Cold analytical anger, because it takes all kinds

It took me seven years of activism more or less — from 1970 to 1977 — to control and channel my adolescent anger and arrogance.

A personal rant
A personal rant with political overtones

It was hard enough, especially for a teenage activist who saw up close the Marcosian state violence that claimed the lives of fellow street marchers and, under martial law, comrades in the underground. It was an extra challenge, for one who believed he had all the answers in his hands and had the right to lash out at anyone who questioned his political and ideological beliefs.

Let me get that right: This doesn’t mean that angry activism automatically leads to arrogance or blind, brash action. They don’t. This also didn’t mean that, prior to 1977, I was a seething, roiling cauldron of dysfunctional behavior that exploded and splattered onto other people, hurting them in random ways. I wasn’t. Continue reading “Cold analytical anger, because it takes all kinds”

Internet love and nerdy thoughts on a rainy night

Sometimes, like a youth wistfully pining for a lost teenage love on a rainy night like this, I’m stricken by an irrational wish for the online world to revert back to 1992-1994.

Twenty years ago, the BBS community was earthy and robust, and the Internet was young and full of promise. Back then, I was a wide-eyed online newbie fumbling with a 2400-bps modem and AT commands. My computer was a clunky Toshiba laptop running on DOS, with an RJ-11 jack, an RS-232 serial port, and two 3.5″ floppy drives with a total 2.8 Mb active storage space.

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Facebook is just a promenade

Wired to the Internet
Wired to the Internet, live on the Web. Choose to plug into Facebook, or not. It's your choice. (Image from

I’ve been reading and hearing a lot of philosophical analyses and streetwise observations about Facebook—many of them excellent insights but a few mediocre ones too. Twenty years ago the talk was about the Internet itself. Then 10  years ago it was about the explosive growth of the Web. Now everyone’s trying to define social media, especially Facebook.

I think the simplest way to describe Facebook is in terms of road systems. Think of the Internet as a network of roads, originally designed for quick military deployment but soon expanded to accommodate all kinds of civilian use. Now think of the World Wide Web as an immense assortment of useful (and some not so useful) structures—sidewalks, benches, stalls, stores, markets, supermalls, skyscrapers, parks, parking lots, billboards, office and apartment buildings—that proliferated along the more accessible parts of this road system. It’s still based on the underlying road system, but it’s now a fast-growing city.

Continue reading “Facebook is just a promenade”