Dear Congress, It’s No Longer OK To Not Know How The Internet Works

The House tried to pass the “Stop Online Internet Piracy” bill out of committee today, only to run out of time. It wasn’t due to the lack of trying on the part of Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC). Rep. Watt acknowledges that he doesn’t understand the ramifications of the bill he is sponsoring, yet feels the need to press on, regardless.

It’s quite embarrassing, especially as a North Carolinian. As one commenter put it, Congress trying to regulate the Internet is like trying to build a bridge without an engineer. This misguided attack on America’s First Amendment must be stopped.

It’s of course perfectly standard for members of Congress to not be exceptionally proficient in technological matters. But for some committee members, the issue did not stop at mere ignorance. Rather, it seemed there was in many cases an outright refusal to understand what is undoubtedly a complex issue dealing with highly-sensitive technologies.

When the security issue was brought up, Rep. Mel Watt of North Carolina seemed particularly comfortable about his own lack of understanding. Grinningly admitting “I’m not a nerd” before the committee, he nevertheless went on to dismiss without facts or justification the very evidence he didn’t understand and then downplay the need for a panel of experts. Rep. Maxine Waters of California followed up by saying that any discussion of security concerns is “wasting time” and that the bill should move forward without question, busted internets be damned.

via Dear Congress, It’s No Longer OK To Not Know How The Internet Works | Motherboard.

American Censorship Day pop-up

If you’d like to add your own anti-SOPA pop-up to your blog, simply add this text somewhere on your website:

script type=”text/javascript” src=””>/script

You’ll want to enclose the above “script” and “/script” in angle brackets, of course.

On my WordPress setup, I put this into a text widget and added it to my sidebar. Your Mileage May Vary.

Thanks for spreading the word!

Andy Rooney

By Stephenson Brown

Andy Rooney, the legendary long-time commentator on 60 Minutes, died yesterday at the age of 92, only a few months after giving his last commentary on the show.

I learned of Andy’s death on Twitter this morning, not on TV or in the newspaper. I wonder what he would’ve thought about that.

I don’t know how much time he spent on the web, but Andy was a blogger before there were blogs. His telling-it-like-it-is style is an inspiration to me. But a blog will never compare to the pulpit Andy enjoyed every Sunday night, in front of millions of television viewers.
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Google search-by-image

Because I love to see where my public-domain photo of Raleigh will show up next, I decided to give Google’s new search-by-image service a test drive. I uploaded a small size of my pic and lo and behold, Google provided me many, many search results showing where my photo is being used.

So far that’s ABC11 (WTVD), NBC 17 (WNCN), the City of Raleigh (who Photoshopped a light pole out of it!), MSNBC, Business Week, Yahoo! Finance, several local businesses including Four Points Sheraton in Cary, Allied movers, Signs By Tomorrow, and several real estate companies and taxi companies among many, many others. Good to see how far it’s traveled!

Neuse Radio almost here

I’ve been perfecting my Neuse Radio streaming station lately and I’ve almost gotten it to the point where I can let the world listen.

It’s running on the open-source Rivendell radio automation suite, patched through the open-source JACK audio server, encoded with the open-source DarkIce encoder, streamed with the open-source Icecast2 server, and hosted on my CentOS-based VPS in Ashburn, Virginia.

It’s so automated that I don’t have to do anything to keep the music flowing. If I want I can add some chatter (called voice-tracking in the industry parlance) between songs to give it a live sound, but I tend to let the music run without interruption.
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Press released

In my inbox today was a request from the City of Raleigh’s public affairs department for my resume and bio. The city is apparently working up a press release about my becoming chair of the city’s Parks board and my fellow boardmember Kimberly Siran becoming vice-chair.

Of course, it would have to take a really, really slow news day for this to get into print anywhere. I’m talking like double-dog slow. Even so, it’s pretty novel for me to be the subject of a press release.

At least one news source will be covering it: my blog! Once it’s released I’ll post a copy!

Blogosphere fame

Out of all the thousands of people at Reynolds Coliseum today I was amused to see Shawn Rocco walking by, a day after the photo he took of me ran in the newspaper. I stopped him and said hello.

“Thanks for the picture, Shawn,” I told him. “That was great.”

No problem, he told me, and asked if it had led to anything yet. I laughed and told him no but I was staying hopeful.

“Hey,” he said. “I didn’t realize you were so big in the blogosphere!”

Well, that makes two of us! I chuckled and shook my head.

I’ve had others tell me that and it’s always news to me. Sure, my blog has a brag page and each of the things on it are most certainly true. My blog is but one of millions, though, and I really only write here because I love to write. It seems some people take it more seriously than I do, or at least consider it more seriously than I do.

And that’s fine. I enjoy sharing my thoughts here. Some of them I may even be proud of. But I do it really for me and if other folks enjoy my blog I consider it a bonus. For those of you who’ve been following along, thanks!

(… and don’t let the others know I’m making this up as I go!)

Roger Ebert: obsessive blogger

I was taken by this excerpt from movie critic Roger Ebert‘s memoirs, discussing how profoundly becoming a blogger affected him. I’ve always admired Ebert’s writing and to hear him praise blogging in this way means a lot to me.

My blog became my voice, my outlet, my “social media” in a way I couldn’t have dreamed of. Into it I poured my regrets, desires, and memories. Some days I became possessed. The comments were a form of feedback I’d never had before, and I gained a better and deeper understanding of my readers. I made “online friends,” a concept I’d scoffed at. Most people choose to write a blog. I needed to. I didn’t intend for it to drift into autobiography, but in blogging there is a tidal drift that pushes you that way. Getting such quick feedback may be one reason; the Internet encourages first-person writing, and I’ve always written that way. How can a movie review be written in the third person, as if it were an account of facts? If it isn’t subjective, there’s something false about it.

via I was born inside the movie of my life – Roger Ebert’s Journal.