Sunday, December 30, 2007

Google SketchUp - Home

Google SketchUp - Home

Another tool from the Google toolbox, which seems to just keep on giving. A free gadget that let's you produce basic drawings and other renderings. Reading the review, it seems to be akin to Visio. I've downloaded it and will play around with it shortly.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Quote of the Day

"The American male doesn't mature until he has exhausted all other possibilities." ~Wilfrid Sheed

 

Oh, how painfully true this is.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I Think in Pictures, You Teach in Words

I Think in Pictures, You Teach in Words

Quite an interesting article, illuminating my own experiences. This was forwarded to me by a friend, for which I am much obliged. It explains a lot of my own misery.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Politics

I just watched a speech by the Heritage Foundation. It's interesting to see those so solidly committed to conservatism speak. They seem quite disconnected from me. One of the more interesting statements was the reiteration of their committment to the free market as well as traditional values (i.e.: the importance of family) without any sense of irony. Are they blind to the corrosive affect of the free market on family? Do they completely ignore the late 18th and early 20th centuries? Unfettered markets are destructive, they devalue the human existance and exacerbate suffering.

There are several places I find myself aligned with conservative ideas. For instance, I'm no fan of welfare. However, it's not out of any sense of rage that there are people gaining subsistence without adequate effort. My concern is one of human dignity. The way most US welfare systems were constructed did not provide for getting oneself off the dole. The system actually resisted efforts to improve one's marketability and find more then simple employment but a career. I didn't, and still don't, see that as a failure of the individual but of the system.

Perhaps the most central place I depart from most conservatives is in the notion of the "ideal" human. Classic liberal thinking has the individual as the natural or ideal state of humanity. I disagree. People have a need for society. Humans in isolation die (in extremes, and suffer egregious mental damage in lesser doses). I see humanity existing on a social continuum. There are times we need others, and times we need isolation. We all exist in a tension between social influences and individual directives.

Another piece I find interesting is how they don't see how most Americans have a distrust for Capital. Much of conservatism is viewed as simple justification for the rich continuing exploitation. They don't see that many believe that there is a tyranny by the rich, that we of more modest means are inherently disempowered, that the only way to have influence is with money. The rich are viewed as having undue favor, quite corrosive to social cohesion.

I have nothing against a strong defence, however that is quite different that bullying the rest of the world. We may ramble on about bringing freedom to the rest of the world, but a good many of the rest of the world sees our international (extra-national?) activities as being in our narrow self interest. It's important to note that a it doesn't take a deep dive into the US history to see solid examples. Not very many people see our actions in Iraq, for instance, as the efforts to depose a dangerous dictator. Instead, our actions have been viewed as an attempt to secure our grip on the world's most valuable commodity.

Though I've grown weary over the past few years of this need to define oneself in such polar terms, and in ways that really misuse the classic definitions of "conservative" and "liberal", I still exist in this system. I thus find myself more "liberal" in this context. Perhaps, someday, I'll be able to define myself in more valuable detail, such as saying I'm a "progressive traditionalist". Perhaps. And, perhaps, the thing I grow the most weary is the currency of rage that both extremes spend with glee.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Responding to tirades

Yesterday I read about Michael Savages' ignorant tirade against Islam. I realise I don't have much bandwidth left to deal with this. They don't deserve my attention or energy. It's time to stop giving these people justification by reacting. Ideally, we'd just shake off their speech for the petty and childish behaviour it is. Not ignored, just acknowledge quietly for what it is, and then the discussion returning to a dialog amongst adults.
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Friday, December 14, 2007

Official Gmail Blog: Gmail + chat + AIM = crazy delicious

Official Gmail Blog: Gmail + chat + AIM = crazy delicious

An interesting development. However, it seems pretty one-sided. You can log into AIM from Gtalk, but can you talk with your Gtalk chums from AIM? Not that it matters that much to me. I have a few friends that I regularly chat with in Gtalk, and even more occasionally in Yahoo. As someone who doesn't live in a chat client (well, I use a variant of MS Messenger at work, but that's integrated with the network...blah blah), this isn't too impactful. At one time, though, this would have been huge news.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Blogging

A goodly amount of blog posts are written in a stream of conciousness style., which may help with the discounting of the medium. I am a great offender in this area. However, I happen to value this way of writing. That might also explain why I enjoy reading blogs so much, too.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Monday, December 10, 2007

6 Reasons why you should think before you speak

These were emailed to me over the weekend. Some are new, some are
"oldies but goodies", but all are amusing. Enjoy!

Here are six reasons why you should think before you speak - the last
one is great! Have you ever spoken and wished that you could immediately
take the words back...Or that you could crawl into a hole? Here are the
Testimonials of a few people who did....

FIRST TESTIMONY: I walked into a hair salon with my husband and three
kids in tow, and asked loudly, 'How much do you charge for a shampoo and
a blow job? I turned around and walked back out and never went back. My
husband didn't say a word...He knew better.

SECOND TESTIMONY: I was at the golf store comparing different kinds of
golf balls. I was unhappy with the women's type I had been using. After
browsing for several minutes, I was approached by one of the
good-looking gentlemen who works at the store. He asked if he could help
me. Without thinking, I looked at him and said, I think I like playing
with men's balls.

THIRD TESTIMONY: My sister and I were at the mall and passed by a store
that sold a variety of candy and nuts. As we were looking at the display
case, the boy behind the counter asked if we needed any help. I replied,
"No, I'm just looking at your nuts". My sister started to laugh
hysterically. The boy grinned, and I turned beet-red and walked away. To
this day, my sister has never let me forget.

FOURTH TESTIMONY: While in line at the bank one afternoon, my toddler
decided to release some pent-up energy and ran amok. I was finally able
to grab hold of her after receiving looks of disgustAnd annoyance from
other patrons. I told her that if she did not start behaving right now
she would be punished. To my horror, she looked me in the eye and said
in a voice just as threatening, "If you don't let me go right now, I
will tell Grandma that I saw you kissing Daddy's pee-pee last night!"
The silence was deafening after this enlightening exchange. Even the
tellers stopped what they were doing. I mustered up the last of my
dignity and walked out of the bank with my daughter in tow. The last
thing I heard when the door closed behind me, were screams of laughter.

FIFTH TESTIMONY: Have you ever asked your child a question too many
times?My three-year-old son had a lot of problems with potty trainingAnd
I was on him constantly.One day we stopped at Taco Bell for a quick
lunch in between errands.It was very busy, with a full dining room while
enjoying my taco,I smelled something funny, so of course I checked my
seven-month-old daughter, she was clean. Then I realized that Danny had
not asked to go potty in a while.I asked him if he needed to go, and he
said 'No'.I kept thinking'Oh Lord, that child has had an accident, and I
don't have any clothes with me.'Then I said, Danny, are you SURE you
didn't have an accident? "No," he replied. I just KNEW that he must have
had an accident, because the smell was getting worse. Soooooo, I asked
one more time,'Danny, did you have an accident? This time he jumped up,
Yanked down his pants, bent over, spread his cheeks and yelled "SEE MOM,
IT'S JUST FARTS!!" While 30 people nearly choked to death on their tacos
laughing, he calmly pulled up his pants and sat down. An old couple made
me feel better, thanking me for the best laugh they'd ever had!


LAST BUT NOT LEAST TESTIMONY: This had most of the state of Michigan
laughing for 2 days, and a very embarrassed female news anchor who will,
in the future, likely think before she speaks. What happens when you
predict snow but don't get any! We had a female news anchor that, the
day after it was supposed to have snowed and didn't, turned to the
weatherman and asked: "So Bob, where's that 8 inches you promised me
last night?" Not only did HE have to leave the set, but half the crew
did too they were laughing so hard!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Snow Hominids

My 5 year old son has discovered Rankin and Bass' "Frosty The Snowman". I, the fan of Calvin and Hobbes, can't help but superimpose "Snowgoons" for "Snowman". Adding snowgoons to the story would certainly add an interesting new dynamic.
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Monday, December 03, 2007

Governor declares weather-related state of emergency

Governor declares weather-related state of emergency 

 

This sums up my day nicely. Gah!

Pasta monster gets academic attention - Technology & science- msnbc.com

Pasta monster gets academic attention - Technology & science- msnbc.com

I'm impressed with this piece of satire. Particularly, it does an excellent job at communicating its point.

» Apple QuickTime under siege | Ryan Naraine’s Zero Day | ZDNet.com

» Apple QuickTime under siege | Ryan Naraine’s Zero Day | ZDNet.com

Calling Apple the next Microsoft due to the security vulnerabilities in QuickTime might be a bit much. QuickTime is used rather infrequently, at least by me. Certainly nowhere near as much as an average Windows user would use IE. This is not meant to minimize these weaknesses, but simply to put this in proportion.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Blue Man Group -

I would never have guessed that I would sit and "watch" Baba O'Riley with my 4 year old son. However, my boy is huge Blue Man fan.

the vegetable orchestra

Ok, this is one of the strangest things I've seen in quite some time. These folks have made their own instruments...out of vegetables.

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives: TV: Food Network



Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives: TV: Food Network

I know this marks me as somewhat less cultured, but I love this show,and am a bit jealous of Guy. This just sounds like a wonderful job, driving around the country and trying out, shall we say "all American fare".

Friday, November 30, 2007

Huge wooden moose planned in Sweden

Huge wooden moose planned in Sweden

 

This just speaks to me in a Monty Python sort of voice. Despite all the misery and mayhem in the world, stories like this give me hope. I need to plan a trip to Stockholm.

 

Moose bites can be nasty!

 

Another piece of my childhood dies

Evel Knievel dies at 69

 

I didn’t think it was possible for Evel to die. Considering all that he’s survived, it’s particularly stunning for him to be brought down by disease.

 

I remember those outlandish stunts, and the crazy costume, and being fascinated. All us boys were Evel Knievel lunging our BMX bikes over tires and Matchbox cars.

 

Godspeed, good sir

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Microsoft Challenges the iPod (Again) - New York Times

Microsoft Challenges the iPod (Again) - New York Times

I'm glad Microsoft is getting going in this space; it'll serve to keep Apple honest and not take us for granted. Competition is good, blah, blah. Apple is (hopefully) not going to make the same mistake as they did in the desktop wars of the 80's.

Sears Profits Obliterated - Forbes.com

Sears Profits Obliterated - Forbes.com

A 99% profit plunge...OUCH! Retail may be haggard, but nobody's this weak. One lesson I take from this is that you can only shore up profits with cost cuts for a limited time. There comes a point where you lose your ability to function. I think of all the lame, outdated (and damn depressing) Sears stores out there, and clueless sales staff, and am not at all surprised. I do hope they pull it together, for Sears is a venerable brand and it would be a loss for them to vanish.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wired News - AP News

Wired News - AP News

Rather weird, and scary. However, I can't imagine a cell phone battery having a strong enough chemical reaction to injure someone that severely. That would require quite a bit of force, and I don't see how a standard battery could generate that. It would need to be an abrupt, rapid and fully contained reaction, and (again) I can't imagine a commercially produced battery would have that capability. Odd...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hidden crime of ‘wi-fi tapping’: only 11 arrests but most of us are guilty - Times Online

Hidden crime of ‘wi-fi tapping’: only 11 arrests but most of us are guilty - Times Online

Well, one piece of the "is using someone else's unsecured wireless internet account ethical" has been answered. In the UK (at least) it's apparently illegal. Interesting...

Though I've always been adamant about locking down my account, I don't see someone else surfing using my account a crime, per se, especially if the account is unencrypted. I can think of several times that my computer had logged onto a neighbor's network without my knowledge (when my network had dropped, generally). And I think that viewpoint's more prevalent. The analogy of leaving my front door open doesn't really hold water. I've known several people over the years who are rather communal about their service, and are happy to let others use their access point. Perhaps the articles alarmist rhetoric about being held culpable for someone else's downloading of illegal content will inspire more people to upgrade their network's security. However, I think the apathy around this, and the ignorance, will still prevail. Perhaps producers of this technology should default to the highest security setting, and then force people to choose a lower setting?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Brave New Medium

This fine medium, our blogosphere, is still in being birthed. Its power is only at the initial "fleshing out". Anti-corporate protests and political campaigns are just the beginning, I'm sure. We have two things combining.

Greater numbers of people, globally, are coming online every day. The vast majority of western school children are well versed in web issues, and most in the global south have a real awareness if not intimate experience. And the rest of the population is getting drug into this world, if for no other reason than to be able to fill out job applications.

This, meshes nicely with the media's desperate need for conflict. They have a ready supply of well thought out critique of -name-your-issue-here-. Anyone who hates something can build a blog or full blown website, and others can coallece about the orbit, via the power of the Google, et al. And the media can easily find these folks, and the might of the Google.

Yes, some of these folks are crack-pots and crazies. However, many (most?) are not. Many have well thought out, and documented, grievances. The media can find these folks without working anywhere nearly as hard as in my youth. Yes, many in the mainstream media hate the blogophere, even they see their power growing.

Any corporate type charged with issue and brand management who wants to ignore this medium is foolish. This realm is only going to grow. This is no "fad", nor simply the purview of chatty teenagers. Real issues are debated, and real information is discussed. Deliberately ignoring this realm, minmizing its influence, or otherwise hiding your face, is foolishly reckless. This will bite anyone in reputation management. I guess I don't feel a great deal of pity for them, though I do for those who will be picking up the pieces.
Sent via my Blackberry

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Homeland Security slams FEMA for staging fake wildfire news conference - On Deadline - USATODAY.com

Homeland Security slams FEMA for staging fake wildfire news conference - On Deadline - USATODAY.com

Not just unethical, but plain dumb. Anyone with an iota of Public Relations/Public Affairs knowledge would have nixed this early on. Mike Widomski, FEMA's deputy director of public affairs really should be sacked for gross incompetence. There are plenty of ways to have spread this information without, well, this. Sheesh!

Adrants has a cute take on this.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Evening thoughts

I'm adrift within my psyche's abyss. Mists of my deceptions weave amongst the stone, dreams and the real intertwined. As moss, or lichen grows upon stone and tree, my life lays upon my core, becoming one, indistinguisable.
Sent via my Blackberry

Monday, October 29, 2007

Political Thought

Oine thing I've become weary of hearing are voters concerned about someone's "electibility". This is a rather strange discounting of their opinions. "I like this person's ideas, but will vote for someone else because nobody will vote for what I value." Sad, really.
Sent via my Blackberry

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Today

Today was surprising in its warmth and clarity. Filled with bright light, more akin to late summer than the middle of autumn. Almost none of my day was spent in this delight, though I did get a clear view from my office's windows. Perhaps the proverbial gilded cage. Oh, the delights of corporate life.
Sent via my Blackberry

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Worst Traffic

From Bizjournals

 

The most telling thing to me with this photo story is how many people are in their own cars. Even in New York, more than ½ of the daily commuters drive in single occupancy vehicles. Interestingly, this piece on the best commutes in the country has even higher rates of SOV. At least 79% of the commuters in these cities drive their own cars to work (and, in most of them, the percentage is much higher). I wonder if parking presents any issues at all.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

More Thoughts

My brain seems empty of late. I don't feel greatly inspired, no grand need to write. This is one of those times that I need to push, to drive, descend into the depths of my being. I know that I need to spend more time within my fears, trying to calm this realm forever. Face them down, yes, but also chase them to their roots, and then pull them up. Only then can I truly be free, and then I can see that deep desire, that which is based upon love, and nothing more.

Fear is what drives me to weariness, what grabs at those roots and plays demented songs. This is what I loath about my life right now, the unbidden fears that gurgle up like swamp gas and belch their stink into my day. I really don't need this. My fears are unrealistic and, dare I say, silly. They are out of balance. Fear is valuable, it provides guidance and works to keep us safe. When it is the primary driver, when reason, compassion and love are weakened, or, worse, obliterated, my life is worsened. Joy withers, droops, and risks death. Live without joy is only an empty husk, tree bark with no tree within. It is dead, and a death I wish for no one.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

designboom weblog, design related news, reviews and previews

Clever little costume, anyone gonna grab it for Halloween? (No, this link isn't for a costume".



This is where I first found this. And here is the site with this, and many other photos like this. Sadly, I don't have the slightest idea what language this is in.

Update:It's Portugese.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Venus Hum



Rather cool new artist I just stumbled upon. A groovy blend of techno which I stumbled upon checking out one of my favorite groups now, Blue Man Group.

Check out the video Venus did with Blue Man.

Here's the link to official Venus Hum site.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Career Thoughts and Personal Observations

For many years I’d considered a career in IT as I have something of an aptitude and a modicum of interest. However, I soundly lack passion. Today on my train journey into Seattle and to work, I sat nearby a chap reading a book on Linux. He was an immersed and interested by this as I was by my current read, “Cry The Beloved Country”. Not the first time I have witnessed such, I still find this amazing. While I was in the Navy, I had colleagues would delight in reading arcane texts specializing in some opaque mathematically based concept. Though I have a reasonable grasp of the mathematical arts, I do not claim much joy. If I never studied another thing based upon math, I would be rather content.

 

I understand that there are many levels and tiers to one’s career, and that one can pursue a work-path remarkably different from one’s passions. However, at this point at least, such is not my path. I would rather have my interests and passions before me, and driving my daily life, as opposed to being infrequent musings. Perhaps that will change. I hope not.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

BBC NEWS | Americas | Washington diary: Farewell cowboy?

Washington diary: Farewell cowboy?

An interesting look at the current administration by a writer with the BBC. Quite fair, methinks. Not pandering, not bashing, just thought out and, well, a thoughtful review of where the President finds himself.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Local News | No rental tax for Flexcar — for now | Seattle Times Newspaper

Local News | No rental tax for Flexcar — for now | Seattle Times Newspaper

The notion that Flexcar is in the rental car business is similar to saying a condominium is in the rental house business. People are all co-owners of the cars, and that is a critical difference. With Flexcars, they're timesharing, not renting. I'm surprised that this critical difference hasn't been pointed out yet.

Children

Amazing gifts from my child. So much that I don't grasp, which only becomes clear before my son's eyes. Amazment with a butterfly or spider's web, or anguish from a block's inability to defy gravity. All speak to things buried deep within, lost to sunlight, yet still real, deeply real. Perhaps I can rebirth that, bring it forth into the daylight. Try and see the world simply, in all it's joy and pain. Perhaps what children offer most to the world is not their abilty to experience unbridaled joy, but their grasp of pain. This pain felt so deeply, unhidden by convention or stigma, at things WE can't allow tears for, though we still long to spill forth sobs. Perhaps it is this, and our ability to allow that grief which is the greatest gift.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Microsoft and Online Storage

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/333748_software01.html

 

This move by Microsoft is, to me, a clever and well timed one. Yes, it’s a bit lacking when you consider that one can’t edit the documents without Office, but excellent when you consider that they’re trying to expand, not cannibalize themselves. And, I do believe, that the ability to edit online, independent of having Office software on a particular computer, will be forthcoming. They’re staying relevant, but not jumping too hard on the cutting edge, which is a good way to bleed.

 

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Want

It would be interesting, indeed, to figure out if there is simply enough on this planet. If we flattened the income curve, would we eliminate want? This would answer a critical question about the sustainability of our current system, as well as question the morality of our system.

My believe is that, in this circumstance, want would be eliminated. When you hear statements like "the cost of one long-range bomber would feed all the world's hungry", it gives great credence to this vision. What such a mechanism would look like has yet to be fully visualized, at least in a way that doesn't mandate violent redistribution. Unless one considers the ideologies of Christ, Buddha, and the like.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

» Everything you’ve read about Vista DRM is wrong (Part 1) | Ed Bott’s Microsoft Report | ZDNet.com

» Everything you’ve read about Vista DRM is wrong (Part 1) | Ed Bott’s Microsoft Report | ZDNet.com

It's interesting how the blogosphere has gone rather nuts with Vista. It's a significant upgrade to the major operating system and will have some "issues". Personally, I don't tend to upgrade until I need to. Whether it's driver issues, no new software (or some piece of software that I want) is issued for the OS, it's what's installed on computers when my machines tanks, or some other such thing. I enjoy the Mac OS, but have a Compaq that I've been using quite happily for about 2 years (the best Wintel machine I've ever had, though awfully heavy nowadays).

Anyway, I've heard some of this stuff over the past few months and haven't given it too much thought. It seems rather outlandish to me. However, it's apparent that quite a few folks have taken these "issues" with Vista DRM to extremes. Mr. Bott does a nice job deconstructing this one.

Monday, September 24, 2007

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Burmese military threatens monks

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Burmese military threatens monks

As understandable as the energy surrounding Ahmadinejad's speech at Columbia, the chain of events in Myanmar is much more compelling to me. The steady escalation has me convinced that we face one of two outcomes: another fierce crackdown by the junta, or their overthrow. And, it's quite possible that a display of intense brutality could very well precipitate the collapse of the regime. Very tense times for a regime that might be a much better fit for the title "evil" leveled against Iran.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

VW Gets Gross

Uh, let me just say that this ad is rather nasty...but funny. It does make you worry about all those VW fans out there.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Thought for the day

I seek to avoid the abyss of impotent cynicism and misanthropy. Instead, I long for elegance and quality.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thought of the day

Do you remember when beaming addresses was going to replace business cards? The delights of the original Palm. Of course, some would say that Google is about to do the same thing, but I doubt it. It’s too hard to sift the “wheat from the chaff”.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Quote of the Day

"The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them." -- George Orwell

 

It’s frightening, at times, how relevant Orwell is currently. The man was amazingly prescient. It still amazes me how little his concerns have been heeded. Some find great comfort in the idea of a huge, omnipresent government. One irony is that this is true for many on either ideological extreme. Of course, for these folks, a large, deeply monitoring government is exactly what we need to ensure adherence to their brand of morality. If this government were to adopt the philosophies of their opposition, then it’s intrusive.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

My Childhood

This fellow was a key part of my childhood. What a delight to find Mr. Patches is still the hinterlands of Puget Sound.

JP Patches

Friday, September 14, 2007

Thursday, September 13, 2007

OS Ideas

Idea number 1: make a stripped down Linux build. This would be to extend the life of older systems, as well as craft something that would simply scream on current systems.

2: take an OS and gut all the visual compentry, then craft a system that is maximized for blind users. Seems wasteful of system resorces to utilize an tweaked version of Windows or Mac, with all the visual stuff going on and not adding value.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

An English Teacher in Porto: In Search of Joanne Rowling

An English Teacher in Porto: In Search of Joanne Rowling

You JK Rowling fans should enjoy this. Christopher Rollason explores Porto, Portugal following in the footsteps of Rowling, who lived their in her lesser days.

Advertising Age - Garfield The Blog - Comcast Must Die

Advertising Age - Garfield The Blog - Comcast Must Die

Reading this first reminds me of my own Comcastic experience (shudder). However, I also think about these at a larger level. Customer service is a serious problem industry-wide, and it might be so throughout significant segments of the economy. Consider Jeff Jarvis' "Dell Hell" campaign, or the constant vilification of every cellular carrier (just read the comments in any CNET carrier review). Service is dreadful on a macro level. Those companies that specialize in exceptional customer experiences (Nordstrom's the first to come to mind) seem to be thriving. The anger that these experiences generates needs to considered by these companies. No amount of PR will rebuild relationships thus sacrificed. Steven Covey's model of the emotional bank account is apt. Sadly, so many companies are grossly overdrawn, and will be forced to declare bankruptcy.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Online predators keep the police busy

Online predators keep the police busy
Seattle police detectives in the Task Force on Internet Crimes Against Children haven't seen a significant drop in their caseload and say online predators aren't deterred -- even though most end up convicted.

 

What I find the most fascinating is that this tactic still works, and works well for the police. You’d think that the predator community would have “wised up” when you consider the increasing numbers of arrests and captures, along with the high profile nature of so many of these busts (many on live tv). Perhaps this speaks to a hidden desire to be caught, as Freud would’ve said. Or that this disorder causes a shutdown of certain logic centers. Or, perhaps, the compulsive need is so great as to blind them to the likelihood of capture and arrest. Hard to say, I’m afraid.

Rock bottom for Palm and Hawkins? | One More Thing - CNET News.com

Rock bottom for Palm and Hawkins? | One More Thing - CNET News.com: "The company is in danger of watching a category it helped create leave it in the dust."

This sums up the situation at Palm rather well. It's quite sad, as I've been a Palm fan for years. But this year, when my Treo was near the end of its useful life, I went with a Blackberry 8700 and have been quite pleased. The issues and anguish of the Palm have become seriously entrenched. I know several companies that were complete Treo operations (mine included) that are now completely pulling the line. With Good porting it's service to anyone who asks, the new Exchange server/Windows Mobile synergy, as well as Blackberry offering serious new offering every few weeks (so it seems), I can't help but think that the Treo is doomed. And, to be frank, if the Treo is doomed, Palm is doomed. PDA's are dying out. I only know a handful of people who use them anymore. So many more use a smartphone, or are unwilling to go that digital.

Palm needs to do something quite spectacular in the next few months in order to be relevant. Perhaps something as dramatic as retooling the entire line. I'd like them to get a Treo 680-esque device that breaks the $100 price point (not with rebates, but the unlocked device straight from Palm), as well as a whiz-bang upper end device. The smartphone's most underserved area is the low-end bracket, and if they could secure this, along with offering something to capture the imagination, they might just pull themselves back together.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Weird Thought

Can the police and fire departments use gps and rfid in place of the strobes with traffic lights and emergency vehicles? It's conceivable, if really challenging to implement.

Leech invasion makes residents see red

Leeches really suck.

(Forwarded to me – I’ll track down a link soon)

Leech invasion makes residents see red

 

TOKYO (Reuters) - Long confined to the mountains, Japanese leeches are invading residential areas, causing swelling, itching and general discomfort with their blood-thirsty ways.

 

Yamabiru, or land leeches, have become a problem in 29 of Japan's 47 prefectures, according to the Institute for Environmental Culture, a private research facility in Chiba prefecture, east of Tokyo.

 

The little suckers are riding into towns and villages, hitching lifts on deer and boar whose numbers have grown due to re-forestation and dwindling rural populations.

 

Once there, the leeches, which measure in at about 1.5 cms before a meal, take to feasting on warm human flesh.

 

"Yamabiru will climb into people's socks and stay for about an hour, growing five to 10 times in size. Unlike with water leeches, people don't immediately realize they've been bitten. Only later when they see their blood-soaked feet, do they realize what has happened," said Shigekazu Tani, the institute's director.

 

"The real problem is that the bleeding won't stop and the affected area swells up and really itches," he added.

 

The best way to deal with the tiny vampires?

 

"We can cut down trees and mow long grass to dissuade wild animals from coming too close, and create sunny habitats that are inhospitable to leeches. We can also spread pesticides that kill the leeches," Tani said.

 

"Or we can just tough it out."

 

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

New bishop brings wit to the job

New bishop brings wit to the job

 

Well, this article certainly gives me hope that the Diocese of Olympia will be in better hands. I wish the soon-to-be-Rt. Rev. Rickel the best. Somehow, I doubt that Rt. Rev. Warner will remain in the area like his predecessor, Bishop Cochrane. We’ll see, I guess.

Bush porn pic sparks US anger | Metro.co.uk

Bush porn pic sparks US anger | Metro.co.uk

Well, no anger here; I think this is quite hysterical.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Short Celtic Christianity Rant « haligweorc

Short Celtic Christianity Rant « haligweorc
Reading Derek's post at Haligweorc, I'm deeply struck by my ignorance on the Celtic faith. I've been an Celtophile for many years, but have not had the opportunity to delve quite a deeply as I would like. Particularly, the works of Pelagius. I'm familiar with the critical debate between Pelagius and St. Augustine, but haven't gone further than the summation. I know of Columcille, Patrick, and many others. In other words, I have breadth but lack depth. Perhaps the dearest irony is reading this while listening to Liveireland.com.

Continuing the spiritual theme, I just finished reading Francis S. Collins "The Language Of God". Dr. Collins presents a compelling argument for the coexistence of faith and science. I found the book interesting and well written, and well beyond the scope of my scientific knowledge. Here's one review of a dissenter, Sam Harris. However, Harris' derision of everything spiritual and contemptuously arrogant tone detract from his argument. In the end, whatever merits Harris might have are offset by his rhetoric. A much better written, one is Gert Korthof. Mr. Korthof offers and much more detailed and rationale critique of the work. (I cite Mr. Harris since it's the first critique listed when the book is Googled).

Both thoughts point out to me core intellectual weaknesses of mine. I lack depth in both science as well as theology. Limited by time and energy, I will need to limit my studies and accept a level of ignorance on other subjects. This I do with sadness.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Cadbury Dairy Milk - Glass and a Half Full Productions

Cadbury Dairy Milk - Glass and a Half Full Productions

Ok, this is damn weird, but pretty cool.

Quote of the Day

"Life is our dictionary. ... This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it. ... I embrace the common, I explore and sit at the feet of the familiar, the low. Give me insight into to-day, and you may have the antique and future worlds." ~Emerson

 

Besides inspiring the likes of Thoreau, I believe this ideal drove such luminary figures as Kerouac, Snyder and Ginsberg. It’s one that sings to the deepest kernel of my being.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Economics

As I’ve been watching (ever the innocent bystander) the credit market flail, articles such as this one in Forbes are fascinating. Sadly, the more of these that I read, the more my ignorance on things economic becomes obvious. I’ve been wondering for sometime the mechanics of the markets, and the ways that government can influence. There are quite a few variables, whether considering the Fed, Treasury, IMF (though not a US governmental institution, still profoundly affected by US policy), and on and on, which are directly related to governmental influence. However, the huge array of actors within The Market can make one’s head spin. Besides the US, which has a huge impact on the global market, consider the effects of regional organizations (APEC, OPEC, blah blah) and other governments (Europe, China). And international events and actions ripple through the ever more tightly connected marketplace, affecting the economies of other nations in ways that were unfathomable simply 10 years ago. At some point I’m going to work at wrapping my brain around such.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Obama Shoots...He Scores!



Let's see Clinton top this!

Oh, Lotto

Have you ever thought about what you’d do if you were freed from your obligations for income? The scenario I picture is winning an uber-jackpot. What would you do? Personally, I’d pay off my credit cards and car, next stop the mortgage, then a new car. I would expect that I would replace my wardrobe, though not my personal style. No fashion magazine styles, no Italian sports car (though I’d be sorely tempted by Porches), and no mad run from here. I’d look for a nice home towards Puget Sound with a view. Nothing more grandiose than that.

 

These imaginings tell one a great deal. It, if nothing else, shows where one’s mind is right now. However, it also shows one’s priorities and values. Perhaps these images also show one’s pathologies as well. Perhaps…

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Evening thoughts

It is so easy to become overwhelmed by concerns. Fears stoked by my old list of wounds, this maddening list of slights and petty miseries that I keep reflexively. This serves as inspiration for a host of potential tribulations, of course with no guarantee, neither for avoidance or their arrival.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday, August 17, 2007

.Mac and iTunes

The upgrades that Apple has made to the dot Mac service are good, though a long-time coming (however, anyone else notice that Hotmail upped their email allowance, as well as allow email forwarding, right on the heels of Apple’s announcement?). I would like to see some additional features, though. Particularly, I would love to see a greater integration with iTunes. One idea I had was the ability to carryover any customizations from one machine to another. Also, it would be great if we could store all of our music in one place and listen to it on multiple computers. Dot Mac would be a great way to facilitate that.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Singles File: Is 'The Game' reduced to target and ambush?

The Singles File: Is 'The Game' reduced to target and ambush?

Damn funny review, though it makes me very disinclined to watch VH1's "The Pick Up Artist". These folks certainly come across as scummy. Bleh!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Idea of the day

I wonder, within software development, whether the idea of collapsing silos is accomplishable. Can we liberate data and still keep it within a traditionally structured database?

Ahhh...Amiga!

Arstechnica has a great series looking at the Amiga. A great story and very descriptive of the issues that the tech industry faces regularly. We have conflicts between managers and technical experts, over-hype, enthusiastic over-exuberance, as well as the usual cast of characters.

A history of the Amiga, part 1: Genesis: Page 1

A history of the Amiga, part 2: The birth of Amiga: Page 1

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Smooth Sailing for I-5 Seattle Construction and Traffic This Morning; WSDOT Urges Drivers to Stay the Course

Smooth Sailing for I-5 Seattle Construction and Traffic This Morning; WSDOT Urges Drivers to Stay the Course

 

For my ex-pat and other out of (Seattle) area friends, here’s the latest on the joyous commute. For me, it’s been pretty tame. Of course, I live (and thus commute) in the opposite direction of this.

 

This has been the talk of the region for several months, with the past few weeks hitting quite a feverish crescendo. It has been a non-event so far, compared to Y2K by many. I find that comparison apt, since I felt that Y2K was a non-event because of the incredible attention and energy expended. The same with this project. All’s good, I guess.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Hygiene

From a friend of mine…

 

Hello Comrades,

Some disturbing news from the Department of Bathroon Hygiene:

 

·         The percent of women who wash their hands after leaving a restroom is 80%.

·         The percent of men who wash their hands after using a restroom is 55%.

Does anybody else feel dirty?

 

Nope, just wiped….

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Dot Mac Redeems Itself

More online storage for .Mac members

The 10 gigs are nice, plus being able to publish to your own domain rocks. We'll see what else when I have more time. However, I'm pumped!

Dateline DEFCON

Undercover NBC Dateline reporter bolts from DEFCON 2007

 

Chalk this one up to “they never learn”. First they put explosives on trucks to make up a story. Now, they try stupid crap like this. Sheesh! Now wonder Dateline has as much credibility as Fox news. It also speaks to the decline of mainstream media.

» Has Ubuntu clinched the desktop Linux market? | Open Source | ZDNet.com

» Has Ubuntu clinched the desktop Linux market? | Open Source | ZDNet.com

Having played with a few Linux builds, Ubuntu is by far the most thought out and well developed in terms of the average user. It's straightforward and utilizes the same sort of GUI "intuitiveness" as Windows or Mac. Meaning that if you understand how these systems build apps, you'll understand how to get things done with Ubuntu. Blakenhorn is dead on with his main premise, that Ubuntu's focus on the desktop has made it superior. Other builds have been sidelines, this is their focus.

As for winning any desktop Linux war, who's to say. That's the beauty of Open Source; there might very well be something waiting around the corner.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Keeping secrets secret

It's amazing to me that folks don't even delete their contacts and email, much less do a "clean erase" of their handhelds before selling them on eBay (or some other service). All Blackberry.com has some great advice about preserving your private information.
 
 
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Moleskine

Detour: The City Notebook Experience

Imagine what happens when you mix some of our world's most creative minds and Moleskine's legendary notebooks? This site! It's quite amazing, and rather inspiring to my mind's creative crevices.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Politicians and pay

It's pretty common for people to complain that politicians are disconnected from "the people". There's a certain truth to this, especially when one considers that they are in the highest income bracket.

I bring to you an idea, then. Why not pay our federal leaders (at the very least) the median salary? As they need to establish households in DC as well at home, I'm all for giving them some additional compensation. Let's give them a housing allowance for the DC property. Also, let's have the taxpayers cover travel (with public reporting to boot). Lastly, let's have Congress' pay raises pass a super-majority of the popular vote; a national referendum, if you will. At the very least, it'll shave a few smackers off the federal budget.

Geek life

I've been pondering the array of stuff in my life. Besides the gadget, I have collections of other things. Namely, email addresses. I have a Hotmail (from the pre-Microsoft days), Yahoo, an old school account, work, and Gmail. For the sake of sanitya, I need to ditch a few of these, but which ones? Oh, the angusih! Well, this is rather dumb in many regards, but all of these are tied to some other service, which makes dropping it completely quite challenging.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Monday, July 23, 2007

What's next for Whole Foods, Wild Oats?

What's next for Whole Foods, Wild Oats?

CEO's anonymous comments on Web could add new hurdle to troubled deal

 

There really only seems to be one main question here: Mackey was badmouthing Wild Oats in a Yahoo stock forum as a way of devaluing the stock before his attempted acquisition. It would seem (to me) that this would be a concern of the FTC, or at least this conduct’s most damning possible motivation. Otherwise, it’s a goofy episode and little more.  The Yahoo piece, is a bit titillating, but really small potatoes to his boardroom talk.

 

Friday, July 20, 2007

Tour de France leader raises doping suspicions

Tour de France leader raises doping suspicions

Denmark cycling officials ban Rasmussen from competing in 2008 Olympics

 

Sigh…

 

I do hope, for the sake of the sport, that this turns out to be nothing.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Yahoo! Underground

Yahoo! Underground

Lameass that I am, I've not seen this section of Yahoo!. And I consider myself a Yahoo! junkie. Anyway, I stumbled upon this following a link to a Bonnie Burton interview. Fun stuff, methinks! The rocket bit is something else. Brings back my childhood love of blowing things up or launching things into the air.

Tokyo Dance Trooper

When's the Tokyo train ever that empty?

Friday, July 06, 2007

Sprint's Customer Service

I just read on CNET's Crave about Sprint's "dear John" letters to their more frequent customer service callers. It's an interesting tactic to streamline their customer service experience. The first thing I wonder about is whether these dismissals are not the work of Sprint. I just can't see how these can solely be those high-maintenance/"Dinette Set" types. Personally, I see much of this as messes of their own making. Comically, they're being quite gracious, since they're fully canceling their service, with no penalties. Considering their reputation, I'm quite certain that I'd be quite pleased with the option to bail. Somehow, I doubt that this will help their churn rate.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Thoughts in the evening

Another day where I am just weary. I'm looking forward to a short week, and accompanying rest. It's strange, I think, how hard it is to just think at times. Reading the news is empty. I get to the end of a paragraph and retain zero. Perhaps it's the early summer warmth, or allergies, or just being run too thin.

I wonder where I want to take my love of technology. There are so many directions. The two that come readily are to puruse programming/development and to follow a more artistic avenue. Part of me craves combining my old love of photography, poetry, writing and music. Perhaps I can do something with web design?

It's painful, though, to my overworked brain to think of anything too deep right now. I sit on the cusp of a migraine, with medicines (thank goodness) being effective. I hope the weariness wears off soon and I can give these thoughts the deeper consideration they deserve.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

"The 100 Acre Personality Quiz"


Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!

HeraldNet: 1,652 filmed running lights

HeraldNet: 1,652 filmed running lights

This intersection seems to spawn recklessness. To be fair the ticketed, this light is poorly timed; I can think of several times that, in low/medium traffic I've needed to wait several cycles to get through the light. Not that it excuses running the light, but frustration increases the likelihood. I guess that makes this rather akin to road-rage.

This does force one to ask a bigger question, though. There is something rather Orwellian about this system. Is this the first step down a slippery slope towards perpetual governmental monitoring? It may seem paranoid, but I find the question interesting. At what point do we say "no" with a camera based justice system? Cameras at work, at the store, at school, on the bus, now intersections. Where is the "line", and how do we quantify it?

Friday, June 29, 2007

So damn tired...

I have no idea what’s up, but I’m just feeling wiped out. Some blasted bug, I guess. Argh…

 

It’s Friday, if you can believe it. And Sunday is July 1st; we’re officially over ½ through this year. Time’s moving fast enough that I’m starting to feel motion sickness.

 

I’m hoping the long anticipated healing of my car’s transmission will be complete sometime today. Though I do love taking the train, I do miss my car. Not particularly green of me, I know, but I like having flexibility in the morning (only two trains from Edmonds to downtown Seattle; the last leaves at 7:05). Plus, I’m rather anti-social in the mornings.

 

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Lynnwood Beauty Academy

As a child of Lynnwood, this strikes way too close to home.

eMusic

One worry I had when I chose an iPod over sattelite radio was that my music would become stale. Howver, with so many podcasts, internet radio, and services like eMusic, Magnatune and the like, there is no excuse for musical stagnation. Heck, it's no effort at all, really. I love Irish music, and have spent my train ride to work listening to podcasts by LiveIreland.com and the Thistlepod (NPR's Thistle and Shamrock). All kinds of great new music. Life is good!

Our Family Hostage Crisis - New York Times

Our Family Hostage Crisis - New York Times: "Our Family Hostage Crisis"

It's stories like this that make me a fervent believer in critical importance of open, transparent government. The leaders of Iran believe that they are exempt from scrutiny, that they are accountable to no-one.

On only one point do I disagree with Professor Bakhash. The actions of Iran in these cases don't make the government look "inhumane", they make them look evil. This shows them to be beasts willing to brutalize anyone who, ever so slightly, diminishes their power.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Save Net Radio

I am a heavy user of net radio. As such, I’m a bit impacted by today’s “day of silence”. However, I fully support the efforts that our net radio friends are working on to save this medium. The way things are right now, net radio stations are looking at a 300% royalty increase that will be effective on July 15th. And that increase will be retroactive to January. The net effect (please forgive the pun) will be many of these stations imploding. I am in full support of artists being compensated for their work. However, this will remove a revenue stream as well eliminating a channel to expand their fan base. There are two big losers with this system: artists and listeners.

 

I urge you to head over to savenetradio.org to learn more about the issue. From there, you also will be shown how to contact your representatives in Congress, where there is legislation underway to reverse this. With all of our efforts, we can bring about a more sensible solution to ensure that artists are fairly paid and internet radio is able to stay on the “air”.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Facebook and MySpace are like chalk 'n' cheese

Facebook and MySpace are like chalk ‘n’ cheese

 

Steve O’Hear does an excellent job of breaking down the differences between the two popular sites. He really brings out the somewhat subtle differences (at least the MSM hasn’t caught them yet). After reading this, I’m breaking down and looking into Facebook.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Junior Boys Godard Mashup

The way this blends music with the film snippet is amazing. Plus, I love this 80's-esque electronica.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Cars

As a "true" American, I have a deep love for the automobile. However, I'm a bit urban in my love. Though I have a deep respect for the historical American auto (watch my head turn after a Hudson or Packard), for my Modern car passions, I turn to Europe.

German cars, mostly Volkswagen, garner my focus (It is important to note that I currently drive a Honda Accord; necessity, not passion). (I don't know if I would have a wider range of loves if my wallet were fatter.) Comically, my favorite VW has been the van. Though discontinued in the US, the Multivan still exists. The fact that I covet one of these, and would be willing to ship it to the States (with a few years of saving my pennies, of course) marks me as a geek (as if I needed another marker). I guess I'll need to put the Linux penguin on the back window.

What I find fascinating is the "why". I can't put my finger on a particular wow factor. Some of it comes from my cyclist/outdoorsy days, where the VW van was so cool...I could transport my bike and not need to pull the wheels off! I get to my destination, pull out bike and ride. Woo hoo! Perhaps it's the link between the hippie and the bus. I think that it's pretty deep, deeper than the cool lines and advanced design. Because, let's face it, even the Multivan is not radically designed.

Well, who knows. I do love the things, though. And, yes, I'm planning my trip to the holy land of Wolfsburg someday.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Yahoo! Go

I was just perusing the Yahoo Go website (Cingular section) and was quite surprised to see every single phone on the “coming soon” list. As I clicked around on the other carriers, I saw every phone with every carrier was “coming soon”. Then, bright guy that I am, I went to the main Yahoo Go page and saw that Yahoo Go 2.0 is coming this Friday (aka: tomorrow). We’ll see what comes.

 

Also, though the 750 is on the “coming soon” list, the 680 is not on the list, which bugs me. I’m not going to be in the market for anything as upscale as the750 for sometime. Oh well, I guess I’ll need to find another app to play with.

I wonder if Medusa's curse was purely optical. Perseus was able to handle her severed head, but not gaze upon it. Why?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

China overtakes United States as world's biggest polluter

Well, China has been working hard to catch up to the US in many areas, why not this one? As a response to Zou Ji’s comments (he of Renmin University and quoted in the article below). "When we become richer and richer, and feel safer and safer, then people will have more time and more resources to pay attention to something not directly linked to themselves", you need to realize that the costs of retrofitting your economy to both stop polluting as well as clean up your mess will be prohibitively expensive. China, both as a state and its citizenry, would be far better served by its leaders being more forward thinking. Additionally, the long-term health of their eco-system, of which their bodies are mere extensions, is something that’s hard, and expensive, to buy back. This attitude is much like, knowing you have cancer, to wait until you’re richer so the financial bite is less painful.

 

Anyway, as is so often the case, Grist says it so much better than me.

 

 

And They're Off
China overtakes United States as world's biggest polluter, agency says

The United States is no longer the world's biggest polluter. That honor goes to China, which emitted some 8 percent more carbon dioxide in 2006 than Bushland, according to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. But on a per-person basis, Americans pollute roughly four to five times more than folks in China. And while the emissions surge is tied to a booming industrial landscape -- China opens the equivalent of two coal-fired power plants each week -- that growth is spurred in part by Western consumers buying goods made in China, and by outsourced manufacturing. So: still your fault. While China's leaders work on a climate plan, observers say residents are more worried about their immediate environs: "Most people in China are either unaware of or uninterested in climate change," says Zou Ji of Renmin University. "When we become richer and richer, and feel safer and safer, then people will have more time and more resources to pay attention to something not directly linked to themselves."

[ email | discuss | + digg | + del.icio.us ]

straight to the source: The Globe and Mail, Reuters, 20 Jun 2007

straight to the source: The Guardian, Jonathan Watts and John Vidal, 20 Jun 2007

straight to the source: BBC News, Roger Harrabin, 19 Jun 2007

straight to the source: The Guardian, John Vidal and David Adam, 19 Jun 2007

 

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Work with me, people!

On my drive in this morning, I watched a Krispy Kreme truck twice start to merge right with a line of cars where he wanted to be. Even if the driver’s eyes didn’t work, fortunately, the ears did. Part two of my saga: the fellow who tries to pass me on the left…when I’m in the left lane! Then the fellow just zips over several lanes without the slightest awareness of the wee little stick on their steering column. Then there was the several miles where I was stuck behind 3 cars, all in a row, dawdling along the highway. 30 in a 45 in the left lane…sigh…at least I made it in.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Google launches public policy blog today

Google launches public policy blog today

As a political geek, this will be fascinating, I’m sure. However, I haven’t had a chance to review this yet. I’ll take a peek and get back to you all.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Woman dies in ER lobby as 911 refuses to help

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19207050/

 

I’m completely horrified; however, not as much at the 911 operators as at the staff of Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital. To just watch someone bleed to death is horrific enough, but to have a job as a medical staffer and do so is a beastly low.

 

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Look who's joined the browser wars...

 

Safari on Windows? Right on! However, I can’t get it to work on my work computer since I can’t configure proxy settings. I’ll give it a whirl at home soon, though. Exciting news; but I’m not sure of what value it is. I would much rather had heard an announcement about .Mac upgrade/update/merge with Google. I’m quite close to dropping it altogether.

 

 

FW: Cell phone bill, text message ban signed into law

Several of my friends have been unaware of the status of this bill. If you live in Washington, get used to no texting while driving and you may want to spring for a decent headset. At least you have until January (texting) and July (handsfree) to get it all figured out.

 

Cell phone bill, text message ban signed into law

http://www.komotv.com/news/local/7470007.html  

Story Published: May 11, 2007 at 4:42 PM PDT

Story Updated: May 12, 2007 at 4:48 PM PDT

By Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Hang up or pay up: Using your hands to talk on the phone or tap out a text message while behind the wheel of a car will be illegal next year.

Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the measures into law Friday, flanked by children who suffered serious injuries after being hit by distracted drivers.

Under the new laws, drivers who read and compose text messages or talk on a cell phone without a hands-free device could face a $101 ticket. The text-messaging ban takes effect Jan. 1; the cell-phone law will be enforced starting in July 2008.

Drivers are exempt in some situations, including emergencies, and neither offense will be enough to get a driver pulled over by the police.

But parents of children injured in collisions with such drivers said the new laws are still a major improvement.

Cindy Baker-Williams and her son Billy were among those who stood by as Gregoire signed the bills. Billy, 12, suffered a brain injury four years ago while walking to the school bus. Witnesses to the crash said the driver was talking on a cell phone at the time, Baker-Williams said.

"It's a very emotional time," she said. "Behind this bill, we see faces of people in our community who hopefully will never have to go through a pedestrian-car accident."

Billy Williams, who was in a coma for nearly a month and suffered injuries to his brain's speech centers, now helps his mom keep an eye out for distracted drivers.

"Every single time I see a person on a cell phone, I say 'A person on a cell phone!' I just, like, scream it out," he said Friday.

Drivers who cut in line at the ferry terminal also could get a $101 ticket and be sent to the back of the line, under another measure the governor signed Friday. The ferry-line law takes effect in July.

A fourth driving-related bill approved by Gregoire takes aim at dangerous commercial vehicles, including increased penalties for multiple safety violations.

The bill was inspired by two scientists who were killed in 2005 when a load of logs spilled from a speeding, overweight truck near Humptulips.