer. The doc will probably be about water usage and water rights with the damming of the colorado and the subsequent poisoning of down river farms in mexico as a focal point. We will also probably discuss the different ways of looking at sustainability (where the footprint metrics come in)

We are almost done with a first cut of lakshmi - except for the motown act dream sequence - which we have rewritten to be a rap by Tia! our resident muse and robot lover. We plan to start sending Lakshmi out to festivals in January. We think it is a great counterpoint to the super slick wall street II.

Anyway - tonight Lian and I have our first opera of the season - House of the Dead - perhaps there will be some dancing

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Overwhelmed Overcame

I was a bit overwhelmed the last few days

I was at capacity and then my little puppy started limping- this sort of put me over capacity, made me angry, and in turn made me exceedingly grumpy and short tempered- which in turn led to more self-loathing and a vicious feedback loop.

Well - so what do you do when you are overwhelmed??? For me there are a few options

1) sleep, read, bury head in the sand. In general this is not a very desirable solution because you dont improve your state but in fact become more overwhelmed as things pile up - (duh!). Also not only that but your escape will be invaded by thoughts of all the things that you are not doing - making your sleep, reading,etc much less useful which brings me to step 2

2) stop multitasking -
for better or for worse I am a multitasking monster - I know most people are anti - multi tasking these are my thoughts on the matter
- you should do everything with utmost mindfullness and focus - most of the time - this actually leads to less stress and more productivity because
HOWEVER if you are learning something or trying to absorb something - i think total mindfulness and focus sometimes hurt me - I need to lull myself into a relaxed state where my unconscious is absorbing information, rather than my conscious self forcing me to focus. I suppose that during a state of mindfulness you should not be thinking about mindfulness and so maybe my multitasking paradoxically make me mindful. I dont know. What I like to think of is context switching and computer processes. A computer has many process running at a particular time - monitoring programs, internet connectivity (just to name a two). These tasks are not running at the same force, but if an event triggers a task, such as incoming email triggering your email application - then your email application will come to the fore. This is how I feel I multitask. There are a number of tasks going on in the background of my mind- many of which I am not (or try not) to be consciously aware of - unless something forces me to put that task in the forefront of my mind.

Multitasking it seems also aids my memory. For example, I generally program to lectures, podcasts and talk radio - not music. Programming for me a mindless activity. I know what I want to do before I start and then I let my unconscious take over and write the software. By simultaneously writing software and listening to talk radio - a strange phenomena occurs. I am able to recall code that I wrote while listening to certain bits of talk. It is a very visual sensation for me - like the code chuncks are lodged in a piece of text. I still remember some trade reconciliation code I wrote about 5 years ago that became lodged in a teri gross piece on Jane Fonda's autobiography 'my life'.

It is sort of like a memory palace I unconsciousnessly stick bits of code in audio recordings. My memory palace is talk radio..

But when I am overwhelmed, I need to stop multitasking - multitasking has the strange habit of making it seem like you have more to do - rather than help you do more in less time - so I stop trying to do it all at once .

3) I Make a list and a schedule. A list itemizes what I need to do - a schedule makes time for everything i need to do. This two acts externalize some of my feelings of stress that accompanies being overwhelmed. Slowly as you cross things off your list or proceed with your schedule you feel physical release. Being overwhelmed is a physical state as much as a mental state.

4) Include your daily habits in your schedule. I always include some music practice time into my schedule (either guitar keyboard or drums) although it is not actually helping you get anything done and feel less overwhelmed - it will make you feel happy and like a human being. other things I try and schedule for are workouts (a run or kung fu) and general inspiration time. In the morning - I always like to pick out some weird book I have and mull it over during coffee. Today I looked at Kites by David Pelham - about kite construction and the history of kites. I am not building a kite - and i rarely think about kites - that is why it is so much fun to pick up a book like this and skim it over coffee.

Note on the dog -
(I took him to the vet and he is on some meds. the limp is improving and hopefully he wont need surgury - phew)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

RapidSMS Docs Running Again

So, last night I finally fixed the rapidsms cron job - which had been offline for about 4 days -every since I updated the software that generates the documentation.

For the RapidSMS documentation we are using sphinx. If you google sphinx, you will come across a text search engine - this is not what we are using.

Why Sphinx?

Well, Django uses sphinx and RapidSMS is inspired by Django - so we decided to use Sphinx for RapidSMS. Sphinx is more like a documentation system than a documentation generator. It is quiet intensive to actually create the documentation. You need to write the tutorials and explicitly set the packages you want to generate documentation for. The autodoc generation from python packages is actually handled by a sphinx reference to docstrings.

So why use sphinx?? You have to learn a next markup (or markdown rather) syntax, and you need to type most the documentation anyway. Why not just use a wiki, or a blog, django, or latex :)

This is a good question?
There is something nice about the linking feature in sphinx - But I am not completely sold.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Early Evening with Otto and Lian

Lian is reading my last blog post and asking - when did you write this?? Was I up??

I have to say, too much of my time has been spent trying to manage my option trading - which took a big hit due to fslr tanking, and me not understanding how Interactive Brokers allocates margin requirements. I am still in the green, but it is a dim green, as opposed to last weeks neon green. Anyway this has taken up too much time from my other projects (like my yoga breathing iphone app inspired by a conversation I had last week with Jessica H.) Nov options expire next week at which point I am going to take a week off from the markets. I am only going to trade the last 2 weeks of expiry.

I am almost done reading 'The Temptation to Exist' and that is good because I just picked up Paul Farmer's Infections and Inequalities. The Temptation to Exist - I like Ciorian because he melancholic and world weary - like me - and so whenever he writes something I cannot help but say 'so true'. The one thing about Ciorian that I suppose mars many late 19th early 20th century thinkers is their confluence of metaphysics with race.

Today we talk about biology as destiny or not making biology destiny. For example, if I am a woman I should not be relegated to certain roles, or denied access to areas of work and study.
Back then it seems, race was destiny. So for example, the Jew (disclosure I was born to a jewish family) is ascribed all these sorts of pathologies or ways of being in the world on account of him being Jewish, a dessert nomad, members of a legislative religion, etc.

Ciorian spends a few essays discussing the modern world in relation to the Jew - this is sort of like discussing 'the noble savage' and it is sort of unfortunate that his thought has focused on such irrelevant bunk. Is this sort of inquiry really useful for philosophy, or is it some sort of observable art, a pseudo science - anthropology. And is it best engaged by an outsider (gentile in this case) or insider (jew) or both? What is the purpose of such a discourse? The most interesting thing is that this topic was worthy of serious philosophical discussion. I wonder what topics today will suffer the same fate of irrelevance?

But Ciorian, he makes thought provoking pronoucements. Thoughts like: poetry exists on the fringes of society and only an established culture can create a prose literature. I think this is worth exploring. Prose literature is about rules, methods, codified learnings, poetry is about ecstacy and unmmediated expression. Prose is mediated. High culture is mediated, high culture is anything an actual thing itself. It is an aggregate of acceptable culture - it does not exist without someone (a critic perhaps) creating it and labeling it.

Anyway I digress - I have to go fix the permissions on my rapidsms-documentation cron job - apparently it has been failing since I updated sphinx (the documentation system)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Late night with Otto and Lian

At the moment I am trying to spec out some next steps for rapidsms. I am focusing on a rapidSMS turn key solution - a one step process to install rapidsms (a sms gateway and web interface). What exactly should be installed by this one step process?

I keep using the dreaded W term - wizard. There are lots of wizard haters out there. To you wizard haters - please email me or leave comments - I have forgotten all the anti-wizard arguments.

Why a wizard??? With a wizard a non-programmers can customize a piece of software. I am thinking that perhaps we need a rapidSMS wizard for a rapidSMS easy install. That way users can specify what functionality they would like their rapidSMS deployment to have. The next question is, what in RapidSMS should be available for customization?

Some of the things I think that we need to work out is a way to specify SMS request and response. What messages map to what responses and is there a response flow. This is similar to the web application flow of many early app servers - like apache cocoon. Do people still use this? In the end, RapidSMS should have different modules that you can install for different purposes, an eHealth module, eCrisis, eBusiness... etc. I suppose FrontlineSMS does this with Frontline::Medic. I am not sure how intervention free we can make these modules, but ideally most of the business logic will be developed by engaging in field projects like the Malawi project this summer.

It would be nice to have a forms editor in rapidSMS so you can edit your SMS flow AND then it would be nice to have a HTML flow editor. Does this exist? Is there a GUI where you can edit the flow of your web application. I know this exists for mashups.

Ok now thinking about GUI editors. After the wizard process, where you specify what functionality you want, then you should get a list of sms keywords you need to implement. This means that we need to probably standardize the keyword functionality in rapidSMS. This can probably be implemented via the excellent keyword class that Adam (or Evan) wrote.
With your list of sms keywords you create a sort of flow chart or something similar to patch based programs like max/msp. You link the keywords with certain responses.

Finally, there should be a simple way to set up web reports, and email alerts....

Oooph - I just ran out of steam. I am really shot. I was at Kung Fu for about 4 hours and I cant turn my neck. Tomorrow I will blog more if I can turn my neck again.

My final thought - rapidsms apps need to have annotation to specify what parameters will be defined by wizards. I think this is the first time I have ever found a use for annotation in programming.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Montagenik has a new follower!

Welcome new follower to montagenik! At the moment I am responding to people who dm'd and tweeted me - and to some email back up... I also need to revise my options P/L sheet as I had to return some profits yesterday when the market suffered a little down swing. (This actually necessitated an early exit from the mHealth summit for me - so I could manage a margin warning. It is not as bad as it seems, but some options moved into the money and some some of out of the money options had big swings in Mark to market P/L that affected my margin. I will live to trade another day. go over to my super secret finance blog to read more...

On to saving the world. Thursday and Friday was the mHealth summit. It was an incredible opportunity to speak with people working in all areas of mHealth, from tracking smokers in the US to developing telescopic additions to phone cameras for telemedicine. The big question is, is in the developing world how to pay for this

better answers to questions - these are some questions that people asked that I gave half baked answers to - here are better answers

1)Why dont you use google sms... RapidSMS (or other roll your own gateway solutions) let you work in any country with any local telecom. I dont think I could have used google sms in Malawi. For us deployment google sms might be ideal. In the us, I have worked with celltrust for developing an SMS service for product validation (eg are you really drinking evian, tropicana, popov vodka). This is a paid service. I think using google sms is a viable solution though. I have no idea how well the service works, so I cannot speak to it. However, it is nice to be able to have your own sms gateway for testing and that is what rapidsms and frontlinesms lets you do.

2) What IVR solutions have you used. I could not think of anything because I was super shot and in SMS mode, but here are some IVR solutions I have worked with (not tried google yet).
some examples
ribbit - you have to use actionscript/flash/flex and/or do some wack AJAX work around

3) can you make money with this stuff?
For mhealth surveillance in the developing world - No.
However I do think there is a market for mHealth surveillance in the developed world. Say for example I want to collect data on a variety of vitals

I have to go take dog to vet - must respond to other questions later

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Montagenik goes to DC

As I was sitting outside Union station I gazed up at the symmetric of the neo-classical architecture of Union station (and really DC) - and I thought what an ambitious project the USA is. I hope it succeeds. In the blink of an eye I saw a sort of post apocalytptic DC with broken columns and sooty statues. But that was only in my minds eye, not in reality.

I made my way to the World Bank for drinks and mingling at the end of the mHealth policy sessions. Tomorrow is the NIH mHealth summit. I will be talking about some of the work that I did in Malawi. I am very excited to hear what other people are doing in the mobile health space. I just was speaking with someone about authenticating perscription drugs. He told me that 80% of drugs in Nigeria (or Lagos I forget) are counterfeit!!!! That is truly insane. Where is the inflection point, where can you do the most damage control. His company is working on a smart phone verification - similar to the Salta solution, Lian, Breu and I discussed a year and a half ago. However, his solution is a bit more elegant. Rather than a key solution, he just has a scratch off label with a secret code. Good idea!

When distributing bed nets in Nigeria (I think) there was a similar problem with supply chain management. Although, in this case, the problem is with missing bednets, not with counterfeit bednets. The solution is, that at each stage of the supply chain you log how many bednets you have. That way you can track where in the supply chain you are losing the most bed nets.

Now both of these, are social problem, or human problems, although we can use technology as a monitoring agent - to let us know when human processes go ary.

I was also recently reading up on microfinance. I am very interested in expanding mobile technology, and leveraging ecurrencies like mPesa, to set up microfinance, or microloan, operations, and using the social networking enabled by these technologies to build communities around collectives. Again, in my readings, the technology is not really a solution - it is an enabler, an extension of the senses. The technology is not a solution, rather we must get the correct processes in place to enable microfinance, and let technology extend our reach.

This may now sound like drivel. It is because I need to analyze my portfolio after today's apple and after hours fslr performance - ugh - I will be selling calls I think

Server Stuff

So I started migrating to rackspace. A server solution that uses cloud computing. The initial impetus was that I was disatisfied with the django and ruby solutions available for media temple (they are super expensive), and I cannot install various software packages that I want to use in my projects - like csound and pygame.

The potential for rackspace is huge. I get a server that I can install any software on for a minimum of 10 bucks a month. To put this in perspective, in order for me to run django on media temple I need to pay 20 bucks a month. AND I cant even install my own software or my own django server (for example if I want to use cherrypy or apache rather than their serving solution).

Mediatemple temple does let me have my own box for like 50-100 bucks a month -but I dont feel like forking over that sort of cash for a project that is not generating cashflow.

However, I did not realize that I would have to build EVERYTHING from scratch. This is very cool - but it means that it will take a bit longer than I anticipated to set everything up. And I am not a pro unix/web admin so - I really dont think I should be running anything but beta sites on this server (at first).

So... I will keep my media temple account - remove media temple django containers and move projects to media temple from rackspace as they leave beta. This means I will also do email hosting through mediatemple.

That is it!
This morning I am updating changprojects website, I am creating yet another blog - for chang projects - and I am waiting for my new changproject business cards to arrive - yippee

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Overpopulation and Kant

The moral imperative - adopt a maxim and if you can universalize this maxim -then it becomes a moral imperative. Something like that.

This was a thought I had over the weekend while admiring the architecture of Mies and Rem at IIT in Chicago.

procreation and the environment

basically the earth is suffering from a depletion of resources, perhaps we are procreating too much...

if i make it a moral imperative not to have children - i adopt it and everyone else will adopt it - then humanity will cease to exists.
So obviously this is not ethical according to Kant.

but if i have children, and so everyone has children- then we will have overpopulation - again bad .

Number. So we need to include numbers. it is not an either/or question but an amount question. How many children is it ethical for one person to have according to Kant's moral imperative.

Perhaps every person who wants can procreate 1 person - to keep population constant - or reduce it a bit.

This is one of the reasons we need to empower women in developing countries - educated women engage in family planning -
then we wont have to resort to Kant

Some links for the day:

Monday, October 26, 2009

In the cloud

Here I am with working while my boys sleep - Lian and Otto. I am broadening my musical horizons by listening to insound radio.
I am enjoying some Volcano Choir - which I just googled and is apparently according to Pitchfork side project of Justin Vernon (Bon Iver). I like Bon Iver - saw him/it in concert a few months ago. However I do think that indie music needs more of a spectacle - perhaps dancing robots?

Lian just woke up (because he set his alarm and it went off) and he told me to shut down my music! I am allowed no fun!

Well - Lian told me to shut everything down just in time, because mysql just finished installing on my cloud server. I really am not a fan of mysql. I prefer sqllite or just flat files. Relational database (and databases in general) are overused.

I hope I remember the password I set for mysql daemon... that reminds me - I think I need to install cron!!!
I have decided to run my webservers using cherrypy because apache is bloated. I am in the midst of installing sendmail - and I am considering hosting my mail in the cloud as well!

There really needs to be a lamp install script - just as amazon has EC2 instances with different defaults. It is a massive pain to try and remember all the basic lamp apps I need. I just had to install make for goodness sakes.

This evening I had a lovely Tai Chi class, and reconnected with EM Cioran on the subway to and fro TC (as well as some TC buddies who gave me day trading tips - thanks Riz - I cant use them on Lian's account tho - he has forbidden me from trading bank stocks)

I am loving EM Cioran - the Temptation to Exist. He is expressing all these end of empire thoughts about Europe that people are now expressing about America. The funny thing is that he thought the Tartars would win the cold war - oops.

What I find most interesting, aside from a number of quotable tidbits, is his discussion of the impossibility of a westerner to adopt eastern philosophy. The philosophy of Zen, the void, inaction. That inaction in the west is different from inaction in the east. Why - I am not sure - I am still reading the book after all - however it has something to do with the western conception of thinking and action. That all thoughts must lead to an action. Westerners are held captive my phenomena. (I like that thought) It also has something to do with protocol and civilization and rarification. I will update you all more when I finish reading The temptation to exist.

i am back on theory - next up -rereading Foucault the archaeology of things. I need to get back to the nexus of philosophy and anthropology.

Has it really been two days since I blogged?

I started monday by making a list - I made a list on paper and hope to transfer it to the internet - Remember the Milk. I would love to then display my remember the milk to do lists on my blog. I wonder if I can create a list app using the remember the milk api. I think RTM is super powerful and could become the list equivalent of twitter. But are people not into top 10 lists anymore.

in the absence of api list linking I will reproduce for you below my list of things to do today:

move to rackspace cloud hosting
set up twitter account for changprojects

start blogging at - I am hoping this will be a record of my trading activity
set up twitter account for quantitativebitch

take dog on log walk - need a new book to read while I chill with dog at band shell - I have decided to put down Ka - although poetic and interesting- I think it suffers from no editing .

Check up on Malawi RapidSMS stuff
Pull in Claude's Rapidsms documentation - and make sure cron runs properly - on the rackserver

Set up prelim wesbsite for changprojects - (the notes are in the end of my temptation to exist book - i think)

Look at Margie's dvds for dance documentary

set up github for fiction/novel project

continue work on inventory tracking project

Meet with adam clark

figure out when I am going to Morningside heights and see Jess and her baby then

email followup with people I have not followed up with.

Now we get into things I will probably not do today:

move doeraetweet to rackspace and set up csound
move blacklisttweet and other tweet app to rackspace
finish the singularity song on csound - figure out why pd sucks so much
perhaps write rapidsms h1n1 vaccination app
finish interactive brokers options scanner
finish logging footage for Naomi,Alyssa,Joelle,Meredith Barcelona

The good news is I have at least finished one thing for today! blogging at montagenik!
Maybe I will read poetry when I walk the dog today

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chicago (sang musically like sinatra)

I am writing this in Argo Tea shop in downtown chicago - the loop. I do love Chicago. In many ways it is less oppressive than new york. I am not on my A game this morning. Too much wine from wine parings that Lian and I had at Alinea last night. The molecular gastronomy was divine - and was payed for by my amazon puts - thank you amazon for making money this quarter.

This morning I awoke to a rapidsms documentation email. The current documentation is crap and a place holder. Claude, a rapidsms developer, wrote his own documentation. I hope he merges it with the github master so that my script pulls it and publishes it on the website.

Sometimes my anti social nature makes me wonder why I want to work on collaborative software projects - but then when someone like Claude comes along and does something useful, you see why.

Paul and I may embark on yet another doc - this will make 3 in the hopper. This one is partially inspired by Margaret Beals, an improv dancer and New York Character. I think we should do a podcast called New York Characters. Paul also had a brilliant idea - but I cannot reveal it here - it is too brilliant. But it is somewhat analogous to Balzac's Human Comedy. Margaret is a fantastic lady and real character - I have been watching some of her old improv dance dvds. That is fun. I know nothing about dance, I am not very kinetic or physical - but I would love to learn more.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Blog pileup

I have 3 half written blog posts for the past 3 days that I have not finished yet.

I blame jet lag and a cold or allergy or something.

But enough! Time to get on the bandwagon.

Last night I had a dream where I over and over again sang 'O Superman'. This is clearly a message from my subconscious to finish The Singularity Song. I was stymied when I attempted to map some words to a sinewave via PD and the PD on my ubuntu netbook kept crashing. Saturday night I got some good software/tech recs from John Chao and so I have renewed vigor. Either that or I will use csound. I dont know if there is a point to using PD rather than Csound other than PD has a nice interface and provides interaction. If I am just composing something do I need interaction? No I just need to compose it. However it would be nice to compose something that could be 'Played'. So PD is an instrument, you can play a song in different ways via the interactive patches. csound is more like a recording. It is baked, you play the same thing every time. To use the distinction in Carroll's philosophy of motion picture book, the first is a template, and the performance is are, the second is a token, and that is not art - its performance is not art. I think those are the terms.

Oh yum. Lian my glorious husband some brought in some coffee made via our very complex vacuum pressurized coffee machine. Yum again!

Now that I have got out of QID my options day trading is going very well - my main strategy is to sell over priced puts or to sell over priced covered calls. - So I am playing with vol(atility). Probably not wise considering the vix is low -but I can live with the risk.

Malawi finally got the ISP working, which is good news because I think the HIV/AIDS scouting team is going out next week. Today I am going to test out the system and hopefully the Ministry can go into the field and continue training next week.

I am also finishing my presentation deck for the mHealth summit next week and preparing for a trip to Chicago where I will celebrate Lian's birthday with some molecular gastronomy.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Flight of the Iron Condor

Although I am not suffering from sleep symptoms of jetlag, I am suffering from disorientation and crazy anxiety. For the first time since high school I am not receiving a steady paycheck - in return for sitting mindlessly at a desk. I feel like I should be working on my projects all the time, or improving my etrading strategy, or doing something similarly productive. However, our new puppy Otto is reminding me of Alan Watts and reminding me to just play. He likes to sit on my lap and alternatively sleep and try to eat my computer.

So, I am late on my deadline for slides for the mHealth event. I thought it was due Oct 20, but apparently it was due Oct 12. I am trying to extend the deadline, since I am still coming up with the changprojects branding - and i am not sure changprojects is the right name - because people keep calling it changeprojects (probably because you cant spell change without chang :)

I am in the midsts of setting up some spreadsheets for my options strategy - since it is more m than e at the moment (manual not electronic) and I am making tea. All the flying has dried me out.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

High anxiety

After an eventfully pilgrimage with Otto to the juice place on ludlow - Otto and I collapsed on the couch. This was probably not the best thing for my jetlag - but I did sleep through the night. I got up at 6am and was immediately plagued by anxiety. Will Chang Projects be able to help people - does the name suck - and sound too much like Change? My e-options strategy sucks and i will become a pauper. I should have done this years ago - rather than now - when I am old and crotchety.


And then I started to sweat.

And started to think that I am Madame Bovary. Because I am plagued with flights of fancy and my dog walks around with holes in his stockings.

Then I decided it was time to make a list and cross things off the list.

So the list:
tickets/hotel to chicago (check)
etrade fix (check)
blog (checking)
malawi server bs (checking)
git narrative project (uncheck - email group)
teach class (write syllabus - uncheck)
bltweet *uncheck)
eco carbon sheit (DO TODAY!!!)
joelle naomi alyssa meredith barcelona

must day trade now - may do crazy stuff with REIT ETFs - Otto von Bismark is sleeping on my lap

I am writing a new novel about the impossible female american hero

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

NYC Again

Back in NYC! It seems that that otto still remembers me - although he does not like me working on the computer. He will have to get over that. Lian told me to take Otto out and introduce him to new things. I think I will do exactly that after I have taken care of some basic tasks. I made some headway on the rich application for tracking green inventories - and hopefully i can finish that tonight. Lian will be out late - sitting on an architecture review panel. I will be home bonding with the dog and perhaps engaging in a juice fast. Otto - the dog - seems to go for the eyes of our stuffed animals - this is slightly worrisome - i hope he does not eat the eyes. Lian- it seems - has been unsuccessful in crate training otto -Otto now pees in the crate. Lian thinks we shoud get some cesar books but i think we just need to let otto know who the alpha dog is. Now that mama is back (me)- i think we will be able to make some progress. I hope to also write some beter posts. Oops Otto just tried to bite my computer.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Today is our last day in paris. We are spending it eating, shopping and flaneuring, with a brief visit to a museum exhibition on surrealism. Paul and I had some vegan food last night and it sucked all the water out of my body between the hours of 12 and 2 last night. I have been rehydrating all day. Now we must go again for more eating, shopping and flaneruing

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fools Journey

Yesterday Jamie and I set out on a quest - to pick up a gold bracelet for ma mere. It took us from the right bank to the left bank from the marais to some unknown territory west of Charles De Gaulle star. Along the way we had many adventures. It rained, a flock baby pigeons ate out of my hand - thank god for purel, Jamie and I became separated.

There were also mini victories. I found the mustard shop, La Maille. We saw a very cool public art exhibition at the Tuilleries. And finally, alone, and tired with foot pain - I found the shop with the gold bracelet. The real reason I could not find it was that my father had sent me an incorrect spelling and so I google mapped the wrong place. It is a beautiful bracelet though - and I took some nice picts with my nikon fe2 (velvia 100).

Meanwhile, Paul lay home, sicken by Napoleon's revenge. Although he was able to work up the strength to go across town to the Agnes B store on the left bank. Paul's quest is to visit every Agnes B shop.

The day ended with a sumptuous dinner in a Persian restaurant near the Beaubourg and a walk around the Marais looking for Finkelstainz deli (or whatever).

Today more flaneuring on left bank and perhaps the Palais De Tokyo exhibit (perhaps Pomp. exhibit)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nighty Night

Here's to getting some sleep tonight! I am shot. This morning started with breakfast at the bastille, where we silently protested the corrupt aristocracy and proclaimed equalite liberte fraternite- and ate croissants. Then I was induced to take a jog with Jamie. We ran along various side streets from the place des voyges (approx) to the Beaubourg then over to the Seine and across the Seine to Il de La Cite = where we caught a glimpse of Notre Dame, then back through the Bastille and through the place des voyges back to the hotel. It was a great run and helped revive my limbs after 4 days of travel.

Once back at the hotel, Paul informed me that he found another - better - hotel. 13Bit is a company of sybarites. Last night when we checked in, we were utterly horrified at the hotel and began a frantic search to find another reasonably priced hotel or perhaps craigslist share. So Paul finding a hotel was a great relief. This is one of the reasons it is so great to work with Paul. This was excellent news as our current hotel seemed like a flop house and i essential huddled on a chair in the middle of my room trying not to touch anything (or to let anything touch me) .

We packed up and in 10 min were out of the Hotel Saintonge - and on our way to the hotel Du Vieux Marais. As I learned from the fb responses to my twitter post - there are a few of you out in internet land that also like the Marais. Yes, the Marais is great.

After showering we went to lunch in the Marais where a very nice waiter humored by conversing with us in french. Then we made a pillgrammage to the Mariages Freres tea house, the Agnes B for mens, and took in some window shopping and people watching. We walked a big loop from the marais to the place des victories to the louvre, then chateles then back to the hotel. then internet for an hour and made some stoopid option trades and finally ate dinner.

Blog posts with itinerary litnies are boriing -I understand - but I am tired and hopefully tomorrow with my 8 hours of sleep I will be able to post something more enlightening

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Creer une blog

Is it une or un ?

Finally got into Paris after about 4 hours on various trains through the benelux. Last night I had a fun evening eating fried mushrooms in Eschede, reading 'The globalization of water' and googling the history of the netherlands and the linguistic history of dutch. Dutch means some think like low german (german of the lowlands - neider means low). There was an interesting graph showing the relationship between Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian. Danish and Norwegian share vocabulary but not phonology (same words sounding different) while Danish and Swedish share phonology but not vocabulary (sound alike but mean different things). This of course brings me to my pet obession - Finnish - a linguistic isolate (totally unrelated to the other germanic languaes)- and so obviously a holdover from our alien forbearers who seeded our planet (JK :)

The doc interviews went smashingly. We learned a lot - and we want to go and shoot some dried up river beds. Also Paul and I discussed the idea of next time interviewing people for two days. On day one have the first meeting and wow them with our fantastic conversational skills and personal hygine, and day two get into the heart wrenching interview.

The Malawi ISP is STILL not working properly - although this will hopefully be fixed tomorrow - The UNICEF Malawi crew is on the case. I'm trying to push off the field work another week - arg!

We got into to Paris too late to eat. I am dehydrated and carbohydrated - I hope my room does not have bed bugs - I have fond memories of staying in Paris as a college student and my roommate getting scabies - yuck - i am too old for scabies. I am super exciting of getting up tomorrow - doing some tai chi in the place des voyges and eating croissant and cappucino and dipping my croissant into my cappucino just like Proust did. Ahhh ... Paris.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Enschede En-ska-day

I am here FINALLY in Enschede. It took 4 trains from Antwerp to get here - but I'm here and looking for stroop wafflen. This is all to shoot interview with the founders of the Water Footprint concept - Derk and Arjhen. I told Paul we cannot have any talking heads in this documentary, which immediately caused Paul to argue with me and swear to make the entire doc talking heads. 'Why are we going to Enschede and shooting these people if not to have talking heads.' Good point, for research - I say and to start building relationships with people in this field. I was also hoping to maybe get a water field trip out of this -but we had to reschedule our interviews so they all take place in one day - making a field trip on this trip impossible. We can still do interesting things with talking heads but I would like it for either voice overs or dramatic content - I basically want more visual content than verbal content, I want some compelling drama, why is this a documentary and not an interview, book, podcast, lecture, or something else (laser light show).

In our first doc, Video Out I though it would be interesting to some how tell the story of VJing by producing a VJ type movie -this did not happen - but I think we made a compelling movie. With Lumia I had no structural asperations - I just wanted to make a second movie. The interesting thing about lumia was that it was a story about a piece of history and an artform that has no history, so it was an exercise in constructing a story and constructing a narrative. In retrospect it might have been interesting to make a Roshimon doc (I am using lots of Roshimon analogies lately) about the subjective nature of documentaries and histories in general - have different histories of light art and thus comment not only on Lumia but on documentary filmmaking- DEEP! too bad I just thought of that. Perhaps I should have been blogging while we made Lumia.

Then we made two features - The Discrete Charm of the Hipster Class (aka game theory, aka the system). This is still out has festivals - it does not seem to have the festival success as Lumia and Video Out - However I think it is a MUCH BETTER MOVIE! I think the reason for a poor festival run is 1) No name actors 2) strange format. We made DCHC as a bunch of very loosely related vignettes about games. All kinds of games: mind games, video games, games of chance etc. It was sort of unconventional, but I thought it was different and engaging.

Now we are finishing up our feature narrative about a indian financial analyst who people think is the messiah- its a comedy.

But about the water documentary... what will it look like. I am not sure. We may even end up making the documentary about the history of measurement (the water footprint being another type of measurement). This is a serious issue - we are using up the non renewable resources of our planet. There are other questions - who is being most affected by the problems of sustainability, what are their stories, what are the groups funding methods like the water footprint, carbon footprint, eco footprint - what are their stories. All these measures are couching the problem of sustainability in in the language of mathematics. This is the language of epistemic superiority (in the 21st). This is opposed to the language of ethics (or perhaps religion) that some instinctively feel is the domain of sustainability - we have a moral obligation not to destroy our environment - and we could probably look to different 'theories' utilitarianism etc. to defend this. The metrics of sustainability also appeal to the semiotics of economics. Economics is the king of policy, perhaps similar to sophistry (given a bad rap by socrates) in the Greek Agora. Economics drives policy. I hope that the efforts of the metricicians (mispelled neologisim - you heard it here first folks) results in large scale change. It is more than a mental game, it is really about the future existence of the human species. So what will the water documentary look like? I'll tell you when we get some more interviews.

Tonight I am finisihing Arjen's tomb I have to finish their tomb - The Globalization of Water - which I cannot start until I finish obsessively compulsively reading The Philosophy of Motion Pictures. Hopefully I will start on that tonight.

Also in Antwerp we we stumbled upon this beautiful church:

Ok feeling jet lag brain freeze - must log off

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Blog Marken or something

I am a bit loopy from jet lag. My internet is a bit slow - BUT faster than Lilongwe. I am sitting in the lovely Banks Hotel in the sort of SoHo of Antwerp. I have already had some Belgan waffles - yum! 13Bit is having deep conversations in beautiful cafe lobby of the Banks Hotel, but truly I am too tired to follow. My mind is wondering why the F*#$k the dow is going up (I am long QID). That is about all my mind can do right now, due to jet lag. I need to do some action script for a carbon footprint web project, and attempt to log into the malawi server (Malawi UNICEF changed Internet Service Providers, but I am enjoying a great email relationship with the new Malawi Ministry of Health Webmasters. I also need to finish updating the website for ChangProjects - and other things - wow I'm tired now.

I am reading Noel Carroll's The Philosophy of Motion Pictures. I really enjoyed Carroll's book on criticism - which is one of the few lucid discussions of the philosophy of art and criticism. What is it about a film that makes it art? Or, as Pirsig would say, what is Quality in film? Hopefully I'll figure something out before the water footprint interviews this week. Next post from Holland.
Now I am going to sell all my stock.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Is Backgammon Broken

I distinctly remember learning backgammon while on a family vacation. Every year we would vacation to the same place and I would watch the old men (old they seemed) play with these leather bound sets with leather bound dice cups. It was all very tactile and I can close my eyes and remember the smell the beach and the yummy hot dogs.

It has been 20+ years since I last played backgammon, but I am a gamer. The other day I decided to play backgammon on my iphone instead of chess. I was trying to remember the rules, learning from my mistakes as I went along - and then I got my backgammon mojo back.

I think backgammon is much easier than chess. At least easier for me. I think this is because there are limited backgammon strategies that work. If your opponent lacks skill, you dont even have to take his/her strategy into account. In chess, you really cannot avoid acting or reacting to your opponents moves. (Maybe this points to my chess weakness since really you should be acting not reacting)

The chance element, the dice roll, indicates a weakness with the game core mechanic. It means you cannot play the game on strategy alone - that to keep the game interesting you need to include chance. I wonder if you explicitly use probability to guide your moves if you could 'break the game'. Chance, although a weakness, is not a game killer. If the game is long enough I suppose the law of large numbers will remove any bias. The doubling of double rolls, however, really provides an unfair advantage beyond skill.

Is backgammon broken? Perhaps. But the weakness is from the limited strategies, but not because of the chance element.

Let the backgammon savants flame me - I am ready

Thursday, October 1, 2009

More Shots

Yesterday 13Bit interviewed Manny Kirshheimer for a blog,video podcast, future documentary. Manny is a completely independent filmmaker who has been making documentaries for the past 50 years. We spent a fantastic few hours talking to him about the craft in his apartment on the upper west side of manhattan - that he has lived in since 1964! We even got to see a few snippets of Manny's new documentary about war protest prints- it is a visual masterpiece.

I cannot believe that 13Bit is leaving monday for europe. It feel like I just got back and the to do list is growing out of control. I think the Malawi servers are back on line today - so I am going to follow up with that - along with the proposed field training. I am in the midst of putting up a new website and I am considering using django to host the content but I sort of dont want to deal with it Perhaps that is too much complexity for a dinky little site.

I ate too many brussel sprouts yesterday and I am considering a juice fast.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Doc Progress

Today Paul and I embarked on one of our many 13Bit documentary road trips. A documentary is lots of fun to make. It is sort of like playing detective. In the beginning stages, you go out to different locations and meet interesting people to sus out the story for your doc. Today Paul and I went to Bethlehem PA to meet with Greta Browne, a woman who recently walked for climate change. Paul first read about her in an article in the New York Times.

She is an average american, well I don't know how average really. I mean not many people would dedicate 6 months of their lives to walking route 11 to 'Witness' climate change. 'Witness' is Greta's description and I think it is a very evocative word. Her mission during the 6 months was just to 'be there', to experience the country and to 'state for the record', in a sense, her concern for the climate. We spoke a bit about buddhism and mindfulness and the state of mind that allows for you to fully experience your current experience - what it means to 'witness'.

We are slowing building the pieces to this documentary - and the final shape is not all together clear yet. We have not found our story. It is like Michaelangelo finding David in a block of marble. We are finding a story in a block of human experiences.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Day Off

Between the Robots and Sunday night dinner I forgot to blog.

I am really doing badly with my daily deadlines and I attribute to my inability to stop writing code once I start. This morning I am not going to code. Instead I am going to finish some web design/business card designs and some writing that I started. I would like to also update my iphone firmware and download a flash card app so i can study kung fu.

I am redoing the chang projects website. I accidentally deleted the files the other day to I am redesigning practically from scratch. The good thing is that I am off tables forever and have totally converted to css (about 5 years after starting css). CSS is hard for me, because I have bad memories of div and layer problems in IE and Netscape from the dawn of the internet age.

I am exploring web hosting on the cloud via rackspace. This seems much cheaper than mediatemple's virtual server. I also bought a very cool url for my social networking software and I will probably be revealing it in a few days. The server in Lilongwe is down for 3 days because they are transferring ISPs. I have been communicating with the Ministry of Health, and there are massive problems with managing expectations. So, now, I am managing expectations and making people feel good. Tomorrow 13Bit is going to PA to interview a woman walking across the US to raise awareness for global warming.

Today I was reading "My Mother was a Computer" by Hayles. I was looking for inspiration to finish my song about the singularity and I think it did the trick. It is not a bad book, although I think it probably does not belong all in one book. Most interesting to me is the treatment of computer code as an art, and the discussion of code as performative. (Ah-hem I presented a paper on this in 03). Ok so this is a philosophical idea - Performative statements. I think AJ Ayers talks about it. So you look at something like marriage. The justice of the peace, by performing the marriage ceremony - by saying 'i now pronounce you man and wife' - has a meaning beyond pure linguistic communication. It is performative in that it changes the status of the couple hoping to be married. This statement 'does' something within our judicial system (unless you are a same sex couple) - but then you sort of enter the world of language game - the performance only takes place in a particular judical system.

So code is like saying 'you are man and wife' - it 'does' something. Code is performative.

Anyway, Hayles disregards the literary content of code, saying that the only meaning of code is the execution. This is myopic. The clearer the code the greater lifespan (ie more people will reuse it). Same goes for speed. In this case memory management could probably be sacrificed for speed unless you are developing for microcontrollers. The language of code perpetuates English language dominance since most code structure is written in English (I did not go to Brown so I dont use the word Hegemony).

To break it down there is
1) A poetics of code: This is the language of code, the names of your functions and variables, the types of patterns that you use, the architecture of your project. The clearer a book the easier it is to transmit information, same as code. Code is executed by a computer but it is compiled by a human. As long as humans are writing code, they will need to read something and the clearer and more elegant the the code is, the easier it is to communicate the ideas within the code.
2) An aesthetics of code: In thought aesthetics is truth. Truth is beauty or beauty is truth. In code speed is beauty. The elegance of a piece of code is the optimization of its algorithm.
3) A politics of code: Who can use the code. Copyright issues. Power structure. What sorts of metaphysical assumptions are built into software paradigms. How does the use of English perpetuate a certain western power structure? How do the rules of code perpetuate Aristotelian logic?
4) An ethics of code. What does code do? What ought it do? What constraints should we build to control the effects of code? Once we control 2nd (and 3rd and 4th) order effects our notion of ethics as a 1st order personal or interpersonal interaction must change.

This is all completely irrelevant in the face of horrible diseases that affect the bottom billion. I need to do more RapidSMS now.

I will post my singularity song soon

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Triumph of Video

This morning I have been watching some ted conferences while working on my social software projects:
Some enjoyable ones were: Taryn Simon, Theo Jansen, and Hans Rosling

I also like watching concerts on youtube - I dont look for audio anymore i look like video.
It is an evolution that I am watching/listening to video while working because I used to watch/listen to audio tapes/lectures. Now I am moving from audial to video.

So what is going to happen when everyone has a video camera? Is everyone going to make little narrative fictions? I dont really think so, rather I think there will be lots of 'instructables' . I wonder though if fiction is at a lull right now? The new media/democratized media in a sense is creating a fiction itself and the challenge is to find the reality in that narrative rather than the unreality in that narrative. Once we figure out what is true we can then create fictions. People have always told stories, but what is the content of those stories? Histories, mythologies, philosophies, fictions. At some level they are all instructables - telling people what to do, what they ought to do, what has been done, etc. We no longer couch most of our instruction in narrative frameworks. I dont know if this matters. The reason to include a narrative framework is to probably improve recall. Recall is now unnecessary because everything is on the web (I dont believe this but this is the prevailing view)

I just started reading Madame Bovary right now, and Charles is disparaged for his memory. He is a mimic not an original, or i suppose he is re-acting not acting. What is with the western war against memory??!?

I am listening to some Rexalls which I really enjoy - it reminds me of The Doors- Very cool stuff!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Pseudoscience of Phonology

This morning I finished a version of BlackListTweet. This is an application that tracks and blocks twitter spam from twitter accounts. While writing this I also wrote an application to track twitter favorites, I dont have a name for this app yet. Please email your suggestions... I am thinking something like PopTweet.

I still need to design a front end and start the back end process (cron job). I hope to finish the front end tonight. Tonight is web nite. I accidentally deleted my web templates for my new site - chang projects. So, I need to re do those as well. Once those are complete, then I plan on moving the site, and the twitter sites, over to a media temple virtual server. That way I have complete control over the server and I can install csound (and finish doeraetweet.

This morning I reread some of The Oxford Handbook of Computational Linguistics, which is actually a fantastic book and very readable. I am slowly adding different algorithms and heuristics for detecting spam tweets, and I wanted to check up on some NLP (natural language processing) algorithms. I could not help, but start rereading the book, starting with the chapter on Phonology. It sounds like phrenology- which is a pseudoscience- phonology is just a social science - which I suppose is also a pseudo science. Phonology is the study of sounds in language.

Science on the one hand refers to a methodology, however I think that science also refers to subject matter. Scientific subject matter can be verified and falsified via scientific methodology. Really I think linguistics is a set of heuristics and does not meet the possibility of validity via scientific method that should be required of things that are a science. I suppose phonology is in fact a pseudo science.

The section on phonology covered something called free variation, and this really piqued my curisosity. The t in ten, the t in net, and the t in water, are all different types of t sounds. In english we do not have two words ten: one pronounced with the t as in ten and the other as the t in net. In some languages we do have this difference -ten can have two meanings and two pronunciations (or more).

There are myriad ways one can say ten. If I say ten ten times, the t will sound slightly different each time. This diversity is called 'free variation.'

I want to the idea of free variation into my robot singularity song, because a robot really does not have free variation - or a mechanical device does not have free variation (or does it). Speech is a motor process and if the motor process is constant there will be no change. I suppose as components wear down in a robot for example, you will get free variation as well. This is interesting for me to think about. I may to an audio project about free variation.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

First Interview for Eco Doc

I was out the door at 7:30 this morning. That is my usual blogging time, so this blog post will be rather short.

I was out so early because 13bit interviewed Mathis Wackernagel of footprint network at 8:45!

It was a fantastic interview and we are really excited about the potential of this documentary. The whole idea is that human beings are consuming more than is being replenished, and certain countries and cities are really consuming more. The eco footprint is looking at adding an ecological measure to economic analysis similar to the GDP. So for example, Argentina might have a low GDP but its eco footprint (use vs possession of natural resources) is actually quite good. I can totally see Latam Traders using eco footprint to push latam bonds.

Its amazing how everything must be put in economic terms, but that really is the driving philosophy behind contemporary life.

Jamie is over at the 13Bit compound taking care of some logistical issues involving trains, Thalys, and our october trip to europe to speak with various footprint people. It seems like we may set up some streaming site with our first two docs.

I finally was able to fix the dns/ip issues with the Malawi Servers - Now the site is up, although I think there is still an SMS problem that I need to fix.

Other than that, I am busily knocking things off the todo this today, and I may start trading my new options strategy.

Over and out

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Is it Wednesday already

Where does the time go!
Today I need to set up a backup server for RapidSMS Malawi. I have no idea why I cannot access the server over there - even though it is running. I really dont want to do it this - I foresee 5 hours of pain. I think running cherrypy on media temple will be painful. Tonight will be an all nighter -after kung fu fun. The things on the todo list are really piling up.

I have a version of BlackListTweet running over at - I need to create a front end and finish coding the first spam filter algorithm. Since twitter only lets me make 150 api calls in an hour, what I am doing is basically running a cron job at the end of every hour to test as many BlackListTweet registered accounts as possible. If BLT takes off, then I suppose I can cut a deal with Twitter and make BlackListTweet real-time. I still need to do web maintenance.

Tomorrow 13Bit is interviewing Mathis Wackernagel for the water/geopolitical power doc. It is not going to be a talking heads doc, but a wacked out espionage thriller like chinatown - but not as well lit. However, you do need to talk to talking heads, that is part of research. Wackernagel is pioneering something called the ecological footprint. This is a metric (like the carbon footprint) to determine how much ecological resources a person or country consumes. The idea is that perhaps we can integrate this into our economic system - it is sort of absurd that GDP and other measures of economic strength completely neglect consumption of environmental resources. In many ways, it reminds me on the Sen book I was reading in Africa (that I accidentally left at lake Malawi). Namely that, an increase in income does not necessarily lead to economic development. Development depends, as well, on the cultivation of personal liberties that enable people improve their own circumstances. THIS then leads to economic growth. At the core of both of these analysis are the ideas of incomplete or inadequate metrics (either for gauging economic health via GDP or gauging economic development via Income levels). With all this talk of metrics, you cannot help but feel how arbitrary it all is. After all, behind CDOs and S&P ratings were metrics designed to create safe securities out of risky securities. You can make a metric to prove anything. Man is the measure of all things.

13Bit is also collecting material for a potential documentary on the history of measurement, and on the history of money.
Odin is the god of wednesday

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Oauth, O Superman, O judge, O Mom and Dad

I am still on my Big Science kick.

This morning I received an enlightening email from Pawan, the head of IT over at UNICEF Malawi. He told me the reason why I cannot log on to the Malawi UNICEF servers is because there is a problem with the service provider. Ahhh. This makes me feel a bit better, because it means that I did not destroy the system with my attempt to fix dns mapping.

It is unfortunate that the Ministry of Health is in the field this week training health workers. RapidSMS should still be working (cell network no relation to internet-work). But who knows, I cannot log in to see. Stanley has a big rapidsms presentation this weekend, so I am going to put the site up over on one of the ChangProject sites and let him use that. Then at least I can work with Stanley to make the UI look as fantastic as possible - and bring glory to RapidSMS.

I did not implement my new plan of blogging at night. Rather I came home and worked on BlackListTweet and read the fate of africa. Last night, Lian and I got home at about 10:30. Instead of going to kung fu, I went to a fantastic Jivamukti yoga class with JF&Son. It was a great class, but I think Kung Fu is a better work out - and Kung Fu has weapons. It is also true that Yoga people are in general more insane than Kung Fu people. But Yoga and Kung Fu are related. Yoga is in many ways the foundation of Kung Fu (in particular the I Chin Ching). When the first kung fu master - whom I forget - came to china to teach the shaolin monks - the monks would fall asleep during his lectures. They had no energy. So he forced them to do yoga (I Chin Ching) to bring up their constitution and their energy level.

After yoga - we met diametrik and the parents and ate cold candle cafe. It was a momentous occasion. My mother stayed up past 9:30, and my father and brother continued the finkelstein family business of hiring the most obnoxious and incompetent people possible and then berating one another about it. (Katie this does not refer to you, as you may be where JF is breaking out of this tradition)

This morning I am working on BlackListTweet. I lost some time due to mediatemple's implementation of django. I wish I could just have my own box and do my own hosting - but that, too, is a pain in the neck. I had to recreate a database and deal with some fcgi issues. Now I am implementing some oauth functions, so I can access twitter via oauth. Django has some nice code snippits I have been cannabalizing. Maybe TOMORROW I will have an alpha up.

The Robot Parade is coming - I need to work on my singularity song!

And I need to get my eyebrows waxed - it hurts to be beautiful

Monday, September 21, 2009

Django Reinhardt

I have decided to implement a new blogging work flow. I will blog at night, save a draft, and then edit and post in the morning.

The mornings are my most productive time of the day, so I would rather spend that time working on projects than blogging.
I am slowly adjusting back to NYC. The good thing about jetlag for me, is that it gives me super human abilities to not sleep (for the period of jet lag). I generally need a lot of sleep, so I sort of enjoy this phase.

At the moment I am attempting to coordinate with the folks at UNICEF malawi to check on the server and figure out why it is down. There is a UNICEF holiday, so I may be forced to wait until later. Stanley is presenting the project in 7 days, so I would also like to add some bells and whistles to the UI. However, the UI is rather slick as it is and generates oohs and ahhs - so perhaps I should not over design. I am just taking the lead from Stanley on this.

This morning I was engaged in some housekeeping. I moved all the social software development and ICT/humanitarian type work under a separate Chang Projects - so I was involved in a site redesign and branding exercise. (My husband - the design guru diametrik , gave me some excellent feedback - solicited). I may eventually further break off the ICT to its own entity, but I am going to give that time.

I have a list of projects that I have been putting off while working in Malawi, so I am excited to start working on those again.
This morning I built the django framework for my twitter application - blacklisttweet. Blacklisttweet (blt) lets twitter users track and block spam twitter accounts. I have a NLP (natural language processing) algorithm that I came up with a few months ago, and I hope to program that tonight, along with a simple view. Maybe tomorrows blog post will contain a link!

I also need to move this software over to a media temple account with its own server, so I can install crazy software like csound. (That is for my next twitter project).

This weekend marks the 5th annual Robot Parade. Really it is the 3rd parade - we took a 2 year hiatus. Cindym Paul and I will have a robot work day this week. I am composing a song about the singularity - inspired by Laurie Andersen's Big Science record. Lian likes the chorus which goes something like:

I am a sine wave
I am a sine wave
The singularity
The singularity

It may not sound like much, but the melody is very satisfying - and follows a sign wave. I am recording my own voice (and synth) and manipulating in pd (pure data).

I also started start work on my radical narrative/documentary/mashup - Joelle, Naomi, Alyssa, Meredith Barcelona. A recutting of barcelona vacation footage with a narrative ala the kid stays in the picture. I am starting to log the tapes now - which include 20 minutes of bird love in Gaudi's park.

At 12 I have a 13bit lunch with Paul. We have some interviews this week for our next documentary on Water and Geopolitical power. I am thinking we should call the documentary Water/Power but that might be too cheesy. I am looking forward to getting back to the water research. We are going to also continue editing the current feature, which we hope to finish before January.

I also have some ETF research/reading to do. I want to expand my e-trading option strategy for ETFs. Right now it only exists for american style stock options.

Lian told me all the tea I started drinking in Malawi has stained my teeth - going to the dentist friday to beautify.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Blustery Day

It is a blustery day in gotham. You can never say that you dont have jet - because perhaps one night you seem not to have jet lag, but the next night you do. I, by force of will, can overcome jet lag. Last night I woke at 4:30, looking for my wedding ring and not quite sure where I was. At the moment, Lian is playing 18 musicians and I am resisting the urge to fall off the coffee wagon - sipping some english breakfast from mcnulty.

This morning I logged into the Malawi server and lo and behold the server cannot be located. I am trying to track down the IT guy at the Lilongwe office so he can check on the server. I think we need to change the ip/dns server mappings again so I can log in. The security system over there is sort of labrynthine.

We went live with the system about 1 week after I finished writing it. This is sort of insane, yes. But hey, its malnurished kids, we cant wait. What I am learning about deploying tech projects in Africa, is that you need to map out a detailed deployment plan. People are not used to releasing software products, and so there is no concept of testing/debugging/soft launch. It is great that at UNICEF you can deploy a project a week after you finish. Generally this is impossible because of all the red tape at most organizatons. I believe in rapid deployment and iterative design/testing. I attempted to orchestrate a soft launch with the Ministry of Health - and this week is the soft launch, in 2 weeks is the hard launch. Launching is hard. Like Math and Titanium.

I am now focusing on my tea and finishing the Fate of Africa, an excellent book. However, I wish the Fate of Africa was more analytical and less descriptive, or to use Kant's terms, more synthetic and less analytic.