Thursday, August 13, 2009

Introducing RECAP: Turning PACER Around

Introducing RECAP: Turning PACER Around: [...]Today, we are excited to announce the public beta release of RECAP, a tool that will help bring an unprecedented level of transparency to the U.S. federal court system. RECAP is a plug-in for the Firefox web browser that makes it easier for users to share documents they have purchased from PACER, the court's pay-to-play access system. With the plug-in installed, users still have to pay each time they use PACER, but whenever they do retrieve a PACER document, RECAP automatically and effortlessly donates a copy of that document to a public repository hosted at the Internet Archive. The documents in this repository are, in turn, shared with other RECAP users, who will be notified whenever documents they are looking for can be downloaded from the free public repository. RECAP helps users exercise their rights under copyright law, which expressly places government works in the public domain. It also helps users advance the public good by contributing to an extensive and freely available archive of public court documents. (Via Freedom to Tinker.)

This is so cool! If it takes off, the document analysis and text mining possibilities will be endless.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Charlie Haden's Quartet West

Tonight at Yoshi's in San Francisco: Charlie Haden on bass, Ernie Watts on tenor sax, Alan Broadbent on piano, and Rodney Green on drums for Haden's birthday. Limpid sound, exquisitely balanced group playing, deeply lyrical. I'm out of words, really. Ana agrees that this might be best live jazz we've listened to since David Holland in 2004.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Jeff Klein, the subject of the Open Source podcast I listened to at the gym this morning mentioned Cavafy and his poem Ithaca. I hadn't read that poem in decades, so tonight I picked Daniel Mendelsohn's recent translation that has been on my bedside table:

As you set out on the way to Ithaca
hope that the road is a long one,
filled with adventures, filled with understanding.
The Laestrygonians and the Cyclopes,
Poseidon in his anger: do not fear them,
you’ll never come across them on your way
as long as your mind stays aloft, and a choice
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Laestrygonians and the Cyclopes,
savage Poseidon; you’ll not encounter them
unless you carry them within your soul,
unless your soul sets them up before you.

There are a few skills that improve with age; understanding more of the meanings of a great poem might be one of them.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

It Never Stops

It Never Stops: Lovely piece by Maira Kalman on Ben Franklin:

Don’t mope in your room. Go invent something. That is the American message.
Electricity. Flight. The telephone. Television. Computers. Walking on the moon. It never stops.
(Via Daring Fireball.)

Some of the best things in Philly came that way, from Headhouse Square to Bartram Gardens to the ENIAC.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Breaking Rules, Breaking Trail

Breaking Rules, Breaking Trail: [...] An unexpected planned mission in Argentine Patagonia (Via Porters Sports.)

Wonderful trip report. This beautiful picture of Argentinian powder above Lago Nahuel Huapi makes me miss so much not skiing in South America this season after five years of wonderful adventures in Chile and Argentina. But I need to give time to my Tahoe-broken ankle to recover fully.

AT&T’s Inability to Handle the iPhone

AT&T’s Inability to Handle the iPhone: [...] Apple slagged AT&T twice during the WWDC keynote, for their inability to offer iPhone users either MMS or tethering. These are not advanced cutting edge mobile phone features. That was seven weeks ago, and AT&T still hasn’t said a peep about making either feature available. Of course Apple is furious. They are dependent on an incompetent partner in their biggest market. (Via Daring Fireball.)

Looking for any nice used bridges to purchase? Apple is a very smart company. They knew exactly what they were getting into when they signed the exclusive with AT&T. It's not as if AT&T's mediocrity has been a big secret. Apple must have concluded that the commercial benefits of the exclusive outweighed the costs, factoring in any (justifiable) doubts about AT&T's ability to perform.

It is very convenient for Apple to be able to hint through media and blogging stenographers that any problems are AT&T's fault, even though Apple knew perfectly well what they were getting into.

However, we may be able to finally see the truth behind this shadow boxing if the FCC's spine continues to stiffen.