I just posted a piece called ‘Is Peak Oil Awareness Finally Leaking Into the Mainstream?‘ on the Permculture in NZ website, reviewing my recent readings on peak oil.

Filed May 12th, 2015 under Uncategorized


I’m Back! May 2 has been and gone, and my year-long ‘net fast’ has come to an end. I’m now working on the third part of my book about the net fast experience, which will cover what it’s like to go back online, what the experience has changed about the way I use and think about the net, and the insights I gain from looking back over the last year. I’m hoping to get a complete first draft of the book together by about the end of August, and if anyone has advice about publishers or publishing agents who might be interested in working with me to get the book onto dead trees and into the hands of potential readers, please text or call (021 11 77 578 - I still can’t face email yet!).

For the first time in over a year, I’ve been in an online video conference, and spent all night binge-reading blog articles and homepages, surfing from link to link, covering a dizzying range of subjects from the state of GNU Telephony, to the philisophical musings of the free culture and left-libertarian crowds, to the plethora of emerging software projects based on the BitCoin blockchain technology (Twister, Ethererium etc). I finally got to have a look at the NZCommons site too, set up by the CreativeCommons Aotearoa/NZ folks just after my net fast started, to host a wider conversation about how things ‘free’ and ‘open’ are unfolding here in Aotearoa, which reminded me of a couple of excellent events I’ve been to over the last months.

First, the annual Permaculture in NZ Hui, this time held at a threatened community hall in New Brighton, Ōtautahi/ Christchurch, over Easter weekend (3-6 April). As always, the PINZ Hui, was a chance to catch up with a catchment of this inspiring network of people, who design and share technology for empowering people to provide for their own needs, as households and communities, by drawing on renewable local resources and collaborative local practices and projects. The Open Source Open Society Conference (16-17 April) was a bit bigger (about 350 people!), and held at the intimidating Michael Fowler Centre, but also a chance to connect with an inspiring network of people, who work on design and share technology for empowering people to communicate freely, educate themselves and each other, and engage in democratic action, by drawing on CreativeCommons works, open public data, free code software, and open source collaboration practices and projects. A special OSOS Loomio group was set up to allow for ongoing discussions after each conference session, which was a nice variation on the Twitter conversations that tend to dominate geek meetups. Hopefully this becomes a regular event too.

I’ve also had a lot of discussions, including at OSOS, with people about a proposed free code software project which will support collaborative policy development by people from a range of political parties, not-for-profits, lobby groups etc. As the name suggests, the software will be built on GIT (like GITHub and other free code software repositories), with a user interface designed specifically to help non-geeks work together on policy documents. The current plan is to develop a hosted web platform for politicos here in Aotearoa to test drive (proposed names include PolicyHub, Hui, and GITocracy), but later stages of development could include a decentralized, or peer-to-peer implementation. I’m keen to work on user outreach, documentation, fundraising and overall coordination, and I have an experienced professional programmer and sysamdin keen to work on the back end, what we really need now is a graphic designer with a strong understanding of creating a positive user experience, and some sources of seed funding. If you’re keen to get involved, again, give me a call or a text. More news on this as it unfolds…

Filed May 6th, 2015 under Uncategorized
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