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Your favorite internet magazine. Published twice monthly with Free Content. [Issue #2, Archived]

Music —

War Elephant

Twice Monthly Mixtape by Jesse Alejandro

War Elephant Deer Tick gives out their newest album for download, and Jesse Alejandro dines his way through it, introducing us to this alt-country rock band from Providence. Read | Download Album

Network —

The Internet As Desktop

This Month in Network by Boaz Sender

Google Docs Icon Boaz Sender examines one of the latest moves towards internet as operating system and walks through setting up Gears and Fluid to make web applications behave like they were desktop applications. Read more …

Code —

Custom Attributes

This Month in Code by Rick Waldron

custom attributes Rick Waldron explores the semantic and procedural benefits of custom HTML tag attributes in JavaScript applications as he passes through Connecticut on his way down to New York. Read more …

Feature —

Tech and the Trail: Vote Builder and Google Earth

October 15th 2008 By Jacob Perkins

vote builder

Three weeks out from the presidential election, the focus of the Obama campaign across Virginia has shifted from getting people registered to vote to strongly urging independent and undecided voters to put their support behind the Obama/Biden ticket. The work of persuasion is aided tremendously by a highly specialized database built by the Democratic Party called Vote Builder. This tool allows the campaign staff to define, with great precision, the elusive and all-important undecided voter.

On the eve of a massive GOTV effort, the inspiration for the current and final phase of the Obama Campaign for Change's presence in these northern Virginia counties lies somewhere between the promise of the Obama/ Biden ticket, cell division, and the beloved Transformers of our childhood. The existing offices are rapidly entering into a state akin to mitosis--reproducing asexually in a way that leaves the structural pillars of each office sound, but increases our presence and ability to reach out within each community. The guiding principal is simple: How do we connect with the most people in the most efficient manner?

One of our recent challenges has been finding staging locations (the remote points from which canvasses are "launched") outside of the suburban sprawl that clings tightly to I-95. The vast majority of the "turf" that our volunteers canvass is suburban, but in a race this close, we're striving to reach out to the folks who live off the beaten path as well. It is in the woods, fields, and hills that elections are won and lost. Rural voters tend to be more culturally and politically conservative than their urban counterparts--remember the county-by-county voter distribution maps after the 2004 elections?

With a rapidly advancing weekend canvass to direct, and the importance of the rural vote in mind, one of my colleagues tensely sat at his desk last Wednesday afternoon trying to locate pastors sympathetic enough with our cause to volunteer their church parking lots as canvass staging locations. Phone calls were made and a GPS was brought out. Pacing, head scratching, and aggressive map study ensued. With the stereotype of the Bible thumpin', McCain supportin' Virginian in mind, I was charged with locating and researching the area churches where this person would not, under any circumstances, be found.

After a brief detour through a grim online church directory that promises to spam me every day for the rest of my life, I settled upon my favorite procrastination enabler/sleuthing tool, Google Earth. I scanned the area south of Fredericksburg for the golden steeple icons that Google reserves for places of worship and then shouted addresses, pastor names, and phone numbers across the room to said colleague, who was manically shifting back and forth between laptop and notebook, jotting down numbers and perusing church websites. Occasional pictures of pastors and their inner circles served as a crude indication of how much effort to invest in outreach. I'll be the first to admit one can't judge a book by its cover, but certain profile features tend to indicate a McCain supporter, and the religious, middle-aged McCain supporters down here are somewhat distinctive.
Read more …

Prose —

Rural But Decent Parts

This Month in Prose by Jaye Bartell

Rural But Decent Parts Jaye Bartell tells us about his experience baring it all to an unlikely audience in rural Appalachia. Read more …

Only The Men Have Memory

This Month in Prose by Patrick Davison

Only The Men Have Memory Info-Graphic Schematic Patrick Davison's humorous and detailed info-graphic schematic of a neighborhood shows us that we can represent far more than electrical input and output with diagrams. Read more …

Politics —

Your Presidential Choice

This Month in Politics by Dick Clark

FDR And Herbert Hoover Dick Clark gives us a lesson in economics and why neither of the two candidates is actually the candidate for change. Read more …

Swing States

This Month in Politics by Ryanne Hodson

Swing States Ryanne Hodson's tells us how information culled from voter databases helped her overcome her fear of canvassing. Read more …

Information Wants To Be Free

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