Welcome Doug Tygar to the blogosphere!


Link: http://tygar.blogspot.com/

UC Berkeley SIMS and EECS professor, Doug Tygar has just started a blogger blog: tygar-blog.

Using MSN Messenger with Gaim on Mac OS X


Link: http://alphamonkey.org/view.php?type=notes&id=309

UPDATE [2005-05-09 18:45:06]: I'm putting this update at the top as it's the most important. Forget all the crap below... you should just use fink to install gaim-ssl. Open a terminal and type:

fink install gaim-ssl

and you'll be compiling away. This will not save you any time (other than that you may waste looking around for all the things below), as it has to commpile a lot of stuff. Plus, you'll then have an easy way to install gaim plugins like AutoProfile.

If you're trying to talk to people via MSN Messenger through Gaim, you'll want to read these directions:

Since gaim now uses gnutls (or mozilla-nss, depending on who you talk to) to connect to MSN, and since I consider myself a pseudo-documentor of gaim, I thought I should see if I could get it up and running on OS X, specifically, Panther (10.3.1).

Since I managed to get gnutls up and running with a little bit of a struggle, I thought I would document how I did it, to make life easier for the next poor bastard who might have to do the same thing.

eed to pick up the following updated software (GnuTLS) and the 1.0 release of libgpg-error. Complie libtasn before gaim.

(Note: you might need a few other things before this works... this worked for me but I'm a nerd and have lots of software (like X11 and GTK+) installed.)

UPDATE [17:32]: Don't forget to use the latest Gaim source.

UPDATE [2005-04-27 08:45:37]: As suggested by a commentor below, I just tried Adium X (pronounced like stadium) and decided to stick with Gaim. Why? Well, Adium doesn't support IRC... and I'm not sure why. Also, I can't seem to reset my MSN messenger password (It really is amazing that anything with "Micrsosoft" written on it works).

Changing behavior of tab in FireFox


(disclaimer: this is not really a hack... just an obfuscated setting.)

So, one of the tiny things that has bugged me ever since I moved from Mozilla to Firefox is that using the tab key wouldn't let me completely navigate a web page with form data in it. However, with the latest Mozilla Links Newsletter they mention the key:

  1. Open Firefox and type about:config in the location bar.
  2. Find the Preference Name called accessibility.tabfocus.
  3. Change it according to the following:

    • 1 : Text field form controls only
    • 2 : All form controls except text fields
    • 3 : All form controls
    • 4 : Hyperlinks and hyperlinked images
    • 7 : All form controls and hyperlinks

My sweet spot is 3.

NYT: Making Votes Count - Be Part of the Solution

elections, reform, news

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/11/opinion/11mon1.html

For all the law students out there who would like to know how they, specifically, can help on Election Day:

This year, for the first time, there is also a nationwide nonpartisan election-monitoring program being run by a coalition of public interest groups, which include the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and People for the American Way Foundation. Election Protection (www.electionprotection2004.org) will be putting volunteers on the ground in states like Florida and Ohio to distribute voters' bills of rights and identify and report problems at the polls. These groups say that volunteers will be trained to provide immediate help to voters who have problems, and will also have access to roving teams of lawyers, who will be prepared to go to court if necessary. Volunteer lawyers are also being recruited to staff a toll-free nationwide hot line (866-OUR-VOTE), answering questions and fielding reports of trouble. There is a special program coordinating law-student volunteers, Impact2004 (www.impact2004.org), which is providing them with low-cost transportation to the swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

w00t! VV gets a shout out.

Verifiedvoting.org, a leading critic of electronic voting in its current form, has started up an election protection program called TechWatch, which hopes to sign up thousands of volunteers, particularly computer scientists. TechWatch says its volunteers will observe the pre-election "logic and accuracy" done on the voting machines, watch actual voting on Election Day and then monitor the postelection vote counting. The goal is not only to identify electronic voting problems in this election, but to also start developing a database that can be used to evaluate and improve electronic voting in the future.

chimerically: Genevieve Bell - ethnography, technology, and Intel

blogging, SIMS

Link: http://www.livejournal.com/users/chimerically/54741.html

Morgan is another great addition to the SIMS student body.

If you get a mobile phone in Malaysia, it'll come with Islamic applications. A popular mobile phone program tells you when to pray, and tells you which direction to point (optionally with the help of GPS, or just based on the cell you're in). You can find Mecca from 5,000 cities around the world, hear the call from Mecca, and hear parts of Koran read to you.


Until one does fieldwork Africa, the value of infrastructure isn't always obvious. West African countries are in an interesting place to think about technological infrastructure. When they tried installing phone lines, the copper fibers kept being dug up and sold for scrap. Some of the fastest growing markets for mobile phones are in Africa. The ways mobile phones are being used are not what you'd anticipate. One common practice is "flashing" (called "peeping" in Morocco, relating to the way people communicated by fire on mountaintops), where one calls and hangs up before the receiving party answers. While this is generally reserved for pranks in the U.S., in Africa it's a form of free communication, since caller ID will tell you who was calling. In Nairobi, a study found that 90% of phone calls weren't being answered. Some develop flashing codes - for example, two rings may mean "where are you," one ring "I'll be there soon."

So all of this means that we need to think differently about what computers can and should do around the world. The U.S. is an outlier when it comes to individuality. In other places, the "smallest unit of personhood" isn't always the individual: people may have notions of themselves individually, but the fact that they're part of organizations such as families or religions is much more important. Sometimes families just have a collection of cell phones anyone in the family can take - if you're an outsider, anyone can answer because everyone knows a lot about others, and if you're an insider, you don't need to call, you "already know anyway." How can computers be designed for use by groups of people?

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