February 2011

Notes from Underground: DJ Anomaly at the party without a name

pink lava lampIt was so underground that there weren’t any flyers and it didn’t even have a Facebook group.  A tiny venue with headliners who we’ve seen at DNA Lounge and Barnevald, with DJ Anomaly opening and closing.  The music was fantastic, amazing visuals, incredible depth, great colors.  I heart psytrance.

lavender fingernails in the black lightI was in a great mood and totally had the “I’ve earned this” feeling.  The latest skirmish in the fight to restore our civil liberties worked out far better than anybody had hoped.  Twitter and blogs and CSPAN callers agree, Americans across the political spectrum hate the PATRIOT Act.   Yeah, who knows what’ll happen next: we’ve got three months to organize, and oh gee, there’s also wiretapping back doors (CALEA 2.0), the internet kill switch, COICA, domain name seizures, Wikileaks, and the TSA.  For now, though, time for some well-deserved celebration.

So we enjoyed the lava lamps and the glowsticks and the candles and the depth and the music and danced all night.

At 6 a.m., D read my cards in the atrium.

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What do you think of this “one-line pitch” for qweries?

qweries helps everybody

find answers
get in the conversation,
and contribute to your community

by prioritizing diversity and design

As I described on the NWEN blog in The agile one-pager (part 5), a good one-line pitch covers what a company does, who they do it for, and a bit about how. Here’s what I’ve currently got for qweries, a Q&A (questions-and-answers) startup that will compete with sites like Quora and Yahoo! Answers.

Reactions?

Suggestions?

Suppose I were to add a third word: “by prioritizing design, _______, and diversity.”   Some of the possibilities that leap to mind include “privacy”, “community”, “emotion”, “accessibility”, “fun” … Thoughts on any of those, or other ideas?

jon

PS: updated several times, most recently May 25.  Thanks to everybody who’s given feedback, and especially to Mikhaila for

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The home stretch: part 6 of “The Agile One-pager” (DRAFT)

Draft! Revised version to appear on NWEN’s blog.

The first four parts of the series (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) have gotten us close.  Now it’s time for the final push.  For impatient readers, here are the tips

  • Go back over the section descriptions in the application form and double-check that you’re addressing the right questions in the right places.
  • Do a section-by-section, line-by-line review
  • Formatting and wording changes can often save you a half-dozen valuable lines, but don’t remove all the white space or emotion
  • Make it look great.  Have you included a logo?
  • It won’t be perfect.  Relax.  Nobody else’s is either.

Read on for more …

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First Look Forum participants, please join us Wednesday evening for a Twitter chat!

As we head into the homestretch with the First Look Forum, we wanted to give an opportunity for people to ask some last-minute questions and get some quick feedback.  Email works, of course, but it’s soooooo 20th century.  So we’re also going to be having a Twitter chat, on Wednesday February 16 at 7:30 p.m.

If you’ve never been to a Twitter chat before, you’re missing out on some good fun.  It moves quickly, and with a lot of people talking at once it packs a lot of information into a short time.  Whether or not you have a Twitter account, you can follow the discussion on the #nwen hashtag using TweetChat at http://tweetchat.com/room/nwen or use your favorite Twitter client.

Want to join in the conversation?   You’ll need to have a Twitter account — you can sign up at http://twitter.com/signup.  Twitter’s FAQ and Howcast’s How To Use Twitter video have more information to get you started.

If there are some topics you’d like to see discussed, feel free to leave them as comments here — or you can email to me at jon {at} achangeiscoming {dot} net.    Or even better, you can tweet them to me —  I’m @jdp23.

Read on for more background (originally from the ACM Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference‘s Getting started on Twitter page).   See you on Twitter!

jon

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It’s Valentine’s Day (aka 25 Bahman), and people all over the world are fighting for their civil liberties

Two and a half years after I wrote It’s the Fourth of July and we’re fighting for our civil liberties, it’s another activism-filled holiday. Today’s House vote extending the Patriot Act until December went as expected, passing 275-144.   Now the action shifts to the Senate; EFF has more.   Nothing to see here, move along, move along …

Or maybe not.  27 Republicans bucked their leadership and stood up for the Constitution.  Walter Jones of North Carolina joined Tom McClintock of California in apologizing for their past support of the Patriot Act.  Jason Chaffetz of Utah and others who voted for HR 514 spoke of the importance of having hearings and looking to amend the process.  At the very least, it’ll be hard for the Obama Administration and their Congressional allies to get the multi-year extension they want.  With Ron Paul once again rocking CPAC and contemplating another presidential run, we might well see some fireworks later this year.  Stay tuned.

feb14Meanwhile in the Middle East, the 25 Bahman protests in Iran followed revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.  There are estimates of tens to hundreds of thousands of people in Tehran, and big protests in Shiraz and Esfehan.  A re-energized Sea of Green? With the “Days of Rage” in Bahrain, and protestors battling demonstrations in Yemen, there’s a sense that something’s in the air …

I spent the with my Facebook and Twitter avatars showing support for the protesters in Iran, glued to Twazzup, splitting time between the #25Bahman and #iranelection and  the Patriot Act debate.  There were familiar names everywhere, my Get FISA Right friends like Sally, Patrick, Korkie, Mark, Jim and Julian … our allies from BORDC and EFF like Shahid, Rainey, Chip, and Kevin … and from the #iranelection hashtag: @IranRiggedElection, @iran88, Josh Shahryar, @oxfordgirl, @lissnup, and perhaps even the unexpected return of @persiankiwi. Not to sound like a broken record or anything, but social networks really can change the world.

The fight will resume tomorrow, all over the world.  Tonight, though, I’ll be hanging out with the woman I love celebrating Valentine’s Day.  How cool is that?

jon

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ACTION ALERT: House PATRIOT Act vote on Monday!

Monday at 6:30 Eastern, the House is once again voting on HR514, which extends the PATRIOT Act until December of this year without introducing any new safeguards.   So please try to find time this weekend to get involved and get the word out!

To start with:

Then help get the word out!

  • email this info to people
  • share it on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter
  • leave a comment on any blog posts, articles, Facebook groups, and message board threads discussing the PATRIOT Act and make sure to include the link to the POPVOX page: http://bit.ly/oppose514
  • and if you’re on Twitter, tweet early and often using #patriotact hashtag — some suggested tweets in the first comment

Get FISA Right will be having a chat during the vote on Monday — watch our blog at http://getfisaright.wordpress.com/ for updates.

Have a great weekend … and make some noise!

jon

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Demand JUSTICE, not the PATRIOT Act!

It’s time to go on the offensive! Here’s the action alert Bill of Rights Defense Committee just sent out. Please help by using POPVOX to support the reintroduction of the JUSTICE Act, and getting the word out widely in email, via Facebook, and on Twitter. The House is expected to vote again early next week so now is a critical time to make some noise!

– jon


Ten years after passing the USA PATRIOT Act, Congress is again debating this enormous expansion of government power. With three provisions set to expire at the end of this month, and Tuesday’s revolt in the House against fast-track reauthorization, there has never been a better time to insist that Congress restore constitutional rights.

Take action now. Demand that your congressional representatives support meaningful reforms through the JUSTICE Act.

A law so extensive that many members of Congress admitted to having never read it, the USA PATRIOT Act has been in place for too long—and there has been too little debate on its dramatic expansion of executive power—to allow a reauthorization without debate.
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Sharpening and tightening: Part 4 of “the Agile one-pager” (DRAFT)

Draft! Revised version to appear on NWEN’s blog.

In the first three parts of the series (1, 2, 3) we got to an initial version of an executive summary and begin iterating on it. This installment focuses on improvements in a couple of individual sections. For impatient readers, here’s the tips:

  • Get feedback from a lot of people — they’ll see different things
  • You can get great feedback even if people don’t read the document
  • Iterate repeatedly.  Incremental progress adds up.
  • A picture is worth 1000 words

Read on for more …

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Patriot house alert breaks heads: found art from Twitter

Images from Twazzup’s Patriot Act page as the House prepares to vote again on the Patriot Act extension.  The refrigerator magnets on the top are the most common words and hashtags.

patriot house alert breaks headspatriot act live

You can weigh in on the head-breaking yourself via POPVOX, Demand Progress, ACLU, EFF, Downsize DC or the phone. Julian Sanchez’ Now what? and the ACLU’s letter describe why you should ask your Representative to oppose HR514, the sneak attempt to extend the Patriot Act without a debate.

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Notes from Underground: I’m noticing a pattern here …

synchronizeHey, guess what?  Civil liberties activism and psytrance!

Back in 2008, It’s the Fourth of July and we’re fighting for our civil liberties was written the day after Senator Obama responded to Get FISA Right’s open letter.  It was a great moment in grassroots civil liberties activism, and the bonds we formed then have remained.  It’s Goa Gil’s birthdy, and we’re *still* fighting for our civil liberties is from October 2009, in the midst of the battle over Patriot Act renewal.  Hail Eris!  All Hail Discordia! is from December 2010, featuring wikileaks and anti-TSA activism.  Hey wait a second.  I’m noticing a pattern here …

Tonight we’re in the middle of another Patriot Act battle; trying to building on an unexpected victory with grassroots activism.  As always the odds are stacked against us … hey, if changing the world were easy, everybody would do it!  With Tunisia and Egypt leading the way, 2011 is shaping up to be the year where social network activism breaks through internationally.  Will it happen here?

synchronizeBut the Patriot Act isn’t the only civil liberties battle that matters.  The TSA is still clinging to its scanning/groping policy, insisting that the only way to keep us safe is to touch the breasts and genitals of 2% of travellers (including all Sikhs, women wearing saris, and other “anomalies”).  And here in California, Save the Rave is taking the lead in standing for our right to peacefully assemble and fighting back against the war on fun.   When worlds collide …

So after spending the last week hunched over a computer dealing with the bizarreness of legislative process (“S.249 is also S.289 is likely to make it to the floor, while S.193 aka S.290 may get marked up by the SJC, but how to reconcile with HR 514?”), it was great to go out tonight to Synchronize, San Francisco’s Wednesday night psytrance weekly.  As usual, there were few dozen people there, and the DJs tonight were great.  I got there at 11:30 and danced until 1:55, when it closed.

Tomorrow’s back to work, and I’ll be hurting in the morning. But it’s worth it.

I heart psytrance.

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Patriot Act renewal: building on an unexpected victory (DRAFT!)

Draft! Work in progress! Feedback welcome!

Talk about a shocker!  24 Republicans (including 8 new members) joined with 124 Democrats to stand up for civil liberties and defeat an attempt to sneak Patriot Act Reauthorization through the House.  Here’s what EFF, Wired, and the Washington Post have to say about this unexpected victory.

Thanks to everybody who joined in the flash activism campaign and made some noise!  It was a great multi-partisan campaign that broke through the media blackout and got some attention.  So let’s take a moment to celebrate!

Okay, now back to work.
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Making good use of a phone call: part 3 of “The Agile One-pager” (DRAFT)

Draft! Revised version to appear on NWEN’s blog.

In the first two parts of the series (1, 2) we looked at the reasons to do a one-page executive summary and made some initial progress — enough to get to the point where we could get some useful feedback.  Now we’re in the heart of the iteration loop, steadily improving it.  For impatient readers, here’s the tips:

  • Advisor time is a scarce resource, so make good use of it. Let them know where you want help: which questions are open, what sections you want to concentrate on.
  • Think about your goals and a rough agenda for each meeting to make sure you use your time well. Try to give people enough time to read the document before the meeting.
  • Be yourself, tell a story, and try to write the way you speak.  Try verbally explaining why your idea is so great and ask what resonates, then incorporate that language into your one-pager.

At the end of part 2, I had set up a phone meeting with somebody I’ll call “Rebecca” to give me feedback on my one-page executive summary.  I still had a lot of holes in the document, so I took another pass through it and put in something for every section except the financial projections.  As usual it took longer than I expected so before I realized it, it was almost 6 p.m.   Yikes!

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