Alex Jacobson 3.0

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April 28, 2005

WikiPedia on your PDA/iPod. It fits in 400MB

Filed under: Lets do what!? — admin @ 5:10 pm

JkOnTheRun reports that you can now download WikiPedia to your favorite device. For those who know my obsession with downloading everything, you know I love this one!

January 13, 2005

Predictions 2005

Filed under: Lets do what!? — admin @ 4:13 pm

On Dec 31, my friend Dan forwarded me a set of predictions from NRO. I replied with my own and have decided to post them publicly:

  • Elections are held in most of Iraq but delayed in the Sunni triangle. The newly democratic Iraqi government holds off on writing a consitution until elections can be held in the Sunni triangle. Some “conversation” occurs between the US, Syrian, and Iraqi government which shuts down Baathist supply lines from Syria and the Sunnis vote a little later in the year.
  • Payment of Social Security benefits declared optional (not like other US government debt) Social Security “reform” then consists of expanded Roth-IRAs (the financial industry cheers).
  • Iran will attempt to go nuclear. The US will attack. China will attempt to take advantage of US distraction in Taiwan. Taiwan will go nuclear to deter China (possibly with help from Japan or Israel).
  • MSM Journalists will be required to blog (or bloggers will be hired in their place). This won’t solve MSMS problems because the journalists are second rate talents and the structure of MSM needs to change much farther.
  • NBC takes a shot at adapting to the Internet hosting BitTorrent files of its shows.
  • OverheardInNYC gets a regular spot in some MSM content (Maybe the Today Show, but more likely the NYSun.)
  • I actually execute some idea of mine and it goes live. I start executing others before the live one gets very far…
  • I find a place to live :-)

The blog prediction has started happenning on MSNBC (see Lead And Gold)

So is the Iraq/Syria prediction. (see Belmont Club)

So is the OverheadInNYC prediction (see NYPost)

Feeling pretty good.

December 27, 2004

Tsunami Early Warnings, Flamers and the shutdown

Filed under: Lets do what!? — admin @ 1:30 pm

Phil Bowermaster notes

If CNN and the BBC had immediately begun broadcasting a warning that all coastal areas within the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea were in danger of imminent tidal waves, hundreds or even thousands of lives may have been saved. It’s true that there are millions of poor in Indonesia and Bangladesh who live in remote areas and probably don’t have access even to BBC radio, much less CNN. But local broadcasters would have quickly picked up the news, as would law enforcement and other agencies. Word of mouth could have accomplished quite a bit.

Memetics is still a new field; we have a lot to learn about how ideas are propagated and how they spread. But can anybody doubt that an unambiguous warning of danger would have spread much more quickly and would have reached many more people (especially if repeated continuously throughout the two hours) than a note to the effect that hmmm, there might be danger? It’s all about urgency.

Last June, David Winer decided to shut down without warning affecting thousands of bloggers. Today Dave excuses this behavior by saying:

We reviewed the options that people suggested at the time, 1. Send an email, or 2. Post something on Scripting News. Neither would have worked, the mail addresses were four years old and probably didn’t work, most of the sites never got past the Hello World stage (so the authors might not remember creating the site, and certainly don’t care), and most people with free sites weren’t and probably still aren’t Scripting News readers, any more than most Blogger users were Evhead readers.

What Dave appears to have missed is that if he had posted it on Scripting News, the information would have spread rapidly accross the entire blogosphere and most of the affected people would probably have gotten notified. When Dave says “Posting something on Scripting News wouldn’t have notified the users, but it sure would have notified the flamers,” he is missing the point. Posing something on Scripting News would have provoked response from lots of people especially including flamers. These people would then post commentary on their own blogs the net result would be wide distribution of the information to all concerned.

I would even suggest that the flamers provide a valuable ecological function of aggresively propagating the warning to all concerned. If Dave had posted a warning, Dave would have perhaps been flamed for shutting down a free service he was offering, but lots of other people would respond by thanking Dave and asking for advise on handling the shutdown. Instead Dave was quite rightly flames for not even attempting to minimize the damage the shutdown caused and were providing a warning that Dave might not be reliable rather than the WebLogs service.

December 16, 2004

FireFox/Mozilla Extensions: An Open Source Test Suite

Filed under: Lets do what!? — admin @ 2:55 pm

Faisal comments on my last post that extensions regularly stop working with every new version of firefox. I had some of the same experience with Mozilla. I don’t know if they are alread doing it, but they really need to make extensions part of the test suites for these products.

The mozilla test suite needs to be organized to make it easy for extension authors to add acceptance tests for their extensions to the suite and the directory of extensions on should tell you which extensions are part of the test suite and guaranteed to work in subsequent releases and which are not. needs to commit that it will make no release that fails the extension tests.

December 15, 2004

to FireFox and back to Mozilla

Filed under: Lets do what!? — admin @ 6:38 pm

I’ve been running Mozilla for a while and decided to try out Firefox yesterday. It is still emphatically beta.
* Lots of UI quirks e.g. involving select boxes on forms
* tabed browsing doesn’t let you rearrange tabs or move from them from window to window
* you can’t automatically open new links in new tabs

and the biggest one BY FAR

NO File|Send Page!!!!

The story is that send page is hard because there is no standard interface for send-document in windows.
So they will have to have some special purpose interface to thunderbird and then effectively what you have is
email intergated with web aka Mozilla….

Oh well.

November 20, 2004

What would you do with the blogosphere on your desktop?

Filed under: Lets do what!? — admin @ 8:29 pm

Via Mary Hoder , it appears that the entire blogosphere encompasses 6.5M blogs and that there are about 600,000 posts per day.

If you assume each post is 1k and that it all started in a flash 3 years ago, the entire blogosphere archive is only 540GB. Given that text compresses 80%, we are probably talking about storing the entire archive in ~100GB. (A 100GB HD today costs around $100). But, lets follow Mary’s logic in advocating PubSub’s business model and assume we only want 30 days (older stuff has probably reached google). Then you only need 20GB uncompressed and 5GB compressed. Downloading 600Mb on a 1Mbps link will take you 1.5 hours. Some people will object that the blogosphere is growing. I would respond that it is unlikely that the blogosphere is growing as fast as hard drives and bandwidth costs are shrinking.

What would you do with the entire blogosphere downloaded?
* blog surf faster!
* personalized searches e.g. find me this word in all blogs reachable from the set you read regularly
* ideology searches: find me this word in the right-wing blogosphere

You tell me?

July 15, 2004

! BOOTLEG ! party saturday night

Filed under: Lets do what!? — admin @ 3:09 am

Some of the DJs from my burningman camp are hosting another Two Boots Party this saturday:

featuring the most illegal samples,
the hottest BOOTLEG records, and of course:


Saturday July 17th


44 Ave. A btw. @ 3rd St. (Two Boots Pizza)
10:59 – Late

dancing will be downstairs, drinks will be upstairs ..

musical offerings from:
Big Jimmy Fingers, orion, & DJ Artur

Resident Visualist: Joshua Goldberg

inflatable architecture by:


July 14, 2004

DisOrient DomeRaiser Thursday 7/22

Filed under: Lets do what!? — admin @ 1:57 pm

DisOrient, the camp with which I participate at BurningMan is having a fundraiser next Thursday (July 22). If you are in the city, and like house music, bubble sculptures/architecture and not sleeping, please join us at Rumor Details here.

June 16, 2004

How to interview a programmer and write a thank you note

Filed under: Lets do what!? — admin @ 5:04 pm

How to Interview a Programmer
How to Write a Thank You Note

June 11, 2004

Vision vs Execution

Filed under: Lets do what!? — admin @ 12:15 pm

Last night I was talking with a friend of mine about what the US had done in Iraq. He thought that invading Iraq was the right way to go, but blamed the neo-cons for messing up the execution. I responded that, if we were observing the outcome of poor execution, then the decision to go to war was truly a no-brainer and that, at very least, you had to give the neo-cons credit for the decision to go to war in the first place. (Note to Dan: the conservatives base is isolationist and was opposed to the war — Dick Cheney notwithstanding)

In any sufficiently large scale operation, LOTS of mistakes will be made. It is easy to find them, point to them, and say that this shows that the people running the operation are incompetent. Moreover claims of bad execution can be a source of common ground when one wants to get along with people who are viscerally opposed to the people doing the execution.

If we say that part of good execution is *STARTING*, there is no one executing better than the neo-cons. Kerry and Gore would not have prosecuted the war AT ALL and that would have been a much bigger failure of execution than any this administration has done. And for what its worth, many of the purported “mistakes” are actually the best of bad options. e.g. getting access from Turkey would have meant paying too much cash AND selling out the Kurds and actually using more troops on the ground would have meant either much higher US casualties or flatenning Fallujah and Najaf, neither of which strike me as good ideas.

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