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3/03/08 / Bryce

7:13 PM Interesting article on how “free” is a business model in the current economy. I figured I should post (one of) the sources of inspiration for my rant below.

2:37 PM What’s all this, all this shit that I – you, you and I – that we’re putting out there? What’s it all mean, what’s it all leading to? So irresponsibly we’re throwing out images and words and opinions onto this virtual world of the web. It’s got to mean something doesn’t it? Someone is storing it, someone is reading it, you and I are writing it. What’s its life cycle, business model?

I write → Someone reads → Someone becomes affected (inspired, appalled, etc.) → Someone writes in response → A relationship/communion is created…and from there it goes…

And to think someone is making money from the shit that we’re putting out. (I don’t mean that term in a derogatory way as much as an all-encompassing classification of everything everyone produces in the world of ideas and words and images.) Google comes to mind; they’re making money from our e-mails, their content; they’re tracking our browsing habits and doing who knows what with them. To think that all this shit is being stored somewhere – someone is storing it: it’s someone’s job to wake up every morning and go to work to find the best way to store these very words I’m writing right now… Now there’s a business model. Someone is data-mining (what a powerful term, to fuse the thought of mining – involving big machines and heavy weight – with the object data – light, fluffy, virtual, only substantial physically in its presentation, not its existence) through everything I’ve ever written in every e-mail since I joined Gmail and looking for patterns and proclivities and associating them with my e-mail address, name, and IP address, and building a profile on me.

Back to my original point: where are these words leading to? What is this more than Kundera’s graphomania? I’m putting myself out there through these words and images, so what privacy am I expecting? Isn’t this my own little realm of celebrity, and isn’t the very definition of celebrity the lack of privacy? We want our fame and we want our privacy as well. We’re funny. I’m funny.

What I originally wanted to say (when I first started writing this mess of a post) is how recklessly we put these words out there. They’re jumbled, unorganized; their content may be gold but their presentation is anything but because we’re not answerable to anyone, any party or authority, to be concise and coherent and simply even proper. (Have you looked at bloggers’ grammar lately?) We’re simply creating what we can, in our American (good for candid disclosure and ease of creativity/bad for reading and interpreting and perpetuating) fashion, and throwing it out there, and someone’s reading it, someone’s laughing at it – someone’s making a living off it.

This post itself is incoherent; what’s it about? It’s at the same time about many things and not properly about any one of them. Yet I’m just going to put it out there – because I can.

9:00 AM Warren Buffet, investor extraordinaire, says on CNBC’s Squawk Box this morning that according to any common sense measures, the US is already in an economic recession.

8:16 AM [It's getting boring titling these posts with just the day's date, so I'm going to start naming them, like scientists name their skunkworks projects.]

So I quit Facebook a few days ago. In my own words (in an e-mail to a friend), the reason why:

I was getting all these random requests on Facebook and they were getting annoying, plus I was finding it to be TMI (too much information) about people I don’t even really talk to. Most people I know are addicted to it like you say you are, but I find it relieving to get away. I guess I’d rather have personal contact with the people I actually talk to than read some news feed about them. Just my own little quirk.

On a separate note, I learned, through Website grader, that the reading level of my website is Graduate school. So for anyone who finds it hard to read, my bad.

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3/02/08

2:46 PM The Darjeeling Limited poster

Just watched The Darjeeling Limited. It’s a very original movie; the words that came to mind after watching it were “strangely awesome.” I actually liked it more than The Royal Tenenbaums, maybe because I like Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman. I’m not a big fan of Owen Wilson but he’s great in this movie. I didn’t quite understand Bill Murray’s role, though.

[Decided to post reverse-chronologically, because it makes more sense.]

9:48 AM Had a strange dream last night about someone near and dear – it wasn’t concerning or weird; it was actually kind of a nice dream.

We were in a high school gymnasium watching a volleyball match between two schools, neither of which was the home team of that high school (I guess we were all visitors). It was a 2-on-2 match like beach volleyball, and the players kept rotating frequently. Some of them were playing with backpacks on which I thought was odd. There was some controversy about one of the pairs cheating or breaking regulations, but that soon went into the background.

While watching the games I spotted this person a ways across the gym, rooting for what I presume was her home team. I saw her but she didn’t see me. There were no mutual acquaintances there among us except ourselves. Soon one of my friends and I left the gym and went into some other room in the school. [This part of the dream is blurry but I think we were just walking around.] We came to a room where people were dancing, like a school dance. We thought that was odd, with a game and a dance going on at the same time at the same school. But then when we returned to the gymnasium, the volleyball game had vanished and a dance was going on here as well!

I spotted her easily because she was one of the most lively dancers in the mass of people. A big beautiful smile on her face, elegant flowing motions with body and hands, she was just dancing away. She wore a fitted brown dress with minimal abstract patterns on it. Needless to say it was very becoming on her.

While I was watching she spotted me and motioned for me to come over, because she didn’t want to leave the dance-floor. I resisted because I didn’t want to dance, but I hadn’t seen her in a very long time (months, maybe even years). I gestured with my hand that I’ll be back in a moment, and I went back to the other room (where the other dance was taking place) to get a couple of drinks for us, because there were no arrangements in the gymnasium.

When I returned she motioned once again, with that big beautiful smile of hers, for me to join her on the dance floor. I put the drinks down in a corner somewhere and hesitantly made my way toward her – not because I was nervous on seeing her but because I didn’t at all feel like dancing. But as soon as I reached her we hugged and, looking into each other’s eyes, plainly but honestly told each other how truly happy we both were to see each other after such a long time.

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3/01/08

4:16 PM What I’ve learned in Illustrator so far (just feel like sharing, for no particularly good or compelling reason):

Compass

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2/29/08

Welcome to the day that comes only once every four years.

6:36 AM This is an article about a phone hacker (“phreaker”) from Boston who’s 17 and blind from birth. While I didn’t read the entire article and only skimmed through it, I did notice something peculiar in it. On the first page the author notes that:

Because he’s underage, Wired.com is not reporting Li’l Hacker’s last name. His first name is Matthew, and he poses a unique challenge to the federal justice system, because he is blind from birth.

But then on page 2 he writes:

To Matt’s family, the teen’s interest in telephony seemed harmless. His 18-year-old brother would read him articles on hacking, according to Lotus. And while Matt was on the party lines, his mother, Amy Kahloul, could sometimes be heard in the background playfully imitating his frequent pose as an AT&T technician.

Maybe that’s her maiden name (which in fact it is, as I learned from other users’ comments), but doesn’t revealing the mother’s name pretty much compromise the identity of underage Matt? Like I said I’m not the first one to notice this discrepancy. Here’s a link to a couple of comments from other readers about this (apparently Matt’s initials and birthdate are revealed in the article as well).

10:41 AM Came across a book, Getting Real, on developing, designing, programming – pretty much doing anything – minimally. In the section on staffing for your company or project, the authors state that when you’re choosing between two prospective employees, always choose the one that’s a better writer, because…

being a good writer is about more than words. Good writers know how to communicate. They make things easy to understand. They can put themselves in someone else’s shoes. They know what to omit. They think clearly. And those are the qualities you need.

And that…

Effective, concise writing and editing leads to effective, concise code, design, emails, instant messages, and more.

There’s a bunch of other initially-unintuitive stuff in the book, like “Don’t follow the leader”.

10:23 PM Watched No Country for Old Men. I thought it was a bit slow.

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2/28/08

2:53 PM From article:

Last year, Google’s software licensing and other products generated $181 million in revenue while $16.4 billion poured in from advertising.

Wow. I had no idea they made that much money from online advertising. (Why is their stock tanking again??)

3:23 PM Removed The Disclosure Series for now because of Flash player problems. I’ll restore it soon, hopefully.

6:48 PM Added The Disclosure Series.

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