Ideas for the online revolution.

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.

    1, 2, 3, Many Friendsters - At Least Until the Mergers Start

    There are already probably a dozen social-networking tools like Friendster. I don't know exactly how many because I haven't tried doing an exhaustive search for them.

    These sites range in focus from dating, to frienship, to business networking, and back to dating.

    On the political side, Care2.com has a friendster-like network of a million liberal people which promotes engagement in political action (action alerts, and online discussion). The League of Pissed Off Voters (indyvoter.org) has a very ambitious plan to also create a political friendster-like community - particularily to engage young people in electoral activism, but also for other reasons too (which aren't entirely clear to me). Indyvoter's plans are much further advanced then their current site - which isn't being used that much.

    Relational Databases - How to Implement in PHP

    When I first started programming for CampusActivism.org I wasn't aware or able to find out how anyone had implemented the "relations" part of a database as a data structure.

    So I came up with my own method. Basically I have a giant two dimensional array -- relations[object-1][object-2] which contains information on whether or not a relationship is possible.

    (I also created an array that stored whether or not the person who controlled object-1 had persmission to add or delete relations to object-2 -- this was necessary because of my somewhat unique permissions system.)

    Now the problem I'm running into is that there are often two relations permissible between two objects -- relationships that I need to treat differently. For instance, I have groups as an object and they can be related to another group because they are 1) a parent group in a network, or 2) a child group in a network.

    Latest SERPs

    I'm not sure if I should post this because everytime I do so, the website falls several notches. Anyways, the lastest search engine rankings for this site are at an all-time high for the keyword "activism".

    Google: #2
    Yahoo: #3
    MSN: #2

    Google regularly slips to #3, and MSN likes to give their rankings a big shake every week or so.

    On the other hand, search engine traffic is flat. Ho hum!

    -Aaron-

    Viewing Satellite Data Fun

    Instead of ending poverty, the government definitely has its priorities straight when it spends millions of dollars on cool software like World Wind. This powerful program lets you rotate and zoom in on the Earth (with 1m resolution in the US). And it's only 170mb!

    Zooming takes a while as it has to download the data - AND this program takes a ton of CPU power (it slows down my Athlon 2600+ to a slow pace).

    Here is an image of a place where I got left off when I was hitch-hiking from Indiana to Seattle. It is in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, inside North Dakota near the Montana border. I ended up camping and spending the night nearby.

    A Collaborative Organizing Guide

    People who want to change the world need advice on the most effective way to do this.

    Generally books that try to give you most of what you need to do activism are called "Organizing Guides" or "Activism Handbooks".

    In my mind, the two leading organizing guides are that by the War Resister's League and Midwest Academy's one. SEAC also has a good guide.

    However, none of these guides come close to providing the level of detail that would reflect the variety of experiences of thousands of social movement activists. I think the solution is to develop a new online collaboratively written set of resources that would be sorted and edited to provide a level of quality worthy of a good Organizing Guide.

    Activism Network - Progress Report

    ActivismNetwork.org is winning the poll. At 48% of the votes it has a substantial lead over MovementIsPower.org

    My early favourite, FromBelow.org, is last place. Obviously the general readership doesn't read lengthy sectarian and anti-sectarian texts on how building socialism from below is the way to go.

    I really really really wanted activism.org but Wendy Russ has it. What is really funny is that she was using it to hold an annual "Clean up the Internet" day where people were meant to remove old pages. So there she is, sitting on a really nice domain name, and not using it.

    I'd tried emailing her a couple times to see if she'd let me have the site (I suspect she is slightly liberal) - but she hasn't responded. You can email her too and lobby on my behalf.

    Yahoo likes Me

    Yahoo is finally starting to send serious numbers of people to this site.

    Originally when Yahoo was running the same results that Google ran, Yahoo drove 1/4 of the visits that Google did.

    When Yahoo started their own results, Yahoo traffic fell to 1/40th of Google.

    Now Yahoo traffic is back to 1/6 of Google.

    It's nice not to rely upon Google for 95% of my search engine traffic.

    Unfortunately, general traffic is a little low. It peaked several months ago at 4000 visits/day, however that just didn't last and now it's 2000 visits.

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