Ideas for the online revolution.

Towards a Theory of Chocolate Workers as the Vanguard of the Proleteriat

1. Growing numbers of people recognize the social and environmental impacts of eating animal products, and convert to vegetarianism and ultimately veganism.

2. An increasing number of vegans stimulate sharp shifts in the chocolate industry towards dark chocolate. The public realizes that milk-chocolate was an evil corporate swindle whose taste pales in comparison to 55-70% bars.

3. A growing mass conciousness around issues of "fair trade", supported by well-funded liberal NGOs (whose foundation-backers hope to put a slightly human face on globalization), causes significant improvements in the lives of chocolate workers and ultimately sparks unions movements which are successful.

Activism Network

Activism Network
An early test version of the Activism Network client (and I guess server too).

Note it's going to be faster than the production version, because is running on the same webserver as

FM Dxing

FM E-Skip Season Starts
So it is summer and the FM Eskip season has begun! Several days ago I caught my first opening of the year. Normally the season lasts from around May 15 to August 15, and is best during the day-time with slight peaks around noon and 6pm. It lasted a little over two hours, unfortunately there was a lot of variation. Thus for perhaps 80% of the time, you couldn't hear anything. But stations would often fade in with strong signals for anywhere from 30 seconds to a couple minutes, and then everything would fade out.

Also, most of the time the MUF (maximum usable frequency) didn't get above 92 mhz - so it was hard to identify the non-commercial stations as they don't regularly identify themselves, and there are many more on each frequency.

Staff Pay and Workload in Radical Social Change Organizations

There is an interesting conflict in progressive non-profits which is heightened in the more radical organizations which have the least money.

The conflict is between wanting to treat their workers well, and wanting to get as much work done as possible for the greater good of society.

I'm fine arguing that well-funded moderate non-profits and for-profit corporations should be paying very high wages, but it's harder when then money comes out of organizations that are doing good work.

Should staff members in radical social change organizations be paid just enough to survive, a "living wage", or somewhere in between?

Activism Network - Internationalization

Currently the Activism Network software will only work well for users in Canada and the US (or other countries that are really really small).

The major limitation that is stopping its productive use in English-speaking countries is that I'd need national databases of zip/postal codes that would include a longitude and latitude.

For instance, I would love to expand this software to work in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and perhaps the Phillipines (note: the Phillipines has one of the highest rates of use, however it also might require bilingual support) - however I need to get postal code databases for these countries. Ideally I'd like to get free databases, but if they can be obtained for a small cost (<$100) then I might be willing to do it, especially if one or more activists in those countries expressed interest in using the software.

Activism Network - Another Progress Report

I've decided that I need to stop "crying wolf" by trying to estimate when I will have a piece of software done because I have constantly missed my own deadlines by embarassing amounts. But on the other hand, I should practice creating deadlines so that in the future I will be able to make accurate predictions.

Here goes! I'm going to predict that I'll release an alpha client for the Activism Network by June 15. This is aimed at website developers who want to help me customize/improve/test it, and to generate excitement within the CivicSpace community. Then a beta/production worthy release will follow in a month or so (depends on whether I take a badly needed vacation, and whether I start working more on creating a board of directors, found an official organization, and fundraising.).

Less Simple Steps for Eliminating Viruses and Spyware

If your computer is completely infested with spyware and/or viruses, booting up in safe mode and running ad-ware and avast might not cut it.

You'll know if you boot your computer up and the viruses/spyware is back. For instance, you might run ad-aware a second time and still find things.

Unfortunately Ad-Aware isn't perfect and can miss things. There are several other tools you can use. Note: you can mess your computer up doing these things - however if you have Windows XP you should be able to get out of trouble by running System Restore.

Hit the windows key. "Run" and then type in "msconfig". Hit Enter or click on Ok to run it. Click on the Startup tab and this will show you some of the processes that are starting when you load windows. You can disable processes here that look suspicious. You can identify whether a process is suspicious by googling its name. If it doesn't show up in a search, it is more likely to be a virus or spyware using a randomly generated name. If it has a name that appears random and nonsensical like zqidiwlfr - then it is most likely a virus/spyware.

Four Simple Steps for Avoiding Computer Viruses and Spyware

I've dealt with several computers that were totally infested with viruses and spyware to
the point that they were completely unusable.

Since 90% of the people I know aren't doing this (up until recently this included myself), here is some basic advice to avoid losing control of your computer.

(You can skip #1 if your computer isn't infested with spyware to the point where when you turn it on you get ads popping up constantly. Or you might want to do this step just to be sure you get everything.)

1. Start your computer in Safe Mode
Shut down. Make sure the computer is off.

Doubts about Public Provision of Philadelphia Wireless Access

The city of Philadelphia is trying to become the first major US city with public-provided wireless access.

Here are a few possible shortcomings

  • It isn't free. Most people forget this. In fact it will probably cost about as much as wired internet, except for low-income people who will hopefully get a price break (of 50%).
  • Nobody has done a similar project so it is likely to cost several times more than expected.
  • If we wait a couple years, the project cost will dramatically decrease each year, we'll be able to better estimate how much it would cost, and get more bandwidth.
  • The city is trying to appeal to businesses - to be hip for conventions and appeal to the middle class techies. It doesn't really care about providing computer skills and access to low income people.
  • Electionmania

    May 5 - UK votes. Labour is ahead by around 5-8% and expected to win a majority. Aparently Labour benefits from the distribution of its votes and could pull off a majority even if the Conservatives got the same number of votes. I'm upset with the rightwing moves that Labour has been making (at least since Neil Kinnock in the Eighties) which have now become obvious to the world as Blair was Bush's favorite imperialist ally.

    I wonder if Blair is any worse than prior Labour leaders in this move to the right? It seems like social-democrats/labour parties have been moving to the right... perhaps almost since the 1880s (when the German social democrats first started moving away from Marxism). I guess there have been shifts back to the left in 1917-1919 (due to the Russian Revolution), the Thirties, 1943-1946 (after communist Russia defeated Hitler, and before the Cold War was up and running), and 1968-1971.

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