With our guy way up in the polls, and less than two weeks to go, it's starting to feel pretty real right about now. Most Americans seem to understand how important this election is.
As usual there's 40 percent who are sure to vote one way and 40 percent who are sure to vote the other, and the decision will be made by the 20 percent who could go either way.
Me, I'm in the 20 percent. Sometimes I vote Republican, sometimes Democratic. About half the time I vote for the winner and half the time I vote for the loser. I'm no Missouri or Ohio, I'm far from a bellweather, more like a coin flip. So if you support Obama, don't take any comfort in the fact that I do too.
Now the campaigns start to focus on making sure their supporters actually go to the polls. If they do, it seems our guy is a shoe-in. But there's a nagging doubt in everyone who's voting for Obama, remembering the Gore-Bush election and Florida, where thousands of votes were "supressed" which is a fancy word for "thrown in the trash."
Sad fact: If the Republicans hadn't been so good at throwing out Democratic votes, Gore would have won Florida and would have won the election.
In 2000 our democracy walked up to the abyss and barely came back. I can't watch this election unravel over corruption, not this time. And not while there's still time to do something about it.
I'm just beginning to understand what's being done to prevent voter suppression. Apparently there's a huge effort here in California to organize lawyers to make them available to people across the country. If you've been asked to accept a provisional ballot (someone is challenging your right to vote), these people will help. I barely understand what's being done. But I'm going to find out what we can do if we feel we are being disenfranchised.
Salon: Where the GOP could get dirty.
I will have a hard time accepting McCain as President, should he win. But if he does, there must not be the slightest chance that the election was won fraudulently. That would not put us in a very good place here in the US and around the world.
The Hill: Police prepare for unrest.
This is my next drop-everything project.
I'll be running software there soon, Murphy-willing.
Mary Jo says Amazon is releasing this stuff today in anticipation of something similar from Microsoft next week.
I just took a look at the docs for setting up Windows in EC2 and geez, it's got a lot of weird hoops to jump through. I don't see why getting started has to be any more complicated than setting up a new Windows machine, which believe me, I have plenty of experience with. Then if I want to do more fancy stuff later, I can learn how to do it later. It seems like all the arcane stuff has to be addressed up front.
Command-line tools? Really? Oh please help. I haven't used a command line since I left MS-DOS in the early 90s.
Maybe Elasticfox circumvents all the command line stuff? I'll give it a look.
I've had mucho success getting Elasticfox set up. Not really sure what it's doing, but it sounds like it's doing the same thing as the command line tools but with a browser-based GUI which is what I'm kind of used to (I use the S3 Organizer Firefox tool to do interactive management of my S3 storage). Elasticfox is similar in approach to that.
Feedback to anyone at Amazon who's listening -- your docs tell you too much if all you want to do is get started. You should get the user to a Remote Desktop Connection window of a functioning server asap. I'm working through the Elasticfox docs, and they're telling me so much more than I need to know (even though this time I understand it cause it's in terms that I understand). Also I think you should steer people to this tool up front, not make it a maze they have to climb around to figure out what to use. This could be a lot easier.
At 11:54AM -- I've got my Windows instance running in Remote Desktop from a Mac. That was really cool. Elasticfox gets you all the way there. Very nice!
First thing to do -- install Firefox. Looking around, I've got 160GB to play with. Should be plenty. Two drives, C and D. C has 10GB and D has 150GB. Install Firefox on C.
Next I want to do a speed test, to see how fast the Internet connection is. That requires that I install Flash. When I try to download it I get a security error. I didn't know Firefox had anything like that. Not sure how to change that. Later... Turns out Firefox 3 respects security settings of Windows. Instructions are here.
Okay so I'm running the speed test now. It says my server is in Seattle. Hah. Makes sense.
Okay, I'm ready to take a break now. I consider this a success and I think I'll be using this service, probably starting right away.
Next thing I have to figure out is if the IP address of this server is persistent. I saw something about that in the EC2 FAQ. I'm sure I'll have a lot of suggestions for them. I'm quite excited about the possibilities of providing turnkey servers for end-users. I don't think there's any problem with this being an end-user service, their docs just need better organization, but there's nothing to say I can't write some new docs. Lots of possibilities here.
There's a "summit" in NYC for new business models for news today.
Through the miracle of the Internet, I can participate too!
Here's what I think...
Where ever you see a barrier that says that only a professional can do this job, don't just get rid of the rule, proactively break it. Make the pros compete on the same playing field as the amateurs. The time is running short to do this, soon the professional news organizations won't have anything of value to the amateurs nor will there be many pros left to compete.
Here are some examples.
1. Get amateur bloggers through the hurdles necessary to cover political events. Give them credentials that the campaigns recognize. Help amateurs get on the press lists of of the campaigns. (My experience in the 2008 election -- McCain and Obama ignored all requests, Clinton hit me up for money.)
2. Put an amateur on your op-ed page along with the pros. A regular columnist, not a guest column, so they can build up some sway, and learn how it works.
3. Take news reports from amateurs and run them through the same editorial process. Then you will have amateurs participating in the editorial process.
4. Open your newsroom! After all your layoffs, you've got plenty of space. Have a budget of 20 local bloggers who have press room passes. This means of course that you have to get to know some of the local bloggers.
Each of these steps will create context for interaction, places where assumptions are challenged, where the arguments can happen, so people on both sides can find out what comes next. The whole discussion, as clearly shown by the participant list (they call them attendees, that's another mistake) for the NY conference, has been between people on one side. No wonder they're not figuring it out!
Now, I'm afraid this advice would have worked a lot better ten years ago, but believe me, I was pushing for the barriers to come down ten years ago too.
Anyway, hope y'all have a great conference.
PS: There's live video!
Dave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
"The protoblogger." - NY Times.
"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.
One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.
"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.
"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.
"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.
My most recent trivia on Twitter.
© Copyright 1997-2008 Dave Winer.
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