Digital Culture

Hackers Unite!

Holy Crap! Thanks to Patrick for pointing out to me that Wired is featuring a story about the Hacker’s On Planet Earth (HOPE) Conference, which was evidently co-organized by Greg Newby.

Conference co-organizer Greg Newby, a computer science professor at the University of Alaska, said the conference reflected “the hacker spirit, which is about exploration and questioning.” He added, “This involves political awakening, as well as open sharing of information.”

So why do I care? Little did I fully appreciate at the time, but Dr. Newby was my professor for my Information Security class at UNC. Turns out I was learning from one of the best…it was an amazing class. One of the things that stuck with me was that at the beginning of the semester, he told us that he had set up a server in his office for us to crack…and that we should just go to it. Every day we learned a bit more about intrusion, and then used those exploits on our target. It was a phenomenal way to learn about security and network issues in a very practical manner.

EDIT: Wow. I didn’t actually realize that Dr. Newby had been denied tenure at UNC. Thanks, Justin, for bringing this to my attention…I knew he left for Alaska, but I had no idea it was under such trying circumstances. So terrible for him, and for SILS…he was absolutely one of the best professors I had while at SILS.
Library Issues Personal

So much stuff

I’ve just returned after a complete whirlwind of a week. I spent 5 days in New Orleans at ALA, then drove to Columbus, OH for the Origins game fair, the second largest gaming convention in the country. So much stuff to talk about, but I’m completely exhausted. So instead of writing, you all get: My Week In Pictures!

kgs taking a photocafe du monde aftermath

Michelle Boule and Paul StarkeSuchi and Jean at the swank Google Party

Neil Gaiman @ ALAapproaching cincy


Digital Culture

What was WIkipedia created for?

Why, to list the problems and solutions the the TV character MacGyver came up with, of course.

In today’s era of fear, I can’t imagine a TV show that shows us so many ways to blow things up.

Digital Culture

Pirate Bay

Pirate Bay vs Hollywood

Just to recap the last week or so for The Pirate Bay, the largest bittorrent engine in the world,

They were raided by the police, evidently under pressure from the United States and the MPAA. Keep in mind, of course, that this is in Sweden. You know, one of the places that isn’t the US. Their servers (along with other sites servers, which just happened to be in the same room) are seized.

Three days later:

Pirate Bay is back up, and now operating (evidently) as a distributed site in multiple countries with redundency. Ah, the beauty of Gilmore’s Law in action.

Their own take on it:

Just some stats…
… here are some reasons why TPB is down sometimes – and how long it usually takes to fix:

Tiamo gets *very* drunk and then something crashes: 4 days

Anakata gets a really bad cold and noone is around: 7 days

The US and Swedish gov. forces the police to steal our servers: 3 days

.. yawn.

And finally, an absolutely brilliant speech from some of the people responsible for Pirate Bay, given at the Reboot conference.

The attack on Pirate Bay is an attack on that grey zone. Rather than securing their own copyrights, the movie industry are attacking an infrastructure that is needed for many kinds of independent production. They are not attacking piracy in general, as the sharing of digital files can always take its physical routes. They are attacking the very possibility to interconnect metadata of private archives. But while intellectual property will surely continue to be a battleground for major clampdowns in our society, there will always be enumerable lots of open ways.

How cool are these dudes? They have their own political party. Seriously. How much is a one way ticket to Sweden these days?

Digital Culture

This is just for Mark

No comment…if you’ve never seen or heard this…well…there are just no words. Shatner does Rocket Man.

Digital Culture Personal

Valleyschwag 2

ValleySchwag 2 unwrapped

I recieved my first Valleyschwag package yesterday…I must say, I’m impressed. From the detail put into the packaging to the schwag itself, a cool once a month surprise. It’s like having a birthday every month!


It was, as you can see, wrapped in painted burlap. After you peeled away the burlap, the goodies inside were:

ValleySchwag 2 contents

All in all, not bad for $14.95. The Rubyred T-shirt and the Goatse stickers will be worth that much in conversation at least, and the PerplexCity cards are just cool.

Digital Culture


A while back I blogged about what to call a certain type of image found often in Internet disscussion boards. Typically containing text and a picture that are humorous or insulting, they often act as a tool with which to comment on the thread.

I didn’t get any responses, really, so I’ve thought a bit more and decided that I’m going to call them “disspics”…this refers to both the fact that they are found on Disscussion boards, and that they often diss or insult.

It’s not great, but I needed something to call this flickr set I put together of them. So I created a flickr group as well, and would love for people to join and add their own discoveries.

Digital Culture


I had heard the name before, but not until it was featured on BoingBoing did I actually see what an amazing idea Valleyschwag is. In their own words:

Out here in the Valley (Silicon Valley, that is) we’re well known for cookin’ up a mean tech company. But our real legacy is our schwag–the t-shirts, ballcaps, notepads, stickers, keychains, and other booty blaring the slogans that create new industries (and sometimes landfill, sorry to say). Until now, these world-class collectibles have only been available to the elite few who make it to conventions and insider parties. Now you can have a little piece of the valley without the $3000 rent and two hour commute.

I’m so doing this.

Digital Culture

Best. Lightsaber. Duel. Ever.