margonaut blog archive (2004-2014)


Northern Voice 2007 Report

Last weekend I went to the Northern Voice "non-profit personal blogging conference" in Vancouver. As a result, I learned a great deal about the latest developments in blog & social networking software, discovered new ways to use websites to facilitate communication among business and organizational groups, connected with a variety of interesting geniuses, and rediscovered the feeling of awe and wonder about the magic of the Internet and its ability to affect culture and consciousness worldwide. It was the best $50 I've spent in quite some time.

The first day was called Moose Camp and consisted of workshops put on by attendees who competed for slots first thing in the morning. Sessions included things such as Stats: The Forbidden Love and Mac Programming for Mortals.

The second day featured planned presentations, including a keynote speech by Anil Dash who was involved in the development of programs such as TypePad, Movable Type, LiveJournal and Vox. Other sessions talked about using the web for social good, technical details around podcasting and video blogging, and tips on how to be a citizen journalist online.

The most important learning for me was clarification around the differences among using wikis, content management systems like Drupal (which I plan to master,) different blogging platforms, and the importance of RSS and other feeds. I will be moving this site off of Blogger soon and there will be many improvements!

I also gained some important knowledge around how internal websites can be used to facilitate information sharing among groups. I'm personally very interested in this topic, especially around how to improve efficiency, save paper, and reduce the need for time consuming meetings! I look forward to implementing some of these new paradigm strategies in groups I'm involved in.

It was impressive the way that the conference practiced what it preached in this area: sessions were recorded and notes/resources were updated in the site as the sessions were happening. Each session was recorded via podcast and I can now go back and view the ones I missed! Genius.

Thank you Northern Voice for the intelligence and inspiration!


parabolic cookware

Here's a great idea from a resourceful techy in New Zealand...

USB adaptors & DIY antenna = "Poor Man's WiFi"
Make 2.4GHz parabolic mesh dishes from cheap but sturdy Chinese cookware scoops & a USB WiFi adaptor ! The largest (300mm diam) shows 12-15dB gain (enough for a LOS range extension to 3-5km), costs ~US$5 & comes with a user friendly bamboo handle that suits WLAN fieldwork- if you can handle the curious stares!

$10 wok keeps TV station on air
Why pay $20,000 for a commercial link to run your television station when a $10 kitchen wok from the Warehouse is just as effective?

This is exactly how North Otago's newest television station 45 South is transmitting its signal from its studio to the top of Cape Wanbrow, in a bid to keep costs down.

Filed under: miscellaneous 1 Comment


I chose to spend this weekend at the Northern Voice conference on social networking and blogs.

This event has changed me and my career forever.

More details on my experiences soon.


thanks Dad

I had a wonderful conversation on the phone with my Father last night and am feeling super-appreciative of how lucky I am to have such a good man for a Dad.

I asked him for some life advice and he said, "Be happy and don't let anyone talk you into doing something you don't want to do."



campaign finance reform

Campaign finance reform is starting to happen at the local and state levels in America in some areas.

A system of funding candidates' election campaigns using public money and banning big money contributions (i.e. big business influence undermining democracy and the public good) makes certain candidates "Clean Money" certified.

This is becoming popular in some areas with voters because they know the candidate isn't owned by someone else's wallet in their decision making. It's also popular with candidates who prefer doing their job to spending time fundraising. It also allows people who aren't rich to run for office.

Kudos to the reformers who are working hard on this issue!

Jim Hightower: Clean Money
For money reform that works – look not to Washington, but to states and cities, which are passing laws that provide public financing of their elections. This gives candidates an option that frees them from always going around rattling a tin cup for donations. The "Clean Elections" option is changing politics.

Maine, for example, has had four election cycles under its public financing system, and the astonishing result is that Mainers now have a state legislature in which 83 percent of its members have been elected with clean money. Nancy Smith, a small dairy farmer, is one of those house members, as is Deborah Simpson, a single mom who was a waitress. Neither could have run without the possibility of public funding. As Nancy says, "Clean campaigns allow those who work to run for office, and they create 'citizen legislatures' that bring very different perspectives and a different energy to government."

Video: Clean Elections, Changing the Face of America
More competition, a more diverse candidate pool, more time spent with regular voters, freedom from conflicts of interest—these are among the accomplishments of Arizona and Maine’s revolutionary Clean Elections laws as shown in the video "Clean Elections: Changing the Face of America."

In my view, the above organization is worth supporting as it has the potential to accomplish an amazing amount of good in America.

To rule is to serve.
-- Chinese Proverb

Filed under: politics 1 Comment

big box = bad design

I live in a small community near Vancouver, British Columbia called the Sunshine Coast. One must take a ferry to get here, because although it's on the mainland, the mountains are so steep that so far, there are no connecting roads.

Many locals are concerned with how fast this rural, forested area is quickly becoming more developed.

Word is circulating that WalMart is planning on coming to town. There are reasons this is of special concern, the main one being the way it behaves like an economic vampire that sucks money out of every community it enters and once it's in, there's no turning back.

Being against big box stores is popular, but how many of the protesters will follow through and not shop there if it arrives?

If I were in charge, we'd be permaculturing that land instead...

Filed under: politics 1 Comment

each new generation is shaped by its technology

According to Forrester's Consumer Technographics Q1 2005 North American Youth Devices & Access And Finance Online Study, 58% of "North American" (meaning American & Canadian) 12 to 14 year olds have celphones.

They also have a document for sale to businesses ($279 US) that will teach how young consumers can be nurtured into profitable customers.

Filed under: miscellaneous 2 Comments

Oprah = mainstream success

Oprah is featuring The Secret next Thursday!

This will be a big download for America!

I am so inspired by this movie, especially the way it was created as a family media business (and has become a very successful one!) It's so smart!

The Secret: Company Bio
PRIME TIME PRODUCTIONS - is an independent television production company originally based in Melbourne, Australia. Company principal Rhonda Byrne started the company in 1994, having been a senior producer for Australia's Nine Network with 20 years experience in commercial television production.
Under the direction and guidance of Rhonda Byrne, Prime Time Production's focus is to continue to create film and television projects which will reach out through all forms of technology to touch, inspire, uplift and bring joy to millions around the world.

Filed under: manifestation 2 Comments

on becoming fluid in one sense and solid in another

imagining the body
as an energetic vessel
with a Love-powered electromagnetic force field
able to gracefully withstand
the asteroids of life

Filed under: poetry No Comments