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Fri Apr 23 14:47:53 PDT 2004

April 28th, 2004

seems to be fixed now.

just to provide you with a momento of the occasion:

Now atsa bigga mailbox!:
oz:~ % ls -la /var/mail/cool
-rw——- 1 cool mail 512033527 Apr 23 14:18 /var/mail/cool

What time is it?
oz:~ % date
Fri Apr 23 14:47:53 PDT 2004
oz:~ % uptime
2:47PM up 4 days, 20:48, 6 users, load averages: 1.48, 1.33, 0.96

Okay, let’s compress that mailbox. here goes!

oz:~ % top -u
pid: 31321; load averages: 1.28, 1.25, 0.91 up 4+20:47:49 14:46:54
269 processes: 3 running, 259 sleeping, 7 zombie
CPU states: 56.2% user, 0.0% nice, 18.2% system, 1.6% interrupt, 24.0% idle
Mem: 285M Active, 85M Inact, 114M Wired, 15M Cache, 61M Buf, 992K Free
Swap: 2048M Total, 206M Used, 1842M Free, 10% Inuse, 8K In, 432K Out

29330 3004 64 0 18396K 17304K CPU1 1 14:17 97.66% 97.66% imapsd
29503 1001 44 0 2232K 1348K CPU0 0 1:18 11.13% 11.13% top
2634 1001 -2 0 4064K 2640K getblk 0 0:43 9.47% 9.47% imapsd
31295 1004 2 0 2836K 1752K select 1 0:01 3.04% 1.81% imapsd
31296 1004 2 0 2828K 1748K select 1 0:00 0.41% 0.24% imapsd
54412 80 2 0 15364K 4416K sbwait 0 0:10 0.05% 0.05% httpd
29108 12345 10 0 2392K 1540K nanslp 0 0:00 0.05% 0.05% smtpd
31178 80 2 0 10788K 3184K sbwait 1 0:00 0.05% 0.05% httpd
31261 80 2 0 10772K 3120K sbwait 1 0:00 0.06% 0.05% httpd
175 0 2 0 1164K 540K select 1 8:21 0.00% 0.00% master
117 0 2 0 964K 460K select 1 4:16 0.00% 0.00% syslogd
559 0 10 0 912K 224K nanslp 1 4:05 0.00% 0.00% svscan
22021 0 -6 0 1004K 292K piperd 1 2:49 0.00% 0.00% cronolo
552 0 2 0 18204K 7916K select 1 2:44 0.00% 0.00% perl
75083 12345 2 0 2328K 1824K select 1 1:55 0.00% 0.00% qmgr
22013 0 2 0 10756K 2328K select 1 1:54 0.00% 0.00% httpd
22032 80 2 0 21072K 12820K sbwait 1 0:54 0.00% 0.00% httpd

Okay, all done. It got a LOT smaller!

oz:~ % ls -la /var/mail/cool
-rw——- 1 cool mail 436178 Apr 23 15:29 /var/mail/cool

Which means you had this much trash (in kB):

512,033,527k – 436,178k = 511,597,349k = about 500 Gb!



cyborgs of cherbourg

April 26th, 2004

When I moved to San Francisco, it was partly in response to Donna Haraway’s famous A Manifesto for Cyborgs (1985). There she advises all who would oppose domination (in its myriad forms) not to let technical knowledge remain the province of the “high-tech boys”, but to themselves take up the coding games her manifesto describes. I’ve learnt a lot about the power of serious play since then. Of tools and toys

derivative products

April 26th, 2004

This wasn’t my first experience with the radical new forms of sociality and peculiar new subjectivities made possible by digital technologies. I’d seen something like this before. As a college student in 1987 I worked building phone bridges for a company, PDQ Phone, that hosted telephone chat lines–e.g. the Love line, Fantasy Line, B & D Line, Transgender Line, Foot Fetish Line, Large and Lovely Line. These were essentially different phone numbers that paying customers (almost always men) could call to talk to women and one another. The key innovation, however, was that the women didn’t work for the company and were not paid professionals. A few individual women were simply given free access to “courtesy lines” and these amateurs kept whole bridges of paying customers on the line. In a sense, PDQ was selling these people to each other, not just the female volunteers to the male customers, but the audience to itself. These were party lines, not private one-on-one chats. Everyone chatted together as a group around the designated topic of the line. As such they were also telecommunities both similar to and rather different from those that sprang up via the Internet.

Did the PDQ product line constitute new publics, or new markets? At that time I couldn’t have asked such a question and I can not answer it yet, but the theme of consumer/citizen has been central to my thinking since that time.

PDQ was founded by an MIT grad who saw opportunity in the telecommunications deregulation of the1980s. Around the time it became possible legally for new companies to offer telecommunications services (networked products), it became possible technically and economically. The functionality of analog telephone exchanges that used to take up entire buildings could now be replicated in computer hardware and software. With digital technology PDQ could advertise local phone numbers in New York and across New England that were operated from their offices in Kendall Square. I quickly saw the strange and extraordinary potential of the digital lines that went into service in the summer of 1988.

In a quarter the space taken by the analog equipment to host 8 lines with a total of 64 callers, a single operator sitting at a computer with headphones could moderate dozens of lines and hundreds of callers across a widely expanded geographic region. At the time computer networks were revolutionizing the economy with derivative products (futures, options) and 24/7 capital flows. I couldn’t help notice the parallels to the extraordinary telephonic “derivative products” that digital telephony made possible for PDQ. For example, the voyeuristic “Bedroom”, where paying customers called in to listen to two people having “phone sex,” something permitted on only two of the other party lines. The exhibitionists “in the Bedroom” would call an unpublished courtesy number and could communicate only with each other. They could not hear their audience. Paying customers however, could talk to each other as they listened in. Watching the moderators of these lines deal with troublemakers and the various social issues that came up was instructive to me years later in relation to the Internet.

the lean cows said m00F?

April 26th, 2004
The move actually seemed a lot naïve to me at the time because before the 7 or so fat years of net boom, there were some pretty lean ones. The first jobs I got in the Bay Area teaching film production at SF State ($628 per month) and doing video stuff for the game company 3DO ($12/hour), made my $20k+ student debt seem a poor investment. True, the guys who worked for NASA Ames and the industry engineers had fat jobs, but there were also many artists, grad students, kids, and assorted independent souls whose dedication was purely, and brilliantly amateur. In fact, much of the most innovative stuff arose around play, or music. For example, the SFRaves mailing list, started in 1992, was a central forum to the community within which the open source Apache web server developed. Even when Internet businesses began to grow South of Market, labor rates were depressed. Wired magazine, started in 1993, was largely produced by young staffers and interns who made little. But what the early 90s lacked in economics they more than made up for in terms of innovation, activity, and excitement about the future.

network neighborhood

April 26th, 2004

In August 1993, I finished film school. Three days after turning in my thesis, I drove a moving truck from Los Angeles to San Francisco, to be part of what was already happening around the net and new media technologies at that point. Mosaic had been released that spring and it seemed critical mass was around the corner. The net was moving beyond subcultures, linking people all over the world, and putting neighbors in new relationships. Soon I would be living in one of the few grassroots networked neighborhoods on the planet. I’m not talking desktop metaphors here, but a real neighborhood network–apartments, with a server in one kitchen, CAT5-tied-to-sneaker hurled across street to friend’s apartment (the other sneakernet), and over to friend of friend, who likes to use your roomate’s LaserJet downstairs, then wake you for her printouts.

Even during the BBS years and earlier it had been obvious that networked multimedia would change us and the world. I was lucky enough to be where one could feel the groundswell of being in the midst of amazing things. San Francisco in the early 1990s was home to a vibrant scene–artists, geeks, musicians, scientists, entrepreneurs, hippies, hackers, hucksters, dreamers, and poets–all experimenting with technology and telecommunity. What better way to study the coming networked culture, I thought, than to move to San Francisco and be part of it? It may seem a little naïve in this post-dotcom era but I truly believed in what Howard Rheingold had in his .sig file: “What it is…is up to us!” So did a lot of other people and that’s what made San Francisco such a draw in the fall of ’93. 10 years, a millennium, and several lives ago.

broadcast as in scatter seed

April 26th, 2004

I might as well tell you up front, I’m scatterbrained. Everyone who was ever alive is alive to me still. If space makes it so everything doesn’t happen in the same place, time ensures it doesn’t happen all at once. But in my mind is neither space nor time. Everything always is.