Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday Rambles From A Snowed In Sickee

I’ve been lame of late. The last piece of literature I read was Bukowski. Lately, I’ve been down with the Wall Street Journal and the Economist. Oddly, what’s really pulled me this way has been the prevalence of economics in the news. And not just these past few months, though the current state of things certainly compels me to know more. Actually, that thing within me pulling my interests is poverty; rather, thinking of ways to eliminate it. I see a need to understand the “system” in a deeper way. With that, I think it’s also good to know the system that I live in, whether I wish to rescue others or just avoid becoming a victim of my ignorance.

Be that as it may, I’m starting to get a bit twitchy. Time to read something broader. Got the latest Parabola Magazine, which should broaden my gaze enough for now.

This does bring me to one of my life’s great challenges. My range of interests are ridiculous. Trying to find some way to focus has been crazy. I’ve been working with Steven Covey’s stuff, along with some other guides, and trying to get my, uh, “stuff” together and build a more careerish career. We’ll see what that brings.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Boards

Years ago it seems, I was very active in many usenet groups. As we progressed to web based discussions, I plied my ideas there, too. Now, though, I keep my distance. Heck, I often make it a point to NOT read the threads below an article. First, the basic tenor is simply ugly. Pretty much most popular discussion is dominated by the trolls, or the blithely misinformed (especially those who delight in the ignorance, claiming it as some sort of virtue). Given the condensed nature of my time of late, dedicating any of my most precious resource seems irresponsible. I guess I've lost the love of web 2.0. Perhaps...


Via BlackBerry

Friday, December 05, 2008

Bail Outs And Other Fun

Watching the capitol hill antics this week gave me pause. First, I was simply stunned at the auto execs un-preparedness for those hearings (though they're much better this past session...with room yet for improvement). I have not heard a single question posed to them that should have been unexpected. Glad they chose to finally do some homework this past week. However, it does make me wonder if they are the right people to lead this "reformation". If they are so disconnected to have missed all the signals for a tough questioning, why should I believe that they are in any position to read the desires of the American public? And be able to bring desired cars to market? Gads, lord help us!

With all this, I've thinking about all this mess at a macro level. Is the best public investment in the companies? Or would it be better to invest the public money in a safety net? Providing solid unemployment benefits, as well as career transition assistance for the displaced seems to me to be the better investment. It would be more likely to instill confidence and recharge spending.

In addition, it would make me feel better to hear policy-makers talking about how to best serve those now unemployed. I think this will last for quite some time, and we would do well to consider the long term recovery process. These half-million new unemployed, and those who follow soon, will probably take some time to get re-absorbed into the economy. Tough times ahead, indeed.
Via BlackBerry

Saturday, November 01, 2008

My Beloved Apple

There are so many things I love about the Apple and the Mac platform. However, the whole dotMac/Mobileme thing has been a resounding disappointment. Besides being sluggish, the whole interface is, well, clunky and blah. I also think iWeb, and the way it works with Mobileme sucks terribly. Why am I still using it, you might ask? Just one thing, actually: backups. Ok, that and coveting an iPhone.

Seriously, though, with the exception of the automated backups (and the integration with such programs as Quicken), all the other pieces are better done by others; much better done. Picasa and Flikr do better with photo sharing. Blogger and Wordpress are much better at person websites/blogging. The Mobileme calendar is quite lame.

In many respects, I think I should simply stick with Google for most of my online needs. Picasa, Blogger, etc; though I still love my Macs. I'm sure that I'll be swayed to check out the next offerings they have. I deeply hope they keep working.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

At Night

I love clouds at night.
White bounded by dark, flattened
texture, flowing through trees.
Calm, wakefullness wanes,
embraced by peace.
Via BlackBerry

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Porn and the Media

I stumbled upon this, “What the journalism industry can learn from porn”. Perhaps the post’s most compelling idea is that journalism should get on the ball and embrace the mobile platform. Porn’s already there. Journalism; not so much. Here is a huge opportunity that MSM is just sitting on. “The journalism industry is often reactive instead of proactive when it comes to new technology platforms” sums this problem well. I do understand the reluctance to invest in these channels. Incurring costs can be terrifying, especially untested ones. Yet, failure to innovate also brings a cost. Adopting the hottest technology is always quite expensive (supply and demand).

Also, “very few online news sites are providing large amounts of video content produced exclusively for the web that is not derivative of a print or broadcast story.” Journalism has the potential to greatly expand their offerings via digital content. The column inches limitations are non-existant. Thus, the web offers some incredible opportunities to flesh a story out deeper, offer different levels of content based on interest, link related articles to build a larger idea of “story”, and interact with their readers to build a story’s depth. Little of which is being executed.

However, there are some key differences that will make porn a poor model for journalism to emulate. First, the power of sex. Arousal brings a certain urgency that is beyond rational. As journalism interacts with a different part of the brain, this power to draw cash is greatly minimized.

There is, also, the issue of talent. I’m sure finding someone adept at ”performing“ adult content in a video shoot presents some challenges, finding a talented journalist is more so. Somehow I doubt porn actors demand high level benefits packages. expect that porn has a lower labor cost (though I have little interest in exploring 10k’s to try and quantify this). And finding new ideas isn’t generally a concern of adult entertainment. For media trying to maintain a daily/weekly print edition, this gets even more stretched. Combine that with the additional costs of print, and the challenge gets greater.

Porn may offer some compelling ideas, and have charted some key new directions and technologies. I truly hope journalism doesn’t go to far in adopting the porn model, though. I would love to see the journalism industry become the cutting edge driver of technology. That would be a true delight.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

HOW TO: NY ~ HURDY GURDY IS BEAUTIFUL

What's a hurdy-gurdy you might ask? Well, Wikipedia has your answer.





The artist is Melissa the Loud, and can you read more about her here.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Disturbing old ads

Perhaps I'm just a wuss, but I find this a bit disturbing. Ah, those good ol' days!


The many variations of flute

One of my fellow Backwashers, Uncouth Heathen, posted this fun piece about one of my favorite bands, Jethro Tull. This is their piece, "My God", which combines flute (how many rock-n-roll flautists can YOU name) with 70's Acid Rock. Yep, it's as weird as you think. As a juxtaposition, I've included the video of another well known flautist.










Welcome to the "surreal life".




Speeding

My mind, being what it is, loves to race. I try to consume Snyder's work, but this over-active mind hurries, much like gulping down a 5 star meal. It is a crime, truly, to cram this down my mind’s “gullet”, like a ravenous seagull, obsessed, racing to consume the “next“. There is always some new nonsense demanding my limited focus.

Perfection demands attention! True perfection, that is, not the abused notion of over accomplishment nor the doom of overwork. For this mindset, time is god. Measuring one's worth in the length of a to-do list. How much have I done? Quality? No time for that.

Noticing the leaves move, a gentle, wandering dance; lost. Is it any wonder, then, that we are engorged? We can not consume enough. Our bellies expand, trying to capture that empty place where our souls should be. As our legs give out from our engorged bulk, we have forgotten everything. We have, and are, lost.

Now, a glimpse of a moment. These leaves move; myriad trees, maples, fir, pine, cedar, together. Maples faster, but all of them together, each leaf at the same speed as the others; firs and pines also, but slower. Enslaving myself to the modern mindset sacrifices this moment. Thus, for this moment at least, I resist.




Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fear

Fear has been in my thoughts lately. Particularly, fear's corrosive nature. The way fear, say in a time of want, quickly takes hold amazes me. In short order a society disintegrates along the fissures of diversity, as we seek to ensure OUR collective's success. More amazing, to me at least, comes with how quickly friends become targets, become "other". Fear births anger, simply the predicate for violent action. And quickly, society, a key evolutionary adaptation, collapses.


Via BlackBerry

Friday, September 19, 2008

Driving along in Kirkland, home of the modern yuppie, I’m passed by a new Mercedes. Lovely, silver, shiny, new, bling-bling; a part of me loaded with insecurity twinges while I purr along in my Toyota. Why? How come this is a metric of my self-esteem? Am I being unfair to myself, being upset by this train of thought and it’s influence? Consider, please, how much this viewpoint is drilled into us. Look at how often this imagery gets pushed into our faces, and how long that’s been going on. It shouldn’t surprise me, really, that I sometimes feel this way. Though my conscious values oppose this, the lingering thread of this programming has threads into the depths psyche.

Multimedia message

I'm enjoying this cool, damp and dark day.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Neologism du jour

Blandious - mediocrity on a grand scale, or with immense influence.


Via BlackBerry

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Oh, McCain

So, I just now read the NYTimes piece about McCain’s Convention speech. Sorry, but pretty much everything he is claiming here is nonsense. He’s going to end partisan rancor? I guess by that he means “after the election”. Or does he only mean that done by the nasty Democrats; Republican invective is not really partisan? It was HIS convention that was laden with partisan jibes, and his VP choice who was the second most rancorous in the parade of bitter characters (Giuliani taking the gold in nasty, partisan invective. I suppose that his ridicule of “hope” shouldn’t surprise me, but the whole thing just saddened me).

With this, why is Palin-as-VP some sort of consummation of his maverickness? Other than her gender, she offers nothing new, nothing mavericky. She is lock-step in line with her party, and loves the dirty tricks perfected by Delay and Gingrich. This pharasitical attitude about being a guardian of virtue who is somehow exempted from common decency is hardly innovative. I find it sad, and rather disturbing.

McCain, give me something here. I respect your service to our country, that your military service was beyond commendable. However, I need a vision. I need something other than a VP who I disagree with on every point. You offer me emotional posturing and anemic vision. I don’t see “change” in anything you’ve said. Sorry, but after the ugliness of the Republican Convention, I doubt there is anything you can do to win my vote. There are times I think McCain “gets it”, gets that America is tired of the ugly politics that his party has mastered. However, he was the only one at his convention who showed any commitment to that notion. It’s clear, especially with Palin on the ticket, that the rest of the party is quite content with rancor and partisan “dirty tricks”. All in all, the behavior of the Republicans, aside for McCain, pretty much alienated me.

So, my take on the past two weeks: Obama was inspiring; Biden a kinda swarmy uber-wonk; Palin angry, partisan, self-righteous, self-absorbed...well, nothing positive to say about her; McCain, a war hero who wants to do something good, but can’t shake the mandibles of his party’s mandarins. Sorry, Pub’s, inspiration wins with me, even over your bitter self-righteousness. Of course, you’ll blame the media for losing this election, like you do everything else. Heaven knows that God’s chosen would ever make need to own any of their own failures.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

A Venture Into Bukowski

So, I read Charles Bukowski’s “Women” this week. He’s a writer that I’ve felt I SHOULD read for some time, but (from what I’d heard) felt a need to avoid (or, at least, imbibe my ‘other-things-to-do’ notions). Now, having succumbed to my literary aspirations, I’ve taken the dive. I figured, “Heck, I might actually like his stuff. Besides, all kinds of folks are comparing him to Whitman, Williams, and the like.”

Perhaps my literary aspirations are weak, but I found it coarsely written, with most detail centering around sex. Well, that and booze. Shouldn’t surprise me, I guess. However, after awhile, with nothing else, even sex gets boring (perhaps that’s why I find network TV dull and uninspiring?). This was (possibly) deliberate, to make the character one dimensional, unpleasant, and rather unsympathetic. As the point of view really never changed, things became more and more tedious; we looked through Chinaski’s eyes exclusively. And his view only mildly shifted. It was interesting to me how, at the very end, Chinaski lifted his view every so slightly outside himself. But I never found myself caring.

Bukoswski does a great job of creating a rather disagreeable character, surrounded by unpleasent companions. What I never, at all, ever, was able to do was care about Chinaski. That, perhaps, is what I found as the greatest weakness. Perhaps my lack of sympathy stems from Chinaski’s stark alien-ness to me. Yet, I’ve met many people with a wide array of deranged-ness. Most of humanity's dysfunction is not alien. Maybe that redeems me, maybe not. However, I never moved away from the analyst reading the book to understand the critical acclaim. I had hoped that I would, as I did with Keroauc, amongst so many others, find myself becoming absorbed. No dice, mi amigos. Life’s strangeness, I guess.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saturday Morning

Up before light, but not early, oddly enough, so I cracked my laptop and read. I was rapt with the notice that today’s For Better or For Worse was the last new one. It was beautiful, and as graceful an exit as one could wish for. I then spent a good chunk of time reading Anthony’s bio on the website. That’s a well done piece. I felt amazingly attached to this fictional character. He was well crafted, indeed. I do wonder if there is a heaven for ideas. That we will have a chance to meet with these characters we love in the afterlife. I can think of many story-lines that I wanted to see the rest of. How many people, both fictional and historical have I wanted to do a Vulcan-Mind-Meld and fully, deeply know and understand?

I think that is something that many of us hope for upon our demise, that our questions will be answered, that we will see the entire story. Of course, many of us dread the same. Perhaps, though, that is the ultimate connection; to know each other’s details, all of them. Including those nasty, ugly things we keep buried deep within us. Those things about us we dread, but learn that, upon their revelation, only make us more connected, and those around us love us more.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Morning Musing

It is dark this morning, right now shortly before 6:00 am. One part of the darkness is the clouds, certainly, but another part is the season’s evolving from summer to fall. Autumn’s delights are sneaking in. The hints are there to the watchful eye. Of course, for me, it’s not so dreadful a thing. This is my favorite season. For so many, it is summer, with its warmth and, I guess, lower clothing requirements. Me, I love jackets and sweaters, as well as the cool crispness of the air. This light chill is a delight, though the burning pain of bruising cold winter is less delightful. Perhaps it was my early childhood in New England, as I remember the red maple and oak leaves. Perhaps it is because my birthday is in October, and I’ve been operantly conditioned for a pleasurable response to autumn (oh, B.F. Skinner, how you’ve taken the delight out of life!). Forgive me, if you will, the delight I take in the change, dear friend summer. I wish you no ill, and look forward to your return next year.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

This Sunday Morning

Quiet, fan buzz, odd white fuzz of noise, just low. It sits, droning, not asking for attention, no demands or connection, mindlessly spurting sound. Leaves flicker, a quiet bounce, the lighter leaves only move, the heavier branches of fir and pine stay, nearly, still. Though the friendless sun has risen recently, the calming grey of elevated moisture diffuse the abusive rays. Tranquility sits with us, amidst the moisture, the amazing gentleness of morning dew. Today a few trees bare foreshadowing of the month to come. A japanese maple gains hints of orange, dreaming of the coming slumber.

My mind, being what it is, loves to race. I try to consume Snyder's work, but that over-active mind hurries. Much like gulping down a 5 star meal, prepared by a master. A crime, it is, to cram this down one's gullet, a race to consume the next item, to find some other nonsense for our limited attention. Perfection demands attention! True perfection, that is, not the abused notion of over accomplishment and the doom of overwork. For this mindset, time is god. How much have I done? Measuring one's worth in the length of a to-do list. Noticing the leaves move, a gentle, wandering dance, lost. As the leaves move, maples faster, but all of them together, each leave at the same speed as the others; firs and pines also, just slower. Enslaving myself to the modern mindset sacrifices these moments.

Is it any wonder, then, that we are engorged? We can not consume enough. Our bellies expand, trying to capture that empty place where our souls should be. As our legs give out, we have forgotten so much. Bodily bulk weighs more than the dense soul, which not only adds not bulk to our beings, but lightens life.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A comment on my friend Tracey's blog reminded me of some of my youth's delights. As a wee lad, I loathed them shoe thangs. Luckily, I spent many a year in warm climes (such as California and the Philippines), where I was able to imbibe this lifestyle choice and reinforce it into the deepest habit space. My move to Virginia was awkward, though (first grade-ish), as wearing sandals in the snow (my compromise with my mother) just wasn't feasible. I was dedicated enough to give it a whirl, however. I'm sure that's the reason I settled in Seattle, Birkenstock capital of the globe. No, it had nothing to do with my parent's being from here, meeting at UW, blah blah. It's all about me, blast it! *ahem*

Funny, though, how this hasn't changed, even as I approach my advanced years. Decades of opportunity to modify, of Skinneristic efforts to force my conversion (blue toes; not from an overdose of nailpolish), and still, my favorite shoes my Birk Milanos, though my Tevas come a close second. Though I don't walk barefoot much (once or twice experiencing the wrong end of the poochy digestive system), I still enjoy shoe-free-ness...and my flip flops. Viva sandals!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

NASA

In some ways, I’m still the geeky kid who is easily absorbed by all things space: rockets, planets, comets, stars. These emails I signed up for at NASA still make me a bit giddy.

 

NASA Engineers Complete Engine Test Series For Ares I Rocket
Sun, 17 Aug 2008 23:00:00 -0500

Engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., have completed a series of tests on a key component of the J-2X engine. The J-2X powers the upper stage of the Ares I rocket, which will launch human explorers to the International Space Station and to the moon.

 

One of my earliest memories is of the first lunar landing. With that, I remember my mother milking that enthusiasm for all it was worth: moon landing books, learning materials, blah blah. And it worked! More on that another day.

 

 

Monday, August 18, 2008

More Media Thoughts

I’ve been following the internet forced evolution of media for some time. Besides following Jeff Jarvis’ Buzz Machine with vigor, I finally took the time to read my friend Aaron’s blog (from his journalism grad student days). This post really got me thinking. Historically, journalism’s role was to find news as well as provide analysis. At one time, not too far in the past, in order to have an idea of the goings-on in, say, Washington, DC, you needed to have a staffer on the ground that would mail (dear God) or wire an article in. Even in the pre-web days of the 70’s and 80’s (and, really, much earlier) the web of local affiliates made such concepts silly. Of course, each network and bureau had staff on the ground in key areas (Wall Street, DC, etc) but started utilizing the power of the network to cover, say, a critical moment in Iowa.

 

The web, though, rapidly changed this. Now we have a cacophony of news, ideas, data. Rapidly, our role as news consumers (I’d rather call this data-consumer) has changed. We have shifted from needing news to sorting through the news. Our challenge (well, mine at least) is to assign value to all this stuff. Newsy types need to focus on research, on providing deeper insight, getting to the heart of any story. With this, it is even more critical than ever for journalists to focus on integrity. With so many choices out there, readers must trust the journalists to provide balance and depth. Originally the focus of media’s agnosticism, now the critical need is for transparency. Acknowledge your viewpoints (biases, whatever you wish to call it), and publicly challenge it.

 

Anyway, just a few random thoughts on a Monday morning.

 

 

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Oh, A Meeting We Will Go

This post gives me pause. Meetings, the infernal overwrought obsession of our lives. It's not just corporate America, but the various groups and org's I've dallied with over the years suffer from meetopia, too. No one I know likes the blasted things, yet I don't know anyone offering up a successful resistance.

Related to this, methinks, I have noted that I do a great deal over my workdays (check off a ridiculous number of to-dos) and accomplish little or nothing. The mass of tasks don't roll up to anything. And I've noticed a lingering sense of frustration lately. I spend precious little time reflecting on my goals, and how I can link them to what I do over the course of any given day. I'm so divorced from this, I really wonder what I really want to do, to accomplish any more.

Within a recess of my brain comes a niggling thought. Perhaps this passion for meetings offers up a substitute for reflection. Knowing that we must account, personally, face-to-face for our "deliverables" provides some external discipline. It seems we are madly replacing any semblance of reflection with meetings. Who has time for planning and reflection; we have too many meetings; mad, demented cycle. Can you resist?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Colorectal surgeon Song

A delightful ode to an unrecognized profession.

Inflatable faeces raises a stink

There is just so much here, I don’t know where to begin. Gotta love those Europeans! But envisioning those ever dapper BBC announcers saying the phrase “inflatable dog turd” is truly priceless.

 

 

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Thoughts on "The Myth of the Creative Class"

I’ve long followed Mr. Jarvis’ Buzz Machine, and hold him, and his writing, in high regard. He does a nice job tweaking the media traditionalists noses with this piece. He does bring up a point, though, that I felt a need to explore further. While discussing how our culture is shifting from a model of scarcity to one of abundance, he makes an interesting metaphorical mistake: “…like reverse alchemists, they turn abundance into scarcity, gold into lead.” Now, if we think about it, lead is more abundant than gold. However, I assume that he is simply referencing value. I find this deeply revealing, and an exceptionally good metaphor for this brave new world (apologies, Mssr. Huxley). We are taking the scarce, in this case creativity, and making it abundant. Truly turning gold to lead. This takes the main economic model of the creative life and turns it on its head.  This internet thing has the power, the potential to deeply revolutionize the way our culture does economics. And that excites me deeply.

 

Also, I like his referencing to destroying the influence of “priests”, making this new medium a reformation of sorts. But that is another post for another day.

 

 

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pilot receives SMS landing instructions after power failure

I’ve known for years that the texting system was far more robust than humble voice. In particular, during 9/11, people in the Towers, and NYC in general, found the voice network overloaded and were unable to make voice calls. However, they were able to text each other. On an aside, it is a bit disturbing to consider how many people’s final communication to loved ones was a text “I love you”, but I digress. This story, from the Irish Times, again reinforces that principle. An important consideration before one pooh-pooh’s the notion of texting as a simple childish diversion.

 

 

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thoughts on America

A little behind, perhaps, I just read Bob Herbert’s “Cause for Alarm” from the July 5 New York Times. In many respects I couldn’t agree more. I love the line “The symbols of patriotism — bumper stickers and those flags the size of baseball fields — have taken the place of the hard work and sacrifice required to keep a great nation great.” For years I have felt that too many people were adopting the empty trappings of patriotism (look at all the ludicrous debate about Obama’s flag pin) without taking on anything of substance. This bumper sticker patriotism is lazy, both intellectually and morally.

One area, though, I thought could stand a little more exploration: “...the combination of unrestrained partisanship and the corrosive influence of big money have all but paralyzed the political process.” Many believe that we are in an era of unprecedented partisanship. Au contrae, mes amies! Historically, our country has practiced bare-knuckles politics. One simply needs to look at the Adams/Jefferson election to see how ugly politics can get, and how entrenched this is. Of course, to be fair to America, British politics can make America’s look decorous, but I digress.

Partisanship, though a long-standing tradition, has been (and is) corrosive. It has poisoned the government, most egregiously so after the most volatile campaigns. It’s hard to come together for the betterment of all after brutalizing each other so. I must be quick to add that neither party is better or worse (or the one who “started it”, as I’ve heard childishly brandished about).

The only one’s who can stop this corrosive nonsense are us, the voters. By simply rebelling, refusing to participate in this doggerel, we can finally move our society out of this contentious nonsense. It’s more than simply refusing to vote against those that practice this (would we have a candidate to choose?). First, it’s denouncing this every time we see it, especially if it’s OUR candidate launching it. Secondly, and I would say far more importantly, is for us to engage the issues. Yep, use that good ol’ brain and understand the issues. When we can, amongst ourselves, have civilized discussions about government and governance, the polemics will have no choice but to follow. Can we imagine a time where the citizenry were fully aware and engaged on all (or at least most) of today’s issues? It will require both intellectually courage, and an intense desire to do away with the lazy malaise, both moral and intellectual, that enmeshes us.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Spam Trend of Note

I’ve just noticed a shift in my spam from Rolexes and Viagra to News. “Bomb Threat at JFK” is much more compelling to me. Scary, these tactics.

Focus!

One personal insight I just had: it is very hard to shift gears when I'm presented with information that I find compelling (for any reason). Basically, in Franklin-Covey parlance, I often get roped into "B" level priorities simply because the information's right there in front of me. Oh, those questions of self-discipline! The solution, I'm sure, is to spend time planning, ensuring I have my daily priorities front and center.


Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Quote Of The Day

This line is just perfect. Mr. McCourt sums up my view of President Clinton perfectly.

"I'm always waiting to hear a voice. I admired Clinton but he still wasn't the voice. I wanted him to rise above it, but he was pulled down by his genitalia."
~Frank McCourt

Random thought du-jour

I love Food Network. I’m such a geek. Perhaps it’s my love of food, or living vicariously, or maybe even my desire for that elegant life. Meh, I don’t fully know, nor do I care enough to spend more time than a random musing. It is a significant amount of my life, though. However, I probably watch more Travel Channel, and way more PBS.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Born To Run

Is it too incongruous to listen to Springsteen’s “Born To Run” in Prius?

 

Friday, May 30, 2008

Thought Of The Day

If "age comes before beauty", what happens if you're young and ugly?


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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Business Cards, Personal Data and the Future

I’ve been using my left brain cells scanning business cards for one of my managers (his collection from many of his wanderings). One thing that has stuck in my mind while performing this mind-numbing task is the affects of format. A few years ago, we were going to beam our “cards” to each other (ala the Palm, et al), completely eliminating paper-based cards. Ha! I say. However, with technology such as the CardScan scanner, we’re getting closer to this sort of e-utopia. However, in an effort to stand out in a sea of business cards, some have taken to unique shapes, fonts, colors, what-have-you. Some of these are truly creative, but many are just obnoxious. The scanner hates pretty much all of them, though. So, my friends and colleagues, if you are considering a new business card format, consider a few things carefully. First, non-standard colors and fonts get garbled in these scanners. Second, save the uber-creative stuff for your website. Keep in mind that the spiffiest card design can’t make up for content. No one will keep your card, or reach out to you, unless they want or need to. Lastly, try really hard not to put a massive array of data on these things. They’re pretty darn small, and putting a book’s worth of information makes them numbing to read. My advice is to put more data on your website, and then print the link. Easy!

 

With all of this, I’ve been considering this sort of data. It’s not hard to envision a future where you just give out a social id, and some can grab your information on Facebook, or some future incarnation. In this setting, I picture the ability to select how much, and who, can see what. So, in this Facebook of the future, I see the ability of my friends and family to see nitty-gritty details, where co-works can see less, or more specifically relevant information, and so on the less related someone is.

 

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

An Evening With A Weary Mind

Often I have evenings where my mind is simply muddy, overheated, I guess, from the mad dash through the day. Days like today, when I'm peppered with work. Last minute stuff; urgent, weird executive requests of high priority because of the position of said requester. Strangest to me is how un-tired my body is in relation to my whipped mind. And now my weary 5-year-old (who would deny tiredness) is calling for my attention. Two cranky people, weary of mind and patience. Should be joyous...
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Statistics and Studies

I often see headlines such as this, “Travelers not too satisfied with Sea-Tac airport: study”. It seems rather damning at first glance. However, I’m left to wonder. What does this really mean? Does this mean that Seatac has a problem? I’m not too sure. As I read the study (at least the little bit reported here), one of the first things I notice is the small range of scores (top: 690, Seatac: 656, bottom: 647 range: 43 points). Being last is not that much worse than being first. Also, this seems to be, in its sum, a customer satisfaction survey. It isn’t a sample of the same group of people experiencing all 19 of the airports. There’s a huge amount of subjectivity to this.

 

Of course, I’m one of those folks who distrusts the “wisdom of the masses”, which (I’m sure) colors my perspective on surveys such as this. I also tend to work hard to find logical inconsistencies and other “issues”. Perhaps I’m more cynical than I thought.

 

Anyway, I find this sort of stuff more annoying than informative. It’s not like the airports in question really need to modify any of their offending behaviors. It’s not like there are other options. Well, not without serious aggravation.

 

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Flock

Ok, folks, here's a new (to me, at least) toy for the socially networked: Flock. This is a browser built on the Gecko engine (same as the framework for Firefox). It integrates such sites as Facebook, Blogger, Flickr, and the like. I've only had a bit of time to mess with this tonight, but it's pretty handy so far. This post was written with a built in blog editor. If you spend much time in the social network space, and it's hard not too any more, this looks like it'll be a great tool.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Monday, May 12, 2008

Pownce

I’ve been messing around with Powne lately. It has some interesting elements, particularly the ability to file share. I also like how it ties different services, but Friendfeed does that way better. It seems to be a slightly expanded Twitter, and I am trying to figure out how I can use this. Anyone else using this heavily? What do you think?

 

I guess Scoble’s comment sums it up: “I can’t take many more social networks.”

 

 

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Google and Friend Connect

From our friends at CNET: " Google to launch Friend Connect for the social Web"


It's good to see Facebook getting onboard this train. When Dave quotes Mike Arrington, I need to disagree. "The reason these companies are are rushing to get products out the door is because whoever is a player in this space is likely to control user data over the long run." Not quite, or I at least hope that's not THE reason. It needs to be about having access to data; businesses need to give up the idea of owning it. The People, or at least This Person, are saying that WE own our data, and we're providing YOU (the business in question) access.


Another piece of this equation needs to be ensuring we have the ability to remove access to those who abuse their responsibilities. More on that latter.




Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Microsoft, Yahoo!, and other Tech fun

Apparently, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal, Microsoft is looking at Facebook now that the Microhoo deal is dead. (For the record, I thought the Microhoo concept was flawed. Different systems, different cultures…a painful M&A with the best execution) It’s probably not any better an idea, from Microsoft’s angle, though. Facebook is built on many of the same principles as Yahoo: a commitment to Open Source, Apache vs. Microsoft IIS, PHP vs. ASP, blah blah. Integrating Facebook would be just as clunky, just not as big a mouthful as Yahoo!.  Well, it’s really speculation at this point; we’ll see what comes.

 

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Banana Splits - I Love Being a Boy

Thanks to Casetta for the video. Oh, the Banana Splits, and other the other cheesy kid's shows of the 1970's. 'Twas a much simpler time, I guess. Or dumber, I'm not really sure.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Lead

The Lead

Painful news from the seminary of a few of my priestly friends. Seabury is in deep trouble.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Border Patrol "spot checks" on ferries provoke outrage in San Juan Islands

Border Patrol "spot checks" on ferries provoke outrage in San Juan Islands

 

It's a shame that, since the Border Patrol can't fulfill it's obligations under the Constitution, they've just chucked the thing. All those checks and balances were just a nuisance, anyways. Why do the terrorists hate us again? Oh yes, that “freedom” thing. I guess the best way to get that under control is to get rid of the freedom.

 

Thought for the day

I just saw a piece about “mobilizing” your campaign, and it wasn’t about initializing a group of volunteers. Nope, it’s now how to utilize mobile communications for grassroots organizing. The world has changed. The ability to organize large groups of like-minded individuals is now simply amazing. With cell phones, et al, we can link to people in an incredibly rapid manner. What groups can do with basic tools, such as Myspace and Facebook is compelling enough, but add to that any knowledge of platform development and one becomes powerful, or at least loud, indeed.

 

Friday, April 18, 2008

French pro-anorexia sites soon to be history

From the Nextweb folks.

 

Interesting law, don’t know where French law stands of free speech, though. This caught my eye, though. “’In France, we know how to punish, we know how to treat, but we don’t seem to know much about prevention,’ said psychiatrist Sophie Criquillion-Doublet to AFP.” The same can be said for the US, as well as any government that I’m familiar with. Basically, there are limits to society’s effectiveness in controlling the behavior of individuals, thus policy is always a blunt instrument. It does pose an interesting question about how a government, and by extrapolation, society, control the destructive behaviors of its dysfunctional individuals. Is there any other method besides coercion? How much of an investment is considered worthwhile? Where do we draw the line? Do we want to have a society full of like-minded borgs?

 

Vista

Ballmer: Vista a 'work in progress'
Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer called Windows Vista "a work in progress" on Thursday, but he stopped short of committing to extend the life of its predecessor, Windows XP.

 

This might sum-up Microsoft’s problem’s here. Customers were expecting the “work in progress” to have progressed further.

 

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Today in History

Wired has a brief bit about what happens when humans get too cocky; unsinkable ships sink, people die, pandemonium.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Outlook Contacts

Can anyone tell me why Outlook’s printing “number of pages” choices is only odd or even? Why can’t I just choose to print page 1, or 7, or whatever? Why the heck would I only want to print odd or eve? I’m baffled.

 

The Electronic Tether

I’ve been ruminating lately on my dependence upon my Blackberry. Slowly, with a near sinister creep, this dependence has grown. In 1998 I sprang for my first electronic calendar, a Palm III. Essentially, it was an electronic address book. The other item I’d considered was a device by Franklin, which was only an address book. Soon, I saw the ability to calendar more effectively. Then I figured out Tasks, and the ability to set reminders, and I was hooked. Syncing with Outlook sealed the deal.

 

I went through several iterations of the Palm, culminating in a Treo 650, which was great at its inception, but proceeded to whither in my esteem. Particularly, the device was buggy to start, and seemed to get buggier the more I did with it. It also didn’t seem to like Cingular’s network. And, finally, the sound quality was terrible. When I’d had enough, I explored other options. I was unwilling to risk another several hundred bucks on a new Palm device, and the lower end ones seemed like cheap crap. Thus, I started exploring Blackberrys.

 

My friends with the devices always raved about them. It also helped to ease my mind that they tended to have them for years. Now, if I were a chap of unlimited funds, I would’ve sprung for an iPhone, but I am not such. It’s been nice that the Curve has excellent phone quality and I’ve not any network issues (actually getting stronger coverage than my wife’s cell phone). However, there are a few cripes I must air. First, I miss SharkMsg. Also, I miss the sheer volume of aps. I did enjoy running myriad goofy aps, which I’m sure affected those bugs mentioned above – mea culpa. Anyway, I also miss the ability to set short cut keys for pretty much everything. On my Treo, I’d set one of the keys to open up a text to my wife. Handy for those folks that I text often. I had those short cuts set up for all my key aps.

 

Anyway, regardless of the “wants” listed above, I’m not about the move back. Stability and voice quality trump these. Perhaps this is an area that I can be a solution rather than griping about the problem.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Random Thought Of The Day

One thing NASA ought to consider is which branch of the service they pull from. Instead of pilots, they should look at submariners. They are able to work in confined spaces and deal with the long term tedious routines needed for long-term space travel. Just a thought.>>

 

 

Monday, March 31, 2008

iGoogle thought

I generally use iGoogle as my RSS reader, as opposed to Google Reader (amongst the myriad choices). I prefer the reading experience in iGoogle, but have come up with one nuisance: adding feeds. I need to click on “add stuff”, then on “add feed or gadget” (not so easy to see, ½ way down the page on the left column), then I drop in the URL. Why not have this accessible from the Main screen, as it is on the Reader page? Just a thought.

 

Yahoo! Thoughts

I saw two blog posts about Yahoo! this weekend, Jeff Jarvis and at Liveside, so I wonder. Considering Jeff’s comments about the new Shine portal, which seems a rather weak offering (I am in complete agreement with Jarvis’ commentary), it doesn’t seem that Yang and co are in a place to truly fight back Microsoft’s bid. I find it similar to, let’s say, Landrover or Jaguar, fighting their takeover by Ford, decided to release an updated Yugo. You’d almost guess that they were trying the poison-pill approach; which always seems to be a daft move (unless you’re so narrowly focused on your short-term power-trip). Now, I don’t think that Shine is meant to make Yahoo! look less attractive as a brand, it just looks like a daft move by someone who doesn’t get the new internet business landscape. But, hey, what do I know?

 

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Door To Hell

Behold! Hell has burst forth and legions of demons are looking for Dick Cheney, their long-lost uncle.



Ok, this is the result of a mining mistake in the town of Darvaz. The article says it's in Uzbekistan, though this Wikipedia article says the town is in Tajikistan. It wouldn't surprise me that there's more than one Darvaz in the world. Anyway, this will certainly make arranging the vacation a bit more troubling for Expedia. Tajikistan isn't within their purview, I'm afraid. You'll need to explore other options, like Turkish Air.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

American Idol

If you must watch American Idol, please know that there will be a positive side to the spectacle.

Announcement

For the second year in a row, Save the Children, whose programs our company supports, has been selected as one of six charities to benefit from funds raised through Idol Gives Back, a television event and music celebration airing Wednesday, April 9 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. This year’s event will feature international talent and sports stars including Bono, Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, Miley Cyrus, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Mariah Carey, Fergie, Chris Daughtry, Carrie Underwood, Annie Lennox, John Legend and Snoop Dogg. During the show, viewers will be able to make donations via toll-free lines and the Internet.

"My CEO walked off with $41 million and all I got was this lousy T-shirt!"

"My CEO walked off with $41 million and all I got was this lousy T-shirt!"


Cute, methinks. A great example of the cynicism that most have of corporate America, even those who live within it, and rely deeply upon this system for their livelihoods. I wonder when corporate leaders will finally realize that they've overdrawn their credibility account and that few trust them. Perhaps it's unjust that all are lumped together, but that's the nature of things. All within that umbrella need to work together to build trust. First, they must realize that the trust isn't there; that the relationship is damaged. Hearing executive after executive complain about the distrust and cynicism that they face shows how they just don't get it. Interesting, really, how many leaders demand and expect trust, but are unwilling to earn it.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Spacecraft Finds Organic Matter at Saturn Moon

Discovery News : Discovery Channel:

Exciting stuff for geeks like me. I'm reminded of the dreams of my boyhood, envisioning other worlds, imagining seeing the solar system up close. Silly, perhaps, but there it is.

World Water Day

I've been involved with World Water Day for several years. Colbert's spoof on this is a delight.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Another Seattle Icon Closes - Bud's Jazz Records

Bud’s Jazz Record’s is Closing

 

I first heard of Bud's when I was studying Jazz at Edmonds Community College in the 1980's (with Bob Nixon, Frank DeMiero, Jim Guard, amongst other luminaries) and my classmates and I would make pilgrimages. Bud's willingness to walk me through the store and introduce me to great trombonists (my horn) was simply awesome. It was Bud who introduced me to JJ Johnson, Bob Brookmeyer, and Steve Turret (amongst many others). No way would I have heard of such performers so easily, especially not in one sitting. Having Bud's voluminous knowledge at the ready was one of the things I worried about when he sold in 01.

 

The loss of such institutions does hurt our community. Though great and wonderful things have been happening because of our digital connections, this face-to-face experience is a basic, core experience. However, I think that the world will figure out what's been lost and the pendulum will return...some day. Until then, we (and the whole world) can listen to Bud on KBCS Monday mornings at 9:00 (Pacific).

 

Needless to say, I will be making the walk down to the store one last time and stocking up. My sadness is deep, though.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Big Brother's Roving Red Eye

Watch out, you're being watched

 

As I develop more interest in security and its underlying systems, this story is both fascinating and disturbing. It boggles my mind that Homeland Security is monitoring random spots on the main freeway (north-south) through Washington (I5), and that they’re sensitive enough to detect radiation from a cat undergoing cancer treatment. I worry about the tighter net we cast, and, even more so, the underlying fear. Will we sell the soul of our society in a vain attempt to mollify our terror of terrorists? The thought that we’d, rather willingly, thrust ourselves into a Stalinist state rooted in distrust deeply saddens me.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Weirdness of my mind

Here's some insight into the strange things I waste brain-time with.

Why the 6 million dollar man didn't knock his head off the first time he sneezed?

Why Luke Skywalker's uncle and aunt didn't give him a different last name, or at least hide it?

How much time passed between Luke meeting Obiwan, and Obiwan's "ascentiion" on the Death Star. How was Luke able to learn do damn much in so short a time?
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Who wants to own WaMu?

Who wants to own WaMu?

 

A rather relevant question for me. I’ve had a WaMu account for decades, and my credit cards have become part of the WaMu family over the years through acquisition. And, as a passionate Washingtonian, I also care since they’re a local institution, at least in some semblance of the word. If nothing else, they originated here and are headquartered nearby. As they’ve gone from huge to mammoth, they’ve managed to maintain a local bank feel, at least in the branch I frequent most. Now, I’m a pretty low-demand customer. I LIKE banking online and via ATM. Heck, I hardly ever carry cash. But, when I do need to head into a branch, I’ve always felt welcome and speedily dealt with.

 

Anyway, so I have two core reasons to be concerned with the organization and structure of the Co. Certainly, I want the company to stay solvent. However, I don’t want it to become part of a megalith that’s so huge that the customers don’t even lightly blip their radar. Or, perhaps more properly stated, I don’t want to become part of Bank of America, er, part of a bank that supersized. I guess I’ll just need to wait and see what happens. If the Mu tanks, or gets absorbed into some amorphous corpoblob, I’ll need to decide how dissatisfied I am to vote with my feet. Gotta overcome that personal inertia, sad to say.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy (perhaps)

I don't know about the veracity of this, but it's still cute.
 

Deep Thoughts

            by Jack Handy

 

If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is "God is crying." And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is "Probably because of something you did."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Newsvine

I’ve been experimenting with Newsvine lately, and it seems very similar to what we were trying to do at Backwash. Are any of you familiar with this? Let me know what you think.

 

Friday, March 07, 2008

Just one more thing

I always feel a need to do just one more thing. Whether it's zipping of one more email before a meeting, or trying to clean one more space before bed. It just seems that there is always one more thing to do, no matter how many things I've already done. Endless, maddening, and, actually, peace inducing, for it really speaks to the infinite, to continuity. Well, the peace comes when I accept that there will always be something undone, and that's not only fine but good.
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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Power of Cheese

A clever piece from over at Diversity, Inc. This guest editorial by Ahmed Tharwat, who’s probably best know for his Minnesota Public TV show, Belahdan, explores multicultural issues by comparing Feta and American cheese in the context of the War on Iraq and other post-9/11 cultural issues here in the States.

Immortality

One of the biggest pieces of BS I was feed as a youth was this notion of youth having an "immortality complex". Immediately noticed for what it was, I had this picture of a young guy, confronted with drugs foir the first time, saying "aw, what the heck, it's not like I can die or anything, I'm immortal". It's not an immortality complex that hampers youth, it's the inability to look into the future. More simply put, we didn't consider the longer term, we couldn't look farther than the window of action. And current research seems to add to that idea, that the adolecent mind is not, generally, capable of looking to the future.
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Monday, March 03, 2008

Neologism Du Jour

Try this one for size: egolarity, a combination of "ego" and "singularity". This would be that person with so dense an ego that nothing can escape, nor penetrate, the event horizon. I'm thinking of the person so absorbed by their cell-phone conversation that they're oblivious to the rest of humanity that surrounds them, especially other traffic.
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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Facts

My friend Aaron put me up to this.

Here's how you play: Once you've been tagged you have to write a blog with 10 weird, random, facts, habits or goals about yourself.

1. I detest rodents.

2. I spent my childhood drifting around the country. Thus, I was born in Rhode Island, though I haven't been there since I was 3.

3. I am a graduate of the Navy's Nuclear Power Program, and trained on the same prototype as my father.

4. I started school in Chantilly, VA.

5. I lived for several years on the Subic Bay Naval base as a kid. What I remember most from there are the beaches, and the monkeys. We had a troupe of monkeys who would perch in the trees out of our backyard.

6. I hate guns. When I was in 8th grade, my best friend's father murdered his mother then committed suicide. He (Bill, my friend Adam's father) taught me hunter safety and made all kinds of NRA noise about how to keep your house gun-safe. Repeat: I hate guns. (This did make some trouble for me in the Navy.)

7. Before 6, I did some competitive shooting.

8. I have a certificate in information processing from the Tongue Point Job Corps Center (Astoria, OR). Astoria is one of my most favorite towns, and I love the Oregon Coast.

9. I have formally studied the following subjects (declared as majors at various institutions): music, electronics technology, mechanical engineering, computer science, business, political science, sociology, and English/creative writing. To date, I've completed a degree in exactly zero disciplines.

10. I realized that I was a bit different from my classmates in Junior High, when I first read Euclid and Plato, and was reading Asimov for light reading. Most of my cohort was reading Steven King.

Friday, February 29, 2008

A day in Metro Cebu

A day in Metro Cebu

 

Written by Jaime R. Vergara, it’s a powerfully written exploration of life in a remote portion of the Philippines. Well, not as remote as it was when I lived in Subic Bay and San Miguel (mid-to-late 1970’s).  Anyway, it’s a good read and brought back many memories. It also makes me reflect on the economic disparities that exist in our world, and how many of them are exploited.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Introducing the Chumby

My first thought about seeing this was something akin to “what the heck is it?” And, after reading this bit from CNet, I still have that question. I can answer the basic question, that it’s a linux based internet appliance, one part clock radio and mp3 player (an mp3 player that has no battery , though it has the ability to add one if you can splice and solder your own – no portability cripples this thing), another part widget player (Flickr photo viewer, etc) that you can’t edit from the device – you need to go to a internet connected computer and adjust the setting through the company’s website.

 

This is, still, an important device. First, a mainstream device with a customized linux interface is important (Palm can’t have all the fun). Also, since this thing is built on open standards (not just linux, but also Adobe’s Flash Lite), the possibility of someone crafting the perfect app for this is immense. That just depends on gathering enough geek attention for someone to craft something useful. I’m not going to drop $179 for this, but I might be willing to play around with something like this were the price to drop lower.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

My World View






What is Your World View?
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Cultural Creative

Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.


Cultural Creative


81%

Postmodernist


75%

Materialist


69%

Idealist


69%

Romanticist


63%

Existentialist


44%

Modernist


31%

Fundamentalist


25%


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Scientology Today

Some insights into the methods and concepts of our Scientology neighbors. Let me introduce you to the E-meter. I found this from a link in a Slashdot story about Scientology being granted access to eBay’s database.

 

 

Monday, February 18, 2008

Extract: The Year of Living Biblically

Extract: The Year of Living Biblically

 

One of the more interesting notions I’ve run across in the recent past. Spending a year running around London in robes trying to live according to biblically state principles is an interesting use of one’s time, of what value I’m unsure. Anyway, the excerpt is compelling if a bit strange (he talks about stoning adulterers and Sabbath breakers with pebbles since tossing larger rocks is rather unsavory to him). An interesting read, though I don’t know if I’m inclined to spring for the book.

First, Let’s Toss Out All the Yahoo Board Members | Kara Swisher | BoomTown | AllThingsD

First, Let’s Toss Out All the Yahoo Board Members | Kara Swisher | BoomTown | AllThingsD

Can you say "shareholder revolt"?

CTV.ca | Carly's Writings

CTV.ca | Carly's Writings

Reading the experts respond to Carly's writings shows me (at least) how little we, as a collective, know about autism...even the experts.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Australians unite, almost, on Aboriginal apology

Australians unite, almost, on Aboriginal apology

It's sad how little of this I've heard in the US media. It is a critical moment in world history, and in the global movement for aboriginal peoples.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

UW forced to defend actions in alleged rape

UW forced to defend actions in alleged rape

The University of Washington's actions here simply disgust me. I've always felt a strong affinity for the school (my parents met there, and I've spent most of my life in its shadow), however the behavior of its leadership in these cases is reprehensible. It smacks so very much of the Roman Catholic church's response to sexual abuse by its priests.

Additionally, the way many organizations (UW, Seahawks, Texans amongst others) have used the idea of a "second chance" to mean that there should be no repercussions is deeply disturbing. I guess, if nothing else, Mr. Alexander has strong motivation to continue to excel as an athlete. As soon as his sports performance fails, he's going to find few people willing to exert their influence (and reputations) to assist him.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Official Google Blog: orkut going more social

It's good to know that Google hasn't given up on this space, even with the dominance of Facebook and Myspace.

'Mobile, coffee don't cause cancer'

'Mobile, coffee don't cause cancer'

 

Brendan Stewart, a professor at the University of New South Wales, has released a study that refutes the idea that cell phones, coffee, and deodorants cause cancer. It also damns tobacco as the worst carcinogen, stating it worse than asbestos.

The Anglican Church, Archbishop Williams, and Sharia Law

The Archbishop of Canterbury says the adoption of certain aspects of Sharia law in the UK "seems unavoidable".

 

I feel a bit negligent that I just noticed this dust up over that really started last week. I’ve had a great deal of respect for Archbishop Rowan Williams, and certainly don’t envy the fault lines he needs to navigate in the current state of the Anglican Communion.  What I find most compelling in his statement is the idea of multiple tiers of “the law”.  This debate really seems to be concerning the limits of the state. Should a non-governmental agency have the ability to offer up some type of judicial action, or is that only reserved for state sanctioned courts? Personally, I see the state in charge of minimally necessary social laws (private property rights, what-have-you), perhaps leaving room for some other level of social governance. However, for these entities, people should be able to engage and disengage at will. In other words, if someone converts from Islam, they would no longer be subject to the Sharia court’s jurisdiction. I guess this could be viewed as a secondary social compact. Anyway, with this, just because someone might be able to disentangle themselves from this court doesn’t mean that they would be free of recrimination for violating the covenant they engaged in, whether ostracization or something else. The state would just provide limits on the level of punishment. Interesting ideas, really. This is just what rattles off my fingers at the basic, first read. I’d be interested in hearing what others have to say, of course.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Friday, February 08, 2008

Canned Burger

This is one of the most bizarre products I’ve seen in ages; a canned cheeseburger! Now, if they come up with canned French fries, these folks might get the Nobel nod. Thanks to Lindsey for the link, uh, well, I think.

Explorations

I’ve had this Blogger account for several years, and it’s mostly been satisfying. However, I’ve been playing with the idea of shifting my blog’s hosting from Blogspot to something with a unique domain (I don’t know if I’d use Questionsall.com or something else, like flyingmonkeys.com or whatever). The biggest thing, it seems, is whether I want to start from scratch, or port this blog over. Porting no problem, and I could simply utilize my Blogger account, blah blah. I wonder, though, about Word Press’s tools. A number of my friends swear by them. From my limited messing around, they seem quite solid. I’ve event found some sites that explain ways to port Blogger info into Word Press. We’ll see, I guess. I still have a great deal of deciding to do, and my brain’s bandwidth is rather strapped right now.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Last.fm and CBS

CBS Adds On-Demand Music To Last.fm

 

First, I’m rather embarrassed that I didn’t know that CBS had acquired last.fm. This is a nice leap for them. Though Forbes only mentions Napster, Real and Yahoo as competitors, this is really helpful against groups like Pandora. Streaming music is becoming an interesting intersection of commerce and netizens.

 

A second point with this, Forbes.com seems to have figured out the web. First, they have dropped their annoying intro videos (I passionately hated them). Secondly, they’ve added solid social elements, such as comments, Digg, Facebook, and del.icio.us tags. Forbes might be leading the way for grown-up social media on the web.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Congress, Steroids, and Issues

Perhaps I’m silly, but why is Congress investigating baseball and steroids? Why is this in the national interest? Heck, I’d even be a bit annoyed if the FBI was spending resources on this, and this is within the scope of their function. This is absolute foolishness! However, Dr. Grossman, Dean Julius Isaacson professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law, says it with much better sarcasm and wit than I could muster.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Parade's cover story questioned -- chicagotribune.com

Parade's cover story questioned -- chicagotribune.com

Parade magazine attempts to justify their decision to publish a grossly out-of-date article about Bhutto after her assignation. If nothing else, they have lost serious credibility as journalists. I was quite shocked to see this in Sunday's paper. It's another sign, really, of the weaknesses of the traditional media model. News organizations must find ways to publish timely and relevant content. Perhaps print based news is truly dead.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Facebook disabled my account « Scobleizer — Tech geek blogger

First post and the most recent post, here.

Scoble's incident with Facebook does show a critical issue with the brave new world we live in. The surrounding debate has brought up all kinds of issues, which is good for the meta-debate about technology. There is one (right now) that feel compelled to consider: the social network piece. Mostly, this is related to his most recent post on this thread here.

Particularly, he notes that:

I've gotten dozens of messages from people who claim to have been erased by Facebook who DID NOT run a script (or so they say). They were just erased for some perceived slight and because they aren’t a famous blogger they haven’t gotten their accounts turned back on.

So, this is a company you want to trust your private details to? A company that can not just block access to your account, but can erase every last detail about you.


I've seen these claims, too. There are enough of them that makes me give credence to them (at least some of them). This is the piece that should give us pause: Facebook has the ability to completely erase you from their system. To be clear, so does MySpace, et al. For so many years, your network was key, for long before Plaxo, Linkedin, Facebook, etc. It's become even more so no. I have several friends who found their current positions through these tools, and several more who utilized them as part of their strategy. The ability to become arbitrarily disengaged should be deeply troubling.

For me, this is not so much a debate about the evils of Facebook as it is about how one should manage their all critical network. For Scoble, I doubt that all of his 5,000 (or whatever that number is) Facebook friends are that critical to his social life (I'm lumping career into that "social" category). However, some percentage of them are absolutely essential. We all have a few contacts that are deeply critical to various functions of our life. However, it's hard to determine that criticalness in advance. With my background, I find redundancy to be the most effective answer. I utilize various sources to manage this network: Plaxo, Linkedin, Facebook, as well as a few Google and Yahoo groups. This way, if I'm severed from any one part, I'm not lost to the social Zeigeist.