Sunday, November 14, 2004

New Forums Online!

You know, one of the great things about this Interweb is that it's not just a point-to-multipoint broadcast medium like the publishing venues of yesteryear; it's a vehicle for peer-to-peer exchange (although the Old Media dinosaurs are frantically trying to solve that problem via their proxy lawmakers before they find themselves obsolete).

Despite the freedom promised by the technology, however, it's easy to fall into the habit of just posting web pages and blog entries... then responding to queries and comments as they come in. That's adds up to a lot of one-to-one conversations and is indeed highly interactive on that level, but it doesn't foster community. Mailing lists like the 14-year-old technomads listserv come closer, but these days more and more people are trying to turn down the noise level of their digital lives, and in any case there's no archiving system that's pleasant to use.

As such, one of the things that's been lurking on my epic to-do list for quite a while has been the establishment of a more public discussion tool. Inspired by a surprisingly enthusiastic response to the bold-faced paragraph in my previous update, I finally did it over the weekend: there is now a collection of forums on this site. The basic premise is that 21 years of building (and talking about) "technomadic" tools has translated into a useful resource for folks who want to maximize their probability of surviving uncertain times. Self-sufficiency tools and related skills are not just for folks on gonzo expeditions; they are also essential for people who want to decrease their dependency upon social infrastructure and the whole bloated consumer culture that may well crash and burn in the event of serious economic or cultural disruption. Given what's afoot these days, I'm fairly confident that this will become an issue and catch a lot of people by surprise.

The forums are linked over there on the right; please drop by and participate if you're interested!

In eBay news, the 4 vintage issues of ACM Computing Surveys went for $8.00 to Durham, NC... but nobody wanted the 49 windowed EPROMS.

Dave Robb and I kayaked the south end of Lake Whatcom (map) on Thursday, and this weekend Jeannie and I participated in the annual Chili-Chowder cookoff here on the island (CARE had a booth). I'm now in the process of cleaning the hot tub, which is graced with a new lid to replace the one that had become so waterlogged that it was almost impossible to lift. And the new ceiling project in the lab begins this week, now that it's no longer raining inside the shed.

(Nov 15 update: I'm experimenting with feed variations)

kayaking Lake Whatcom


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