October 2006 Archives

October 30, 2006

World Bank sees Africa progress

October 25, 2006

balcony


balcony, originally uploaded by mrcraige.

I'm really obsessed with japanese urban nature right now.
There are a few more pics in my del.icio.us.

Yet another reprieve?

leftsider's bookmarks on del.icio.us


Sorry guys, but I'm really not feeling well recently. I've got a few things that are mandatory that I complete, a ton of things I should do, and I'm contemplating doing something I've never done before--taking some sick leave.

Keep me in your positive thoughts and well wishes. I'll try to keep posting as is reasonable. Until then, raid my del.icio.us?

We're gonna miss you, YouTube

And so it begins: YouTube nukes 30,000 videos

Yeah. I actually noticed it days after the rumors leaked out. What a bummer.

Defending yourself

This morning I participated in a dream where I was walking down a narrow street of rowhouses, all red and blue and yellow and in good condition. I could tell that this was a very urban area, but I felt no lack of safety--it felt like a good neighborhood.

I walked out of one house and up the street to another house where my wife was. I did something there, which I can't remember, and then decided that i needed to stop back by the first house.

On the way back, there were two people walking down the street. I moved quickly, but I saw one move in my direction to initiate contact. "Hey, do you have any change to spare?" The guy asked.

"No, I don't carry change," I said as I paused, stopped to look at him, and shrugged. I find myself doing that often because I feel that many homeless or struggling people suffer from a deficit of attention; no one even pays them mind until they interject themselves, and then they ignore. I never carry change because I spend what's in my pockets and that's bad.

I think he didn't anticipate me focusing on him directly because my pause caused him to overstep me and cross my path. Upon doing this, he slowed down to stay in close proximity to me.

I saw him reach for something in his pocket. He was actually fumbling around quite a bit, so I wondered what he could be pulling out....

A gun? too small.
A pack of cigarettes? possibly.
Something to or show me? It's not impossible, but I really don't have time to sit and chat. I pick up my pace.

As I overtake him, I see in the corner of my eye that it was a knife. A silver butterfly knife. I groan inwardly. Are you serious? Is this guy gonna try and stick me after I told him the honest truth? He skips a step to keep up and then he taps my arm with the blade.

"Hey," he says, half mumbling," you got any change for a knife?"

I slow down just a bit to look at him directly, but I keep moving to show him I'm not stopping for this crap and also to put me closer to my destination. "I don't keep change bro, All I have is this wallet and this phone..."

I reach into my pockets and pull out my wallet and phone, one in each hand, raising upward as if I were going to assume a pose of surrender. But, for some reason, as soon as my hands were out of my pockets, my leg moves like a flash in a powerful attempt to kick the living daylights out of this jerk.

That was when I woke up. My leg was off the bed. Luckily for Fru, I was facing out when I lashed out--otherwise she may have acquired a really nasty bruise this morning.

It made me think though. I live my life expecting nothing but good from all people. I am not naive enough to think that there is nothing bad in the world, but I like the idea of being surprised that my fellow man has done wrong instead of being surprised that my counterpart has done something good. While this has helped me to build a positive aura around me wherever I go, it isn't a bulletproof vest.

The same is true online. We create blogs that express our ideas, make connections through social networks and internet communication tools. We live a virtual life that expects that everyone will abide by the rules. But what happens when someone doesn't?

Thinking about my dream, I realized that I reacted much more strongly that I would have anticipated. My assumption is that the fueling factor of my action was my deep deep disappointment in the choices this aggressor made. I didn't dislike him as a person, and I didn't really feel like I was preparing to fight. I just wanted to disarm him and then explain how stupid what he did was. I wanted to help him, like I feel towards all people, but there was a distinct need for a rearrangement of variables.

Is this how I would respond to a similar act in the real world? I have no clue. I do feel that my feelings in that situation, however, were indicative of my perspective on things at a subconscious level and may shed light on the foundations of my thinking. How would this translate into a response for online assault? That's what I'm thinking about now.

October 24, 2006

visual complexity

visualcomplexity.com | A visual exploration on mapping complex networks

Wow. You know I'm like a kid in a candy store looking at this stuff, right?

Inside Seomun Market


Inside Seomun Market, originally uploaded by janekeeler.

USB plant monitors

PlantSense unveils USB stake sensor to prevent plant malnutrition - Engadget

Start-up PlantSense has designed the intelligent stake to relay the data via USB to a subscription-based website, where it informs users what they're doing wrong (too much sunlight or not enough fertilizer, for example) as well as "providing recommendations on which plants might grow best in a particular microclimate."

Nice idea, but currently a little expensive for practical usage.

Understanding gestures and microexpressions

Mind Hacks: SciAmMind on microexpressions and gestures

Microexpressions are like any other facial expression, but they are very subtle and occur incredibly quickly, coming and going in several hundred milliseconds.

Paul Ekman, largely known for his discovery that many facial expressions of emotion were universal, has been particularly keen on researching microexpressions in recent years.

This is an area that has always fascinated me. It's virtually impossible to completely mask your emotions simply because your body often shares more than just your planned response. Masters of deception have learned not how to hide their expressions, but how to reassign them.

Good stuff.

1-800-imp-otent

BBC NEWS | Health | Heavy mobile use 'damages sperm'

Researchers found those men who used a phone for four hours or more a day had fewer sperm and those they had moved less well and were of poorer quality.

Gah!

October 23, 2006

Time spent reading blogs vs. managing money

Comparing Bachelors and Married Men

Bachelors and Married Men « The Asia Pages

So I've come to the conclusion that some men never change no matter what age they are. 총각 or 아저씨, they'€™re all the same. I guess that'€™s why we women both love and hate them--for they never seem to grow up and are always kids at heart whether endearingly or not.

It's the truth, I admit it.

October 19, 2006

Google can't be stopped

BBC NEWS | Business | Google sees profits almost double

Internet search giant Google has confirmed its ongoing market domination by announcing that its third quarter profits have almost doubled.

Windows gives up your hemi

O'Reilly Radar > Why Has Microsoft Abandoned the Power User?

So if I'm reading this article right.....Microsoft is like a 70's musclecar maker, the world has moved on to vehicles like a Taurus or a Camry, and Firefox is like a 97 Honda Civic? Makes perfect sense to me. :D

Can N. Koreans eat WMDs?

N. Korea Detonates 40 Years Of GDP | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

A press release issued by the state-run Korean Central News Agency Monday confirmed that the Oct. 9 underground nuclear test in North Korea's Yanggang province successfully exploded the communist nation's total gross domestic product for the past four decades.

Hahahahahaha....ohh that's so sad.

DSC00012


DSC00012, originally uploaded by Leftsider.

Social networks for robots

This is the most important question I've been faced with today. If anyone has the answer, please let me know. :P

October 18, 2006

Why peer-to peer beats ITMS


@ Mipcom: Interview With The Pirate King - Ashwin Navin Of BitTorrent |
paidContent.org

And as for competing against Apple? BitTorrent’s strength is that it can offer formats for all devices. He predicts a backlash against Apple’s ‘locked-in’ ecosystem in the next three years. “Apple is a phenomenal company - we’ve hired engineers from Apple and know the calibre of the talent and creativity. Fundamentally Steve Jobs has challenged an entire value chain, whether it’s publishers or the consumer electronics industry. But Apple is only as good as the weakest link because that’s all forged and locked in together. If people stopped wanting iPods because a better piece of hardware came along, the whole thing would fall apart.

Skip the rest of this article unless you are particularly interested--this is all you really need to look at. I can't tell ypu how many people have scowled at my disdain for iPods and ITMS in general. But if they think about it, this statement should shut them up real quick.

Homophily in Social Software

O'Reilly Radar > Homophily in Social Software

The Washington Post has a brief article called "Why Everyone You Know Thinks The Same As You". In short, you hang out with people who are like you, a phenomenon known as homophily. This happens online, and indeed the Internet can lower the costs of finding people like you. But homophily raises the question for social software designers of how much they should encourage homophily and how much they want to mix it up.

Good topic, but an unfortunately flat post. What are the benefits and dangers of homophily in social networks?

A recent biology professor related a story about cheetahs that I often use to flesh out this point. Skipping the fascinating way in which it was discovered, basically scientists have discovered that all cheethas living today have an identical genetic makeup. At some point, their numbers were reduced almost extinction, and their gene pool, as a result, was severely reduced. With only a few cheetahs left to mate, and then the subsequent inbreeding that occured, it basically ensured that these cats would have very little difference.

The consequence of this, however, is that any virus or bacteria that is lethal to one cat will be lethal to all. There is no survival of the fittest in the extreme case of homophily; all share the same strengths--and the same vulnerabilities.

What the article refers to as serendipity (I'm not averse to that titling, but I tend to think that the benefits may be acquired without realization) does make it a more arduous task to retain our identity, but with that diversity we receive a more robust foundation for strength and growth. The same biology professor humorously noted that mutts tend to be the most resilient dogs--and this may, among other things, be a result of their genetic breadth.

How can we improve our serendipity online? What happens to our perspective when we pick one topic and cater exclusively to that audience? Or when we collect a variety of ideas under one common cause? How often do we really try to think, let alone use the web, in a way that is other than who we are? Can a social network connect like-minded individuals while still providing the spice of life that variety contains?

Foreign Policy: The FP Quiz

Foreign Policy: The FP Quiz

Think you know the world? Then test your global knowledge with 8 questions that are sure to surprise.

Tips for parenting your toddler :)

defective yeti: Tips On Parenting My Toddler, Supplied By Dylan, A 13 Year-old Relative, During A Recent Visit

When I was a child, we were still in the era of "speak when spoken to." From my parents, I'd expect a sharp look that signaled that my mouth was leading me into imminent danger. Then I'd be told to go play in another room or something. This was fortunate, since I knew plenty of kids who would have instead just received a swift backhand.

By the end of my youth, however, I already noticed a greater tolerance for loose-lipped juveniles. Perhaps as a result of the "Kids Say the Darnedest Things" mentality, people actually smiled when kids made off-color comments. It is to this faltering stance that I pin the blame for bad, mouthy kids.

Yes, I'm a 27 year-old fogey.

October 17, 2006

route orange


route orange, originally uploaded by **sirop.

October 16, 2006

Reuters now in Second Life


Reuters Gets a Second Life - Video Game News - Digital Trends

International news service Reuters announced today that it plans to open a virtual news bureau in the online virtual reality game Second Life from San Francisco's Linden Lab. The bureau will be run by a virtual representation of Reuters correspondent Adam Pasick, who will be present in the game under the name "Adam Reuters."

This is major. What does it mean when a real-world news agency dedicates a correspondent to cover the news of an online world? Does this redfine what "real-world" really means?

Advertising in Tokyo train stations

A national disconnect from societal responsibility

It is with increasing concern that I've noticed the disassociation that people have with their world.

Tonight, I picked up some blowing across my apartment community's lawn. I passed initially, but turned around to get it. I felt a social responsibility to my neighbors and a fondness for the general upkeep of my complex that was greater than the inconvenience of picking up trash that was not mine. It's not the greatest gesture in the world, and I'd like to think that other would people would do it as well.

Unfortunately, I know this is not the case. In fact, the last time I did this, it was picking up a half-full Coke bottle that stayed in the parking lot a few days. Wait, no; the last time I did it was picking up a bag floating around where the kids play soccer and tag. Why would trash persist, especially in a high-traffic area of a somewhat closed community?

Refuse is not the only example. My church is facing problems of a similar ilk. A few leaders have left for other opportunites and have their fans have followed. Our church budget, dependent upon contribution by a certain number of members, has suffered. But, instead of filling the void and picking up the slack, many have complained about the lack of service being offered and have looked at the weakening budget as an indication that it's time to look elswhere.

Since when has the world become a self-serving, parasitical place? Are we not equally responsible for the fate of our environment, the state of our institutions, and the needs of our communities? Since when did it become a good idea to move out of the city to escape the crime, rather than work on the factors that incite criminal behaviour? Since when did it make more sense to live isolated than to die fighting for equality and civil justice?

Have we become this bankrupt? Can social networks affect this? Positively or negatively? Where is the root of this moral decay?

October 13, 2006

Like ya ass is on fire

Lightning exits woman's bottom | NEWS.com.au

A WOMAN has suffered severe burning to her anus after being struck by lightning which hit her in the mouth and passed right through her body.

No words. Simply no words.

Primal Urges

As my "Living Single" post has veered to a slightly different topic in the comments, I thought I'd reincarnate it with another topic I've been discussing recently.

Apparently it's put Bryan on blast season, because this story again involves someone calling me out very audibly in public. At lunch, an acquaintance asked me, "Why don't you wear a wedding band?" When I gave her my answer, she said. "I don't buy that. You need to get a ring."

At this point, the entire table erupted in a debate as to whether or not the wedding band was a must for fidelity. Advocates said that it indicated how to approach a person and what to expect from them. Naysayers rebutted that it was a cultural traditional effect, and thereby had no true attachment to universal truth or, in this instance, faithfulness.

In all the clamor (I eat lunch with a rowdy bunch) I really wasn't asked my input, ironically. For what it's worth, I feel that every person should be able to approach a person in a way that is perfectly amicable but is in no way disrespectful of their marital status. If a ring determines your behaviour then I feel you have control issues. Your behaviour and interaction with others should be deliberately determined by YOU.

This is particularly my opinion when I interact with singles who have a lack of regard for the wedding band and marital status. These people are not bad or wrong, nor are they demeaning or insulting; I pity these people in most cases for adhering to primal urges rather than higher reason. The reason I feel weak in these situations is because I have an innate sense of manipulation; I make an effort to not take advantage of people that don't have the same level of information. In fact, my whole fascination with social networks may stem from the fact that it very often allows people to live in a society where information is available to all--making a more level playing field.

On the other side, of which I've only become aware through the recent commenting, I'm ashamed of married people who prey on naivete. However, I'm not sure how I feel about married-to-married, though. Who's fooling who?

In other cultures, where mistresses are tolerated, or polygamy practiced, or where marital bonds are shunned, do my philosophies still stand? Do yours? Is there a universal rule that can keep you safe in any environment?

October 12, 2006

salt and pepper


salt and pepper, originally uploaded by farfalla tokyo.

The end of the Sunshine Policy?

North-South Relations Suffer A Sudden Chill - washingtonpost.com

"All I wanted was a chance to look my children in the eye and tell them how sorry I am -- sorry that I left them too early, and that they got stuck in North Korea," Lee said, his voice trembling. "Not a day goes by without my thinking of the conditions they grew up in. I just wish I could have given them a deep bow of apology before I go."

Stuff like this breaks what little heart I have.

Handwriting - the lost art?

The Handwriting Is on the Wall - washingtonpost.com

Stacked up against teaching technology, foreign languages and the material on standardized tests, penmanship instruction seems a relic, teachers across the region say. But academics who specialize in writing acquisition argue that it's important cognitively, pointing to research that shows children without proficient handwriting skills produce simpler, shorter compositions, from the earliest grades.

Scholars who study original documents say the demise of handwriting will diminish the power and accuracy of future historical research. And others simply lament the loss of handwritten communication for its beauty, individualism and intimacy.

I used to often say that if I were kind of the world, I would do everything digitally and use paper only for calligraphy, poetry, music writing, and such. While I recognized the romance inherent in hand-writing, I didn't associate it completely with creative thought.

Just last week one of the associate directors noted (very audibly) my handwriting during a staff meeting. I was fortunate enough (though at the time felt quite UNfortunate) to attend a elementary school that focused considerably on handwriting. During my formative years, handwriting and oration were really force-fed to us, and most of the people who did well in those area did seem to excel more in their studies overall.

Are we losing a cultural and expressive treasure as we hurtle headlong into technological efficiency? There have been arguments in China regarding the losses incurred from the adoption of simplified Chinese; there have been laments in Korea about the declination of literacy due to less Chinese character usage and unchecked adoption of foreign words. Could this be America's equivalent?

Coincidentally, I think this really fits with the cute post below.

October 11, 2006

Yes, it is cute...

I Will Teach You To Be Rich: One of the cutest videos online

You know how much I abhor media-triggered emotions...I'm nearly ashamed to say I fell for this one. I'm even propogating it, for crying out loud.

10socks

10socks

Nifty idea...but what sold me was the music. Catchy!

Average girls are hot

Mind Hacks: Average girls are hot

The researchers argue that the reason we prefer average faces is because the brain creates an idea of a 'prototype' face, based on the average of all the faces we have seen. Attractive faces are the ones that best match this prototype because they require less processing to match and recognise.
Interesting. I'm not 100% sure I buy it, though I do tend to gravitate towards "normal" girls.

October 10, 2006

Dangerous Consumption

Environment Unlimited | Climate change | World moves into ecological overdraft today, says study

If every country lived frugally, only half the planet's resources would be needed to meet demand. But if the world adopted a US lifestyle, four extra planets would be needed.

October 9, 2006

my floor


my floor, originally uploaded by hello.ken1.

Pamela Slim of Escape From Cubicle Nation

I Will Teach You To Be Rich: Friday Entrepreneurs: Pamela Slim, Escape From Cubicle Nation

I think the best thing you can do when you are starting out in your career is to become familiar with your natural, intuitive voice that tells you what is truth and what is crap. Passion is just an emotional byproduct of doing the right thing at the right time. Part of the struggle that peers of my generation face is that they thought they had to turn off their emotions to make it through the work day. Now they don't even know how they feel, and are walking zombies ready to explode at any minute.

There is no need to choose a "career path" that is a series of ever-ascending job titles and salary levels. That model is dead for your generation.

I am so feeling this.

October 8, 2006

Living Single

Living Single - washingtonpost.com

About half of the black men -- 52 percent -- interviewed in a national survey last year said that being married was "very important" to them, slightly more than the percentage of white women who expressed that view. In contrast, only 39 percent of black women placed such a high value on marriage.

Japan-China summit warns N Korea

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Japan-China summit warns N Korea

The leaders of China and Japan have both said that a nuclear test by North Korea would be "unacceptable".

That's what I'm talkin' bout. This is news.

Is offline anti-sn?

Wired News: Some Tech-Gen Youth Go Offline

For some, it would be unthinkable -- certain social suicide. But Gabe Henderson is finding freedom in a recent decision: He canceled his MySpace account. No longer enthralled with the world of social networking, the 26-year-old graduate student pulled the plug after realizing that a lot of the online friends he had accumulated were really just acquaintances. He's also phasing out his profile on Facebook, a popular social networking site that, like others, allows users to create profiles, swap message and share photos -- all with the goal of expanding their circle of online friends.
Um....is going offline equivalent to shunning social networks?

watch out

Jan Chipchase - Future Perfect: Flow

"Watching flow in action is a wonderful thing. Unless of course you make wrist watches."
I stopped wearing my watch for the same reason.

Shall we dance?


Shall we dance?, originally uploaded by Eddie Law.

divulging a little more info

In light of some of the fantastic things that I'll be wanting to discuss in the near future, I've decided it's time to shed a little more light on who I am professionally and what I do.

I currently work at the General Conference, the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. That would mean that yes, I am an Adventist, though that's not really something I hid in the first place. I've worked for the denominational organization for a total of about four or five years altogether; I worked here from 1999 to 2002 in generally clerical or media-related roles. My work with an international news show launch piqued my interest in international media and communication, so I decided to return to academia to gain more expertise in the area.

In 2004, my wife and I went to Korea. Mainly, we went because I was interested in Korean language--a hobby I had taken up--and because my connections with the denominational network allowed us to go as missionaries (can you spot us?). My wife taught while I studied. Just before we were scheduled to return, this March, I was offered a job with the organization again. With a bit of trepidation, I accepted.

I'm working with the GC Ministerial Association, whose sole purpose is to be a resource of support, aid, guidance and education to pastors and church leaders. While we work very hard to provide for our own, we also provide proffesional growth training for clergy of other denominations as well. I'm involved with this aspect of our resources mainly because of my media experience; our biggest thrust in this area is an annual satellite-broadcast seminar which provides training as well as continuing education credit. If you'd like to see our most recent event, which was held here in Maryland, you can stream the Windows media file from here. Next year's event will be in Cambridge, England.

The bulk of my work right now, however, revolves around a quarterly magazine called Elder's Digest. While the position I initially accepted was more of a lower support role (so I could focus on studies), this keeps me busy enough that they blessed me with the "Assistant Editor" title. Along with the editor, I try to make a useful, easy-to-read, objective resource for the leader who doesn't have a degree in theology, feels comfortable speaking or have all the answers for their church community. I hope to have a website up to link to in the very near future ( another think on my plate....).

At first glance it would seem that these duties have very little to do with what I'm always talking about here. However, I think that these are areas that need this kind of thinking the most. As denominational organization of over 15 million members, there needs to be an equal level of involvement, communication and awareness. Also, the structures to which I point with regularity are things I'm wondering, "Can I implement this? Could this be an asset to my religious social network?"

Because yes, religion is a social tool. People gather around it, rally for or against it, live their lives by it. I've acquired a decent network of interesting individuals based on my work here, and am looking for ways that I can include even more great minds and ideas.

I'm not an evangelist (not for religion anyway. heh) and I don't look at this website as a tool for conversion. My interest is how to connect people. It just so happens that I'd like to do that in as many areas of my living as possible. Perhaps any interest in religious beliefs, principles or explanations would be best left to another method (direct communication, maybe).

Ok. That long diatribe should prepare you for a few upcoming posts that, regardless of your affiliation, I hope you will find fascinating.

Show's over

Hosting the first night of the Adventist Mission presentations turned out to be relatively painless. When I get a copy of the event (hopefully this week) maybe I'll put up a clip so you can see me in all my hosting glory. heh.

I actually spent a portion of Friday running around looking for a jacket to wear on stage. I haven't worn suits in a while and the ones I had weren't really bringing my A-game to the table. So I blew a couple hundred on a jacket, but I think I picked something that I can utilize with my wardrobe in the future.

Lots of good things to talk about regarding this weekend (except the fact that I'm working Sunday) so I'll post more soon.

October 6, 2006

I'm still drooling

SonyStyle.com | Sony Portable Reader System

I've mentioned it before, but, since no one had actually purchased one for me, I'll mention it again. :)

October 5, 2006

The Erosion of the United States

Met my friend Rachel on the bus and we somehow got into a very one-sided conversation.

"I think the foreigners are destroying this country," she spouted angrily, completely aware of the irony in the fact that she, herself, was a foreign resident. She complained that as the foreign population largely works in the service industry, customer relations and care were suffering considerably.

I countered that I felt more affinity to foreigners after returnting from Korea. I looked at the ample resources and opportunities available in America, and noted that very few Americans took advantage of it; no where near the amount of foreigners that seek out success. To me, Americans are to blame for allowing foreigners to usurp our spoils.

"But they bring the third world here," she argued. "Especially if you are a foreigner....you wouldn't believe me if I told you that service people said to me 'You're from Africa; why are you compaining about this service?' That is terrible."

Perhaps she is right. We both came to agree that no matter what side you approach it from the U.S. will not be a power above others for long. Other countries will rise and catch the stagnant power and even our global plane. She calls this degradation; I call it globalization.

What do you call it? Is it a good thing, either for America or for the world? Is is something you look forward to, or something you think needs correcting?

Yours truly on TV

For those of you that would be interested, I will be the host of the Adventist Mission special, which will be broadcast worldwide live via satellite tomorrow, at 7pm eastern time. It's not my first time hosting an event, but it is the first time I'll be in front of the camera for a televised event. I'll just be briefly on screen, but the title of host itself is pretty significant.

Unfortunately, it looks like some last minute changest have prevented this event from being adequately advertised....so I'll do my part by mentioning it here. Any questions about it, feel free to contact me.

October 4, 2006

How to Set Out the Chuseok Ritual Table

Is this really ok?

This is Tomoko Kawase, more commonly known these days as Tommy february6. I first learned of her when watching the anime Paradise Kiss, which used her song "Lonely in Gorgeous" for the opening credits (they used Franz Ferdinand for the closing. Excellent!).

Hunting up info on Tommy february6, I discovered that it was her solo act after being lead singer of j-rock/alternative band the brilliant green. A totally different sound, so I was impressed by the difference.

But then I ran into Tommy heavenly6, which is Tommy february6's polar opposite/alter ego. In case you've missed it: Tomoko's solo stage character has an alternate stage character (It's all explained in the wiki linked earlier). Add to that the fact that the backup dancer cheerleaders in her videos, the TommyAngels, also have a video....and you really are left wondering how far down the rabbit hole can go.

Is this really ok? Is it unprecedented genius? The fact that so much spawned from so little (some might argue from nothing at all, talentwise) is very interesting. How many manifestations of leftsider could I get away with? :D

October 2, 2006

I think I get it now

In Asian culture (particularly "monsoon Asia" which I'm studying this semester) there is a consistent foundation of dedication to the unit--familial, social, corporate and governmental--and its success, even at the sacrifice of personal gain. Individualism and freedom in the modern Western sense has traditionally been viewed as antisocial, selfish, and irresponsible; Everyone doing their own thing leads to chaos, where everyone pitching in for a common goal brings strength and solidarity.

Adding to this, a community-based philosophy does not seek direction from self-discovery. It instead looks to an elite or superior set of community members to set the standard for living and adherence. These people are leaders of the community and are looked to for guidance. Their status gives power but also responsibility to maintain an appearance of the ideal, to be reciprocated througout the organization. If there's a problem with the way everyone is working, theoretically it should be traced back to the top.

Those who err face the guilt of disrespecting and sullying the unit as a whole, as all are equally involved and equally responsible for the actions of their counterparts. A sense of shame keeps these types of things to such a minimum that they are often seem blown way out of proportion when they do occur. The associations found in these systems are so tightly woven that those who abandon the unit (or were never a part to begin with) will find it incredibly difficult to synchronize.

So why am I talking about all this? Because I couldn't help but think, as I studied this, how applicable this is to social networks. SNs do not work through individuality, but rather through tightly woven (though sometimes loosely linked) associations. Certain people maintain the status quo that is handed out to the masses. When individuals break formation, an uproar ensues, often bringing guilt and/or shame. And, finally, not being a part of the community can be quite ostracizing.

Perhaps this cultural tendency allows some people a quicker proclivity to projects that draw near to these models. Perhaps, this is why I may be taking my foot out of my mouth with this post as I realize that, yes, these people have been talking progressively....I've just been a little slow. -_-;;

What do you think?

Thoughts of Emergency

Today my sister spent the day in the hospital, and just now has
come out of emergency surgery.

Continue reading Thoughts of Emergency.

October 1, 2006

Setting up shop in Site5

At the strong recommendation of Kangmi and the referral of EFLGeek (I hope; let me know if that didn't go through), I've moved Leftsider over to Site5.

While Fatcow was not a bad host; I found the service to be par at best and the plans severely lacking. Every so often they're giving a way prizes for referral, but I saw very little going to improving service itself. Since opening an account with Site5 a little over a week ago, I've already received notification of two significant upgrades to areas of the service that already were equal or ahead of Fatcow. I also was extremely impressed that all user portals and management systems were created by Site5 specifically for Site5, with the engineers having their own blog to show progression of various projects.

Sofar the transition has been quick and relatively painless; I noticed that the prices advertised for domain processes were advantageous enough that I also gave the pinkslip to my longtime domain manager, Gandi, as well. This one I'm actually kinda sad about; Gandi was low-key, no-frills, but surprisingly responsive and never troublesome. I would still recommend them as the 12euro price is still not unreasonable.

Anyway, we're just waiting on the domain transfer now. Hope you'll also notice the slight improvement in the site's receptiveness as a result of the switch. Let me know if you find any problems anywhere, as I went the lazy route and just modified CSS rather than importing the old design. Thanks for you patience during the pause.