Hope you made it home safely!

While trying to decide whether or not to go to the Sager party, I met a nice woman wandering the 1st floor of Parrish, who turned out to be a Swat alumn and the mother of one of the girls in Joe Raciti’s musical “Dance Dangerously“, which we had both just seen. She had found herself stranded with no way to make her train to Boston when it turned out that there was no 11pm train from Swarthmore, and she was looking for a payphone… I wasn’t aware of any such thing in Parrish, payphones are on their way out in this country, so I offered her my cellphone. She called all her family in the area and nobody was willing/able to pick her up. Arthur Chu wandered by at this time, and we started calling people on campus who might have a car and be willing to drive her to 30th street station for money. Finally I thought of Andrew Lacey, who was the true hero of the piece and came to pick up the nice woman. Thanks Andrew!

While we were waiting, we talked a bit about what Swarthmore was like when she was here… in her time, apparently there was only one hall phone and people took turns calling on it, ML was home to “gothy people” rather than geeky people, and the Sager symposium + party didn’t exist. She was surprised by all the cross-dressing people wandering around and wondered if this was something that happened every weekend. No, folks, the cross-dressing people are a result of the Genderf*ck party… although there are certainly some people who cross-dress more regularly, we definitely don’t have quite that volume of cross-dressing on a regular basis.

Check your facts, folks

It’s taken me a while to blog about my Phoenix column from last week, “Recording Swarthmore History,” in which I advocate for the school to dedicate itself to recording, preserving and sharing online events which take place on campus. I’ve gotten positive responses to the article so far. Andrew Abdalian says that there are no tapes of the Nirvana show on campus, which is disappointing. I went to Olde Club this Saturday night and did some taping with my camcorder of the bands playing there, the Love Pumps and Manticore, and the Love Pumps already gave me permission to post their show to Archive.org. Rock on! Now I need upload that video…

I must confess, however, that I neglected to check one “fact” in my column, since I wrote the article on the plane to San Francisco, and didn’t have enough time to ponder it once I returned to an internet connection. Sadly, it is not true that They Might Be Giants actively encourages people to share their live concerts on sites like etree.org, although many popular bands including And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, 311, Godspeed You Black Emperor, the Grateful Dead, Guster, Phish, and Tenacious D do actively encourage sharing and archiving, according to the Archive.org List of Trade-Friendly Bands. It wasn’t unreasonable to think that TMBG might also support sharing of their concerts, given TMBG stunts like “Dial a song” and the fact that they both provide free mp3’s and sell mp3 and FLAC digital downloads on their site, which is “artist owned and operated.” They are rather enlightened.

Unfortunately, they are selling mp3 downloads of many of their live concerts, which they specifically ask fans not to share: “Do us a favor and do not distribute these to the internet – we all need new boats.” It’s likely that they wouldn’t appreciate fans sharing inferior recordings of the same shows, or even sharing recordings of different shows, if they have to compete with them. However, the people at etree.org did ask permission back in 2003, and it seems they have not yet received a response one way or another. Perhaps it’s worth asking again, just to try to get TMBG to take a clear position?

At least we can take comfort in the fact that TMBG sells you good old mp3s, not DRM’d copy-protected crap that will only play on your iPod. It could always be worse…

poke your buddies

Sometimes it pays off to IM that random person on your buddy list whom you haven’t talked to in a while… out of the blue I IMed fractalpanes today, and she mentioned in passing a couple of articles that involve me, one somewhat indirectly.

First, there’s a good story at Campus Progress, which unfortunately suffers from truly horrid alliteration in its subtitle, two teenage digital Davids down Diebold, and gets our name wrong in its title, “Swarthmore Free Culture” (the correct name being Free Culture Swarthmore). Of course, I can’t really blame the reporter for confusing the name… many of the other FreeCulture.org chapters named themselves the other way around, like Emory Free Culture.

The second article, Clear-Cutting the Future: We’ll Hear More About This in 2005, mentions the Alternet story on FreeCulture.org in passing, and I get quoted! Except that it’s misattributed to Desirina! Man, I was *that close* to being famous… easy come, easy go. I do like the TV-B-Gone gadget that the author mentions, and I think he’s got 2005’s trends down pretty well. But he really should have read the article that he was quoting a little more carefully.

In conclusion, when you poke your buddies, sometimes they reveal useful information! It’s like an RPG where you have to talk to everyone to complete the level. Or maybe it’s not, really…

going to San Fran

If you want to see me and you live on the west coast, catch me this weekend in San Francisco!

I’ll be attending a conference run by Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, a student group that is working on a Creative Commons style license for drug patents. Sadly, their current site, EssentialMedicine.org, relies entirely on Flash in a truly painful fashion. When I want to give my eyes a rest, I visit a copy of their old site instead, courtesy of the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. They put out a call for help with web design a while back…. if you know anybody who can give them a hand, please contact them!

At any rate, I’ll be flying out there Thursday evening, staying over until very early Sunday morning, and then heading back to Swarthmore. Wish me luck with airport security!

UPDATE: UAEM fixed their website, no more nasty flash! Reward their hard labor and visit EssentialMedicine.org again ^_^