Archive for the ‘Democracy’ Category

Friday, January 16th, 2009

BUG+IDEO – Reinventing the BUG UI with your help

Today, we’re excited to announce a new project we’re kicking off with IDEO, a well known international design and innovation firm.  Taking cues from everything we’ve seen in the community, our own experiences with new and emerging interface technologies and your direct input, we hope to gather several new ideas on how we can re-envision user interaction with the BUGbase.  Essentially, we are going to build on the great work done to-date by our original design partner ECCO Design and explore an area of our product that we think has a ton of potential – the BUGbase user interface.

So, we want *your* feedback!  IDEO has agreed to do this project in the open, which is a new approach for them, and we’re hoping it leads to superior results for Bug Labs and the BUGcommunity.  We don’t have a fancy name (yet) for this process, and we’re still working on the specifics for collecting your input.  But since everything we do is based on community participation, we are big fans of the idea, and naturally open to all your suggestions.

Over the next two weeks both companies will be posting their ideas and reporting on progress, via this blog and  At every point in this cycle we would love to get your thoughts on the work-to-date, and at the end we will publish our findings, which again we welcome your thoughts on.

The whole point of this exercise is to continue to push the boundaries of how we innovate, not just on the BUGbase UI, but on all things related to BUG.  We take pride in thinking our designs are good, but we also know they are exponentially better when the community gets involved.

Thanks in advance for your participation in this fun new project, and stay tuned for updates!

Thursday, September 6th, 2007

Big Win – Golan v. Gonzales

This is a big step in the right direction.  The whole copyright and patent process in this country is in dire need of revision.  But the process is so daunting that I was beginning to lose hope that we had the ability to address it.  This case, described very well by Prof. Larry Lessig here, is a great confidence booster.  Lessig’s awesome book, Free Culture, is a good primer on the whole subject too.  It’s a shame the copyright issue is wrapped up in such legalese.  I’m convinced that if more people just understood the basic freedoms that were at stake we’d all be making much more noise about it.

Friday, April 20th, 2007

Death of Proprietary Culture

The title is a snippet of the article entitled "Freeing the Mind: Free Software and the Death of Proprietary Culture" by Eben Moglen.  I highlight the second half of the title because I believe we tend to overlook the fact that the whole spirit of open source extends far beyond Linux, the GPL, and all the other software applications and activities.  It’s really more about information where ever it is and how no one has the right to restrict access to it.  It’s a huge message.  Read the article and I think you’ll be enlightened – as I definitely was.

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

In Support of Sustainability, Part 1

Last week in Slate there was an article about a book called Dream, by
Stephen Duncombe, which looks at the
failings of the contemporary progressive movement. According to the
article, Duncombe argues that modern-day progressives need a
"spectacle" rooted in "story and myth,
fears and desire, imagination and fantasy."  Bush’s "Mission
Accomplished" aircraft carrier show is used as an example of
conservatives’ understanding of this need.  Similarly, progressives of
the past seem to
have understood this idea.  The author discusses Rosa Parks for
instance–how the act of disobeying a racist law had myth-like

Al Gore and his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, are also mentioned
in the Slate article.  In a way, Al Gore’s personal story is similar to
hero myth–The underdog suffers a humiliating defeat and disappears
from the public eye for a
period of time, presumably to reflect and learn, and then returns to
share what he’s learned in the hope of helping the world.
His documentary is a true example of the type of spectacle Duncombe
describes.  The film juxtaposes Gore’s personal story with the story of
the planet.  The shared mythological undertones demonstrate the
connectedness of
the planet with human life and the uniqueness of humanity.  Yet, for
better or for worse, the film plays on our darker emotions such as
fear.  How powerful fear is!  A point reiterated by the chilling
spectacle of Gore raising himself up on
a lift to show us how carbon dioxide levels are literally off the
chart.  He shocks us with before and after pictures of receding
glaciers and then asks us to imagine what will happen if our sea levels
rise 20 feet.

Clearly, spectacle can be a
powerful way to promote whatever ideas one wishes to further, provided
that in some way the spectacle is tied to
mythology and our collective dreams.  Duncombe might call a spectacle
like one that promotes sustainability and environmentalism an ethical
spectacle, one that furthers inclusivity and openness as opposed to
hiding the truth, one that perhaps removes fear from the equation.

I sometimes feel a mythological and dreamlike connection to the
natural enviroment which I attribute to growing up in the foothills of
Adirondack Mountains so I feel there must be a better way to affect
change in the way we live without resorting to scare tactics.  Fear
seems to add fuel to the political fire for an issue that I would like
to see less politicized.  Perhaps the ends justifies the means, but I’m
looking for signs of a different kind of spectacle.