Sunday, June 29, 2008



It's only a couple of days away -- and we've got the biggest CONvergence yet. There is so much planning that goes on -- by so many different people -- that it's great to see. And like always, there will be more things going on than any of can take part in or participate in. And this year was so big that three days would not have been enough.. so we get a fourth. And it's an additional full day - an "additional Saturday" is the way it has been described to people as we prepare for it.

It's going to be mad, crazy, fun stuff.

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Little Brother

For Christmas 1983, I got a copy of George Orwell's 1984. Part of me was terrified that I'd wake up the next week and discover that I existed in that horrible totalitarian world. It was, after all, when the Cold War was at a very high point, and I was just waking up to the realization of the all the horrors of the world of that time.

You get elements of that when reading Little Brother -- set, presumably, in 2010. If I had gotten this at that age, it'd even be more clear than 1984, which was, after all, not a horror story of 1984, but of 1948, just still relevant.

In Little Brother, you've got something that's a clear political tale. It's not a book that you'd describe as subtle -- the political message is clear -- but the world is described exactly as you'd imagine it.

It is the San Francisco that I recognize from my trips there gone horribly wrong -- not an idealized city by any means, where the city changes radically just by moving one block from tourist land to a more unsavory world.

And just like that two block trip -- the world that Doctorow describes is one that's just a little bit farther away from the one that we are today, where the terrors of Abu Ghraib get set up shop in San Francisco.

It's impressive because it also teaches you a lot about technological history -- and how technology mixes with politics.

There are some books that if I was growing up today, and read them now, they'd have a huge impact -- the saddest thing, for example, about reading Harry Potter as an adult is, well, you're reading it as an adult. Reading Little Brother is a bit like that.

And one of the things that I like the book is that it is very tempting for people to get so worried about the application of technology that they become techno-phobic -- where this is absolutely not. It's a tool -- and the tools can be used for as much good to make it a better place than it is to make it a worse one. At the end of the day, this is still a work by someone that believes that tech can make the world *better* -- and not just worse.

It's a book to read, think about, and discuss. You might disagree with it in places -- but that's the best part, really, that you can disagree. And in whatever way you can, try to figure out ways so we don't fall into a world where things really do get that bad.

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Friday, June 27, 2008


The Science of World Of Warcraft


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Thursday, June 26, 2008



I'm shocked, shocked to hear that Jumpcon cancels its first two events. I always had my doubts about them -- running conventions, especially with a large media guest footprint -- is not easy. And they were very ambitious, trying to do a large-scale series of conventions around the country with a large variety of media guests that certainly require fees.

Certainly as we come to our tenth CONvergence we know exactly how much work an ambitious guest list is with something like two dozen guests. It's a challenge logistically, and it's a challenge to manage -- and it's something that really we've had ten years to prepare for.

And it's exactly because of that experience which makes stories like Jumpcon or FedconUSA so tragic and maddening -- it's difficult for all of us who love conventions, especially those of us that spend many, many hours working for free on these events. Especially when we're fans of media science fiction -- and like to see them a part of our conventions.

Like FedconUSA, this is very sad to see, especially for those fans that bought into it.

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Monday, June 23, 2008


Keeping Track of CONvergence 2008

With the convention around the corner, there will be
posting pictures to websites like Flickr, and using services like
twitter or livejournal to record what you're doing. To help everyone
find these messages, I'm encouraging people to use the tag CVG2008 to mark
entries related to the convention on whatever services you are using.

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Friday, June 20, 2008


Wii (and Wii Fit)

I decided that a Wii Fit looked like it was a good match to help me exercise more -- and just as much, track some progress -- so I managed to find one. I'm still trying to figure it all out, but I know that trading Wii Numbers isn't that unusual - and mine is 0681 6001 8342 6802.

I'm very limited on games to start with -- just Wii Fit and Wii Sports.

Amazingly, this is the first video game console I've ever purchased -- growing up, the preference was always towards getting computers instead of an Atari 2600. And despite a number of friends getting Wii consoles, it wasn't something I had succumbed to yet -- but the idea of a Wii Fit was really compelling to me and pushed me over the edge. I went into the total "It Must Be Mine!" phase.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008


Wow. A Political Commercial That Is A Shocker

I was watching the news tonight, and up comes this commercial -- and I was pretty much stunned speechless by the nature of the advertisement. It's harsh.

If that's an advertisement in June -- imagine what we'll be seeing by October.


Monday, June 16, 2008


Map My Walk looks like a useful tool to keep track of how long walks are -- useful if you're trying to figure out how effect a walk you are taking is for exercise.

I think one of the useful things is that we're finally starting to see more technology that helps people exercise better -- I know that it's something I need to do more of -- and having technology "tricks" to exercise more will help a lot more. It's why I'm hoping to find a Wii and a Wii Fit one of these days, for example.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Fedcon Crisis

I'm sad to see reports about FedconUSA canceling itself midconvention. That's the sort of apocalyptic event that no convention organizer wants to see.

But it is one of those valuable "buyer beware" lessons. Convention running can be risky -- especially the large conventions with a number of media guests. It is not the first time a story like this has happened, unfortunately.

And one of the reasons why I'm more fond of the community-based conventions like most of the ones in the Twin Cities (including CONvergence) -- they're cooperative ventures). When you see that a convention sells tickets instead of memberships that's usually a warning sign.

Very sad to see though.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


New JoCo Song!

And it'll appeal to you history buffs, if you need a reminder of thr order of the Presidents

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Sunday, June 08, 2008


Two Mozarts

I found this quote about Hillary Clinton from Andrew Sullivan to be quite interesting: "But this is history and politics at the highest level. You cannot defeat such a moment if you are a Salieri. And she had to deal with two Mozarts."

I came of age politically with Bill Clinton, and perhaps because of that, it has surprised me at times when the politician that Obama reminds me the most of....was Bill Clinton of 1992.

My impression was that Hillary Clinton had a campaign strategy that would beat a variety of different candidates without as much name recognition quickly -- but not the avalanche that the Obama campaign has become.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Looking at History


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