Another Data Mob at Freebase – Ethnicity

Wanna enrich some data? Got OCD? Tired of trying to get a foot in on popular Wikipedia entries? Try helping out with Freebase.

It’s a database. Of stuff. Free stuff. You can mush it however you like. You can compare stuff. You can edit it. And this week? This week you can join a few hundred of your fellow data nerds and join a data mob.

The topic is Ethnicity

Here’s an update on the current state of the datamob. Go forth librarians! Go forth and link up nodes! For the furture! For the children!

All your wireless basestations are belong to us

Locking down your in-home wireless network is like paying the cable company to take your neighbor’s money.

It’s to everyone’s advantage to fill their neighborhood with wireless access. It should be a municipal service. We benefit as a community when a resource is widely available. The tragedy of the Commons only applies when the shared commons is a limited resource.

The only people who don’t benefit from open community networks are companies who profit from the marketing-created illusion that bandwidth is rare, precious, and costly.

Do you scream at your neighbors: “get your OWN cell phone network and stop using mine!”

Do you call the cops when someone takes a shower using YOUR aquifer?

Does your radio’s signal belong to you?

Remember when it was illegal to make a free long-distance call? Were we going to run out of phonelines? Or was it because, for awhile, “long-distance calling” was the only established business model available to consumers, and eventually legislation built up to protect the market?

Once cellphones created a different profit model, did free long-distance calling stop being “wrong”?

“Ownership” of a wireless network connection is marketing, not reality.

Nobody is going to break into your computer. Nobody cares about capturing your keystrokes. There are better ways to secure your computer than hiding inside a little ComCast/TimeWarner-generated moat and trembling in fear of imaginary baddies who want to eat your bandwith.

Bandwidth is not a limited resource. You are not gonna run out of Internet.
Do you know anyone who has ever run out of Internet? No.

Get a firewall and quit whining.

We are the Men of IBM…

url.jpegOne of my student employees, Katie, is being recruited by IBM. We’re proud of her, and not a bit surprised. Our other student, Zach, is trying to decide between working at Google or Amazon. They will be lucky to have him.

One of the advantages to doing web development at a University, is that you get to work with Google-caliber people, but get to pay them student slave wages. For some reason they don’t seem to mind.

So, in honor of our super students, I’d like to direct you to these official IBM Songs that you can listen to online from their corporate archives. Enjoy, and remember: We are the men! Of IBM!

Surge protectors for the L33t

Good design can make anything wonderful. Even something as dreary as surge protectors. I came across these in my e-travels.

surge1.pngBelkin Clamp-On Surge Protector
I do grow so weary of crawling under my desk every day and messing up my chic outfit. No, I’m not reenacting scenes from Secretary. I work in a digital library. Gordian knots of power cables are part of my life.

But checkitout: this surge protector has a clamp on it so you can attach it to your desk, or another convenient surface. Finally, I can unplug the router with dignity.

squid.jpgThe Power Squid
is my friend. He is a squid-shaped surge protector. Instead of forcing you into unaccommodating rows, his noodely appendages absorb plugs of all shapes and sizes.

I plan on getting three of him: one for each office, and one for that damned outlet by the kitchen that only half-works, yet is so conveniently placed.

pwer.jpgThe Power Strip Liberator will save you from huge annoying black bricks that take over your power strip. Instead of letting those monsters take over three entire outlets, plug them into this doohickey and let ’em loom menacingly somewhere else.