attentive worker

Migration / asylum: to summarise

To summarise:

  • I have had a new site for blog posts, photographs and other content (currently defunct - may be revived at some point)
  • I’m leaving LiveJournal, but any new content will continue to be cross-posted here at my discretion
  • You can use your LiveJournal identity to access my new site, and if you’re on my f-list, I’ll “add” you
  • It’s a brave new world
(post crossposted from the attentive worker)
attentive worker

Migration / asylum

Hi everyone.

As you will no doubt have succeeded to notice, or at least not failed to not notice, I don’t post very much here on LiveJournal any more. Over the years I’ve really enjoyed the site and its facilities. I joined in 2003 after a stint on Blogger which, to be honest, never really came close to offering the sort of community experience that LiveJournal did, and still does to some extent offer.

I joined LiveJournal when it was just getting popular, and there was much more activity on this site. Lots of new friends and acquaintances were being made, lots of people I knew who don’t really blog today were blogging because it was the done thing, and so forth. I didn’t really care when LiveJournal was sold off to SixApart, or when bradfitz left, or when SixApart became Russian, or when all the ads started appearing. I didn’t care about all the scary Terms of Use stuff. They didn’t seem to affect my use of the site much.

However, I draw the line at spambots and clones of Farmville, so I’m off.

I’ve created a new hosted site for The Attentive Worker at the eponymous It supports OpenID, so if you want to use your existing LiveJournal identity (or, for that matter, your ID from most major web players’ authentication systems) you’ll be able to use it on my new site, and I’ll add you at my discretion to the equivalent of a friends list, which will allow you to see my protected content.

The site includes one of those handy RSS feed things you may have heard of, should you wish to subscribe to it in some other aggregator. Of course, some of my content will continue to be cross-posted here using the mechanism by which this is cross-posted to LiveJournal. I hope that’ll work, as this will be its first test.

My content from both my old Blogger, and my old LiveJournal identities are now present at the new site as well. It is still a work in progress design wise, and it’s quite likely to remain so all told.

(post crossposted from the attentive worker)
attentive worker

The social network cycle

  1. A site exists that is in a steady state of development, with desultory habitual communication the norm.
  2. A new, cooler, quicker and more technically advanced social networking site is created.
  3. The users of the existing site talk to each other about it on that site, and the early adopters on that site flock to join.
  4. A huge status and social connection hurly-burly occurs as all the early adopters connect to everyone else they can in the coolest possible way, enjoying the new features.
  5. Late adopters who have invested heavily in the previous platform slowly migrate, bringing their high-investment social network modalities with them: longer posts, longer comments, more skilful use of the new site’s design features, more serious approach to building communities of interest.
  6. A media cycle about the virtues and flaws of the new site begins, attracting first time users of social networking who naturally marvel at this brand, shiny new development in human interaction.
  7. At this stage, the first serious backlash against the new site begins, usually taking the form of a commotion about something in its terms of use.
  8. The old site, bereft of its activity, begins to fester and those who haven’t moved on nevertheless post less, and more despondently.
  9. People talk to each other about more or less the same things they did on the previous site.
  10. People run out of things to say that improve their social status and capture their interest.
  11. At this stage the new site, like the old, becomes primarily a link farm for the wider internet, allowing the exchange of jokes, images, articles, news, videos, and so forth.
  12. The new, expanded user community lies in wait for the next mass exodus.
(post crossposted from the attentive worker)
attentive worker

Coalhouse Walker

Certainly no theorist of revolution could have denied the truth that with an enemy as vast as an entire nation of the white race, the restoration of a Model T automobile was as good a place to start as any. Younger Brother was shouting now. You can't change your demands! You can't reduce the meaning of your demands! You can't betray us for a car! I have not changed my demands, Coalhouse said. Is the goddamn Ford your justice? said Younger Brother. Is your execution your justice? Coalhouse looked at him. As for my execution, he said, my death was determined the moment Sarah died. As for my Godforsaken Ford it is to be made over as it was the day I drove past the firehouse. It is not I who reduce my demands but they who magnified them as long as they resisted them. I will trade your precious lives for Willie Conklin's and thank God for him.
   A few minutes later Father walked back across the street. To get justice Coalhouse Walker was ready to have it done to him. But the people following him were not. They were not human. Father shuddered. They were monstrous! Their cause had recomposed their minds. They would kick at the world's supports. Start an army! They were nothing more than filthy revolutionaries.
attentive worker


... I now had good mastery of the workings of my rifles, I was able to reload very quickly, and I could have massacred them. The doubts that had occasionally, throughout my abstract and solitary life, assailed me, had now disappeared: I knew that I was dealing with baleful, unhappy and cruel creatures; it was not among them that i would find love, or its possibility, nor any of the ideals that fuelled the daydreams of our human predecessors; they were only the caricature-like residues of the worst tendencies of ordinary mankind, the kind that Daniel1 knew already, the one whose death he had wished for, planned, and to a large extent accomplished.

I've been reading The Possibility of an Island for a while, although I had to break off to read something else a couple of times because the mood was so wrong. I finished it tonight. It's the novel from which the eponymous film (see earlier review) was adapted by its author, Michel Houellebecq.

Having read its source material, the sometimes mysterious scenes of the film are largely explained, and it's also shown to be a lesser, failed rendition. The odd retro-pastiche visuals of the film are not reflected in the book, which is identifiably Houellebecq and not an homage.

In my review of the film I claimed the "island" of the title to be "an isolated mind or a utopia", whereas the book reveals it to have been intended to be the "annihilation" (as it repeatedly termed) of a perfect love, or of the idea of a perfect love, from which the main protagonist Daniel1 cannot escape and into which his limbically attenuated plant-hybrid clone descendant, Daniel25, cannot enter.

I've read two Houellebecq novels this year - this and Atomised. Though I'm not at all sure I enjoy him as a writer, there is this slightly unpleasant, though not grotesque something which animates his work: a momentarily compelling, universal quality that seeks to convince of its explanatory potential, before it has finally to be rejected.

attentive worker

Stern Hu admits taking bribes

When the story was first breaking in July last year, I made this post.
"Look at it from a Chinese perspective. Currently contracts signed last year between the Chinese government and Rio, prior to the GFC, for $billions of ore are being renegotiated. Rio gave the Japanese and the Koreans a 33% discount and want to give the Chinese the same. The Chinese want 40%. The difference is thus something like 7% of $5-9bn or about $300-600m dollars. From the Chinese administration's point of view the corporate leaders of an exceedingly wealthy, economically stable nation of 20m people, occupying a landmass comparable to that held by China's 1.5bn inhabitants, are ransoming China its economic development, squeezing them for a few extra percent on the price of the most basic raw materials. Every day our newspapers proclaim the wondrous soft landing we've had after the crash of last year, all thanks to China's continued economic growth. Is this heroic commercial brinkmanship, or imperialism? Couldn't it be argued that the Chinese customers of Rio Tinto should be grasping at whatever levers might help them?

The results of the deals done by the likes of Rio Tinto are visible everywhere in the increased wealth of Perth. These deals fund our canal developments and sunken railways via mining royalties, bankroll a hundred thousand suburban soufflé homes via inflated salaries. But the economic midwives like Stern Hu aren't heroes or saints, they're operators who know the risks and consequences well and reap rich rewards.
We don't know whether the admission is truthful, or coerced, or part of a package deal. This is what the ABC report says:
"A report on the Bloomberg wire service citing one of the defence lawyers says Hu and one of his co-accused, Liu Caikui, have pleaded guilty to accepting bribes but will contest the amounts they received.

Consul General Tom Connor, who was observing today's trial, says this is at least partly true.

The former head of Rio Tinto's Shanghai-based iron ore negotiating team is said to have received around $1 million in bribes.

In court today his colleague Ge Mingqiang was accused of receiving a similar amount and Caikui about half as much.

But the fourth executive charged, Wang Yong, is said to have accepted more than $10 million in bribes."

tut's skull

Into the Afternoon

"These were the Afternoon Cultures. All but one are unimportant to this narrative, and there is little need to speak of them save to say that none of them lasted for less than a millennium, none for more than ten; that each extracted such secrets and obtained such comforts as its nature (and the nature of the universe) enabled it to find; and that each fell back from the universe in confusion, dwindled, and died.

The last of them left its name written in the stars, but no one who came later could read it."

Opening lines of M. John Harrison's The Pastel City.

Keyword age

A smallish Sydney software company that sells an iPod-related tool, that was until recently called iPodRip, was sent a C&D by Apple requiring them to drop the use of the term 'iPod' in their branding. They conceded the point and changed the name of the product to iRip.

There's a fair bit of kerfuffle in the article above about how (supposedly) unfair it is for Apple to hound them like this after they've had the tool on the market for six years. Actually it seems like a fairly open and shut case of trademark violation to me, and a choice of product name about as risky as starting to sell red reusable plastic drink bottles called 'Cokers' or something.

What occured to me reading it was that by getting some publicity for the iPodRip to iRip name change in a couple of highly visible web locations like the SMH website, the company's owner has ensured that people who Google iPodRip looking for the product under its old name won't have too much trouble finding out that the name has been changed to iRip.

So the problem he states:
"... we've just lost all the hard work that we've done with Google keywords and our customers no longer know where to find us"
may never materialise.

If he orchestrated the Fairfax coverage it's all quite clever really, and it means that if Apple is trying to shut the product out of the market they'll have some difficulty.

So long as you can get the product name transition on the same website as a few of the top related Google hits you're probably fine when you have to move search keyword.

It would be fascinating to see someone work out where the money flows from each keyword in the string space. A chart of cash moving in response to specific keyword searches.

tut's skull

(no subject)

More things that don't excuse raping a minor:
  1. The system trying to bring you to justice is dysfunctional
  2. Someone wants to "start a political career" by taking you down
  3. The Swiss can't decide whether or not they want a statute of limitations on offences related to paedophilia
  4. You make movies that reveal a world which doesn't make sense
  5. The charges against you are "ancient"
  6. The French "revere" you*

* "Of the 30,000 participants in an online poll by the French daily Le Figaro, more than 70 percent said Mr. Polanski, 76, should face justice."