Dec 28, 2008

Clowns

Squirrel Raids the Bird Feeder

Image by Noël Zia Lee via Flickr

I have bird feeders right outside of my office window. More than just helping to nourish the local bird population, they provide hours of entertainment. My cats are rather entertained by them too.

Two of the feeders are squirrel-proof. It’s endlessly amusing to see how determined those furry-tailed rodents are to thwart that. They regularly tumble from the feeders into the holly bush underneath, yet determinedly leap out, scale the wall to the roof, and try again. I admire their persistence.

I think I like the squirrels as much as the birds. They don’t sing, and have no colorful plumage, but they are clever in their antics to get at the seed. They try just about anything to get what they want, from hanging upside down, or swinging wildly in the air, or leaping great distances as though determination alone will get them there. I sometimes break down and toss a handful or two of seed on the ground. Oh, alright, often. They’ve taken to sitting up and staring at me, their paws humbly clasped, their big eyes open in a silent “please?” Of course, I give in.

After all, they’ve put on quite a performance. Only fair to pay the price of admission.

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Nov 5, 2008

How the Internet Defeated the McCain Campaign

LIVEdigitally » Blog Archive » How the Internet Defeated the McCain Campaign: "I also hope our politicians take warning from these results. The era of politicians being able to say one thing while do another is at an end. We the people are tired of the negativity, the fear, and the lies that politicians have perpetrated over the years. The Internet was a major part of this election, and this is only the beginning."



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Sep 28, 2008

Mental Atmosphere

clipped from www.newyorker.com
A lot has been written lately about the dishonest tactics of the two tickets, especially McCain-Palin. The problem with a campaign based on relentless message discipline, repeated falsehoods, and the habitual perversion of language is that none of it stops after election day. You can’t be indifferent to truth for months on end and then suddenly return to straight talk. If McCain should win, Steve Schmidt won’t be in charge of the new Administration, but his spirit will. Prostitutes hardly ever go straight: the mental atmosphere of a campaign becomes the mental atmosphere of a government.
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Sep 6, 2008

The Culture War Gambit

clipped from journalism.nyu.edu
John McCain’s convention gambit is a culture war strategy. It depends for its execution on conflict with journalists, and with bloggers (the “angry left,” Bush called them) along with confusion between and among the press, the blogosphere, and the Democratic party. It revives cultural memory: the resentment narrative after Chicago ‘68 but with the angry left more distributed. It dispenses with issues and seeks a trial of personalities. It bets big time on backlash.
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Aug 29, 2008

Finally, Not For The Tech Crowd

{{PennMapDesc|Bucks|New Hope}}Image via Wikipedia I was just reading Rob Diana’s post “Ubiquity Will Not Be Ubiquitous”. I get his points - and there are some good ones - but I think he’s forgetting something really important. All apps are not for the techie/nerd/early-adopter crowd. Eventually, you need to put some focus on the non-tech loving crowd, the newbies. You know, the people who will pay you for what you do. And this app is something people will pay for. Not the technie/nerd/early-adopter crowd. The 50+, money to spend, stuck in the email rut, excuse me, luddites.

Take the simplistic instructions. To nerds, a turn-off. But to your grandmother? Or your mother? Or your next-door neighbor? This is Heaven.

Imagine this: you open an email in Google. The sender is talking about a weekend in New Hope (the recipient lives in New York.) The scenario of a typical non-techie user:

So, where is this New Hope? I guess I can use Google maps. Where is that link? Where are my bookmarks again? Oh, there they are. Ok, type in New Hope PA. Hit enter. Ah, found it. Ok, not too far. Wonder what it’s like? I know, I can check Google. Or that wiki thing. Where’s that link? Ah. Looks pretty interesting. Ok, I guess I’ll go. Next, better check the calendar to make sure I’m free. How do I get back to the calendar? I think there was a link on the top of Google maps, so let’s hit the back arrow. Good, I’m back. 

And the scenario continues, with a few more wrong turns and memory jogs. But with Ubiquity? From right where I am (in the email) I can hit ctrl-spacebar. Type map and enter the place. I see the map right there. Or I type cal, see the link to Google calendar, and go right to it. Ctrl-spacebar again, type wiki, and find wikipedia. No remembering where bookmarks are stored, no remembering the shortcut to open a new tab vs. a new window. Just simple, logical, easy commands.

Yes, there needs to be more commands, and I'm sure there will be plenty, soon.To the early-adopter, the techie, the nerds, this stuff is no challenge.

To those who can surf the web in their sleep, this app may be a disappointment. B-o-r-i-n-g. But to the huddled masses?

This app is pure genius.

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Aug 28, 2008

Cranky, yes. Accurate? No.

Steve Hodson must be a cranky old fart, as his byline says and his post supports, because he sure paints an arrogant picture of early adopters.

I’m a cranky old fart myself. And an early adopter, I guess, by his standards, as I’m quick to try out most of the tech-bling showing up. But the rest of his article doesn’t fit. It sounds more like someone wouldn’t let him into some clubhouse he perceives to exist.

I love Ubiquity. I’ve been waiting for it for a long time. I love it because it works like I want to work, like the people I know want to work. Reading an article and don’t understand a word, or want to see a picture to better understand something? Pop into Ubiquity and there’s your answer. Sure beats trying to search your bookmarks because you can’t remember the name of that site that can give you the answer you need.

I use Twitter, but I like Friendfeed more. I like Plurk. I like Utterz. I signed up right away. I’m still eagerly waiting for other beta invites. I signed up for a lot of things right way, and each new variation that comes along, I’ll sign up for them too. Because what’s here right now could be better, and I’m eager to find it. And I’m amazed that so much of it is free, so many things that can help me in my life, in my work, in my never-ending quest for knowledge about my world and the people in it.

So yes, I guess I’m passionate about new techie things. But does that make me some kind of snob? I don’t think so. I could care less about the latest, greatest new thing if it has to do with web design. I do not own an iPhone, nor am I likely to own one until the prices become far more reasonable and the service becomes far more reliable. I don’t have a Kindle. I still like the feel of a book.

Yes, early adopters are a miniscule part of the web. But isn’t that human nature? For every car enthusiast, aren’t there millions of us who just want to hop in and get where we’re going?

For every comment some passionate might make over who should and who should not use a service/object/site there’s another passionate who would jump at the chance to show a non-techie how to use it. These early-adopters are some of the most generous people I know. They can’t wait to share invites to private betas, to answer questions about how to set something up, to encourage someone who wants to try something in a new way. Those who have the talent will spend hours of personal time adapting code, making improvements, adding another dimension – then turn around and freely share it.

I know someone who recently connected with an old high school friend, took a trip to see them. A rather unpleasant and grueling trip. Things turned out all right, but it’s not likely to happen again anytime soon. Now, they could be spending a few minutes every few days chatting over the net, using a webcam. Ok, not as satisfying as a flesh and blood hug, but certainly a lot better than a plain telephone call (especially when the bill comes.) Will they do it? No. They don’t even own a computer. What kind of a connection are they missing with this friend? A big one, in my view.

I know others who own computers, even have access to a high-speed connections, and still don’t venture any further than e-mail and an occasional website someone else has directed them to. To me, that’s like going to the library and refusing to look beyond the childrens section.

I fit in the early adopter, passionate category. But don’t tell me I don’t care about the “real world users of the web”. They’ve been driving me nuts for years.


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Aug 24, 2008

Crocosmia

crocosmia
crocosmia,
originally uploaded by Lilyhill.
Planted to attracts hummingbirds. It worked, but they dart in and away so fast. Just saw the female come in - she darted around the hummingbird plant, then hovered around the goldfinch feeder as if trying to figured out what the goldfinch was eating. Off to the butterfly bushes, then away.

Aug 23, 2008

Heavy Industry

Bee2
Bee2,
originally uploaded by Lilyhill.
Good to see the honeybees. Such hard workers, no profit, unwittingly serving our desire for sweets and beauty.

Aug 18, 2008

Food for Thought

The law is a profession.  Whether or not lawyers are professionals is a matter of personal choice.  Some lawyers conduct themselves, and address the needs of their clients, as professionals.  Other lawyers are twinkie salesmen.  Of the latter group, some sell because they see no other option, and some sell because twinkie salesman is the best they will ever be.
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Aug 7, 2008

Will The Semantic Web Have a Gender?

One academic warns that it might and says we need to pay attention to it. As machines learn to understand what the web means, what perspective will they understand it from?

read more | digg story

Aug 6, 2008

The Conversation Prism

The Conversation Prism
The Conversation Prism,
originally uploaded by b_d_solis.
No wonder we social media junkies are so overwhelmed...

Aug 1, 2008

Life With A Cat

Oh, yes. Captured perfectly. Life with a cat.




Thanks to Ronnie

Jul 28, 2008

Should You Support Your Parents?

Pennsylvania state welcome signImage via WikipediaIf you are financially well off, should you support your parents? If you live in Pennsylvania and the courts consider your parents destitute, there may be no question. Pennsylvania still has laws on the books which obligate children who are financially able to do so to support their parents who cannot support themselves.

How do you feel about this? What if your parent had a gambling problem, or problems with drug and alcohol abuse? Should you be obligated to take care of them when they've spent all their money?

PA Elder, Estate & Fiduciary Law Blog: "Filial Support" in PA? Really?!?

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Jul 27, 2008

Fashionable Blogging

Couric anchors her first broadcast of CBS Even...Image via Wikipedia

And though women and men are creating blogs in roughly equal numbers, many women at the conference were becoming very Katie Couric about their belief that they are not taken as seriously as their male counterparts at, say, Daily Kos, a political blog site.

So, why is this article in the Fashion & Style section, NYTimes? I read the front page. I read the Tech section. I do not head to Fashion & Style unless I’m bored. I’m fashionable and stylish enough for my tastes.

I’m interested in TECH. And BLOGGING.

And I don’t expect to find stories about that in Fashion & Style. Unless they’re about Fashion & Style.

Is there a glass ceiling? You just proved it, NYTimes.

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Jul 14, 2008

Ok, who gets the negatives?

Light of PeaceImage by Lenar Poetry via Flickr

I guess it's getting common to be discussing more than who get copies of the baby pictures when the split occurs...

Technology & Marketing Law Blog: The Sex Tape Problem...and a Possible Legislative Solution?
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Jul 12, 2008

Open Mouth, Insert Identity

Could this be the beginning of making those who post anonymous comments with the fairly apparent intention of damaging another persons character take full, put-your-identity-where-your-mouth-is, responsibility for it?

Law.com - N.Y. Court Defines Test for Obtaining Identities Behind Online Posts
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Jun 28, 2008

A Dose of Reality

My Last Post About Twitter, Ever:

"Look, I love FriendFeed as much as the next guy, but most folks aren’t power users to the extent that they rely on Twitter as a conversations channel. Beyond that, only a fraction of those are even aware of FriendFeed. This sounds good in theory, but when you look outside our little bubble, it simply ain’t true."


Techies and tech power users seem to live in such a strange bubble. Quick to proclaim the importance of the latest shiny thing. But we (yes, I'd include myself on the fringes of that crowd) so often forget what a minority we are. Unless you call a major tech center like Silicon Valley your home, all you need to do is head to the favorite gathering spot in your town and try talking tech with the first ten people you meet (not staring at their iPhone) and see what kind of a response you get. At the very least, it should prove humbling. At most, be sure you have your analyst on speed-dial, should you need to prove your sanity.
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Jun 27, 2008

No ice at the North Pole - Climate Change, Environment - The Independent

Tundra and Icebergs in High ArcticImage via WikipediaExclusive: No ice at the North Pole - Climate Change, Environment - The Independent: "It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year.

The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, making it possible to reach the Pole sailing in a boat through open water, would be one of the most dramatic – and worrying – examples of the impact of global warming on the planet. Scientists say the ice at 90 degrees north may well have melted away by the summer."

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Sexy Is Not A Professional Attribute

The Beginning of a TragedyImage by E. M. B. via Flickr

Stop your messin’ around, better think of your future
6. Girls: Sexy isn’t a professional attribute
Flirty, provocative, sexualised content isn’t going to advance your career goals. Sarah Lacy’s interview with Mark Zuckerberg at SXSW is a great example. What she felt was playful, others perceived as flirtatious. The responses were swift and largely unkind.
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Jun 11, 2008

Personal Responsibility

judge judyImage by slicedgeek via Flickr

Wonderful post on Zen Habits about taking personal responsibility. Too many people don't, or won't, see their part in whatever the situation happens to be - even if it's only in their response to it.

Whenever I come upon a situation like that, I have a vision of Judge Judy when she deals with a couple arguing over this and that. When things really start to get out of hand, she'll look at the litigant doing the complaining, shrug her shoulders, and say: "you picked 'em". And she's right. So my next thought will be, what is my part in this?

Whatever the problem, you've had a hand in it - the start, the continuation, the outcome, or your response. You always have some degree of control, even if it's only over your own actions and attitude.

But the biggest one is attitude. One of the responders disagreed with the post, arguing about others controlling situation, or about medical conditions. That's true only if you are determined that there is only one outcome, and someone else determines what it must be. You have the power to leave a job. You have the power to accept your physical limitations. You have the power to find a different path. Your "failure" is not defined by others, it is defined by you.

Do not let others be the arbiters of your personal success. Accept that a certain situation (such as a job) may never work out the way you want it to. Accept that a physical limitation need not limit your spirit. The real change you may need to make may be in your definitions.


Ask the Readers: How Can You Take More Personal Responsibility? | Zen Habits
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May 10, 2008

Napping with my dolly

Napping with my dolly
Napping with my dolly,
originally uploaded by Lilyhill.
Doing some clean-up/organizing in Flickr. Taken last year, shortly after we brought her home.

May 8, 2008

Fleur de dead


Unfortunately, I often forget to pay attention when they are dead. Morticia would be pleased.

May 7, 2008

The Barbara Walters List for Success

1. Work harder than anyone else.
2. Accept most every assignment.
3. Do your homework.
4. Keep your complaints to yourself.
5. Finish the job.
6. Move on.
Liz Smith: Barbara-Walters-Affair Headlines Made Me Laugh | wowOwow

May 6, 2008

Lilacs


Makes all that mowing, weeding, pruning, cursing, hair-pulling and prayers to Mother Nature worthwhile.

Apr 28, 2008

Presumption of paternity can trump DNA tests for non-dads (phillyBurbs.com) | Pennsylvania News

"Remember whose ox is getting gored here," she says. "Who is the one who is going to suffer? The child."
'Presumption of paternity' can trump DNA tests for non-dads (phillyBurbs.com) | Pennsylvania News

The problem is, Spaid infers that the child support is all about the mother. It's not - it's about the child. Where are all these case where mothers are getting independently wealthy because of the chid support they receive? Where are all these mothers are living the wealthy life while their children are in rags? They are overwhelming overshadowed by the stories of mothers struggling to cover basic needs because the support they receive is far too little, if they receive it at all. They are overshadowed by stories of men who, like Spaid, apparently, under-report their income or claim no income at all in order to get out from under their obligations to feed, clothe, and educate children they are responsible for.

Where is his anger directed? At his wife, and at this child. Where should his anger be directed? At the man who, most likely, knowingly slept with and fathered a child by another man's wife. And who should have been taking responsiblity for his actions.

That's the person Spaid should be going after - and he should be getting every penny of the child support he paid back from the man whose obligation is was to be paying it. So why isn't Spaid angry at him?
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Apr 24, 2008

Faith of Our Fathers - Timothy Egan - Op-Extra Columnist - Opinion - New York Times Blog

They were ripping off the state, living on welfare and food stamps, even as they defied civil authorities.
Faith of Our Fathers - Timothy Egan - Op-Extra Columnist - Opinion - New York Times Blog

This is what bothers me the most - if you don't like the laws and mores of our society, why suckle at the teat? How do you justify that belief?

Apr 22, 2008

Is there a pattern here?

Toys, petfood - is this a subtle way to take over the world by slowly contaminating it? Or the plot to a really cheesy movie?
F.D.A. Identifies Tainted Heparin in 11 Countries - New York Times

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Apr 19, 2008

Stress Diary 4-19

Must mow the lawn - which means getting gas from a container into the tractor itself. My favorite local station, which used to actually PUMP THE GAS FOR YOU, is out of business.

So, I had to buy a new gas container because the old one seemed a bit to, well, old to be reliable for this new venture. But the container is small enough to be worn as a hat by the typical gas pump nozzle, so HTH am I going to get the gas into the tractor?

And let's add a deadline - tomorrow, it will rain. Crap.

Mar 29, 2008

Where true equality begins

Religion hasn't caught up to its own precepts about love, forgiveness, and the equality of souls, yet there's widespread dismay and shame over that failure. In the end, giving women and minorities true equality begins with the individual. Anyone who aspires to raise his or her consciousness can begin here; the results will be far more rewarding than any legislative movement that puts the right laws in place while allowing the wrong attitudes to fester.
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Mar 28, 2008

Forked Tongue

I'm all for those of a foreign culture learning and speaking English when living in this country. But when walking down the street and talking to their friends - who obviously can speak/understand that language - when does it become your business what language they speak?
clipped from www.nytimes.com
“We certainly need diversity,” said Johanna Bees, a Republican committeewoman who spoke outside the city library. “But the school board had to consider qualifications first.” Ms. Bees paused and then added: “One of my gripes is that all these people should learn English. When they’re walking on the street and they’re jabbering in Spanish, it really annoys me.”
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Mar 27, 2008

Jailed Blogger's Supporters to Go Offline and "Flood the Jail with Mail"

Twenty-two year old law student Abdul Kareem Nabeel Suleiman marked the first of a four year sentence in an Egyptian prison last November. His crime was "defaming the President of Egypt" on his blog. His first year in prison included isolation and physical torture.

The one thing that's made a big difference for Kareem, his supporters say, has been international attention. Now those supporters are calling for a two week campaign of snail-mail sent to the jail.

The goal is to let Kareem, and his jailers, know that the situation is far from forgotten. Past mail and media coverage have also improved physical conditions in the jail. Below are links for more info, including a link you can use to add a reminder of the letter writing campaign to your Google Calendar.

For the rest of the story, please see...

Jailed Blogger's Supporters to Go Offline and "Flood the Jail with Mail"
Marshall Kirkpatrick
Tue, 25 Mar 2008 19:45:28 GMT

Mar 21, 2008

Life In The Shadows

Spreading the word. These are the real results of little boys playing war games.

The Our Man Inside Blog: Life In The Shadows

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Monk vs. common men

clipped from www.nytimes.com

Onpo Lobsang, rushing up the road on his way to pick up a banner for a demonstration, said he backed the march to Lhasa despite the Dalai Lama’s reservations. “Our goal is the same, we need both sides,” said Mr. Lobsang, 29, who came here with his parents at age 9. “He’s the supreme leader, but we don’t need to listen to everything he says. He is a Buddhist monk. We are common men.”

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Mar 19, 2008

Choose

The building doesn't create the beliefs. The people create the beliefs. I can follow my beliefs anywhere. Remaining among those who have obviously made choices I say I vehemently oppose - then defending them - makes no sense to me.This is a decision that needs to be made. More crucial decisions will come.
clipped from www.buzzmachine.com
No. A church is a choice. I left a church because it was bigoted toward gays. I left one congregation and the entire Presbyterian Church with it. Oh, one could try to explain their bigotry, to give it context and history, to caution that they should not be tossed aside because of this belief. But that, in my mind, would be every bit as bad as staying in a church or a country club that refused to allow black people in. That would be every bit as bad as refusing to condemn the hate speech of a Pat Robertson or a Jerry Falwell. It would be as bad as trying to explain away the racism of George Wallace or Lester Maddox with context and history. I did not want to endorse or support this church myself and I certainly did not want to raise my children in their atmosphere of discrimination. A church is a choice and I chose to leave.
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Mar 13, 2008

Coach, Therapist, Wimp

But if you don't have the nerve to tell someone to whom you're paying a hefty sum what you want, how's this coach going to help? Isn't that just another person who's giving you their opinion, that you then still may not have the nerve to disagree with? Just call it what it is - a project manager. And grow a pair.
clipped from www.nytimes.com
Remodeling coaches often act more like marriage counselors than like building consultants, and, like therapists, they are best when brought in as early as possible.
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Seeking Enlightenment and Hope

So, Allvoices has a "Conflict & Tragedy" catagory. Where's the "Enlightenment & Hope" catagory? Is it a sign of our basic spiritual void that we focus so intently on one, and not the other? I'm not talking religion here. I'm talking about the good, the hope, the caring around the world (regardless of religion.) Maybe if we saw more of that, we would do more of that.

Mar 12, 2008

Protection

While you may not be a fan of marriage, don't let your kids suffer for it. Although there are some exceptions (Florida, for instance) in most states, children who are left out of a Will may not be able to inherit anything when you die. So if you forgot to use one form of protection, make sure you at least protect the results of that decision.

Ledger’s Will Leaves Daughter’s Inheritance Uncertain
Mary Randolph
Tue, 11 Mar 2008 18:52:21 GMT

 

Mar 11, 2008

Caught

I don't know whether this makes a case for legalizing prostitution or regular lie-detector screenings for public officials. Or immunity for a wife given one hour and a whip. Altho that may bring up problems of a different sort.
clipped from www.nytimes.com
ALBANY — Gov. Eliot Spitzer continued to weigh whether to resign early Tuesday, a day after law enforcement officials said he was a client of a high-end prostitution ring broken up last week by federal authorities.
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Mar 8, 2008

Hormones, Genes, and the Corner Office

clipped from www.nytimes.com
Women’s brains aren’t inferior, she argues, but they vary considerably from men’s, and this is the primary explanation for the workplace gender divide. Women care more about intrinsic rewards, they have broader interests, they are more service-oriented and they are better at gauging the effect they have on others. They are “wired for empathy.”
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Mar 7, 2008

Ring Around The Rosie

Dear Mashable,

Why, when I click on the Office Live Workspace link in your article about Microsoft's worldwide launch of its public beta (telling me it's now available), does it send me to your article of several month's ago, telling me it's coming soon?

I hate being annoyed before I've had my coffee.

Microsoft Office Live Workspace Now Available to Everyone

Mar 6, 2008