“iDisk Not in Sync”

I was on the verge of writing a rather glowing account of the joys of going “All in with iDisk” when I have encountered a persistent error message: *iDisk not in sync*. Here is the text of that message from the Console:

3/30/10 10:12
/Info.woa/wa/XMLRPC/accountInfo (FAILED), httpStatusCode:-1,
errorType:106 (domain=AYErrorDomain, code=2),
transactionState:5, txnId:694B8C79-C874-4ED3-A7E1-F5690D9DE75F,



My friend Jason Jackson has invited me to join him and a few others in trying out a new presentation format at this year’s annual meeting of the American Folklore Society. The format is called [*PechaKucha*](http://www.pecha-kucha.org/) and it’s one of the many X slides in Y minute formats — apparently the first — designed to refresh the presentation genre which has gotten bogged down by PowerPoint slides loaded with bullets and presenters too reliant upon reading the text as they go. In PechaKucha, you get 20 slides, each of which shows on the screen for 20 seconds. That gets you 400 seconds, or 6 minutes and 40 seconds.

Twenty slides in six minutes. This is going to be fun.

Neptune May Have Eaten a “Super-Earth”

[NewScientist](http://www.newscientist.com/) recently posted [this news](http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20527522.900-neptune-may-have-eaten-a-planet-and-stolen-its-moon.html):

> NEPTUNE may have polished off a super-Earth that once roamed the outer solar system and stolen its moon to boot. The brutal deed could explain mysterious heat radiating from the icy planet and the odd orbit of its moon Triton.

Kurt Vonnegut at the Blackboard

[This flashback](http://www.laphamsquarterly.org/voices-in-time/kurt-vonnegut-at-the-blackboard.php?page=all) at Lapham’s Quarterly makes me realize two things: writers often don’t have much to say about writing and I will never understand how people can get anything out of presentations that really don’t say anything. Is it just the brand name? Really? Vonnegut says it and somehow it’s profound?

> But there’s a reason we recognize Hamlet as a masterpiece: it’s that Shakespeare told us the truth, and people so rarely tell us the truth in this rise and fall here [indicates blackboard]. The truth is, we know so little about life, we don’t really know what the good news is and what the bad news is.

Magic Is Now Here

Adobe’s John Nack posted the following video on his blog revealing a new “Context Aware” healing/deletion functionality in PhotoShop CS5. I don’t do that much with PS that I typically need to upgrade — I only went from CS1 to CS3 for the Intel compatibility — but this new functionality, no, this new *magic* is amazing:

Somali Pirates’ Business Model

The U.N. Security Council recently dispatched a group of investigators to Somalia to examine who the pirates are and how they operate. [Mark Leon Goldberg](http://www.undispatch.com/somali-pirates-buisiness-model) reviewed their report and turned up this interesting passage in the report:

> A basic piracy operation requires a minimum eight to twelve militia prepared to stay at sea for extended periods of time, in the hopes of hijacking a passing vessel. Each team requires a minimum of two attack skiffs, weapons, equipment, provisions, fuel and preferably a supply boat. The costs of the operation are usually borne by investors, some of whom may also be pirates.
> To be eligible for employment as a pirate, a volunteer should already possess a firearm for use in the operation. For this ‘contribution’, he receives a ‘class A’ share of any profit. Pirates who provide a skiff or a heavier firearm, like an RPG or a general purpose machine gun, may be entitled to an additional A-share. The first pirate to board a vessel may also be entitled to an extra A-share.
> At least 12 other volunteers are recruited as militiamen to provide protection on land of a ship is hijacked, In addition, each member of the pirate team may bring a partner or relative to be part of this land-based force. Militiamen must possess their own weapon, and receive a ‘class B’ share — usually a fixed amount equivalent to approximately US$15,000.
> If a ship is successfully hijacked and brought to anchor, the pirates and the militiamen require food, drink, qaad, fresh clothes, cell phones, air time, etc. The captured crew must also be cared for. In most cases, these services are provided by one or more suppliers, who advance the costs in anticipation of reimbursement, with a significant margin of profit, when ransom is eventually paid.
> When ransom is received, fixed costs are the first to be paid out. These are typically:
> • Reimbursement of supplier(s)
> • Financier(s) and/or investor(s): 30% of the ransom
> • Local elders: 5 to 10 %of the ransom (anchoring rights)
> • Class B shares (approx. $15,000 each): militiamen, interpreters etc.
> The remaining sum — the profit — is divided between class-A shareholders.