Solving America’s Illegal Immigrant Problem

And that’s how some people want to approach the issue of illegal immigrants in the USA. Everything I know and understand about life aligns clearly to say that building a wall between the US and Mexico is a horrible idea. It’s not like Mexico is mounting an attack and we have to defend the castle. They’re sneaking into the country to find jobs. To cover the issue from my own perspective, I’ll offer three planks and then a plan.


webOS: A New World Open

Palm Pre and The Legend of TalibahWelcome to the next big thing: webOS. Palm’s new smartphone, the Pre running their brand new operating system, webOS truly breaks new ground. webOS represents an evolutionary step that does to smartphones what Web 2.0 did to the Internet. Keep in mind, we’re talking about webOS, not the Pre. While the Pre is a solid piece of technology, it’s basically a lot of existing hardware re-arranged in a nice package. The evolutionary step comes from Palm’s new operating system. Lets look at two big pieces:


Remember when we first adopted technologies such as RSS feeds and publicly available Web application APIs? The design change was a shift to better interoperability for the user. The result was a better overall user experience on the Internet.

This concept is echoed all over in webOS’s design fundamentals. The recent cat and mouse game with Apple over iTunes is the most widely known and obvious example. This was never an issue for me. I use Ubuntu as my desktop operating system. There’s no version of iTunes for Ubuntu. Even if there was, I wouldn’t use it. I prefer to simply copy my DRM free music right from my hard drive onto the Pre. Increasingly, people want the media they buy to play on all the devices they own. With webOS on the Pre, it’s just that easy – without installing any additional software.

Palm introduced us to the world of device syncing a long time ago. This is how most iPhone and iPod users update their music now. Unlike these devices, the Palm does not require any additional software installations for the user. In fact, information like calendars, phone numbers, and even your facebook accounts are all kept in sync over the wireless connection.

Palm is making it a point to have webOS openly communicating in every way it can. In a way, a Pre running webOS is a well established little node of your social network. If you’re chatting with a friend over google chat and they go offline, you’ll automatically switch to sending text messages to their phone. The experience is seemless from your point of view.

Application Development

I recently installed the Palm Mojo SDK and built my first test app. With my existing CSS knowledge, I laid out a simple tile based grid with a sprite on top. I was surprised to recognize the MVC architecture of the framework. I’m familiar with MVC from building Web applications. Any Web 2.0 era developer will likely remember how things changed with MVC frameworks first came on the scene. The big difference here is that the language is javascript and the application runs on the smartphone client instead of a web server.

A significant section of the tech community criticized the SDK. It’s entirely true that developing games that take advantage of the machine’s hardware is not possible in the SDK. However, early homebrewers had 3D videogames running on the Pre before the SDK was released. The Pre and webOS have the capacity for gaming level graphics.

The Mojo SDK creates a low barrier of entry to thousands of Web developers interested in building smartphone apps. If you want a simple interface for your Web app, building it on the Pre is extremely easy.


If you’re like me, and you’re a fan of Clay Shirky, you might already see the formula that’s at play here. Palm opened up channels to lots of existing technology by improving interoperability in webOS. Then, Palm made it easy and inviting to come contribute to this new exploration. Palm didn’t just release a great smartphone, they created an architecture for participation. Thank you Palm.

On The Pirate Bay Sentencing



The file sharing rant has raged on for years. While the media industries claim that file sharing has hurt their market share, the movie industry is seeing record sales. For many, it’s obvious what is going on. With the advent of new media, we saw a shift in how things work in our world. Once upon a time, you had to have a lot of money to record media and distribute it. This need gave rise to a collection of media industries, music and movies in particular. Now, recording and sharing media is very cheap and very easy. The MPAA and RIAA are no longer important. However, with their size and power, they will do anything and everything they can to keep the status quo.


Twitter Stats On Misogyny and Misandry

For those who may not know: misogyny is the hatred of women or girls while misandry is the hated of men or boys. I just did a little curious research regarding these two terms using Twitter search. My results are rather unscientific, but I invite you to do your own probing and see what you come up with.

My approach was simple. I did a series of 6 searches for specific words and phrases and took note of how old the last post on the first page was. There are always 15 entries on the front page. Thus, the age of the last entry gives you a concept of how often the word is used. If the last entry is 3 hours old, that means the word or phrase is used about 15 times in 3 hours. Simple enough. Lets begin.

On The History Of Social Media

EniacAre you sick of hearing about “social media” yet? Maybe you are, maybe you aren’t, but social media is definitely being talked about, probably now more than ever. The bitter irony here is that social media is as old as the Internet. I mean that very literally.

Consider the Wikipedia entry on the topic:

Social media is information content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies that is intended to facilitate communications, influence and interaction with peers and with public audiences, typically via the Internet and mobile communications networks.

I highly recommend reading the rest of the entry. Unfortunately, the perception of the existence of “social media” isn’t much older than the popularity of the term itself. If you ask Amy Nut, she thinks social media began with MySpace:

As the Internet began to permeate into every home, teenagers found a new way of expression via the Internet. One way teens found of sharing common interests with other like-minded teenagers was through MySpace.

MySpace launched in 2003. Sure, 5 years feels like an eternity in our rapidly evolving world of the Internet. However, I’d like to take a moment to introduce potential users to some of what existed before there was MySpace.

Forums: Forums have long been online social gathering points for small and large crowds. Still popular all over the Internet, forums have been around since 1996. That’s a full 7 years before MySpace even existed

Wikis: Today, Wikipedia is one of the most well known successes in social media. Much to many a social media marketer’s demise, there’s no room for promotion. However, for the record, the first Wiki went live in 1995, making it 8 years older than MySpace.

IRC: The ultimate grandpa of Internet chat has to be IRC (Internet Relay Chat). The technical difference, from a user perspective, between IRC and Twitter really boils down to the minor variation between having a “chat room” and a “follow list”. Dating back to 1988, IRC is 15 years older than MySpace. (and 18 years older than Twitter)

Usenet: In the very early days of the Internet, a system known as Usenet came online. This system was the inspiration behind the before mentioned Forums. The system was hugely popular and still exists today. The system went online in 1979, making it 24 years older than MySpace. Admittedly, there were relatively few Internet users back then.

BBS: The BBS (Bulletin Board System) scene was popular before the wide spread adoption of the Internet. A BBS ran on a host computer and a user’s computer connected directly via a modem. While the precursor of the BBS systems came online in 1972 (before I was born), the first true BBS cropped up in 1978. That’s a whopping 25 years before MySpace.

Finger: Born in 1977, the Finger protocol is pretty old. It wasn’t until id Software‘s used the protocal that it suddenly became popular – at least within the gaming scene in the mid to late 90’s. All but dead now, replaced by blogs, the technology was born 26 years before MySpace and 32 years before I the writing of this post (on WordPress).

The concept of social media, unlike the buzzword itself, is not new. It’s not even close. In fact, the Internet was designed to exchange data. In a way, the Internet has always been social.

The same way old fashion becomes new again, technology concepts keep being reborn with new terminology. Trends pick up and everyone gets this feeling that things have somehow changed. Perhaps they have. However, before you get excited and anxious, take time to consider how far back the path goes.

In 1996, I started composing weekly updates about a game I was working on. It was my Web based progress log filled with bits of personal chatter. I may not have known it, but it was, basically, a blog.

Everything old is new again; and the world keeps spinning. Remember where we came from.

Running vs Driving

Alright, I’m an advocate of not driving more than need be. I’m kind of lazy, so I’m not always a good advocate. However, you’ve got to use your body to keep it working. That’s the neat thing about a self-maintaining machine. Anyway, that said, let me get to my quick point. I’ve seen a number of comments from treehugger ecogeeks about the amount of calories a car consumes daily versus the amount of calories our bodies use. It’s interesting stuff, but there’s a point I see missing often times. Cars carry heavy stuff (if only itself) across long distances very quickly. So lets play with some numbers.

First, there’s this popular link over on GOOD showing the amount of calories in gasoline. Meanwhile there’s a considerably less popular link to NutriStrategy’s calories burned per exercise. From the first link, we know that gasoline has 31,268 calories per gallon. A Ford Escort gets upwards of 40mpg. Lets make the math easy and say it gets 31.268 mpg. (See what I did there?)

31,268 cpg / 31.268 mpg = 1,000 calories per mile

This car weighs almost 2,500lbs. The average American is slightly lighter. According to that NutriStrategy chart, running at 10mph for 1 hour burns 1126 calories for a 155lbs person. Can you run at 10mph for a full hour? Holy crap. Anyway, lets pretend you can. In 1 hour at 10mph, you’ll run (approximately, I’m no mathematician) 10 miles. (See, I’m doing it again.) So, lets do the math.

1126 c / 10m = 112.6 calories per mile

Neat.. so we’re looking at a car using somewhere between 8 and 9 times as many calories per mile. Now less toss weight in. The car was 2500lbs (not including the person) and our person is 155lbs.

2500lbs / 155lbs = 16.1

The car is moving the same amount of weight as 16 people. Now, you might say “but a lot of that car weight is the engine itself…” True, but the same is true for the human, no? So lets keep going a moment. Let see how many cpm per pound we’re using.

Car: 1000cpm / 2500 = 0.40 calories per mile per pound…

Human: 112.6 / 155 = 0.73 calories per mile per pound…

Assuming a car speed of around 60mph, that means a human uses almost twice as many calories per pound to move at 1/6th the speed of the car. That is assuming no extra load for either. Toss in another person or two and a couple of hundred pounds of gear, what do you think is the best way for you and your mates to travel over long distance?

Now that I’ve blogged in support of the automobile, I’d like to say that I’m not a big fan of America’s addiction to cars. I’d like to see better use of trains, actually. However, pretty pieces of art showing calorie use compared is kind of a load of crap. Speaking of crap, I wonder what kind of numbers you would get if you compared the emissions per calorie consumed for a car versus a human? Ewww….