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Aug. 31st, 2007


Gone private

An explanation is overdue. I am still alive and well. Nothing's changed in my life - married, two dogs, still consulting and traveling a lot all over the country. I have several other web-based projects of my own and I am supporting various others. They come and go.

This LJ started out as a journal. Then, as I always do, I started writing out topics that had been on my mind for a long time - essays, really. But writing an essay takes a lot more time and prep than just keeping a journal. So that slowed me down a few times. And then I tried to make this into a true web log, linking to and commenting on cool sites or news I'd found on the web. Ultimately that wasn't very satisfying.

Starting July 15, 2006, all the entries here have been private. Not 'friends-only' but 'private'. I still update frequently, but it's really kind of a current events warehouse, for my eyes only. That makes this a journal again, but with the added dimension of quoting and linking to various news stories of the day. We forget too easily, and we are too swayed by current events to connect the dots. The only way to make connections in history is to take a long view. So I record stories here that I don't want to forget, and that will disappear from the web all too soon. It's my own personal archive of important and notable events.

That's how things stand. Since it's been over a year since I started doing this, not only have I kept it going this long but also I update fairly frequently. So I think I've finally settled on what this journal will be from now on. See ya around.

Jul. 3rd, 2006


Custom-made USB puppet jumps to attention when your chat buddy comes online

This is so freakin' cool I can't hardly stand it. You have to see it to really get it. And don't forget to watch the demo video.
Availabot is a physical representation of presence in Instant Messenger applications. Availabot plugs into your computer by USB, stands to attention when your chat buddy comes online, and falls down when they go away. It’s a presence-aware, peripheral-vision USB toy… and because the puppets are made in small numbers on a rapid-prototyping machine, it can look just like you.

This is Availabot (Schulze & Webb)

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Jul. 2nd, 2006


Scott Adams and 'Night of the Living Doormen'

Scott Adams wrote about tipping and doormen and valets in his Dilbert blog. It sparked a ton of comments from readers, as you'd expect. Tipping is somehow a controversial subject, I guess. I am a generous tipper, by nature. And I travel a lot and eat out a lot, so I get plenty of opportunity to practice. I've experienced the same kinds of situations Adams describes here, and sometimes I'm caught unsure of who or how much to tip. There are going to be situations where someone expects a tip and you don't think so.

I love how he starts this blog entry. Great first paragraph! :-)

Yesterday I gave a speech at a hotel in San Francisco. Afterwards, the hotel valet was retrieving my car as I waited out front. I guarded my tiny carry-on sized bag against the two drooling doormen as their eyelids made cha-ching sounds. You could almost hear them thinking “If I can touch his bag, he’ll have to give me money.”

The Dilbert Blog: Night of the Living Doormen

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Jun. 27th, 2006


Schools banning games at recess

This is SO wrong. There are certain fretting adults who think people in general, but children in particular, must be protected from life itself, lest anything at all ever hurt them or not go their way. In other words, we'd better keep children safe from childhood.
Some traditional childhood games are disappearing from school playgrounds because educators say they're dangerous.

Elementary schools in Cheyenne, Wyo., and Spokane, Wash., banned tag at recess this year. Others, including a suburban Charleston, S.C., school, dumped contact sports such as soccer and touch football.

Fourth grade students in Cincinnati, Ohio, play tag together at recess, but now some schools across the country are banning the game, saying it "progresses easily into slapping and hitting."

In other cities, including Wichita; San Jose, Calif.; Beaverton, Ore.; and Rancho Santa Fe., Calif., schools took similar actions earlier.

The bans were passed in the name of safety, but some children's health advocates say limiting exercise and free play can inhibit a child's development.

Groups such as the National School Boards Association don't keep statistics on school games.

But several experts, including Donna Thompson of the National Program for Playground Safety, verify the trend. Dodge ball has been out at some schools for years, but banning games such as tag and soccer is a newer development.

"It's happening more," Thompson says. Educators worry about "kids running into one another" and getting hurt, she says.

In January, Freedom Elementary School in Cheyenne prohibited tag at recess because it "progresses easily into slapping and hitting and pushing instead of just touching," Principal Cindy Farwell says.

USATODAY.com - 'Not it!' More schools ban games at recess

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Jun. 25th, 2006


Teachers telling students not to take Latin because it's too hard

This is from the U.K. While I've not taken Latin, myself, I have friends who learned it in school and, to a person, they have no regrets. They all say it helped them a lot.

Regardless of subject, however, I generally object to teachers discouraging students because they think it's "too hard".

Education experts raised fears over the future of Latin in schools, warning that teachers were telling their pupils to avoid the subject because it is too hard.

Pupils told to avoid latin because it's too hard | the Daily Mail

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What Becomes a Teen Trend Most

Really interesting Q&A with a someone who studies trends and marketing among young people (teens). She's got insight on why MySpace became so popular (which isn't really any big secret), how young people view trends, fads and fashion, marketing mistakes, what's important now and what will be important tomorrow. I love stuff like this.

Question: Typically, how long does a “young-people” fad last?

Answer: It depends on the country and age group, but generally young people do not think something is a fad. It’s just what’s happening right then. A 15-year-old’s sense of history is about three years, which explains, for example, why they think they’re creating punk rock, even though their parents may have listened to the Sex Pistols.

Signum sine tinnitu--by Guy Kawasaki: Ten Questions with Kathleen Gasperini

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Jun. 24th, 2006


funky iPod accessory

I don't know why, but I really want one of these.

The FUNKit serves as an iPod cradle and speaker system that shines LED lights, “scratches” his turntables and dumbfounds spectators by interrupting the musical experience with catchphrases such as “Drop the Beat!”

Popular Mechanics - Too Cool For Old Skool

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May. 19th, 2006


10 Things I Hate About Commandments

This is the funniest thing I've seen all month. It's The Ten Commandments remixed into a trailer for a modern teen comedy.


May. 10th, 2006


location tracking

Completely anonymous. I'm just curious. I saw this at violetdaisies

Track Your Visitors on a Map!

Apr. 17th, 2006

bright face

Spring forward

I took one of our dogs to the vet today so they could draw blood to do heartworm and thyroid check-ups - it's that time of year, time to start the monthly heartworm pills. Hard to believe there's some kind of weather system coming in tonight. Today is an absolutely perfectly impossibly beautiful day here in Denver - at noon it was only mid-70s°F, everything's blooming and sprouting, super clear views (I could make out details on Pike's Peak, no haze or anything to obscure the view in all directions), and not a cloud in the sky literally from horizon to horizon 360° around. it's 1:45 now, though, and the wind has kicked up - the downhill slide until Wednesday.

Daylight Savings Time started two weeks ago. That night, I flew to Minneapolis for the first time. I spent the week there on business, flew home Friday afternoon. Back the next Monday night, home last Friday afternoon. That's it for a while. Minneapolis has a very cool downtown. It's also the farthest north I've ever been - previously, the farthest north I'd been was Bar Harbor, Maine. Even though I was so far north, it didn't feel weird or anything. ;-)

In October we had some dead aspen trees removed from a corner of the backyard. That's what aspens do at this elevation - everybody wants them, but they don't necessarily thrive like they do up in the mountains. And they have relatively shorter lives than many other trees down at this altitude. So they start to turn blackish and produce fewer leaves each year. I miss them this spring, now that everything else is sprouting new leaves and flowers every day.

In February, someone rear-ended our station wagon while my wife was driving it. She's fine, but the car didn't make it. I mean, the car was drivable, but the SUV-driving jackass smacked it hard and bent things that should never bend. Finally, Volvo and Allstate agreed on the cost of repairs and we all agreed it wasn't what we wanted to do. So we took a big fat check instead (nice) and I get to keep driving my company Ford Freestar (whoop-dee-do, but it's 100% free everything so I can't complain). Still, I really miss that car - not a damn thing wrong with it until that dumbass in too big of a hurry screwed it up. I was angry for a day, then got over it.

We've started selling things on eBay. I sold my first item on eBay ever last month - my first-generation Bose Quiet Comfort acoustic noise-cancelling headphones - and we've sold various other things since then. Good way to get rid of excess stuff, and so much nicer than a garage sale. Setting up a free eBay account as a buyer was simple way back in 1999. Going through the steps to make that into a seller account was harder than it should have been. Same thing with PayPal - it's a snap to set up an account in order to buy things or send someone money. Harder than it needs to be to set yourself up to receive payments. And considering eBay owns PayPal now, you'd think it'd be easier to hook those two systems together. Don't get me wrong - it's all set up now and it works very slick and easy - getting to this point was a royal time-consuming pain in the ass, however. But now we're set and rolling.

Spring never fails to bring new changes, does it? So much going on!

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