aku-aku: v.. To move a tall, flat bottomed object (such as a bookshelf) by swiveling it alternatively on its corners in a "walking" fashion. [After the book by Thor Heyerdahl theorising the statues of Easter Island were moved in this fashion.] source: LangMaker.com. Aku Aku also has another meaning to the islanders: a spiritual guide.
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dorkbot #21
Posted by dav at 2005 September 17 07:33 PM
File under: Geek

The first presentation was on the new developments in Electric Sheep, an innovative collaborative evolving screen saver. I used this screensaver for a year or so, but I started getting bored with the same sorts of sheep. I might have to give it another try for awhile. The new graphics are HDTV resolution and looked great.

After that Mark Pesce gave a brief talk on knowledge swarms which exist now. Some examples are Wikipedia and Bittorrent. Everyone has a little bit of knowledge and Wikipedia is the swarm of that knowledge. Next he defines understanding as:

  • information = data + meaning
  • knowledge = information + context
  • understanding = knowledge + experience

He believes that understanding swarms are coming next. He threw out Flock as a coming example. Flock is a new Mozilla-based web browser I saw demoed at barcamp. It adds better memory search, blogging and collaborative capabilities to the browser. I can't wait to get my hands on it!

Pesce's talk made me think about my belief graph system I wrote about once here. I'd like to have him and Howard Rheingold on a panel together.

Erik Davis did a nice introduction for the next speaker(s): The Make Magazine team. You can believe these guys go over well at dorkbot! The talk went into a lot of details about how amazingly well they are doing as a magazine. They tripled subscriber projections (10k became 35k), they have only a 30% return rate from the newsstand (compared to 80% on most titles). In bookstores, old issues are reshelved as books. They're doing well in Australia even though the cost is something like $100/year there. Subscribers get access to an online version with more content (I didn't know that, and I'm a subscriber). They only have something like 10% pages of advertising, and it's all in the front or the back. One nice moment was a comparison of the magazine format of a 1950's Popular Science, which looked exactly the same in shape and size as Make (which is a small format magazine and looks more like a book).

A guy from Radio Free Berkeley showed off a cool little 100 watt FM radio station, as recently seen in New Orleans.

Another guy showed off some surface mount projects he'd worked on. He also said he found a cheap place in Malaysia that creates the printed SM circuit boards for him.

At the end of the night Rich Gibson (geowanker of Mapping Hacks fame) brought in his air-compressor powered semi automatic marshmallow gun. Rich is the man.

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