Dear Dan,

It was heartening to hear from you. I mean that - that despite my being so quiet for long you haven't forgotten...I came close to saying "thanks for not giving up on my activist projects or on me for that matter ;-)" In my personal life I'm closer to having things stabilized. Not as far as needed, and not quite as far as one notch less, "as much as needed for vigorous activism" but the next notch down, "enough for some activism" at least with some steps forward, yes.

I've felt guilty not writing to you earlier. And then more guilt when your latest email came; the only reason I didn't send you a same-day reply was that, given how easy it would be for me to say "great to hear from you, and I'll send you my two-activist-ideas email soon" and then not be able to deliver on "soon" decided to wait until I can send those two activist ideas in this same email. I've drafted this reply in a couple of sittings, using emacs on but sending from here. To make it easier a handful of paragraphs are under [sidenote] so can be skipped either now reading the email or later re-reading it as we update re progress on Projects/plans...

[Sidenote] (though gmail is next as soon as linux, neither for
[Sidenote]  complete searching (I can't remember but have a file that
[Sidenote]  reminds me the command "find . -exec grep -l "key word" {}
[Sidenote]  \; >search.result &") for features - I recently missed
[Sidenote]  someone's second email in a row to me. How could my eyes
[Sidenote]  miss it? I later figured it was probably the
[Sidenote]  auto-threading by gmail, since I had "marked as unread"
[Sidenote]  their previous reply and got a dozen+ emails the same
[Sidenote]  morning as their second of their two back to back emails,
[Sidenote]  so my eyes missed the only difference which was a "(5)"
[Sidenote]  instead of a "(4)" the count of the number of emails in
[Sidenote]  the thread, since it was already in bold font for "not yet
[Sidenote]  read" from my having "mark as unread" their previous (4th
[Sidenote]  in the thread of 5) email to me....That was way too
[Sidenote]  complex to try to explain, not sure how clear I was :-) I
[Sidenote]  appreciate it didn't work for you but, btw, the separate
[Sidenote]  emails do work for me - I'd be way too distracted if I
[Sidenote]  wasn't able to just not log into econdemocracy@gmail for
[Sidenote]  periods of days to weeks if/when I need to, so
[Sidenote]  lower-priority activism (which means basically everything
[Sidenote]  except the big projects I'm discussing wit you) goes there
[Sidenote]  and I reply or initiate emails in bursts as I'm able..)

If/when I feel it will not side-rail our discussion of big projects, I'll send you some "smaller" activist things (peak oil/climate, and technical linux question) but not until I'm sure my schedule and ability to focus can maintain for the big projects.

You're a systemic thinker so maybe you won't mind what I'd do even if you weren't a systemic thinker, just to help organize for myself, where I am/project is at right now, what next steps are as I can see, feel free to suggest addendums.

I-A) I need to keep stabilizing my life, health, finances, are both "improving" or "ok" (respectively but not yet good enough yet..along with that the mental and other obstacles to focus that go along with those other things. We all struggle with bombardment from distracting less important *and* in my case equally a problem, from things that *are* important (in other words it's not idle TV watching (I don't own a TV)) but needing to remind myself I can't do *everything* even among the important (health, job, researching possible move to AU/NZ, and activism side projects) which I'm working on. I'm not going to change myself from an "(almost)all-or-nothing) person but will get more balance. I'll send you another time a url of how perfectionism take up too much of my time (someone inquired about me doing math workshops for homeschooled kids...some pay, but very modest -- too little to justify the 6-section mini website of proposed ideas I ended up creating..but was too passionate not to...)

I-B) On (, Finish "Thresholdware: A Short History" from 80% to 95% or more done

I-C) Create on "Thresholdware: Unfinished Business" page on suggested next steps.

I-D) Update front page and (main) links from it, on, to steer people to main project. Less time on fancy things (like Drupal etc...I hear you but new software so often eats up time...even with "one click installation" that Dreamhost offers..I did that with Forums, and what happened? Spam to the nth power. Other times, errors upon errors..I don't have time for fancy drupal or anything. I can always link to a forum/board you create, or elsewhere, if needed) but instead to pair down so only the more current projects are at the "front" and others put a link or two away

I-E) Update myself on some of what's going on. I heard "diaspora" did one of the main things I was complaining to you last time that it needed to do - be publically controlled rather than owned/controlled by a few people who programmed apparently one of my main issues is resolved...I need to update myself on what FSF/GNU is up to...Richard Stallman (as I will insist on quoting him on my website) did tell me that uPangea is a "good idea" he would gladly "support" if I took charge - but that was 2003, stunningly enough. I wrote him in early 2012 saying I have an update about a previous project I had spoken to when I write him (during calendar year 2013, is my plan..the sooner the better...) then he'll be primed, since he wrote back "ok, I await word.." back in 2012 email reply to me. But I need to get updated.

II-A) Share two "mini" proposals with you - I'm doing that below. Illustrating these don't have to be done completely sequentially, though items in (I) above do need to be mostly done or done, before many (if any) outside groups/people are contacted.

II-B) Finish refining website, finalize list of first half dozen or so people/organization to contact, and outline strategy.

II-C) Possibly create media strategy, like a pro bono from a P.R. firm that helps non-profits. I also am friends with Jeremy Alderson who is not as active as a writer but who used to get published in Mother Jones and such things, I haven't even told him, this close friend, about the multi-Billion dollar connection (ThePoint and then Groupon) and the 10+ page 'white paper' of mine and your distillation, so close to it..I'm waiting until life is more stable (as I keep saying) then I'll see if he has advice.

II-D) Internal communication venues for Dan and Harel and possibly others - this means technological choice, and things that will align with personal life. Sustainability is key. It all seems so holistic to me - I have been lucky not to struggle with weight (at least, not too much; I had a period where I lost 25 pounds from 145 to 120 in a year and had no idea why...another strange thing my body did..) but time management is hard for most of us. I can give 10 tips on losing weight to someone trying to do that but unless there are ones she/he can "stick with" it won't bode well. Similarly, which venues can Dan and Harel stick with? Chat once a month on AIM? Forums posts that only they can log in and see and others can't? Just email? Combination? More often? Less often? "Ergonomics of personal life/time management/life-activism-balance" etc, in other words.

[Sidenote] I may start using self-reminder software beyond the self-reminder tech
[Sidenote] and paper I already do..but don't expect me to do so soon, software so
[Sidenote] often either is wonderfully 2-minutes to start using, or the other
[Sidenote] extreme, time-suck to the /I hesitate..My new answering
[Sidenote] machine? Its manual is 10 times longer than those of 10 or 15 years
[Sidenote] ago...still haven't learned how to screen calls when it's in "silent"
[Sidenote] mode (all ringers and sound off)..

[Sidenote] As a peak oilist person you'll appreciate that I'm very [Sidenote] frugal and want to minimize waste...what made me break down [Sidenote] and get a new answering machine? The old one which is more [Sidenote] than 10 years old, did something frightening when it got [Sidenote] full the last time: it took one of my incoming messages and [Sidenote] used that as welcome message to [Sidenote] kidding! Luckily it was nothing too private..

III) Generally think about sustaining and growing the projects. Colin Campbell had said, memorably, that his "Oil Depletion Protocol" proposal didn't have to actually get adopted to do the world some useful good - so long as it influenced and inspired good policies. I'd almost say the same thing about my proposals, but I'd want not just "good tactical activist software" but in fact, "similar" to my proposals, at the least. I'm more convinced than ever than uPangea and Thresholdware are key - in fact I've expanded even further and am convinced even search engines (like google) need to be replaced by a publicly-owned/controlled, since any such foothold by corporations will be expanded to control everything else in our lives and on the planet because corporations are like cells that divide without limit - we both know what those kinds of cells are called.

But here I am, for this email, not to expand but to take a smaller bit or two from uPangea's vision. This is the heart of this email, or II-A) in the above outline and "wrapper"...I don't need to put a "wrapper" in every email but hope you found that wrapper helpful

[Sidenote] (By the way, if I'm going to put all the Roman numerals in color, I'm going
[Sidenote] to have to do each one separately; another glitch in gmail is if you
[Sidenote] use the control character to highlight separate things like the
[Sidenote] numbers 3 and 6 and 9 in "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9" and then when those
[Sidenote] three are highlighted you tell gmail to put it in red font? Nope, it
[Sidenote] will only do one! If I have more technical facility and time and
[Sidenote] patience I'd go back to 100% linux shell but for now this is one
[Sidenote] thing that IS relatively "balanced" in my life, my partly using
[Sidenote] gmail, partly using the shell from

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Last note before the heart of this email: I saw a great cartoon showing a young woman walking down a city street when stopped by a fellow who says, "Hi, I'd like to have ALL your personal information, all your contacts, I also want to know any and all personal life updates about you, your photos, and more..and I'd also like you to have, from now on, all your contacts with your social circles, always have to go through ME as the in-between!" She replies, "What are you, some kind of weird creep?" He says, "No, I'm a Social Network" She then smiles, and says, "Cool, where do I sign up?" (paraphrased..have tried without success to find that great cartoon).

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The full vision still remains in force, I actually have some comments for another time on expanding it, and on the Surreal Absurdity (see note above re Cartoon to capture just some of it...again not just dangerous and unwise but surreal, meaning, insanely unnecessary to have this set of corporate "middlemen" who "mediate" between us, and surreal that we voluntarily take steps to help these entirely unnecessary (as well as dangerous) middlemen grow and grow...

Can we get a foot in the door, or small particles around which a snowflake can grow, or a starting point or "testing/proving ground" for uPangea? Two suggestions, the first one very minimalist indeed.

1. YouTube - a very silly "middleman" - we can replace it - at least for saved video lists!

Why on EARTH does someone like me who knows how to code raw html by hand use his Youtube account so save favorites? Because of the same thing I emphasized in my "On Funding"/Thresholdware namely as I put it, "overhead matters" and matters a LOT, even tiny overhead, very small differences of what's more convenient or less it's easy to just click "save to favorites" or even "save to..." and then roll mouse down to "environmental videos" takes a few more seconds AND a few more units of mental/emotional/focus energy on the brain (especially if I'm about to jump between tabs on my browser between three short videos I want to watch before jumping back to catching up on personal and job related email and then finish my meal and then go outside for gentle exercise...our over-multi-tasked lives...) it would take a little more time and mental energy to, every. single. damn. time. for me to do what? For me to copy the url, switch to my shell (even though I already am logged into shell) in the shell window, use emacs to go to the file that will be viewable from, say, and add it there...I did way way back some of that..but so much multi tasking and quickly seeing a video, that the small extra work have prevented me from doing so..

I'm now almost motivated (read "annoyed") enough to do despite the extra overhead, since my YT "favorites" even in "sub-folders" are now, more than just a dozen many in some, sometimes many many dozens, 50? environmental ones, so you have to search a lot to find sometimes, and if you want to do something more complex like take numbers 15, 28, and 42 of our 50 ecology folder videos and combine them into something new, that's again very becomes less and less manageable as the lists ("playlists" as they are often called) grow and being able to edit full html with full power, with files pointing at each other (maybe a sub-sub-folder of my ecology videos, pointing (w/hyperlink) up two levels as something under a Domestic Policies folder...this last is an imaginary example, but still illustrative) with hyper links pointing from list/folder to another one, is easier to manage, even if I have to do more work.

Now the beauty is:

i) We only need a Firefox Add-on...and it will already "be there" for anyone who is "looking at" this makes it easier to get people to use this Add-on.

ii) Details on this Add-on are what? Just like DownLoadHelper and other add-ones, it would also add more choices when one RIGHT-CLICKS ON A YT VIDEO, and new choices would include "add this video it to my OWN html files" and more complex ("add to this sub-folder" or even "add with this "tag" or these "tags") variants

For "the masses" two differences:

a) instead of editing raw html they can use something similar to the Bookmarks editor built into Firefox...some GUI/menu based..(while we would naturally want our FOSS for this to also allow raw html editing as an option)

b) Html would be stored not in a file in their linux shell like for me, but in some folder or folder-in-folder on their hard-drive (I'm turning off thoughts about how it would work on mobile devices, etc...we can refine later..That world is not all hype but I do think getting a 'win' on desktop/laptop world is what we need to focus on; it would probably get us most of the way towards a phrase II win on other devices)

Importantly, another feature, to help those of us currently "imprisoned" there is that the add-on will let you copy all existing "playlists" that are currently only at YT, and create that initial html file for you, so you dont' have to do it by hand the first time (before you start using the "save to folder" only for this add-on, that is, before you stopped using Youtube's built-in "save to" which saves the video

NOW, I WOULD NOT BE TOO SURPRISED if someone already did this, or something like this...but (i) it needs to be full powered (ii) we integrated it as part of a suite of such things for a fledgling uPangea (iii) We do Get Out the Word (iv) We get it to by Default be included with next firefox version or at least the second best thing (something like automatically being asked when you use YT, whether you want this Add-on installed) (v) more Get-out-the-word (i.e., publicity) to get more people to use it. The html file would be like

1. [Name of video 1] [link to url for it]
2. [Name of video 2] [link to url for it]
etc [and similarly for other folders, with hyperlinks, as user
  decides, between them and for that matter, to/from other web pages]

Plus be able to add my own NOTES to myself, etc. A fancier version ("phase II") would do that PLUS let you download a local copy (cutting off the chains YouTube has around our wrists and ankles that much more..!)

2. Mini- uPangea - Second example - linkedIn

You seem to use it quite a lot, or at least regularly. Unlike Facebook I allowed myself to create and (a little bit) use/update a profile on Linkedin. Like other cancerous, I mean corporate entities, it wants to grow now with "groups" and "discussions" and so forth. Nothing wrong with those ideas on the technical side, but it should be people controlled, not corporate controlled. It is the latter with the tail wagging the dog - the tail being not just "maximize profits" but "maximize market share" and "get them addicted (even if it's not very useful to them)" structures for the users, etc, etc. Again you're more familiar with the latest details than I, I'm sure.

The advantage of this Second Example over the first, is that it's "useful in the selfish sense" namely one's own resume and related job/networking...not merely "fun" like playlists of videos. But it's more ambitious: duplicate not just one thing but all the main features (the ones that existed say a few yeas ago, without necessarily the newer features on LinkedIn...except if you think some newer ones are very useful, then add those, yes). Another complication is, it's not just a playlist, so it's not just a few cross references html files...ALTHOUGH the very heart of linked in is just a "glorified" freaking resume so that main thing can of course be an html file on one's drive...And a list of other contacts..You tell me what the other useful features are..but at least the two most basics, one can very easily imagine software to,

first, "download" the info from your linkedin account

and second, let you easily update that info, once it is on your drive, as you modify your resume, and your contacts.

Another complication - but this is at the heart of uPangea so it needs to be figures out - is what type of software and platform do we use for "finding others" and for "having one's presence findable by others"? If you give me a few billion dollars, I guess we can create some free servers...such things already exist...I think is one (a fellow Al Brenner has nice political/activist Poems in his Videos, that he used to have on, stored there now instead...Speakign of remember how when it started there was a button for "download a local copy"? Not any more...cancer wants to grow, no matter now much control they have, they always need more...and more control not just more profits, the two are inseparable, more narrower and narrower 'pathways' they 'gently' lead us down, fewer options etc) but there are other alternatives I'm sure you know more of them than I do but non-www possibilities, distributed networks like UseNet was and like the gnutella protocol...the only thing is the browser is now universal so if we want most people to adopt it, we'd want either to just use software that runs on browsers or some add-on to browsers that will seamlessly link to however else we store the information that will still let each person search for another's LinkedFree (name I'm informally coining just now, alternative to LinkedIn) profile.

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Ok - there may be a dozen faults with these two suggestions - but I do think we need to start with some "minimalist" or at least "mini" version which is ALSO useful/commonly used, these are two that came to mind, partly when I sat down to contemplate how to start uPangea but largely when my mind was on non-activist things but the absurdity of me becoming reliant on YT to keep a simple list of urls for me(!) or for a glorified version of merely "resume plus contacts" to have a flipping "middleman" when technology means each person can be completely free and autonomous and how crazy the 'success' of linkedin is, were equal factors.

So, things I've love to hear from you, which hopefully we can keep separated include - your thoughts about the "wrapper" parts (parts other than item (II-A)) and your thoughts about the two suggests mini-uPangeas in II-A, any other mini-uPangeas you care to suggest, and importantly, other ways to get critical-mass on some uPangea, a "killer" application (got to love the violent language in our culture! Good ideas "kick ass" and a very successful application is "killer" etc) let's call it not killer application but mass-liberating application :-)

We can chat about life too of course, how we each manage as activists who also are human beings trying to get by :o) I recently found out one of my closest friends has at least "talked about" moving outside the US with his wife they are retirement age), and the head of a local veggie potluck here, I found out is not "maybe" but definitely planning to move to Equador in their case...The beauty of this type of activism is it tried to liberate humanity worldwide, particularly, those of us in the "developed" world where we're in the "heart of the machine" - so taking care of one's own survival and well being doesn't have to be at the expense of what one wanted to, "not keep fighting the good fight" - one can do both- whether I end up staying here anyway or moving abroad, this is a set of projects on for global liberation, that do not forget about the social aspects and community, do not try to replace those with "just" technology but which leverage the "do it yourself" aspect of software - in other words, lots of good activist proposals start with "get the government to pass a law which..." which would be a good idea but it's not going to happen anytime soon...I called this type of activism years ago on, "changing facts on the ground" as opposed to other modalities like "work within the system (use courts etc)" or "beg those in power" or "pressure those in power into acting" - this is "act yourself" by creating tools...GNU/linux and FOSS are the most obvious examples showing it's possible to succeed here..My idea in the years leading to, and in 2003 itself, that became uPangea, were before people used the phrase "social network" much at all,...but clearly that and much much more needs to be liberated.


Hi Harel,

I jut wanted to get in touch and let you know that I've dropped the
separate activist email address I recommended we use last time we

I found that the complexity of trying to compartmentalize life and
activism in two separate identities was really damaging to my in
terms of integrity and 'wholeness'.

I hope you are adjusting to your new life patterns and that your
health is good. These basic things have come to seem more important
to me the past few years!

Cheers and best wishes,


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date: Sun, Aug 26, 2012 at 9:14 PM
subject: Hi Harel -- A contact update
Hi Harel -- Sorry about spamming you at multiple addresses -- I was
sure which of your emails might still be active.

I hope all is going well with you in your new post-academic life life

Since I believe we will soon be coming into a McCarthyite historical
phase, I'm compartmentalizing activism from my public identity, and am
renewing my old Indymedia alias, "guamanian" for activist

This will allow me to keep my job and take care of my family, while
still contributing in some small way to revolutionary work.

If you want to continue our conversations in activist forums or via
email, please contact me at and we can explore
using non-corporate social media to pick up and carry on the
conversations we have had in the past.

Cheers and Solidarity -- Dan