Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   a virtual society increasingly real
Wednesday, January 29 1997 Comet, the Internet Provider where I work full time mostly as a night-time system operator (to over-state my importance somewhat) experienced a several hour phone outtage today. With maybe a hundred phone lines serving the needs of web surfers and e-mail maniacs everywhere in Charlottesville, this was a bad situation. This anomaly had apparently resulted from some kind of misunderstanding related to the payment of a critical phone bill. I'm just glad it didn't happen while I was working last night. And I'm glad I wasn't in the tension-filled tech room when this shit went down. You would think that a phone company like Sprint would make every effort to ensure that an increasingly critical service like Internet access wouldn't be cut off from customers using its phone lines, unless lapses in bill payment added up over at least several months. Perhaps Sprint is trying to affect the reputations of independent ISPs for its own nefarious competitive reasons (yes, phone companies are trying to wrest control of the Internet access market all over the country). Today's happenings at Comet were a big enough deal to attract the attention of the press, which will undoubtedly has its own axe to grind regarding the distributed media opportunity afforded both by Comet and the Internet generally, evil den of sin and revolution that they continually portray the 'Net to be.

I watched a rather large amount of teevee in the evening at my house. It started with the Simpsons (which Steve was watching) and moved through Seinfeld to PBS and a show about NMRI, Ultrasound and Xray.

Tonight at Comet, I've again found myself in Sam 'n' Ellas' Punk Rock Chat, interacting mostly with a guy named DART, who is a sort of graphics whiz and web site guru, judging from his creations and his level of knowlege. As for myself, I know a little more than I know how to handle and found it quite an easy task to crash Netscape Navigator on every computer then in the chat. I won't say how for fear of making life worse for my friends, but I will say it was easy and that I'll try not to do something like that in the future. It was a complete accident.

I find that commmunicating with people in chat rooms is a wonderful substitute for a social life. In many respects it acts as a real social life. This is indicated by the fact that chatting has become simultaneously a distraction and a burden. I feel I'm letting people down by not appearing or by interacting too little. But at the same time I would really rather be doing other things. Such virtual socializing is facilitated by high bandwidth networking, the sort of thing only the few and priviledged can afford, both in terms of time and in terms of money. I'm paid for my time spent chatting, though, so neither of these is an issue for me.

Still, there is a coldness to the chat room. It continually feels like I'm talking with disembodied personalities. I have trouble imagining ever meeting one of these people in a real physical location. They pose no threats and can be dismissed almost like characters in a lucid dream. That's why it was such a joy and a shock to discover blixa in Sam 'n' Ellas. Still, blixa's real embodied personality is so cold and remote that there was less of a shock involved in that case than there would have been in other cases.

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