“Coltrane was always concerned with blazing ahead, one popular line of reasoning goes; he didn’t place much value into what he left behind him.”
Ben Ratliff

Coltrane - The Story of a Sound

One Percent

n

Imagine that of every 100 hours of work that you do, 99 hours would be spent on lunches & coffee breaks and only 1 hour would actually be spent on work that is actually productive. If this sounds ridiculous, think about it next time you get into a car.

In a typical combustion engine car about 80% of the energy created by the engine becomes heat, only the remaining 20% is actually transformed into locomotion. Those 20% are used to move the combined weight of you and the car itself – your weight is only about 5% of that. So only 5% of the locmotive energy is used to move you from place to place – that equals 1% of the total energy created by the car engine. Terribly inefficient.

This information comes from a book titled “Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution” (which is also available as downloadable PDF’s). I have only started reading it and am currently in the second chapter which is about the automotive industry. I am enjoying it.

Yet as I read it I can’t  help but thinking that there is a very basic perspective missing altogether, not just from this book, but from many so called “ecological” endeavors. How much energy can be conserved through personal awareness and lifestyle changes – such as driving less? One of the deeply planted hooks that the industrial revolution has left in greater society is consumerism. Would the automotive industry continue to evolve as is amazingly outlined in the book knowing that the number of cars sold worldwide would drop drastically? Would they actively work and support such a reduction?

What is the vision/motivation that drives the automotive industry? Is it about “creating efficient transportation for the greater needs of society” or “making a profit by selling vehicles”? Though some (mostly business stakeholders) claim that two such motivations can live in harmony, I believe that they are very different points of origin and that they lead into very different journeys.

Posted in AltEco, outside | You are welcome to add your comment

Welcome Mozilla Raindrop

n

Mozilla has just revealed Raindrop – a new messaging project from the Thunderbird (email client) team. I am happy about this project. I have been thinking about it quite a bit since I heard about it last week. It’s not clear to me yet what Raindrop is. I like that it is an exploration.

I view Raindrop as a key piece in a bigger puzzle. The bigger picture I see is that of an online personal space that is mine. A place where my information is stored and shared with others, a place that I can access from any computer or mobile device, a place where I can meet people and people can meet me. Naturally this involves much sending, receiving and processing of communication. This website (based on WordPress) is in some ways that home, but there are still some pieces missing in it. Raindrop is can be one of those pieces.

“A central principle behind Raindrop is that messaging should be personal”
(Mozilla Labs – Introducing Raindrop)

Email is no longer a means of communication with the outside world – it IS the outside world. Email, whether you have surrendered to it (and it contains tons of information accumulated over many years) or constantly fight it (by working to keep it clean and empty), is not just a highway – it’s a storage place.  The “Inbox” is a very impersonal experience – it contains everything the world wants me to have. “Personal” is the context in which I view the Inbox and the choices I make in dealing with it. The information that makes an Inbox personal cannot be found in the Inbox. I believe this is a gap that Raindrop is trying to fill. To do this I feel it’s going to have to perform a magic trick – it is going to have to disappear! Raindrop should sit on the shelf  closer to HTML then Thunderbird.

If Raindrop wants to help me and truly become personal it is going to need help. It needs to become a parasite and hook into existing services in which I already “exist”, that already know me fairly well. For me this would be my website, for others it may be their accounts on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc. Imagine, for example, how differently a communication can be treated if it comes from a known or unknown associate/source? Or how it should be treated if it comes from an associate with whom I communicate frequently?

If you think about it there is  an irony in this process. Much incoming communication (especially the kind that Raindrop is trying to identify, filter & organize) is generated in systems in which there is a known context. Context gets lost when communications are funneled into an email Inbox. A direct message on twitter is a communication with specific context (it’s on twitter, it’s from someone I am/not following, it is a reply, a retweet, contains a reference to another twitter account, is part of a sequence of messages, is in a different timezone, etc.) – but when it’s passed into an Inbox as an email it loses much of that context and becomes another incoming message for me to figure out.

I’d like to see Raindrop become a technological infrastructure that:

  • Can hook onto and listen to on-line resources in which I have a presence.
  • Can collect and store communications (and payloads) that are dispatched from these resources.
  • Can be taught to extract from stored communications (and payloads) contextual information.
  • Can automatically extract from stored communications (and payloads) contextual information.
  • Can dispatch outgoing communications using various communication protocols/infrastructures
  • Can operate on standard open-source web technologies.
  • Can be easily deployed in a self-sustained package.
  • Has building blocks that designers & developers can use to create front-end applications.

Specifically I’d love to see Raindrop offered as (for example) a WordPress Plugin that will:

  • Enable millions of non-developers (including me) to experience it directly and provide feedback as it grows and develops.
  • Benefit from an easy and seamless installation/update process.
  • Enable the WordPress Developer Community to bind it’s capabilities into WordPress (developing contextual capabilities and user interfaces).
  • Provide owners of hosted WordPress installation an alternative self-owned email hosting service tightly bound with their websites.
  • Provide a built in mail server which can relay raw or processed communication into email clients such as Thunderbird (which may act as a native interim client GUI for Raindrop).
  • Free the Raindrop developers to focus on the core/infrastructure technology (while other developers can experiment with and maintain front-end applications).
Posted in Open Source, outside, Tech Stuff | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Eigenharp

n

Pretty amazing technological instrument:

And a guided demonstration of what it can do:

Thank you @ronenk for sending this my wa.

Posted in Enjoy, inside | You are welcome to add your comment

Shakuhachi Notation

n

Yesterday I had my first official Shakuhachi lesson (though it is our second time communicating). When I first purchased a Shakuhachi I also ordered a guide (book and CD) that includes instruction on reading notation. I couldn’t figure it out – and it was rather disappointing – especially because I was told it’s fairly easy!

Now I know better. There is no one Shakuhachi music  notation – there are numerous notations, each representing different schools, traditions and eras of Shakuhachi. Therefore, Shakuhachi notation is best learned with a teacher… and it is fairly simple. A teacher will choose a notation for you – and that choice carries with it hundreds of years of evolving tradition. Each notation is a doorway to musical pieces that come from that same tradition. There are even some well-known pieces that are written and played differently in each tradition. I am guessing that in time a teacher may present more then one notation to a student.

It is of course best to learn notation by learning to play a piece. As we started studying a piece and the notation required to read and play it, I encountered some symbols, such as the length of a note, which were not precise – as I had come to expect from western music notation. I asked my teacher “so this isn’t like rocket science?” to which he replied “no, it’s art”. What a relief… I was scared of notation because I had an unpleasant experience learning to play guitar some years ago – I was overwhelmed by the complexity of the theoretical aspects. Shakuhachi notation feels so different and so right for me. There is so much space for exploration, personal expression… so much space.

Aside from Shakuhachi playing I am reconnecting with the experience of having a teacher present. It is inspiring, supportive and already greatly affected my playing.

I am learning a well known piece called Take Shirabe in a variation & style that is typical of the Fudaiji temple. I have learned the first 6 breaths. This is an excellent rendition of it:

It is, for beginner Shakuhachi players kind of like Pink Floyd’s “Is there anybody out there?” for guitar players. It’s a great starting point – accessible and beautiful.

Posted in inside, Shakuhachi | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-10-25

n

  • if u r a WordPress (but not only) dev working with people who don't know much about tech – maybe this can help u: http://bit.ly/309h0y #
  • I get a recurring feeling something is not right with WordPress Community… maybe compassion? #
  • RT 10:10 @ronenk: @iamronen 10:08. #
  • RT @ronenk: איזה אפקט מגניב זה למזוג משהו לכוס צמודה לקיר כשרואים את הצל של הכוס והמשקה שנשפל על הקיר, מרגיש כאילו זה נשפך. #
  • YO Twitter engineers: Following 666, Followers 2, Updates 1 = SPAM #
  • Little waste to Zero Waste: http://twurl.nl/xl3z77 #
  • an old blog of mine is gathering great spam jokes: What do you get if you cross a giant and a vampire? A BIG pain in the neck! #
  • I saw an albino eating carrots, it seemed like the right thing to do #
  • listening to Leonard Cohen – Live at Isle of Wight 1970 – beautiful and delicate #
  • "It's a large nation, but still weak, very weak, needs to get a lot stronger before it can claim a right to land" Leonard Cohen 1970 #
  • some things you can try to practice pranayama with blocked nostrils: http://bit.ly/45lqpf #
  • Will you miss me? http://bit.ly/3Oq7bm #
  • RT @KathySierra: inspiring-yet-practical advice from Online Photographer (but helpful for all): http://idek.net/awN (via @Jeff_Bailey) #
  • I wish someone (Peter Jackson!?) would finally make good Dune movie #
  • @ronenk כחחחח כחחחחח in reply to ronenk #
  • had my 1st full Shakuhachi lesson, how wonderful that words like meditation,friendship,understanding are part of the notation and teaching #
  • @andreea_hl 's website http://www.feminitate.org has served over 100k pages of feminine knowledge to over 23k Romanian women #
  • fears are on the move, feeling like a failure, going to have dinner #

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Posted in About, Twitter Updates | You are welcome to add your comment