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1 degree

1 degree - A News Limited Initiative1 degree - A News Limited Initiative

Everyone's favourite media mogul is turning down the thermostat 1 degree, which will save 5% on heating usage.

The video is worth watching. Even Rupert realises that acting on climate change is "simply good business". No overt attempt to pretend a moral high ground.

Carbon neutral by 2010 - tough ask for a company with a carbon footprint of 641,150 tonnes, but Rupert isn't known for missing his targets.

And perhaps this is the real momentum building. While democratic government waits for an overwhelming majority others will step in. Global business, aid groups, the courts, churches. It gets interesting from here.

09:49 PM, 24 Jul 2007 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (0)

Australian blog search

I seem to have been Listed in - whatever that is.

Only Australia could turn out blogs named Frugal Bastard and elliot's artwank :)

02:17 AM, 23 Jul 2007 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (0)

Aussie blogger - will blog for bandwidth

Ross Dawson discusses an SMH article which quotes his discussion (still following?) of the state of blogging in Australia, tying it in with bandwidth:

"Of the top 25,000 blogs globally, around 9000 are in English", says Mr Dawson. Of those, only 75 originate in Australia. But there are 420 million native English speakers in the world. "With Australia's population of 21 million, we comprise 5 per cent of English speakers. But with 75 blogs out of 9000, we comprise less than 1 per cent of English blogs. We are underrepresented by a factor of six or so."


"I think one key reason is lack of bandwidth in Australia, and of its high cost. Australian internet connections are slower than they are in the rest of the world, and Australia is almost unique in capping usage at quite low levels."

There should be some adjustment in interpreting those numbers for local vs. global readers.

You could only make such a simplistic percentage comparison for countries of a similar size.

For instance a widely read blog on local Californian politics will probably rate in the top 25,000 blogs globally - since California has such a huge population. A widely read blog on local NSW politics could easily have a higher percentage of the available readership, be more influential etc. - and yet not rate a mention in the top 25,000 blogs.

Now I'm not saying that the general observation is wrong - but these figures don't back it up as clearly as it may first appear.

As for bandwidth - blogging doesn't take a lot of bandwidth. Price is a far more important factor. Very cheap always on internet is going to promote more blogging than very high bandwidth internet that doesn't reduce the cost of the cheapest plans.

But even with cost, I don't think that the key issues are so simple. As a nation we seem to be underrepresented in entrepreneurship in general, and I think blogging is simply literary entrepreneurship.

Solving that chestnut is a rather difficult socio/economic/politic/educational issue - beyond the scope of this Australian blogger at the moment ;)

Original linker: Corporate Engagement.

02:09 AM, 23 Jul 2007 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (0)


I just spent a few evenings in autohell trying to configure the cvs trunk of GNU Smalltalk.

I wish I could document my story, but there were just too many twists and turns (many which ended with the distinct feeling of darkness and that one was likely to be eaten by a grue ;).

Instead I will just document some things I found useful. Firstly, install the latest autoconf and automake package your packaging tool has (MacPorts in my case). Secondly, consider the following your personal arsenal:

  • autoupdate --verbose
  • find . -name | xargs perl -pie 's/AM_CONFIG_HEADERS/AC_CONFIG_HEADERS/'
  • autoreconf --verbose

09:46 AM, 19 Jul 2007 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (1)

Simple javascript DOM visitor

I had a need to alter a bunch of ids and names after I cloned a dom node, so I cooked up the following dom node visitor:
function domVisitor(el, f) {
  if (el) {
    for (var i=0 ; i < el.childNodes.length ; i++) {
      domVisitor(el.childNodes[i], f);
So all you need to do is pass in the cloned node (or whatever) along with an anonymous function to do your bidding. The function will be called for the full tree under the node passed in.

04:38 AM, 05 Jul 2007 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (0)

Philosophies of copyright and law, and the new GPL v3

Groklaw posts the transcript of an excellent speech by Eben Moglen, one of the co-authors of the GPL v3 open source software license, a Professor at Columbia Law School in New York and the founder of the Software Freedom Law Center.

He begins with a surprisingly striking analogy:

I ask you to imagine briefly a world in which arithmetic has become property. ... Once we have reduced arithmetic to property, you'll have only as much arithmetic as you can afford, the consequence of which is that the gateways to material collaboration in the world, successful activity in relation to the physical and constructed environment, will depend very largely upon one's ability to acquire sufficient surplus amounts of mathematics.
Then invoking the famous words of Richard Stallman,

Why is software property? It should be knowledge to be shared, like math, like physics. It's unethical, to deprive people of information evidently available to them about the artefacts of digital society with which they are daily in contact -- it's evidently immoral to deprive them of knowledge. You've given the knowledge to the computer sitting next to them. They're using it -- the knowledge is playing a potentially determinative role in their lives. You've already delivered it to them -- all you haven't done is to deliver them the ability to know.

and also paraphrased John Dewey (who I had never heard of):

the education and expansion of the human mind depends upon the opportunity to experiment with the world.

talks quickly about the history of copyright in the US, and then turns to the new license itself.

He also has an interesting discussion comparing the pragmatic commercial foundations of US law and UK/Commonwealth common lay with what is happening online today:

But I would present to you the possibility that the UCC and the GPL 3 are in themselves a pair -- a pair, organizing an idea about the method of the creation of 21st century law. 21st century law is born in the street in the same way 21st century television is born in the street, not sent to you from the top of a broadcast tower, but upward from the cellphone and the portable camera put through YouTube.

21st century law is like 21st century music -- not made in an expensive recording studio or legislature, rented by the hour by people with the power to rent studios and legislatures, but made in every laptop in every den in every corner living room, in every garage, where a musician and a computer are, which is pretty much everywhere a musician is.


Of course, the idea that law might be something we all do together, it's got a long history stretching back far beyond the Free Software movement, stretching, in fact, back to beyond democracy. One of the characteristics that the continental Europeans noted of the English speakers, North Britains and South Britains, similarly in the course of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, was that English-speaking people had an almost personal relationship to the common law. A man might be an artisan or a yeoman farmer, but he believed the law to be in some sense his own. He was familiar with the courts, he served on juries, the language of the law was in his mouth. Even beyond the language of literature and religion, it was in his mouth. It was, if not folk law in some forests-of-Germany sense, community law. The law of us, and to be not of this law was to be not of us in some fundamental way.

This is a must read for anyone technically or legally inclined or engaged in 21st century society.

02:47 PM, 02 Jul 2007 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (0)

Tape measures

I wonder if there is anyone in the world who has access to a tape measure who has *not* done this:



Source: xkcd - the best nerdy cartoon in the world.

11:19 PM, 01 Jul 2007 by Mark Aufflick Permalink | Comments (2)


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