Weblogging Writing

Won’t be reviewing Radio

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I was in the process of writing a review of Radio for O’Reilly Network when I was aghast to see the publication of a smallish review of Radio by Jon Udell within this publication on Friday. As happens sometimes in a publication that has many parts, one part did not know what the other part was doing.

Though my review was going to be more in-depth and technical than Jon’s, he did cover one aspect of Radio — the community engine — I had planned on covering, but from a strongly different point of view.

After discussion with the lead editor at O’Reilly Network, I will not be continuing with my review of Radio. My apologies to those of you who took the time to provide me your feedback on the product.


Orphaned Orca

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

As you can deduce from my postings, I am very fond of people. I believe that every person has a unique story to tell, and I want to hear all of them.

I am also a true blue dyed in the wool Greenpeace card carrying environmentalist who happens to believe that people would be even better if they would stop screwing with the environment. Really, we’re like little kids in a particularly interesting store — we can’t see something without wanting to touch it, usually breaking something in the process.

Two words: Don’t touch!

I’ve been following the Seattle-based story of the orphaned orca that’s been hanging around in an area that doesn’t have much food, somehow separated from her pod. The little girl’s health is starting to decline and marine biologists fear that she’s starving to death. Worse, the orca is a communal creature, and the orca calf is separated from the contact and communication of her pod. Out of deprivation, she’s attaching herself to the humans that approach her in boats — an action that’s not in her best interest.

Hungy and alone.

What to do? Let nature take its course? Capture her and reunite her with her pod? Feed her? Put her in in an aquarium or theme park?

Touch? Don’t Touch?

Photo of orphaned orca


Just Shelley

To not have a child

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

In a quiet moment of sharing, Jonathon said the following in a post today:

Though I don’t believe in regrets, I have just one: that I don’t have a child. All my closest friends have children and every time they invite me to their homes, I feel a sense of gratitude that I’ve been able to share the intimacies of family life. I’m well aware that I’m getting many of the pleasures with none of the pain, but the rewards seem so great that I’m always left wondering at what point I took the wrong turn.

Making the decision to have a child or not is the single most defining moment in our lives. No one act we take can have greater impact. No one act we take should have greater impact in our lives.

Think about it — when you have a child, you’re bringing a new person into the world. You’re teaching this new person love and happiness and sharing and the values and beliefs you think are important. You have the front seat of a show starring this new person, watching as she or he grows and becomes something unique and special. From my own childless perspective, I can’t imagine that there isn’t a parent anywhere who doesn’t sit down daily and marvel at what they’ve done.

However, with the marvel also comes the complexity in raising a child. When I watch my brother with his kids, it looks to me as if there is a daily negotiation between him and each child about what rules apply, because every day new circumstances occur and new rules need to be made to meet these circumstances. Even the rules themselves have rules — when should the parent intervene, when should the parent step back and let the child learn the lessons they need to learn?

In my own field, I have had difficulty working with neural networks; a child is the greatest neural network there is. The thought of all that complexity, frankly, scares me.

Adding to the complexity is the issue of maintaining your own individuality, separate from your role and identity as “parent”. You want to provide what the child needs, but you’re also a unique person with needs of your own. Again, as an observer, it seems to me that you have to walk this delicate balancing act of being “you” the parent and “you” the unique individual.

I made the decision years ago not to have children. The reasons were many, and complex, and beyond the scope of this posting. I don’t have regrets about not having a child, but I do wonder sometimes about where I would be and what I would be doing today if I had children. Of course, being in my 40’s it’s still not too late to have children, though the risk of complications increase as you get older. Sometimes I even think about the possibility of adopting an older child, raising him or her as a single parent.

However, I think there are people, such as myself, who just weren’t meant to have children. I genuinely feel I wouldn’t make a good parent. In fact, the thought of being a parent scares me to death.


Golden Gateway

Julian started a Usenet thread at comp.distributed (viewable at Google) about the Golden Gateway — how do you find the first node in a P2P network? Without any reliance on any centralized service?

Viewing the responses, there is an assumption that entry points have to be known at some point — through a friend or a server or some other static entry. Through some form of publication.

To me, a P2P cloud that is dependent on some form of publication, central server, or another centralized method of discovery, has iron in the core and is therefore vulnerable to take down from some external agency. I am not being paranoid; I am stating a technical fact.

This whole point of networks being invulnerable to external pressures is the basis of one of the legal arguments being made by the recording industry in actions involved with P2P music-sharing sites such as Kazaa and Morpheus.

The P2P music-sharing networks say that they are self-sustaining and can’t be shut down. However, this week, a glitch in a software update basically shut Morpheus down. Now Morpheus goes to Gnutella for P2P architecture support — does this make the network safe from take down?

I don’t believe so and in my next posting, we’ll look at the details behind my opinion.

Technology Weblogging

Radio Blog Entry 1

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Interesting doings today with the release of the new Gnutella-based Morpheus preview. For instance, check out the MeFi thread discussing the results. Seems that Gnutella might be feeling the strain just a tad. Still, if Gnutella can handle the load, good on it.