Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Passing in 2009

A writer I admire, Chuck Sigars, posted a piece about the people who passed this year that he will miss. I thought I would craft my own. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, just those that strike me.

I must start with Mary Travers. As a livelong Peter, Paul and Mary fan, her death deeply saddens me.



Patrick Swayze



Dom Deluise


Eunice Shriver




Walter Cronkite




On a final note, I was struck by a story I heard on NPR this evening about the very brief life of Baruch Levi. The story of his 10 minutes of life, his mother and the photographer who came to capture those precious minutes deeply struck me.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Exhaustion

Reddened eyes stare back at me from the mirror. Pale glare from industrial lights accentuates my weariness. My child’s disrupted sleep disrupted mine. Finding responses more eloquent than grunts challenging.  Evening now descends, sunlight reflected from the building across the way. The excessive caffeine coursing my veins somewhat obliterates my fatigue while adding a strange, surreal quality. Which combined with a demanding bladder adds to this unfocused day. Hard to point to accomplishments, yet they exist. Simply put, an unfocused and distracted day. One nicely viewed from the rear-view mirror of life.

 

Sunday, December 06, 2009

PhotoShop Explorations


I've been taking a PhotoShop class (properly Digital Art and Design) this semester. Exploring all the different elements of PS has been both eye-opening and exhausting. I've fiddled with prior versions of PS, but never done much more than the very basic. Now, we've spent the better part of three months diving deep. And the main thing I've learned is how little I know.


This was a silly thing I zapped out, considering the season. It was fun to make, if a bit cheesy. (For some reason, the animation is not showing up in the blog post. Click on the link and you can see it in it's full glory.)

Puns, the Delight of my Heart

A friend of mine and I developed a rating scale for puns. Rated 1-10 where 1=mild groaning, 10=potential internal bleeding. This warrants at least an 8, and should come with a surgeon general warning. And, of course, it delights me.

Pearls Before Swine

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas



Just in time for Christmas, here’s your link to my Amazon’s Wish List. My family is pretty big on Christmas lists, so this should be a decent tool for them. With this button, you can upload non-Amazon “stuff” to the site as well. Thusly, you have a comprehensive database of all your desires, available to your most fervent fans, 24/7. Now everyone will have the ability to delight you with items that align with your tastes and sensibilities. The universe is now gloriously aligned. You may return to your regularly scheduled shopping.

FriendFeed

Ages ago, it seems, I started exploring FriendFeed. I started messing with it after Robert Scoble sang it's praises. (Perhaps you've noticed the FriendFeed badge on the right hand column of my blog?) I like the notion of consolidating the various social network streams, as well as the ability to combine the comment threads into one place. Currently, My FriendFeed combines my Twitter feed, my Flickr stream, my Delicious bookmarks and this blog. One challenge I've pondered regarding the plethora of social media sites is keeping this mess organized. Heck, I've been wondering how I can avoid neglecting any of them. By smooshing the different threads together, FF provides that common place to follow your work. So far, so good.

I wonder, though, if there is an iPhone app, like Twitter has? It would be nice, if addictive, to have access to these threads remotely. Eh, who needs this "life" stuff, anyways.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Quote of the Day

From my friend Digitalzen over at Digital Dharma. (I LOVE Leonard Cohen! Especially Hallelujah).

"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in."
~ Leonard Cohen

Friday, November 13, 2009

Niki Vasilakis

Ms. Vasilakis, one of the presenters on Classical Destinations here performs Bloch. Lovely, simply lovely.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Twitter, Blogs and Random Consultant Nonsense

I received an email today asks “should a business be on Twitter”. Fortunately, no one was home since I swore I would scream the next time I saw/heard that. Jeez, folks, old, old news. However, for the sake of venting here’s my two-cents on this.

“Should a business be on Twitter” (or insert your social media site of choice: Facebook, blogging, blah blah) should only get one answer: “it depends”. If you’re fretting because you’re not playing with the latest toys, get over it. Twitter is one tool amidst thousands. Therefore, it should depend on your strategy. Before you run around blasting tweets, updating your Facebook site, think about a strategy. Who are you trying to reach? How often are you trying to reach them? What are you trying to tell them? Twitter has some significant limitations (most obvious: 140 characters), so it’s not ideal for everything.

I feel compelled to add one other note. Twitter can be used to see what people are saying about you, you’re favorite politician, celebrity criminal, whatever. Even if you are blasting tweets, the tools can still be quite useful and powerful.

Link of the Day

Eternal Earth-Bound Pets, USA

You've committed your life to Jesus. You know you're saved. But when the Rapture comes what's to become of your loving pets who are left behind? Eternal Earth-Bound Pets takes that burden off your mind.

We are a group of dedicated animal lovers, and atheists. Each
Eternal Earth-Bound Pet representative is a confirmed atheist, and as such will still be here on Earth after you've received your reward.


Perhaps somewhat sacrilegious (ok, ok...nuke the "somewhat"), but I found this hysterical. I wonder, though, if they've made any money.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

43 Octobers

Trees still full of leaves, with a vibrant array of colors. A time of vibrancy, tinged with the calming quite of winter approaching. The taste of which floats upon the wind. During the time of year when oak and maples change from green to red and orange, but not yet brown, I came into this world. For 43 of these seasons I wandered and wondered in many places upon this globe. Myriad questions floated past my purview. Some finding answers, some of those answers turning from definitive into something less so. And a good many of my life’s queries simply offered up into the grand mystery of existence.

Early in my life, I remember one winter. Newport, Rhode Island; snow, a thick, comfortable coat, corduroy, and boots. And my mother’s attention to this moment’s fun. Drifting forth, I remember a school room, doffing coats upon hooks, snow melting into puddles, warmth flowing forth.

Sometime after, but not too much so, a vision of grey, white and black flickering inside a giant wooden box. Faint visions of grey dirt, a oddly bouncing man leaping forth from a tin-foil house. The lunar landing filled me with wonder, becoming my earliest obsession. Moon books, astronaut books, comics, toys, and myriad paraphernalia. Slowly, this expanded out to aviation in general. Lucky me, later on in life, my father worked at the Pentagon and brought me home a 3-d/moving image disc of a NASA weather plane. This delighted me for years.

We moved to Northern Virginia, where I started school. An ancient (by my standards) farm flowed onto our back yard. It was there during the Civil War. This neighborhood, just over a hundred years prior, spent time as a battlefield; one of the battles of Bull Run or the Battle of Chantilly, depending on who you asked. There were many moments exploring Civil War sites nearby, which filled me with a sense of excited wonder. Oddly, now when I reflect on that time, I’m filled with a sense of sadness. Massive losses of sons, husbands, fathers loaded the country with sorrow. With such glories journeys great pain. Much like Janus, this dualistic face.

Moments in Subic Bay, Philippines, an older child, yet still quite a child. Staring in wonder upward at hordes of giant fruit bats, literally blackening the sky. These amazing animals, some with wing-spans of 6 feet, brought me an appreciation of nature. Never had I seen such an amazing display. The wildlife there taught me so much of life. Geckos running amok, in every room, in cars, across dinner tables. Ants appearing wherever sugar lay forgotten, sometimes seconds afterwards...or so it seems. Then ants, much larger, aggressive, determined, making nests of leaves, leaving trails in the jungle, where I wasn’t suppose to be wandering. A jungle laden with excitement, and danger...though I wasn’t cognizant of this danger. Such things as asiatic cobras, monitor lizards, and myriad other toxic animals alone would probably give my parents sleepless nights...had they known I wandered amongst those vine laden trees.

Returning, in a sense, late elementary age, to the Seattle area. Place of my parents birth, grand-parent’s births, and myriad journeys for holidays. An excitement to see my grandparents regularly. Proximal family helped bring a sense of “home” to this place. Though I made many good friends, I always felt a sense of alienness. Someone with a world of exploration behind him amongst people who, many at least, had not ever left the region. An early global vision amongst very provincial people.

Adult journeys included a stint in northwestern Oregon, time in central Florida, and eastern Idaho. Part of my twenties was spent fleeing this area. The rest of those years was spent re-integrating myself to this region. One key moment came, upon a transiting Trident Submarine returning to Hood Canal, seeing the mist working through the autumnal evergreens and feeling a powerful sense of home.

Now, I look back upon myriad choices. Poor ones, painful ones, some with regrets, some with wonder at resultant joy. After all of it, I must say that my life is pleasing. Sitting here, listening to my son do homework, my wife assisting, fills me with a sense of wondrous, delighted contentment. Knowing quite well that those choices, good and ill, all ladder upon each other building towards this life I have now. Knowing that, looking out upon my wonderful mass of friends and family, I accept the pains of old. Without them, this life, this now wouldn’t exist. Perhaps, then, I am grateful.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

School silliness

Earlier today I finished my work for my Photoshop class, then uploaded it all. Oddly, I feel unhappy. Well, at least displeased. You see, imperfections abound. This bothers me immeasurablly. I know the foolishness of such, but feel trapped. It will subside, though.

Another piece to this: I don't feel this way when I hand in an assignment, face-to-face, in classroom. This dynamic is unique to online, for me. More akin to remembering a test, finally figuring out how to do such-and-such problem. This awareness of imperfection is annoying.

This might be a key piece of education. Do the best you can, turn it in, then get on with the next project. This will be profoundly helpful. Dropping something when it's done lacks in my life. I need to put forth effort there.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday AM

While unemployed, time seemed to pass more gently. My return to work also brought a certain "return to franticness", which I do not enjoy as much. Of course, a significant piece to this is my return to classes. This semester I'm taking a digital art and design class, which focuses on Photoshop. As much as I don't need the time-suck, this is worth it. I've long wanted to get better, perhaps even become one of those Photoshop power geeks. Perhaps...

The additional fun, though of my son's "Super-Lion" status added to the demand. (His school mascot is "the Lions") However, the assembly was fun, and it pleases me that he best exemplifies "peace" amongst his classmates. That was followed by curriculum night, and most of that day was spoken for. Makes me quite glad I can work remotely.

Tagentally, I guess I'm one of odd iPhone users who hasn't raced over and downloded the mms update. It's nice, don't get me wrong, but I don't feel the mad need to have this. Later today, or even "this weekend" will be just fine. Now, give me spelll-check, and I'll be racing to my laptop.

With so many pieces jumbled together, this has been a bit zany. Yet, I adore it all. No complaints, at least when I can sit back and look at the whole. When you realize that all the pieces, random decisions, all build together to this one moment in life, and that each is dependant on the last, then it's clear that today's joy is built on this clunky foundation. That is the moment that I truly have no regrets. A moment like this one, right now.



Friday, September 25, 2009

Darth Vader's eHarmony application.

From the good folks at Geek Culture. A clever little thing, methinks. Haven't been to this site in a awile, but I need to change that.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Nine Eleven

I’m rather conflicted by the whole 9/11 thing. Yes, I grieve for those lost. And the violence of the act was mind-numbingly senseless and evil. Yet, I refuse to give in to the mindless cheerleading type patriotism, jingoistic nonsense that the right has adopted. Their rush to destroy everything associated, however remotely, with the terrorists is counter-productive at best. At worst, retorting evil with evil is, well, feeding a mad cycle of destruction. Giving those who hate us “for our freedoms” other reasons to hate is just crazy.

I mourn the deaths of so many innocents to mindless hate. The deaths of the people just living their lives combined with the 343 deaths of firefighters “doing their duty” saddens me. It speaks to the danger of non-rational religiosity. A dangerous mind set beyond the Middle-East, joining us here in the West.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thoughts Upon A Grey Morn

My world looks rather autumnal this morn. Cool, an even tone of grey hued clouds blanketing the sky. Soon, I expect, a light mist fills the air.

Strange, I’m sure, but I’m fond of “grey” over “gray”. Perhaps just contrarian; perhaps the remnants of a lingering regional influence. Most likely, I just prefer “e” to “a”. “A” gets so much more air-time. Firstborn of the alphabet, first of the vowels. “A”, the valedictorian, cheerleader, homecoming queen of the letters. Always first, always popular, always adored. What about poor, lonely “e”? Middle child of the vowels, lost in the full-alphabet family. “E”, that quiet, accommodating middle child. A great listener, demanding nothing for itself. The one that cleans up after Thanksgiving dinner, putting all the dishes away, with no one noticing.

Greyness calms the morn. No garish sun demanding action. Grey clouds invite to tea, to leisure. No need to run outside, to seize this last moment of summer. Relax, sit, just be. Read a book, listen to music. Sit next to me, let me listen to you. Perhaps I understand better why I like grey.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Oregon coast


The Oregon coast, originally uploaded by carl.setzer.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Photo Streams

Ok, as I’m getting my photography back up, I’m wondering about online photo services. Right now, I have a Flickr stream as well as Picasa. They both offer online editing and such things. All in all I can’t see any difference except for the networks (individuals) connected. My Flickr stream has a few subscribers, only one “link” to my Picasa. Flickr seems to offer more choices regarding formal prints, but I haven’t used that yet. Thus I feel puzzled about which to focus on.

First, I guess, I need to figure out what I need. The main thing I want is to have an easy way to connect. Most of the editing I do is on my machine. However, I have found that it’s nice to be able to edit something that I’ve sent from my phone (they rarely look like the phone screen).

So, a question to you folks. What other services have you tried? Smugmug? What is good? What features have you seen that didn’t seem important at first, but have become indispensable?

A First Post

Posted via email from carlsetzer's posterous

Monday, August 10, 2009

Well, I'm working again

Last week, I started working again after 6 months off. It's been a strange trip, let me tell you. First, starting work after a 6 month break was rather surreal. The first few days were quite exhausting. However, I rebounded quickly. My brain is starting to get back into the swing of organizing teams (the heart of my career to this point).

Now, I'm not back into the full-time, permanent work-force. I'm a contractor/temp, working for a large technology company in the greater Seattle area. Fortunately, I'm coming from Starbucks, so I have experience working for a large, Fortune 200 company. I now how to function in controlled chaos.

Though I've explored a good many career options, directions in which to wander off to, I keep coming back to administrative and office management. Finally, I feel that this really is my calling. I'm good at this, and can jump into pretty much any setting and succeed.

This next stage shall be, well, unique in the course of my career. I have never, in my adult life, not worked for 6 months. This company that I'm now working is famous for a mad, intense work style. The nice thing about contract work is the ability to test drive the culture. If I love the place, I can spend time hard-core networking. If I hate it, I split with no recriminations or hard feelings. That, really, is a blessing.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Memorization

Today I re-read Robert Frost's classic "The Road Not Taken". Always, as I read, I think I should commit this to memory; I adore it so. My internal script, though, tells me I can't memorize. Laughable, really, this notion. As a musician, I memorized a great deal. Several years of drum corps shows, marching band music, myriad jazz tunes; all committed to mind. Odd, then, that this dated and disproven script still influences. I wonder, at times, if we'd cease to exist without our insecurities. So prevalent and deep seated they are. Frustrating, really; perhaps memorizing this piece would help defeat this script forever? A worthy endeavor, methinks.

Via BlackBerry

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Thoughts on a Summer's Day

Having passed the 6 month point of my journey through unemployment, it seems to be natural to reflect. I don't know why, but it seems natural. Natural as in without pesticides, hormones, or added sugar. Anyway, my time has been laden with gorgeous weather. My tan has a deeper coloring, the best results I've had in decades. Really, though, there's more. With my respects to Jerry Garcia, this has been a strange trip.

First, and best, has been the deeening connection with my family and friends. Several of us who were let go the same day have forged a great bond. The challenge now is, as we start to return to the workforce, to keep that link. It will change, as things always do. Yet, I'm certain that we've forged something strong. This has been a difficult time, more for some than others, and sharing those journeys always results in something strong.

I am most grateful for time with my family. This cannot be replicated and will be cherished decades from now. This time, to be able to make every parent meeting, conference and party for the last half of kindergarten, was truly glorious. To be present during several of my son's successes is priceless. As I have started interviewing with more regularity, I am confident that I will land something soon. Thus, I refuse to take these sorts of things for granted.

This journey has provided a much needed chance to reflect. Looking over my priorities, and the choices I've made, I see some disconnect. I need to keep my eyes better focused on what is truly important: family, friends, the quality pieces of life. Those things that no amount of wealth can compensate for. A rich jerk is just as much a loser as a poor one. This journey has resulted in a desire to live a slower life. I really enjoy shopping at farmer's markets, even more than before. I'm finding myself drawn even further away from a consumerist life. As hard as that is to imagine.

One great thing, though, comes with the above. This occasional madness, a discontent with my income and station, has been calmed. Income and wealth, though still having value, are not such a driving force as before. Now, I'll happily sacrifice income for time at home, time with friends and family.

Time for cleaning and organizing; truly wonderful. Slowly I am getting this place organized. Addtionally, I have thought about cooking more. There's been some progress in that regard, but not much. So, some room for improvement, eh? As part of this, I wonder about the garbage I eat. So much of what's served in restaurants is pure junk, poor quality in both terms of nutrition and flavor. Don't get me started on frozen meals. One thing I've wanted to do (for years) has been to focus on quality food. Both in flavor and nutrition. Since I have the time to cook, to shop with care, to prepare and be thoughtful, this is the time to make this change.

My committment to social justice has certainly deepened. Besides being better able to understand the external forces that push people to poverty, I also understand the frustration of powerlessness. As someone with a voice more likely to be heard, I have a responsibility to speak up for those whose voices don't carry as far.

Though I have the best tan in years, my results are far deeper. I may still be unemployed, but I have not been idle. This has been one of the most powerful moments in my life. My reflections have truly changed me. My values shine better before me, and my resolve to keep them in better focus stronger. Most likely I will soon return to the ranks of the employed. Though I'm excited by this, there are some pieces I will miss. However, I used this time to the best advantage I could. I am pleased.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Literature This Weekend

It was with great sadness that I read about the death of Frank McCourt. It was strangely fitting, though, as I was finishing up Station Island by another Irish writer, Seamus Heaney. I believe a fitting way to honor McCourt's life would be to pull out Angela's Ashes, which I have done. Perhaps this as fitting a memorial as watching hours of Michael Jackson videos, but certainly (for me) far more satisfying.

Interesting, really, that Ireland only holds a small piece of my genealogy, yet it captivates my imagination. Trad makes my heart sing, and I'm fond of the grand lineage of poets and writers. I may have a German name, but my heart lies in the land of Eire.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Surf


Surf, originally uploaded by carl.setzer.

Along the waterfront at Brackett's Landing in Edmonds, WA.
Via BlackBerry

Edmonds Ferry


Edmonds Ferry, originally uploaded by carl.setzer.

The view from our afternoon at the beach. Another gorgeous summer's day in the Seattle area. It would be nice, though, if the young men behind me learned that they can turn down the radio. I guess they expect attractive women to lunge vagina first towards the sounds of overdone bass.

Via BlackBerry

Monday, July 13, 2009

Blog Thoughts

I've been toying with the notion of getting a custom domain for this site. Some ideas: electronicpilgrim.com, pilgrimelectronica.com, questionsall.com, carlsetzer.com. Of course, knucklehead.com is already taken.

2010 Prius - CNET Review

We love our 2005 Prius, so I naturally gravitated to this video. Makes the car look nice, though I think the lack of an iPod dock (beyond just an aux cable) is bad. Of course, they offer Bluetooth streaming, so you can play your iPhone tunes through the stereo, which is great. I still am waiting for a car to have a usb port that you can connect with mp3's and skip the portable player altogether.

Some PR Thoughts

Here's a good post raising questions about all those "social media experts". It's easy, I guess, to become bedazzled by buzz terms (Twitter, Facebook, et al). However, if your company is looking to invest actual money in something like this, if behooves you to spend some time researching.

One site I learned about from this, though, is Help A Reporter Out. Peter Shankman's effort to connect reporters with good, solid sources. It looks like a great way to help both reporters get in front of real sources (not just PR shlocks) as well as get good PR folks in front of relevant media. One of those real solid "win wins" we hear so much about.

Comic du jour

Oh, this is delightful.

Secret Asian Man

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Ambitions

Often, I'm tempted by a desire for glamor. This strange need to own a grand, stately, and rather ridiculous home. Then we add a car with chauffer. Perhaps serving staff, or a private jet. At least flying first class (man, the notion of leg-room sounds grand). Yet, it sounds rather empty. When I read such pieces as this one, I am reminded of what I enjoy. The modest pleasures of friends, wine, art. These represent the best I see in life. Though I occasionally get tormented by the fact my life is rather free of grand luxuries, I take solace in the glories within my life. Lest I forget these blessings, I remind myself of those who have so little. These things I take for granted, that seem rather humble to me, actually are grand luxuries to so many who walk this earth with me. That fact humbles me the most.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A Lovely Day

Today was spent, for the most part, at the Pacific Science Center. Wandering around the halls that my cousin and I walked as kids was both nostalgic, and a bit disconcerting. Though I spent much time over the years there, it has been at least two decades since I've been inside the main exhibit space (though I've been to the Imax theatre several times). Very little remains of the space we explored. Ok, the walls are still in the same places, and the exterior is almost exactly the same. And the cafe is just as lame, and easy to ignore; and worthwhile, too. Still, there were things that triggered memories. Biking to light lights (the thing was rather rickety and felt like it was 30 years old). The Gemini capsule. A giant moon, though now hidden a bit inside an unrelated exhibit.

As a boy, youth, whatever you wish to call that age, I spent many hours wandering the facility. I first experienced Lazerium here. This was the first place I experienced large computer labs. So much of that is, rightly, gone; replaced by much more contemporary items (or at least by the less obsolete). One thing remains, though. The capturing of science and presenting it to young minds in exciting and dynamic ways. Thus it was, and remains, a treasure for Seattle. I, at least, am glad its here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Great Photos

Clark Little is a surf photographer (not surfing, please note) with some phenomenal work. You can see more of his work here. Besides the great color effects, the texture and contours he captures are simply stunning. And, as you can see from his video, he earns each shot.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Sustainabile Shopping

One challenge of late, being the progressive I am, has been finding the right blend of cost and "quality". Quality is getting special emphasis here as I am adding to the generally understood usage. Besides adhering (or exceeding) our expectations for longevity, accomplishing the product's purpose, and such, I also add quality of life. Meaning, in more depth, impact upon the earth. This is more than just environmental concerns, but also those of social justice.

What makes this challenging is the huge array of metrics for "sustainability". There's Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, Organic, Utz Kapeh, Monterey Bay Seafood Watch, Forest Stewardship Council, USGBCs LEED, Song Bird Friendly, Slave-Free, etc (this is just what rattles off my head). Few people want to spend time considering their purchases, much less researching the different schemes, blah blah.

For me, I often shoot for the easy way. Shopping at such institutions as Whole Foods or PCC (a Seattle area co-op). Allowing me to rest assured that whatever I purchase, it will have been ethically sourced. Of course, Trader Joe's, long a staple in this sector, has been dinged with some issues surrounding fish. Thus, some use of the brain is still required. However, many businesses have been aware of how important trust is, and are working on maintaining that. (TJ's is part of that, from what I can see, and I'm sure they're working on addressing their issues around sourcing fish ->don't let me down TJ!). So, we should be alert and vigiliant, but probably don't need to be overwrought, either.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Palm and Apple: Comparing Relationships

Infoworld has a nice article about the differences between Apple and Palm's hacker communities. Palm was able to post a polite request to not hack tethering for the Pre...and they responded in the way Palm needed/wanted.

The writer opines that "Palm's hands-off approach may be a reaction to the frenzy and enthusiasm surrounding attempts to hack the original iPhone". Perhaps, though probably not. This writer is thinking, in typical style, much too short-term. Consider, instead, Palm's long history with the development community. In the pre-Pre, Treo days, Palm was good about letting anyone develop. And they did a good job in encouraging those relationships. It makes sense to me that this work, all those years ago, is now paying off in good-will.

This is a lesson that the business community needs to latch on to. Work on developing good relations NOW with your primary stakeholders. Then, when you need help, are challenged in some way, you have a bank of trust. When you only show "love" to a group when you want or need something, cynicism is the result (duh).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Power Of The Net

I haven't followed the developments in Iran today as I've been laid out by a virus. However, this has given me some time to think about all this (with the benefit of a lack of lucidity). It's been clear to me for some time that the activist's role has changed. The speed at which they can communicate, and the variety of media that can be broadcast with comparatively little expense or effort is stunning...and heartening.

Another piece that must be considered: the commitment of many techies to liberty. One key thing I've seen this week is the rapid development of proxies for the Iranian's to circumvent government censorship. Other examples include Pirates Bay and the efforts to circumvent China's filtering.

A few thoughts from a sick-day. My thoughts today, though, reside with the Iranian protesters. The powers that be (the Butcher Of Tehran?) have made it clear that no moderation will be shown. Dissent will be rigorously expunged. My sincerest hope is that the glare of global will shall shame this psychopathic "President". A dream, I'm sure. Pray, though, pray.

Via BlackBerry

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Iranian Election, Twitter, and Popular Movements

I've spent part of the morning following the Twitter dialog (Twitterlog?) about the Iranian elections and the ensuing protests (I'm following two threads: #Iranelection and #Tehran. Even with the media black-out, these postings are coming with amazing speed. It, literally, is impossible to keep up. Hundreds of posts per minute, perhaps thousands. With this, certainly, will be a huge amount of bad information, as well as deliberate mis-information. However, within this will be solid pieces of truth. Powerful, indeed. And here lies how this medium has changed the world. A totalitarian regime can't suppress this much information. Thousands of voices, reaching out instantly. Pretty much a game of whack-a-mole on the government's end. Sadly, those "moles" who get whacked with get it hard, I'm certain.

Besides Twitter, Flickr has an amazing stream of images, YouTube has videos, Digg is going crazy...so much, so very fast. Opposition now has a powerful, global tool. That, and a willingness to use it. The world has changed, indeed.

Web 2.0 or Me vs. We

One of my chums posted a very thoughtful piece about the Web 2.0 and how it is resulting in more ego-centrism (give the Angry African a read here). Thoughtful thoughts should beget thoughtful thoughts, don't you think? Well, here are mine (for what they're worth...money back if not delighted).

One great danger of Web 2.0 comes from our ever demanding ego. The temptation is great to simply feed it by tracking our followers on Twitter, reviewing our blog stats, ever checking our Technorati ratings, ad nauseum. Also, the temptation to simply post things to generate more readers is challenging. I see this thinking related to the adolescent mind. The form of thinking that only sees the group in terms of me. Group acceptance is paramount, even though it stems from a desire (or so claimed, at least) for independence.

Perhaps the issue, really, stems from the fact that the web, like all societal institutions, is accessible to people regardless of the state of maturity. Thus, we're stuck with people focusing more on the numbers of interactions than on the quality. The members of our society are evolving at different rates, starting at different times. Web 2.0 loves them all.

The Angry African also brings up poverty, and the resulting lack of access. My sincerest hope is that Moore's law combining with the economies of scale will bring these tools to more and more people globally. However, until that time, we are left with hoping their voices are heard. Most of that comes from those who "care". Sadly, many of those are drowning in paternalism. Finding ways to ensure the voices of the impoverished and exploited are heard in a genuine way is deeply challenging.

For me, the medium summed up as tech, offers the world so very much. Perhaps I'm too Pollyannaish.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Grief

Reading stories like this one, always sadden me. (quick summary: a toddler dies suddenly due to a respiratory infection) Nothing is more painful to me than lives cut short. Especially children. Another element, though, comes as a reminder. The great phrase, "there but for the grace of God go I" resonates now. I look at my son and know that, despite all my efforts to protect him from enemies foreign and domestic, those efforts are quite paltry compared to the destructive forces we face. It would be easy to become overwhelmed by all this. Thus, it's easier to focus on what I CAN do.

I know that, God forbid, my son's death would destroy me. Shattered to dust. And though I would survive (I always have), I know that I would be profoundly and utterly different. When I think of the stories I've heard, of marriage broken asunder by the death of a child, I know what has happened.

Are such things God's will? As God doesn't chit-chat with me, I can't answer this with a definitive "yea" or "nay". However, I don't believe so. Of course, I walk the edge of blasphemy with my hybrid agnotisim. Perhaps God exists with us, grieves with us. Perhaps we're just products of a cold, uncaring universe. Neither, though, is remarkably comforting at times of deep grief. Each can, with the right mind, summon peace. I know, for I've seen it. Painful journeys, to be sure, but survivable ones.

These are the moments I wish I could shut my brain off, to quit asking the probing questions. For good or for ill, I can't. However, I do have things to do.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Ba Da Bing

I'm exploring Microsoft's latest effort in the search category, Bing. As there has been a number of articles, and some ads touting its features, I felt it was time to give it a test-drive. M$ has learned from Google. The interface is nice and clean, very much like Google's. Currently, they have a lovely background of Normandy. This is filled with hyperlinks to D-Day topics, but done in a rather unobtrusive way.

Anyway, the main thing to check is search. For my first effort, I decided to try and find a BusinessWeek article that I'd just read and wanted to seed to Newsvine. My search terms were the title of the article ("Microsoft's Search Savior") with "BusinessWeek". In Bing, sadly, the article didn't appear in the first page of results. Google had the article as it's first link. Trying a vanity search, I find my LinkedIn profile first, followed by my main website, Setzers.org second. Not too bad. I do like the list on the left side with related searches.

In the end, I'm not really wowed. I will continue to use this for a little while and see how it "sticks". Anyway, the best thing about this is the media attention, which should drive Google to accelerate their innovation.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Day At The Beach


A Day At The Beach, originally uploaded by carl.setzer.

My family spent the early part of the day at the beach along the Edmonds waterfront. Quite a bit of marine life readily viewable. The three of us delight in tide-pools. Quite the variety, from three different crab species (red-rock, dungeness & kelp), a couple gunnels, shrimp (possibily dock shrimp, but I'm not too sure), a regular convention of nudibrachs, sunflower stars, ochre and blood-stars. These were the stand outs. There also were all the standard players: sea cucumbers, anenomes, barnacles and the like.

Via BlackBerry

Edmonds Beach


Edmonds Beach, originally uploaded by carl.setzer.

The extreme low tide today. -3.6, I do believe. Lots of marine life to see.

Via BlackBerry

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

More Twitter Thoughts

There are a good many things I like about Twitter. Most exciting is the range and speed of communications. With that is a serious problem: filters. The receptive element of communications gets overwhelmed by the volume of data. Breaking down the stream into manageable chunks is cumbersome. There are some good tools, though. I have become somewhat fond of Tweetdeck. It helps separate out some of the streams (replies and direct messages, in particular). It does a good job letting you set up groups and favorites. Thus the stream is far easier to manage. This, for me at least, makes this the best Twitter client I’ve worked with so far.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bears?

We have a bear running around the Seattle area. Amazing for a bear to racing around our urban confines. What's fun, though, is how the social media scene is taking this and running with it. Twitter has a few threads: #bearalert and #seattlebear. Also, someone has started posted to Twitter as Seattlebear. If you're interested, you can go to seattlepi.com and vote on a name for the fella.

Living La Vida Layoff

My friend Bill forwarded me a great piece from siliconvalley.com discussing the ways that layoffs have been impacting people's family lives. My layoff has affected me far more deeply than I would've expected. Fortunately, on the whole, I'd say the experience has been positive. This interim gives me much more time with my son, which I take with relish. The tension that I have felt with my wife has been externally focused. The feeling is as the two of us facing out, backs together. For such, I'm quite grateful. The opposite would be an aggravation beyond pale.

I have focused on growth and understanding during this time. Watching the news, it's easy to see the greater state of the economy. It's easy for me to not take the quiet after the hundreds of resumes personally. I quite expect that this economic mess will take years to fully recover from.

Many years ago I decided my life would not be about wealth or power, but about service and impact. And about living my family life with quality. One of the people quoted said to his wife, "I don't care if we lose everything, as long as I have you". I couldn't agree more. As I've often hear said, "no one has wished, on their death-bed, that they'd worked more.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Globe

Perhaps you've noticed, about one half the way down the page, that there's a graphic for IP2Location.com. It's really a delight to see all the different locales represented in my readership. Though it is a humble wee blog, I have readers all over.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Harry Chapin

Just listened to Cat’s In the Cradle by Harry Chapin. Funny, really, how a song that I’ve listened to my whole life can be so profoundly impactful. The narrator’s connection with his family, the sorrow he feels from his disconnect with his son is something that I have committed myself to avoiding. I try to be present each and every day in my son’s life. Perhaps I’ve had to sacrifice for this, giving up opportunities to advance, to grow more mighty in some enterprise. However, those opportunities seem so empty. I’ve always preferred to be at home then in some office. The promise of greater salary, power, or prestige has not held a strong enough attraction (that’s not to say that there hasn’t been any attractiveness to these choices - just not enough). Perhaps it’s the power of this song, or, more likely, having watched too many people die too young, I realize what is truly precious in this life.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Learning

One thing I let slip over the past few years is learning. I was studying, mostly with a future focus. However, I grudgingly did so, and it was somewhat painful. I need to actively learn from this point on. For instance, I used Excel quite extensively in my last few roles. However, there were several tools built in that could have made my work easier and more effective if I had taken the time to continue exploring. I generally only explored Excel when I needed to come up with something new. That generally only gave me the most basic of results. Now I will budget time for in-depth study and learning. Proactivity must be my new mantra.

Via BlackBerry

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Twitter

Another of my chums has abandoned Twitter. For him, the problem boils down to communication. The platform blasts out 140 character tidbits, a pretty small droplet of information. Twitter's strength is for the mobile, sending these small info drops from moment to moment, wherever you are. Such things are the FreeRoxana campaigns utilize this amazingly well. For many of us, though, perhaps most of us, Facebook is better. It's easier to control who sees what, you can post more information, and for many of the key platforms, there are robust mobile applications. Twitter is still a valuable tool, but it looks like it is starting to shake out, as far as who it is valuable to.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Swine Flu, Media, "Us"

Lately, much has been pontificated online about media hyperbole surrounding the Swine Flu. I offer something of an apologia for the current state of affairs here. Mainly, the issue stems from "the public's" inability to pay attention to anything without an immense headline. Well, unless it has to do with a celebrity's underwear habits, but I digress. My frustration for this element of society goes deep.

Television news focuses on the shallow, sound-bite, executive summary. Brief, quick, gone. It amazes me, to this day, that so many people use this as their primary information source. So quick, vacant and empty, full of alarmist notions and language. You see this, however, within print as well. Particularly, headlines. Most of them are barely connected with a story's content. And many people don't read a story past the headline.

Long ago, I gave up on this as a source of information. NPR took on a piece of it, as I have often had some commute time. My preferred source, for the longest time, was print. In my heyday I would read the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Seattle Times daily. Now, with the web, my information comes from a variety of sources. Ironically, the above are still part of my routine, just intermixed with others.

With this, I think the growth of the internet has been grand. It's best to head to, say, the CDC for information versus Faux, er, Fox news. Plus, the ability to comment on stories, whether on your own blog or in the comments section, helps ensure balance. Yet, I wonder, if perhaps the abundance of information makes the natural inclination worse.

Government tries to navigate this fine line. Get information out, accurate and action oriented. However, people don't tend to pay attention unless there's doom in the language. Add to that, though, that people have a sort attention span. If the doom/gloom fails to materialize quickly, the mind will turn to vapor. Play the alarmist card with caution!

As internet access to continues to grow, and understanding of its use grows as well, I hope to see a decrease in these alarmist events. That we become better consumers of information, and better able to focus our efforts effectively.

UPDATE: My local paper, The Everett Herald has a decent piece on this.

A Earbud Decluttering Tool

The folks over at Lifehaker found this clever little item to help control those constantly tangling earbuds. If you have a laser cutter laying around, you can download the plans and build one yourself. These tips might be more useful to the rest of us.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Clipmarks - WHO Swine Flu FAQ

clipped from www.who.int
Swine influenza, or “swine flu”, is a highly contagious acute respiratory disease of pigs, caused by one of several swine influenza A viruses. Morbidity tends to be high and mortality low (1-4%). The virus is spread among pigs by aerosols, direct and indirect contact, and asymptomatic carrier pigs. Outbreaks in pigs occur year round, with an increased incidence in the fall and winter in temperate zones. Many countries routinely vaccinate swine populations against swine influenza.


How can I protect myself from getting swine influenza from infected people?

To protect yourself, practice general preventive measures for influenza:
  • Avoid close contact with people who appear unwell and who have fever and cough.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently and thoroughly.
  • Practice good health habits including adequate sleep, eating nutritious food, and keeping physically active.

  • What is swine influenza?

     blog it

    Journalism Is Not A Crime

    Another piece of the Free Roxana campaign.



    A nice piece of work by James Buck.

    Monday, April 27, 2009

    Photos

    After I left my magnanimous former employer, I was out access to Photoshop. Now, I suppose I could manage with the Vista built-in tool, or Picasa. But I'm not one to do things the easy way. I chose to mess with Gimp, the illustrious open source image editing tool. More specifically, especially since I have a PhotoShop background, I went with Gimpshop, which gives me a Photoshop-esque experience. Better, I suppose, than downloading CS3 from bit torrent or something. Though I'm not a power user, I find the thing quite nice. Some day, I hope that I'll be able to turn the most grotesque face into a supermodel. We all have our dreams, eh?

    Jobs, Searching and Other Delights

    I had a lovely interview this afternoon and feel good about how it went. However, this is balanced with the knowledge that many others have also been interviewed. Though it is for a position that I would be excited to get, I'm not all angsty. I'm just not too worried about the whole unemployed thing right now. However, that's due to luck, and some skill (I guess). Savings will hold out for a bit yet, and my wife works...and it's quite unlikely she'll loose her job (she teaches junior high special ed...I shudder at the thought). Our worst case scenario is a radical lifestyle shift. Perhaps losing one of the cars (and it's payment), and dropping such things as cable (the horror!). And I'm not so hell-bent on working. Work, for me, is more about contributing and making an impact. That, truly, is a luxury.

    Reminds me of my grandfather. He was "retired" (acted upon him, not of his choice) when I was about 12. His life was wrapped up in his job. He was in the same role for 30+ years, and was devastated when it ended. I learned, way back then, that I would never fully roll my identity into my job/career.

    However, there is something that's giving me chills right now: the Swine Flu outbreak. Job loss sucks; bankruptcy sucks, too. But neither one of them will kill you, or worse, someone you love. Fortunately, here in the States, that's less of a worry since we have some of the best medical care on the globe. Still, the severity of this helps keep all the other problems in perspective.

    Thursday, April 23, 2009

    Tuesday, April 21, 2009

    Careers, Jobs and Random Thoughts

    I've developed several plans since my layoff back in February. My first, main, plan A, whatever, has been to pursue a BA in Applied Computing at the University of Washington's Bothell campus. Part of this was to have the State pay for this (I've been taking classes part-time in the evenings pursuing this). However, it doesn't look like that's going to work. Mainly, degree completion is NOT on of the Commissioner Approved Training options. Thus, though I still await the official answer, I'm pursuing alternative tracks.

     

    Now, I'm trying to position myself as a communicator with solid "social media" skills. I've seen several positions for such. Sadly, no bites in this sector yet. We'll see, though. This is where I put the lion's share of my resume focus.

     

    Lastly, I have my fall-back of administrative assistant work, which I've done plenty of. My resume is strong for this, and I have several opportunities lurking nearby via temping. "Contract work" is particularly tempting as I would have some additional freedom to continue my tech development. This is especially nice since I have no idea when I will get an answer from the WA Employment Security folks. Their letters say 4-6 weeks; currently, we're at 9 (yes, I've reached out to them, and have been told "it'll take more time", they're swamped". Sigh...

    Web Comics



    from xkcd.com

    Good Causes

    My e-chum, Suburan Diva, has partnered with Hebrew National for Picnic with a Purpose. Ok, I don't know how formal this arrangement is, but the idea is great. However, I'm finding bits and pieces about this around the web.

    Anyway, the idea of an informal gathering, with friends and family, to raise funds, gather gifts, or otherwise pitch-in and help out the community is wonderfully gracious. This, really, is something I must try to make happen, too.

    Friday, April 17, 2009

    Tests


    I spent a good chunk of my day, yesterday, on a skills inventory for a temp firm. Now, some would hate this. I, however, actually enjoy this. These give me some great insights into the job market's software needs and expectations. Also, as someone who tries hard to be cutting, if not bleeding edge, I always tend to be well ahead of the curve. There were only a few areas I didn't know strongly, particularly with the Office suite. Of course, I hold myself to a high standard here. Not knowing how to code a macro in Word 2007 bugs me. I know how to get to that screen, but it's different enough from 2003 (where I haven't coded a macro in years) that I was puzzled how to actually code the thing.

    Thursday, April 16, 2009

    Windows and other fun

    As much as I love the Mac OS, and Macs in general, I'm finding myself using Vista much more. Simply, it works better with everything that I need to do right now. Several employment applications are IE only. There have been several skills tests that have only worked on Windows as well. Though it makes me a little sad, at least I'm not one of the Windows bashers who has
    to eat his words. *Ahem*

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009

    Wars and History

    As I watch a History Channel production about Pickett's Charge, I remember feeling a glorious sentiment towards these warriors in years past. Now, though, all I feel is sadness. The stunning mass destruction and pain must be considered for the immeasurable sorrow generated. Though, probably, necessary, the loss must be remembered.

    Via BlackBerry

    Monday, April 13, 2009

    Literary Birthdays Today

    Per today's "The Writer's Alamanac", this is the birthday of both Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney.

    I've been fond of both for years. Early on, upon seeing "Godot" for the first time, I spent much too much time trying to figure out "what it's all about". Nothing is more absurd than trying to locate reason within absurdity. However, Heaney really captured my attention when I sought to understand the contemporary Irish soul. My first deep exposure to his works, "Station Island", is amazing. Though slightly lower in esteem than Gary Snyder (which I hope causes no offense), Heaney holds high regard in my heart.

    Saturday, April 11, 2009

    Quote Du Jour

    “To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.” ~Kofi Annan

    Friday, April 10, 2009

    Travel Channel

    I love Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain’s team rocks. Not only do they put him in some outrageous situations, his staff does a fantastic job editing and mixing sound. His acerbic passion delights me. The Travel Channel, though, is on strange laughable kick. You’ve got Dhani tying his cart to the Bourdain wagon. Now Andrew Zimmerman is, too. Particularly funny with Zimmerman; I’ve enjoyed his show and don’t need to Bourdain tie-in. I noticed that they haven’t tried to tie-in Bridget with Tony. Actually, I’d love to see a Bourdain/Bridget travel cross-over. Of course, finding where Bourdain hides her body might be challenging.

    Thursday, April 09, 2009

    Every time I hear an anti-gay-marriage supporter ad, or read anything they've written, I become more puzzled by their "logic". I was hoping this was a farcical piece, but it appears not. I'm just stunned.

    Hidden Cameras

    A friendly reminder that video cameras are everywhere.



    Shout out to AdRants for this. And this is from a promo postcard for an upcoming movie, "Look".

    Monday, April 06, 2009

    Sunny Daze

    Days like today are true gems here. It was truly a delight to completely avoid shoes. Though the weather was a bit too cold yet for shorts, I refused to let that deter me. My need for vitamin D was simply too great. An ideal, for me at least, a day with sunshine and freedom. Very close to Zen mastery, my delight somewhat meditative. Bob Marley runs through my head, and I know "Every Little Thing's Gonna Be Alright". I feel very calm and centered. Life, truly, blessedly peaceful.

    Via BlackBerry

    Saturday, April 04, 2009

    My Challenge

    I struggle with competing visions. There is a sense of me as counter-cultural, standing against the wretched excesses of the prevalent culture. Against that, though, is an appreciation of life's finer things. This dichotomy is painful at times. Finding myself staring wistfully at the latest Mercedes sometimes frustrates me.

    Perhaps I misunderstand myself. Could I earn such things without exploitation? I believe it not only true, but that many have already done so. Finding the "win-win", this place that rewards both sides of the equation. That, truly, is innovative.

    Via BlackBerry

    Saturday Thoughts

    Perhaps you would think that being unemployed leaves me with heaps of free-time. You would be mistaken. My days are extremely full. And I was filled with all kinds of ideas, like being able to catch up on my reading, maybe even digesting the daily paper. Ha! I have been mildly frustrated by this, but no more. Fortunately, I do a good job of keeping track of my time, so I don't end up wondering where the day went.

    I love mornings like this, though, where everyone else is still tucked safely away in bed and I'm able to enjoy quiet. Now, if you excuse me, I'm diving back into Scoble & Israel's "Naked Conversations", which has been long on my "to read" list. Getting some good insights into blogging's potential, even though the book was published back in 2006. Much of their basic premise, though, I've long agreed with. These notions of transparency and anti-marketing/anti-hype, in particular. I've long believed that our ability to filter this stuff has grown, and that the most prevalent response to most marketing is simple annoyance. Or, perhaps, extreme annoyance. Anyway, the long-term affects are this general sense of distrust of "business". And so many executives are surprised by this tendency to assume the worst of any company in the news.

    Via BlackBerry

    Friday, April 03, 2009

    New Blog

    So, in the interests of expressing my interest in blogs, public affairs and communications, I've launched another blog, Digitized Collective. My goal is to focus this on how communications is being changed by the "digital medium". Sounds cool, eh?

    Job Search

    The past few weeks has been one of serious self-evaluation. Though I liked my last position, I suffered from a lingering sense of "blah". I've been trying to figure out what I've wanted to do in order to grow. Getting laid off provides a crucial moment to dive into this self-assessment. Besides the time (which hasn't been as present as I hoped) to do so, there also is the element of necessity. Knowing that I need to find another job, and wanting to ensure that whatever I land next is something with more satisfaction, has compelled me to be deliberate.

    So, after all this, I'm thinking of diving into the "communications" space. Particularly, I hope to blend my love of writing with tech and blogs. We'll see what comes of it. I have seen some companies searching for folks with this background.

    With all this, I've had several tools recommended to me. Particularly, LinkedIn, Jobster and Indeed. I'm just starting my dive into these sites, so I'll keep you abreast of my learnings. I can tell you that I've found Jobster very interesting, at least as far as the jobs it's presented.

    One last idea that I'm coming to terms with is this notion of "Me, inc". Basically, I need to look at my career in terms of, well, myself. My attachment to a company needs to be conditional.  I guess another way to look at this is to think of myself as a contractor. As you can see, I'm just developing this notion. Expect me to flesh this out more soon.

    Saturday, March 21, 2009

    Springtime Anew

    Darkness, blue-black, embraces all I see. Everything outside wall-and-window’s bounds blurred, buried within inky thickness; familiar now mystery. Robin’s call pierces, a gentle fanfare for spring. Sunlight slowly blues the black, each moment fades mystery; familiar rediscovered. Black fades, now semi-violet blue, change imperceptible. My eyes close briefly, patiently. Light’s change now clear. Slowly, gently births this day.

    Friday, March 20, 2009

    A Week

    It’s been a rather rough week to get a post in. That saddens me, as I’ve not posted much lately and felt a desire to turn that around. I’ve learned a heck-of-a-lot this week, which I’ll write more about later (perhaps this weekend???). However, there’s something I’ve been meaning to write a bit more about: the “demise” of the Seattle PI.

    I’m just tired of the word “demise”. Folks, it ain’t dead. The web version is still going strong. Actually, I think it’s quite well. Only the print version has been laid to rest. So, this is more like an amputation than a death. A key piece of the institution is gone, and the entity has undergone a seismic shift. On the other side of this coin, they have unloaded a relic. By removing this element, they should be freed to innovate. And they’ve set innovation up as a must. There’s no way back; it’s innovate or die. Considering the talent onboard, they can make it work. Management’s role needs to be facilitating the innovation. As long as they don’t get in the way, I think it’ll work, and work well. Good luck, folks! Knock ‘m dead!

    Monday, March 16, 2009

    Seattle PI

    I'll let you read the article, but the gist is that the Seattle Post Intelligencer will be shutting down print operations after tomorrow's edition, ending a 146 year tradition. In the article, one of the copy editors, a Glenn Ericksen, asks "Who needs copy editors on the Web?" Well, Glenn, quite a few sites do. For publications like the PI to really make it as a professional web publication, they will desperately need copy editors. My believe is that news sites will need to maintain the highest standards in order to justify their readership. And failings will be far more magnified for them (just look at all the snarking about basic grammar errors on any major site). Thus, copy editors, and their kin, will have a place. Well, I hope for such.

    As a long time subscriber to the PI, and a one-time paperboy for the publication, this is truly a sad moment. Watching their website evolve over the past few years, and seeing some of the talent they've brought on board recently, I believe this "paper" is one of the best positioned to do well in the new media order.

    *Update: The PI's Executive Producer Michelle Nicolosi wrote a good piece describing the PI's efforts to be relevant in the new media world.

    Saturday, March 14, 2009

    Ads, and other annoyances

    I’m convinced that someone in Geico's marketing department is friends with Rockwell and that whole campaign is a scheme to get the guy royalty bucks. Anyway, perhaps I’m not part of their core demographic, but this eyeball stalker thing is starting to annoy me. I might consider shifting to Allstate, as their ads assume I’m intelligent. Perhaps a rash assumption...

    Tuesday, March 03, 2009

    Slightly Behind Political Thoughts

    Last week, as many of you are aware, Obama gave a speech to which the Republican Governor of Louisiana gave the official reply. The statement which gives me the most consternation is his condemnation of $14 million (though he gives the amount as $140 million) for volcano monitoring. Now, perhaps if you live in a place without such, you might be inclined to view this as pork (however, if you live in a state that depends heavily on federal hurricane monitoring, you'd think you might be more sympathetic). However, as someone who lives nearby several, I'm not amused, but Krugman's response sums up my views nicely.

    Why is the Republican party so hell-bent on becoming the party of knee-jerk irrational though and stupid commentary? Time and time again Bush has worked hard to ensure any shred of respect I struggled to find was eroded. Then we had Palin, and now this (there are other pieces at play, too, but I don't want to get too long-winded). Once upon a time I was a Republican, mostly out of a believe in the importance of responsibility and public accountability. Though those values are still solid, the Republican party is not the place to find this. Nor is it the place to find public discourse of rational thought (start with RNC Chair Steele). What's saddest is that I can no longer support the few remaining rational Republicans out there, as the party's descent is too intractable.

    iPhone & Blackberry Thoughts

    I've been wondering these past few days whether the iPhone's huge array of applications will be THE driving force for it. Or, on the other side, whether the seeming dearth of them for the Blackberry might keep folks away. Will the average user be satisfied with a few key apps, or will they be swayed by the masses available for the iPhone? I'm not sure, myself. The main things keeping me away from the iPhone are the lack of a keyboard (I'm just not convinced that the touchscreen is that grand - know too many people who hate it) and not being able to swap out the battery.

    For those put off by the price, here's an option for you: the Peek. A pretty basic device, but should really help move people into the mobile email space. If they allow apps to be developed it would be a solid game changer. We'll see.

    Friday, February 27, 2009

    The LCMS

    I received a lovely email from the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) news service, which just got me in a tizzy: LCMS President Responds to ELCA Task Force Recommendation, Statement 09-053-MRC (full text here). I'm just amazed at this fellow's arrogance.

    "Kieschnick also reminded LCMS members of a resolution passed by the church's 2001 convention that the LCMS "cannot consider (the ELCA) to be an orthodox church body," but "we of the LCMS recognize that many of our brothers and sisters of the ELCA remain faithful to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we resolve to reach out to them in love and support."

    I know it will shock Mssr. Kieschnick that there are people of thoughtful, prayer-filled, and committed Christians that are in support of the ELCA's decision and direction (I am one of them). I, for one, am surprised that anyone can study the path of Jesus and subscribe to this anti-gay mindset.

    Just because there is a 2,000+ year tradition of homosexuality as sinful is no reason to continue it. Tradition apart from reason and compassion is simply brutal. Kieschnick should carefully review the state of society (both globally and for the society in question) before wistfully wishing for a 2,000 year retreat. I, for one, stand against such on many principles.

    I guess that I should be thankful that he and the LCMS are simply calling for them to pray for me/us - as opposed to the Fred Phelps "protest/harass/badger/nuisance mentality. However, perhaps it would be good for such folks to follow the guidance of a certain jewish philosopher from the 1st century CE and "remove the plank from their own eye before trying to remove the spec from mine"


    (for the uninitiated, the LCMS = Lutheran Church Missouri Synod - and this isn't the first time I've been tweaked by their stance on an ELCA issue)


    A Recent Life Of Leisure

    Update: on the 11th, I was one of the unfortunate many laid off by my magnanimous (former) employer. Now, for many, this was an emotional calamity. For me, though, with the lovely weather we've (for the most part) had, along with having free-time to let my brain wander free, it has been a nice respite. With my last employer (a frantically paced Fortune 500), it was nearly impossible to make the time to reflect and be planful. After a brief foray into slothness (oh, what delights that brings), I've awakened my inner Franklin-Covey geek and have launched into some self-analysis and refocusing.

    For some time I've been wondering what I want from this thing "career". For so many folks it's a key defining piece of their existence (sometimes THE defining piece). I'm still hedging. Basically, I've never fully committed to the notion of a career, at least as a single discipline. I'm not, say, an accountant, nor programmer, nor anything that linear. The closest I could place myself in this context is "administrative assistant", which doesn't mean much in-and-of itself. Simply, it is the title I've had most often. The main thing it means, though, is that I've not spent that much time in charge of major efforts. Mostly, I've been the person executing project work. On one of my recent evaluations, one of my listed strengths was "getting things done". I have found such quite enjoyable, at times challenging and encompassing a wide variety of work. That's the sort of thing I've always enjoyed. For a while, though, I've had this nagging sense that it isn't enough - perhaps a year or so.

    Lately, I've become more interested in strategy. I've also noticed that I've become a bit bored by details (whereas, I used to delight in the mind-numbing morass of extreme detail). Now, though, I think I'm attracted to the title "analyst". There's some detail to such work, but it's not the "we'll need pencils at the event, and how many cupcakes should I order?" stuff I've dealt with for years. Part of me still enjoys that stuff, however. Mainly, though, since it's second nature and I can generally hit home-runs with little effort. In other words: laziness.

    We'll see what comes my way. Between my severance and unemployment, I don't need to take the first desperate position that comes along. Which is good since there's a bit of a dearth out there.

    Saturday, January 31, 2009

    A Saturday In The House

    I get a bit rummy when I spend all day in the house. However, there are those days where it's not to be helped. Between this blasted cold that seems to be the latest team-building exercise at work, a project due on Thursday (Visual Basic class at Edmonds Community College), and a general malaise, I've been sitting here watching the sun move across the sky from my couch.

    Days like this leave me in a foggy mental state. At some point I always need to get outside, no matter how ucky I feel. I've pondered this before, but never figured out the mechanism at hand. This didn't affect me during my years of submarine service. However, the sub was quite a bit bigger than my humble condo. Perhaps it was the manic busy-ness. Anyway, though I've not completed anything I wanted to, I'm about the abandon it all and get outside. Whether a drive, a small walk, or sitting in the backyard in the mud, I'm getting out.

    Monday, January 12, 2009

    Here I am, 2009

    Like many people, I couldn’t imagine living this long. However, this is not so much a fault with my vision, rather a lack of visioning. Rarely have I lifted my gaze towards the future, towards the sun at dawn. As life has progressed, my nose has drifted lower, resting against the proverbial grindstone. One would expect a bloodied pulp proboscis by now.

    Visioning, or it’s lack, has been something of a problem for me. It’s hard to plan, to develop goals without a vision. So much of my life has been lived with an immediate focus, short-term mentality. Though I’ve strived to raise my gaze, old habits compel with force. Not powerless, but easily seduced, these impulses drag me down the familiar path.

    Perchance to dream, to see a future with clarity. Thus to vision, to provide direction, then goals and that fulfillment of life. Such is what I seek.