Edward Vielmetti

work: Arbor Networks

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Ann Arbor, MI Forecast

Welcome to Vacuum

Upcoming: Complex Systems Reading Group organizational meeting, Ann Arbor MI, Dominick's, Monday 6 May 2002 4 pm.

In a reasonably recent 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."

Trips planned and taken

Apr 29-May 1 2002: Boston MA: Arbor Networks

April 22-26 2002: Oakland, Berkeley, Albany, San Francisco, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, San Jose CA: Micromuse, Cisco, Juniper, Ryze

March 2002: Pittsburgh, PA: CERT/CC
Feb 13-18, 2002: New Orleans, LA: Sunbelt

Jan 18-21, 2002: New York City

Blog rolodex

Nature abhors a vacuum. So does my cat.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

A tip for Opera users who regularly read a bunch of pages: create a bookmark folder with the links that you want to visit in it, and then when you want to open all of those pages up you can right-click and "open in background". It will start loading each page in the folder.

Reading the news then becomes as easy as looking at a page, following whatever links you want, then closing (ctl-F4) each page in turn. The other pages will have already been loaded.

Saturday, June 15, 2002

Cisco GSR line card feature and design matrix.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Ann Arbor library board vote very close -- incumbent lost by 3 votes. My voting strategy in a "vote 3 of 9" contest was to only pick the one candidate I wanted the most.

Inbox size (73 work + 63 home). That's what happens when you travel.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Lots more links today, you will notice. I have discovered that one way to clean out my inbox is to blog anything that's otherwise just lurking there waiting for unspecific later action.

(inbox size: 73 work + 33 home)

Google Labs clusters Borges's fictional taxonomy. (seen on socnet)

cheap thrills cuisine, syndicated culinary comic strip. (thanks jose).

The Toaster, a scultpture in toast. (seen on Boing Boing)

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

East is East, an essay on Western dualism and reductionism and how it colors all kinds of medical thinking. (from The Scientist)

Kids For Afghan Kids raises money at nine US elementary and middle schools to support a school in Afghanistan.

The Coffeepot Song. The URL includes the melody played as a MIDI file.

The song is recorded on Anne Dodson's album Almost Grown.

What I want is a proper cup of coffee,
Made in a proper copper coffee pot.
I may be off my dot,
But I want a cup of coffee from a proper coffee pot.
Iron coffee pots and tin coffee pots,
They're no use to me, so
If I can't have a proper cup of coffee
From a proper copper coffee pot, I'll have a cup of tea!"

M. E. J. Newman, Assortative Mixing in Networks. A network is said to show assortative mixing if the nodes in the network that have many connections tend to be connected to other nodes with many connections. We define a measure of assortative mixing for networks and use it to show that social networks are often assortatively mixed, but that technological and biological networks tend to be disassortative. We propose a model of an assortative network, which we study both analytically and numerically. Within the framework of this model we find that assortative networks tend to percolate more easily than their disassortative counterparts and that they are also more robust to vertex removal. (as seen on dynnet and econophysics).

Valverde, Sergi, Ramon Ferrer Cancho, and Ricard V. Sol. (2002). Scale-Free Networks from Optimal Design. SFI Working Paper 02-04-019. Evidence of small-world behavior and scale-free architecture in the design of large scale software projects.

Friday, May 24, 2002

Leaving it to the professionals: clearing away clutter is no substitute for keeping house. Having read and tried and subsequently utterly failed to keep any number of organizing schemes, it's good to at least have an overview of all of them so you can see what you're missing. I just made it to the bottom of the big pile of paper on my desk, and replaced it with a much smaller pile. (thanks Adina)

Experiment with every type of vacuum tube has convinced us of the superiority of RCA Radiotrons. From The Duke libraries Ad*Access collection of advertising from the 1911-1955. (thanks Mena).

Thursday, May 23, 2002

non-profit fundraising strategies: Raising More Money focuses on getting major contributions from individuals. (thanks jeff for pointing this out)

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Hear Here! is an outdoor sound show in the alleys of downtown Ann Arbor, using five funky spaces as venues for audio production spaces. I saw WUOM's Tamar Charney recording a segment on the installations in the alley next to the Michigan Theater. Produced by Art Pro Tem and Margaret Parker.

Carol Shields has a new novel coming out as well, Unless. This interview in the Guardian discusses her fight with cancer. Maria Russo in The New York Times Magazine writes Final Chapter, with a portrait of Shields as very ill but with asurprisingly upbeat tone. My favorite work of hers is Larry's Party which really deserves to be read out loud. (also noted in tripping).

Ellen Ullman has a new novel coming out, The Bug; read this interview in the SF Chronicle. (also noted on lot 49.)

Bellovin uses Key Ring software on his Palm to keep track of way too many passwords; look into that. (says the WSJ).

It's the end of asparagus season at the Ann Arbor farmer's market. There are flowers in abundance. Bought a tarragon plant to see if we can't get an herb garden going.

recipe: carrot/tarragon salad. Grate a few carrots into a bowl (use hand grater, not a food processor, since you want long shreds). For a dressing, use lemon juice, cider vinegar, olive oil, and mustard in a vinagrette. Sprinkle tarragon on top. It's nice with either a dijon mustard or a tarragon mustard.

tarragon of virtue is full.

Monday, May 13, 2002

Credit card theft thrives online in global market. (NY Times, registration required).

Game Theory Evolving is a textbook on game theory, which goes into some detail on homo economicus vs. homo reciprocans. By Herbert Gintis, a long-time collaborator of Samuel Bowles. (Thanks Adina Levin for the pointer).

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

Homo reciprocans can be used to model economic behavior where you need a uniform rational actor. The standard "homo economicus" (a hedonistic sociopath) takes advantage of everyone at the least opportunity; h. reciprocans starts out cooperating, tends to stay cooperative in the presence of others who cooperate, and is willing to retaliate against individuals who threaten the culture of cooperation. There's more, much more, at the home page of Samuel Bowles (U Mass Amherst / Santa Fe Institute).

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

Contagion in Human Networks, a study of the network structure of an outbreak of disease, as drawn by Valdis Krebs.

Sunday, May 05, 2002

Gigabit ethernet cards performance testing. Many details of gigabit ethernet manufacturers. Alteon AceNIC drivers for Linux from CERN. More Alteon work at Ohio State by Pete Wycoff.

Code Red still threatens net. From research done by my co-worker Dug Song at Arbor Networks.

Saturday, May 04, 2002

Andy Oram has an interesting piece on the Semantic Web. He argues that the real web of value is in the people who keep each other informed about what's going on, and that the usefulness of that web of interconnections far outweighs any mechanics of "semantics" applied to actual web links. (thanks Valdis)

Thursday, May 02, 2002

The Collaboration Network of Paul Erdos, as drawn by Valdis Krebs.

Monday, April 29, 2002

End to End Performance home page at Internet2.

End to End Performance weblog by George Brett.

TBIT is the TCP Behavior Inference Tool, Jitendra Padhye and Sally Floyd.

Ann Arbor, MI. Espresso Royale Caffe, Main St. Free use of iMac w/your coffee (they have 3; State St. has 6).

Went into ERC this morning with Saul for our usual Sunday coffee and bagel. Now that the students are starting to leave town the iMacs were empty, and when I sat down to use them the net was down. One power cycle later on the gateway and poof working Internet. (I got a free coffee for figuring that out.)

Good: they're running OS X, so this is a free way for me to try that operating system out before I commit to a new machine.

Bad: something about the ssh client they have doesn't work, it's trying to write to a write-protected directory. I guess I'll have to snag a different client.

Lovely: the Aqua interface has a close box that's tinted red, which is the obvious color.

Friday, April 26, 2002

San Jose Airport, Gate C6. Neptune Networks internet access terminal, $0.25/min, min $3 charge.

It's been a good trip to Bay Area , and I've seen people from U Cal Berkeley, Ultradevices, Micromuse, Juniper, Cisco, and Bookshare. Put 200 miles on a rental car driving from Oakland to San Jose via Berkeley, Albany, San Francisco, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, San Jose, Los Gatos, Palo Alto again, Sunnyvale again, and Santa Clara. Key technology on the way has been Kinko's -- at two different Kinko's I was able to plug in a laptop and send and read mail and browse the net no cost.

What I needed but didn't have: a good street-level map of the San Francisco and Oakland area. (I have a good Silicon Valley map).

Reading on the airplane: Wanderlust: A History of Walking. I didn't do as much walking as I would have liked to, perhaps next time.

Hard to find: stamp machines selling postcard stamps. Next time, I'll take along more stamps and a more appropriate set of cards.

Thanks to Mike and Vic, Eliot, Glee and Barb for putting me up for the night!

Thursday, April 18, 2002

Daffodils are out here in Ann Arbor, and the forsythia is in bloom. It's going to be a short season for tulips because the weather has recently been so warm.

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Local Search in Unstructured Networks (Huberman, Lukose, Adamic )
We review a number of message-passing algorithms that can be used to search through power-law networks. Most of these algorithms are meant to be improvements for peer-to-peer file sharing systems, and some may also shed some light on how unstructured social networks with certain topologies might function relatively efficiently with local information. Like the networks that they are designed for, these algorithms are completely decentralized, and they exploit the power-law link distribution in the node degree. We demonstrate that some of these search algorithms can work well on real Gnutella networks, scale sub-linearly with the number of nodes, and may help reduce the network search traffic that tends to cripple such networks.
thanks Valdis

Saturday, April 06, 2002

Paul Holbrook has a new weblog running using Radio Userland. I've known Paul since our days at CICnet together, where we wrangled Gopher servers. We share interests in communications technologies powerful enough that people are motivated to write manifestoes about them.

Sunday, March 24, 2002

First international workshop on peer to peer systems.

Thursday, March 21, 2002

Cornelissen Sketch Book , a lovely bound book with good sketch paper suitable as a portable watercolor book. (thanks geORge) (Google it!)

Monday, March 18, 2002

Kartoo is a meta-search engine with a very intriguing map-based user interface. (Flash available, but not required) (Many thanks, since this has been passed on a number of times: Nathaniel, cpsr-activists, Barrapunto) (Google it!) (Kartoo it!)

Thursday, March 14, 2002

Linus Pauling's research notebooks are available online at the Oregon State University Library. ( Google Me!)

Modeling the Internet's Large Scale Topology , by S.-H. Yook, H. Jeong and A.-L. Barabasi:

By combining the most extensive data on the time evolution, topology and physical layout of the Internet, we identify the universal mechanisms that shape the Internet's router and autonomous system level topology. We find that the physical layout of nodes form a fractal set, determined by population density patterns around the globe. The placement of links is driven by competition between preferential attachment and linear distance dependence, a marked departure from the currently employed exponential laws.

(thanks Laszlo) ( Google Me!)

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Dachb0den's bsd-airtools provides a complete set of BSD tools for wireless 802.11b auditing. Included is a curses-based "dstumbler" similar to NetStumbler. (thanks Aaron) ( Google Me!)

XML-RPC filtering pipe is plumbing so that you can filter data through web applications. An example given is running some text against a Wiki database and returning the same text, but with links added. I still have to chew this around in my head a little to make sense of it, but it sounds quite powerful as more XML-RPC applications come on line. (thanks Les) ( Google Me!)

Silicon Valley Network Analysis Project is a study of social and business networks, with Mark Granovetter the principal investigator. The site includes a PDF of a chapter from the book Silicon Valley Edge. (thanks Bill Seitz) ( Google Me!)

TouchGraph is a visualizer for a network of information nodes. The Compendium Development site uses it for its site map. Requires Java. (thanks geORge) (Google Me!)

Inet Topology Generator creates networks that simulate the connectivity of the Internet at the AS level. (thanks Valdis) ( Google Me!)

Some changes coming down the road on the weblog to be aware of.

First is there is still a plan to switch to Movable Type as part of a blog relaunch. There will be tidy graphics and a much more polished look. (Google Me!)

Next, as you can see from the entries here there are generally "Google Me!" links at the end. These are calculated as best I can to put a link to the page I'm referring to at or near the top of the Google hit list. When it doesn't work out quite that way I sometimes tweak. It will be easier once MT is in place since I'm planning to use the "title" field as my search field. ( Google Me, recursively)

Finally, I'm going to slowly start to link to people's Ryze pages in my acknowledgements instead of to their weblogs. (That adds at most an extra click.) Many people have their pictures up in Ryze (e.g. me with Saul) which should add a bit of humanity to the whole equation. We'll see how that experiment goes, it should redirect traffic in an interesting way. (thanks Adrian) (Google Me!) (comments?)

Tuesday, March 12, 2002

Tinderbox review by Doug Miller (he likes it, a lot). (thanks Bill Seitz) (Google Me!)

Monday, March 11, 2002

Gossip- Recent empirical and theoretical work suggests that reputation was an important mediator of access to resources in ancestral human environments. Reputations were built and maintained by the collection, analysis, and dissemination of information about the actions and capabilities of group members-that is, by gossiping. (as seen on DYNNET) (Google Me!)

Zipf's Law describes the relative frequency of events or the size of organizations in many systems. (thanks Jerry) (Google Me!)

Saturday, March 09, 2002

Jane Jacobs interview by Tom Peters. (or should that be tom! peters!)

Architecture Magazine also has an interview, in which Jane says:

Q. You're 83; do you have another book in you?
A. I don't know. My policy in life is to do what I want, and I don't know yet what I want to do next.
( Google Me!)

moleskine notebook. Thanks Lindsay, for pointing it out; and Mike Lee, for linking to Kate's Paperie in NYC for a US source.

It's very much worthwhile looking at Mike's site -- some gorgeous photography, and a very good eye for information architecture and design. He's not updating frequently at the moment but the archives are well worth reading through. Recommended!

( Google Me!)

Friday, March 08, 2002

PiCoMap is a comprehensive program for secondary education that allows students to create, share, and explore concept maps on their Palm OS. This program allows its users to create a center node and relate multiple nodes to create elaborate concept maps. (no, I haven't tried it yet myself) (thanks Lou, no he hasn't tried it yet either) (Google Me!)

Hipbone Games are played on the map of a network. Players in turn play ideas on the nodes of the network, and score points for making links between adjacent nodes. It can be played for fun (though the examples given are all pretty egg-headed) or as a group problem-solving exercise.

(thanks geORge) (Google me!)

Saturday, March 02, 2002

Attack vulnerability of complex networks Petter Holme, Beom Jun Kim, Chang No Yoon, Seung Kee Han To appear in Phys. Rev. E

We study the response of complex networks subject to attacks on vertices and edges. Several existing complex network models as well as real-world networks of scientific collaborations and Internet traffic are numerically investigated, and the network performance is quantitatively measured by the average inverse geodesic length and the size of the largest connected subgraph.

Georg Simmel, The Metropolis and Mental Life.

The smaller the circle which forms our milieu is, and the more restricted those relations to others are which dissolve the boundaries of the individual, the more anxiously the circle guards the achievements, the conduct of life, and the outlook of the individual, and the more readily a quantitative and qualitative specialization would break up the framework of the whole little circle.

The Stranger, also by Simmel:

The stranger is thus being discussed here, not in the sense often touched upon in the past, as the wanderer who comes today and goes tomorrow, but rather as the person who comes today and stays to morrow. He is, so to speak, the potential wanderer: although he has not moved on, he has not quite overcome the freedom of coming and going. He is fixed within a particular spatial group, or within a group whose boundaries are similar to spatial boundaries. But his position in this group is determined, essentially, by the fact that he has not belonged to it from the beginning, that he imports qualities into it, which do not and cannot stem from the group itself.

Renaissance Florence and the birth of financial capitalism, as seen through the research of John Padgett (U Chicago). (as seen at Sunbelt).

Thursday, February 28, 2002

"Key Word" Auctions use Internet to sell drugs. An account of a combination of IM, eBay, and Paypal used to transform an auction for a Bee Gees LP into a marijuana deal. The International Narcotics Control Board (a UN agency) warns of "new challenges In drug law enforcement from globalization and new technologies".

Tuesday, February 26, 2002

The Graph Visualization Project is the home of graphviz, tools for layout of directed and undirected graphs. Here you find "dot", "dotty" and "neato". (thanks Albert)

Packet Geography 2002 ($1995, cheap) gives a thorough treatment of world-wide Internet capacity, with a breakdown by region, country, city, provider and exchange point. A report on NANOG lists New York City as the most central node (as measured by maximum number of interregional connections -- 71 countries are connected). (thanks Chip)

Monday, February 25, 2002

Dan Bernstein has a proposal for building a special purpose computer with circuits for integer factorization. By doing so he proposes to reduce the cost of factoring (important for the security of cryptographic algorithms) substantially, such that a machine capable of factoring a difficult 1536 bit integer could be built at reasonable cost. If you believe this result, as some on the list do, then it's time to pick longer keys. (thanks Perry for moderating the list)

Friday, February 22, 2002

I'm looking at this screen, thinking of something to write, and deciding that I'd rather put ink to paper. instead.
Quadrille rocks. Mead Composition notebooks w/ marbled covers rock, and rock all the harder when on sale.
(thanks J. Martinez).

Thursday, February 21, 2002

SemANTICS, Peter Morville's regular column, features a discussion of social network analysis, complete with a nice clickable map of what he's thinking about and how he got there.

Monday, February 18, 2002

The New Cleanness - a review of the history of UK vacuum cleaners. Part of a broader historical collection of domestic appliances called "Simply Switch On".

Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Sunbelt conference on social network analysis is in New Orleans this year -- look for a few blog entries from there if I do have web access.

Tinderbox is a forthcoming (Mac only?) hypertext authoring and weblog editing system from the venerable Eastgate Systems. I don't have a Mac in front of my fingers now, but this looks like an interesting enough application to find a place to run it if only to get an idea of what it does. (thanks Lou).

Monday, February 11, 2002

" is dedicated to studying the geographic aspects of complex networks and what impacts they have on economics, policy and business. The world is globalizing at an astounding rate and networks keeping the world connected are fundamental. Understanding the complex economic, information, transport, and telecommunication networks that keep a new globalized world connected is vital." (thanks Valdis.) [note that the link is down; there's a different site covering the same material more or less from a commercial point of view, which has been around a lot longer; I suspect a name collision & will try to restore the original links. emv 2/26/02]

Sunday, February 10, 2002

Ryze is an interesting online community with a real-world grounding in San Francisco. After you register, sign my guest book. (thanks Glee, Adrian).

NameBase has an index (incomplete, but interesting) of several hundred investigative reports and intelligence sources, plus a social network map showing how individuals in the collection are related. (thanks Miko).

The Stuffed Inn on Euclid in Berkeley, a presentation by Vivien Petras from a class by Warren Sack on "Social Information Spaces". Good work Vivien.

Pattern for today is Street Windows (164). I moved my writing desk at home to be right in front of the window, and from there it much more closely approximates the writing environment of the favorite coffee shop (Southside Cafe, with its picture window view of State and Packard). Still to do is the nontrivial project to get a new window at home that opens properly to the street.

The best blog entries are a mix of What's New, Who's Who and How are you? They are pithy, evocative, and easy to scroll past on slow days.

Friday, February 08, 2002

WCBN, U of Michigan campus radio, has great programming on Thursday nights. Just got done listening to Crush Collision (techno), now there's some ambient show on.

High on the books wanted list: Christopher Alexander. The Nature of Order. Some details about this monumental work are at the web site of Nikos A. Salingaros, Alexander's editor for the series. "Alexander develops a comprehensive theory of how matter comes together to form coherent structures. Paralleling, but not copying, recent results from complexity theory, he argues that the same laws apply to all structures in the universe; from atoms, to crystals, to living forms, to galaxies. " (Thanks Jason for making me look this up.)

Thursday, February 07, 2002

WNYC radio show on emergence features Jane Jacobs, Brian Eno. Cool! (Thanks Matt via Lou.)

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

See SMaL Camera for a small (credit card size and quite thin) digital camera. No LCD display to see what pictures you just took, but way less bulky than any other camera I've ever seen. (Thanks to Ken Latta for the pointer.)

Thursday, January 24, 2002

Too many notes to post here after a weekend in New York City with friends. As an introvert among extroverts I found myself quiet more of the time than I would have liked.

The best part of the weekend was a book exchange; the next time I gather a set of friends together I'll add a book to the price of admission. The host gathers a collection of books donated one per each guest, distributes them after they have been on display, and each person who gives away their book in turn talks about it. I'm putting the list into bookapp. (thanks Jerry for organizing.)

Thursday, January 17, 2002

Ami Dar at Idealist has a design for a worldwide network of drop-in "Help Centers" where volunteers would organize community assistance to local problems and issues. It's intriguing -- there's going to be a series of local meetings on 5 Feb. & if anyone in Ann Arbor or the area is at all interested in a gathering on that general theme I'm game. (thanks Ami, Jerry.)

Sandia is looking to simulate critical infrastructure looking for interdependencies. " Although there are numerous models of individual infrastructure elements (e.g. telecommunications, transportation, electrical power systems) that can be used to predict the consequences of potential disruptions within an individual infrastructure element, there are currently no models available of the complex interdependencies that exist among the individual infrastructure elements." (thanks Valdis.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Computerworld reports that some airlines are using wireless LANs with no encryption for baggage matching and curbside check-in applications. These insecure wireless networks could put flight operations systems at risk. (thanks SANS)

NoCat is a community wireless network in Sonoma County, CA. They have authentication code for controlling shared internet access plus a good collection of antenna and other resource links. (thanks pb and nate.)

Friday, January 11, 2002

U of Michigan ITD wireless network standards and plans for their 802.11b campus deployment.

Wireless Resources Inc. in Troy, MI, did the site engineering for the wireless network at Western Michigan University. (Thanks Eric, Joe.)

A review of the Handspring / Xircom wireless combination as a remote systems administration tool. (thanks Glenn).

Bernard Aboba's unofficial 802.11 security page discusses standards and industry efforts to protect wireless networks.

Thursday, January 10, 2002

Maps of public wireless infrastructure. This is part of the infrastructure for a (server not up yet) state-wide project to build public access wireless infrastructure in Michigan.

Excellent article on the vulnerability of complex networks. (thanks Valdis).

Wednesday, January 09, 2002

This weblog will be moving to Moveable Type soon. (thanks Lou, Rich, Myra.)

Tuesday, January 08, 2002

Salon has a story on the folks who saved the 1981-1991 Usenet archives. thanks Prentiss.

Sunday, January 06, 2002

The response from "Haasch, Harry S"

Subject: RE: Comcast woes

Thank you for your comments. Although cities have no regulatory authority over ISP service - whether delivered from Comcast, AOL MSN etc. - certain universal provisions of the existing cable ordinance seem to cover our ability to require credits for lost service - we're interpreting this to include HSD as well as cable/video.

I am negotiation credits for many HSD subs - please give me an accurate time frame in which your HSD connectivity has been out and I can arrange for pro-rated credit to your account.

Sent to the Ann Arbor News and the city cable commissior, Hap Haasch:

The city's Office of Cable Communications needs to go to bat for city Internet users who have struck out in their own efforts to get Comcast to provide reliable basic Internet service through their cable monopoly. A careful review of the city's cable franchise agreement should provide for compensation for people who have had service interruptions; if not, then this language should go into the next franchise agreement. Individuals and small business owners who depend on their net access as much as they do their phone service deserve much better than this.

Wednesday, January 02, 2002

New bookshelf photo shows what's been on top of my bookpile in the last couple of weeks.

Set some priorities and make some resolutions for the new year. Re-arrange this site so that it looks like it's actually been designed and not just mish-moshed together. I'll be getting some help. The working goal is to make the whole thing look a lot more like the paper notebooks that I keep. Integrate my mailing list more neatly with the weblog. At the moment the e-mail group gets the bulk of the attention, since I know that when I sent mail to it I will get replies even from people who never browse the web. If I can get those two done, and even a modestly regular publishing schedule, I'll be happy.

Monday, October 01, 2001

The University of Michigan Business School has put together a collection of essays called Leading in Trying Times, with ideas and reflections on organizations coping with the 9/11 crisis and also more generally on dealing with exceptional events.

Thursday, September 13, 2001

How do you live your life so that it's back to normal, when you know that things are never going to be normal the same way again? Just sent out a new issue of Vacuum after a too-long hiatus. Tuesday was an all-day marathon of reading the news on the net and on the radio and making phone calls to family. Next step is to reconnect more broadly and see what all has been disrupted and what I might do to help out.

Thursday, September 06, 2001

Managed to get Opera running under OpenBSD. Man, it's a pain to switch your desktop software; all the stuff that you used to count on suddenly disappears.

Sunday, August 26, 2001

This is being posted through Parabola, let's see what it looks like.

Friday, August 24, 2001

It's time to do a reorg on this page, too! I'm getting tired of it not looking like a real weblog anymore, with all kinds of partially dysfunctional links at the top where they don't belong and no proper sidebar.

Cisco announced a reorg today -- "stirred, not shaken" was one comment I heard.

Pushed Saul around town today. Amazing what having an (almost) 1 year old does to people's faces -- lots of people talking silly baby talk in otherwise sedate or intense office environments.

Wednesday, August 22, 2001

let's see, new technology in my life. Plus one or two projects not ready to mention just yet. Having fun yet? Lots of work to be done.

aha. ok, after a long time away this is sort of kind of working again. the hazards of using goofy browsers, I guess. (by goofy, I mean not Microsoft). I'm making the transition to using OpenBSD as a desktop. Not as many applications as I'm used to, but lots of good plain old reliable Unix. It's going to be a bit of an adjustment.

Sunday, August 19, 2001

blogBuddy is a convenient little Windows application that lets you post to Blogger weblogs. It's written using the new xml-rpc interface to Blogger. xml-rpc is a very useful approach to programmatically gluing things together on the net; Dave Winer has a site up at that gives all the necessary details. "Simple cross-platform distributed computing, based on the standards of the Internet".

Friday, August 03, 2001

opera...tap tap tap testing.

Tuesday, July 24, 2001 "We have developed a set of generalization techniques specifically designed to improve route map usability. Our techniques are based on cognitive psychology research which has shown that an effective route map must clearly communicate all the turning points on the route, and that precisely depicting the exact length, angle, and shape of each road is much less important. We consider how these techniques are applied in handdrawn maps and show that by carefully distorting road lengths and angles and simplifying road shape, it is possible to clearly and concisely present all the turning points along the route." from netclips via socnet via rich persaud at

Sunday, June 24, 2001

A new toy (for Father's Day) is a pedometer. My goal at the moment is to log 10,000 steps per day. This week so far 92,837, so I'm ahead of schedule. Glad I don't have to count them one at a time! I was inspired by this ultra-high-tech sportbrain, though the one I have is at least as nifty, gives immediate feedback instead of delayed, and tracks a whole week. It's the "Freestyle Weekly Pedometer" from Freestyle USA. Thanks for the neat gift Saul!

I've started using the Opera browser instead of IE or Netscape. So far that's been real nice, though a few sites (like blogger) have HTML quirks that Opera doesn't quite do right yet. There's a discussion going on opera.general about it, if you take a look there you'll see more details.

Monday, May 21, 2001

So, thinking about information foraging. My usual foraging style is to subscribe to a bunch of mailing lists that have interesting people on them who can be counted on to forward selections from random parts of the net. This means I get news second or third hand but it tends to be juicy bits. I've mostly given up on the high volume lists and Usenet newsgroups that I used to deal with, just because there's not the time to spend 1 hour a day looking for 10 interesting e-mails. The other foraging style is to start from something interesting and hit Google until I find something related, pursue that a bit, go forward and back a few times until I get lost or something really good turns up. Google's a pretty good place to start surfing from. The secret advantage I have is an 8,000+ node "Brain" with bookmarks, personal contacts, ideas, relationships, chronologies of events, etc that I've developed with software from TheBrain Technologies Corp. (formerly Natrificial). I don't use it every single day but it's o-so-handy for filing away scraps of knowledge in a reusable format. I've thought that a good consulting gig now that I have a bit of spare time is to sit down with people and spend an hour with them teaching them how to use the Brain & interviewing them to ask a bunch of questions whose answers fit in their Brains. Hopefully that creates a bunch more questions.

Saturday, April 28, 2001

KNETUS has interesting looking group collaboration technology (and a very cool network map applet on the front page). thanks Valdis.

Stuart Card et al of Xerox PARC on information scent. An information foraging project page. Updates the models of user interaction with computer systems past the old GOMS model which assumed a fixed task and a finite search space for things to do. (One more of my college classes rendered obsolete.) Information foraging can be of the "sit and wait" model (you get a stack of magazines in the mail, clip them, and then look at what is there), the "widely foraging" model (you get out and around and hunt for information), or somewhere between. (oh, and a note - if you see good papers with pdf's submit them to researchindex so they get cataloged.) thanks peterme

Friday, April 27, 2001

Michigan unemployment claims. Apparently as a condition of your unemployment you have to post your resume on a state-run web site. Max benefits $300/week.

Wednesday, April 25, 2001

Chris Locke's Titanic Deck Chair Rearrangement Corporation and quotes from his new book "Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices". Of particular interest in the intro is a quote from Claude Levi-Strauss about bricolage, collecting odd bits of stuff that may potentially be useful and then using whatever bits seem to work in the context of a later job. Oh, and I got laid off on Monday from Cisco Systems, along with 8,500 other people. Wish me luck in whatever I do next.

Tuesday, April 24, 2001

Dan Gillmor: Michigan aims to own biotech "ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The race is on to create an economic engine for the early 21st century that matches information technology's contribution to the late 20th. Some of the smart money is betting on the emerging field of ``life sciences'' -- biotechnology, medicine and related studies of living things."

Monday, April 23, 2001

Ann Arbor Pioneer HS Biology Club has pictures and links for the prairie by the high school. Jan Wolter has some notes from the 1996 burn of Furstenburg Park near Huron HS. There are several other parks that have had burns, most notably the Dow Prairie in the Arboretum; a study of burn frequency and timing is going on through the U of Michigan School of Natural Resources and the Environment. Needless to say a lot of firebugs around town are happy with the whole thing.

George Brett has started a blog - see his infoark. Recent link is to a page on storytelling with stories from John Seely Brown and Larry Prusak. (and apologies if you don't know who those people are...I'm trying to work out all the connections myself. But the stories are really interesting.)

Monday, April 16, 2001

Blogger and Trellix get together. Cool beans.

Doug Cowherd writes: "Even for those of us without a park for a neighbor, nature can be as close as your back yard. The Sierra Club meeting on Tuesday (4/17) will feature a presentation titled "Bringing the Prairie Home: Residential Native Landscapes." David Mindell will explain how you can turn your yard into a natural ecosystem that looks great and is easy to maintain. Sierra Club events information: 734-480-7751 or a link to the Ann Arbor group.

I'm beginning a slow process of moving the weblog over to which is my new home base for web operations. It's nice going back to old familiar Unix e-mail tools (Pine rocks compared to Yahoo mail) and to go back to community supported Unix vs. commercialized blah.

No plans to change the weblog contents, no plans to change the egroups based mailing lists.

I've started a new mailing list, this one unmoderated, for like-minded folks -- see vacuumers for details. The only list protocol is that when anyone joins they get a proper introduction to the rest of the people on the list, so that over the course of time people who would not otherwise know each other can get introduced.

Friday, April 13, 2001

The Ann Arbor Ecology Center has a program to reduce toxic materials in automobile production, in particular mercury. A simple process removes mercury switches and replaces them with ball-bearing switches, so that rather than going up in smoke at a automobile scrapping plant the mercury can be safely contained.
The Ecology Center's EcoRide fundraiser is coming up soon (June 3, 2001).

Friday, March 23, 2001

From: Lada A. Adamic Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2001 23:46:53 GMT (109kb) Search in Power-Law Networks Authors: L. A. Adamic (1), R. M. Lukose (2), A. R. Puniyani (1), B. A. Huberman (2) ((1) Stanford University, (2) HP Sand Hill Labs, Palo Alto, CA) Comments: 17 pages, 14 figures Subj-class: Networking and Internet Architecture; Performance; Disordered Systems and Neural Networks; Statistical Mechanics ACM-class: C.2.1 Many communication and social networks have power-law link distributions, containing a few nodes which have a very high degree and many with low degree. The high connectivity nodes play the important role of hubs in communication and networking, a fact which can be exploited when designing efficient search algorithms. We introduce a number of local search strategies which utilize high degree nodes in power-law graphs and which have costs which scale sub-linearly with the size of the graph. We also demonstrate the utility of these strategies on the Gnutella peer-to-peer network.

Thursday, March 01, 2001

Brave Combo has a new children's album out called "All Wound Up!". Nothing like a little polka to calm down a fussy baby.

Wednesday, February 07, 2001

Note to self: pick the workplace which has the best sunlight.

Prentiss Riddle has an Austin, TX - homed blog going now.

Wednesday, January 31, 2001

todo: add blogvoices. done. elapsed time: 16 minutes.

Saturday, January 27, 2001

James Lileks has a new book coming out - The Gallery of Regrettable Food. (It's based on something he did on his web site of the same name.) thanks Dinah; brought to you by Chris Isaak, You Owe Me Some Kind of Love. (on his eponymous CD (amazon) - I love that word eponymous - and on

Friday, January 26, 2001

Hard to write about some (possibly very interesting) changes going on at the moment in any sort of public place, so I'm going to be making some phone calls to friends to talk about it first before doing anything hasty. (Brought to you by James Taylor singing Hard Times Come Again No More on the album Appalachian Journey.)

Thursday, January 25, 2001

Anil Dash unearthed a way to link to Napster from inside IE. The search syntax is nap:search?artist=artname&title=word+word+word. This link brought to you by a favorite band Brave Combo, especially their polka rendition of Purple Haze. (Original credit to; doesn't work in Netscape.)

Sunday, January 21, 2001

Gen Kanai has a lovely story about the Vietnamese beef noodle soup pho on his weblog.

I have an unread email backlog numbering in the hundreds. In the face of that, is there any reasonable strategy for going through it? It's immensely unsatisfying to hit the delete button over and over again, and it hardly seems like it's worth the time. It's much more satisfying to take the first message that looks important enough to look at, answer it or blog it or research it to its logical end following all possible side paths and links, and then when it gets deleted it's really done with and there's lots of trail left behind next time should that be of interest again.

Saturday, January 20, 2001

Maria Kalaniemi & Aldargaz "Ahma" is due out in the stores this coming week (23 Jan 2001) on NorthSide Records. Finnish accordion music! Listen to a sample cut Kamppi (MP3). NorthSide has a new weblog with news as they have it of releases, tour dates, and media appearances.

Monday, January 08, 2001

Freeway exits and signs for Michigan and bits of Ontario, New York, and West Virginia. From someone who obviously drives a lot.

Sunday, January 07, 2001

Reviews of the NBC series The West Wing by an ex White House staffer. This is the only broadcast TV I watch all week.

The vegetarian recipe weblog is up. Curiously, a google search for that phrase turns up no other results. More's the pity.

Trip to the food co-op today. Still memorizing things, now trying to memorize the PLUs on the bulk foods so that when I get an otherwise unmarked bag that has 190 marked on it that I know it's cornmeal. With a little more luck and effort I will try to memorize prices too for better comparison shopping between places. (Yes, you should be able to tell that it's cornmeal just by looking.) Recipe last night that was worth making again: squash cornbread. Here's one recipe from Kitchen Gardener that's already online; when I get to the Bloodroot cookbook I'll make notes on what I actually did. I finally gave up on Netscape 4.5 because I was tired of it crashing. At the moment I'm using an old-ish IE that came with some other software. I would feel more like a traitor if AOL didn't own Netscape.

Friday, January 05, 2001

Welcome to the new year. It's been a busy couple of months as you might have guessed from the lack of entries in the old weblog. (It's hard to hold a squirming four month old and type at the same time.) A lovely looking periodic table of the elements with an aid to memorization. Sounds are associated with numbers - "S" or "Z" is 0, "D" is 1, so "Day" is the number one, "Daze" the number 10, "Daisies" the number 100. Attach those to elements and somehow figure out what can be linked to what else in your mind. I've been trying to memorize bus numbers that I take into town - bus 382 is M-F-N or "muffin". Trying to keep the brain happy when it's on idle. See Tony Buzan's Use Your Perfect Memory (from or Amazon) for an explanation of the system -- there are too many words to type in right now.

Tuesday, October 31, 2000

A business bookseller with some interesting reviews is 1-800-CEO-READ. (Thanks to Wayne Baker for the pointer.)

Sunday, October 29, 2000

Ev's bookshelves, from the pictures-of-bookshelves series. One title that jumped out at me was Bhide's Origin and Evolution of New Businesses, which Arnold Kling reviews on Amazon nicely and which he comments on in "Life After the Dumb Buyer's Death".

Monday, October 23, 2000

Tom Peters interviews David Maister.

Thursday, October 12, 2000

The beta version of blogger has a new comments feature - testing it out right now. There's a good discussion of it on evhead, Evan Williams's personal blog. Very cool, reminds me of Confer. Please sign in!

Wednesday, September 27, 2000

This looks like a combination of Boggle and the Rubik's Cube:

Monday, September 25, 2000

First day back at work after a couple weeks time off taking care of baby. Getting tasks done efficiently (as opposed to tracking down things that might be interesting, at great expense of time) seems most important. "You lack the season of all natures, sleep." Lady MacBeth

Monday, September 18, 2000

Paul Holbrook writes: "Taking a picture of your bookshelf was a stroke of genius. I love to look at the bookshelves of others; it's a facinating glimpse into the lives of another."

Chris Locke says (on his Rageboy weblog): "Make direct visual contact with Ed Vielmetti's private library. Zoom three layers deep. Pretty neat. Leave a message if you dig it, and do say RB sent you."

Please welcome my new baby son Saul Marshall Vielmetti into the world, born 7 Sept 2000.

Thursday, September 14, 2000

I've put a bunch of digital photos of my bookshelveson line, so you can see what I'm reading. [photo server temporarily down]

Tuesday, September 05, 2000

Using Blogger inside Cisco

We've got a beta version of Enterprise Blogger running inside of Cisco. It's mighty handy to have the same tools that you use regularly to think and communicate with available inside the organization for subjects that are a bit too sensitive for posting to a public web site.

So far the uses of the system have been overwhelmingly ordinary - project groups posting meeting minutes to a blog instead of to a mailing list so there's a readily accessable archive, and a few brave souls experimenting with the medium. There's more potential than has yet to have been exercised, and I'm actively trying to figure out which pieces of the internal net (which has tens of thousands of mailing lists already) are most ripe for being Bloggerized.

Friday, August 11, 2000

Readings on Assistive Media. Assistive Media is out with its August, 2000 edition. Readings include Malcolm Gladwell (author of The Tipping Point) on "The Physical Genius", Adam Gopnick (author of From Paris to the Moon) on "Metamoney", and Bill Joy (BSD, vi, Java) on "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us". David Erdody is the director and founder of this non-profit that does readings for the visually impaired; my partner Deborah Fisch does a bunch of the readings (hear what she sounds like! she's really good!); and I'm on the board. Good stuff and an interesting selection from magazines like the New Yorker, Harper's, Wired and the Atlantic Monthly.

Rageboy's RageBlog Chris Locke has been stirring up trouble and speaking his mind for years. The Clue Train manifesto ("People of earth ...") and book is part his doing. Next project and book is on Gonzo Marketing - look for a Harvard Business Review article this fall. Anyway, he has a new weblog running which captures some sense of running commentary of what he's up to or looking at. (To give you some idea of what Chris is like to talk to, just consider for a moment that the person who handles his speaking engagements used to manage Hunter S. Thompson).

Surrey Stick Figure of Death (Grim) fun with animated GIFs. Always worth a look. Arrives every Tuesday. From David Thorpe.

Tuesday, August 08, 2000, buy for half....sell for half So, I admit it, I'm a junkie. There's a stack of books on my to-read list, and a whole ton of music that I want to spin. And one good way to pick it up in good condition cheap without having it all happen at once is to look for things on and wait patiently until one of the many things you're looking for shows up. doesn't let you annotate your wish list (more's the pity) and it doesn't let you share your wish list with other like Amazon does. But cheap! Everything's half price or less. You do rely on the goodness of strangers to mail what they promise to mail on time and in good condition, but unlike eBay there's not very much incentive to rip people off since the sums involved on a typical CD purchase are so low. (eBay recently bought so there's starting to be a bit of integration between the two sites.)

net music and video It's so amazingly cool to have real music playing out from the speakers of your computer coming at you from somewhere far away on the net. I just happened to stumble into Ali Farka Toure playing live at Chataqua on GoGaGa World. That's a keeper, come back to that one later. Obligatory Napster comment: I haven't actually seen it run live, amazingly enough, because of being busy and behind a firewall for most of my net access. The music I really like is pretty obscure, and I seem to be content in snagging it inexpensively from places like or borrowing discs from the Ann Arbor District Library. It's useful to have cover art to help you remember what you like and to browse. I remember being immensely frustrated years ago knowing that it was certainly possible to transmit tunes and voice over Internet connections but not having the right speed connections to take advantage of that knowlege. People take it for granted these days (which is a good thing). What's next? Certainly it's possible to shovel video around, but what you get on your typical $20-$40/mo consumer grade Internet connection isn't yet up to replacing your cable TV or your VCR or DVD. Yet. Besides, you can run music in the background and still get work done while it's much harder (for us old folks) to multitask watching video and typing at the same time.

Monday, August 07, 2000

Enterprise Blogger We've started using a beta test "Enterprise Blogger" inside of Cisco. (No, the link won't work unless you're on the intranet.) Blogger in its enterprise form promises to be real useful for all of the content that you might want to blog but that never should ever escape the innards of the company in its raw form. As best I can I'm going to chronicle the results of that trial (here and elsewhere) so that I can remember what it is like at various stages along the way to see the world through a different set of eyes.

small wins So, I'm tired of just doing cut-and-paste of stuff from other sites into this weblog. Time to actually type some on my own. I'm intrigued of late by the notion of "small wins". This is prompted by reading Wayne Baker's latest book on social networks in which he quotes Karl Weick. Rather than try to solve big problems all at once, you attack them by making progress on a series of smaller more attainable goals. This keeps morale up and shows you that you're really getting somewhere, even if on the grand scale it doesn't register yet.

A small win is a concrete, complete outcome of moderate importance. By itself, one small win may seem unimportant. A series of small wins at small but significant tasks, however, reveals a pattern that may attract allies, deter opponents, and lower resistance to subsequent proposals. A series of small wins is also more structurally sound than a large win because small wins are stable building blocks. Small wins are controllable opportunities that produce visible results. Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion that favor another small win. When a solution is put into place, the next solvable problem often becomes more visible. Additional resources flow toward winners, which means that slightly larger wins can be attempted.
Thus, rather than think about how hard it would be to produce a book of 80,000 words all in one sitting, it gets a lot easier to think how easy it would be to produce 400 words per day (on a topic of your choice naturally) for 200 days over the course of a year. I can bat out 100 words without thinking about it to answer an email message a dozen times a day. So capturing 80,000 words is simply a matter of doing that in some sensible order and not getting sidetracked by the need for everything to make 100% sense at the very beginning.

Earlier log entries in the previous log.

15 May 1999 and earlier

See weblog 0001 for earlier entries.

Notes afterwards

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