I just stumbled upon a service in the US for homeless people called Community Voice Mail. It offers free voicemail for people without an address or phone. The service thus provides homeless people with the possibility of for instance applying for a job (to end a negative spiral). And according to the testimonies at the site, the service does have a positive impact. I myself have been playing around – mostly for fun I have to admit – with the idea of creating a service that helps homeless finding food. Although rather subversive (and a bit to conceptual), the service would simply track receptions and formal cocktail parties in the area by means of web crawlers and some contextual information and broadcast where the free food and beverage was available in the neighborhood. Too much food is thrown away anyway, so we might as well distribute some of the waste from our excesses. The service unfortunately depends on technology and even if we could equip homeless with the proper wireless devices or internet kiosks through donations and sponsorships, most devices or kiosks probably wouldn’t survive the rugged and wet life of a homeless or public placement. If you got good ideas let me know, and we’ll start developing proper careware together.
Tue 13 Dec 2005
Mon 12 Dec 2005
Well, with such a cliffhanger presented to you weeks ago, I owe you an update on my little wine adventure. So far I’ve tasted (actually drunken half bottles of) Chateau Canon 1985, Chateau Pavie 1985 and Chateau Canon la Gaffelière 1988. They are all great wines, with complex, rich and mature bouquet, nice brownish color and a ‘fat’ texture not found in younger Bordeaux wines. But I wouldn’t have judged them to be as expensive as online auctions indicate they are if I was cruelly exposed in a blind test. This is definitely due to my untrained taste buds. However, my snobbish consumerist always-upgrade mind have learned a lesson known by any economist and reasonable person since the dawn of commerce: Any given good is not worth a penny more than you would be willing to pay for it – for you. In my case max 15€ a bottle and not 90€, 89€ and 55€ as these bottles are priced at web auctions. Actually the best in my judgment was the ‘cheapest’ and youngest Chateau Canon la Gaffelière 1988. But I still have to try the Cheval Blanc 1985 so I might change my mind.
Mon 12 Dec 2005
The University of Århus (Denmark) just announced their decision to decrease the number arts students (i.e. humanist studies such as classic languages, history, philosophy and archeology). Part of the reason being that such candidates suffer high percentages of unemployment (and have to suffer humiliation due to abundance and general low market value). But universities have kept filling arts faculties as they are paid by the number of candidates they deliver (another unfortunate example of indiscriminate application of market economics). I have personally and in public complained about the sad situation. I sincerely think that ecreasing the number of students allowed through higher admittance average and preferably interviews to check for motivation are the only decent things to do. To many talented young people are wasted with humanistic studies because it has become taboo to guide in relation to choice of future profession (there IS a life after university where for instance a job would be nice to have). It is no doubt ‘nicer’ to study human affairs when you are young and self-sufficient – I choose to study philosophy (Christ!) for that very reason. But we simply cannot utilize the number of humanist students educated at present in DK even if markets are driven by ‘added value’, user driven innovation and other buzz. Besides, for many of arts candidates (yours truly included) there is some level of existential crisis involved in realizing that your education are very close to obsolete for the wellbeing of the society you live in and – hence – that you don’t contribute to this society. Arts candidates are simply left to all their ‘natural’ talents and personal interests when searching for a job. That just got to be the worst kind of education management. Yes, you’ll hear all sorts of eloquent (they have plenty of time to learn this) candidates arguing for their extensive merits, but basic facts of our society speak against their self-esteem. It’s actually rather sad. So, congratulation AU, you’ve don the right thing. Now just need to raise the admittance level to create a truly elite education for the few talented ‘humanists’ we truly need for research, journalism, art museums, and publishers. On the other hand, things might not be that simple; I was admitted with crappy high school grades but completed philosophy studies with A-A+ and added a PhD to become the incarnation of visionary Danish entrepreneurial business of the innovation age.
Mon 5 Dec 2005
This weekend my increasingly bad conscience about taking up space in virtual reality with yet-another-uninspired-waste-of-time-blog-on-nothing-at-all was considerably hurt by several more or less direct attacks. Friday, I acted as a test animal in a pilot course (proof: http://www.23hq.com/mygdal/socialsquare) for corporate blog writing held by Blog Square, also known as Thomas http://www.bootstrapping.net/ and Trine-Maria http://www.hovedetpaabloggen.dk/. Obviously, we discussed good blogging and I got several implicit jabs by relating everything said on engaging blogging to Bigmother. Saturday, I was out for a stroll with two old buddies when one of them said that he had just directed journalists toward ‘his friend’s interesting blog on surveillance’. Only afterwards he consulted Bigmother.dk to see – to his professional shame – that Bigmother had morphed into my personal poster point for everyday stuff.
I admit that the original idea of a bunch of tech-savvies writing on surveillance issues from different points of view has faded away without any focused replacement. But to eat some of the medicine of the blog course, I’ll be totally honest with you: I’m simply in-between ideas. The bigmother angle ran dry on me (due to my illness among other bad excuses) and I haven’t gained strength to come up with a new. Sorry returning reader. I’ll be back. Meanwhile you’re welcome to follow my ongoing struggles to earn any claim-for-fame. But I understand if you don’t bother.