Tag Archives: free culture

Caving out Wikipedia

You know as much as I talk up Wikipedia I had never bothered to become a member until just recently. I had even set up my own wikis before diving in, go figure.

Anywho I recently went on a spelunking trip out to Buckner’s Cave in Indiana and jumped on the web to scout out something on the cave on my phone on the way there in the car. Much to my dismay I discovered only a website from 8 years ago and a tiny piece of a Wikipedia entry. I decided it was time to put my knowledge to use and signed up to write an article.

Anyway for those of you who don’t know Buckner’s Cave is a cave outside of Bloomington, Indiana privately owned and operated by the Richard Blenz Nature Conservancy and is free access, assuming you contact them a week in advance.

The experience was spectacular! Three miles of cave with endless off-shoots and passages ranging from enormous caverns to tight squeezes where you have to push your bag first and wedge your shoulders side-ways. We went in without a real good idea of its layout and features and found it to be quite the adventurous exploration! I had the unpleasant experience of being the leader down a long mud tunnel that progressively shrunk smaller and smaller until it dead-ended and I couldn’t go any further… which meant I had to tell the 8 people behind me to back out army-crawl style backwards. We discovered cavern after passage after cavern, and explored in all sorts of directions and rock environments. On the way back we found ourselves lost (a few times actually) only to be saved by a bat who was in the same spot we left him the first time.

Once out from underground I paged up Wikipedia and wrote my very first official entry, officially wiping out the request for it to be expanded. Huzzah!

Best Buy v. Blogger bruhaha

This post is just to echo the “support”:http://www.boingboing.net/2007/12/11/best-buy-threatens-b.html from Xeni at “BoingBoing”:http:boingboing.net for their defense of Scott Beale’s “post”:http://laughingsquid.com/improv-everywhere-best-buy-blue-polo-shirts/ at “Laughing Squid”:http://laughingsquid.com/. It looks like Beale has been served with a cease and desist letter for commenting (just commenting mind you) on an alleged trademark infringement by the group “Improv Everywhere”:http://www.improveverywhere.com/. They are apparently selling t-shirts that resemble Best Buy uniform shirts but have cleverly substituted their own group name in place of the Best Buy logo (pictured below). I love it when the internet community mobilizes against this sort of silly protectionist garbage. Power to the people!

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WikiYou: great idea, bad execution

http://www.wikiyou.com is the self-proclaimed "unauthorized biography of every person on earth." An admirable idea since Wikipedia editors can be real assholes about peoples' "noteworthiness." Still, go to the front page of WikiYou and you immediately run into usability problems. The only option is a search bar--very zen/Google but altogether unhelpful. Also WikiYou is an excellent demonstration of what happens to wiki-pages that aren't properly policed. Check out "Sandra Bullock":http://www.wikiyou.com/p/Sandra-Bullock/4299 to see what I mean. Random symbols, bad grammar, no citations, it's a big mess. I suppose there are worse things out there to complain about it, but I hate it when a good idea gets screwed over by crappy execution. Perhaps they should take some notes from "yesterday's article":http://duenos.net/article/333/NASAHowcoolisthat about NASA's killer "homepage":http://www.nasa.gov/.

Open-source travelling

http://globalfreeloaders.com/ and "Couchsurfing.com":http://www.couchsurfing.com/home.html. Now I haven't had much experience with either site yet, but I'm going to be doing a bit of traveling over the next couple of weeks and plan on using the services extensively. I'll keep you posted. This could be the greatest revelation since the "homemade Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang":http://duenos.net/article/121/homemade-chitty-chitty-bang-bang.

¿Quieres Música Latina?

I recently returned a mi casa de México and was introduced to a bunch of songs that I wanted to listen to. Unfortunately, the local “P2P”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P2p network for “Lime Wire”:http://www.limewire.com/ doesn’t work all that well if nobody nearby is sharing these songs on their computer. So if you’re cravin’ for latino (or other international) music, try either “E-mule”:http://www.emule-project.net/home/perl/general.cgi?l=1 or “Ares”:http://aresgalaxy.sourceforge.net/. Both programs are fairly straightforward and completely gringo if downloaded on English speaking soil. ¿No te gusta música latina? Try the Spanish reggae song “Mis Ojos Lloran Por Ti”:http://big_boy.letras.hostgold.com.br/hospedagemsites/musicas_songs/32506-Mis_Ojos_Lloran_Por_Ti.html by Big Boys. It may start out slow, but it’s popular for a reason.

An epic open-source journey

A Brooklyn-based technologist/activist/blogger by the name of “Noel Hidalgo”:http://luckofseven.com/about will be embarking on an epic voyage he is calling: “On the Luck of Seven; an open-source journey around the world documenting free culture, social innovators & global change.” The journey will last 7 months, span 7 continents, cover the 7 seas, and visit the 7 wonders of the world, all while researching 7 “topics of freedom”:http://luckofseven.com/whats_focus/. The trip will start (duh) on 7/7/07, but only if 700 people pledge to give him $11.11. Follow the journey at “LuckofSeven.com”:http://luckofseven.com/.

“Barely Used” Info on Dumpster Diving

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dumpster_diving. For starters, at "this blog":http://community.livejournal.com/dumpsterdiving, alley surfers share tips and brag about their bounties of “slightly crushed” produce, “mostly nice” clothing, and “perfectly useable” appliances. One of my favorite quotes has got to be "_I've been told that Zanotto's is a good place (however, there's probably a lot of competition from the hobos at the downtown location)…"_ Not only are they frugal, they're cut throat. But there's more, view "this movie trailer":http://jeffharrisshortfilms.com/vids/divetrailer.wmv of a diver's personal struggle in a tosser's world. Or better yet, here's some passionately written "instructions":http://web.textfiles.com/hacking/dumpster_diving.txt to get you started, which begins "_There's something about going through a dumpster that gets your blood pumping."_ I don’t know about you, but my blood pumps perfectly fine without shopping at D(umpster)*Mart.

Furnished by FedEx

AMAZING!! This guy is living in a house with no furniture but what he’s made himself from FedEx boxes. The bed, the dining table and chairs, the desk, the shelves, and the couch (pictures “available”:http://www.fedexfurniture.com/pictures.html), all are made of FedEx boxes held together with FedEx packing tape. Amazingly enough, FedEx isn’t happy about the extra press and has been legally harassing the site, “fedexfurniture.com”:http://www.fedexfurniture.com/, for copyright infringement. That’s right, the same company that payed for the privilege of starring opposite Tom Hanks in “Cast Away”:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0162222/ is giving this guy crap for using their products.

Build your own skis

http://skibuilders.com/ and while the process looks anything but simple, I do fancy the idea of building my own skis. I'd actually rather build my own snowboard, and as it turns out there's a "site":http://www.grafsnowboards.com/index.php?url=home dedicated to that as well. The concept for the two processes seems basically the same, although there are obvious differences in where snowboards need strength and flex vs. skis, but I really would like to give it a try. If you happen to live nearer to the beach than the slopes, you can always use this "how-to guide":http://www.surfersteve.com/introduction.htm on building your first surf board out of polystyrene.