woozle: (Default)
( Jul. 18th, 2014 10:41 pm)
So I've had yet another idea for a project -- possibly to go on the large stack of projects I'll never get to, except that this one dovetails nicely with the original concept for Issuepedia.

It's not really so much a new idea as the bringing of an old idea into sharper focus by virtue of the fact that I'm seeing more awareness of the need for it lately -- more so even than during/after Occupy

First, there was BuyCott, which I originally heard about sometime last year but couldn't use because I didn't have a smartphone -- which became no longer the case a few months ago, so I installed it and finally tried it out -- and found it quite disappointing.

What I understood was that it was supposed to let me scan the barcode of a food item, and it would bring up all the lowdown on the product and its maker -- primarily whether there were any known ethical or health issues surrounding either one, and providing some kind of evaluation of "corporate citizenship" so the buyer could know whether this is a company to whom they want to be contributing income.

So I scanned an "Eden Organics" product at the co-op -- and all Buycott would give me, aside from the product name and picture, was official stuff about the company: their web site, their Facebook page, their Twitter feed. Absolutely nothing from any third parties, much less any mention of their overt right-wing religiosity.

I had hoped that Buycott was at least a crude version of the crowdsourced reference guide I've been wanting to build for years now, but apparently it simply is not.

So now I'm thinking I need to write a mobile app that somehow feeds off all the data I've got in Issuepedia to provide that same kind of service, only done right -- eventually to add crowdsourced features moderated by the reputation management algorithm I've mentioned elsewhere (or something like it). That's the first part of the idea.

(Actually, to be fair, it started as an idea for a global warming denialism reference. That could still happen, and it's as important an issue, but it seems less likely to generate the kind of enthusiasm that could make this successful and less likely to have a near-term positive effect on how business is done.)

Part two is that I should do a Kickstarter (or equivalent) to buy the time to actually write this properly, on a schedule, and maybe to pay other contributors to add information about more companies and products. I've got Issuepedia pages for a couple of dozen businesses, and information on maybe a few dozen more -- but it needs to be hundreds or thousands. It needs to know all the brands owned by Koch, all the brands owned by Pepsi, all the brands owned by Viacom and Disney and Sony. (Scope-creep is going to be a difficult thing to avoid; it will have to go in stages, each with its own funding campaign and specific mission.)

Part three is that I came up with what seems at the moment like a fabulous name for the whole project: CoAgitate. (I've registered coagitate.com. I would have snagged .net and .org too, both available, but budget is tight at the moment.)

Obstacles: This would all have to wait until I've either got vbz.net up and running or else decide to put it on the back burner again, for which I've set myself a deadline of early August. (I could probably write a whole separate post about that issue.) And there's another project that has the potential to pay a regular salary, but the way it's going seems to be drifting slowly away from what interested me in the first place... and there's absolutely no guarantee that the necessary investors will pony up and make it possible anyway.

So, thoughts? Does this seem like a worthwhile thing?
woozle: (Default)
( Dec. 14th, 2013 10:14 pm)
Going to my network page on Friendica, which has been insisting on showing me nothing newer than 8 months ago, I randomly clicked on "December 2013" just to see if anything would happen.

And hey, suddenly I see Diaspora posts from @Will Hill and @Dr.Edward Morbius -- w00t!

(This all just goes to show the value of randomly trying things that can't possibly work.)
I'm being a bad, bad programmer this week, and totally indulging in my wish to have systems that work properly instead of just kluging stuff together to get it working as quickly as possible.

This is clearly why I don't deserve nice things.
woozle: (Default)
( Apr. 11th, 2011 09:28 pm)
I originally asked this on Facebook: What's so terrible about conspiracy theories?

I think I can now elaborate a little. I had always taken the term "conspiracy theory" to mean "the idea that a particular set of observed results is best explained as the result of a conspiracy of some kind".

I have also seen it used to mean "any event-explaining hypothesis which differs in significant ways from an official explanation of that same event".

What I'm hearing, though, is that the popular understanding of the term might mean something more like "a theory that the world is controlled by some group about whom very little is known and for which there is very little conclusive evidence".

If that is how most people understand the term, then (1) I can understand the avoidance, and (2) what the heck do we call either of the first two things?
woozle: (Default)
( Mar. 30th, 2011 10:47 am)
This may have been partly inspired by Harena's fitful sleep last night...

I dreamed that I had been out very late, doing something with the kids1 which somehow involved both the kids' Uncle Chris and PZ Myers (who seem to be oddly reminding me of each other, even though I can't easily define how), both of whom I was somehow supposed to connect with at different times afterwards (which ended up being in a dark parking lot just outside, and there was something to do with me not being able to find my shoes or something) and we were all there way past 1 a.m.

The amusing(?) part was that I knew Harena would be all panicked by how late we were (we probably all died in a car wreck or something), but when I got home it turned out that in her panic and depression she had elaborately calligraphed a suicide note, and then decided she really like the way it looked and submitted it to a goth font2 contest.

Because the contest ended at midnight, we were out so late that the winners were announced, and she won.

Some time later, back in reality, I told Harena about this and she made me post it. So now you know who to blamethank.

1. at this building whose exterior resembled that of the emergency room at Durham Regional Hospital (where we so recently spent many happy hours) and whose interior reminded me of RDU airport circa 1970 -- both classic early 1960s boxy "modern" architecture

2. you know... those Goth-looking fonts everyone uses... they're all the rage on the internet... you can't hardly click on a link without bumping into some new goth font... well, okay, maybe not in this universe -- I guess here it's sparkly vampires, but I'm sure there's some nearby parallel one where everyone is sick of goth fonts and yet people keep doing more of them.
A Certain Relative sent me an oh-so-humorous piece (from townhall.com, no less) listing all the things we could be doing as concerned citizens to help increase global warming since, you know, it's so cold this month.

He had been fretting intensively a couple of weeks ago that I seemed to be angry at him personally -- because of all the angry responses I had sent to his friendly and/or humorous forwards on the subjects of Glenn Beck, the evils of ACORN, Bill Clinton and affordable housing being responsible for the economic crash, etc. -- so I decided I needed to spoon-feed him and try to explain exactly why this sort of thing is upsetting and not terribly funny, no matter how witty it may be.

I'm currently taking bets on which stock response I'll get. The prime candidates are:
* You really spend too much time on this sort of thing.
* Well, it's not been proven that the science is any good.
* Do you really believe that Exxon is spending millions of dollars for propaganda?
* You seem pretty passionate about this sort of thing.
* Calm down! It was just for your amusement.