Journal/25 Frimaire CCXV from Evan Prodromou

I'm pretty happy to note that I've been invited to speak at South by Southwest Interactive in March on the subject of wikis and commercialization. I'm pretty psyched about the subject, as I think a rich and varied ecosphere of wikis -- from personal to informal clusters to formalized non-profits to formalized commercial ventures -- is a necessary step to the development of a read-write Web.

OK, so, it wasn't like they invited me out of the blue -- I submitted an idea for a wiki panel a few months ago, and it got morphed into a one-person presentation instead. Which will be fun, since I'll be able to pontificate at length on this interesting subject.

Maj booked us our hotel rooms in November -- I wanted to stay at the Austin Motel, but they have some kind of one-time callin system for the week of SxSW, and their rooms sell-out in an hour or so. We missed the callin time, which was no big deal.

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Recidivista

Bad Vista is a clumsy and confusing name. Who's running the Wordplay Department over at the FSF nowadays? I hope it's some wily Germans, and that "Bad Vista" is some sort of elaborate spa joke. But for some reason I doubt it.

Offer to the FSF: I just registered recidivista.org today. It's an awesome name. It is yours for free if you promise to use it well and be funny instead of shrill. Deal?

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Maptastic

I'm pretty happy to note that I got around to developing a new MediaWiki plug-in that uses the Mapstraction library to switch between well-known-but-proprietary mapping services like Google Maps and unknown-but-open-and-cool services like OpenStreetMap.

Each page on Wikitravel that's had some geo-data RDF magic added to it gets a link to the Mapstraction page, which will focus on that destination. Eventually it will have icons for each museum, restaurant, bar, hotel, or other feature of the city, and you could move them around or even edit their information through the map interface.

But, for now, I'm starting small. More map-centrism will come with time. You can check out Montreal for an example of a mapped-up page right now.

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C-List

So, I like this Are you an A-list Bloglebrity? tool on kineda.com. A simple re-packaging of some publicly-available data from Technorati, ranking blogs into lists by authority. Excellent hit-mongering.

I'm sad to say that I'm still in the C-list on the blogging front, but that's really just dependent on longevity. I've only been doing this since last May -- errr, Floréal -- which is just 7 months (that's 49 months in blog years).

If the A-list gets the Lear jets and the red-carpets, I don't know what kind of perks come along with the C-list. Free refills on your orange soda?

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Parenthood

One of the things that parents often notice is that they have a hard time relating to their non-parent friends. And, of course, single non-parents have a hard time relating to their friends who've bred. Why is it so hard for these two kinds of people to connect with each other?

I think there are some superficial reasons, like having different schedules, different imperatives, different needs. But I also think there's something more fundamental about the split.

Organisms who've survived long enough to successfully reproduce have realised one goal in life -- if you listen to Charles Darwin, the only goal in life. If you have children, you have found a purpose for yourself -- an answer to all those questions about who you are and what you're supposed to do with your time on earth. If you survive to breed, you have won the game.

Now, it's not the only way of winning, and it's not really the most interesting game in town. But I know at least for myself, and for other parents I've talked to, there is an existential satisfaction in finding yourself almost accidentally filling this purpose. Having never felt before that I had a definite purpose, it's been a strange sensation.

Non-parents don't get the same sensation -- or, at least, they don't get it in the same way. So they're still looking, thinking, questing, trying to find some answers. And that gives them a vibrant edge that fulfillment dulls. I doubt there are many non-parents who would be satisfied with the Darwinian answer to their questions -- spawning like crayfish isn't a very lofty goal in life. Or at least it doesn't seem so from the outside.

I'm not sure how to tell my friends how my life's changed since we had a daughter -- how when I'm reflecting and summing up my life, I don't feel the same panic as I did before. It's a good feeling, though.

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Iraqi taxi

This blog post with a graphic illustration of the process for a build-your-own Iraqi taxi cracked me up. It was also nice for giving me a link to Wrecked Exotics. No, it's not about drunk strippers, nor orchids that went unfed; it's crashed cars.

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