The backlight on my work computer died, so I had to send it in to Hewlett Packard for repair, thus making it more difficult to follow my New Year’s resolution to write blog entries every day.
I finished Greg Egan’s “Permutation City” today. Read on the recommendation of science fiction writer and EFF colleague Cory Doctorow, it was a fascinating exploration of the possibilities of storing human consciousness inside computers and the possibility of transcendence of computer hardware and reality as we know it. I followed Egan’s point although I’m still unclear on how the universe actually separates from its hardware underpinnings by “gathering dust” or whatever. Anyone care to comment?
Praveen and I had a great discussion of the book, along with concepts such as nanotechnology, fabricators, quantum computing, and quantum cryptography. He lost his contracting job today, so plans to spend more time doing projects related to the Online Policy Group.
One of those projects is to design an online voting system that the Tech Fed and the California Coalition for Civil Rights could use for organizational decisionmaking, since both are coalitions that need a mechanism for tabulating votes on various issues, along with comments from each organization on why it voted the way it did. Long term, it would be even better to have a system that facilitated consensus process online, provided verification of voter identity, and permitted proportional voting schemes for elections of officers or whatever. The nonprofit world has yet to benefit from one of the most basic benefits that networked applications could provide.
Preparations for a trip to Brazil to attend “Living After Capitalism” in association with the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre are going well. I managed to get the air ticket using United frequent flyer miles and I’ve applied for a U.S. passport renewal. The passport was supposed to be ready yesterday since I paid a heft expedite fee, but it hasn’t arrived yet. Hotel reservations are theoretically complete, although not with a high confidence level. Once I have the passport, I should be able to get a Brazilian visa, which now costs $100 in retaliation for a price increase of U.S. visas for Brazilians. I’ve started learning a bit of Brazilian Portuguese as well.