Sips from the Firehose
A blog that seeks to filter the internet into a refreshing, easily-gulped beverage


Nov 29

Creating a Banner Image for Your Social Profiles

Posted: under journalism.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Here’s an example of a banner image, created for Storify.

dave lafontaine on storify

i chose these images based on … well, not much at all really. Just stuff that was foremost on my hard drive. Given more than 5 minutes, I could probably do better … but this is still more attractive than the blank space that is the default on Storify.

This example uses a variety of quickly-chosen and lightly edited images to fit the radically horizontal image space on Storify.

Damn. Things are getting heavy. Journalists are being attacked by paid provocateurs:

journalists beaten by pro-kremlin thugs

Journalists being beaten by thugs: Hromadske.TV’s Dmytro Gnap was stomped, his camera smashed, and the memory card stolen.

The pro-Russian government in Ukraine is using “titushki” — paid provocateurs hired to disrupt rallies and provoke police, according to the Kyiv Post.

These protesters are acting like morons, trying to make the protests look like they are violent and anarchic. They are helped along in this mission by some of the more casual protesters, who show up after having a few drinks, and seem to be mainly interested in the more festive aspects of the protest.

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Jan 25

The New York Times’ Take on Charles Johnson & Little Green Footballs

Posted: under Uncategorized.
Tags: , , ,

This story has been developing for some time, and has provided the usual lefty suspects with quite a delicious schadenfreude chortle or two. But now the New York Times has weighed in, and the article makes it clear that something extraordinary is happening in the blogosphere.  If nothing else, the sheer viciousness & paranoia that it’s engendered amongst the former supporters of the (formerly?) right-wing anti-jihadist blog Little Green Footballs.

To recap: Charles Johnson, the founder of the influential blog, announced last fall that he was “leaving” the right/Republican movement.  His reasons were that basically he could no longer swallow the lockstep doctrinaire cant that demanded unswerving hatred of Obama, support for Sarah Palin, denigration of minorities and anti-intellectualism.  Man, just writing that sentence sounds so wrong – but perhaps it’s emblematic of how polarized our political dialogue has become, that anyone not defining themselves by what they are against more than they are “for” by necessity straddles the lines of division drawn by the most extreme in the political wings.

Anyway – the point of this post is to call attention to a nice example of the somewhat rare MSM-created snark. Johnathan Dee, the NYT writer, mocks the inevitable screeching sure to result from the confluence of an article about Charles Johnson (“race traitor! burn him!”) done by the bete noire of the right, the New York Times:

But perhaps I am, as many suggested to me, just another liberal dupe. Perhaps I even fell for the pretense that Johnson lives in the modest home where I visited him, which bore none of the trappings his supposed sellout would suggest. The U.P.S. man who delivered packages to his door while I was there, and his truck, may have been hired for the day just to snow me; the decidedly un-Mata-Hari-like woman he introduced to me as his fiancée, who brought us water and fruit as we talked in his small home office, may have been a member of the Trilateral Commission. It would be just like a representative of the Mainstream Media to get caught believing his eyes like that.

Damn, that’s some fine stuff.

The deeper message in the article though, is starting to touch on something interesting to New Media types like myself – that the “Link Economy” has grown to a size & strength that it’s benefits and drawbacks are starting to become known & predictable. Which is about the time that a workable business model starts to really emerge – when you can posit Action A will lead to Result B, then you have a predictable model. Which big advertisers can start using to attach those nice little wads of cash to. 

The larger effects of Johnson’s break with his former political cohorts (about which more than enough has been written elsewhere, on both sides of the issue) may be that this is a starting point for independent journalists/content producers to start defining a monetization model for the blogosphere and social media sites.

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Aug 01

Anonymity: the Big Web Issue Everyone Keeps Missing

Posted: under newspaper crisis.
Tags: , , , ,

In all the trainings I’ve done over the last couple of years, the one hot-button issue guaranteed to touch off a passionate debate, even amongst the most detached, sit-on-their-hands group is the reader comments section.

See, journalists just hate them damn comments.

Yeah, yeah, notable exceptions abound, and some people “get it” that we’re supposed to include our readers/users in our little game of “Hey lookee here! I done found out sumthin’ kewl!” But by and large, newspaper reporters & editors have grown accustomed to their comfy positions as The Voice Of God That Brooks No Disagreement.

So when I start talking about some of the measure that newspapers around the world have taken to try to moderate & impose order on the chaotic forums, comment sections, trackbacks, etc., the journalists fairly leap out of their chairs, eyes alight, as they tick off all the awful insults and calumnies they have been forced to endure by the damn intertubes propellorheads. They talk about how their readers are crazy people who write horrible insults and lies about the reporters, and who get crafty to avoid all the various moderation/banning mechanisms.

In Chile, in Argentina, Russia, Mexico, Colombia, Ukraine … the trolls know no boundaries. In each place, the reporters and editors go on and on at great length about how they can’t stand looking at the comments under their stories, because they know that some persistent readers that have an axe to grind against them are going to show up there and start yammering and flinging virtual monkey poo.

I’ve actually found this subject to be a godsend – when my voice is wearing out and I need a few minutes to chug water and compose myself, I toss this little conversational grenade in the room, and let the journalists vent for a while before moving on to possible solutions.

It’s stunning to me that there appears to be international norms and predictable patterns to troll behavior. Vulgar sex-based insults, thread hijacking, escalating to physical threats. There’s a great gallery of Flame Warriors here – I highly recommend that you check it out. If you’ve spent any time whatsoever in the comments sections, having conversations online, you will laugh, cry and grit your teeth in rage as you recognize the archetypes. Is there some special international brotherhood of the troll that you have to join? Do the entrance exams call for you to drive a netizen into such a frenzy of rage that he smashes his computer monitor with his fist? Hey … that’d made a cool YouTube movie…

Anyway.

There’s an interesting case coming out of the Yale Law School that might put an end to all this. How?

By making people responsible for what they say online.

At the risk of cheapening my training message, Web anonymity - John Gabrielhere’s John Gabriel’s Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory, put far more elegantly in a simple chalkboard drawing than I could with multiple 2,000 word posts: 

So yeah. The reason socially retarded dimwits, 15-year-olds off their Ritalin and drunk dormrats stink up forums and comment boards is because they aren’t going to have to pay the price for their actions.

The Yale lawsuit seeks to change that.

From Wired:

AK-47 was one of a handful of students heaping misogynist scorn on
women attending the nations’ top law schools in 2007, in posts so vile
they spurred a national debate on the limits of online anonymity, and
an unprecedented federal lawsuit aimed at unmasking and punishing the
posters.

…lawyers for two female Yale Law School students have ascertained
AK-47’s real identity, along with the identities of other AutoAdmit
posters, who all now face the likely publication of their names in
court records — potentially marking a death sentence for the comment
trolls’ budding legal careers even before the case has gone to trial.

The unmasking of the posters marks a milestone in a rare legal
challenge to the norms of online commenting, where arguments live on
for years in search-engine results and where reputations can be sullied
nearly irreparably by anyone with a grudge, a laptop and a WiFi
connection.

We keep dancing around this problem on the internet, mainly because nobody has really found a workable solution yet. On the one hand, unfettered speech leads to such chaos that the signal-to-noise ratio becomes unworkable – my best example of this is the Yahoo News message boards. They’ve been down for more than a year and a half. If you ever went there, you know why.

The boards were taken over by a hard-core group of trolls with apparently limitless time, energy and hatred. No subject was too off-topic for them to use to spew their anger, obscenities and insults at … well, it wasn’t really at each other. It was basically the digital equivalent of a grubby guy in tattered clothes in a bus station screaming “AAAAAHHHHGGG! AHHHGGG!” at his socks. Even the most innocuous subjects – a story on flower arrangement or dogs, f’rinstance, would attract the trolls within about 10 posts.

The other extreme, of course, are the limp & lifeless forums & comment spaces, where moderation is imposed to such an extent that the audience just migrates elsewhere to talk to each other.

Now then.

One of the key things that helps keep internet users sociable is imposing some kind of accountability for their actions. Which is what registration is all about – trying to attach a real human identity to the screenname. The fight for newspapers has been trying to raise the hurdles for commenters to a level where it’s tough enough to establish an identity so that you don’t do it casually (no shelling out to create a free Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo account on the spot to establish a handy sock puppet), but not so hard that users start feeling like they’re applying for a home equity line of credit a Business Visa from the Russian Consulate.

Now that there appears to be a clear legal precedent for peeling back the layers of anonymity to hold trolls accountable for their poo-flinging, I find myself of two minds about this. I have been roughed up by a fairly good cross-section of trolls over the years, and it’d be nice to be able to expose them as the pathetic, mommy’s basement-dwelling loser subcreatures my wounded ego insists they must be. On the other hand … some of my responses to said trolls (hey! I was provoked! Honest, they started it!) may have been a bit … intemperate. So I have to wonder if there are perhaps some other sad, wounded egos out there. And, where would it stop? If you can bring an action for something someone said in a chat room, or Second Life, or the forums at AngryJournalist, well, we better just pave over the downtown areas of every major city in the U.S. and turn it all into one giant courthouse, because we’re gonna need the space.

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Jun 19

Obama Reaches Out on LinkedIn

Posted: under Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , ,

Yet another quick hit – just checked to see how many more answers I’m getting from the LinkedIn question I posted earlier this week, and noticed that the Obama campaign today posted a question on what the best ideas are to “keep America competitive in the years ahead.”

What ideas do you have to keep America competitive in the years ahead?

In a recent speech, I proposed a new competiveness agenda centered
around education and energy, innovation and infrastructure, fair trade
and reform.

You can watch it, and read the full-text, here: http://my.barackobama.com/competitiveness

What ideas do you have to keep America competitive in the years ahead?

Smart. Very smart. These people “get it.” They are using Web 2.0 in a very inclusive, forward-thinking way; the mere fact that they’re posing such a question in a professional forum means that they are reaching out to business professionals in an unprecedented way.

Again, I’m going to have to get back to this in a later post, but it’s tying into what I call the “Help Line Mollification Effect.” You know – how you dial customer support, mashing the buttons on your phone with excessive force, blood pressure up around nuclear reactor containment sphere levels … and you yowl at the poor schlub on the other end … until he helps you out and gently leads you through the answer … and by the end of the call, after the problem is resolved, you feel like a total ass, and want to send him something from his Amazon wishlist. Or is that just me?

Look folks, a lot of the anger simmering under the surface of our society is because everyone feels that no one is listening. The fact that Obama & his people are actually reaching out to people – well, hell. That’s disarming. It breaks down the resistance – that whole “Obama is a dangerous socialist who’s going to destroy the country with his hippie/commie ways” meme that’s been festering on the internets. It kinda says, “Hey, if you’ve got a great idea on how to fix things, let’s hear it.”

Who knows? Maybe the answer is that all of us are indeed smarter than any of us, and that out of this question will arise some fantastic new strategy that will restore the U.S. to greatness.

Or a buncha Digg kids will all get together, rig the question-answering, and we’ll wind up with an army of giant killer robots that all look like Lara Croft.

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May 18

Seesmic: Video Comments on Blogs?

Posted: under Uncategorized.
Tags: , , ,

Not sure if I want to have to make sure that my hair is all on the correct tangent from my head, and that there’s no broccoli in my teeth before participating in my next online pie-fight in the comments section of Sadly, No!

Then again, it’s only a matter of time before people start offering plug-ins to do the video commenting, and we get animated snowmen (like in the CNN Democratic debate last summer), World of Warcraft avatars or Second Life furries chiming in …

Anyway, check out Seesmic – the webnoscenti are saying that it’s the "next Twitter" – which I guess, means that all the early adopters will ooh and aah over it, as it suffers weekly outages from lack of scalability, while the rest of the webmob blithely ignores it in favor of seeing the latest Pirate Bay porno.

UPDATE: It appears that there is a use for this – Jemima Kiss at the Guardian, used it to interview Spielberg, Lucas and Harrison Ford. 

VIz:

FirefoxScreenSnapz006.jpg Guardian Journalist Jemima Kiss was
one of the Seesmic community members who asked questions to Steven
Spielberg, Harisson Ford, George Lucas, Shia Laboeuf, Karen Allen and
Cate Blanchett
. Here is how Jemima describes the experience (you can see here all Jemima questions and reactions):

 

"It’s a simple
enough idea but incredibly exciting; I just posted a few direct
questions to Spielberg and Karen Allen (Marian was always one of my
favourite heroines) and it’s quite a buzz watching them reply directly
to your own questions. Seesmic is quite intimate too – like most
people, I just use my webcam and was still wearing my pyjamas when I
recorded. But hey, pyjamas have a good internet heritage."

 

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Sep 12

Russian Bloggers to the Rescue

Posted: under Uncategorized.
Tags: , , ,

The Russian Equivalent of Wingnut Welfare

More and more, I’m noticing that the news here in Russia (and yes, I do try to watch the news on TV here, despite the language barrier) seems to exist in some strange parallel universe.  When I switch back and forth between the BBC World News, CNN International, and then the Russian news on RBK and Channel First, there is a massive disconnect. Maybe it’s just because we’re in a particularly delicate election year – an editorial that ran in the Moscow Times recently talked about all the simmering uneasiness regarding Putin’s succession (the original ran in Vedomosti, and I can only hope that the editor who wrote it isn’t re-living a Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch right now).

Trying
to guess the identity of President Vladimir Putin’s choice as his
successor and how he or she will come to power is a game that just
continues to grow in popularity. Speculation is also swirling over
whether the next president will use the system Putin has created to
determine national and international policy, ditch the system
altogether, or keep parts of it.

Analysts
at Renaissance Capital, for example, believe the successor will either
follow the “Brezhnev model” and try to maintain the status quo, or will
be a reformer, following what they label the “Peter the Great model.”
These comparisons are a bit surprising, but not because of the nature
of historical parallels.

This issue is becoming particularly urgent because under Putin, a lot of people have amassed staggering wealth.  Quite naturally, they’d like to keep it.  And now that they have this much money, they can certainly shell out a few bucks here and there to, shall we say, “influence” things to continue going pretty much as they have in that past.  Which is why speaking out about the theft, corruption, murder, intimidation and bombings here is becoming quite perilous.

Politics under these conditions is a third rail for established media.  But there is still a great deal of interest in what is going on in this country that isn’t being talked about in the media.  And as nature abhors a vacuum, so too does the media ecosystem.

Bloggers to the rescue

Here are the nut grafs:

Masha Lipman, a political expert at the Moscow
Carnegie Center, says that web forums like Live Journal provide an
arena for free debate that is no longer available in much of the
conventional media.

“There is indeed a lot of free exchange on
the Internet,” Lipman says. “The question in Russia is not that there
are no outlets where free expression is possible. The question is that
the Kremlin has radically marginalized all outlets that pursue even
reasonably independent editorial lines.

“Russians are the
second-largest group of users of Live Journal, a popular U.S. blogger
site. In Russia, the site currently has more than 1.1 million users and
67,500 interest groups. On September 5 alone, 1,600 new users joined
Live Journal in Russia and almost 500,000 new comments were posted.

Censorship Impossible?

“Actually,
I think the Internet is one of the reasons Russia is still not an
authoritarian regime, because you cannot really shut down the Internet
without very serious measures,” says Yulia Latynina, a political
commentator whose columns are frequently posted on Live Journal.

Just this week, a blogger got thrown in jail for two years for advocating revolution.  The Kremlin has, belatedly, realized that they need to try to clamp down on the discussion online – but the tools that they’ve employed to do so have only ensured that more and more ordinary Russians are getting interested in what it is that was said that caused so much of a reaction.

However, the censorship is getting subtler and more insidious. Apparently, the Kremlin is paying bloggers to go into LiveJournal and produce pro-government content.  Not out-and-out propaganda – the average Russian has very sensitive antennae that can pick up a bullshit press release a mile away.  But apparently, they are getting sophisticated about producing content that subtly reinforces what the government wants you to see, hear and think.

The U.S., of course, has problems along these lines – it has long been an article of faith that bloggers and internet sites that promote the pro-Bush stance have been getting secret payments and support from the government and Bush’s allies.  There’s even a phrase for it: “Wingnut Welfare.”

Still, it is inspiring to see that even under these conditions, the ordinary people on the web are brave enough, and inspired enough, to defy the attempts to brainwash them, to suppress them, to intimidate them.  In this way, at least, the web is struggling to live up the hype of being the invention that allows freedom to reign … although I fear that the increasing sophistication of the governments to stack the ideological deck are only going to get more insidious.

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Aug 10

Free Weed! Free Weed!

Posted: under Uncategorized.
Tags: , , ,

First we’re gonna download the show off BitTorrent, and then we’re gonna go out and get some Cheetos, and some S’mores, man … oooh! And don’t forget the Doritos…

So amongst all the wailing and gnashing of teeth over illegal downloading, the response by the producer of the cult Showtime hit show "Weeds" is refreshing:

"Revenue aside, I don’t expect to get rich on ‘Weeds,’" she said, sounding downright jubilant. "I’m excited it’s out there. Showtime is great, but it does have a limited audience."

So while broadcast-network representatives express concern and frustration that their advertisers will be horrified by ever-declining audiences and buzz, Showtime can breathe easy: As a premium cable network, it has no advertisers, and with only 14.5 million paid subscribers, almost any sampling of its shows is seen as free promotion for the network. 

What a great, enlightened and smart attitude to take.  Most of the revenue generated by TV shows these days is from the DVD sales anyway. Yeah, I know – having the show downloadable on Torrent cuts into the box set sales … but then again, as more and more people are saying these days, they download and watch the show on computer, and then if they really like it, they’ll go out and buy the official version, so they get the high-quality one with all the extras, audio tracks, subtitles, etc.
 

Rat3lg

Last night, I watched the movie "Ratatouille" on a Russian-version DVD.  I was impressed with the packaging – the DVD cover looked exactly like the official version – down to the tech specs on the back of the DVD listing the 2:35 aspect ratio, DTS sound, etc.  The movie itself was obviously a pirate of a screening, down to the audience laughter and reactions and scenes obscured by someone standing up and walking off to get more popcorn.  But watching the movie in that way, with the grainy picture-of-a-picture feeling made me want to see it in its true resolution.  The core story was so enjoyable that I want to see it again, and I am willing to pay for that privilege.
Weeds_home_page_screenshot

I know that this is not going to provide as fat a profit margin as the Good Old Days, when the captive audience had to pay whatever freight the content distributors felt like extorting … but the digital genie is out of the virtual bottle, and the fact that I can get a pro-looking copy of a movie that’s still doing business in the first-run theaters is very telling.  And the fact that this is happening IN RUSSIA, and that the translator that I got this movie from has had it for a while, is even more interesting.  It means that the black market distribution channels are even more efficient than the legit channels; to get the movie shot, rendered, set up with a still frame spelling out "Ratatouille" in Russian, with the menu items (12 chapters, jump to scene, etc.), and packaged in a plastic jewel case means that the operations set up to do so have done this enough to really work the kinks out of their operation.

The Ad Age article goes on to speculate that Joost may actually save TV producers from the relentless piracy:

Still in beta, Joost already hHate_my_30sas moved to make headline-grabbing piracy a thing of the past by co-opting web pirates’ hunger for the new. Viacom-owned basic-cable network VH1 made all eight episodes of its series "I Hate My 30s" available on Joost beginning July 17, nearly two weeks before its debut on the music-themed network. Pausing a show such as "30s" is possible on Joost, but rewinding and fast-forwarding aren’t, nor is saving a show to a computer or sharing it with other websites.

 

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May 23

Estonia in Putin’s Crosshairs – DDos Attack and Counterattack

Posted: under journalism.
Tags: , , , ,

The Future is Here: Russia and Estonia are living up to the fantasies of hack sci-fi authors and computer security salesmen.  They are engaging in a virtual war.  

The reasons for this war are pretty thin – most political insiders in Moscow dismiss this as a shallow and meaningless concoction on the part of Putin, designed mainly to distract the Russian electorate in an election year.  It’s old and time-worn tactic, but one that still finds favor with politicians that want to play the old magician "nothing up my sleeve" distraction game.   

My friend Dave Mitchell devoted the latter part of a column on his blog to this issue, and I’ve had a front-row seat to some of the events as they have unfolded. In a nutshell, the Estonians took down a gaudy bronze statue of a Soviet soldier a couple weeks before the big May 9 V-E Day celebrations.  Putin seized on the action (the Estonians were apparently not getting rid of the statue, just moving it to another place) and branded the Estonians as a bunch of pro-Nazi ingrates who were persecuting the ethnic Russians, yada yada blah blah.

I particularly liked the pictures of the forlorn pro-Russia protesters chasing after the Estonian ambassador’s car, as it pulled away from the embassy, on its way to a vacation.  The "youth groups" that are making the most noise are widely known to be paid by the Kremlin to feign outrage and generate flashy TV images.

No big deal.  But in the last couple of weeks, the conflict has moved to a whole new arena – cyberspace.  Estonia’s economy is apparently quite web-dependent.  Russian hackers have pretty much taken down the Estonian web presence through waves of DDoS attacks.  (Quick explanation: DoS is "Denial of Service" which is what happens when a whole bunch of zombie robot slave computers under the control of a hacker all try to access your webservers at the same time.  In real-world traffic terms, it’s like sending a million cars to jam the drive-thru windows of Mickey D’s.)
Moscow_times_estonia_for_dave_m_3
Check out the front page of the Moscow Times, scanned here for your convenience:

This is the story from a couple of weeks ago, when Putin gave a fiery speech during the May 9 parades, denouncing the Estonians. 

The latest update from Moscow says that the tactic is starting to spread in the provocation/response pattern so familiar to anyone who’s paid attention to, well, just about any of the wars in the last century or so.  Viz:

Hackers this year have also attacked the sites of groups as politically
disparate as the ultranationalist Movement Against Illegal Immigration;
the pro-Kremlin youth groups Nashi, Young Russia and Mestniye; and The
Other Russia, the opposition coalition that has organized a series of
Dissenters’ Marches this year.

Alexander Kalugin, a spokesman for Young Russia, said
a six-hour DDoS attack on his group’s web site in March was likely the
work of Estonian nationalists angered over its protests outside the
Estonian Embassy over plans to relocate a Soviet World War II monument
in central Tallinn that sparked a recent diplomatic dispute.

"We were burning Estonian banners and trampling an effigy of the Estonian president," Kalugin said.

The Movement Against Illegal Immigration had 40 of
its regional web sites struck by DDoS attacks from early February to
early April, said Alexander Belov, the organization’s leader.

Belov blamed the security services for carrying out the attacks under the pretext of battling extremism.

I’m tempted to say that any kind of warfare that doesn’t involve streets choked with bodies and rubble is an improvement – but I am uneasy.  The fact that more and more people are getting hip to the idea that there are cheap and easy ways to hit below the belt; the fact that the web is still very vulnerable to this kind of thing – all that is definitely a blinking red light.

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Apr 03

Arriving in Moscow – and It Looks Like Everywhere Else

Posted: under journalism.
Tags: , , , ,

There is something both sad and comforting to drive down the streets of Moscow and see a Sbarro sIgn in Cyrillic

First impressions – there are a lot of signs in English here
Moscow_day_1_009_2
almost as many as there were in Amsterdam. Despite the old-world concrete
frowning feeling of the Passport Control Center in the basement of the airport,
you can’t feel too intimidated if, while standing in line, you can look up to
see two brand-new Panasonic HDTV plasma screens playing an endless loop of ads
for expensive consumer products.

Apparently, it’s a big deal here to have dirty keys on your
piano – luckily, they have special attachments to the vacuums (courtesy of some
Russian company) designed expressly to clean the keys on your piano.

There were lots of Mercedes and BMWs in the airport parking
lot – alongside a tricked-out Lincoln Navigator with oversize chrome rims. Someone here has been watching MTV.

There are a lot of big car dealerships on the outskirts of
Moscow – it looks a little like Tony Soprano-area New Jersey that way. And the people scurrying around these
environs look a little like extras from the Sopranos as well.  Near the airport, the highway is smooth and
new. Closer to Moscow, the streets are
rutted, jammed and potholed & patched.

The radio stations in English play a very eclectic mix –
from The Bangles doing “Eternal Love” to Beyonce and Eminem.

I can’t get over how many international brands there are
lining the big highway into town. Pioneer car stereos, Samsung computer monitors, DHL couriers, even a
Sbarro (although that was the one sign that was in Cyrillic – I just knew it
was Sbarro cheapass pizza from the color and typography of the sign. Now there’s a case study in branding, if
anyone wants to tackle it.)

The river (Volga? Home
of the storied Volga Boatmen? I think I
faintly heard their signature dirgelike chanting…) is sluggish with ice still –
I didn’t want to look too much like a tourist, and take a picture on the way
in. I later overcame my reticence in
this area – only to find that I had neglected to pack the cable to scarf the
pix off my camera – luckily, the Vaio has a nice little slot in the front where
you can click in the fragile little wafer. It kinda clicks in like the glass
doors on stereo cabinets – you know, you push once and it goes “cli-CLICK” and
is kinda recessed, and to remove it you push on it and it goes “CLI-clunk” and
pops out. And the damn thing was only
$14 at Circuit City? 

Anyway, back to the ride into Moscow. There are still the
big high-density apartment buildings lining the roads – but not as many nor as
dense as I had been led to believe. Which is no big deal, really.

It’s weird to see these fearsome Red Army soldiers in full
battle rattle on the street, getting yelled at for knocking over a ladder.

I can quite connect what I’m seeing on the streets to the
world I saw in the movies or on TV. Can any of these be the snow-choked streets
that the Bolsheviks marched down in 1917?

This city just sprawls – block after block of frowning brick
buildings, with Westernized ads and signs; some in the process of being spruced
up. How much blood and history took
place on these streets? Is history ever
done with us? Or are we all making history right now, every second of the day,
without really being cognizant of it? Freaking out and thinking all the while
that we’re desperately improvising and that at any minute the whole house of
cards is going to collapse on us. Meanwhile, the past seems to have so much clarity. There’s a lesson here for those wondering about what to do about the digital revoiution…

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Apr 01

Off to Moscow

Posted: under journalism.
Tags: , , , ,

In about 12 hours, I get on a KLM jet for 15 hours of confinement (broken up by one short layover – just enough to get the blood clots in the femoral arteries moving) on my way to Moscow to start the new consulting gig for Innovation.  I’ll be experimenting with posting to this blog from there – it has been way, way too busy these last two weeks to post the way that I’ve wanted to … and the failures of TypePad in South America are the subject of an "Open Ticket" with my beloved bloghosts.

In the meanwhile, here are a couple of pics from Chile and Argentina to take up some space on this blog and make it look lively.

This first shot is of a canyon that I did the zipline/canopy tour down, zig-zagging back and forth, whilst trying to take some kind of video.  In fact, I do have a short video of this, which I will also try to post in the next week or so.  God willing and the creek don’t rise…

Thecanyonweziplineddown

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