FSCONS part 1

Despite being late I made it to the first talk which was by Erik Zachte speaking about Future of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation. He was eloquent and offered both an interesting animated graphical (a la Hans Rosling) example of the growth of different language groups within Wikipedia. He also offered a critical analysis of what this growth could mean and what will happen in the future.

The next talk was Young Pirate: Young people and hacktivism by Amelia Andersdotter, Krister Svanlund, Jimmy Callin, Kalle Vedin but unfortunately they were hadicapped by the problem that Amelia Andersdotter (Swedens latest MEP) was late and Jimmy Callin was unable to come due to illness. Despite the handicaps the talk gained momentum and the discussion got started and became an interesting talk about the problems with a disseminated organisation. Part of the problems could be technical the Göteborg group is more hacker oriented and use irc and the rest use the proprietary skype. Or organizational “Uppsala is more hierarchical while Göteborg is more chaotic”

Next up it’s Karin Kosina (vka kyrah) Hackerspaces FTW! She begins by apologizing that she maybe doesn’t need to but she will define the term hacker as opposed to crackers. “Hackers are people who do awesome things with technology” and Hackerspaces “I don’t mean spaces in an abstract theoretical space but actual physical space”. Kyrah has a great energy and belief that people can create – if they are given they opportunity the will go from consumers to producers. The opportunity? Basically its the need to go beyond chats and mailing lists. Physical space is creative! And fundamental spaces are key, she describes the importance of their kitchen (the place for food hacking):

Making food together and eating together is a fundamental way for people to come together as a community

Another milestone for Wikipedia

There has been some suspense beforehand but now it’s official. In under nine years the English version of Wikipedia has created more than three million articles.

The site broke through the 3 million barrier early on Monday morning UK time, with the honours taken by a short article about Norwegian actor Beate Eriksen. (The Guardian)

This is indeed a milestone and also puts other recent news and controversies surrounding Wikipedia into perspective: written about those incidents here, here, here, here, and here.

Rolling with punches

I am not short. Not really tall – but I suppose that all this is a matter of perspective. But perspectives and realities of length change and shift after years of riding a desk and huddling over a laptop, standing tall is something I need to remind myself of.

Then there are times when the blows come too fast, too effectively, striking the weaknesses we work so hide to protect. In times like these the urge to curl into a protective ball physically and metaphorically appears to be the only viable option.

It is here where the impulse to run, hide and forget – to lose oneself in fantasy, dreams or the narcotic (from the Greek “to make numb”) substance of choice. My own inclinations lean towards unhealthy food and enough red wine to float a rhino, to which pop psychology deduces deep-rooted insecurity. But I will rebut, if I had the energy, that easy answers mean that you are asking the wrong questions. Never mind that – focus.

Booze and calories are a brief narcotic bringing short lived relief and a nasty aftertaste (hangover would be a cheap pun) of additional guilt, anxiety and the beginnings of a wicked downward spiral of self-loathing.

But the pain I try to avoid is artificial, brought about by false dependencies and a lack of personal moral independence. No matter how real I make it feel.

And yet it is here in the depths of self-created misery that growth occurs. Failure is the true manure of growth. Success and love relaxes and breeds complacency. So it is important to recognize this as the shitty bottom a learning curve. No place to go but up. As the window of self-loathing closes I pull myself up and stand tall to disguise my made-up pain and bring this self-deception of defeat to its knees.

My therapeutic act is to write this in a public place making those who I know read this space and the casual visitors part of my recovery.

Flickr Growth

Media Culpa is an interesting media blog which also includes following Flickr. Since I use Flickr in lectures I find this very helpful. Here is the latest on Flickr growth from Media Culpa.

On May 17, 2008, the 2,500,000,000th photo was uploaded to Flickr (photo here). If we look at previous milestones, it appears that the growth of Flickr could be slowing down. In November last year I wrote that the first billion photos took three and a half years while the second billion took three months. Now we can assume that it took six months to get the next half a billion photos.

I have compiled the graph below out of data directly from Flickr by checking a series of photos to find the date they were uploaded and hopefully they are correct. Regarding the growth, we know that much of the explosive increase during mid 2007 (from June and three months forward) was due to the migration of photos from Yahoo Photos. But despite the fact that Yahoo Photos supposedly had 2 billion photos, the figures suggest that far less than 1 billion were migrated into Flickr.

So, while I don’t have any official figures from Flickr, it does not seem that the organic growth is keeping the same pace as it did in the fall last year. It will be interesting to keep an eye on the development the coming six months for Flickr.

flickr photos

Footnote: The series of data I used was the following:

22-okt-04 1000000
20-apr-05 10000000
15-feb-06 100000000
22-sep-06 250000000
15-maj-07 500000000
19-jul-07 850000000
20-aug-07 1180000000
06-okt-07 1500000000
13-nov-07 2000000000
17-may-08 2500000000