Sunday, August 26, 2012

Facebook More Than Just A Bible of Faces

The difference between my brother and me is that despite size and age he always looked back while I look straight ahead, and this is the way it always has been.
-Arvid Jansen, the hero of the Norwegian writer Per Petterson’s novel In the Wake

Bohemian Facebookers jumped into bed with The New Yorker, whose librarians dug into the magazine's archive to find some of its best works focusing on memory. Language which tries to capture these memories has a logical job to do—to convey information—and yet it is riddled with irrationality: irregular verbs, random genders, silent vowels, ambiguous homophones ... Facebook Selective Memory: Ways of Forgetting, Ways of Remembering

Ever since Facebook's May 18 public stock offering, the financial press and their investor sources have been working on its obituary. Like the media business, Facebook thrives on advertising, and enormous pressure is on it to make money now that it's public. The company might experiment, for example, with sponsored stories–advertorials by companies (including media)–who use the site in a pay-for-play capacity. And “there's still potential for paid search and other types of payment systems on Facebook,” says Jackson. Media Dragons: Why Facebook might be completely gone in five years

I think age is a very high price to pay for maturity ;-)Behind every facebooker whether they are Slavs like Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, or Solzhenitsyn there tends to be an overworked, underappreciated wife. Do they deserve pity? No, they deserve more credit... Speaking of Old Wives' Tales [Stories or Memories that outrage one generation become slothful banality to the next ... Though I wrote the Iron Curtain Gospels of the Cold War Century, I too shall die in the gutter.]

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Apple: Oranges are not the only fruit

Great business turns on a little pin.
If anyone had any question what hard core irony is exactly, consider this: Today is the one-year anniversary of the day Steve Jobs stepped down from his job as the charismatic and legendary leader of Apple, as well as the very moment that the company he co-founded has largely won an epic legal battle with Samsung over patent infringement ...

In a quote by Steve Jobs from Walter Isaacson’s biography of him, he famously said:

I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this. (Every bohemian Media Dragon has to read this book twice or else ;-)]

Apple's victory in a San Jose court gives it an upper hand in a global negotiation and being conducted via litigation - Apple got the best of Samsung in the first of their many patent trials to go to a U.S. jury. A nine-person panel came back to the federal courtroom in San Jose, Calif., Friday afternoon, after only three days of deliberation, and announced that the Korean electronics giant had infringed six of the seven patents for Apple mobile devices that were at issue in the trial. The verdict came with a $1.05 billion price tag, less than half of what Apple was looking for, but not too shabby, all the same. New blood at Apple are taking lots of leaves out of the pages of former role models such as Ken Segall who took the capital I from Imrich as they continue to cross the treacherous waters of Iron Curtains surrounding the industrial espionage and the digital Cold War Apple Gets $1 Billion From Samsung—Nothing Changes

I am grateful to many characters who created virtual space for my story of Cold River. The tale of escape across the Iron Curtain continues to flow in the digital currents because Michael Schaefer, Steve Jobs, Rober Scoble and Shel Israel cared to give me oxygen Deep One Degree of Separation Among Bloggers

Media Dragon Exclusive Scoop: As from XXV of VIII of MMXII there is no more question mark whether Apple will compare Oranges with other Sponsors ;-) UK's Orange Prize For Fiction Soon To Become Apple Prize For Fiction!

My daughters, Gabbie and Sasha, the Children of the Velvet Revolution are rather blessed as they have a role model like no other in Julia Gillard who is 27th most powerful woman in the whole world. With two year under her belt as the first female prime minister of Australia, Julia Gillard oversees a population of 22 million and a GDP of $926 billion. Julia Gillard (symbolic two sevens) I escaped on 7 of 7 so 2 sevens are a nice touch by the investigative Forbes ;-) And another Aussie Gail Kelly of Westpac fame is at number 60. Almost as powerful as Malchkeon who is numero 1 (ikk) ;-)

CODA It’s with you every moment of every day. It reminds you of little things that you sometimes forget, like calling friends on their birthdays and picking up the dry cleaning. It sleeps by your side, resting when you rest and working when you work. It even talks back once in a while. Ako Dobre poznas Tvoj ifone? But how well do you really know your iPhone?

Private equity firms claim they help create jobs and improve businesses, but that is not the whole truth How To Succeed in Business Without Adding Value

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Suburb of Surprise

On balance, policymakers enjoy possessing and using power. They tend to be decisive and confident. They are also fundamentally comfortable with themselves, and they are not particularly self-critical or willing to accept criticisms. Analysts tend to distrust power and those who enjoy exercising it. They are usually more comfortable with criticism, especially in giving it. Basically, they have questioning personalities.
- Period of the Velvet Revolution when wisdom ruled L. Keith Gardiner, "Dealing with Intelligence-Policy Disconnects,” Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 33, No 2, Summer 1989

We have replaced the absolute truths of God’s word (the Ten Commandments) with our own relativism (the ten suggestions). Life is a constant battle against this natural law of decay. We fight to protect our marriages from the numbing effects of living in the grind of routine. We are constantly introducing new programs and agendas into our churches and institutions to stir new life. Aging is like a slow descent into a miry quicksand. We diet, we get surgeries, we frantically exercise to fight off this universal enemy. We fight on valiantly even though no one ever wins this battle. The life of America parallels the life of any person. It arrived as an infant. It struggled through its teen-age years. It gloried in the strength of its youth and prime. It then feels the atrophy of age and it will eventually find its rest under a tombstone in a graveyard of empires

Enough with America’s tread-so-carefully literary culture, says Dwight Garner. Criticism isn't for uplift. It’s for straight talk, a little humor, and above all, an argument A Critic’s Case for Critics Who Are Actually Critical

A “writers’ writer” is more marketable dead than alive... The Suburb of Surprise

“Modern classic” is a fuzzy term. Does it mean anything at all? At least this: A “writers’ writer” is... more marketable dead than alive (Steve Jobs)

It begins with an adjectival spotter’s guide (“Contemporary . . . Provocative . . . Outrageous . . . Prophetic . . . Ground-breaking”, etc) before moving on to some diffidently expressed first principles. There is talk of such items possibly leading to “great movies”, of the breaking down of “barriers”, whether social, sexual, or, in the case of Ulysses, the “boundaries of language itself”, even of something described as “pure classic escapism”. All this is both oddly dispiriting and, in its multi-angle framing, curiously indiscriminate: mysterious and elusive the quarry may be, but it can always be brought down, you infer, provided enough buckshot is stuffed into the cartridge case. It is also something of a red herring. At any rate Norman Collins’s London Belongs to Me, elevated to Penguin Modern Classic status in 2009, belonged to none of these categories. It was simply a sprawling, sub-Priestley best-seller from the 1940s, put there on a sponsor’s whim.

What makes a modern classic?; Word counts or Australian spell Czechers are actually pretty minor problems Fairfax's dark cloud [ Mirko Zorz, Help Net Security, 8 Aug 2012. This year's novelty is actually scammers using their own fake shortened URL services, has grown from the unrelated activities of a few into an industry in its own right. The Industrialization of Fraud Demands a Dynamic Intelligence-Driven Response ]

• · The smaller, quieter half of the magician duo Penn & Teller writes about how magicians manipulate the human mind Magicians; A team of Swiss researchers thinks it has created an algorithm capable of tracking almost anything — from computer viruses to terrorist attacks to epidemics — back to the source using a minimal amount of data. The trick is focusing on time to figure out who “infected” whom An algorithm for tracking viruses (and Twitter rumors) to their source

• · · The ’Ndrangheta mafia is extending its reach into the north and beyond. Can Europe come up with a response? Mafia Book Reviews of note ; Culture thrives on conflict. Warfare, terror, and bloodshed nurtured the Renaissance in Italy. Peace and democracy in Switzerland gave rise to... what, exactly? A Point of View: Are tyrants good for art?;Three young women who staged an anti-Putin stunt in Moscow’s main Orthodox cathedral, and whose jailing became a cause célèbre championed by artists around the world, were convicted of hooliganism on Friday and sentenced to two years in a penal colony. We are happy because we brought the revolution closer! Pussy Riot protest pits church against state

• · · · Witold Gombrowicz settled in Argentina, far from the Polish intelligentsia. He loved catastrophe and lived in penury. He wanted to maroon himself Daily Disaffirmation; What would you do with more leisure time? Explore the mysteries of space and time? Or brawl, steal, and drink? Working 9 to 12

• · · · · The tools of hard science – statistics, data sets – have migrated to the humanities. Want to study social networks in Beowulf? You’re not alone. But what’s the point?. Humanities aren’t a science. Stop treating them like one ; Robert Hughes had an aversion to pretense and a knack for the withering putdown. He tried to save art from the art world Robert Hughes: A Fierce Critic and Powerful Voice Now Silenced ; Steve Jobs is a paragon of entrepreneurial intensity, a role model. Or is his a cautionary tale, of an abusive boss with a broken family。 Jobs has been dead for nearly a year, but the biography about him is still a best seller. The Story of Steve Jobs: An Inspiration or a Cautionary Tale?

• · · · · · Public Service Departments and Agencies should spend more time and money training their staff in the use of social media, according to former Gov 2 strategist Craig Thomler Call for PS to call up social media; State Conference ENGAGE. COLLABORATE. INNOVATE. Getting serious on customer service David Leslie, Australian Taxation Office Sandi Logan, Department of Immigration & Citizenship

Monday, August 20, 2012

Because of Prague of 1968, of Aga's Grave of 1975, of Charter of 77

So I love hearing from people who have no time for fiction. Who read only biographies and popular science or [Cold Rivers]. I love hearing about the death of the novel. I love getting lectures about the triviality of fiction, the triviality of making things up. As if that wasn't what all of us do, all day long, all life long. Fiction gives us everything. It gives us our memories, our understanding, our insight, our lives. We use it to invent ourselves and others. We use it to feel change and sadness and hope and love and to tell each other about ourselves. And we all, it turns out, know how to do it.
- from "Everything is Fiction" by Keith Ridgway

Because autumn in Praha was so tempting and because the brothers missed their sisters and because the dream was still alive and I wanted to share some of the Bohemian vistas our fifth wedding anniversary will be ingrained in our memories ...

Late at night on August 20, 1968, they struck like lightning, initiating a massive invasion of their wayward ally. By the morning of the 21st Czechoslovakia was inundated with tanks and troops from East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and the U.S.S.R. Within a week there were over a half million Warsaw Pact troops in the country. In Prague alone 500 tanks controlled strategic locations... False Autumn of 1968

How to live, and how to die. Period. That’s all I’m trying to do, all day long.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Leading with a Story

Will Australia find the courage to insist that the human rights of vulnerable people should override the potentially bullying power of large governments. Brave and principled Ecuador: protection of an Australian citizen

When newspaper editors lead with a story, they always use the strongest one they've got - and with good reason too. You're more likely to pick up a newspaper if it has an attention grabbing headline. The same goes for successful business leaders - those that can tell a great story and can connect with their audience will have more success in making a difference and getting heard. The best leaders share stories that people want to be a part of. Leading with a story

The best leaders have worked on the floor first Avoid the Mind-Bugs That Cause Smart People to Make Bad Decision

Rolf Jensen said that the heroes of the 21st century would be storytellers

According to Larry J. Bloom, author of The Cure for Corporate Stupidity. Just like software has bugs, we have bugs in how we think and make decisions. These mind-bugs can cause a lot of corporate stupidity . Avoid the Mind-Bugs That Cause Smart People to Make Bad Decision

People who have excelled in an organisation in a specialist role before rising to the top make better leaders than professional managers. Such 'expert leaders' are the most likely to get results because they have deep knowledge of the jobs their employees are doing. Intelligence, like journalism, involves the acquisition, evaluation, and dissemination of information. In 1949, Sherman Kent, described as the father of US intelligence analysis, said: “Intelligence organizations must also have many of the qualities of those of our greatest metropolitan newspapers. …They watch, report, summarize, and analyze. They have their foreign correspondents and home staff…. They have their responsibilities for completeness and accuracy—with commensurately greater penalties for omission and error. . . They even have the problem of editorial control…. Intelligence organizations (should) put more study upon newspaper organization and borrow those phases of it which they require.”

The best leaders ; “Simply,” “simple” and “simplicity” — along with like-minded thoughts that include “easy,” “honest” and “clear” — have become marketing buzzwords in response to three related trends: how busy life today seems, the growing complexity of technology and the increasingly complicated economic picture. That has encouraged advertisers to woo consumers with promises to provide solutions that are meant as simple but not simplistic. Paring Down Marketing Messages to a Few Simple Basics [ Story of B at the Randwick Hospital Dancing Dentist Injures Patient, Faces Personal Injury Suit ; 3 articles stiched together from metadata ]

• · DebtRank: Too Central to Fail? Financial Networks, the FED and Systemic Risk DebtRank; Ericsson, the leading maker of wireless network equipment, sees as many as 50 billion machines connected by 2020. Only 10 billion or so are likely to be cellphones and tablet computers. The rest will be machines, talking not to us, but to each other. Talk to Me, One Machine Said to the Other

• · · New Approaches Needed for Uncovering, Identifying, and Treating Buried Chemical Warfare Materiel Identifying and destroying buried chemical ; 7 Myths About the Economy, Jobs Taxes and Small Business

• · · · You never know who you’ll meet on the internet. Maybe it’s the Craigslist killer, or maybe it’s the author of a book you need to read for your summer school assignment. Author Fights For His Book On The Internet After Slacking Student Pleads For A Quick Summary ; Crowdsourcing has lately been a popular way to gather ideas and information from an array of sources. Now, the Obama administration is taking that avenue to ask citizens to chime in on how to help them overhaul and simplify rules and regulations OMB crowdsources regulatory reform

• · · · · Ages of the youngest and oldest Olympic competitors The generation games ; Turning on the crowdsourcing Spigit Wisdom of the crowd

• · · · · · A hacker demonstrates that code can be hidden inside a new computer to put it forever under remote control, even after upgrades to the hard drive or operating system A Computer Infection that Can Never Be Cured; Australian law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies are facing a potential security nightmare after hackers leaked records held by internet provider AAPT. AAPT hack by Anonymous poses crime data leak fears for AFP and ACC

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Living Treasurers

"To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labor, to be given a chance to create, is the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy." Bette Davis, The Lonely Life: An Autobiography

John Hatton - is classified national living treasure, Officer of the Order of Australia and former anti-corruption campaigning MP - wants to show the paintings hanging on the walls of his Jervis Bay home. He's proud of the paintings. They're his own work. But there's more than pride in these paintings. Over there on that wall are paintings of aqua-coloured water washing up on brilliant white sandy beaches around the bay - one of the most beautiful bays in the world. desert painting

"Work is the grand cure of all the maladies and miseries that ever beset mankind--honest work, which you intend getting done." Thomas Carlyle, "On the Choice of Books"

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Obsolete Gatekeepers & Iron Tollgates

Looking across Techdirt this week, two trends make themselves apparent time and time again. As artists utilize new ways to succeed, gatekeepers such as book publishers and record labels are becoming increasingly obsolete. The more obsolete these gatekeepers become, the crazier their tactics in trying to deny and prevent it. It is futile to operate a tollgate when the fence it was attached to isn't there any more. Or, to paraphrase Patton Oswalt, there are no gates left to keep when "In my hand right now I'm holding more filmmaking technology than Orson Welles had when he filmed Citizen Kane." Of course, this paradigm shift in moving production and distribution into the hands of creators has been obvious for a long time, but several of this week's stories provide delicious examples of the trend. Citizen Imrich

Saturday, August 04, 2012

The Campaign Against Real Writers

"A precondition for reading good books is not reading bad ones: for life is short" - Schopenhauer.

I am sitting at a window overlooking

the mouth cut into the earth

that opens up and reveals

City of exiles.

An emerald river flows from me to the south

and a bohemian river flows back.

Each light a carful of hopes and dreams

and fears.

Memories of better times.

Prayers for better times.

Trapped here with me despite their desperate froth.

Sydneyrella is silver and orange.

Golden sky over silver concrete.

Eucalyptus hills under golden ruby clouds.

Like the life in my chest

the color has surged from my fugitive world.

Destiny made me that rarest of Employee of the Crown (koruna)

From Bottom of the Harbour to taxing airfield of Wickenby ...

The deadly Marco Polo sharing the same sky

"What's happening is that countries are becoming companies. And that's what the British Council is already, just a company cooperating with the Chinese company," Mirsky quotes one leading Chinese poet, Yang Lian, as saying. Real writers

Gillian Tindall is a tapestry maker. She finds patterns in history – woven from close research into people and places – that no one else would have the persistence and insight to pursue. Sometimes, her starting-point is a person, as in Célestine, evoking peasant life in deepest France. Sometimes, she starts from a place – as in her delightful history of the Bankside house which tour guides always say, inaccurately, Wren inhabited while he was designing St Paul's (The House by the Thames). Three Houses, Many Lives What mercy guides me
Down this river

This ribbon cut

Into the snow,.

That flows incessantly and slow

Into the mouth of darkness?

It is possible to be struck by a meteor or a single-engine plane while reading in a chair at home. Pedestrians are flattened by safes falling from rooftops mostly within the panels of the comics, but still, we know it is possible, as well as the flash of summer lightning, the thermos toppling over, spilling out on the grass. And we know the message can be delivered from within. The heart, no valentine, decides to quit after lunch, the power shut off like a switch, or a tiny dark ship is unmoored into the flow of the body’s rivers, the brain a monastery, defenseless on the shore. This is what I think about when I shovel compost into a wheelbarrow, and when I fill the long flower boxes, then press into rows the limp roots of red impatiens — the instant hand of Death always ready to burst forth from the sleeve of his voluminous cloak. Then the soil is full of marvels, bits of leaf like flakes off a fresco, red-brown pine needles, a beetle quick to burrow back under the loam. Then the wheelbarrow is a wilder blue, the clouds a brighter white, and all I hear is the rasp of the steel edge against a round stone, the small plants singing with lifted faces, and the click of the sundial as one hour sweeps into the next.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

For the Love of Freedom

“Remember, revolutions need fire, like what happened in Tunisia. That fruit vendor set himself on fire, and then everything exploded.” for the love of freedom

And behind the Iron Curtain, in 1979, a son of Poland, Pope John Paul the Second, spoke words that would bring down an empire and bring freedom to millions who lived in bondage. ‘Be not afraid’—those words changed the world...My dad heard those words first hand in the good royal town of Krakow. Like my cousin Andrej Imrich, Vaclav Havel preached and practised these onstructions of being brave ... For forty years you have heard my predecessors tell you in various versions the same thing: that our country is flourishing and that the most wonderful opportunities are opening before us. I assume that you have not chosen me for this office in order for me to lie to you. Our country is not flourishing.

After the communist coup of 1948, the Jan and Jiri Fencl brothers, Praguers aged 19 and 18, pondered on how to secretly cross the Iron Curtain and flee the communist regime, the paper writes. The idea of escaping in a submarine occurred to Jan, who presented it to his brother. In his memoirs he writes he proposed that they go down the Labe river to the British zone in Germany. Yellow Submarine on the bank of Lidka's Labe River

First my auntie Zofka disappeared during WWII and my other auntie Teta Ota escaped communist Czechoslovakia through Sumava

The music from the West was only available on the black market and at horrendously expensive prices. But that only added to its popularity among young people. 'Beat music' had been officially rubber stamped as subversive and the GDR government was afraid that modern rock and pop would stir the already simmering discontent of young people. Rolling Stones did have an impact. Many teenagers behind the Iron Curtain, like the Media Dragon, were fascinated by Jagger, Richards and the rest of the band. They had provided a sense of upbeat get-up-and-go which was unparalleled in post-war Eastern Europe...For many GDR and Czech citizens, it was the desire to listen to music from the West, which added to their wish to live in a free society. "The people got mesmerized by what the Stones did. They read the lyrics and discovered the literary concepts and found philosophical ideals beyond Marx and Engels," Schneidewind says. Did the Stones and other bands from the West contribute to the fall of the Berlin Wall? Schneidewind is sure that they did. "Many claim that art does not lead to changes in society. But I believe it can."
Wuschel, the character in the Sonnenallee novel, had to wait for another few years until he got his copy of Exile on Main Street. He eventually gets the LP - but when being shot at by a border guard near the wall, it is the vinyl under his jacket that saves his life. The bullet breaks the LP but the Stones fan survives Rolling Stones simply threw over board the things that were being preached in schools and official places

Behind the glossy, airbrushed image of the London Olympics is an exhibition - Tracksuit Traitors - which is a reminder of the broken lives and political and psychological torment that tainted the Games movement in the Cold War. He ate two fried chickens, smothered himself in 30 tubes of Vaseline and swam 25 kilometres across the Baltic Sea to freedom. Axel Mitbauer's escape from East Germany is an illustration of what can happen when Olympic ideals are twisted into dark, damaging political ideology masquerading as sport. Tracksuit Traitors

Navratilova, who defected to the United States as a teenager, said she would "never forgive" the Communists for destroying "so many lives Tennis traitors

Wonder what it was like to queue for hours for toilet paper or butter in communist-era Poland? Now you can experience the 'boredom' thanks to a foreign-language version of a hit Polish history-in-a-box board game. Assembly Lies and Lines ...lines

In August 1989, the West German embassy, in the exquisite Baroque Lobkowicz Palace just below Prague Castle, was forced to close down for its day-to-day business. By then hundreds of East Germans were trying to get in, many climbing over the fence into the manicured embassy gardens. The surrounding streets were soon packed with their abandoned Trabants and Wartburgs. In an interview for Radio Prague, the Czech writer, Jáchym Topol later recalled the scenes.Traitors inside Bohemia