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Current Topic: Cyber-Culture

'The Problem with Wikipedia' - Webcomic
Topic: Cyber-Culture 7:53 pm EST, Feb  6, 2007

Elonka :)

'The Problem with Wikipedia' - Webcomic

Midwest 2600
Topic: Cyber-Culture 1:56 pm EST, Jan  5, 2007

By Aestetix:

I think it was the September [2003?] 2600 meeting in St. Louis that the idea was born. I'd collected a friend or two to attend a casual meeting, and for the most part it was. However, a guy named w1nt3rmut3 (apologies if that's misspelled) had come down from Chicago, with a friend from Milwaukee, proposing that we form a new meeting place somewhere in Illinois between us... essentially, merge the Chicago and St. Louis groups. Sounded like an idea worth considering to me, as I'm definately willing to drive a few hours when I know it'll be worth it. However, it would only be done every few months, a larger crowd... it was starting to sound like a con! There had been a lot of voice about throwing one in St. Louis, Gateway to the West and such, but it takes a lot more planning and preparation than a spontaneous meeting. A few days later, I pitched the idea to Elonka (who'd missed the meeting), and she responded with two things: one, taking three/four hours to drive somewhere for a single meeting for a single night was way overboard; she absolutely refused it. Fair enough. However, she said, what -would- be a fabulous idea would be to start a base of networking for the Midwest. She used the example of SE2600, where there was a main site set up with general links to different regional meeting pages, FAQs and a listserv. They were well enough connected and had enough money (and brains) running around that they even threw annual cons (PhreakNIC, @LANta_con, interz0ne). If we set up something like that, then all the Midwest talent could join and eventually realize our own con!

The newsletter article that documents how MW2600 was born . . .

Midwest 2600 Mammoth Book of Secret Codes and Cryptograms: Books: Elonka Dunin
Topic: Cyber-Culture 4:13 pm EST, Feb 20, 2006

Ranking: 171,588 in Books
Yesterday: #1,129,031 in Books

I found this interesting. Yesterday, my book (which isn't even hitting the shelves until April) was ranked at 1,129,031 in sales on Amazon U.S. Today, it's at 171,588. I wonder if this has something to do with the Digg attention . . .

Elonka Mammoth Book of Secret Codes and Cryptograms: Books: Elonka Dunin Odometer
Topic: Cyber-Culture 1:15 pm EST, Dec 27, 2005

Page view odometer rolled over to 1.4 million this week.

Total   618,288
Average Per Day   1,373
Average Visit Length   1:55
Last Hour   28
Today   262
This Week   9,613


Total   1,400,234
Average Per Day   2,422
Average Per Visit   1.8
Last Hour   61
Today   534
This Week   16,955

The Kryptos site, incidentally, is *not* the draw. It's been holding pretty steady around 400 visitors/day. The huge traffic lately has been almost exclusively for my "Unsolved Codes" page. Traffic quintupled last week, and the #1 culprit is the "StumbleUpon" service. I don't know what this means exactly... Perhaps they changed their algorithm, or perhaps my site got enough "thumbs up" votes that it was bumped up a notch in viewability, or maybe StumbleUpon itself just got more popular, and my site is riding the wave with it . . .

Referring pages, ranked by website:

2,147    53.7%
521    13.0%
57    1.4%
48    1.2%
41    1.0%
41    1.0%
37    0.9%
26    0.7%
24    0.6%
18    0.5%
12    0.3%
12    0.3%
11    0.3%
11    0.3%
9    0.2%
7    0.2%
7    0.2%
7    0.2%
6    0.2%

Google google google. I don't even know what country that half those suffixes are, heh. .ph, .sg, .se . . . Odometer

RE: Dragon*Con Space and Science Track Schedule
Topic: Cyber-Culture 11:42 am EDT, Aug 24, 2005

Rattle wrote:

The schedule for the D*C space and science track, headed up by our own jonnyx, is available for your perusal.

You'll also find at least 4 MemeStreams regulars presenting both here and in the Electronic Frontiers Forum. The schedule does not appear to be updated yet, but Decius and I are confirmed to be speaking at the Hacking 101, 201, and 301 panels.

I'll be there too, speaking on games and cryptography. I'm not sure yet if I'll be able to make the Hacking 101 talk, since it got rescheduled and is now conflicting with another event I'll be at. If nothing else though, I'll try to pop in towards the end.

Elonka :)

RE: Dragon*Con Space and Science Track Schedule

The Three Degrees of
Topic: Cyber-Culture 6:39 pm EDT, Aug 12, 2005

Interesting concept.

Enter in your AIM screen-name (and anyone else's you want) and see how many people link to you, within three degrees.

There's no way to increase your own score by adding people. This score is specifically calculated by counting people who have *your* name, in *their* buddy list, and some sort of formula which weights their link to you, based on their own scores.

My score today is: 45989

For reference, here are a few other people I checked. Some are folks I know, and some are just random names I typed in:

Rattle: 3176
Gordon Walton: 40466
Kim Zetter: 4851
Llearyn: 36773
GMBreeland: 38804
Randal: 5435
Strick: 13136
Virgil: 17273
Grunch: 1608
Aestetix: 17502
Bryan: 13765
God: 77395
Bob: 157924

Funny that "Bob" is more popular than "God." ;)

Elonka :)

8/15/2005 Update: When I checked my score today, it read as 51893, which put me in the top 5% of AIM users online, rank of 303386. Which I guess means that there were about 6 million AIM users logged on as of that moment....

The Three Degrees of

Press Ripples
Topic: Cyber-Culture 1:30 pm EDT, Jun 12, 2005

I continue to be fascinated with how the Kryptos story is being disseminated around the world from the recent articles.

When the WSJ front-page article came out, it was in a "subscription-only" section of the WSJ site. The only link to it via Google News, was on the Pittsburgh Post Gazette site, which had it verbatim.

But the UK Guardian piece that ran in their Saturday paper is public, and is being picked up in interesting places. They all seem to be taking the exact text, though sometimes they'll change the headline. Six different sites have picked it up so far, in vastly different parts of the world. I wonder which ones are swiping the Guardian article, and which ones are swiping from one of the other "upstreams".

A check of Google News this morning:

Guardian Unlimited, UK - Jun 10, 2005
(the original piece)
Headline: "Interest grows in solving cryptic CIA puzzle after link to Da Vinci Code"

The Observer, UK - Jun 10, 2005 (sister site to Guardian)
Headline: Same

Mail & Guardian Online, South Africa - Jun 10, 2005
Headline: "Interest grows in solving cryptic CIA puzzle"

Mathaba.Net, Africa - Jun 11, 2005
Headline: "High interest in solving CIA Kryptos after link to Da Vinci Code"

Hindu, India - 19 hours ago
Headline: "The secrets of Kryptos and a code to break"

Taipei Times, Taiwan - 13 hours ago
Headline: "Interest grows to crack CIA puzzle"

Free Press International, Texas - 5 hours ago
Headline: Same as Guardian

Kryptos and the Da Vinci Code, in Dutch
Topic: Cyber-Culture 3:17 pm EDT, May 26, 2005

] Op de CIA-site is de informatie over Kryptos nogal
] summier, maar op de amateursite Elonka's Krypton page
] vind je alle denkbare informatie over dit mysterieuze
] kunstwerk.

Traffic to my Kryptos site spiked today, evidently because of this article that showed up on a Dutch website. International interest has been increasing lately. Tons of hits from Japan, some from Indonesia, some from Latin America... It's like a game, trying to figure out which language is on the current site that's linking to me!

Hmm, as part of my genealogy research, I've been trying to track down a Dutch branch of the family, by which I'm related to the famous botanist Eduard Adolf Strasburger. I wonder if I can use this to get back in touch....

Elonka :)

Kryptos and the Da Vinci Code, in Dutch

Emails 'pose threat to IQ'
Topic: Cyber-Culture 12:09 pm EDT, Apr 26, 2005

] The distractions of constant emails, text and phone
] messages are a greater threat to IQ and concentration
] than taking cannabis, according to a survey of befuddled
] volunteers.
] Doziness, lethargy and an increasing inability to focus
] reached "startling" levels in the trials by 1,100 people,
] who also demonstrated that emails in particular have an
] addictive, drug-like grip.

I don't know if I'd agree that it's causing a drop in my intelligence level, but I absolutely agree that the constant distractions have a negative effect on my own productivity. Even when I try to get disciplined and turn off IMs and minimize my email apps, I find that after about 10-15 minutes of "work", I get an overwhelming urge to peek back at my email queue to see if anything new has come in.

On the other hand, I know that I *am* still very productive, and I get an enormous quantity of things done, which I could not do as quickly if I were isolated in a rustic unwired mountain cabin somewhere -- my connection to cyberspace enables a very rapid flow of information and fact-checking which speeds many other processes. But I've found that the *kind* of work I tend to gravitate to, is the work which gives me quick feedback on how I'm doing. Like talking to customers, or making a webpage change where I can watch the hit counter, or compiling a program and checking if it has any errors. If it's more isolated work (like editing a lengthy document), I find it less satisfying since I can't plug into that immediate gratification loop. And I find myself pushing projects like that to the side, unless I go into a very obsessive tunnel-vision "Don't talk to me until I'm done with this project" mode. The kind where I forget food and sleep, and I ignore friends who are trying to contact me. :/

Emails 'pose threat to IQ'

When the Blogger Blogs, Can the Employer Intervene?
Topic: Cyber-Culture 5:33 pm EDT, Apr 18, 2005

] There are about 10 million blogs out there, give or take.
 . . .
] Mark Jen, who was fired from Google in January after just two
] weeks, having made some ill-advised comments about the company on
] his blog, is now busy helping to draft a blogging policy for his
] new employer, Plaxo
 . . .
] With Plaxo's blessing, Mr. Jen is soliciting public comment on
] the new blogging policy at
] Most of the points are the kinds of common-sense items
] that employees would do well to remember, particularly if
] they plan on identifying themselves as employees in their
] blogs, or discussing office matters online: don't post
] material that is obscene, defamatory, profane or
] libelous, and make sure that you indicate that the
] opinions expressed are your own.

This is an interesting subject to me, and one which is going to get more attention as more and more people (especially non-tech-literate people) get online and start blogging.

Personally, every time I post something to my blog, I am excruciatingly aware that it is *not* private speech, and even if my friends are the only ones visiting the page when I write it, that there are almost certainly many strangers (and probably some family) reading whatever I write. Also, I keep in mind that no matter what I say, it's going to be floating around the internet for quite probably the rest of my life, so I may have to be willing to live with whatever I say, since it may well be quoted back at me several years down the line.

I view blogging as something akin to "recorded soapbox ranting", where someone goes into a park or other public place, drops a soapbox on the ground, and then steps onto the box and begins shouting their opinion at the top of their lungs to anyone who can hear, and then posts written transcripts of everything they said for anyone who happens to come by later.

So I've been really uncomfortable seeing other friends treat their blogs like a private confessional. They talk about the things they like and don't like about other mutual friends, or they'll discuss their personal sexual habits, or crimes they may have witnessed (or engaged in). All of which could easily come back to bite them later.

And workplace ranting is especially dangerous. When an employee goes online and rants about the bad day they had at work, and vents about how their supervisor is a real SOB, the employee is oblivious to the fact that their ranting is *not* private speech that disappears as soon as they said it. Indeed, someone may eventually forward their words to "that SOB", resulting in potentially serious consequences.

Me personally, I try to reserve my online posting for informational and public debate kind of stuff, with a smattering of humor and fun human interest links tossed in. If I need to be venting about an ex-boyfriend or troublesome work associate, that venting is best done verbally, in a non-recorded fashion, and only around people I trust.


When the Blogger Blogs, Can the Employer Intervene?

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