Posts from January 2004

Digital boonies

Digital boonies
: Bad news on the Iraq blogging front: Ays and Omar — dentists, like Zeyad — have been assigned to a town built on mud without likely internet access.

A day in the life of a new democracy

A day in the life of a new democracy
: John Galt, blogging from the CPA in Baghdad, tells us about a typical day building a democracy:

Prayer call over the speakers of Baghdad’s ancient mosques at 5:45 a.m. usually wakes me up a little earlier than I’d prefer to get up. I’m a light sleeper so I stay awake. The faintest fingers of the sunrise begin to wiggle through the window….

I’m warm and dry, unlike many soldiers. There are no chairs or tables in the trailer but I don’t need them and can’t fit them inside….

By 6:30 a.m. I head to my office in the palace….

The palace is as huge as a Hollywood set and it’s pretty but without function–pure fantasy. Inside it is huge empty non-functional halls of polished marble and vaulted ceilings….

I zip into my little office in the north wing, west side. The west side is the rocket side but Baghdad Bob usually manages to overshoot and land in the river….

About 1,500 people work in the palace. That may seem like a large group, but it is pitifully small given the task of repairing the entire country after so much neglect, building the infrastructure, and creating policy and procedure, all while trying to stay safe….

Around 6 p.m. you check in with those at home. It’s now 9 a.m. at home. Read the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and even catch some morning shows on Armed Forces TV via your computer. Staying connected–that’s what helps keep us sane….

This is Ground Hog country. Every day can easily be indistinguishable from the other days before and after. Progress through days and days of hard work can be measured in inches at the CPA HQ, knowing that it causes huge and hopefully positive changes in the safety and lives of our citizens in uniform and for the newly freed Iraqi people.

Read it all.

Iraq, a technology frontier

Iraq, a technology frontier
: Doc Searls sends us to a Linux Journal piece arguing that Iraq is a blank technology slate (and thus fertile ground for Linux, they say).

It is a blank slate for so much more.

I’ve argued, of course, that it is a great breeding ground for weblogs, as Zeyad and company have now proven.

Forward-thinking American companies should see Iraq as a proving ground for all kinds of technology: broadband, wireless, cellular, ISP… and for technology work and education. So should the government. So should foundations.

Kerry Dupont — who’s working on something exciting to help the Iraqi bloggers (more on that very soon) — has a great idea about forming a nonprofit to provide technology to bloggers and journalists in Iraq and other developing democracies. I would get behind that and I hope computer companies would, too.

We need to stop thinking just about today’s problems in Iraq but also about tomorrow’s potential. Look at Zeyad’s new photo today from a Baghdad computer cafe: This is a nation dying to delve into technology. Helping them helps their economy and thus their politics and security and thus our political agenda and our business. Everybody wins.

Iraq should be a technology frontier.

Feed of feeds

Feed of feeds
: UPDATE: Nevermind everything below. I got it screwed up and Lisa straightened me out. I confused two different lists and features.

Turns out that, of course, Dave created exactly what I wanted: Anybody can go here and upload OPML (feed of feed lists). Thanks, Dave.

: Dave Winer started a compilation of the RSS feeds people in his RSS group use — and that’s only the people he allows in. That’s an awfully closed loop. So the results are quite predictable. Interesting, but predictable.

I’d be much more interested in seeing what a wider group reads — RSS reading being an interesting indicator of habitual vs. occasional reading. Here’s hoping that Dave does that, too.


: A German blog book.