Michael Arrington on OpenStreetMap

The other day, one of my coworkers forwarded me a link to an article on TechCrunch about OpenStreetmap.

For a moment, I was exited to see OSM getting some press. My excitement faded rapidly, when I saw the article made a rather glaring factual error. It claimed that OSM is a product of Cloudmade.

Sloppy journalism is nothing new, and nothing to get overly excited about. In the comments, a few people tried to correct the mistake, pointing out that OSM is a project in it’s own right, and Cloudmade is a company that uses the OSM data.

Mr. Arrington replied to these comments that he “fully understand[s] the relationship between Cloudmade and openstreetmap.” Clearly he does not.

To say that Cloudmade is in charge of OSM is an error of the same magnitude as saying that Canonical is in charge of Debian. It’s totally ridiculous, and anyone who spends 10 minutes poking around the web could have figured this out.

Arrington then goes on to insult the entire readership of TechCrunch:

“for the vast majority of our readers [the relationship] just isn’t relevant.”

Evidently the difference between the actual facts and made-up malarkey is not relevant to the TechCrunch readership. Maybe TechCrunch is the high-tech equivalent of the Onion, I don’t know.

Not content to insult his own readers, he goes on to slag off the entire open source universe.

If even 1% of our readers gave a damn I’d write a post explaining how projects like these are able to stay on track, and why there is always just one for profit company guiding it.

Evidently he thinks that open projects alway have a for-profit company behind them. I’ve been an active contributer to OSM for over three years now, and I’ve never once been “guided” by Cloudmade in any way whatsoever. Does anyone know what for-profit concern is “guiding” Wikipedia or Mozilla? I sure don’t.

After several more comments tried to correct Arrington’s mistake, he decided that the OSM community is “nasty” and closed down the comments.

Well, sorry TechCrunch. We’re open source people. When we see a mistake, we file a bug. We tried to help you fix your buggy article. It’s what we do. You didn’t listen, and so your article is still broken, and you look like a fool.

Gifford Pinchot S24O

Last weekend, I did an S24O with Doc, and The Sloth, some of Sloth’s neighbors.

When I arrived at the Sloth residence, it seemed to have turned into a bike shop of sorts.

The Lovess Bicycle Emporium

Turns out he was putting a bike together so some of his neighbors could come along. Once all the bikes were packed and ready, we headed out through New Cumberland, and into the hills.

Oh, the hills. They were steep, and evil and ugly. And I walked up more than a few. After several miles of misery, we came upon a small country store, and got some gator-aid. I also bought some oatmeal-cream pies, because Kent Peterson is my nutritional role model, whether he likes it or not.

At any rate, the hills smoothed out (slightly), and we ran into Doc near the entrance to the camping area. This is Doc’s Trucker, all loaded up.

Doc's Bike

Our campsite was nice and scenic, but there really weren’t very many good places to put tents. State Park campgrounds are notorious for their hard, compacted ground. I only brought a RidgeRest to sleep on, and it wasn’t very comfy on the hard ground.

I was testing out some new gear on this trip. I had a Jacks-R-Better Stealth Quilt. It’s a cool piece of kit, because you can use it as a sleeping bag, and as a Serape to keep you warm while you futz around in the campsite. Dual-use items save pannier space and weight. It got down to around 37°F That night, but I was mostly warm, even though the stealth is supposed to be a summer-weight quilt.

The Sloth's Bike and Tent

I wore the stealth as a serape in the morning, while making breakfast and whatnot, and it was very cozy, if somewhat unfashionable.

At any rate, after a somewhat sleepless night on the hard ground, we rode back the way we came. Pausing several times to catch our breaths on the tops of hills.


A rest stop at the top of a long climb

At the end of the ride, we found that all the exertion had given us a hankering for burritos, so we made our way out to Neato Burrito to recharge our batteries.

All in all, it was a fun trip. I think I’m going to get one of those fancy new Therm-a-rest NeoAir mattresses for next time. My hips and shoulders were sore the next day from sleeping on the hard ground. Guess I’m getting old.

Doc and Sloth have both written up trip reports, so go and read them for some more insightful commentary on our adventure. Sloth is already hatching plans and schemes for another S24O sometime next month.