Older blog entries for Sunir (starting at number 22)

11 Mar 2004 (updated 11 Mar 2004 at 07:55 UTC) »

Well, it's been a while since I last said anything. For those of you who know me, well, you know me; for those who don't, well, I'll write a little bit about myself.

Lately I've been in a Masters program at the University of Toronto. I'm in the Knowledge Media Design Institute essentially studying what I've been doing on MeatballWiki, which is not just wiki design, but online culture, information policy, and governance.

Last week we had a guest lecturer, Greg Wilson, come speak to us about "open source." His lecture was intended to be antagonistic, to shake us up, to say the least. He opened with a description of how compscis are all misogynistic cloistered anti-socials before going on to explain the why "Social science is useless," to a room full of social scientists. His thesis was simply that the "word games" of social science were beneath the time of compscis who actually did "useful" work; and then he turned around and said compscis were fecklessly unpolitical, which made them useless for society as well.

His overall mission, as it turns out, was

"the web as we know it was built by and for white, male, physically-able, English-speaking, emotionally-arrested geeks. The rest of the world has overcome the ``white'' and ``English-speaking'' hurdles (as evidenced by how much content is now in Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Tamil, and other languages), but if you want to understand why it still all seems broken sometimes, you still have to look at its roots."

And I disagree. I know the Internet. Sure, there is some truth to that, but I think it plays into brutally negative stereotypes of compscis. I don't think that many of us are emotionally-arrested, although I do think that our compsci degrees are really painful. I don't think that compsci is as hopelessly gendered as he suggests. I don't think the world is as bad as we're told it is.

I wrote about it on my LiveJournal (which I have to maintain for this class). If you would care to read that, I have a very simple question for you, and it isn't why you think compsci is gendered, why social science and you/compsci don't mix, or why you/compsci and politics don't mix (although please answer those if you like):

What was your first experience with the Myth of Geek, and how did you escape it? (and if you haven't, how do you react to what I wrote?)

I think it's sad that people paint all software developers with this picture of antagonistic, anti-social, misogynistic, arrogant bastard, but that's partially a compsci cultural myth I think (a la Slashdot, and the engineering "meritocracy"). I want to understand how software developers mature past the "larval" stage. All I know is my own experience, post-graduation, wandering the earth.

I suppose it would make most sense to reply there if you don't mind, given the convenience of LiveJournal's format over Advogato's.

It's been a while since I've posted here. After "retiring" after graduation, I've found that coding has become less interesting than writing and thinking. This comes as a shock to me as I was a massive code nerd. I'm now at the University of Toronto in their Knowledge Media Design Institute and the Faculty of Information studies, and that is all sociology, political science, psychology, literary theory, philosophy, you name it.

MeatballWiki continues to grow despite my best efforts to keep it level, and so it has experienced some massive growing pains of late due to excessive energy and latent tensions. This has taken a lot of time out of my life that I should be spending on my Masters degree, not to mention my personal life.

I occsasionally peek at Advogato; once a month or so. I am always impressed by the strength and longevity of the community here.

For those who were wondering, the <wiki/> tag works. The default action is a link to the original wiki at c2.com. So, writing <wiki>RecentChanges</wiki> gives us RecentChanges. If you provide a valid intermap prefix, you make an InterWiki link. So, writing <wiki>MeatBall:RecentChanges</wiki> gives us MeatBall:RecentChanges. However, the intermap isn't very large, so don't get your hopes up that your favourite wiki is listed.

Frankly, I think it's simpler and cleaner to just use the <a/> tag.

In reference to MeatBall:CyberKnight, re: Advogato:article/384.html, while the concerns by Pseudonym are valid, the method he took to solve them was not. I think it's rude for a newbie to just barge into someone else's space and set up camp so publically, so I "deleted" the page. You have two weeks to undelete them before MeatBall:KeptPages garbage collects them.

I sent an e-mail to Andrew Bromage, he didn't reply. Reini reverted the changes, so I posted a larger rationale for deleting the page, reapplying the deletion.

If you really want to continue the project, ok, but please bear in mind that MeatballWiki is not Geocities. If you want to use MeatballWiki, please respect it.

I was just talking with Jeremie Miller, leader of Jabber.org. Jabber.com and Jabber.org just went through a significant reshuffle of its priorities. Jabber.org will be improving it's developer focus now, trying to open up. What I would think might be interesting is plugging something like a real time Jabber-based MeatBall:WhoIsOnline system into a site, or a network of sites. Or even updating a network of sites in real-time with each other's status using their dedicated socket protocol. Jabber is a lot more than instant messaging.

Yes, this is a rehash of what's posted on MeatballWiki, the meatball mailing list, and the p2pj list. I'm just really happy about it. Jabber is cool.

I'm not sure why I'm writing this diary entry here instead of on MeatballWiki where my real diary is. Maybe it's because I'm so far behind on content production for MeatballWiki, I don't want to start.

My parent's computer konked out again. Office2000 just deinstalled itself for no good reason. I have to go back yet again to install Windows. A small part of me wants to install QNX.

Continuing my slow conversion from using DOS/Windows to now being at least partial to Unix, I've been using vi commands everywhere, even when it's not appropriate. This is extremely annoying. It seems that most modern applications (especially on Windows) have a sane text editing interface, unlike vi. So, when I hit <esc>, this isn't appreciated. Much frustration.


21 Feb 2001 (updated 21 Feb 2001 at 04:51 UTC) »

I recently implemented an inter-wiki title search called MetaWiki.

I added the listing from http://advogato.org/proj/ to the search engine.

I should also know that the SVG Jabber Whiteboard has been stalled for a little while. At first, I needed a good way to do hierarchical diffs against the XML tree as well as representing relative ordering. By good, I mean in a way that would not flood the network with a lot of fork messages and would still leave the distributed model correct.

I discovered XML Fragment from the W3C, but it doesn't look promising. Consequently, I'm going to have to do something myself.

Meanwhile, at work (where I'm developing the whiteboard), I've been sidelined to meet another deadline. So, my time is limited. For the moment, I'm moving forward with the whiteboard in my infinite free time, for small values of infinity.

I've been working on Jabber lately, trying to see where it fits into the Big Picture. I've been developing a SVG Whiteboard for the last month.

I'm rather worried about jabber.com's survivability given the most recent news. I hope they survive because Jabber is really good. Not as an instant messaging system (like, who cares?) but as a protocol layer.

6 Nov 2000 (updated 6 Nov 2000 at 08:41 UTC) »

I tried writing this eloquently--lyrically even--but I don't think I could pull it off. In fact, I think I detracted from the contribution of others.

The news: I believe MeatballWiki, the online community about online community (and other society <-> technology dynamics), has hit critical mass. MeatBall:RecentChanges is jumpin'.

I can't keep up with it, and I'm the worse RecentChangesJunkie out there. And the conversations are good--I want to reply to everything. I'm awfully proud of the quality.

So, yes, this is an indirect plug, but I would be happy just to publically credit the contributions of others. Good work, folks.

I recently acquired a turquoise Photon light from ThinkGeek. Currently, I am up pulling an all-nighter writing a paper that is due in seven hours. Getting a little woozy, I decided to blow turquoise photons onto my retinae in order to shock myself awake.

A few seconds of that was enough. I got up, walked around, came back and noticed that my screen had deep yellow splotches on it. Not making the connection, I degaussed it. No change. Crap!, I thought. I hope my monitor isn't fried.

Then I moved my head. The splotches moved. One neuron talked to another and suddenly I realized my retinae were fried.


Maybe my brain is fried.

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