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.