The continued growth of RSS and blogging …
This is an awesome example of the breadth of coverage and use of RSS as a standard for information syndication. PRWeb is now offering a broad range of RSS news feeds of information for free.

I still believe that this is simply the tip of the iceberg for the various uses of RSS. Some friends and I are currently looking at using this as a medium for the distribution of work and applications to do work. What would be delivered to me via RSS would not be just a flow of inforamtion, but instead a flow of work for me to do.

416 new RSS 0.91 feeds from PRWeb. # [Scripting News]

Improved efficiencies in information processing …
While I was working at Novell, I used the GroupWise solution that they offer for e-mail and collaboration. One of the terms that was used over and over again was the “Universal Inbox” … meaning that they wanted all of your incoming information to be delivered through the GroupWise user interface. It was actually a very impressive product, and I have to admit that I really miss using it. It never became what the creators envisioned, however it took great strides in the right direction.

This project at MIT is also moving in this same direction. It is exploring ways to consolidate a wide range of information sources into a user interace for optimal information processing by humans. It has some very impressive customization features, and I like many of the concepts behind it’s personalization.

This is more of a trend towards, what I call, Humaneural Software … software that enables humans to operate in a neural fashion …

Haystack – Universal Information Client [Nooface: In Search of the Post-PC Interface]

Very extreme human behaviors …
It is often very startling these days to see someone who has made the choice to alter their physical appearance in an extreme way. Or at least what I might have thought was extreme. I want to be clear that I am not against this, or for this … just sometimes caught off guard by what people do. Tatoos and body piercing are now being seen everywhere, with much of it very interesting and subtle. But every now and then I see someone and think “Wow, I wonder why they chose to tatoo their entire face?”, or “Man, having that many piercings on your face must have hurt!” The extremes that we are seeing in society only continue to grow and get … well … more extreme.

A number of years ago, a friend and I were following many of the Idea Futures claims years ago, and there was one that we found interesting. The specific claim was written in February of 1995 and stated that “By the year 2010 cosmetic surgery to alter the “natural” appearance of human beings will become fashionable.” and this is looking like incredible foresight. (No pun intended!)

The article that is linked below will be extremely disturbing to some people, and I recommend reading the warning below and understanding that he is very serious. I spent some time last night looking through these links and reading some of the articles … and seeing pictures that left me stunned. I had no idea the extent that people are pursuing “Extreme Body Modification”. It goes well beyond anything that I would have imagined. What is interesting to me is that the prediction was made in 1995 … less than 10 years ago … and we are – in my opinion – well beyond what the original claim was based on.

We live in a very wild world …

Extreme Body Modification. Warning: this story contains disturbing, graphical and un-worksafe links. Click them with caution. Superficial body modification has become, to a certain extent, acceptable and mainstream. While tattoos and body piercings were once markings of outsiders and special subcultures, celebrities and the public now display them as the latest fashion accessory (although they can still damage your employment prospects). It is clear that such modifications have become commodified and are no longer regarded as deviant, but merely as another consumer item. However many subcultures still exist that take the idea of body modification to extremes. Genital removal and limb amputation are examples of the hardcore, permanent body modification that members of these subcultures aspire to. These practices go far beyond the bounds of what society deems as acceptable body modification. While the mainstream may view this behaviour with revulsion and bafflement, it raises the interesting question of what is and what is not acceptable body modification in today’s liberal society. []

Winter of 2003 arrives in Utah!
For the last day or so a big cold front has been moving into Utah. As usual, we get a lot of wind and it becomes rather warm as the cold front pushes its way into the state. As of last night it had become quite cold, and the weather stations indicated their predictions of snow.

Last night, while I was in Park City having dinner with my wife, the first couple of snow flakes came down. This morning as I left the house it really was looking like winter. At lunch time … it arrived.

I’m now looking out the window at a steady snowfall as winter has arrived. We have snow before Halloween … and that is a good thing for those of us that enjoy being out on the slopes!

More connections at A Cup of Joe!
As of this weekend, there are new Ethernet connections that have been installed at A Cup of Joe, increasing the places that you can sit, enjoy a good cup of coffee, and cruise the Internet with your laptop.

A Cup of Joe, located at 353 West 200 South in Salt Lake City, was one of the first locations to open. They offer a broad range of fresh roasted coffees and a number of other treats. In addition, they host a range of meetings and gatherings from the local art community.

The upgrade this weekend added new Ethernet jacks near the front windows looking out to 200 South, and new Ethernet jacks on the wall to the right of the cash register counter. All of these are 10/100Mbps Ethernet connections, and add to the existing Ethernet support and 802.11b wireless access.

Stop in, bring your laptop, and give it a try!

Microsoft, Blogs, Aggregators, and programming …
Microsoft seems to have taken an all-out effort to embrace and explore the possibilities of RSS and Weblogs. This article is a simple ASP.NET project to create an aggregator – an application that gathers news articles from a range of RSS feeds.

Outside of this article, it’s interesting to see how many Microsoft employees have begun to blog, and that they even are supporting the blogging of their various events such as their PDC conference next week.

When I was at Novell a couple of years ago (has it been that long?) I was proposing several possible ways that blogs would become important mechanisms for information dissemination. Seeing more and more RSS-oriented content coming from Microsoft tells me that they are looking at the same thing.

MSDN: Creating an RSS News Aggregator with ASP.NET. # [Scripting News]

Good intentions with bad results …
I was listening to NPR yesterday and they were covering the recent events in Bolivia. The specific segment was about Indians that live up in the mountains, and their current situation. The reporter talked about the various recent events that have further damaged the economic conditions of the Indians.

The one comment that really hit me was that a large number of local textile plants have closed down recently, limiting the opportunities for work. And why did these plants close down? The reporter indicated that it was due to the tremendous influx of “used clothing” being donated from the United States!

So with all of the “good intentions” that we have as Americans by giving away our “used” possessions, it seems that we are creating some very bad results … putting companies in these countries out of business. I would have never thought about this as a possibility … and obviously the people donating their clothing and other possessions have not thought about this either.

The world is often far more complex than than people think … and we often over look the possible consequences of our actions.

Issues embedded in the GPL …
This is a very good article that begins to explore some of the new issues that are arising out of Linux and the GPL. I want to be clear that I have nothing against Linux or the GPL … and I am actively following both of these due to interests in sociological impacts of both of these.

I love to see the innovation and progress being created by the Linux movement. At the same time, I am curious about the impacts of the GPL on the adoption of Linux for various applications. Besides the fact that the SCO lawsuit might impact Linux, it seems from this article – and other research that I have done – that the GPL can now begin to impact Linux.

My specific area of interest is “Where is the line drawn between Linux and the applications written for Linux?” In the case of this article, Cisco – via it’s Linksys acquisition – is being attacked by the FSF to release intellectual property and drivers that it has created on top of an embedded Linux offering. It seems that since they are shipping a hardware solution – an 802.11g Access Point and Router – that contains a Linux kernel, some other applications, and their own intellectual property, they must now release all of this into the Open Source? I am not actually sure about the exact details of what the FSF is asking for … since they are not releasing the details of their attacks and discussions into the public record. I have to guess, however, that they must be asking for something that they feel Cisco *must* give away due to using GPL software in their embedded product.

I am certain that this is going to be an interesting conversation between the many parties … and it is going to make a lot of other hardware and solution vendors reconsider using Linux. Someone, at some point, will begin to specifically outline the “fine line” of where software – that touches GPL’d software – must also be GPL’d. When this is well defined, I don’t think that many commercial entities are going to embrace Linux the way that they thought.

Unless they then embed their IP in silicon below the OS?