Vacuum weblog 0002 E. Vielmetti prev next

books music travel jobs food people networks writing

Nature abhors a vacuum. So does my cat.

Welcome to Vacuum

Join the mailing list.

In the latest issue: "When you get distracted, as you eventually will be, be distracted with a purpose. If you are scatterbrained at times by nature take glory in it and make the odd connections that no one else will. No one else thinks the way you do and no one else has your unique combinations of skills and experiences."

In an earlier issue: creative problem solving, networking vs. cronyism, how weird Silicon Valley is. More issues are also online. Join the mailing list to get new issues as they come out.

On top of the book pile

Ex Libris : Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman. thanks Lindsay The De-Voicing of Society by John Locke. thanks Deb The Structures of Everyday Life : Civilization and Capitalism 15th - 18th Century Volume 1 by Fernand Braudel. Invention by Design by Henry Petroski. Make Your Connections Count! by Melissa Giovagnoli.

Library books

Waiting to come in at the Ann Arbor District Library:

Recently returned: Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman. (Returned 3 July 99, $0.20 fine)

What we're listening to

Deb is reading for Assistive Media, a non-profit that does an audio magazine delivered with RealAudio every month via the net. They just won the Real Networks Streamers award for best use of streaming media by a non-profit. Congratulations!

Lo Mejor De La Vida by Compay Segundo. Great Cuban guitar music - if you liked Ry Cooder's Buena Vista Social Club collection you'll like this one.

Accordion Tribe by Guy Klucevsek (United States), Maria Kalaniemi (Finland), Bratko Bibic (Slovenia), Lars Hollmer (Sweden), and Otto Lechner (Austria). Live recordings from a three week accordion group tour of Europe - lots of energy, and you don't find too many works scored for accordion quintet (more's the pity). Amazon has some 30 second clips online.

Left side / right side

What we're looking for

A local (Ann Arbor) printer that will do good color postcards in small runs for not a lot of money. Or black and white, or single color.

What we found

Writing paper made from recycled geo survey maps is called "Geolopes" or "Topolopes", available from a number of suppliers.

Bound acid-free archival quality lab notebooks, quadrille printed, $23 each q1 plus postage, less in quantity. Eureka Lab Book, Scott Hapgood (sales manager), +1 413 534 5671.

Dynamic revision

2 September 1999

Mappa Mundi magazine has a nice piece by Marty Lucas on his experiences at a Edward Tufte seminar in Chicago. thanks brig for the ptr to the magazine

Will auctions at eBay ever be regulated? The latest item to go on sale is a human kidney.

31 August 1999

While I wasn't watching, GoGaGa Radio got assimilated somehow into the MacroRadio-Dot-Net Internet Radio Network. I'm grooving a little bit better since my main net radio listening machine got upgraded, more processor and more memory seems to help. On right this instant: Music For Cubicles.

New Ali Farka Toure: Niafunke. Time to track down a copy.

New Media Magazine article on the Six Degrees twist on e-commerce: a "service finder" directory that lets you look for house painters or dog walkers through recommendations by friends or friends-of-friends etc. (thanks brig for pointing out the site.)

29 August 1999

I've started to use the new web log tool Blogger from the good people at Pyra to keep a book log. This is separate from the books page which has tidy links of books I like; the book log may include stinkers or stuff that hasn't been looked at yet. Why Blogger? Tools are good.

25 August 1999

Phil Agre , who runs the Red Rock Eater news service, has printed a very long and interesting reading list of books he is interested in (though he counsels that he hasn't actually seen all the books so he's not necessarily recommending them).

24 August 1999

A new issue of Vacuum is out (issue 29, if you're counting). I'm printing comments from a couple of readers from earlier postings about getting organized and the relative merits of paper for communications and creative work.

Subscriber Paola Kathuria has a site with some catchy graphics and quite interesting writing. thanks Lindsay

17 August 1999

Bruce Peninsula Cottage Rentals has 80+ cottages in Ontario available for weekly rentals. Nice part of Canada to take a vacation in, good sandy beaches at Sauble Beach, not too crowded. We took books along and did a lot of reading and no computing.

Valdis Krebs latest piece on "Working in the Connected World" addresses human resources professionals and looks at recent research in how people communicate with each other through social networks.

5 August 1999

The Dead Media Project, chronicling obsolete devices for communications of all kinds, organized by Bruce Sterling.

Trellix, a tool for editing web pages and paper documents at the same time. I tried out an earlier version, liked it, but had a hard time convincing anyone else of its utility; there's a distinct tempation to try converting Vacuum's weblog production to it so that I can more easily cut and paste and spend less time in 'vi'. thanks Ken Latta

2 August 1999

For a couple of days I'm going to try our the Yahoo Messenger, which has been in the news ever since it has been trying to become compatible with AOL IM. I'm 'evielmet' on that system. [Yahoo! Messenger]

Randy Katz is a reasearcher involved in the development of mobile computing environments, including the UC Berkeley Ninja and Proactive Networks projects and the DARPA funded SmartSpaces project. Ken Latta happened to run accross his reading list.

Ah, the current First Monday has an account by Steve Cisler on The Internet Global Summit in San Jose, June 1999.

From a 1996 First Monday: John Seely Brown (Chief Scientist, Xerox PARC, and a U of Michigan Ph.D.) and Paul Duguid on The Social Life of Documents. "If the utility of both the fixed and the fluid is recognized, the Web may develop much of its innovative power from the possibility of producing documents that combine both fixity and fluidity. Already, many documents retain a constant text while their links are continually changed. As the social roles of continuity and change, of areas of stasis and areas open to dynamic revision, are better understood, social institutions may develop around this joint capacity in intriguing ways..."

27 July 1999

The Web is a World, not a medium, writes David Weinberger in Knowlege Management World magazine (which is also a world, I guess).

to do: add some anchors to the days and the sections so I can refer to things easier.

A neat weblog I discovered on the new Deja News "deja.comm.weblogs" is Rebecca's Pocket. Very nice two column design. Time to steal (er, borrow, draw inspiration from) some HTML.

25 July 1999

New from Assistive Media this month includes a reading of "Pick Your Part", an Atlantic Monthly piece on looking for auto parts in a junkyard in L.A. read by Vacuum reader (and chief knitting expert) Deborah Fisch.

15 July 1999

In the Ann Arbor coffee shops is this month's Agenda magazine, providing "Alternative goals, entertainment, news and deeds around Ann Arbor". Highlights: "How to be a progressive libertarian"; "Lessons - and Hope - from Kerala" (a poor but healthy state in S. India); news on the Living Wage ordinance in Ypsilanti and the affordable housing crisis in Ann Arbor; a piece on Ozone House, a local shelter for runaway teenagers; an upcoming 24 July "Frank-fest" featuring the songs of Frank Allison of Odd Sox fame at the Gypsy Cafe; pictures of anti-war rallies in Washington DC; and a Chiapas diary and account of a visit to that area of Mexico by a local group. Plus events calendars and local ads. Email: Subscriptions $15/yr US to Agenda Publications LLC, PMB #542, 528 S State St. Ann Arbor MI 48104.

7 July 1999

An interview with Jeff Hawkins, creator of the Palm Pilot, is in the July/Aug Technology Review. It's about his theories of how the brain works with "autoassociative memories". thanks goCreate

Despite the infrequent updates (or perhaps because of them), Vacuum is now on Lindsay Marshall's The Weblog Menace web ring at Nibelung. This didn't require any work on my part. Use the ring to find other similar sites. Groovy!

4 July 1999

Wow, long time between updates.

Melissa Giovagnoli has a forthcoming book on "Networlding", how to grow a business in the new networked society. There's a little discussion group going (using webboard) at Knowledge Circles.

The Ann Arbor Observer writes in its food column (I think that's where I read it) that Zingerman's Practical Produce in Kerrytown now has green tea ice cream. Yum. Heading there soon.

17 June 1999

The econ degree that took me many years to get didn't really prepare me for the economy I landed in. One of the key principles drilled in from an early start is the principle of decreasing marginal returns, the core idea that eventually as you add resources to a task you start to have less of an impact beyond a certain point for an equivalent amount of work. A book that challenges this assumption through a series of papers is W. Brian Arthur's Increasing Returns and Path Dependence in the Economy. The author's web site has several of the papers on line. Now to track down a copy. (thanks memepool)

Vacuum made Havi's Yahoo Surfer's Picks.

On NPR's Talk of the Nation , Ray Suarez interviews Susan Blackmore, author of The Meme Machine . (thanks lemonyellow)

11 June 1999

The Crazy Wisdom bookstore in Ann Arbor, which just moved to the block of S. Main between Huron and Washington, publishes a periodic local calendar of events. I don't think they're on line in any form (just as well, it would distract from the ambiance of the real store). A special treat is the tea shop upstairs.

One item featured in the calendar is the workshop Building a Business the Zen Way by Geri Larkin. She has a book Building a Business the Buddhist Way which I presume covers the similar material. Hoping to pick up a copy to read.

10 June 1999

Sorry for the slow updates; I've been travelling to meetings that are full of discussions that are not intended to be of general interest to the public. Makes it hard to keep my mind full of interesting stuff.

Book log update - not many changes from last week. I'm off to New Orleans next week, for which the best reading is the long out of print New Orleans Underground Gourmet, quite possibly one of the funniest books of restaurant reviews that you'll ever read. A couple of cheap copies are on sale at Bibliofind.

3 June 1999

Top of this weeks' book log is Christoper Alexander's A Pattern Language. If you liked that, you should be sure to also know about the book The Timeless Way of Building, and a set of pages edited by Nikos Salingaros on Some notes on Christopher Alexander. This points at a hopeful soon arrival of a new magnum opus, _The nature of order_, which Salingaros is helping with editing.

2 June 1999

Assistive Media is out with a June issue, including a George Lucas interview and a story on the Icelandic DNA database.

30 May 1999

Argus Associates has an Information Architecture reading list of note.

25 May 1999

Here's this week's Amazon report as a book log; it's kind of dry without commentary. Write to me if you'd like to share the work of writing scripts to turn Amazon weekly affiliate reports into useful, usable pages.

24 May 1999

The Fabulous Ruins of Detroit by Lowell Boileau is a photo-essay on the many decaying buildings around the city.

21 May 1999

Two recent issues of Vacuum discuss the state of the virtual community. A piece from Braddlee describes the dispersion of the community he studied for his Ph. D. work, coming back years later as the net has grown and noting
What I had hoped for (along with other cyberoptimists, like Howard Rheingold) was that as the net expanded, the opportunity for everyone to find and form social ties related to interests that might not be fulfilled (or simply expanded beyond) local place community would be deepened. Instead, on most days we seem to be heading in a direction that's about a mile wide, and a molecule deep.
A followup from Ross Stapleton-Gray riffs on the metaphor of the growing net as a rising ocean swamping the islands of civility:
One that leapt to mind was of the interplay between the water and the land as the watertable rises: when "the Net" began, as a hodgepodge of different systems, from ARPANET, to the WELL, to the Cleveland FreeNet (man, that brings back memories....) In those days, each pool was separated by the land, and, consequently, an insular community. The pools differed considerably, though each was populated by comparable types of creatures--they all thrived in small, techie-flavored pools. (This is why, as a former Sovietologist, former intelligence analyst, former Michigander, I don't feel all that unlike the folks I know from the WELL, many of whom are granola-crunching, sandal-wearing Bay Areans.)
Good reading both of them.

While in Minneapolis Hedningarna (or at least Sanna and Totte on behalf of the band) taped an interview with National Public Radio which ran a few weeks ago on "All Things Considered." It was a very nice piece about their latest recording, Karelia Visa. The band records on the Northside label out of Minneapolis, if you dig this stuff get on their Nordic Roots mailing list.

In response to my complaint about not getting timely markup of ASCII Vacuum emails into HTML Vacuum archives, Chris Locke notes that he converted his letters to EGR into HTML using a cool little thing called ASCtoHTML from John A Fotheringham. Chris writes "it's got lotsa switches so you can customize things quite a bit. I found it very useful at least as a first-pass for markup. it does get the URLs right." this site has moved, see instead

The Ann Arbor Observer's ArborWeb has a daily calendar of Ann Arbor events on line.

On 22 May (this Saturday): 6-8 p.m. "Spring Woodland and Wildflower Walk" : Leslie Science Center (Ann Arbor Parks Department). Naturalist Carol Clements leads a hike through Gallup Park to point out its trees and flowers and discuss some of the folklore associated with them. Refreshments. Gallup Park meeting room, 3000 Fuller Rd. (west side of Huron Pkwy.). $2. 662-7802. Bring a copy of Michigan Wildflowers in Color by Harry Lund with you as a reference.

16 May 1999

Phil Agre's Networking on the Network, noted by Jeff Ubois: "The first thing to realize is that Internet-world is part of reality. The people you correspond with on the network are real people with lives and careers and habits and feelings of their own. Things you say on the net can make you friends or enemies, famous or notorious, included or ostracized. You need to take the electronic part of your life seriously. In particular, you need to think about and consciously choose how you wish to use the network."

15 May 1999 and earlier

See weblog 0001 for earlier entries.

Notes afterwards