Join the #AttributionRevolution

Proper attribution is important and also usually difficult, or at least time consuming. That’s why anything that can help with this will become an important and useful tool. The awesome crew at Commons Machinery are now looking for beta testers for the so if you are a photographer, graphic designer, multimedia artist or just a visual creator please sign up to test this new tool.

Here is the description from the home page: is a new set of tools to make attribution and remixing easy and quick for you. Are you a multimedia artist? Do you design presentations for work or school? Do you find crediting various sources difficult because you have to spend hours on getting the attribution right? Fear not, is here!’s tools and services ensure that there is a persistent link between a creation and its context. Be it for a presentation, school assignment, music video or article, you will always have the information you need to know to give the credit people deserve.

We believe that proper attribution is the currency of the information age. Giving due credit encourages people to produce more and share more! Except now, you don’t have to remember: will remember for you!

You can sign up to become beta testers for here. You can also tweet to us at @elog_io. Join the #attributionrevolution…and you could get special goodies too! If you have questions about our services or specific attribution problems that need solving, write to us at and we’ll make you our top priority!

Join the Attribution Revolution

What I listen to – the best podcasts around

There are people who don’t listen to podcasts – often these are the same ones who surprise me by buying and downloading public domain books. It’s like we live in different realities. Parallel universes. So the sad truth is that most of my listening is not to music but I much prefer lectures and podcasts. I cannot listen to music while I run or go to the gym, so I am the one grunting to some obscure point being made by a speaker. And since I was asked what I listen to, I thought that I would make a list. Feel free to recommend stuff to me.

For a shorter podcast try A Point of View it’s just what it says in the title. My recent favorite was Adam Gopnik explaining his indifference to Twitter. But no matter the topic, it’s always worth the 15 minutes. BBC Analysis is an in-depth discussion on a current affairs. An Australian version of this is  RN Big Ideas.

The Naked Scientist produced by the University of Cambridge its a light look at whats on in the science world. Big Picture Science is similar light hearted nerdy fun. For more science fun I highly recommend The Infinite Monkey Cage.

Little Atoms is about ideas, Crossing Continents is world affairs with a human touch, From Our Own Correspondent is a personal observation by a foreign correspondent somewhere in the world. The latter is a favorite even if it does overlap crossing continents at times. File on Four is analytical and deeper, really good with the right topic but less so when the subject matter doesn’t connect. The Forum is all about ideas and thinkers and is really worth listening to.

Radio Dude by Wrote CC BY NC

My fiction list includes Drama of the Week which is a classic type of radio theater, Radio 4 Comedy of the Week, Friday Night Comedy (both make lifting heavy weights difficult) and the Swedish witty show Spanarna. While not fiction but the storytelling of This American Life and The Moth seem to fit into this category.

For history I listen to Great Lives where a guest and expert discuss the impact of a historical person, History Extra usually interviews the author of a recent historical work of non-fiction, The History Hour plays interviews of survivors of historical events (both great and obscure), In Our Time is a panel of distinguished academics dissecting an event or concept, and   Revolutions has gone through the English Civil War and has now begun on the American War of Independence.

For long distance running, light humor, heavy banter, occasional rants and film reviews Mark Kermode & Simon Mayo’s Film Review is a must have. More or Less looks at statistics gone wrong in the media (more interesting than it sounds), Philosophy Bites is a 15 minute bit of depth, The World Book Club is a long interview with a well established author (always want to go and buy books after this).

The Why Factor looks at the meaning behind everyday objects and, saving the best for last, my absolute favorite podcast is Thinking Allowed sociological discussions of current thoughts and ideas. Brilliant.



Bradley Manning's letter to the President

The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.


I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized that (in) our efforts to meet the risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.


In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.


Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown out any logically based dissension, it is usually the American soldier that is given the order to carry out some ill-conceived mission.


Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy – the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, and the Japanese-American internment camps – to mention a few. I am confident that many of the actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.


As the late Howard Zinn once said, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”


I understand that my actions violated the law; I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intent to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.


If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.

Via Gizmondo

Leaving comfort zone for Philadelphia

Comfort is a dangerous thing. By becoming comfortable we stop moving, we remain in our comfort zones. These can be mental, physical, geographical, emotional…

The desire to remain within a comfort zone is obvious. It’s nicely illustrated in an episode of The Big Bang Theory where Penny attempts to teach Sheldon to act (Series 4 Episode 14 – The Thespian Catalyst)

Penny: Okay, that’s fine, but let’s try and get you out of your comfort zone.

Sheldon: Why would we want to do that? It’s called the comfort zone for a reason.

Resting is tempting but movement is more important. Michelle wrote some very sound advice in HOWTO: Be a cool old person which includes things like learn a new language every decade & Move. I really should be learning a new language but this time I shall start with moving.

So with this in mind I am exiting Europe, heading West and relocating to Philadelphia!

a NO handicap

Are you an over or under committer? I really did not need to read Matt Swanson’s Engineering – Over/Under: I’m a Serial Over Committer to know that I am an over committer.

My co-workers have recognized – but not taken advantage of – the fact that I have a NO handicap. Put basically this is an inability to say NO when people start talking about their projects, ideas or desire to hear me lecture. So I have always been like this and no matter how much extra work it places on me – I keep agreeing to more stuff.

In part this is out of flattery: You really want ME to talk, be a part of a project, write an article… But it’s also out of pure enthusiasm. When someone talks about an idea they have I immediately get into gear and starting thinking and sharing my thoughts. I quite regularly talk myself into volunteering work without even realizing it myself. I am that stupid. The problem is that the are too many projects. Some of them end up as dead ends – or even worse – as corpses along the road of my ever present guilty conscience.

There was more than a pang of recognition & amusement in the line Matt wrote:

“But you never finish anything!” is a meme that co-workers jokingly needle me with.

But fundamentally I disagree with it. The problem is not that things don’t get finished – its more that the ratio of finished/unfinished is extremely unbalanced. Of course there are 100s of projects I have never finished. If you ask my guilty conscience there are millions – I am basically an unfinished project that will never be completed.

The trick is, for me, to look at the problem in a different light. It’s not about what I do not finish but about looking about the number, impact and success of the projects I do finish. When I look at these I can smile and think: Not too shabby. At least until the phone rings and someone asks if I could…

Our answer is more democracy

Its been an incomprehensible weekend in Norway. Being far away from harms way all life revolves around flows of information. First the unbelievable news of bombs in the center of peaceful Oslo. Then, while still trying to process this, shootings on Utöya. The latter was so strange it was easily ignored. Then slowly the reality of the actions became clear. A total nutcase – acting out of sick ideology – had planted the bombs as a diversion and then traveled to an island where a political youth camp was meeting. Dressed as a policeman he called the youths to him and opened fire. His bloodbath lasted 1,5 hours. One of the survivors: Prableen Kaur blogged about her experiences in a post entitled Helvete på Utøya (Hell on Utoya translated here).

The total death toll in Oslo and Utöya is now 93 lives lost.

The gunman was caught, identified, images of him came online. His Facebook & Twitter accounts “discovered”. They were started on the 17th July and contained only a quote “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100 000 who have only interests” The quote is by John Stuart Mill – he would probably be sick to be misquoted in this way. Facebook removed the account but his Twitter remains online.

While the official death toll increased and rescue teams worked heroically – more information about the gunman became available. This peaked with the discovery of his 1500 page manifesto “2083 A European Declaration of Independence” written under the pseudonym Andrew Berwick.

This work has supposedly been written over a period of nine years and is an awful mix of puerile history, incoherent anti-islamist, ignorant theory, planning for the deeds and a glorifying self interview. The manifesto seems to have been a necessity in order to present his actions as a part of what he believes to be a European revolution against multi-culturism. The work would be simply be seen as embarrassing if it wasn’t for the actions he carried out.

Update: Not only is the work messy, incoherent, racist crap. Much of it is plagiarized from other sources – among others from the Unibombers (Ted Kaczynski) Manifesto.

The best to emerge is the reaction of the Norwegian people and that of the Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg whose speech today  is brilliant. It contains the words

Vi er fortsatt rystet av det som traff oss, men vi gir aldri opp våre verdier.

Vårt svar er mer demokrati, mer åpenhet og mer humanitet. Men aldri naivitet.

We are still shaken by what has happened but we will never give up our values. Our answer is more democracy, more openness and more humanity. But never naivety.


Virtual Economies

Dr. Vili Lehdonvirta & Dr. Mirko Ernkvist have written a very interesting report on virtual economies under the sponsorship of the World Bank and the IFC entitled Knowledge Map of the Virtual Economy: Converting the Virtual Economy into Development Potential. To get a small taste, here is the final paragraph of the executive summary:

Besides microwork, development interventions could help promote the development of new digital networks and services that have potential to provide jobs in the virtual economy in the future. In the same way that access to high speed Internet backbone connections helped India develop its business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in the 2000s, so the development of mobile broadband networks (so-called 3G and 4G networks) could assist a wider range of developing countries to create jobs and generate wealth from the new opportunities that the virtual economy brings.

This is naturally just a small taste. The authors identify “two major areas of the existing virtual economy”

1) thirdparty gaming services and

2) microwork.

But still:

This report will focus largely on these two distinct but conceptually related areas. Gaming services is an established industry that provides a rich set of evidence for analysis, while microwork is an emerging industry with apparently significant development potential. Other existing activities within the virtual economy are categorized as 3) marketing related paid-for connections in social media (“cherry blossoming”), and 4) user-created virtual goods in virtual environments.

This report is definitely interesting reading and an important development on the early work of Edward Castronova.

Liar and lying

This post has been removed. The post linked to a site. The site owner nagged me to remove the link. Literally a post per day. It wasnt even a particularly interesting post. It was nothing, it was humor.

Whatever. I pulled a post. This is the first time. 5 December 2012.


Opportunity lost to bells and whistles

At the end of the 1800s most serious communication research was geared towards improving the dominant technology of the day – the telegraph. Then came the telephone.

And despite many others working on similar technology we built the mythology of Bell as the lone inventor.

But what got me thinking was the question of whether the early adoption of the telephone as a technology and its growth wasn’t a “mistake”. The telegraph was a sophisticated binary technology that was being rapidly developed. But most, and eventually all, this development was discontinued when the phone came along.

The telephone is was our dominant communications technology but the Internet has shown – voice is not our preferred mode of communication and today the telephone has taken the back seat to another binary based technology (the telegraph was binary).

If the telephone hadn’t dragged us off on an chase for flashy gadgets with bells and whistles – would we have had the internet much earlier?

How a bail-out works

Loved this from Memex 1.1: From today’s Financial Times

The rain beats down on a small Irish town. The streets are deserted. Times are tough. Everyone is in debt and living on credit. A rich German arrives at the local hotel, asks to view its rooms, and puts on the desk a €100 note. The owner gives him a bunch of keys and he goes off for an inspection.

As soon as he has gone upstairs, the hotelier grabs the note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher. The butcher hurries down the street to pay what he owes to his feed merchant. The merchant heads for the pub and uses the note to pay his bar bill. The publican slips the note to the local hooker who’s been offering her services on credit. She rushes to the hotel to pay what she owes for room hire. As she puts the €100 note on the counter, the German appears, says the rooms are unsuitable, picks up his €100 note and leaves town.

No one did any work. No one earned anything. Everyone is out of debt. Everyone is feeling better. And that is how a bail-out works.