The RIAA Wants Your Lunch Money

September 26th, 2003

I can't stand bullies.Thanks to Joe Hall for pointing out the latest New Yorker cover illustration.

It spotlights the dying megacorporate music cartel’s absurd policy of bullying hundreds of its youngest and most important customers through lawsuits.

Cheesebikini Cam

September 20th, 2003

I finally joined the 21st Century and set up a live photoblog:

Technically my phonecam belongs to its manufacturer, Nokia. But it’s mine for the semester.

(Definitions: A phonecam is a mobile phone with a camera built in. A live photoblog, also called a “moblog,” is a site where snapshots from a phonecam appear live as they’re taken in the field; the photographer can update the site using nothing but a phonecam.)

The phonecam I’m babysitting is a Nokia 3650; it can capture still photos, audio and short video segments, and it can send this content to any e-mail address. With a little messing around, you can use this to build a photoblog.

I’m working on a project for Nokia at Berkeley; we’re developing applications for these phonecams and creating metadata frameworks that we hope will make it easier for regular people to create, annotate, retrieve, share and work with photos and video. Here are details of the project.

The “Last” Flash Mob

September 10th, 2003
Photos from the 'last' Manhattan flash mob, courtesy of

Tonight another Manhattan flash mob went down, and they say it was the last.

But what was it the last of? Supposedly it was the last flash mob in New York to be organized by “Bill,” the mysterious inventor of flash mobs.

“Bill” might be one of the men photographed above. Of course Bill might be neither of these men. And of course, more New York flash mobs might take place tomorrow. Life offers no guarantees.

Thanks to Fred’s Journal for the photos. You can see more coverage of the “Last Flash Mob” there, as well as at Satan’s Laundromat. These are both intriguing accounts; check them out. (But what are they accounts of?)

Thanks, Bill, for flash mobs. Thanks for the mystery.

And thanks for not selling out.

Flash Mobs, Doonesbury Style

September 8th, 2003

Flash Mob organized via comics! Click to see the full comic.Today a flash mob invitation appeared in the classic comic strip Doonesbury.

Via this comic, artist Gary Trudeau is organizing a flash mob to take place in Seattle this Saturday, in support of U.S. presidential candidate Howard Dean.

This will be the first flash mob to be organized via comics. It should be a big one too, because no other flash mob invitation has appeared in so many mainstream newspapers.

Here’s a link to the comic/invitation. Thanks to “Michael D.” for the tip.

UPDATE: Doonesbury has addressed flash mobs daily for several days now; check out the latest strip here.

Free Berkeley Wi-Fi Cafes

September 7th, 2003

Below I’ve posted a map and a list of cafes near the University of California, Berkeley campus that offer free wireless Internet access. If you have a laptop or other device with a Wi-Fi (802.11b) card, turn it on in one of these places to enjoy a free high-speed connection.

I’m surprised that so few free wi-fi cafes exist in Berkeley, considering that more than 70 such cafes thrive in San Francisco. Do you know of any free wi-fi cafes near the UC Berkeley campus that I’m missing? If so, please let me know: sean[at]

Help expand this list: next time you pass one of those big cafes near campus that charge exorbitant usage fees, go in and tell the manager that she’s losing business to the dozens of Bay Area cafes that provide free wi-fi access.

UPDATE 6/26/05: If you use Windows and you’re interested in seeing who’s in cafes and at other hotspots nearby, check out Meetro. It’s not available for Macs so I haven’t been able to try it out but it looks like fun. -Sean
Read the rest of this entry »

Leaving the Nursery

September 2nd, 2003

Burning Man was phenomenal as usual, and as usual I won’t try to put it down in words.

But I will point you to the most inspiring newswire article that I’ve read in years.