All posts by max

Circle Packing at Art Murmur

As part of sudoroom Art Murmur in August 2012, I decided to bring circle packing to the masses.

Here’s how I structured the game, and how you could build from it.


  • The game pieces consisted of 3 sizes of circles at 2.5cm 5cm and 8cm radii.
  • I was experimenting with the right point attribution for each. As shown the point values are 1, 3, and 8 respectively.
  • The maps were drawn by Anca Mosoiu of TechLiminal, and included the standard square, the African continent, and a silhouette of a meditating Buddha (pictured).


  • Participants compete head-to-head,
  • and are given 30-seconds,
  • to lay down non-overlapping circles,
  • within the drawn boundary.
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Island Hopping the Data Archipelago

iSchool at Berkeley was a department I revered during my time there lurking in the backs of lecture rooms for special events and timidly knocking on Professor doors, which is why I was so honoured when they invited me to guest-speak at the infamous Friday Seminar. On August 24th 2012, in front of 20 attendees I talked about my latest passion, creating bidirectional links between Wikipedia and other online databases by link reciprocation.  Vivian Petras gave a suitable opening talk about Europeana language problems form a half-technical perspective, which made a suitable segue into my talk, “Data Archipelago.”

Unknowing on how much to delve into details of still-in-review VIAFbot, I attempted to strike a middle ground by describing how VIAFbot would work, and subsequently what that could mean for the future of connecting what I call Data Islands.… Read the rest

Malaria vs. iPad, 5 years on.

Searching through my draft blogs I find that the earliest is un-annotated, but prophetic collection of quotes I compiled in 2011. They are from Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography, that too-strong dose of propaganda that turned me off of the mystique of supposedly messianic  technology. (Perhaps I don’t give enough weight to the fact that it was the first and last book that I read entirely on a laptop). I admit I was – and still am – wooed by the allure of technolust, but at that moment, I stopped seeing computational progress as a deliverance and started seeing it blunt tool, often overdressed.… Read the rest

Profiled by Wikimedia Sweden

Axel Pettersson is a well-bearded Swede who feels equally at home at the stern of his clipper and editing Wikipedia from within the arctic circle. He’s also a blogger extraordinaire, having given interviews for Wikimedia with Nobel prize winners, at the Nobel prize ceremony.

Most recently he’s collected profiles of what I’d like to imagine as a sort of Wikimedia dream team. I’d like to thank him for including me in that cohort.

From the article:

Som en del av det ansvarade dom för en intressant förkonferens om Wikipedia loves Libraries dagen innan Wikimania började.

Part of the responsible organization for an interesting pre-conference of the Wikipedia Loves Libraries days before Wikimania started.

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What First Monday is missing.

Killer Features: The Vitality of Piracy Cultures


University of California, Berkeley




As experienced facilitators of an undergraduate discussion course on The Politics of Piracy, the authors are uniquely positioned to contribute analyses of several, specific Piracy Cultures. Questions about the relationships between content creators and consumers are posed to two self-identified pirates, each members of piracy groups. The results indicate creator-consumer relationships are present, but are merely one in a set of crucial motivations for piracy–elements herein called killer features. One case study delves into the world of LUElinks, a private linksharing community that is as much social network as media provider.… Read the rest

The distance from a Bikini Carwash

Perusing the Jerusalem last night, unwittingly in my Wikipedia sweatshit, I was asked about my donation this year. On the tail of my positive response I richoceted the question. “Yes,” he responded “you had the picture of the cute girl [on the banner].”

Internal measurements of banner ad effectiveness are well examined in the Wikimedia foundation. If it’s found that pictures of attractive young female editors sell donations faster, should that be exploited. Or is sexism for a good cause, still sexism?… Read the rest

Editing Girl Talk

There’s a problem on Wikipedia, one that I am, as a male, not entirely qualified to answer, but has nonetheless incessantly perturbed me. Women have been statistically shown to edit Wikipedia far less than their population proportion would suggest. As noted in Good Faith Collaboration by Joseph Reagle, an encyclopedia reflects it’s authorship. Naturally the question arises, what can be done about the gender gap? I contend there is a glimmer of hope in finding a solution and the first ray shone on my face from the LCD when facebook news fed me this picture.

Katie, a student of the Wikipedia Education Program in her proud post showed that something was happening correctly.… Read the rest

Don’t Even Bother Asking About The Microwave

“No – your refrigerator is too low-fidelity to be counted as a phonograph: it cannot reproduce sounds at all.” (Hofstadter 406). This retort in Goedel Escher Bach from Achilles to the Tortoise represents the crux of the argument between Zen and the Pragmatist. While Achilles reacts sensibly to the inaudability of the cold plastic disk, isn’t the Tortoise in competition for Zen practitioner of the year?

In my most recent involvement with self-appointed subculture, the Zorba Festival, the nerve centre of all Negev Desert chill-outs, I lost a similar battle but wouldn’t know it until too late. The tent was in fact patchwork canvas over a geodesic dome, the time late, and the attendees personified bric-a-brac.… Read the rest

Lessons from Songles

On the last page of Jaron Lanier’s You Are Not A Gadget: A Manifesto,typically where you expect some encompassing conclusion, you will receive the baffling premonition of, “I imagine a virtual saxophone-like instrument in virtual reality with which I can improvise both golden tarantulas and a bucket with all the red things. If I knew how to build it now, I would, but I don’t.”


Which if you have read all the pages as well as the last one, in true order, you will find to be fitting conclusion. For the manifesto is much more a poorly meshed attempt to collect his small findings, gigs, opinions and brainstorms since his day prototyping Virtual Reality in the 80s.… Read the rest


Should you take someone else’s advice to trust yourself?


Case 1:

Suppose yes. Then you should take someone’s advice to trust yourself. So you should trust yourself. But if you trusted yourself you wouldn’t take someone else’s advice. Contradiction.

Case 2:

Suppose no. Then you should not take someone’s advice to trust yourself. So you should not trust yourself. If should not trust yourself then you ought to take other people’s advice. Contradiction.


Since both yes and no to this question lead to contradiction then the question presents a paradox. Q.E.D.

 … Read the rest