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Decentralized Web Camp 2022

Once upon a time in a Mendocino Redwood Forest a slice of humanity decided to camp together and find ways to make technology work better for people.  I had the good fortune to thrive and soak in this environment.

I sponsored this (and past) conferences because I believe that a better future will emerge from global visionaries teamed up with builders.  These are the seeds that will yield results months and years from now.

To my surpise, some seeds have sprouted!  It was a few years ago when I drug Nathan Schneider to the Internet Archive.  I saw a direct connection between cooperatives and decentralization.   Today the concept of "exit to community" is real, and Nathan is talking policy with luminaries like Lawrence Lessig.

Another seedling is Resonate Cooperative.  This plucky music streaming service has evolved since my first involvement in 2016 and now has some serious support from Cooperative Jackson alums.  Rich and Brandon are great stewards, and they made connections that will prove valuable in the future!

The People

Many past connections were renewed and strengthened over a meal or s'mores.  Wendy, Brewster, Brian, Nick, Christina, Mai, Joahchim, Primavera, Liz, Danny, Jay, Emily, Tracey, Ross -- you are all incredible people.  And here's to the many new connections, too many to mention.  I connected with my Weaver group, the Mesh team, Amber, Jack, Christine, Lia, Koh, Jessy, and a bunch more.  So many fantastic connections, in many beautiful liminal spaces including the 10ft fire pit, 24/7 Coffee, Hackers Movies, Dancing to DJ sets, button making, hikes among the trees and stargazing.

Sessions and More

While not congregating there were all sorts of great ways to converge on the important topics of decentralization.   I have most of what I attended on my schedule, but here's some highlights to give you a taste.

Hack. the. Planet

My portable projector, glo-totems and movie screen allowed me to introduce the classic movie Hackers to many.

Library

Each attendee was asked to give two books and take two books from the library.  This was brilliant.  I took a photo of all the books and have an instant reading list for the next year and beyond.

Interplanetary Timekeeping

A fascinating session about governing a timekeeping system on the moon and beyond presented by Jessy Kate Schingler.

Systems Mapping Governance

Christina Bowen, the master of visualizing complex systems and stock and flow diagrams made this into a rich dive into how systems interact on multiple days.  I spent a lot of time in these sessions and am so glad I did!

A Governance Layer for the Internet / the Four Forces that Regulate the Internet

The first of this three-day set of sessions went deep with some great thinkers and participation of the entire group.  It's hard to summarize this, it went to many places.  But I believe that the focus on turning the abstract into reality was there.

Lawrence Lessig also presented the Four Forces which will be familiar to anyone that's read his books.  It was a good way to see things direct from his perspective.

Solidarity in practice: The story of Digital Democracy and Mapeo

It was refreshing to see a fully realized decentralized, offline first application used to help the people of the Amazon realize their own rights and express use technology for their local needs.  We need more Mapeos!

Peer Based Social Science in the Wild

Zarinah Agnew and Jessy Kate Schingler had us all survey ourselves about self-governance and allowed us to experience ethnographic research directly.  I have my 'token' of completion allowing me to interact with the DAO.  Understanding what people need and how they interact is key to finding systems that work for the most people.

Bad Apple

Lisa Rein from the Aaron Schwartz project showed how you can build a system to process internal police public records to keep communities safer.

Proof Mode

Jack Fox was on hand to present Proof Mode and described how this mechanism for turning photos into signed evidence was used by activists in the rainforest to provide irrefutable proof that they live in the areas slated for oil exploration.  It was inspiring to see math and technology aimed at a specific, on the ground problem.

Policy, Governments and Tornado Cash

Koh, Danny O'Brien and some others took advantage of the free time to set up a super engaging conversation about how deentralization intersects with government policy.  Many of us (myself included) had discussed much of the same at DEFCON 30 a few weeks prior.  I was able to contribute a little bit to the discussion.  The conversation flowed quickly and I think that some good ideas about using norms and industry coordination to address these issues may prove fruitful.  I'm excited to see the followup from the connections made at this event that emerged from the soup!

Connecting with the Earth and Indigenous Practices

Connecting the decentralization movement with indigenous practices and rights was a joy to behold.   I appreciated the speakers on the topics and the conversations with many of the Dweb fellows from around the world.  Remembering that technology connects with the earth was a good reminder that we are stewards of the land and the technology ecosystems.  For the water ceremony I brought Oakland condensed fog.

Art Art and more Art!

Typewriter Tarts had an installation in the library that was amazing!  I hope I can help them get some of their work published.  The Name-tag/Button making station was amazing, magazines were provided to cut and paste into your own individual creation.  Sessions on how Art can intersect with Decentralized Services were plenty.  I attended a good breakout with Barry Thew from Gray Area and Victoria Ivanova who guided us through thinking about how art and technology might evolve in the current environment and what needs to change.  As usual the participants came up with a plethora of ideas.  I hope to see some of this published soon!

 

Farewells

And just like that it was over.  Due to a conflicting schedule I had to skip the last day.  I had breakfast, packed up my projector and said my goodbyes.  I'm already planning for a Brazil version and for 2023, and hope to see the garden grow from the seeds planted here.   It was a magical time and brought back memories of early Gopher conferences and other early formative Internet events.  May the ripples spread out and become waves!

 

 

May I collect your Visual Bits?

I dusted off my Google Glass for Neotropolis. It was magical. But this was an environment where photo consent is the norm, and being augmented is, well, expected.

I'm yearning for an updated Glass with a Pixel camera sensor and portrait photo/video. But even without that I was able to stay in the moment and get some shots I would not have at all.

Neon lighted dancer surrounded by spectators

Portrait of Paul Lindner wearing a Google Glass in front of a desert stage that says Core

 

Older and Wiser

[image of a van mirror reflecting a vivid sunset with a palm tree lined highway]

This was a year of deep darkness and bright light; forsaken and welcoming journeys; rupture and attachment; pain and joy; reconnection and connection.

But here I am facing the uncertain future - wiser from that journey.  More connected and self aware of my power.

So it's oddly appropriate that my birthday falls on Bandcamp Friday and right after Trans day of Visibility and as my OpenCollective/Patreon contributions kick in.   Now, more than ever, we need to care for each other and support art and music that defines our collective humanity.  Support these artists/causes and I will happily spread the Birthday love to them!

No official party, but if you'd like to see me and Gus I'll be at the Internet Archive friday lunch, and I'll be at Lake Merrit on Saturday skating and doing some lighting/visualization for the always fun trance DJ extravaganze ASOT 510.  Oh and also prepping costumes and the CyberVan for Neotropolis Fest!

And with that I leave you with this lyric:

Don't act like there is no tomorrow
You should use the pain and sorrow
To fill you up with power
Life's both sweet and sour!

Time for strawberry cake!

 

 

Loose ends

  • Archiving social media
  • Deleting old accounts.  (Bye-bye AWS Glacier 85 cent/month backup images from 2012.)
  • Lots of thinking...
 

This job goes to 11

Not sure how I feel.  Google is now my longest running gig, overtaking public school.  I have a ton of gratitude for the kindness and support that the people in this company offer and the opportunities it has provided.  Oh and...

  • This job finally got me out of financial precarity.  With total comp it was 6x what I was earning a few years earlier.  I had so undervalued myself.  And this was in the midst of the great recession.
  • It took a while, but I eventually found my groove, and have had so many chances to reinvent myself.
  • When calamity struck 6 years ago people where there for me and I had the time to attend to family.  And now as I'm going through another rough patch I've found compassion and understanding.

Much, much gratitude.

That said as the company has changed I've less-and-less identified myself as a Googler.  I often feel reluctant admitting it in the alternative public spaces I inhabit.

I guess I recognize that the sociotechnical systems we build can reinforce the inequity of our society and extract or destroy the rich "variety" of the world..  I often yearn for a future where we can focus on "stuff that doesn't scale":  the human, the physical and local connections.

With that I believe that my contribution, overall, is a net positive to the good in the world.   It's hard to quantify and I grapple with it.

So yes, this job does indeed go to 11!  Here's to the embracing the present moment and the scary unknown future!!

https://youtu.be/F7IZZXQ89Oc

 

Citc Zero

Finally submitted a CL that's been pending for 9 years (some simple Guice memory/performance tweaks)

Cleaned up all my citc clients. Down to 8 from over 100.

 

TalkSpace

Oh look there's a free TalkSpace benefit. I would've been on that earlier if I'd known.

 

Sunday Sunday Sunday

Did you know you can get into the https://museumca.org/ for free with your Google Badge?

Join me and 1 other Googler today (August 22nd 2021) and we'll tour https://museumca.org/exhibit/mothership-voyage-afrofuturism

text me at 415 425 1601 if you want to join in on this group!

 

Real Life Story of the 1st Mainframe Container Breakout

It's like a kubes/mainframe buddy movie. :-D Enjoy this talk from some fun folks from Minnesota.

https://youtu.be/7DXF7YDBf-g

 

You're Doing IOT RNG

Saw this talk live. Well done! TLDR badly seeded pseudo-random number generators can be used to find the next random number in sequence.

https://labs.bishopfox.com/tech-blog/youre-doing-iot-rng
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zuqw0-jZh9Y

 

0xide

Some perspective for this Perf season...

https://oxide.computer/blog/compensation-as-a-reflection-of-values

My neighbor works for these guys.

 

Afrofuturism Exhibit

Anyone want to go to Oakland Museum a week from Sunday? With me and some other interesting folks? Pop into this twitter thread..

https://twitter.com/lindner/status/1426379023802724354

 

Cyberpunk

Your period reminder of what we thought technology was going to give us...

https://archive.org/details/cyberpunk_201410

 

AI Fairness Exploits

Here's the video of the winners of the Twitter bug bounty/CTF for algorithmic fairness. It's a judo trick to get AI failures recognized in the same way as insecure code.

https://youtu.be/KLwdzLiJywI

Background
https://hackerone.com/twitter-algorithmic-bias?type=team
https://www.theverge.com/2021/8/10/22617972/twitter-photo-cropping-algorithm-ai-bias-bug-bounty-resu...
https://github.com/twitter-research/image-crop-analysis

 

DEFCON

I'm going. Just to be there for this:

https://aivillage.org/events/2020/8/4/ai-village-def-con-28-safe-mode-w6wsl

A bunch of it will be online too. But I evaluated the covid risks vs rewards and decided to go.

 

 

Archive.org turns 25

I did a video version of the blog post I did for them a while back about Love, Loss and Archives.

http://anniversary.archive.org/

Consider donating and signing up for the 25th anniversary webcast, they do so much with such a small budget. Funny thing is that Google started out as a Library project. In some ways I wish we could go back to that simpler time.

 

Scale

With Covid (hopefully continuing) to decline there are some once in a lifetime opportunities to attend events at smaller scale.

I was just at the 30% capacity Disneyland last weekend. 16 rides in one day and just.. relaxed despite 40k steps walked.

I bought DEF-CON tickets.

I might go to the renegade Burning Man this year.

Socially distanced outdoor events mean I can bring my dog and dance.

Looking into doing a set of federated Decentralized Web camps.

Regional events instead of global ones.

Rethinking how things work...

 

Grammatics

Going to take some time to parse this one...

http://ceptr.org/whitepapers/grammatics

 

 

 

moot

That time I almost quit Google...

In retrospect it put me on a more thoughtful relationship with Google the company and where I put my efforts, both inside/outside the company.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/22/4chan-founder-chris-poole-moot-has-left-google.html

 

2008

For some reason I'm thinking of 2008 and this bounced into my head...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6IQ_FOCE6I

 

Thursday Earworm

[for those of a certain age...]

 

Perfect Strangers..

Sometimes I get jaded about the state of society on the internet..

Participating in Project Perfect Stranger / PlagueRound gives me renewed hope.

https://zu-uk.com/project/project-perfect-stranger-and-plagueround/

I now have a new friend in Sao Paulo who performs in a local theater group.

 

Power in Corpus Christi Texas

Only checking email a couple times per day.  Using Android extreme battery saver so use 4154251601 if you really need to contact me.

According to https://ercot.com/ the whole system has collapsed with cascading failures.  Auction rate for electricity is k/MWh instead of avg 8. Bonkers...  Water pumps offline or frozen.  Gasoline refineries offline so Gas supplies dipping.  Not enough power to even do the promised rolling blackouts.  At least the bridges to the island I'm on reopened..

Also another wrinkle in my situation.  Staying at friends place down south Texas, but the electronic lock jammed in the cold, so had to pack up to a temp place, which also has no power (and no food).  So no access to my laptop until power comes back so I can enter using the garage code (or a rock through a window)

It sounds worse in the place I was staying in Dallas which we fled from.  Power out there too and much much colder with lots of snow.

I wonder if fairness in power supply cuts is an area worth investigating.  Needs analysis could be interesting overlaid with circuit layout..

Will have a lot more to say when I'm online again....

 

New comment by lindner in "OpenStreetMap proven to be a highly accurate map in top US cities"

Wrong answer.. This effort does not scale. You want to make it such that facts added by anyone can be easily imported with a simple opt-in.

GDPR data portability could be expanded to include defined formats for export so that import can be done in an automated fashion.

 

New comment by lindner in "OpenStreetMap proven to be a highly accurate map in top US cities"

One thing that someone might consider is working with Data Portability laws to allow for export of user contributed data to corporate map platforms.

I'd like to add my Google Maps contributions to OSM

I'm a Level 7 local guide there and was an active user of MapMaker back in the day..

 

New comment by lindner in "OpenSocial Specification"

hi5 (RIP) was originally a dating site and Pivoted to a Social Network.

Most profiles fake? I can say for sure that's not true. I maintained Postgres/Memcache/Graph DBs and the write load was real.

That said hi5 did engage in address book scraping and other dark patterns that you'd rather not see these days.

Fun fact: hi5 had a featured photos/profiles section based on popularity. Folks that ended up there deleted their account by 5x or more due to the unwanted attention their 'popular' photos garnered....

 

Regretted Attrition

Google's loss. dwb@ was a good one.

 

New comment by lindner in "OpenSocial Specification"

So many thoughts about OpenSocial and the reference implementation, Shindig. I have it thank for my time at hi5, LinkedIn and then Google.

Some little known facts about OpenSocial

- Hangouts Apps (remember those?) were based on OpenSocial containers.

- OpenSocial powered the LinkedIn Apps Platform and Labs for a number of years. The team built Rails and Node apps and deployed on Joyent.

- Eric Schmidt gave a pep talk to the working group pre-launch and mentioned about how open always wins in the end...

- MySpace was concerned about the attack surface of 3p apps running in iframes. They toyed with the idea of requiring a webkit browser plugin to run apps (!). It did lead to Caja* as a project. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caja_project

- The work on OpenSocial led in small part to the Activity Streams spec which led to ActivityPub and thus the latest Fediverse protocols. I like to think of OpenSocial as dead, but a good organ donor.

Fun times...

 

 

Oz Turns 10

I didn't see any posts about it in my stream, so I'll mention that Oz turns 10 years old today.

Thank you Oz for inspiring Apps Framework and Boq.

 

HTML EMAIL

Found in some email archives..

 ===============================================
 |                       /"\                   |
 | ASCII RIBBON CAMPAIGN \ / AGAINST HTML MAIL |
 |                        X                    |
 |                       / \                   |
 `============================================='

 

 

MessagingApps++

Installed Instagram just for chat.

It's... Really good. This is for 1:1 but the video and voice message sharing is simple, and you can respond by just lifting the phone to your ear. Kinda magical and beats the crap out of voice typing.

YMMV etc etc

 

Lady Gaga is a Robot?

Just in case you wanted to know how AI is getting sucked into the conspiracy world..

https://www.thechembow.com/covid-19-flu-bug-or-computer-virus

 

Flip Fone Follies..

Managed to teach an elderly aunt how to
- get text messages on her flip phone,
- so she could sign up for Skype
- so she could share her screen
- so I could help her diagnose her email problem
- using Windows Live Messenger
- by doing a Skype + Conference call with her ISP to change her password and settings.

So Skype requires a gmail/yahoo account (won't let you use a "business" account like kmtel) so sign up with phone was the only option.

Had to explain 'soft keys' plus there were 100 texts that had never been read.

Skype created account password wasn't confirmed, so had to change password

Windows Live Messenger is a hot mess. SO. MANY. BUTTONS.

pop3 + smtp with differing passwords (pop3 was fine, smtp not)

phew......

 

Ears

Spotty ambient song recognition on this mashup set.

Impressed that it got the Eminem song with the Imperial March overlay though

Humans still do it better.:)

 

WFH

French Press + Vacuum Themos = Less time doing pour-overs

Also I don't think I'll be able to tolerate the MK coffee machine when all this is done....

 

 

Levity

Here's your mandated break from the serious stuff in my stream.

A grasshopper hops into a bar. The bartender says, "Hey, we've
got a drink named after you." The grasshopper says, "You've got a drink
named Steve?"

 

Happy 16th Birthday Gmail!

And a reminder of what people used in corp before we had Gmail.

 

CORS vs Gmail = no doggo pics

Any of the Chrome folks want to figure out why SameSIte cookies are making
it impossible to add inline images in gmail compose?

Bug appears to be here: https://b.corp.google.com/issues/144398439

Looks like it's more than just Googlers:

https://support.google.com/mail/thread/19811479?hl=en

 

 

Social Distancing

Hey kids, this is what live music was like back before the pandemic.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHV0zs0kVGg

 

Donkey Break

We interrupt this stream of perf and covid for mandatory frolicking donkey antics.

https://twitter.com/m_crouton/status/1240366512990543873

 

Entering Plague Times

5.7 Utah earthquake. Hope everyone there is safe.

 

go links for wellbeing

I've had this list for a while, so some links might be out of date. I have used some of these programs myself and found benefits.

Be well everyone, we're in store for some long weeks/months ahead of us.

http://go/EAP Employee Assistance Program
http://go/gCalm Online, highly interactive learning experience to you manage stress and build resilience
http://go/gPause Mindful practices to help manage stress, increase happiness, and boost productivity
http://go/OYL Initiative to provide Googlers with the resources needed to “optimize your life”
http://go/s10x 5 week group-led program for insights into your current wellbeing and ways to improve it
http://go/wellbeingguru Experienced Googlers who offer 1:1 coaching to support Googlers working on wellbeing.
http://go/wlb-1:1 Work-life balance conversation guide for Googlers and Managers
http://go/Sleepio Resources to improve your sleep
http://go/happify Resource to overcome stress and negative thoughts with science-based games and activities
http://go/meQ Personalized tools and videos to help build resilience
http://go/myStrength Personalized tools for anxiety, depression, addiction, chronic pain, mindfulness, and more