Monday, February 28, 2005

ngo digital video

EsoDoc 2005 is a unique series of workshops aimed at filmmakers and NGO workers interested in film as a tool for social change. There are only a handful of places on this groundbreaking course so make sure you submit your application on time.

In the 1990's, a World Bank survey asked thousands of the poorest of the poor to identify the biggest hurdle to their advancement. Above even food and shelter, the number one problem cited was access to a "voice". The Video Volunteers project is about giving a voice to the voiceless, and to the people who fight for them.

"Video is an authentic, powerful and honest mass communication media which should be in the hands of common people in a country like ours".


Dan Thurley

I work at Amnesty International's (AI) audio visual production unit. Annually AI release around fifteen video and radio products covering news, education and campaigning. Most are produced in AI's core languages: English, French, Spanish and Arabic.


$995 2 weeks - digital filmaking for ngos

Sunday, February 27, 2005

open source institute

institute for the progression of open
source development

travelling workshops - held at universities
teaching people how to work with open source
development tools.

incubator -
office & living space where open source
developers can be for awhile and just
practice their craft - food, lodging, and
a very small stipend is provided.

we're looking for projects that want
to be incubated

we're looking for people who want
to be incubated

we provide an intense social environment
where the best and most energetic minds
come together to create the future

we have regular seminars in which new
technologies are explored and discussed.

we take a special interest in nurturing
entrepreneurs looking to start businesses
based on open source and humanitarians
developing open source for the common good.

digital video - uncut

im very excited about the state of the new
media industry right now. the technology
has recently opened up to allow fresh ideas
to circulate freely.

its so new tho that nobody really knows
what the new models for video production
and distribution are going to be. opprotunities
are great for people willing to innovate.

i see digital video production potentially
following a similar path to software development
with a great deal of this kind of work moving
towards large talent pools and low costs of
living. mumbai seems like the obvious nexus for
this movement.

i see a great deal of video production that
would really benefit the world in the areas
of education, awareness of current events,
sharing culture and entertainment.

my inclination is to start this process by
producing and distributing video teaching people
how to produce and distribute video. a second
phase of the process i see as connecting these
new video artists with ngos and educators to
facilite the communication of those additional
messages and skills to the world.

there are several important aspects of this
that need to be pioneerd. since the distribution
of these videos will be by non-traditional means
like dvd's and the internet - the packageing and
funding of video projects will also need to be

for a couple of years i have been pushing the
idea of producing dvd magazines - the idea being
to follow the same model as traditional print
magazines being very focused on a particular
niche with in depth articles on current events
for that area, educational tips for using new
techniques to work more effeciently, and promotions
of companies selling products or services into
that community.

my idea had been to begin with magazines for the
new media and technology industries.

see that we are in the very early stages
of this 'revolution' and since the models are
so new there is alot

ive been watching the digital video revolution
coming for a couple of years and have been
pushing this notion of 'video magazines' with
my friends in the industry. video magazines
being similar to tv shows but distributed via
dvd's or internet streaming.

feel at this stage the more i can communicate

in the same way you are evaluating comet media
and what direction you want to take that, i am
evaluating my time in india (and life in general)

i realize not everyone enjoys this dreamy phase
of being, but its one of my favorite pastimes.

and like most dreamers, my constant quest is to
get better at manifesting these dreams in

for a couple of years i've been trying to make

a strong interest of mine is to get

a personal cause of mine is to develop training
videos showing people how to use use new media
technology effectively, and also

im finding focus is an important aspect of
becomeing effective.

i came to india because i feel the low cost
of living makes it possible to

as i said in my origional mail i have a long
standing personal interest in opening up media
communications (and specifically video broadcasting)
to a much larger audience. my investment in
stems from this, as does the year i spent working
with the los angeles filmmakers coop in la.

i see low budget video production growing in
india in the same way low cost software development

what i want to see happen -

training videos educating people in how to
use new media technology effectively.

my personal goals for comet media -
begin production of a dv show

given the low cost of digital video production
and distribution i

as some new technologies (like dave & fcp & low
cost dv cams) make video production & promotion
available to a much wider audience - i see a great
deal of video production work moving to india.


waiting for inspiration for the blog
leads to a fairly stale journal. at
some point i think its probably valueable
to hold the volume somewhat constant
and let the quality vary according with

im writing from a more local net cafe
near colabra, mumbai. im sure its much
less expensive than the 80p / hr we
were paying at the spot on the main st.

when first got here there was only one
computer of 10 in a 150 sq. ft space
available, so i went for a walk. we're
in the back alleys which are very alive
with commerce and children. people seem
to be living their life.

the area is basically a shanti town that
extends out by the harbor. is a beautiful
piece of land, but completely devoid of
traditional services. i walked along the
water front until i got to a section that
looked like the general toilet for the
whole community.

walking back i stopped to chat with some
kids hanging out in a tented temple like
area. a picture of a yogi with long dread
locks rested in the center surrounded by
flowers. the kids said it was baba's birthday
and they were to have a festival for him
tonight. they were stoked on my dreads and
shiva t-shirt and encouraged me to come back
at 5 for the parade, bhajans, prasad, and chillum.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

return to prayer

thank you for your song momma

there is this returning to god
that i experience sometimes
this reminder of what im doing
or more importantly - why.

that reminder
that bringing back to god
is what i miss
not having some organized religion
or its regular rituals
of returning focus to god

the internet cafe im in now
is muslim run
and there's a prayer rug in a corner
where an old man performs his prayers

its a lost part of the old world
this constant blaring
cathedral bells and mosque loud speakers
calling to prayer

An Exuberant Declaration of Faith

Psalms 27 - mixed with song by Virginia Atkin

A Psalm of David.

The LORD is my light and my salvation;Whom shall I fear?The LORD is the strength of my life;Of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When the wicked came against me To eat up my flesh,My enemies and foes,They stumbled and fell. 3 Though an army may encamp against me,My heart shall not fear;Though war may rise against me,In this I will be confident.

O Lord, You saw my darkness

You saw the chaos of my soul

You hovered over me with kindness

Waiting for the time to show

Your love

Your great power

Your great mercy

If I would but believe

You spoke the word of revelation

And light was shed abroad within me

The light of the knowledge of Your Son

Given on calvary

In love

In great power

In great mercy

For all who would believe

The enemies of my soul

Who tore at me night and day

Were hushed to stunned silence

By your glorious array

Your love

Your great power

Your great mercy

Shining upon my new belief

4 One thing I have desired of the LORD,That will I seek:That I may dwell in the house of the LORDAll the days of my life,To behold the beauty of the LORD,And to inquire in His temple. 5 For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion;In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me;He shall set me high upon a rock.

6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.

7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice!Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. 8 When You said, "Seek My face,"My heart said to You, "Your face, LORD, I will seek." 9 Do not hide Your face from me;Do not turn Your servant away in anger;You have been my help;Do not leave me nor forsake me,O God of my salvation. 10 When my father and my mother forsake me,Then the LORD will take care of me.

To seek You Lord and find You

Is the secret treasure of my soul

To find the pleasure of Your Presence

Is better to me than gold

Better to me than wine

More precious to me than gold

More dear to me than my very self

I would give all to know

I would give all to know

I would give all to know

You more

To cry out to you in trouble

And find Your comfort flood my soul

To experience Your beauty

You’ve become my goal

You’ve released me from the bondage

Of a self-perfecting strife

You shed Your blood to cleanse me

And make something holy of my life

My searching for true righteousness

Was leading everywhere

But in the light of Your countenance

My pride of effort is laid bare

And I see

The gift You give

It is free

In You I live

So I relinquish all now that I’ve found you

And I turn my heart to faith

A know you are my Saviour

And it’s you that I embrace

Nothing to prove

God, You’ve done it all

In the face of Jesus Christ

You’ve restore us from the fall

Freed from the chaos of the search

My spirit soars so free

Safely covered by Your righteous hand

Jesus Christ is all to me

I am free

To know Thee

To seek Your face

And the eternal unfolding of Your Grace.

I am now in Your care

I can trust in You

To get me where

I inherit all you have for me

11 Teach me Your way, O LORD,And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies. 12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;For false witnesses have risen against me,And such as breathe out violence. 13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORDIn the land of the living.

14 Wait on the LORD;Be of good courage,And He shall strengthen your heart;Wait, I say, on the LORD!

Many are the thoughts that assail me

Enticing me to run

In the ways of those around me

Who do not know or treasure Your dear Son

O anchor of my soul

Steadfast rock on which I stand

Let my thoughts be so established

That I make no god of man

Make me a light

Of the true knowledge of Christ

Let it shine so bright

That it frees others from the night

You’ve made a sanctuary for You in my heart

You undergird me so I may know Your love

You satisfy me with heavenly things

And set my affections on what is above

So I wait on You

As a servant, his master

As a beloved son, his father

As a weaned child at his mother’s breast

I wait on You


Sunday, February 20, 2005


we finally found a cyber cafe open late
was about the 10th one we visited in this
mile strip walking away from our hotel by
nehru place.

ive noticed this flocking instinct within
me, the tendency to blend and move with
my environment and those immediately around

after 6 weeks of super independence
im diggin the company.

Saturday, February 19, 2005


im still in delhi
toby flew in yesterday
and i moved from tarun's apartment
to into a hotel with toby

im finding it difficult to engage in
any "productive" activity while im
bouncing around so much and dependant
on other people's schedules.

im definitely feeling the need to pick
a spot and root for awhile.

tuesday we're planning to head to mumbai.

i've lost all track of the $log
that and blogging regularly benefit
from having a routine.

the $s have escalated wildly.
im now sharing a 2700rp / night
hotel and eating room service
regularly. the meals ive been
having here in delhi generally
cost twice what i was paying in

im sure their are cheap places in
delhi too, but thats not how ive
been living.

will be interesting approaching mumbai
reputation holds it as one of the more
expensive cities in india. its the financial
and media center. part of me is attracted to
that kind of contcentrated energy, and it
feels like the place to be for getting
internet tv type things going.

we'll see ...

Thursday, February 17, 2005

outsourced respect

a year ago i worked with a couple very jr
programmers from calcutta on a project for
a company based in oregon managed by someone
in florida. i was in la.

the indian programmers were making between
$100 - $150 / mo. they were bright, humble &
eager. they also took so much direction that
i ended up deciding i wasn't ready to make that
investment and i completed the the project myself.

my take away was that there's this whole wave
of programmers here that saw the internet boom,
decided to study computers in school and are
graduating now.

i think the idea was right, tho my math was off.

this wave started hitting the work force
3 or 5 years ago. maybe tide is a better word :)

hanging out with tarun here in delhi, im getting
in touch with the more senior part of this scene.
people who've been working for start-ups and big
us companies for 5 years and at this point are on
par with senior programmers in the bay area.

the 'new economy' revolution was also a youth
revolution. a great deal of the code that makes
the internet interesting has been developed by
people well under 30. the meritocracy that let
the kids from the states in, is now expanding to
the world.

i like the age we're living in :)

heavenly heart

via omar :)

Friday, February 11, 2005

a space for new media practices

cruising around india i've connected
with the people running a small new
media center in mumbai (bombay)

they're looking at getting a larger
space - possibly an old movie house
or some such thing and puting together
a new media institute with workshops
teach people to use new media tools
and a venue for their exposure.

im kind of excited cause it may represent
another opprotunity to do a lafco like thing
but with 2 years of experience, a partner
with organizational and administrative skills,
and an incredibly low cost of living.

one of the main projects im advocating
is to hire and train some people to produce
a line of educational videos. possibly
begining with instruction for 'new media'
skills - video, audio, web production
and then expanding into a wider range of

im hoping that given the prices of things
over here we can actually do some things
we wouldn't be able to in LA, ie.
demonstrate key points with motion graphics
annimation and such.

im also hoping to translate materials into
as many languages as practical.

i havne't been to bombay yet, so im getting
alittle ahead of myself

but its a fun thought anyway

linux asia (new delhi)

im meeting some interesting people in delhi
thru the good graces of tarun (
and the linuxasia conference i attented the
day after i arrived in town.

after giving his keynote, the ceo of redhat
walked off the stage and seeing a scruffy
white kid in jeans amidst all the indians in
suits he stopped, shook my hand, and told me
i was in the right place.

it had that kind of feeling.
i told some people the feeling reminded me
of the energy in the silicon valley when the
net economy was booming and we all felt like
we were going to make it.

one fellow said he was there too, and its not
quite that big, the funding isn't there. seems
the lack of a vc scene is keeping everyone
working for international service centers.

recounting how the energy ebbed in the bay area
after the crash and recognizing it wax here,
there's this real sense of opprotunity popping
up in different places around the planet, and the
jet set possibility of following it.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

200 rupees

2 / 2
16p - internet
40p - chocholate crepe + coffee crunch ice cream

120p - auto rickshaw auroville - pondicherry
55p - bus pondy - chennai
4p - bus chennai bus terminal to chennai train
for which they gave me a small purple piece of
paper which has never been asked for before
200p - officers when i got off the bus demanded
to see the purple piece of paper, which i had
lost somehow on the trip. when i couldn't produce
it they demanded $500p or they'd take me to the
station. i got them down to 200p. i could have
got them lower if i'd been prepared to show them
the contents of my wallet.

i sorta feel cheated, except that 200p comes to
about $5. in san jose one time i wasn't sure about
the electric tram fee and a lady cop stopped me
when i got off and demanded to see a similarly
obscure piece of paper. she gave me a $127 ticket
for my remiss which turned into a warrant which
got me pulled over and taken to jail in albany
while they sorted it out.

i prefer the indian system.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

american pavillion

from a letter to a fellow
i met at arcosanti several
years ago about some ideas
for a sub community in auroville.


great running into you just now.

while its still hot in my mind
i'd like to run a couple of ideas
by you that i've had for a project
like this.

economics -
community needs to have some economic
industry which justifies, maintains,
and grows the community at some level.
Technology can provide this basis. if
we can create a healthy environment in
which tech workers can be productive
there is the possibility of generating
$ necessary to grow the project into
something substantial.

i see software development, web development,
video & audio production being core

primary clients would be american &
european so we'd be a definite profit center
for the overall community.

infrastructure -
to do this we just need reliable internet
connectivity, reliable power, and some air
conditioned rooms to work in.

education -
while providing a healthy environment for IT
workers to operate, i think it would be very
good to provide courses, workshops, internships
training people in these skills. again i see
focusing these courses on software development,
network operations, video & audio production.
the goal should be that we should be able to
find decently paid work for someone who completes
the courses.

culture -
im super into having a cafe with wireless
internet connectivity where people can hang
out, listen to good music, and work on their
laptops if they like. especially as we get
audio and video production going i'd like
this to be a venue where dj's & vj's can
show there stuff.

architecture -
im stoked on the arcosanti connection, because
i think this has the potential to grow into
a large thing, and i think we should increase
in altitude and density rather than creating
another suburb.

i think the pallet racks i mentioned are
extremely good for providing quick, dense,
inexpensive temporary shelter. because its
freestanding we can move it at any time as
we put more permanent structures in place.
we may even be able to use it to support
the formwork for building much larger concrete

me -
i went to uc santa cruz, studied computer
science, worked for the first internet music
start-up, sun microsystems, and then did my
own start-up with a partner from sun. we
raised venture capital built a
35 person company which we sold to excite @
home for alot of stock which became worthless
over the next year.

when the market crashed i took off to travel
and figure somethings out for myself. i went
to arcosanti. i lived on the beach in kauai,
hawaii for 6 months while going to massage
school. i connected with the 'los angeles
filmmakers coop' ( in los angeles
and with them created a community space for
helping independent filmmakers do their thing.
last year i got this very large warehouse in
downtown LA in which i tried to create a
'technology incubator' < space to support
people trying to start technology or media
companies. i feel this didn't succeed in part
because the cost of living in los angeles is
too high for people to really be able to do
innovative, artistic, or altruistic projects.
so im moving to india. there is some momentum
towards basing out of calcutta because it has
one of the largest, densest, educated populations
in india, as well as one of the lowest cost of
livings. i'll probably persue this path for
awhile, but im very interested in how to create
a environmentally / healthy sustainable corporate
culture and not just a profitable one.

Friday, February 04, 2005


$ log 2/2
128p - internet
500p - 2 mantra cds krishna produced
60p - phone call to calcutta
500p - 30 min phone call to usa
960p - contribution to the farm fund

last night on the farm we had 'discussion'
where krishna read some spiritual philosophy
from 'i am that' and then we talked about it

was nice, not a big deal, but cool to set
the intention and hold that space for a bit.

talking to krishna later about it, he says
he can notice a subtle shift in the community
when they do that regularly.

tomarro , we do a puja for krishna's mantra
chanting cd release. sunday i take the train
to delhi.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

$ log

32p internet
35p cake & ice cream

537p sleeper class train ticket chennai to delhi
14p rice lunch at train station
14p coke & peanut brittle cookies

soap over smtp

on his website
amir says that providing asynchronous
internet access to remote regions is
over 100 times cheaper than providing
full time wireless connectivity.

this rings true for me, with the cost
decreasing with the inverse of the

so it seems clear that the majority of
the next 2 billion people to come online
will use an asynchronous internet connection
to begin with.

this sentiment is the basis for amir's
company - - which is
an outgrowth of technology developed at
MIT - daknet

and the Technology & Infrastructure for
Emerging Regions (TIER) group at berkeley.
which is also where i found a link to the
Delay Tolerant Networking Research Group

i wrote melissa ho
asking her about using soap over smtp as a framework
to develop applications to be used in this environment.
she says "SMTP fails to address issues in routing and
failure, and poses other problems. DTNRG has developed
an alternative".

my sense is still that applications need to be
written with the understanding that they may be
opperating in an asynchronous environment - for
usability reasons as much as anything else.

i guess this doesn't necessitate the use of soap
tho the high latency tends towards including much
more data in each request. so it makes sense to
structure the data in xml for readability and a
variety of other reasons, and we're rewriting the
apps anyway.

my high level point here
is that there's alot of work
porting applications to operate in this environment,
and porting applications to soap.

part of my excersize here in india, is looking
for problems which require a large amount of manpower.

here's some links i found on the web

postman net - i like it :)

pop - you'll like the picture if nothing else

not related, but clean water efforts
deserve all the attention they can get

in the belly

yesterday i took care of the only errands
requiring me to leave auroville. i rode on
the back of damien's scooter as we navigated
our way into pondicherry to buy train tickets.

pondy feels like a bustling little city, alittle
bigger than santa cruz, but some similar sense
of waves crashing with some small industry.

there was a moment there on the back of the bike
where i completely let go of knowing anything
about what im doing. there really isn't a whole
lot of pressure for me to get the development
center going, or even to return to calcutta. maybe
im supposed to start my thing in pondicherry. maybe
i should hire a guide buy a motorbike and start
scouting the country - hyderabad, amritapuri, ...

is a fun feeling, this sense of complete unknowing,
realizing that the small guidelines that i've been
operating under (going to delhi for the linuxasia
conference 2/9, then going to calcutta to set up a
development center) are totally self imposed and
imaginary. if i just stayed in auroville no
one would be particularly suprised.

so there was a moment, and i've had lots of these
in the last few years, of wondering whether this
was it, whether i am here now. is this "home".

and the message came back, that it wasn't. that
this chapter is about getting inside the internet
mind, learning how to apply massive amounts of
educated talent - awareness - to the development
of the internet, and the healing and growth that
can come from it. this chapter is about going into
the belly of human density and seeing what can be
done there.

there will come another chapter surrounded by trees
instead of buildings, when my hands spend more
time in the dirt than on the keyboard. but it isn't
yet. there's still too much ambition in my head.