Ideas for the online revolution.

an introduction

so... i am now introducing a new blog that will hopefully be useful to people, regardless of which hemisphere they find themselves in.

i am blogging from Australia, as an activist who has participated for the last few years in the student movement in Sydney. I have witnessed a lot of change even over the last 5 years.

Now, we as students are fumbling along as our student organsisations crumble around us (to be continued -teh computer has just told me to log off)

Server Crash

This has been the worst web-hosting crash I've seen (normally I like JaguarPC, but they really messed up). Our website was down for a bit over two days. Campusactivism.org is up, still waiting for other sites, notably activismnetwork.org.

Apparently there was one or more spammers on the shared server. Then they had a RAID hard drive array crash. During this time, they did a lousy job of communicating what was going on with users. For instance, my first support ticket request got a reply saying the server would be up shortly. The second support ticket got a reply saying they "hoped" it would be up shortly. One day later things weren't much better. Basically I had to pester support and they must have prioritized restoring my account. Support was overloaded and responded to some things very slowly (sometimes taking 6 hours).

Over 1300 Groups and Growing


Map of our Network

It's a map (using Google Maps) of some of the 1300 groups on our site.

Very slow in Internet Explorer (2 minutes). Fast in Firefox (15 seconds).

Convert RSS Feeds to Images - For MySpace, Friendster, etc.

I created a tool that lets you convert a RSS feed into an image. Then you can include the image in your MySpace, Friendster, or other page. This could be used to include headlines from your blog (or LiveJournal, or many other places) in your MySpace page.
MySpace Feed

Corporations, Bin Laden, and Child Porn

Continuing the argument that the internet is a twenty-first century Pandora's box, I want to point out to a couple recent attacks. The first is as old as the hills: muddy your opponent with the indefensible and then take the moral high ground in demanding a solution. What is indefensible? Child porn and terrorism!

Soccer, Board Games, Meetup, and other totally apolitical uses for Activism Network software

While my goal in developing the Activism Network software was political, it could easily be used for completely apolitical goals.

Radio
For instance, I'm very interested in radio. I enjoy listening to FM and shortwave radio stations from hundreds to thousands of miles away.

Somebody could download the software, install the server and client, and create a database of radio hobbyists. The event calendar could include club meetings, ham fests, dx-peditions (trips where hobbyists go to a remote location, setup very long antennas, and listen to their radios), and others. The resources would include radio station schedules, radio-control software, propogation prediction software, decoder software, guides to building antennas, modifying radios, and more. For groups, you'd have a list of ham, shortwave listener, or other radio groups. For issues, you'd have things like shortwave, longwave, AM, FM, scanner, HAM, Morse Code, etc.

Why MySpace is More Popular than Friendster


An excellent essay on why MySpace is doing better than Friendster

The basic argument is that MySpace had a flexible tolerant approach to users, while Friendster was cracking down on Fakesters (accounts that weren't real people) as well as more controversial content. MySpace turned into the cool place through sleaze, lettings its user be "bad" but with the safety of pseudonyms, freedom, and bands at a point where Friendster also had major tech problems (outages and slow).

The author has

Online Strike Hits Rabble.ca

Today I was checking out rabble.ca, a progressive media site, because I want to find some Canadians interested in implementing Activism Network software in Canada.

Rabble.ca has a huge forum with over 500,000 posts (Hopefully this link doesn't mean I'm crossing the picket line). Currently there is a volunteer moderators STRIKE going on, after one of the two (?) paid employees was fired.

So volunteers have setup an >alternative site and started a new forum on it.

Apparently some strikers are using spam against the old board, or did so originally to get the word out about the strike.

Activism Network - Testers and Feedback Wanted

I’m proud to announce that I’ve got a new release of my software Activism Network (formerly known as Campus Activism, www.campusactivism.org) that is ready for testing and feedback.

I am planning to develop a community of developers and users who are interested in modifying the code, suggesting features, prioritizing features, and reporting bugs. I invite you to try out the software and join the community!

The major change in the new version of the software is that you can install it on your own website, and it will access information that is stored in a central database. So users will be able to add, edit, delete, browse and search – while staying on your site. It uses webservices (the php NuSOAP library).

Myspace and Immigration protests

For a project I'm working on, I have to see a lot of Black Panther veterans telling their political histories and debating a complicated and conflicting set of analyses on what went wrong with the party/parties. But they all agree about one thing: before they ever were part of the party, when they heard about Bobby Seale going to the California Legislature with guns, they knew what they had been waiting for and the beginning of a huge international phenomenon began. Not to fall victim to hyperbole, but a similar moment may have just happened and committed activists have to take note.

Television has been a danger since the beginning. The devil box offered a silver lining: we might just be able to slip a insurgent message (and invitation) through the signal into homes everywhere. Malcolm got it and so did Abbie Hoffman. With the onset of video games, the idiot box got stupider. Now the message was written out in code long before anyone ever saw it - no live camera to sneak behind, no producer fiending to fill his daily hour with content. And then the internet. The potential is pronounced. Indymedia, and the like, became the new way to broadcast upcoming protests. But it is also, in many ways, an anonymous cave that doesn't involve relationship with known characters. Great information sources, like ZMAG and (cough) History Is A Weapon (cough), offer the educational material, but haven't figured out how to assist in outdoor struggle and community building. Meanwhile, the new kids are increasingly plugging in, cell phones, Crackberry, and online social networking.

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