Free Software - August 24
I did an interview with Radio National today, talking about the politics of free software. And the people writing the Oxfam International Trade Report are going to include a chapter on intellectual property, so I've been explaining free software to them. The information as a global public good campaign proposal Ronni and I wrote last year seems to be bearing fruit. But it's obviously time to update this - I plan to write a piece on "Free Software and Social Justice".
Gamelan - August 27
I'm not particularly musical: I never had much musical experience, either at home or at school. So I will never be able to play any of the harder gamelan instruments, or have the feel for the music of the serious musicians in the group I play with. But it's a great feeling to sound out a solid gendhing bonang, or to place slenthem notes into the middle of a vocal line. And performing last night in the Sydney Opera House was pretty exciting.
Medieval History - August 30
I've been spending a lot of time with friends doing honours in English and medieval history, so you can expect to see more reviews of medieval history books. I've even been auditing a Medieval Towns course...
The last time I was a student I can remember finding tute classes disappointing: there was one philosophy tute in which I was the only student (among thirty!) who ever spoke, and I was pretty much thrown out of my first year comp sci tute (for reading Knuth). The Towns lectures/tutes aren't that bad, but they have their own problems.
Because funding is so tight and medieval studies at Sydney Uni only exists in "the interstices", the students (even without me) come from a broad range of backgrounds. Some are second year students without much of a clue, while others are really good honours students planning to do graduate work. And in some of the tutes we are given a handout with three or four readings, and just ten minutes to read one of them before they are discussed!