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Go [insert country] Domain Name Registrars
|| 2/15/2010 || 9:48 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

I have a penchant for purchasing domain names. I currently have at least 30, most of which remain unused. This evening I decided to monkey around with domain names ending with .ME – which allows tons of self-centered permutations. As you may know, nearly all the top domain names are owned by various governments and in the case of .ME it’s the government of Montenegro. This simple registration process provides a nearly constant revenue stream for the government.

On the .ME website there is a list of accredited domain name registrars:


Registrar Name Country
0101 Internet Inc JP
12 Register BV NL
1API Gmbh DE
2030138 Ontario Inc. dba NamesBeyond US
35 Technology Co., Ltd. CN
AB Name ISP SE
Active 24 AS NO
Advantage Interactive Ltd. UK
ANO Regional Network Information Center dba RU-CENTER RU
Answerabe Inc. IN
Ascio Technologies DE
BB Online UK Ltd. UK
Blue Razor Domains, Inc. US
Catalog.com US
Communigal Communications Ltd. IL
CORE Internet Council of Registrars DE
CPS- Datensysteme DE
Cronon AG Berlin Niederlassung Regensburg DE
CSC Corporate Domains US
CSL Computer Service Lagenbach GmbH DE
Dinahosting SL ES
Direct I Internet Solutions pvt ltd dba publicdomainsregistry.com IN
Documentdata Anstalt LI
Domain – it, Inc US
Domain People Inc. CA
DomainINFO AB SE
Domainmonster.com UK
Domeneshop As NO
DotAlliance Inc. CA
Dotname Korea Corp. KR
Dotster, Inc. US
DSTR Acquisition PA I, LLC, dba Domain Bank US
Dynadot LLC US
Easyspace Ltd. UK
ELB Group, Inc. US
Encirca US
Enom US
Entorno Digital, S.A. ES
EPAG Domain Name Services GMBH DE
EuroDNS S.A. LU
French-Connexion, SARL.dba Domaine.fr FR
Gabia Inc KR
Gandi SAS FR
Globe Hosting Inc RO
Globedom Datenkommunikations GmbH AT
GMO Internet, Inc JP
Go Austrailia, Inc. US
Go Canada. Inc. US
Go China Domains, Inc. US
Go Daddy, .Inc US
Go France, Inc. US
Go Montenegro Domains ME
HiChina Zhicheng Technology Ltd. CN
Http.net Internet GMBH DE
Imperial Registrations Inc. US
In2Net Network Inc. CA
Inames co., Ltd KR
Instra Corporation Pty Ltd AU
Intercosmos Media Group, Inc. US
InterNetWire Communications GmbH DE
InterNetworX Ltd. & Co. KG DE
InternetX Gmbh DE
IP Mirror Pte Ltd SG
Key-Systems Gmbh DE
KuwaitNET General Trading Co. W.L.L. KW
Ledl.net GmbH AT
Lime Labs LLC US
Marcaria.com US
Markmonitor US
Melbourne IT Ltd. US
ME-NET ME
Mister name FR
Moniker US
MyDomain, Inc. US
Name.Com LLC US
Namebay MC
Net 4 India Limited IN
Net-Chinese Co. Ltd. TW
Netfirms Inc. CA
Netlynx Inc. IN
Nom-IQ ltd dba COM LAUDE UK
Online SAS FR
OnlineNIC, Inc. US
OVH FR
PakNIC PK
Rebel.com Corp CA
Reg2c.com US
Register.IT S.p.A. IT
Regtime Ltd RU
Safenames Ltd. UK
Secura GMBH DE
Spot Domain dba DomainSite.com US
Tierra Net Inc. US
Todaynic.com, Inc CN
Total Web Solutions Limited dba TotalRegistrations UK
Tucows Inc CA
Variomedia AG dba puredomain.com DE
Vitalwerks Internet Solutions US
Web Commerce Communications dba webnic.cc MY
Web Werks India Ltd IN
Wild West Domains, Inc. US
Xin Net Technology Corp. CN
YesNic Co. Ltd. KR

Did you notice the registrar naming convention?

Due to so many people knowing what GoDaddy.com is, there are at least 5 other copy cats:
+ Go China Domains, Inc.
+ Go Daddy, Inc.
+ Go Montenegro Domains
+ Go France, Inc.
+ Go Canada, Inc.
+ Go Austrailia, Inc.


Way to…..copy!



Girls, Girls Everywhere In Washington, But Not A Man To Wed – The Washington Times, July 12, 1908
|| 12/10/2009 || 3:03 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Lately I have been republishing content found on the Chronicling America historic newspaper collection that relates to the struggle for suffrage in the District of Columbia and unique maps that I’ve found along the way. Today’s entry is a social commentary on the role of women in the workforce of the District of Columbia and how the ratio of women to men in the District of Columbia has not changed much over the last 100 years.

Girls, Girls Everywhere In Washington,
But Not A Man To Wed

The Washington Times, July 12, 1908

The city of Washington, the Nation’s Capital, flings defiance in the face of all the land, challenging them to compete with her in available matrimonial timber, so far as the fair sex is concerned. She draws the dead line and double dares the bachelors from corn-tasseled Oklahoma, from the rock-ribbed slopes of the West, from the snows of Alaska, to cross it at the risk of getting hitched.

The overgrown country village by the Potomac lays claim to a possession of a higher percentage of women of marriageable age with a lower per cent of opportunity than any community over which floats the Stars and Stripes, not excepting the man-deserted sitting rooms of the high-browed and austere dame of the hub of the universe nor rural Virginia where the coy and clinging lass of the Southland has been left in solitude while her possible mate sought elsewhere realms of greater activity. To substantiate which claim, though she likes them not, the burg of the broad avenue and the bouqueted beauty quotes the figures.

A recently completed police census reveals the fact that there are 17,000 more women in the city than men, which is rather startling majority out of a total of less than 330,000. It signifies that for each 100 men there are 111 women in the running. These discouraging figures, however, are but a shadow of the real plight in which a woman in Washington finds herself, for the social conditions that surround men in the Government service who largely make up the lists of possible matrimonial candidates are such as to discourage marriage and where there is a tendency shown to fly in the face of this restraint the victim is picked so soon that the rank and file have little chance at him. There are many more than 17,000 unmarried women in Washington, for the Government clerk is not marrying man and there is a doomed spinster in the city for every one of those who persists in his narrow selfishness.

The social conditions are peculiar. In the Government service there is the occasional man of exceptional ability who succeeds in riding rough-shod over red tape and getting to a place that is worth while without losing his official head in the attempt. Practically the only route to high places, however, is through secretaryships to Cabinet officers and these places are for but the few. The rank and file of the men of the departments are, then, reduced to two classes, the young clerk who serves four or five years and in the meantime studies law or medicine, and the crusty and confirmed clerk who has never mustered the courage to break away.

The first of these is bending all of his energies toward a given end with his eye always on the old home, a future professional career and possibly a sweetheart waiting for him under the old elm tree. He is not a man who will marry. The members of the second class have not found to give up their sure salary from the Government or merely of the capacity of clerks and incapable of anything further. These men marry often, but as often are cynical and blase, self-centered and satisfied with the attentions they receive from the numerous opposite sex and travel the road to the end complainingly in their narrow rut.


Washington is a city with activity outside of that which is in connection with the administration of the affairs of the Government. Industry has always been discouraged because of the national pride in the beauty of the Capital and the indisposition to begrime it with the soot of the smoke stack. The men in the departments cannot bequeath their places to their sons and Washingtonians being nobody’s constituents have small opportunity for appointment. The young men as a result go elsewhere to carve themselves out careers, but the young women remain at home.



What Attracts the Women.

There are many things that add to this local tendency on the part of Washington to become a city of women. There is the constant pull of the Government upon the women every section. The stenographer who is but ordinarily efficient is able to secure $20 a month more in the Government service than out of it. The girl who gets $5 a week in a store will more than double her income if she takes a place in any of the Government departments, to say nothing of a month off each year for vacation, eight hours a day, and all the holidays.

These attractions, of course, draw the women. But, alas, when the years have begun to bring the gray hairs and the home-making instinct long stifled gnaws their hearts away they realize the folly of leaving the telephone booth, the typewriter, or the cashiership at the restaurant in their native towns. They come to realize that in these positions they would have met the active young men of business, the men who really do things worth while, but who are too busy to follow the social whirl, so get their wives from the women they meet in the pursuit of their careers. This heritage of opportunity has been greater than their sisters of wealth and social prominence, but they have bartered it away.

There are 7,358 women in departments in Washington. These are unmarried with the exception of a few, for the general rule is that a woman severs her connection with the Government when she marries. They are mostly women who support dependent members of their families, usually mother or sisters, who add again to the unattached female population.

Of this army of women less than 16 per cent are under the age of twenty-five years. This is a striking contrast with the figures showing the age of the female breadwinner throughout the country, for of these latter 44 percent are under the age of twenty-five. The average age of the women in the departments thirty-seven years and there are 253 of them that have passed the age of sixty-five. But one per cent are under the age of twenty and these promise to get over it.

The woman who enters the departments very rarely marries. There is a minimum of opportunity even when she is young and in those days she is proud of her independence and the salary she draws and slow to give it up where two have to live on a similar salary. Work in the departments at Washington means an almost certain spinsterhood.

A City of Women.

Aside from the Government service Washington is strongly a city of women. Members of Congress and others from the outside coming to the Capital for the session bring their wives and daughters, but the sons have business and stay at home. The formal functions of society appeal to the women and they bring their daughters to be presented at court as it were.

At the theaters there is often caustic comment upon a display of a box full of most magnificent girls accompanied by one or two narrow-chested Government clerks that you remember seen while doing the departments.

The predominance of women in connection with Washington even prevails in the tourists that visit it. One does not meet the same class of people on the sight-seeing wagon there as in New York. It is a different race of people that files through the corridors of the Smithsonian Institution from that which trods the Great White Way.

The tourists who come to Washington are mostly women of the educational class. They are interested in storing the mind with knowledge of a recognized class such as may be paraded before the Friday Night Literary Club when they get back home. They want to tell their friends that they sat in the same chair that held the Father of His Country and have climbed all 510 of the steps leading up Washington’s Monument. Were they men they would be the class take their wives with them rather than those who travel for pleasure.

But they are not men. The tourists who visit Washington are 50 per cent women school teachers laying up stores of information for the edification of young America or seminary girls en tour likewise for instruction as their conductors believe but with more eyes for a flirtatious, wicked man than for the spot where Braddock landed to march into the wilderness. But they are withal a studious, serious lot on the surface and are looking for the light of learning that edifies and feels strangely at home in Washington for the whole people have come to assume an air of learned dignity in the Capital City that is in touch with its history and institutions and is on the whole very lady-like.

Under these conditions Washington throws down the gantlet to Boston. She declares she will give any determined bachelor in the world a longer run for his money than can be found elsewhere on the map. She offers him variety for her women are made up from all the grades that the broad expanse of the country can furnish. There is the hale fellow girl of the Pacific coast who will pat him on the back and call him “old man,” and the girl with the drooping eye and lisp from Mississippi. There is the corn-fed girl of liberal dimensions from Missouri and the girl from Ohio who makes her Rs a clarion call. The maid from Massachusetts who knows it is not done right elsewhere will vie with the girl of the Rockies who is aware that the Utes do not come from Utah. They will all be after him in the nation’s capital with a handicap for the girl who saw him first and the devil take the hindmost.


Related DC History Entries:

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New Facebook Group: Medical Marijuana Patients of the District of Columbia
|| 12/9/2009 || 11:24 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

For the last 10 years, every District of Columbia appropriations bill passed by Congress has included this line of tyrannical text: Provides that the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative of 1998, also known as Initiative 59, approved by the electors of the District on November 3, 1998, shall not take effect. With the long-awaited news that Congress has finally decided to remove this line of text, I’ve created a new Facebook Group Medical Marijuana Patients of the District of Columbia:

After over 10 years of a congressionally imposed ban on medical marijuana in the District of Columbia, the passage of Ballot Initiative 59, known as the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative of 1998, *should* go into effect very shortly.

The Facebook Group “Medical Marijuana Patients of the District of Columbia” was created to help advance, advocate, and agitate for the responsible implementation of this important healthcare reform in the District of Columbia.

Until the legislation becomes law, the members of this group are not *yet* legal medical marijuana recipients. However this group is open to everyone, including those who plan on becoming patients in the near future and want to ensure they can find the cannabis that meets their medical needs when the laws are officially changed.

We hope this group can engender the support of everyone who believes in safe, legal, and affordable medical marijuana in the District of Columbia.

While I don’t expect the laws to be changed overnight, my aim is to create an informal body of concerned citizens who will help ensure that the law is implemented in a way that benefits those who need medical marijuana most. I imagine this change in the law is going to be a big can of worms that many elected officials are going to try to step lightly around, so it’s somewhat important that there is an organized group of concerned citizens willing to make sure that the law is enacted properly.


So what will medical marijuana look like in the District of Columbia? I don’t know yet. Hopefully its similar to Harborside Health Center in Oakland, California, which is one of the best dispensaries in California. I think they have created a model that can easily be replicated in Washington. Watch their well-produced YouTube video to get a better idea of how medical marijuana can be dispensed:


[Watch On YouTube]

Below is the legislative text of Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative of 1998. It was originally passed with the support of 69% of the voters in the District of Columbia:

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My Response To Today’s Washington Post Letter To The Editor By Ann Wass
|| 11/24/2009 || 4:09 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Last night I found that there was a Letter To The Editor about the D.C. Colonist that was going to be published in today’s Washington Post. Below is the text of her letter in italics and my response in bold:


Nikolas Schiller seems to lack a clear understanding of the history of the District of Columbia [“Hats off to D.C. statehood,” the Reliable Source, Nov. 19].

Actually, I think I have a pretty decent understanding of the history of disenfranchisement in the District of Columbia.

He wears “Colonial” garb to make the point that, in his words, “the status of D.C. residents has not changed since Colonial times.” But there was, of course, no District of Columbia in colonial times.

You are correct. There was no District of Columbia in colonial times. However, the Seat of Government, now known as the District of Columbia, was the only territory explicitly defined in the United States Constitution. This important document happens to have been written in “Colonial times,” and needs to be updated, again.

Through the passage of “An Act for establishing the Temporary and Permanent seat of the Government of the United States” on July 16th, 1790, the “district of territory” became the permanent Seat of Government on December 1st, 1800, and Congressional representation was lost shortly thereafter.

Unlike the Maryland license plate, the license plate of the District of Columbia has a phrase that dates back to Colonial times, “Taxation Without Representation.” I don’t know if you’ve sat through a Congressional hearing, but signs are not allowed in hearing rooms. Fortunately, an elaborate costume is allowed. (Except hats, I guess?)

If you were to read my quote differently, “the [present day] status of D.C. residents has not changed since [the Americans in] Colonial times,” you might understand that the residents of the District of Columbia are present-day colonists who have the displeasure of “Taxation Without Representation” through the denial of federal representation, and I’m only dressing up as one to make the point you obviously missed.

There was a city of Georgetown, in Maryland.

In 1800, the year the Seat of government moved to the District of Columbia, this city was called George Town, Maryland. Two Words. You can look it up. The concatenation took place soon after and today those residents lack representation in Congress.

There was another city & county located in the Seat of Government that you left out: Alexandria, Virginia. In 1846 the residents voted to cede back into the Commonwealth of Virginia, but unlike the Georgetown residents of today, the citizens of Alexandria & present-day Alexandria County (Arlington County) have Congressional representation.

Mr. Schiller also needs a new costume consultant. His coat is cut incorrectly, and I hope he doesn’t really wear German lederhosen, as he said, but rather correctly cut knee breeches when he isn’t wearing blue jeans.

This ad hominem argument misses the entire point of my ongoing protest. While you might have “Taxation With Representation” in Riverdale, Maryland, I, a colonist of the District of Columbia, do not. No costume consultant is going to give me Congressional representation, are they? I don’t think so. I’d rather have Congressional representation so I can retire this colonial outfit for good.

But in the meantime, you could always attend the next hearing on the status of this federally administered city-state known as the District of Columbia. Maybe you could come dressed in period clothing as well? There have been suffragists since 1800 working to change this faux-pas of the Founding Fathers. Do you think a Senator or U.S. Representative would ask you to take off a bonnet or headscarf? You won’t know unless you try.

Colonially Yours,
Nikolas Schiller

ps.
The colonial attire was purchased from Backstage in the Barracks Row neighborhood on Capitol Hill. Feel free to contact their costume consultants for further inquiry.





whereyouare / whereiam@ – A Satircal Election Map of Maine’s Vote on Same-Sex Marriage
|| 11/8/2009 || 1:46 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Original Map by Julie Harris & Eric Zelz of the Bangor Daily News [PDF]

The evening after Maine’s election results came in I was asked to help coordinate the sound system for an impromptu rally at Dupont Circle. During one of the speeches, I remember hearing someone mention that the ballot should never be used to let the majority of population impose it’s will on a minority population. Being that there are far fewer gay couples in Maine (or most states for that matter) than heterosexual couples; the point stood out in my mind.

Its an example of the “tyranny of the majority,” at the ballot box. The fundamental inalienable principles of equality, all men being created equal, and the pursuit of happiness are the foundation of American democracy and when those words were written the largest city in America was Philadelphia, with 28,000 citizens and the rest of the American population was mostly rural. Yet in the 200+ years since, the rural / urban divide has only grown more stark as some states contain few large centers of population. Paradoxically, its in these cities where the most social interaction & social education takes place. It’s in cities where people are more likely to see same-sex couples in their daily lives and possibly have same sex-couples as their friends, and thereby be more apt to see same-sex couples from a different perspective that is not based on prejudice towards The Other.

The modified map [pdf] above was originally found on the Bangor Daily News website. It shows how the state of Maine voted on the question of same-sex marriage. Voters were given the opportunity to Vote Yes and repeal the recently-passed same-sex marriage law or Vote No to keep it in place.

To remix this map, I first inverted the color scheme, which surprisingly yielded a pink color for the counties which voted 65% or greater to repeal the law. Ironically, its a color I personally associate with those who voted No. I then added my own typographical critique to the map. I created a pink square and placed in an unpopulated rural location and added the words “whereyouare,” in large font and in the southern portion of the map, in smaller font size, I added the words “whereiam@” above Maine’s largest city, Portland.

The justification for this subtle addition was to highlight the nature of the urban / rural divide. Portland, for example, voted 73.5% to not repeal the same-sex marriage law, so I placed “whereiam@” nearby to show where my vote would have been. Most rural areas overwhelmingly supported the removal of equal rights for their fellow citizens, so I placed the pink square in an area that doesn’t even an election precinct.



District Representation – The Washington Post, January 22, 1879
|| 10/1/2009 || 8:16 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

District Representation

The Washington Post, January 22, 1879

With the exception of the Indian tribes, the only community within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States unrepresented in Congress is the District of Columbia.

Territories whose few inhabitants are scattered over a broad expanse like the masts of ships on the ocean, and which neither commerce nor manufactures, send their delegates to Congress to represent their interests, and procure for them such legislation as shall tend to develop their resources and afford encouragement and protection to their people the embryo state advances toward maturity.

States with half the population of this District have their representatives in the House, and have an equal voice in the Senate with the oldest, largest, richest, and most populous members of the family states.

It is only here, at the capital of a country whose government is based on suffrage, that suffrage is unknown.

Holding to the theory that governments derive their just powers only from the consent of the governed, and that the ballot is the proper mode of expressing that consent, our Government denies the ballot to the inhabitants of its capital city.

Believing and teaching that is should be no taxation without representation, and that such taxation is tyranny, our Government levies taxes on the property of this people, and if those taxes are not paid it sells the property under the red flag and the hammer of a Government auctioneer. Thousands of homes have thus been sold here during the last few years.

We cannot see how any man, whatever may have been the result of his observation here in times past, can hold to the Democratic creed, to the great underlying principles of free government, and oppose the representation of this District in the law-making department of our governmental mechanism.

And because out faith in true Democracy is a vital reality, and not a sham, we approve the proposition to have the District of Columbia represented in the House. We see no reason why this community should be an exception to the general rule- why all should have a voice in the Capitol and we be mute.

It may be urged that the horde of negroes who swarm here will be used to elect a delegate who will misrepresent our people. We do not believe it. Intelligence and social influence, if rightly employed, will so direct public opinion that the election will be a fair expression of the wishes of our people.

As the delegate will not vote, and as his influence will depend on his being in accord with the dominant party in Congress, there will be no temptation to resort to any of those schemes and tricks that brought reproach upon popular suffrage here some years ago.

But whatever may be the fears of the timid and doubtful, we see no way in which an honest believer in Democracy can deny representation to this community. The taxpayer has a right to be heard. A delegate can speak for him. Consistency demands that this proposition should not fail for want of the support of Democrats in Congress.


This newspaper article was transcribed from a scan of the original newspaper article. The document was obtained from the Washington Post archives and is in the public domain. It is being republished here in order to continue my advocacy for full representation for the American citizens of the District of Columbia.



Photographs from Park(ing) Day DC 2009
|| 9/21/2009 || 11:05 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Photograph from Parking Day DC 2009

Last Friday I attended the first celebration of Park(ing) Day in Washington, DC. Originally conceived & celebrated in 2005 by the artist/activism group ReBar in San Francisco, the concept behind Park(ing) Day is quite simple: reclaim urban space normally taken by cars by taking over different parking spaces for the day and turning them into temporary parks.

Organized by the contributors of the blogs ReadysetDC & F1RSTNR, the original concept for last week’s inaugural Park(ing) Day DC involved four locations around Washington, DC, but at the last minute the DC Department of Transportation threw up some large impediments that made the day’s planned celebration nearly impossible to execute. According to one of the organizers, among the various obstacles that DCDOT came up with was that they wanted the organizers to have large concrete jersey barriers to prevent cars from plowing through the temporary park (really?!).

After hearing about this issue, I mentioned the old direct action maxim: it’s easy to beg for forgiveness, then to beg for permission. As in, if the organizers would have just gone ahead and setup their temporary park(ing) spots and let the police and DCDOT deal with the matter in real-time, they could have ‘begged for forgiveness’ and made a scene in the process. The other way around, being lawful citizens that is, involves going to the DCDOT asking for permission (aka permits) and if the authority isn’t too keen on the concept (which it appears they weren’t) they can make it impossible to undertake.

Thus result was more of a Park(ing) Lot Day than a Park(ing) Day, but that didn’t stop the fun that was had by all the participants. The day’s savior was the owner of the local business Garden District, who currently owns a vacant lot at the corner of 14th & S streets, and allowed the Park(ing) Day organizers to set up there. The organizers drove out to Virginia and picked up 1,500 pounds of sod and laid it down over the asphalt and created their own temporary urban park, which ended up being much larger than a parking space would have been! They also sourced some plants, furniture, books, 3D chalk, christmas lights, and even a badminton set; all of which made the lot more of a corner park for people to hang out at.

Photograph from Parking Day DC 2009

I arrived around 3pm and hung out with everyone, took a few photos (above & below) and even made a couple new friends. Around 5:30pm I left and went to a friend’s house to get equipment for the show at the Black Cat later in the evening. And after setting up for the show, I went back to the Park(ing) [Lot] and helped them cleanup park. In all, I had a great time. Next year, however, I am aiming for having a park in the central business district. Check the other photographs I took:

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A Digital Dérive Through On-Line Advertising
|| 9/18/2009 || 2:57 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

A screen grab from my entry titled: You Are Probably Not Here, which is a different type of Dérive

A dérive is defined as an attempt at analyze the totality of everyday life, through the passive movement through space. In the late 1950’s French writer Guy Debord first theorized this concept in his studies of architecture. Combined with another Debord term, psychogeography, which is “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals,” the dérive is a means for people to haphazardly explore and learn about their environment through random or pseudo-random methods. Examples of a dérives include exploring the urban environment with a predefined set of arbitrary rules, such as strolling down the street (a Flâneur) and taking only right turns when you see someone a walking a dog or making left hand turns only when you pass by houses that are painted white.

As Guy DeBord wrote in “Theory of the Dérive” in 1958, “In a dérive one or more persons during a certain period drop their usual motives for movement and action, their relations, their work and leisure activities, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there.” In essence, the dérive is both an objective and subjective means to view the urban environment.

Fast forward to the present day. The urban environments still exist, and in most cases, these cities have grown substantially over the last 50 years, but there is also a new type of environment that exists today that did not fully exist in DeBord’s time: the digital environment.

Today computer users conduct their own strolls on the internet. They are loosely guided by search strings and mouse clicks. They surf through webpage after webpage seeking knowledge, entertainment, and connections through a medium that is not defined or limited to the physical space in which they live. Buildings become blogs and flâneurs become link lemmings, following the hyperlinks of their blind curiosity.

While some still myopically place the dérive as a strictly urban activity, the digital environment, both manifesting itself on the internet and in computer games, are akin to megalopolises, cities, towns, and villages in their own right. Examples would be the vast digital expanse of games like The Sims, World of Warcraft, or Second Life, which feature digital environments where thousands upon thousands of people from around the world interact within the constructs of the respective games, while never needing to physically meet each other in person. Another example would be those that comment on blog posts or message boards, where the website itself becomes the city, and the articles, blog postings and forum topics become the streets, and the users are the flâneurs, strolling and trolling through ever-increasing content.

However, combined together these participants do not always take part in a de-facto dérive, but rather are merely present within this complex digital environment and may take it upon themselves to conduct a dérive. And that is what I am writing about today.

For quite a few years I eschewed the presence of advertisements on websites. I found them to be visual clutter, like an architectural eye sore of a blighted city. Over time, however, I grew bored of my blog’s layout and I felt that my little digital city (errr, scrapbook) needed some urban planning and ideally, more citizens (visitors, errr, I guess they’d technically be immigrants?). So on a whim, I decided to start serving Google AdSense ads on my website. At first I reverted back to my original reaction, where I thought that my new urban design was tacky and had failed, but then something changed.

As a god of this alternative reality, I was only seeing that which I had coded and created myself. Like looking at a vast sea of sameness, day in & day out, I began to warm up towards these visual invasions that were created in someone else’s digital environment. I began to see that they offered a welcomed distraction. In fact, it is this very type of distraction from the spectacle of reality that first Debord spoke of many years ago. Why does this spectacle exist? What website lies beyond that ad? What is at this animated exit on my digital highway? And why was it so important that someone is actually paying money for the ad to be shown?

Thus began my own digital dérive into on-line advertising.

Since I cannot legally click on my own ads (Google considers that fraud), I went to my friend’s blog, which has a small text ad at the top. Out of genuine curiosity, I clicked on that ad. The resulting page also had an advertisement on it. I clicked on that ad, whereupon I discovered that the resulting page also had ads on it. So click on that ad as well…

The premise of this digital dérive through on-line advertising is quite simple. Explore the internet only through pages with advertisements. Where do you end up? How many ads do you click on before you hit the dead end of the digital alley? Before you jackknife on the information superhighway? What observations can be made through this type of stroll through the internet? Do you end up in digital city or a dark alley of get-rich-quick schemes?

To many people, time is money. But to many others, so are clicks on ads. Depending on where this digital dérive begins and ends someone is making money and someone is also theoretically losing money (unless of course, the act of taking part in the dérive benefits the person paying for the ad, as in, you discover something meaningful on the website of the ad you clicked on). Like the construction costs of the buildings (not to mention their monthly rent) in Paris that Debord strolled through, few things are really free. It takes time to click on ads, just like it takes time to walk down the street looking for houses that are painted white. But unlike construction costs or rent in a building, a digital dérive can be conducted in the comfort of one’s own home and with minimal resources- without the need for shoes or even clothes- only a computer connected to the internet, which over the last decade has become extremely inexpensive. Or completely free if you go to the library.

In essence, a digital dérive can be done in private, while the dérive of Debord’s day was done in public. But if no one sees you walking down the street and you don’t write about it or share the experience with others, did the dérive actually take place? Paradoxically, while a digital dérive can be experienced in private, where no one sees you in person, your journey does leave a trace– in the form of the websites logs. Your IP address will show up on each of your stops in your digital dérive and while it does not leave an exact size 10 shoe footprint, it contains its own geographic markers of where your IP address resolves to. But its a footprint that is scattered across the internet instead of sequentially left in the dust & mud of city streets. It’s a solitary footprint that webmasters cannot immediately tell that a dérive had even taken place. Similarly, people walking down the street participating in a dérive do not nessesarilly have signs saying “we are conducting a dérive,” but they can be see by others in the urban environment.

On-line advertisers want you to see them. They want you to purchase their product & services or be influenced by their very existence. But the digital dérive outlined in this entry is not for them to exploit. It’s for you. Its a means of self-discovery through external stimulation. A method to understand the vastness of the digital environment through a single conduit: advertisements. It doesn’t have to be solitary- two people can sit in front of a computer and choose which ads they think will beget more ads. Moreover, this dérive doesn’t have to be as I directed above, instead you can take turns clicking on ads and clicking on regular links simply to see where the path leads you. The rules are not hard and fast, but rather they are up to the flâneur. Its merely a form of digital exploration that might yield it’s own rewards for you, while paradoxically adding a couple cents to someone’s coffers and removing a couple cents from someone else’s coffers. In essence its a postmodern example of psychogeographical exploration, but without predefined borders; where the environment is wholly located on your computer screen, at a specific location on the surface of the earth, and you are the flâneur strolling from one disparate location to another, without a passport or a map, just strolling, strolling, strolling.


The image at the beginning of this entry is from my entry titled “ Postmodern Cartography: You Are Probably Not Here.”



Removal of the Competitive Ad Filter [Selling Out Part Two]
|| 9/17/2009 || 11:34 pm || 2 Comments Rendered || ||

My previous entry about seeing an advertisement related the very organization I was mocking struck a chord with me. Why fight the tide? As in, why take issue with competing ideas?

Since I added Google AdSense earlier this year, every time I found an advertisement that I didn’t want showing on my website, I would log on to Google AdSense, and add the URL to my Competitive Ad Filter. But who was I competing against? Were the ads merely competing against my own ideology?

Was I saying, “Hey Nikolas, you don’t want your visitors to think you tacitly support [insert company]?” or “Do I want some organization that advocates beliefs contrary to my own showing up here?” And I came to a two-fold realization….

First, by limiting the competition for ads on my website, I was earning less money each time someone clicked on an ad. The way Google AdSense works is that companies bid on keywords and these keywords are triggered by content on my website. When there is less competition for these keywords, other companies pay less for the ads to show up on my website. So why earn less, when I could just as easily remove ALL the ads entirely? Why continue to log into AdSense and add to the Competitive Ad Filter each time I found an ad contrary to my ideology? I began to view this practice as a futile effort, akin to swimming in quicksand.

Second, I actually enjoy seeing something different each time I view my blog. As someone who has spent years compiling this content, I know exactly what I am going to see (within a certain degree) every time I visit. But the ads are somewhat random and this makes the experience more engaging on my end (and maybe yours as well?). I can’t say the same for those people who happen to stumble upon my website for the first time and think they look tacky (sorry!). But I can say that they bring a certain amount of personal entertainment that goes beyond the authorship of this content. They show who is paying for words— and words retain a certain degree of power. Thus I can see who was fighting and winning the war of words right on the top of my website– in real time.


Earlier today I removed all of the websites that I was blocking in my Competitive Ad Filter. As the title of this entry suggests, I have, to some degree, completely sold out. The Part One related to the title of this entry is about the removal of the robots exclusion protocol that blocked web crawlers from accessing the content of my website a year & a half ago. By selling out then, I began a radically new direction (paradoxically, a direction most people automatically start at) and this entry highlights a subtle change of course. The moment I opened the floodgates to web crawlers, every personal opinion, every word, every image, every map, EVERYTHING that I had spent years creating and documenting was placed within reach of a simple google query. Before that moment, it was reserved only to those who knew me or knew of me. While this might seam contrary to the nature of the internet, I did it all on purpose and I have zero regret.

Nonetheless, as Part Two begins manifests itself, I expect to see more ads that go against my ideology, but now I fully welcome them. I welcome these contrasting viewpoints in order to strengthen my own. And maybe, just maybe, earn a few bucks to pay for my hosting and domain names.



YouTube Video of Teabaggers Having A Rally On Astroturf
|| 9/16/2009 || 6:43 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||


[Watch on YouTube]

Last Friday, on the evening before the Taxpayer March On Washington, a large group of teabaggers, patriots, small-government conservatives, and libertarians staged a rally at CityCenterDC, the site of the old Washington, DC Convention center. Little did they know they were standing on Astroturf.

Astroturfing is a word that describes political, advertising, or public relations campaigns which seek to create the impression of being spontaneous “grassroots” behavior. Being that the Taxpayer March on Washington was promoted heavily by Fox News and other conversation media organizations, it was far from being a grassroots mobilization. So when I realized the demonstrators were actually standing on astroturf, I decided to make this short video to highlight the irony of the spectacle.


Related Taxpayers March on Washington, DC Entries:
Photographs of Friday’s Opening Rally of the Taxpayers March on DC at CityCenterDC
Photographs of Friday’s Opening Rally of the Taxpayers March on DC at CityCenterDC
Photographs of the Taxpayers March on Washington [PART ONE]
Photographs of the Taxpayers March on Washington [PART TWO]
Photographs of the Taxpayers March on Washington [PART THREE]





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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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  • thank you,
    come again!