Wednesday, September 24, 2003

I'm retiring from the Activist Network

I am set to 'retire' from the Activist Network project by the end of this year.

If the project is to continue, others in the community will have to take it on. I will make myself available in an "advisory capacity" and for mentoring for those who get involved - so that they (you?) won't have to reinvent everything for themselves.

What You Can Do

Following this message, I'll be sending a description of
There are various tasks/jobs involved in running the Network as it is today. If you are at all interested in working on the project, please email me at activist@activist.ca and I'll add you to the project organizing email list.

A community discussion event in Calgary is in the works to look at the future of this project. Watch for an announcement on that in the weeks ahead.

Background

I started the "Calgary Activism" website and email lists over four years ago, in August of 1999. In January of 2000, I joined with an Arusha committee that was hoping to revive the old "Network" newsletter (activist events and group listings). That's when we renamed the project the "Calgary Activist Network".

I find now that my energy for the project is dwindling - in no small part because I have taken most of the work on it for just myself. It's simply too much for one person to do. While I still have many ideas and opinions about the project, change is needed or the Network will stagnate. It's time for me to move on and let folks with other perspectives and ideas take charge of the project.

It's also important to end my virtual-dictatorship of the Network and put it more directly in the hands of the community in the form of a 'democratic collective'.

Thanks

While it's true that I have done much of the work on the project, some major thanks are due to the folks who have provided support and input over the years - a number of people have contributed their efforts and perspectives to advancing and improving the Network.

In particular, I want to thank Gerald Wheatley who has been a substantial source of support, vision, and key in getting the bulk of the funding that has come in for the project.

Thanks also to the many people and groups who have made use of the project - it has been inspiring to see such a diverse range of activism going on!

Note that my 'retirement' will not affect the various email list services, and individual activist group websites, that I host.

Thanks to all who have participated in, and used, this project over the years,
Grant Neufeld
Outgoing Director of the Activist Network

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

And I thought I was arrogant

Verisign (long may they rot in hell) have issued a reply to ICANN's instruction that they stop the evil "DNS Wildcard Service" (SiteFinder).

To summarize Verisign's (long may the rot in hell) reply: "We are a law unto ourselves. God help anyone who gets in our way."

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Avast me hearties!

The morrow be International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Arrr.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

More on Bush is evil

Michael Moore has posted a letter/essay detailing a few things about the Occupant of the White House (George Bush, for those of you who've been off-planet in recent years) that help clarify just how unacceptable his continued presence there is.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Even more evil from Verisign

Verisign (the evil corporation that bought the evil Network Solutions, NSI) has just committed another atrocity. Earlier today, they decided that rather than returning errors when someone accesses an invalid domain name (e.g., a typo like www.niisto.com) they'll instead redirect that to some valid domain (reportedly slipping in some Verisign advertising and/or tracking in the process).

A lot more details are available on Slashdot.

This situation is prompting some folks to talk about making a complete break with the whole centralized NSI/ICANN root server setup. A couple possibilities already developing are the Open Root Server Confederation and the OpenNIC: Democratic Name System.

There are a few other articles of interest:

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Plop. Plop. Plop.

The University of Minnesota's Chemistry Outreach Program has a recipe for silly putty. (You'll need to refer to their recipe for slime for some of the directions.)

Sunday, September 7, 2003

Woo-hoo! Firefly to become feature film

Word is out that the best new TV show from last season, Firefly, is set to be continued as a feature film. The series was very foolishly cancelled after being poorly handled by Fox (weird scheduling, showing episodes in the wrong order,...). Even my dad really liked the show - further illustrating Fox's bad judgment.

Seen on Ain't It Cool

For the hard-core Legoist

Ben Ellermann has put together a tutorial for designing your own instruction booklets for Lego models.

Philippe Hurbain has put together a technical report: "Lego® 9V Technic Motors compared characteristics". It goes into fine detail on the differences and capabilities of the different types of 9V motors that Lego has put out.

Both seen on LUGNet

Bible stories in Lego

I don't know if my grandmother would approve, but I've been a fan of the Brick Testament website since I first saw it, and now over 175 of the photos have been published as a book "The Brick Testament: Stories from the Book of Genesis".

Saturday, September 6, 2003

RaiseTheFist webmaster sentenced to one year in U.S. federal prison

Democracy Now has a good article on the case of Sherman Austin (webmaster of RaiseTheFist.com) who was sentenced to one year in federal prison on Wednesday.

When he is released, his probation terms will ban him "from associating with anyone who wants to change U.S. government 'in any way.'"

This is yet more evidence that: U.S. Government == Evil.

Seen on Rabble.ca

Friday, September 5, 2003

Dominate the Elements!

I've been playing this Risk-like video game, on Mac OS X, called iConquer. The game lets you design your own maps and I've made a few.

On Wednesday night, I decided to make a map for the game based on the Periodic Table of the elements. My tagline for the game:

"Don't just conquer the world - rule the elements themselves!"

You can download the plug-in (if you have iConquer).

Drat! Foiled again.

So, I was all set to have posted to this blog for 7 days in a row. But, yesterday (the seventh day - hrmn, maybe I can work a biblical reference in here), Blogger stopped letting me log in.

Everything is fine again today, so here's hoping that it works for the next 7 days...

Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Spam humor

Defective Yeti gives a spammer a near-failing grade (a "D") on their composition.

In fact, that site has numerous fun stories and ideas (like a Lego-based economy).

Indiana Jones or Battlestar Galactica... Hmm, hard choice....

I've found out that the Battlestar Galactica DVD box set is coming out on the same day as the Indiana Jones set. Like I can even afford either set, anyway (although I'll almost certainly make the sacrifice needed to get the Indy DVDs - now where did I put that burnt offering...)

Tuesday, September 2, 2003

Indiana Jones DVDs

The Indiana Jones trilogy is finally coming out on DVD. The box set is due for release on Tuesday, October 21.

Collectors beware: with word out that Indiana Jones 4 is planned for release in 2005, we can expect another box set to come out sometime after that, I guess. I just hope they don't do any revisionist nonsense to the Indy movies (like happened to the original Star Wars trilogy).

Overactive Brain

It's annoying to get hit with cool code/project ideas just when trying to go to sleep. I went to bed quite late last night (after reading about 80% of Kurt Vonnegut's The Sirens of Titan — reading until I couldn't keep my eyes open). As I laid down on my bed, my brain went into overdrive with ideas for a new project that I'm working on.

I was forced to get up and get back to work - there was no resisting the ideas in my head. An hour later, I had finally purged the ideas (and the numerous others that followed after I got to my computer) into project documentation, and went to sleep.

I wish my brain had a configurable flow control so I could turn it down when I need to sleep.

Monday, September 1, 2003

The politics of OS choice

Linux For Anarchists, by Mike Benham, is an interesting political analysis of why political anarchists (and other social justice & anti-capitalist activists) should avoid Microsoft software, along with an explanation on how to make the transition to Linux.

(Mike is the guy behind the Distributed Library Project)

(He's also another revolutionary knitting type - in this case an "Anarchist Knitter"!)