April 30, 2004
Sign O' The Times

Simply a perfect album for a perfect time. It has everything I could possibly want from a record. It's soulful, funky and sad, but has perfect pop songs as well. It came out at just the right time to make an indelible impression on me. 1987 was the year my brother left to live in London for a year, and he left his room, his stereo and his records behind for me to enjoy.
The combination of trademark Prince funk with completely new sounds on the title track as well as perfect pop songs makes for a perfect album. It's one of those almost one man performances that made Prince special in the 80s. The one man band sound also means that a lot of the tracks have pretty simple arrangements with a heavy emphasis in Prince's fabulous singing, doing both the lead and multiple background voices layered really tightly around the lead with a lot of soul. To me those are his best songs.

Posted by Claus at 09:54 PM
New Feature on classy.dk

So I was talking to Justeren and his girlfriend, and I came upon the idea - inspired by the hero of the book High Fidelity - to come up with my list of the 50 most essential records of all time. I started putting my list together and then it dawned on me that it was going to be hard to hit 50. Furthermore, what about all the good books, all the nice places, all the art. I would have to make lists of those as well.
After thinking about it for a while I chose a different inspiration: S?ren Ulrik Thomsen's "Det bedste og det v?rste" (that's a danish book of poetry on the beautiful and the horrible things in life) which was in turn inspired by Charles Bukowski's poem The worst and the best.
So herewith classy.dk has a new feature: An archive of essentials - experiences I simply wouldn't want to be without - and horribles - terrible experiences I really would have loved never to have. In this category I will put personal recollections of the good and the bad. Sofar I have defined the categories Film, Books, Records, Places and Food - but more will be added as I become aware of them.

[Update] New category: Math. Knowledge in mathematics, logic and computer science that has changed the way I think in a good way or in a bad way.

Posted by Claus at 08:56 PM
GMail update

A very nice feature of my GMail account is that you can set the reply-to email to be something else than GMail.
That solves the problem of data ownership since it is easy to maintain a conversation both on GMail and on my existing email system via the following system:

Home email forwards all mail to GMail and Office
Via reply-to I can respond via GMail and still have the email returned to my old email address
The forward to the Office makes sure that the Windows "You've got mail" envelope works for my personal well as well as office email.

Obviously I would prefer email to work differently: Ideally email reply-to could indicate an entire route for the response to take so that all the systems that archived the inbound mail also archived the response transparently and maintained consistent as a result - without me having to use more than one client for the different services.

Posted by Claus at 02:36 PM
April 28, 2004
Celebrating a comeback and 20 years of fandom

To celebrate the momentuous event of Prince's return to the world of decent recording artists Classy's Kitchen will be decorated with a Prince theme until further notice.

Posted by Claus at 08:02 PM
Raising Princetimate 5 years

I'd like to raise my estimate of Prince's latest album. It's the best since The Black Album. If Lovesexy had been an EP of mainly Alphabet St that might be competition but it wasn't. It shares the worst Prince song from the decent albums - When 2 R In Love - with The Black Album but the rest of the material is weaker.
Diamonds & Pearls + The Love Symbol album both have too many flaws to compete. Released with about half the material they would have been a lot better.

Posted by Claus at 05:58 PM
April 27, 2004
Numser størst i Norge

Nordmænd synes i snit at numsevitser er 23 gange sjovere end amerikanere. Det ser man ved den voldsomme overrepræsentation af Nordmænd der synes godt om fingernumsetricket - hvor man folder sine fingre så de i nærbillede mistænkeligt ligner en røv.
Danmark er ikke repræsenteret overhovedet, men vi ved jo også fra Mandrilaftalen at det faktisk er albuen der minder mest om en numse (Realplayer).

Posted by Claus at 11:59 PM
Berlingeren opklokket

Urgent bringer os den fine nyhed at opklokken ikke er relateret.

Historien er der iøvrigt endnu.

Posted by Claus at 11:42 PM
Negroponte Says Won't Command Iraqi Government

For a while I thought this story was supposed to tell us some secrets about MIT's Media Lab

Posted by Claus at 11:33 PM
Great artists on greater ones

The Rolling Stone feature on The 50 greatest artists ever is good stuff. 50 Personal memories by other artists of their idols. Some artists feature in an "idol food chain" - Elvis Presley is covered by Bono and U2 are themselves on the list.
Of note related to the previous post on the return of Prince is Ahmir ?uestlove's recollection of going without lunch for a month to be able to buy three Paisley Park albums. Good stuff.
And also he almost makes a point. If Prince is Prince again, we don't really need N*E*R*D to be Prince as well, do we? Or should they do a double-Prince super whammy of delicious light footed cross over funk. There's a show I would gladly starve a month to go to.

Posted by Claus at 12:44 PM
Prince is BACK!

Prince is the 4th funkiest person to ever walk on the face of the earth, the three funkier men being James Brown, Sly Stone and George Clinton.
On his latest album, Prince is called Prince again and his sound is back in his best effort since The Love Symbol Album. And the new album doesn't have the "symphonic rock soap opera" traits of that album. A definite plus. It is easily the most focused effort since the 80s.
What isn't quite back is the relaxed (wrong word - maybe 'natural' og 'obvious') sound of all the really good albums from the 80s. From 1980 to 1987 all of Prince's albums sounded exactly how they should, so to speak. They weren't trying so hard, but (Iguess that is exactly wrong) they still managed to bring all kinds of new stuff every time.
Prince's ballads sound decidedly old school and his funk it sparse and a little bit forced - but the album showcases his songwriting skills and has a clean sound that is absent from too many new releases and as one danish reviewer remarked it's great to buy a new album that is "Produced, Arranged, Composed and Performed by Prince". He's still a remarkable singer, and he still does the best one man background chorus for self in the world. And he still blends brilliant songs with terribly cheesy ones in cheesier arrangements. It's all good.

Finally I would like to add a deep felt personal thanks for the complete absence of rappers. It was always a little embarrasing watching Prince trying to keep up with the new breed.

[UPDATE - on second listening]
More observation and a stronger thumbs up. This is good Prince.

Posted by Claus at 01:56 AM
Surviving the holocaust

Following up on the not-funny-at-all Onion story on the holocaust, here's Arnold Distlers account of escaping a nazi forced labor camp in Poland and hiding out in an underground bunker in a nearby forest.
Via his son, Jacques Distler's weblog.

Posted by Claus at 12:42 AM
Why writing software stinks

Because you often find yourself doing stuff like this instead of actually solving problems. Sometimes software is living proof that turning the entire world into language is a noisy, painful and mostly meaningless experience.
On the other hand, sometimes you solve problems almost by accident, and then software writing does not stink at all.

Posted by Claus at 12:25 AM
April 26, 2004
Crappiest obituary ever?

It says a lot about the quality of news source if they find it important to do not-quite-funny word play when people die. A recent example comes with the death of cosmetics empire builder Estee Lauder. On news.com.au that becomes (switching to headline font)

Estee lauded for her common scents

That headline would suck on any news story about Lauder - but on her obituary... That's just a little too fresh, upbeat news for me.

Posted by Claus at 10:46 PM
Category changer update

Some new software services and applications quickly get such a following that they turn into a movement. Even more so when the applications are bold and try to change the way you do something that you do a lot. I just this week had various experiences in that respect.

Observation 1: I uninstalled iTunes. It's a nice app and all but in the end I just couldn't take the behavioural model of iTunes: The default setting of assuming complete control over all my music, organizing it so it makes sense for the software but not for me, and finally - and most obnoxiously - the default idea that music is wallpaper continuously running in the background - that what I'm after is this player that just keeps on rolling over my entire collection whenvery you press play. I simply can't stand that. Whenever I click on some song on the disk, it wouldn't stop at the end but just continue running over some other music elsewhere in my collection.
Observation 2: I got a GMail test account through a kind reader of classy.dk who had seen my personalized advertising rant. Initial impressions: The advertising is rather toned down, in fact more so than on the search pages. But the new way of organizing all email into threads by default is another one of those blue pill moments. A slightly nauseating loss of control sets in. I guess my ideal mailsystem is not really a mail system at all. Instead it is email stored as easily tooled text messages, end then actually having those easiliy made tools at hand. It would be the UNIX maildir if not for conveniences like recipient defined metadata and indexing.
Bottom line is that it is impossible - without significant mail volume - to tell if the threaded dialogs for all email really works. I'm not sure I'm confident enough that it will to start using Gmail as my main thing right away. That underscores the other well known problem of GMail: Data ownership. I know I only use server based mail for junk at the moment because I like to have my mail close. (Yes I DO back it up).

Posted by Claus at 01:49 AM
The girl with colitis goes by

It's late and I'm listing to Tthe Beatles and just got to the great The girl with colitis goes by line of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. That made me want to but this book.
A good collection of bad singing/hearing may be found on Malapropisms.

Posted by Claus at 01:15 AM
April 24, 2004
Truth without hint of irony printed in The Onion

The Onion misses its step and prints an actual truth without any hint of amusing irony in this edition of "The Onion In History". Found it? If not, read on below. I'll give you a hint: It's a story so hideous you would wish it weren't true.

The story "Nazi accountants struggling to find more cost effective ways to eliminate jews" is actually true. The efficiency and economics of the holocaust was a problem and it was being addressed. I remember hearing about discussions about the high cost of shooting people (it was also deemed bad for the morale of the executioners). As far as I know, the use of Zyklon B, the poison gas used in the death camps, was also an issue of efficiency. Then there are the gas vans - mobile gas chambers mounted on the back of a truck. The gas used as simply the car exhaust, used in place of pure carbon-monoxide which was too difficult to transport. Several facilities to dispense quickly of "the cargo" - the killed people - were discussed, among them a tipping mechanism so that the nazi executioners could load the chamber, kill the people in it, and then drop them off quickly.

Posted by Claus at 01:16 PM
April 23, 2004

The program for Ars Electronica 2004 has finally been published.
It's going to be a nostalgia event on 25 years of digital art - it is now conveniently planned around a weekend, and they have added the beautiful Lentos museum as one of the venues.

Posted by Claus at 10:42 AM
April 22, 2004
Finkulturen g?r Prevn-vejen...

Hvis man, som jeg, synes at f?nomenet Prevn er sp?ndende, s? vil man sikkert ogs? finde Det Kongelige Teaters ops?tning af En Sk?rsommernatsdr?m interessant. I den forlader skuespillerne nemlig scenen og publikum i Turbinehallerne for at bev?ge sig ud i teatrets virkelige omgivelser og forts?tte skuespillet der med de tilf?ldige statister man nu finder p? en pub, eller ved en p?lsevogn. Scenerne fra byrummet filmes live af en mobil kameramand og transmitteres tilbage til store sk?rme p? scenen. Det gl?der jeg mig til at se.
Det minder jo lidt om realelementet i dogmebr?drenes D-dags eksperiment, men tager skridtet videre og lader spillet forts?tte i det offentlige rum, hvor D-dag kun brugte offentligt tilg?ngelige rum i transportscener mellem mere kontrollerede sets.

Posted by Claus at 09:50 AM
April 21, 2004
Prevn topper sig selv

Dansk webloggings ukronede superstar - Prevn - g?r det igen. Jeg gik og troede at Prevn havde toppet, men jeg tog grundigt fejl. F?rst tog han skridtet fra blogfiktion (ikke sandt, Dalager?) til messenger virkelighed. Det bragte ham virkelig t?t p? en scoring - og alle os andre bloggere.

Men nu topper han sig selv med en konsultation hos en numerolog. Alts? en rigtig en. Det er helt over the top. For det f?rst er Naja Morgana Zobeliz' (!) svar fantastisk ("Jeg kan i numeroskopet godt se at der ligger nogle problematikker k?rlighedsm?ssigt, men oplever ogs? at det er noget du har med dig karmisk. ") og for det andet er det sublim ironi at den virkelige numerologs navn lyder som noget fra en tegneserie (for det dr?mmer folk der g?r til numerolog jo om at v?re) - mens den sandsynligvis fiktive klient hedder noget s? enkelt som Prevn Hansen. Det er bare s? smukt.

Btw. s? har jeg checket: Prevn st?r ikke i telefonbogen. Kun n?sten.

Posted by Claus at 06:53 PM
Reboot due when?

Doc Searls siger i sin venstremenu at han kommer til Reboot i år. Nu er spørgsmålet bare hvornår det finder sted, og om det dennegang simpelthen er blevet et lille nok arrangement til at vi bare mødes nede på McKluud og moblogger os ud af lortet.

Posted by Claus at 01:24 AM
April 20, 2004
Blogging, exploded

Remember the old Weblogging will explode or die post, or the follow up? It seems weblogging has already exploded. I discovered this (I am very, very far from claiming that mine is the first discovery) when I realized that all the pages of all the O'Reilly websites (ONLamp, etc.) support trackback as part of the comment system. Combined with the implicit trackback lookup of my w.bloggar/MT 2.64 blogging client/server combo (so much better than the old trackback scriptlet) this means that fortuitous linkage of shared but distributed conversations is simple and completely automatic.

Clearly, calling the entire O'Reilly site a "blog" misses the point completely. It's just new smarter two-way hyperlinks that augment the hypertext dramatically.

Posted by Claus at 02:53 AM
Eliter : Nyt punkt til checklisten

Da jeg lavede elite checklisten glemte jeg et vigtigt femte punkt (oven i åbenhed, offentlighed, kunnen, samfundssind) som er specielt for lande som Danmark med en enorm offentlig sektor. Her er nemlig eliterne ofte offentlige eliter, altså statsbetalte eliter. Og for den slags gælder det vigtige femte punkt

Den gode elite...

  • Deltager positivt i den læge debat om elitens faglighed og økonomiske vilkår. Den offentlige finansierede, selvsupplerende (og ofte selvtilfredse) elite skaber en slags muskelsvind og et alvorligt demokratitab i den almindelige debat

Den dårlige elite

  • Får og giver penge til sig selv og klager rasende, under påberåbelse af højere åndelig retfærdighed i en hver samtale om økonomien i eliten

Posted by Claus at 02:15 AM
Weinberger on Self and I

No, it's not psychoanalysis for the digitally frustrated, it's just David Weinberger explaining what one can, given a little background reading, make out as Weinbergers objection to Artificial Intelligence. His objection is not about Artificial Intelligence - the engineering field - at all, but rather about the deconstruction of our selves into a set of roles that we play in networks:

1. In the real world, we don't identify everyone. We only identify those about whom we have doubts that we have to resolve for some purpose. [...]2. Real world identifying is the connecting of the thing/person at hand with information relevant to our purpose. There is nothing in this process about a "real self" that has "properties." In the same way, digital identification is about connecting what's in hand with other information we need for some purpose. That's the sense in which there's no "I" in "identity."

In other words: People we really know are not subject to a functional reduction in some functional network. That reduction we only perform when we have to and it is invariably a reduction, destroying the self. But obviously we would object loudly to this reduction applied to our own selves - hence the objection to the reduction applied to others at all. We recognize this effort to humanize our transactions with strangers in the old Cluetrain motto "Markets are conversations".
To return to AI, Weinberger sees the ideology that accompanies the engineering of AI as the complete adoption of such a functional reduction, and therefore sees AI as a completely dehumanizing activity.
I'm not sure I agree - or rather, on moral grounds, and by the same introspective objection Weinberger applies, I'm inclined to accept the position - but I simply cannot make the rational part of my mind forget about complete functional mimicry as something groundbreaking and new. Clearly a machine doing that is doing something that is very special and world changing.
But this thought experiment on the possibilities of AI in principle has the disadvantage compared to Weinberger's point of view that it does not address at all the experience of living in a world of networks, and hanging on to our selves while we do so.
The discussion continues on Weinberger's blog.

Posted by Claus at 01:08 AM
April 18, 2004
Sig nej til software patenter

Kampen om EUs lovgivning om software patenter spidser til. EU parlamentet har taget stilling imod software patenter, men det passede hverken formandskabet eller en lang række industrielle interesser.
Software patenter er en rigtig dårlig idé fordi de risikerer at forhindre interoperabilitet og øger risikoen for monopoldannelser af den grund. Omvendt har de ikke nogen vigtige fordele, som opsummeret i følgende pressemeddelelse fra an anti-patent aktivistgruppe. Et uddrag:

All the economic studies we know of, including those ordered by
the European Commission and by member state governments, have shown that
software patents are only of very secondary importance as a means of
securing investment in research and development. The main drivers of
competitive advantage are copyright, in-house capability, unavoidable
complexity, and the ability to react quickly to customer needs. In
fact, according to the most detailed economic studies, patent
investments in the United States have actually tended to reduce spending
and divert it *away* from R&D investment in this sector. These points
came out particularly clearly in the testimony given by directors of
large companies to the US Federal Trade Commission at governmental
hearings in the USA last year

Damn straight. Som tidligere nævnt er kombinationen af kildebeskyttelse og patentering og så misforholdet mellem software udviklingshast og retssystemernes langsommelighed alt for kraftige forhindringer for fri konkurrence i software.
Sig nej, og sig det til så mange du kan komme til. Lad tusinde læserbreve blomstre.
Flere facts om status hos FFII som også har mailinglister og kampagner.

Posted by Claus at 07:37 PM
Comment spam hack

Comment spam is annoying. An assortment of italian and russian spam has been hitting classy every weekend recently. The long term plan for me is to make an MT plugin that does comment auditing, so I get to preapprove all comments before they're accepted to the site but pending that I just made a little hack to make spamdeletion acceptable with my current spam volume. What I did was add a comment deletion URL to the notification email I get when comments are posted. Simply clicking the URL deletes the comment.
Here's how:
Modify MT/App/Comments.pm to include a line in the notification email. You can look for the text 'has been posted' to find the email generationstep and then you can add
$body .= "\nTo delete this comment, visit the following URL\n" .
"YOURURLLOCATIONHERE/mt-comment-delete.cgi?blog_id=YOURBLOGID&_type=comment&__mode=delete&id=" . $comment->id;

the URLLOCATION and BLOGID are actually obtainable from the MT App context but I didn't bother to locate that. I only host one blog.
The mt-comment-delete.cgi is a simple script that integrates inte MT's comment deletion. You can download a copy here. Modify perl location to taste.
Adding this script to your mt script directory and making sure it is executable completes the job.

Loading the URLreturned in the email will lead to deletion of the comment and will load the entry edit page for the commented entry. You can then save the entry to rebuild without the spamcomment.

The hack highlights one of the annoyances of MT, namely that the CMS is not an MT application. It is not straightforward to modify the notification email nor is it straightforward to access author authentication or modify entry edit pages with extra functionality.

[UPDATE] Ironically, I had to close down comments on this post, because if consistent spamming against it....

Posted by Claus at 07:06 PM
April 17, 2004
Parrot as a production platform!

I'm not sure another person than one of the core Parrot hackers could pull this off, but Dan Sugalski has a piece on ONLamp on a real macho hacking expedition he took part in, in which a dated 4GL language was reimplemented in perl targeting parrot.
I can just imagine the meeting where the enthusiatic and confident Sugalski talked his boss into this. I am a firm believer in just trusting the hackers, especially in a situation like this where they chose to change as little as possible instead of reinventing everything. But Sugalski was really taking a bet on the parrot.

Posted by Claus at 02:39 PM
Gmail and cold reading

I have mixed feelings about Gmail. Technically Gmail does nothing that isn't already widely deployed in handling email - on the other hand Gmail threatens to take ad personalization to the level of cold reading.

Tim O'Reilly sums up some reasons why the Gmail privacy backlash is bogus - and the basic argument is summarized early

There are already hundreds of millions of users of hosted mail services at AOL, Hotmail, MSN, and Yahoo! These services routinely scan all mail for viruses and spam. Despite the claims of critics, I don't see that the kind of automated text scanning that Google would need to do to insert context-sensitive ads is all that different from the kind of automated text scanning that is used to detect spam. [...] Google doesn't have humans reading this mail; it has programs reading them. Yes, Google could instruct a program to mine the stored email for confidential information. But so could Yahoo! or AOL or MSN today.

It is important to make the technical argument that we already have services scanning our email all the time on more servers than I care to think about.
That's not to say that ads for email are not problematic but they are so for other reasons than the ones given in the criticism of Gmail. The main problem is that ads in your email will look a lot more like cold reading. Imagine the kind of advertising you will get, when advertisers get an opportunity to target you right when you're at your most vulnerable. One can imagine the ads targeting death, debt, stress, love, insecurity. The list goes on.
I prefer my life without all the ads, but as long as Google does not indicate any kind of tracking, e.g.letting advertisers know something about who they're getting shown to or use the entire contents of your mailbox to "personalize" your adds - I have only the problem of the tastelessness of advertisers. The essential distinction is that in a single page view it should be the case that you're shown more or less the same ads given the same email body regardless of who you are.

Posted by Claus at 02:00 PM
April 16, 2004
Some litigate, others encourage

Now that Grey Tuesday is over other opinions of other rights owners on mash-ups are appearing. David Bowie in fact wants you to mash up his music. It's all part of a massive co-promotion of Bowie, Audi and - it seems, ACID sound software, but you have to give credit for the idea none the less.

Posted by Claus at 04:57 PM
"Open in new window" considered harmful

Dear maintainer of site that I casually visit from time to time:

Stop Opening New Windows On Every Stinking Hyperlink.

It's supposed to be a hypertext - a collaborative writing and reading experience and you are breaking it by invalidating the back button. Besides, I've got better things to do than closing all the windows you left behind. It's presumptuous of you to assume that your site is the center of my activity and that further links are somehow off topic. I got to you via a hyperlink for crying out loud. And don't believe the "Oohh, your site is great - it's so application like" hype. If there's text to read I would like the opportunity to consider the site as text. Hypertext.
There seems to be an inverse law of importance at play here: The less interesting the site is, the more likely it is to use new windows by default. Profesionally done sites don't do it except in clearly marked areas ("Other links" or similar).

Posted by Claus at 11:16 AM
April 15, 2004
Clay Shirky on NYC

Gothamist interviews Clay Shirky about New York and if for no other reason read Shirky's strange but true worst time in NYC involving ex-wives, menacing subway threats, unbearable heat, penny pinching, Yves St Laurent, a budweiser and an Iranian bodega owner.

Posted by Claus at 08:02 PM
Iraq: What is the end state

American military sources are confident in their military control of Iraq but unsure about the political future as reported in the NYTimes referenced on defencetech:

"We can beat these guys, and we're proving our resolve," one officer tells the paper. "But unless the political side keeps up, we'll have to do it again after July 1 and maybe in September and again next year and again and again."

Which is why the arguments for the war before the war had to be very convincing. Which they weren't. Nobody was sad to see Saddam fall, but the war in Iraq was wrong because of how it was justified with known 'untruths', because of how it was exploited after the war and because nobody thought about the present situation.

Posted by Claus at 06:33 PM
Just Seen: Nothing So Strange

I just saw the mockumentary Nothing So Strange which purports to be a film about an activist group trying to uncover the truth behind the killing of Bill Gates on Dec. 2nd 1999. The documentary feel of the film is extremely well done and the diverse group of characters on the conspiracy theory fringe are all extremely believable, in fact this is one of the finer points of the film.
Much media hype has been made of the fact the film is cleverly backed by mock websites of the various factions depicted in the film, but I think it is interesting that this kind of clever media strategy is fast becoming so common that it no longer has any real effect - I would be disappointed if there was not some immersive web experience allowing you to elaborate on your own on the narrative of the flm.
In the final analysis the film runs at least 15 mins too long. The first 40 minutes spent setting up the conspiracy is just much too long and slow of pace.

[UPDATE: Best fun is this short accompanying the film on how the director (that's his weblog by the way) 'reality hacked' The Democratic National Convention and used the protesters and police turned out for that to stage a fake protest at practically no cost. They actually just did the fake protest as a real protest which allowed them the use of a designated protest area at the DNC - furthermore they made sure that the fake official t-shirts and banners looked like t-shirts and banners from a real protest group so they could mix in images from the real protest as well]

Posted by Claus at 01:03 PM
Lille checkliste om eliter og eksperter

Dalager refererer et par tråde omkring fænomenet eliter - Eliten er som bekendt fætre til Anders Foghs yndlingsfjende smagsdommerne.
Jeg tænkte det var på sin plads med en lille elite-checkliste til vurdering af eliter:

Den gode elite...

  • ...er er meritokrati - dvs en åben klasse, baseret alene på kunnen. Den frie adgang til at forsøge at kvilificere sig til eliten ved at dygtiggøre sig er afgørende, men det er dyrt og vanskeligt at sikre sig.

  • ...debatterer i offentlighed. Naturligvis skal læger ikke fortælle andre end deres kolleger om patienter, men deres afgørende faglige bidrag til sundhedspolitik bør foregå.

  • ...ved faktisk noget. En svær grænse at drage indenfor visse fag (basalt set alle æstetiske) men en nem grænse indenfor tekniske fag og visse sumfundsfag. Imidlertid findes den egentlige viden, modsat hvad Anders Fogh vil have os til at tro, indenfor alle mulige felter som det offentlige liv har fundet det nyttigt at udnævne eksperter i.

  • ...er uegennyttig. Ikke nødvendigvis hele vejen igennem - også eliter har ret til at kæmpe for egen liv, frihed og lykke - men den udmærker sig ved at lægge mere vægt på interaktionen med resten af samfundet end på andre formål.

Den dårlige elite...

  • ...er en lukket klub, hvori man kun kan indtråde ved invitation eller arv. Det er fantastisk svært at forhindre fordi viden og kunne ofte er en arv.

  • ...fører en hemmelig samtale. Jo mere komplekst samfundet bliver jo sværere er det at føre en reel offentlig samtale - simpelthen fordi den nødvendige samtale er vanskelig at følge med i.

  • ...har en rent symbolsk viden. Dvs. den er et præsteskab for en bestemt kulturel tradition der er vigtig for os eller har været vigtig for os engang. Hvis symbolerne er samfundsnyttige så gør det ikke så meget, men vanskeligheden ligger i med god samvittighed at insistere på elitens ret til at vurdere på andres vegne, hvis vurderingen er symbolsk.

  • ...interesserer sig ikke længere for andet end den hemmelige, symbolske samtale i den lukkede kreds.

Det er fantastisk svært at lave en helt igennem vellykket elite. Det forudsætter offentlig, gratis uddannelse af god kvalitet for et så bredt udsnit af borgerne som muligt - og så naturligvis samfundssind hos de aspirerende eliter.
Det er endnu mere svært at skelne gode fra dårlige eliter: Fordi man skal indtræde i et meritokrati må man også indtræde i et samfund af andre der ved noget, og så er man allerede på vej ind i klubhuset. Og den nødvendige kunnen egner sig sjældent til offentlig samtale, hvis ikke af andre grunde så fordi den er svær at følge med i. Al viden veksler mellem et praktisk lag hvor viden agerer med samfundet eller den fysiske verden og et symbolsk lag hvor man bruger feltets sprog og tankegange til at udvikle sin viden så det er svært at skelne symbolsk fra praktisk fornuft. Og alle de ovennævnte grunde går den væsentligste del af elitens tid og energi til den faglige udviklende, men desværre også private samtale.

Posted by Claus at 12:37 PM
April 14, 2004
Cutting news down to size

Check out this awesome application of Google News - A visual display of the headlines from Google News - with the visual space being assigned based on the number of news sources reporting a particular story. And visually beautiful to boot. Note how the sports band is as big as the news band whereas tech, health and entertainmaint trail badly. I am not much of a flash lover - but this is well made. (Thanks for the tip Just)

Posted by Claus at 06:48 PM
April 13, 2004
# 25: Coca Cola contained Cocaine

Found a nice summary of some of the facts of life in 1904 - among them the easy availability of marijuana, heroin, morphine and cocaine (conveniently contained in your Coke).

- Coca Cola contained cocaine.
- Marijuana, heroin and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores. According to one pharmacist, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and the bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health."

This reminds me of a project I once read about but cannot find a reference for: Some school somewhere collects and publishes lists like this to remind teachers that the children in school don't have the same frame of reference they do. To most of the kids the cold war is as distant as WW2, for younger kids, the Internet has always been as available as electricity and so on.

Posted by Claus at 06:39 PM
Jep, det ser grimt ud

Sådan at tage på ferie uden at lukke sit comment system for spam. Nu har det rebuildet sig selv til grimhed efter 20 styks comment spam, som jeg så kan more mig med at fjerne. Men altså jeg er her straks igen med nyt om

  • Dogville

  • Provinsen

  • Software patenter

og meget mere.

Posted by Claus at 06:14 PM
April 05, 2004
To der søger hinanden

Kiggede nogen gamle noter efter og fandt kimen til en smuk lille historie som jeg klippede ud af Politiken 17/9 1995:

Han søger hende og hun søger ham, og ved et magisk tilfælde er deres annoncer indrykket præcis ved siden af hinanden den samme søndag i samme avis.

Posted by Claus at 01:21 AM
April 03, 2004
GMail was not a joke - and then again...

Like Doc Searls did in public, we talked at the office about Google's new managed searchable email service GMail as an aprils fool prank - but I did a quick harddisk price computation and figured that the kings of terabyte text handling could probably handle a gig of email per customer also at very low cost. But Doc Searls got to be the guy who publicly fell for the realprank: Which was publishing a real but unbelievabe story on April 1st. There's no question it was a setup either: The press release is informal and tongue in cheek (who writes "Heck, Yeah." in press release titles) so there's no question this was an inverted prank and extremely good PR work. Go to Shellen.com for the insider story and screenshots. They seem to include Google Groups style message threading for your GMail.

On a more serious note: GMail is interesting as an escalation in the Google/Microsoft battle for the desktop that is about to begin for real. Microsoft has been doing vaporware marketing for a new search engine for a long time now and GMail looks a lot like Google's counteroffensive. This is the battle of the PC and the 1000 developer rich app against the agile, serverside, modern language, network centric app. Or at least I think Tim O'Reilly would agree that it is.

Some technical things I want to know:
Does GMail interact with standard mail protocols så that I can integrate it into my usual mail applications: IMAP, POP, SMTP? (The FAQ currently says no - which is a shame)
Will the Google search and organisation services extending standard email be available via a web service interface for deeper integration with the desktop?

Posted by Claus at 10:01 PM
Lavkulturtruslen værre end først antaget

Jeg troede jeg havde fundet toppen (altså bunden) af den lavkulturelle sammensværgelse forleden, men jeg havde faktisk kun lige skrabet i overfladen. F.eks. havde jeg ikke fundet denne anmeldelse af et bryllup med Cowboy Lone:

Cowboy-Lones speciale er at synge til hest, og man kan roligt sige, at hun tog alle med storm i forsamlingshuset, selv tjeneren, der var bange for, at hesten skulle skide på gulvet, for det var ham, der skulle feje op.

[UPDATE : Se Cowboy Lone på video (7MB Windows Media): Vi snakker country (eller måske snarere vorherre) til hest, vi snakker line dance, vi snakker 1100 tilskuere, vi snakker "Himmelhunden"]

Og som om det ikke var nok, så fandt jeg også en festlig sangskriverservice:

Sæt dit helt personlige præg på festen.

Sangene og talerne bliver udarbejdet af fagfolk, der gennem årene har været med til hundredevis af fester og hørt masser af sange og taler.

De ved nøjagtigt, hvad der får en forsamling til at berøres af en personlig sang, og hvilke ingredienser en tale skal indeholde for at blive en succes.

Nu hvor vokabularia er forsvundet fra nettet er det godt at vide at der er nogen der holder fanen højt.

Posted by Claus at 08:00 PM
Requirement 5: Must add XML overhead at the lowest possible network layer

The XCP protocol is hopefully an april fools joke.

Posted by Claus at 10:42 AM