Month: March 2005

How do you decide whose life to value?

The same George Bush who claimed to value life as he tried to intervene to keep Terri Schiavo alive, executed more people when he was Governor of Texas than any other Governor in history. He did it easily, without seeming to feel a thing about it.

If memory serves, one of the women he executed, Sandra Fay Tucker, was a born again Christian who seemed to have changed her life around for the better, but Bush would not give her a second chance. However, after he got religion he gave himself a second chance by sweeping his coke-head, draft-dodging, money-enabled past under the carpet.

How can Bush say he values life, claim he is a Christian (and I’m told one of the Commandments has to do with valuing life) yet clearly not value all lives?

Cutting up the log pile, day 1

log pile

Having just been under the weather for 8 weeks with a sinus infection I’ve been putting off cutting up the logs that were just delivered but time’s a wasting and when you have a spring day like yesterday you have to make firewood while the sun shines.

log pile

I know these before and after shots don’t look like much work got done but in fact it did and I have the sore back to prove it.

However, between lack of energy from being sick and it having been my first day out doing heavy physical work this spring, I took it a bit easy and quit after two hours.

Lawn BuddhaWatching over me the entire time was our faithful “lawn” Buddha who is sitting in a patch of pachysandra. Every now and then when I do something stupid I look over at him knowing he knows that I know that he knows… and he’s giggling with his cement tummy jiggling and he just doesn’t care.

Email newsletters vs. RSS

Are email newsletters still effective? (vs. RSS) is an interesting question and there are many things to consider in answering it.

Email, even in this time of heavy spam, is the most broadly used internet technology.

RSS can (although doesn’t have to) involve a non-browser client and many folks are stuck in the paradigm of “the internet is the web” so have no clue about Sherlock, stock tickers and weather information outside of a browser, etc.

Those who have produced email newsletters and who also run web sites know well how much of a pain it is to reproduce the web content in another form (maybe print form as well). It would be so much easier and better for the reader if the web form were the only form and people were notified of updates (via RSS, of course, not email).

The comment string on this post at the WG site will be interesting to track.

(Via Airbag.)

Chipwits

Mr. ChipwitJust after the Macintosh came out there was a rumor about a programmable robot game called Chipwits that was coming out within year one. It sounded great to me and I was an early buyer of Chipwits.

Chipwits was one of those hard to describe applications: sitting on the fence between game, simulation, and programming instruction. As soon as I got it and ran it (from disk, of course) I realized that what sounded cool was going to take a bit of time to learn.

Chipwit in Greedville

Chipwits consisted of a number of “environments” or rooms with different layouts and different obstacles. The object was to program the chipwit to navigate the room, zapping bugs, eating pie, and turning when necessary before his energy level ran low.

Chipwits Brain

The programming was done, in typical Macintosh fashion, by dragging tiles around into logic arrays, then saving them and running the chipwit in a room. This was an interpreted environment so if the chipwit ran into problems a few clicks and you were back in his brain futzing with his logic.

What was great about this application was that it was hilarious while at the same time challenging and fun.

Chipwits was soon out of sync with the Macintosh world as more powerful programming languages supplanted MacForth and the program grew incompatible with newer systems. I like to think of Chipwits as my pre-HyperCard warm up with amateur programming. It was also a load of fun and as I remember it, a number of people in the Eugene Macintosh users group got deeply into it along with me. Wow, 20 years is a very long time.

Incoming call…

ACLU Pizza is a video about privacy issues, connectivity, and what can be done with information.

The upside of this much connectivity and overview is that it certainly would have prevented 9/11. The downside is evident in the video. I guess, like everything, it matters who gets their hands on this information. On the other hand, government in the wrong hands is about as bad as a take out pizza order taker.

Source: Leavenworth Jackson

Upcoming.org

Upcoming.org is a free, community (world community) social events calendar. It has RSS feeds on any city or event and you can track what’s happening close to you or in some city you plan to visit. Like Flickr and del.icio.us, Upcoming.org is all about tags, an active community of users, and heavy use. I’m gonna give it a go soon I think but I doubt anyone else in Warren, CT will know about it. Hey Martha, let me know if you want to test this with me.

Social ADD = ADT

CNet has an interesting article on one of the ironies of “the information age” Why can’t you pay attention anymore?. Hallowell has come up with yet another label: Attention Deficit Trait or ADT.

This is what I’ve been calling “cultural ADD” for years. Fast workplaces coupled with a barrage of information to every sense and an inability to process it all makes for problems. Now those problems have a label although it will be interesting to see just how fast fast-trackers back off and take care of themselves. One of the reasons we live in “the slow lane” is the sensory barrage that is city life.

(Via Justin Blanton Bits.)