Three Good Movies

Ruby and I recently saw the movies 2046 by Wong Kar Wai, Serenity by Joss Whedon, and Mirror Mask by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean.

2046 is a beautiful film noir like movie with LOTS of close-ups that was shot in color and set in the 1960’s and the year 2046. Serenity is a funny Blade Runner like Sci-Fi movie with just enough cowboy genre characteristics to be fun and not annoying. Mirror Mask is the most surreal film I’ve ever seen and gives The Brother’s Quay a SERIOUS run for their money. Go see them all. (I highly recommend the Firefly DVD box set. Serenity the movie is based on the TV show Firefly. Same characters – same fun.)

Registration for PodcasterCon 2006 is OPEN!

Register for PodcasterCon 2006 here.

What is PodcasterCon?
PodcasterCon 2006 is a free one day conference open to all participants to discuss and learn about podcasting. It’s being held from 11am to 4pm, Saturday, January 7, 2006 in 116 Murphey Hall at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Its primary focus is on learning. The not for profit event is being organized by a group of volunteers from around the world.

One Click Fed Snooping on Universities

In an article titled Colleges Protest Call to Upgrade Online Systems (registration required) the New York Times is reporting: “The federal government, vastly extending the reach of an 11-year-old law, is requiring hundreds of universities, online communications companies and cities to overhaul their Internet computer networks to make it easier for law enforcement authorities to monitor e-mail and other online communications.”

WiFi.Bedouin

WiFi.Bedouin is a art-technology project created by Julian Bleecker. It’s a bunch of gear in a backpack that creates a mobile wi-fi network that doesn’t connect to the web. You may wonder why someone would want to use wi-fi if they couldn’t connect to the internet as a whole. Simple, you participate in a “island Internet” that exists inside a backpack where ever the backpack may be. Digital content that is very location specific. Specific to the people near the backpack.

From the website:

The WiFi.Bedouin consists of a small backpack containing an adapted 802.11b access point, RF amplifier, custom power supply and a PowerBook G4 running custom software, MovableType Blog software, a custom chat application, Apache 2.0, the Tomcat Java Servlet Container, and WiJacker – a custom built application that translates arbitrary named URLs to local services. A PocketPC PDA – the iPAQ 2200 – is mounted to the front of the WiFi.Bedouin pack, and is configured with its own 802.11 card. The PDA is used as a visual display for a custom GPS mapping application (mStory), for node WiFi activity, and for simple configuration.

I bet we could use one of these at PodcasterCon 2006! 😀 If a participant couldn’t access the Internet they could access this local network and edit a wiki, store files, listen to audio from iTunes, edit a blog just for local participants, etc.

PodcasterCon 2006 is getting closer

Yes that’s right, the grassroots podcasting conference created by podcasters for everyone will be here at UNC on January 7, 2006. Here is the press release I wrote for it. PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD. You can snag this logo too if you like.

PODCASTERCON 2006

PodcasterCon 2006 is a free one day conference open to all participants to discuss and learn about podcasting. It’s being held from 11am to 4pm, Saturday, January 7, 2006 in 116 Murphey Hall at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Its primary focus is on learning. The not for profit event is being organized by a group of volunteers from around the world.

The event will not have traditional speakers, commercial product pitches, or bags full of conference swag. The event will be conducted in an Open Source conference style. This primarily involves creating the specific discussion topics the day of by the people who attend. To learn more about this style of event please see the following URL. http://www.podcastercon.org/blog/?p=26 There will be a pre-organized session on podcasting basics.

Registration will begin soon. Please check the PodcasterCon 2006 website www.podcastercon.org for details.

WHERE: University of North Carolina, 116 Murphey Hall, Chapel Hill, NC
WHEN: Saturday, January 7, 2006, 11am – 4pm
How Much: FREE
Website: www.podcastercon.org
Blog: www.podcastercon.org/blog

Contact: Brian Russell, Event Organizer, info (at) podcastercon (dot) org
Sponsors: Ibiblio.org, Cache Networks, and many individuals

Call for Volunteers
We need volunteers before and during the event. We need help setting up signs to the event, helping participants find their way to Murphey Hall, help putting up flyers in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area, basic tech support, help blogging and recording the event, etc.

Video Games for Peace

The Washington Post has a story – Video Game World Gives Peace a Chance – about the development of multiplayer online video games that have the goal of countering bloodshed instead of creating it. Teams at Carnegie Mellon University, University of Southern California, United Nations’ World Food Programme, and MTV are working to create and promote the video games. The subject of these peaceful video games ranges from creating peace in the Middle East, fighting genocide, and stopping hunger. The game Food Force, sponsored by UN World Food Programme is already launched and in full gear.

A few years ago when I read the online comic The Spiders – thanks Ruby – the concept of the video game console/Internet generation becoming PHYSICALLY active remotely from their living rooms amazed me. Not only could people playing peaceful video games develop positive social justice ideals, be creative, improve hand eye coordination, gain social skills, and make friends they could participate in NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION.

US solders are already guiding remote control flying robots that carry missiles and other weapons. What if the average citizen were able to wield this power? I wouldn’t wish such a nightmare scenario upon the earth but the potential of remote control empowerment is staggering. Video games already act as pre-training for battle. Especially in games like America’s Army, the US Army’s first person shooter video game. There have been reports of improved physical skills among soldiers who have played this game compared to soldiers who did not.

Instead of training new killers why not train activists to spread peace and understanding with high technology? Imagine a digital Engaged Buddhist monk wielding Akido across the physical world by traveling through the conduits of the Internet. William Gibson we are only beginning to understand the accuracy of your literacy soothsaying.

via: Boing Boing, Smart Mobs

Paulo Friere on Trust

I really like this quote on DanLesh.com. Very apropos of recent discussions of trust and the media.

“Trust is contingent on the evidence which one party provides the others of his true, concrete intentions; it cannot exist if that party’s words do not coincide with their actions. To say one thing and do another—to take one’s own word lightly—cannot inspire trust. To glorify democracy and to silence people is a farce; to discourse on humanism and to negate people is a lie.”

— Paulo Friere

CounterHegemony Podcast

I just found the CounterHegemony blog and podcast . (Here is the podcast feed: http://counterhegemony.libsyn.org/rss) It’s created by Dan Lesh. To find out just what Hegemony is I listened to his first podcast this morning while walking to work. I’ve heard this word used a lot and thought I had a good understanding of it. But there is always room for more understanding.

I really enjoyed Dan’s causal style and earnest desire to teach people new things. While reading Noam Chomsky books it’s easy to get lost fast if you’re not a super learned academic. So to have someone simply break down complex concepts is great. There is so much new to learn. For example:

Hegemony is the dominance of one group over other groups, with or without the threat of force, to the extent that, for instance, the dominant party can dictate the terms of trade to its advantage; more broadly, cultural perspectives become skewed to favor the dominant group.

That’s just wikipedia’s definition. Go listen to the first episode – Hegemony – to get a better explanation.

Make Your Own Ethics

Am I ethical? I answer this question emphatically YES. But any time I think about such complex philosophical questions I immediately ask more questions. For example: What is ethics? How do we determine what is ethical? How are ethics formed?

I’m not turning the original question around to avoid answering it. Nor am I interested in obfuscating the core question. It’s just that when you start discussing such fundamental human issues you MUST take into consideration the complexity of human history and culture. There are a lot of different points of view. We can not just accept one ethical definition. We must analyze many.

Yet we must also consider what context, what frame of reference, we’re discussing these ethics within. The areas I’ve been thinking about recently are blogging, podcasting, citizens and professional journalism. Recently I was asked about my journalistic ethics during a talk about Audio Activism and podcasting. I almost immediately said, “I don’t consider myself a journalist. I consider myself a media activist. I don’t uphold myself to journalistic ethics.”

This was half jokingly answered, “Oh so you don’t have any ethics.” I suppose in the context of this talk among young journalists there is no other set of ethics to consider but journalistic ethics. Thus by disavowing ethics in general did I cast aside the one true ethics for media making? Not really. Just like I’m making my own media I can MAKE MY OWN ETHICS.

Without succumbing to hubris I will say I have strong moral and ethical values. They’re just not the most popular values of our country right now. I refuse to use only one name for my ethics and values. I refuse to adopt only one. I reserve the right to make changes to my ethics when ever I like.

Categories for your personal philosophy or ethics are valuable. It’s hard to deny category. Our brains crave them. We identify culturally and personally with groups that have names. But because of our chaotic world, values with precise names can become corrupted and vague over time. Maybe I am a moral relativist

So here I would like to recommend that all students and professional journalists question “Journalistic Ethics”. If anything this is precisely what blogs and podcasts are helping us do. Many of the ethics journalist hold dear are valuable and important. Do not throw all of them out. Just revaluate and recreate them. Then vow to be more diligent in upholding until serious events compel you to do otherwise. The power of twenty first century media making is one of those times.