Friday, June 22, 2007

Who is Banksy?

I am not usually one to doubt Wikipedia. I don't care if it is sourced or not my theory is if it is not true some one will change it. But now that articles are sourced my fear is that people a growing lazy and not challenging things.

The article Banksy about the English graffiti artist, sources an article by the BBC to claim that Banksy's real name is Robert Banks. Though I read the article and the source claims that Banksy's name is Rob Banks. Which is a pretty common name but what is funny is if you Google "Rob Banks" instead of getting articles about people you get articles about how to rob banks. In other word how to advice committing bank robbery.

Plus to top it off if you Google "Robert Banks" you get articles that source the BBC article or the Wikipedia article no additional information on Banksy's real name. It seems like a pretty old joke. It reminds me of how my uncle once told me about how he would sign Uben Hadd on any contract he didn't want to sign. My theory is that Rob or Robert Banks is all a ruse. It is another prank pulled off by Banksy on Fergus Colville or by Fergus on the BBC.

Banksy was asked why he clings to anonymity, he said: “So I can do my work without being impeded by arrest.” That motivation is all I would need to not let a reporter have be able to rat me out. In the BBC article Colville claims that he "just phoned up people ... that knew [Banksy] and set up the interview", before Banksy was famous. It seems to me that Banksy would have had the most to louse by revealing who he really was to a reporter that he didn't know before he was famous. People now claim that the anonymity helps fuel his success but before Banksy was famous officials would not have been so likely to take a vote to preserve his work they would have arrested him. So either Colville is some one that Banksy knew back in the day and has betrayed the trust or Colville is in on the scam.

Monday, June 18, 2007

There ought to be limits to freedom

"There ought to be limits to freedom"-George W. Bush

I had always figured that President Bush was using 9-11 to take away our personal freedoms, though I never thought that he would admit that our freedoms should be limited. But while facing "identity correction" by The Yes Men during his campaign on the website Bush said that the website goes beyond humour and "There ought to be limits to freedom..." and that the site's creator is a "a garbage man". I was surprised that there was no outrage from sanitation workers, until I couldn't find a sanitation workers union or trade organization online.

Below is Excerpts for and Associated Press article about the incident. The full article can be read here.

Gov. George W. Bush on Friday sharply criticized a parody of his presidential campaign's Internet web site, calling it ``garbage.''

The site,, is nearly a dead-ringer in style and appearance for the site operated by the Bush presidential exploratory committee and includes the real Bush campaign phone numbers.

However, its ``news'' items about the Republican governor are anything but authorized.

One item, for example, says Bush has ``a bold new policy initiative to free all `grown ups' from federal prisons.''

Bush's committee has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission in Washington over the site, said spokeswoman Mindy Tucker.

``There ought to be limits to freedom,'' Bush said. ``We're aware of the site, and this guy is just a garbage man, that's all he is. Of course I don't appreciate it. And you wouldn't, either.''

The Yes Men
are a group of activists who practice what they call "identity correction". They pretend to be powerful people and spokespersons for prominent organizations, accepting invitations received on their websites to appear at symposiums and TV shows. They use their new found authority to express the idea that corporations and governmental organizations often act in dehumanizing ways toward the public.

Their method is often satire: posing as corporate or government spokespeople, they might make shocking denigrating comments about workers and consumers, then point out what appears to be a lack of shock or anger in the response to their prank, with no one realizing the reactionary rhetoric was only a joke. Sometimes, the Yes Men's phony spokesperson makes announcements that represent dream scenarios for the anti-globalization movement or opponents of corporate crime. The result is false news reports of the demise of the WTO, or Dow paying for a Union Carbide cleanup.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Björk Guðmundsdóttir was born November 21, 1965 in Reykjavík, Iceland. She is best known for her expressive range and an interest in many kinds of music, including pop, alternative rock, jazz, ambient music, electronica, folk, and classical music.

Björk usually goes by her first name only. This is not a stage name or affectation; it is normal for an Icelander to be referred to by his or her first name, as the last name simply indicates the name of the father (or occasionally the mother). See Icelandic naming conventions.

Björk means "a birch tree" in Icelandic . Though many English-speakers pronounce her name "Byork," a more accurate approximation would be "Byirk," which she has pointed out rhymes with "jerk." Guðmundsdóttir is pronounced roughly "GVUTH-muns-doh-tear", and means "Guðmundur's daughter".

Although many have commented on her East Asian/Inuit facial features (she was teased as a child with the taunt 'China girl'), Björk denies any such ancestry.

Björk's musical career began when she was 11. One of her instructors sent a recording of Björk singing Tina Charles' song "I Love to Love" to RÚV, then the only radio station in Iceland. The recording was broadcast on radio nationally; after hearing it, a representative of the record label Fálkinn contacted Björk to offer a record contract.

In her teens Björk was influenced by punk rock; at 14 she formed the all-girl punk band Spit and Snot, shortly followed by a jazz fusion group Exodus in 1979. In 1980 she graduated from music school. In 1981 she and bassist Jakob Magnússon formed another band called Jam-80, which later became Tappi Tíkarrass (which means "Cork the Bitch’s Arse" in Icelandic), and released an extended single, "Bítið Fast í Vítið" in the same year. Their next album, Miranda, was released in 1983.

Afterward Björk collaborated with Einar Örn Benediktsson and Einar Melax from Purrkur Pillnikk, and Guðlaugur Óttarsson, Sigtryggur Baldursson and Birgir Mogensen from Þeyr. After writing songs and rehearsing for two weeks, the new band, KUKL ("sorcery" in Iceland), worked well together, developing a sound described as Gothic rock. Björk began to show indications of her trademark singing style, which was punctuated by howls and shrieks.

The band was eventually dissolved, in part due to the closure of their label, Gramm. In the summer of 1986, several members of KUKL and the surrealist group Medusa got together to create the arts collective Smekkleysa (Bad Taste). They created a musical division, a band called KUKL but soon changed the name to The Sugarcubes. Smekkleysa and the Sugarcubes were officially started on the same day as the birth of Björk's son, Sindri.

The Sugarcubes' first single, "Ammæli" (or "Birthday" in English), became a surprise hit in the UK after being declared single of the week by Melody Maker. The Sugarcubes were immediately signed up by One Little Indian, the new bedroom label set up by Derek Birkett, the former bass player of Flux of Pink Indians. They gained a cult following in the US and UK, and calls from larger record companies began coming in. They rejected all these offers, and instead chose to have complete creative control over vast sums of money by remaining with a friend's label. Even today, Björk remains on this label.

The Sugarcubes also signed a distribution deal with Elektra Records in the United States, and recorded their first album, Life's Too Good, in 1988. Its release propelled them into international stardom — an unprecedented success for an Icelandic rock band. While with the Sugarcubes, Björk participated in several side projects.

She recorded Gling-Gló, a collection of popular jazz and original work, with the jazz group Trio Guðmundar Ingólfssonar, released in Iceland. Björk Guðmundsdóttir & Tríó Guðmundar Ingólfssonar was an Icelandic jazz and bebop music band. The band formed in 1990 when the Björk was still with The Sugarcubes, joined the Tríó Guðmundar Ingólfssonar (Guðmundur Ingólfsson on piano, Guðmundur Steingrímsson (a.k.a. Papa Jazz) on drums and Þórður Högnason on bass). Björk also contributed vocals to 808 State's album Ex:el, with whom she cultivated her interest in house music. The song "Ooops" was released as a single in the UK and was later included on 808 State's best of, "808:88:98". In 1992 The Sugarcubes dissolved as conflicting ambitions split the band; they went into an indefinite hiatus to avoid risking their friendship.

Björk and her partner, artist Matthew Barney, have a daughter, Ísadóra Bjarkardóttir Barney, born October 3, 2002. Björk also has a son, Sindri Eldon Þórsson, born June 8, 1986, with Þór Eldon, who was her bandmate in the Sugarcubes. Sindri is a journalist and plays bass for several bands at present.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Great Events of 1977- Apple II

The Apple II was the first popular microcomputer manufactured by Apple. The Apple II was the first computer many people ever saw, and its price was within the reach of many middle-class families. The most popular model of the Apple II was manufactured with relatively minor changes into the 1990s. Throughout the 1980s and much of the 1990s, the Apple II was the de facto standard computer in American education; some of them are still operational in classrooms today.

Introduced at the West Coast Computer Faire in1977, the Apple II was one of the very first and most successful personal computers. The Apple II's direct ancestor was the Apple I, a limited production circuit board computer for electronics hobbyists which pioneered many features that made the Apple II a commercial success.

The Apple II was popular with business users as well as with families and schools, particularly after the release of the first microcomputer "killer app" the first-ever computer spreadsheet, VisiCalc, which initially ran only on the Apple II.

The Apple II series of computers had an enormous impact on the technology industry and on everyday life. Its popularity bootstrapped the entire computer game and educational software markets and began the boom in the word processor and computer printer markets.

Many businesses bought Apple IIs just to run VisiCalc, because it was the only spreadsheet available at the time. Apple's success in the home market inspired competitive home computers such as the VIC-20 (1980) and Commodore 64 (1982, with estimated sales between 17 and 25 million units). Through their significantly lower price point, these models introduced the computer to several tens of millions more home users, acquiring most of Apple's market share in the process.

The success of the Apple II in business spurred IBM to create the IBM PC, which was then purchased by middle managers in all lines of business to run spreadsheet and word processing software, at first ported from Apple II versions.

One valuable lesson from the Apple II was the importance of an open architecture to the success of a computer platform. The first Apple IIs shipped with an Apple II Reference Manual containing a complete schematic of the entire computer's circuitry and a complete source listing of the "Monitor" ROM firmware that served as the machine's BIOS (later this guide had to be purchased separately, and in the case of the Apple IIGS, the full technical documentation ran to several volumes).

The Apple II's slots, allowing any peripheral card to take control of the bus and directly access memory, enabled an independent industry of card manufacturers who together created a flood of hardware products that let users build systems that were far more powerful and useful (at a lower cost) than any competing system, most of which were not nearly as expandable and were universally proprietary. Even the game port was unusually powerful and could be used for digital and analog input and output.

Even after the introduction of the Macintosh, the Apple II had remained Apple's primary source of revenue for years: the Apple II and its associated community of third-party developers and retailers were once a billion-dollar-a-year industry. The IIGS model was sold through to the end of 1992. The IIe model was removed from the product line on October 15, 1993, ending an era.

When I first got to play with an Apple IIe when I was 7 or 8 years old I became obsessed with computers. I asked for a computer for my birthday every year until I finally got one when I turned 15. It changed my life. I was able to play video games write my own programs and oddly enough I thought spreadsheet where awesome. The Apple II was one of the many things that where "born" the same year I was that have at least in my mind changed our culture.