November 1st, 2004


Recommended Audio Downloads

I've got a few quick recommendations for anyone with a MP3 player and some time to listen to fascinating things.

The first recommendation is a two-part talk that Steve Wozniak delivered about how he got started in computers, going from his childhood through the founding of Apple. He talked a lot about the pranks he pulled and how having limited resources really helped him find creative designs. It's really funny and very inspiring. Part One / Part Two

Another good program is Dave Slusher's interview with science fiction writer James Patrick Kelly. This piece has some nice commentary about the early days of cyberpunk fiction including Kelly's take on Bruce Sterling, an interesting analysis of Kelly's story "Think Like a Dinosaur", and details on how he got started as a SF writer. Link

I've also started listening to Adam Curry's Daily Source Code podcast, but I'm not quite recommending it just yet. Podcasting is a new term to the web world; it describes a method of recording audio programs, publicizing them through RSS feeds, distributing them using BitTorrent, and performing them using portable audio players. It's a neat application of these new technologies, and it's enabling the distribution of interesting talk to an audience that wants to hear other people talk about interesting things. Adam Curry (yes, the early 80's MTV VJ) was one of the first to put all of this together, and he's been doing a daily program for a few months now. Like a lot of early blogs, the program is more about itself than anything important; lots of the content is Adam and his listeners commenting about podcasting, mixed with some interesting music that's under free use licenses. I'm glad to see this all in development, but I want to see some technological improvements before this will go huge... that's a different essay :)

Naomi Klein at LBJ Library

Sunday afternoon, I spent a couple of hours down on the UTexas campus at the LBJ auditorium listening to a couple of fascinating talks. The Third Coast Activist Resource Center had invited the journalist Naomi Klein to Austin to talk about the economic situation in Iraq. She had written an excellent article in Harper's back in September about the way the neoconservative movement had used the chaos of Iraq to setup a laboratory to test their free-market economic theories. Naomi spoke very elegantly about the way the occupation has dismantled the Iraqi economy and tried to rebuild it as the "world's best place to do business", but the changes have been so detrimental to the Iraqi people that it has intensified the resistance movement and made the risk of doing anything in Iraq so huge that it has failed completely.

Naomi's site has more information on her writings, including her frequent dispatches about economic injustice:

Also worth noting was the writer who introduced Naomi, a UT graduate named Rahul Mahajan who writes a blog called Empire Notes. He gave a very passionate description of the siege of Fallujah from April 2004 and a plea for the audience to protest the impending attack on the city that's scheduled for mid-November. His remarks are online at

I recorded both Rahul and Naomi's talks. I'm posting these as two MP3 files so you can download and hear the talks yourself. There is a reoccurring high-pitch whine in the audio; I'm not sure exactly what caused it, but I hope it won't be too distracting.

Rahul Mahajan's introduction of Naomi Klein, 2004-10-31, 8:48, 8.06 MB
Naomi Klein on Iraqi economic injustice, 2004-10-31, 1:20:22, 73.4 MB