Kevin Kelly on the Next 5,000 Days of the Internet-TED, 2007:

Kevin Kelly gave this talk at TED in 2007.  It’s worth watching.  

He touches on a number of things ranging from history of the Internet and Moore’s Law to the future ubiquity of Cloud Computing and Kurzweil‘s “Sigularity.” 

He covers concepts like the Semantic Web, and the give-and-take between privacy and participation with relatively light language that any lay person should be able to understand.  This is an interesting and entertaining little presentation.  Thought I’d share.

How Will I Organize My Tags? An App? MOAT? A Feature in Delicious?

Here’s my dilemma. I have a ton of bookmarks on my Del.icio.us account.  I love using an online bookmarking system. But still, Delicious and others’ systems for organizing bookmarks don’t really help with a need I bet most users have: Tag-Optimization.  

What we need are tools for analyzing and perfecting the organizing of bookmarks.  Every one of these systems like Delicious, Furl, StumbleUpon etc, have the same problem: user-submitted tags are bug-y!!! The engine of the platform needs to guide the users toward better tagging!  Basically, we need built-in systems for finding the types of redundancies and other tag-errors that we all have. We need debugging software, so our bookmarks can become good, clean representations of how web-users feel about various web resources.  “Suggested Tags” and “Popular Tags” are great time-saving features but I’d like to also have a tool for correcting tag-cancer.  
These software offerings, if/when they finally exist, are going to make it increasingly more easy to harmonize user-submitted value from folksonomies with the ‘Semantic Web,’ which is right around the corner.
 
Some examples of areas where I think a robot could help users to clean up tags are:
  • Redundant Tags. Usually just alternate tenses of the same word (like the plural and singular form) but also synonyms. Example: Image, Images, Picture, Pictures, Pix
  • Arbitrary Capitalization. HTML vs html etc.
  • Vagueness. Like los or awesome (wouldn’t it be safe to assume that all the things you bookmark are ‘awesome’ to you?’). 
This is a screen-shot of my tagging screen from Delicious.  I added the red scribbling to point out just a few of the problems my tags have.
Del.Icio.Us Tags Gone Wild
Del.Icio.Us Tags Gone Wild

On several occasions, I’ve set out to clean up my tags manually, but I’ve never made it very far.  It’s just too much work.

Maybe the coming overhaul to Del.Icio.Us will ad some of these needed features, although somehow I doubt it.

I’ve heard of the MOAT (Meaning Of A Tag) Project, and perhaps this could save us, but like many other ‘Semantic Web’ projects, I haven’t found a way, as a lay person, to utilize it.  At some point down te road,  maybe someone will make a Delicious-MOAT-erizer Web-App that will clean-up-shop-by-proxy and make the metadata available to the Semantic Web.

T. Boone Pickens’ Grassroots Campaign for U.S. Energy Plan

I just heard about this from the Inside Silicon Valley Podcast from The San Jose Mercury News (the site of which, sadly, has no RSS feed metadata in its html head.  Get it together, people!)

MP3 of interview HERE

Anyway, this guy apparently made a fortune as a Texas oil man.  Now he’s decided to spearhead a movement toward “energy-independence.”  In a nutshell, he wants to shift our use of Natural gas over to transportation and replace its 20% share of electricity production with wind power by building out the “Wind Belt” with turbines.  The result, he claims, would mean consuming about 38% less foreign oil. It would also mean cleaner transportation and electricity production.

Pickens has launched a totally kick-ass, Web2-savvy campaign to recruit online “foot-soldiers,” for his movement.  He has already met with the “president” and says he also plans to meet with both mainstream presidential candidates “at the same time.”  

He claims that the site moved into the top-1000 most-viewed sites in under three weeks, with 2.5 million hits and about a one-tenth conversion rate (people signing up to get involved, subscribing to get updates etc)!!! (three exclamation points!!!) In addition, he’s touring around giving “town-hall” meetings all over, and spending his money on TV advertisements.   

Techno-Activism? Go to PickensPlan.com and look around.  What do you think?  I like seeing rich-ass people putting their dollars into making positive changes in policy and public perception (if that’s what this is (I’m the first one to admit that I’m no expert on what the best route to sustainable energy is)).

Whatever you think about the plan, you have to admit that the campaign is being smartly executed. He must have a great team working for him.

This video is an overview of his “plan” (the second is one of the TV advertisements he did, which sufficiently pulls on left-wing heart strings since it has plenty of imagery of smoke pouring into the air)

I Want a Burqa, Niqab Etc for Burningman

Last year, the sun at Burningman killed me.  I got burnt so badly.  So this year, during the daytime, I am planning on cutting the sun out of the equation altogether.  I have a nice pair of ski goggles, and am planning on going full-on sahara style.  Lightweight, robes with practically nothing underneath.  I may build my robes or perhaps I will buy from eBay.  

 

There are these patterns for making traditional Muslim clothing, but I would need help understanding them.  Maybe my mom will help me.  She’s a big-time sewing person. The specific patterns available are:

  •  Simple Caftan A short-sleeved caftan
  •  Shoulder-Style Abaya A simple and practical closed abaya
  •  Niqab Three patterns—all easy to make
  •  Abaya The classic one-piece open abaya—drapes from the head to the toes
  •  Khimar The basic wrist-length khimar
  •  Chador This pattern requires 60″ wide fabric. It has openings for the hands and makes a wonderful one-piece prayer outfit. 
  •  Underscarves Three patterns to choose from—for use under your khimar

Blank Screen of Death WordPress Nefarious Invisible Plugin

Recently while troubleshooting an old WordPress 2.1.3 blog, I found that when trying publish a new post, the next page would fail to load and only get to a blank screen.  Also, while looking around in the dashboard, I noticed that the default upload directory (for uploading images etc), was set to:

/../../../../../../../../../../../../../../tmp/ 

from  CyberInsecure.com :

Wordress blogs are mass scanned and attacked, and a new directory in wp-content folder is created in vulnerable ones. The directory is usually called /1/ and its full of html files containing Javascript redirects in them (doorways). There was also an infected blog with phishing pages for Google logins. Google cache already shows thousands of results with such hacked WordPress blogs. They can be seen best by committing a search inurl:wp-content/1/ (do not visit those results, your PC might get infected). Google has already tagged some of these spam pages as harmful.

The blogs are most likely attacked by some kind of automated tool since the amounts of spam are too big to work manually on all those spam pages creation. It seems there are also spam comments in posts as well. Spam comments are pointing to internal infected blog pages in folder “1? to get them spidered and to get people to visit them.

This issue was reported to WordPress.org, and there is an unofficial fix for this issue. The fix is based around renaming the cookies used by WordPress by default. If the exploit is hacking the cookies by mass scanning blogs, and it looks for a specific cookie name, that would stop what is out there now but it would not fix the issue.

Recommendations: Upgrade to 2.3.3 along with immediately changing any administrator passwords. Currently older WordPress versions, especially Wordress 2.1.3, attacked using “admin-ajax.php” sql injection exploit to retrieve the administrator account’s password.
Change default cookie names in your blog.

Things like this are a reason to keep your WordPress, and all other software up to date!

Reading:

http://wordpress.org/support/topic/154278

Gorgoroth, My New Favorite Satanic Black-Metal Band

Listen to that name… “Gorgoroth” …It’s so… Viking.  So Dongeons and Dragons.  The following are links to a 5-part documentary about the band, and all the controversy surrounding them, particularly their singer called “Gaahl.”  You gotta love that name too.   I guess he tortures people and drinks their blood and stuff like that.  

The name “Gorgoroth” is derived from Tolken‘s Lord of the Rings books.

At their shows they have been known to feature goat heads on sticks and other charming bits of satanic stage decor.   This is a fun documentary to watch.  It also gives some interesting background on the whole Satanic Rock genre, particualy the “Norwegian Black Metal Scene.”  Hmmm.  Fun stuff.  I’d love to go to one of their shows.

Restore NAVT From MySQL Database Backup? CSS and XPATH?

Lately for extra cash, I have been helping people with WordPress installations, upgrades, theme-tweaks etc.

Recently I was asked to look into a disappearing dynamic navigation menu created using the plugin NAVT.

The menu ‘groups’ had completely disappeared from the dashboard and of course, from the site as well. Apparently, this happens fairly often with NAVT.  Not sure why.

All and all, I think NAVT is an awesome plugin.  It adds a drag-n-drop ajax interface to the wordpress dash for creating hierarchical navigation menus.  It also allows you to use xpath to replace your theme’s default navigation div with one created by the plugin.  With a little design magic, the result can be a super-slick dynamic menu with parent-child relationships between nav items.  Pages, Categories, Users, User-defined URI’s are all options you can add to “groups,” each group having its own CSS and XPATH settings which you can define.  Very well thought out.

Unfortunately, something went a little crazy with the database or something and the whole thing broke for this client.  So she got ahold of me.  The forums at NAVT suggested ‘resetting’ the plugin, which I eventually did, but my client had wanted to avoid this because the navigation she had set up was complicated and her site has a lot of content.  NAVT does have a backup/restore feature (again, very well thought out), but unfortunately, this would not work either, which is presumably always the case once your NAVT groups ‘disappear.’

Before resetting the NAVT plugin, I downloaded her entire WordPress database, just in case.

Now the only trace of her original navigation groups, and more importantly, the CSS and XPATH data created by the plugin are gone, except for the record of them in the MySQL backup.

I posted my drama to the NAVT forum and the author of the plugin was awesome enough to respond right away.  This is what I love about the WordPress community!

Re: Recover NAVT settings from MySQL Database Backup

Postby gbellucci on Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:11 pm

If you’ve restored a wp db the NAVT configuration is in the options table. NAVT options begin with ‘wpnavt_’. The navigation configuration for navigation groups are stored in an option in the format of a PHP array; the option name is ‘wpnavt_gconfig’. A similar array is stored for individual items called ‘wpnavt_iconfig’. To operate correctly, the ‘wpnavt_version’ number must match the plugin version number to prevent NAVT from attempting to convert the values in an existing option to the values expected for the plugin if the plugin version number is newer than the version in the option table.
I haven’t tried to perform this recovering of NAVT data via MySQL yet myself, but if you’re reading this and you you do try it, fail or succeed, please comment either here or over at the NAVT forum.  Share the knowledge!

SustainableWebsites.com-Why You Shouldn’t Host With Them

SustainableWebsites.com hosting does NOT have 24/7 phone tech support!  This is a huge problem, if you believe your time is valuable.  SustainableWebsites claims to be carbon-neutral.  I guess this why they charge so much for so little.

I like BlueHost …They are offering some really good deals right now.  GoDaddy‘s hosting is pretty good too. Also, I should add that I’ve had some great experiences with IXWebHosting.com‘s tech support too.  

24-hour tech support is just SO necessary in my opinion, carbon-neutral or not.  Would you buy a carbon neutral car if it didn’t actually run?  I wouldn’t.

SustainableWebsites is way more expensive than other hosting providers and falls way short, in my opinion. Look at what they offer and compare it to the others I mentioned.  

IXWebHosting and BlueHost both offer unlimited space and unlimited data transfer in their least expensive packages!  You can host a small business’ site on IX for about $5/month!  

Use the money you save to by some carbon credits or something.  At least you’ll be able to call your hosting provider whenever something goes wrong, talk to a real person, and find out what’s going on.