You can’t “double your vote” in Australia

On Sunday 2007-08-20, Steve Dalton of the Gold Coast Greens posted the following:

Reposting this excellent cartoon that everyone should see to get an understanding of preferential voting and why it is so important to Vote 1 Green!

Except, of course, it isn’t actually doubling your vote, is it? The ‘S’ in STV is of integral importance to representative democracy: each voter gets a single vote. The Greens do nothing towards increasing constituents’ understanding of our electoral system with phrases like ‘double your vote’; how does this differ (other than in the side of the political watershed on which it falls) from ‘don’t waste your vote’?

I think that the original ‘double your vote’ campaign was (is?) about getting other Americans to enroll (and then, I guess, getting them to vote the same as yourself). At any rate, that’s what the www.doubleyourvote.com website is about.

Cycle Against the Nuclear Cycle

From the CANC3 people:

Bring your bike to Canberra, for the ride toward a nuclear free future.

The Cycle Against the Nuclear Cycle (CANC3) campaign
are arriving in Canberra. They have cycled 2,500 km from Rockhampton, Queensland to spread the message that Australian communities don’t support the nuclear industry.
Continue reading Cycle Against the Nuclear Cycle

Facebook vs. WordPress

The last few weeks have seen a great number of my friends turn to Facebook (and, of course, I know exactly how many). It’s great, it’s exciting, it’s suddenly become so easy to organise things and we can now all talk about Facebookwhen we meet for a coffee at the Front; however, all is not as funky as one might seem…

Don’t misunderstand me here, I’m all in favour of using Facebook — I just don’t think it should be used for everything. It’s great as a procrastination tool, for example, or for stumbling across long-lost friends, or being sent lovely pictures like this:

Picture: Sam got tapes for 35c.

But Facebook is, despite their oh-so-wonderful API, a closed system. We’re all piling our (desperately interesting, I’m sure) personal information into it, and giving no thought to what will happen to that information in the future. I don’t neccessarilly mean the usual conspiracy theories of governmental data-harvesting or derranged stalkers (they probably apply to wherever one is one the web), but what about ideas of cultural artifact preservation? (I know, I know, no one cares…)

Much of Facebook replicates systems that we’ve been using for years. Why, for example, did they have to build their own private messaging system? What’s wrong with email? Could they not have made it all work together — maybe someone will build an IMAP webmail application for Facebook, and prove my objections aimless.

But that’s all beside the point: I’m a geek, and prefer to build my own. An article in Wired started me off thinking about this, and since then I’ve been doing a bit of reading (eg. SNIX), and here’s my skeleton thus far of a distributed, home-grown, open-source, social networking system:

  • Start with a blog. I prefer WordPress, but the point of all this is that by using open standards it really doesn’t matter what software we use. Post whatever you want (images, movies, audio, anything) and enable comments on everything.
  • Collect feeds. Most blogging tools come with in-built support for news feeds of some kind, usually at least RSS and Atom. Create a page on your blog and aggregate all of your friends’ feeds there.
  • Post coming events. With a plugin like Event Calendar you can post future events, and produce a iCalendar feed to which your friends can subscribe. Add another page, to aggregate your friends’ events.

Unfortunately, that’s about where it ends. How does one have ‘Friends’ on a system that doesn’t mandate common software — or common anything save interchange formats?! I don’t know. Maybe Facebook does rock after all…

But I do know that I’d rather be using my own software, with all content remaining under my control at all times; the methods for sharing this with the world are maturing, and before long will be widespread and useable.

Kerrie Tucker’s revamped site

During the last few days I’ve been working with Margo Kingstong and Kate Tucker on porting Kerrie Tucker’s website to WordPress. I’ve also set up the new ACT Greens online merchandise shop, Green Shop. So I’ve probably had about enough of sitting at here at our kitchen table hunched over this laptop; why I’m not out of here I don’t know, but I did just want to mention those things.

Also, I’ve been back in the workshop — getting it ready, at any rate, to be a workshop. That’s a bit exciting.

But enough for now, I must get to the coop.