On the Radar
Making up for December
A dear friend whom we missed very much during the holidays poked me today: is this thing still on? Are we dead? I told her we were just busy, which is stupid: of course we’re busy — who isn’t busy?
The new year and holidays came and went mercifully well, though we honestly wondered if we were going to make it through this one. 2006, a year I thought couldn’t have come sooner on Dec 31, 2005, left as quietly as it arrived. The year was not without its heartaches, which often brought us to tears of grief and loss. But, it was also a year in which there were no murders on our street, no car accidents, no layoffs, no massive hurricanes cutting a swath through my mom’s backyard.
I took a new job, the city of Newark saw its first glimpse of hope in Cory Booker, and we saw Europe for the first time.
And, of course, we got knocked up.
Listening to back-episodes of the Gillmor Gang lately has got me wondering what this site would look like if it was more like an attention stream than a blog. There are a dozen web services that I use on a regular basis — all of which have RSS capability. Aggregating that content on this site, I think, would provide a more useful picture of what I’ve been paying attention to over the past several weeks.
I also wanted a web design that wouldn’t just look like I just cobbled together a bunch of text from disparate sites, and I wanted to use a metaphor that would fit in one screen, so you can literally see the stream of my diggs, pictures, blogs (here and elsewhere), and twittering in the context of time. Hence the timeline up top (a free AJAX widget provided by those bright guys at MIT). Ultimately, the timeline will show different colors for the varying web services, the current design is a start — what do you think?
I actually get paid to play with the web in my job. A large portion of my responsibilities lie with the team Intranet site, which our managing director wants to use as our main communication medium and platform for tools inside our organization. There’s a lot of room to breathe with this new gig, and I’ve been able to come up with some interesting and creative ideas, leveraging ajaxy web 2.0 goodness like MIT’s timeline. Did you know that the Yahoo Maps API lets you use their software inside a firewall? At a commercial organization? For FREE?
Well, one might surmise that said monkey could build some tables inside of Access to accomodate news items; maybe design some sweet forms to do the data entry for the news “blog”. Writing code to export that content in the form of an SHTML include file in Visual Basic is trivial, and the monkey knows how to write a batch file that will FTP the exported file to the right location on the intranet. Done. Now any member of the team (technical or no), can log into this Access database, type in their stuff and click “Publish”. And the beautiful part is that it works just like Moveable Type. Sure, it’s not very web 2.0, but it’s agile, doesn’t require a bureaucratic change request process, and will be up and running by tomorrow (I started working on it today).
Sarah got me a few books on fatherhood for Christmas this year, which I’ve just started plodding through (I figure they’re due by March 27th!). Aside from adding a number of to-dos to my list of things to talk about during our “Family Meeting Night”, it’s been a welcome sanity-check on just what we’re getting ourselves into. I told Schmoo tonight: “did you realize that that baby has to come /through/ your pelvis?” To which she replied, “well, how else did you expect it to come out?” And, of course I knew this had to be so. Only, it was only /too/ clear when I saw a drawing of an inverted baby floating through a skeletal pelvis on page 51 of The Birth Partner.
I mentioned the Gillmor Gang, which, if you check out my Digg profile, is one of my dugg podcasts (note in passing to the Digg crew: please make it easy to check for the latest podcasts in my digg profile, thanks). It’s actually defunct now as Steve’s funding or time or patience had run out with his podcast provider, the last “Thanksgiving Gang” having been recorded way back in November. Undaunted, I’ve been making my way through his past episodes, whiling away the hours hacking databases and spreadsheets at work, listening to the crew of marketers, journalists, and entrepreneurs talk about their work, their predictions for the industry, and generally b.s. about the personalities behind the press releases.
It’s a brilliant model for a podcast: six or seven industry insiders get on a conference line and talk about whatever they feel about talking about. I’d love to use it one day — it reminds me of the days back at Ironworks when we’d just hang out and talk about the world’s problems until the middle of the night.
“Jason Calacanis”:http://www.calacanis.com, one of the resident entrepreneurs on the show, has been downright inspiring. His narrative of growing up a poor kid in the Burroughs and covering the tech scene in New York during the bubble before he launched his own blog network resonates with me. Between him and web 2.0 wonder-boy Mike Arrington and totally random (emergent?) Christian cartoon ex-Silicon Valley blogger Hugh MacLeod, I sometimes find them grasping towards the intersection of art and business — that place you get to when you find you’re doing great work, what you later will consider your life’s work. These guys love what they do, and I think for many of them, the day-to-day job — of writing, of deal-making, of building, of whatever — has transcended getting a paycheck into a craft. It’s always encouraging to those of us in the trenches to hear that it doesn’t always have to be this way: that there’s more important and interesting work out there waiting to be found.
I discovered Wesabe the other day: it’s like Microsoft Money for the web, with half the features. If it hasn’t been said before, let me be the first: CONSUMER BANKS (ESPECIALLY THE BIG ONES) NEED TO PROVIDE THIS KIND OF SERVICE IN THE NEXT 18 MONTHS OR DIE OF IRRELEVANCE. It’s actually offensive to me now that my bank doesn’t automatically provide me with analysis tools to track my spending and investment habits.
I actually did receive a year-end statement from my Credit Union last year that attempted to break out my spending into various categories for the first time ever, which I very much appreciated. But the first thing I did when they asked me to fill out a survey was to tell them: great job with the year-end spending breakout, now please do it every month, and put it online within a year.
Microsoft Money is a tragedy of an accident of a failure of a software product. I’ve been using it since 1998 and, much like the rest of Office, have come to loathe it in the last two or three years. They’ve added features I don’t use, they’ve left reporting bugs that drive me crazy, they’ve attempted every bit of lock-in they could think of to prevent me from getting my own personal financial data, and they’ve screwed with the user interface — which once looked like I was logging into a sophisticated, stately banking application — so that it now looks like a bad imitation of a Fischer-Price toy.
Wesabe is the first salvo of web 2.0 coming to banking apps, and I fully expect this trend to continue as the privacy issues are hashed out. I’ve already switched completely: how could I pass on instant financial analysis available anywhere I have a secure web connection? Now I’m just trying to figure out how to get five years of data out of Money to load into Wesabe.
Well, if you made it this far through the brain-dump that is this blog, I wanted to thank you, dear readers, for sticking around through these past nearing-five years of Our Story. That some people with whom I’ve had passing encounters (such as “Nikkiana”:http://everytomorrow.org, “Sean”:http://semanticbible.org and “Dale”:http://wp.theoblogical.org/) continue to read this blog just amazes and humbles me. Thanks for reading.
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.
— ??Steve Jobs??
Having an Emo day? I am. Loving the new job, but those first couple defining weeks — you know, where you’re either identified as MVP or fumble the ball — are killer. Pandora has “some relief from the emo”:http://www.pandora.com/?sc=sh82150324808506612.
Things are good, really, though. I like working hard. I like showing up at the office, dressed sharp and ready to take names and…well, “you know the rest”:http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&lr=&q=%22taking+names+and+kicking+*%22&btnG=Search. It’s a nice change from hating my job and being stuck in spreadsheet hell.
I’ve been writing at the Newark blog again, which I’ve been calling the “Daily Newarker”:http://blog.newarker.info/, of late. The “K2 theme”:http://getk2.com has been pretty stable, so I’ve been able to add some features. I recently was annoyed when I couldn’t get Google Ads working on the site. It took me 30 minutes, but eventually I figured out that my “ad blocker”:http://adblockplus.org/en/ was preventing my from seeing them. Lol and all the rest.
Europe feels like it was 6 months ago, but I’ve been working on the next blog entry about our trip. Sorry to leave y’all hanging there. We’re alive and well, and better for having gone. I spent what must have been five hours this past weekend trying to grind out another story, and I have a newfound respect for trilogy authors: part II is always tough.
More pictures will be going up soon of our trip to Europe. The hard drive on the laptop is stuffed to the rafters, though, so I can’t post new stuff until I can get it off the camera. I had this problem in Europe, too, and spent not a few hours paring and slicing and thinning out the content on the drive to make room.
I religiously rate my iTunes music so every once in a while I can dump the crap (songs rated 2 *’s are not long for this world). I’ve started the same habit with photos, too, which makes a lot of sense: why keep 20 photos of the same sunset trying to catch just the right shot when you can keep the one photo that tells the story and clear 30 MB of disk space by deleting the other 19? I might blog about our photo workflow at some point, but that’s it in a nutshell.
I got an email today telling me that “Festivus is upon us”:http://flickr.com/photos/matthewkrautheim/76472941/. I can’t wait.
Europe – Week 1: London and Berlin
: We’re back to the grind, but writing takes time. In the meantime: photos! “London”:http://flickr.com/photos/kennsarah/sets/72157594313249803/, “Berlin”:http://flickr.com/photos/kennsarah/sets/72157594329081504/, “Frankfurt Day Trips”:http://flickr.com/photos/kennsarah/sets/72157594322198201/, “Munich”:http://flickr.com/photos/kennsarah/sets/72157594329065327/, “Austrian Alps”:http://flickr.com/photos/kennsarah/sets/72157594329053756/, “Florence”:http://flickr.com/photos/kennsarah/sets/72157594346417126/, “Rome”:http://flickr.com/photos/kennsarah/sets/72157594346422642/.
Our first week in Europe has been harrowing and exhilirating. The first two stops — London and Berlin — were vibrant cities rich with history that Sarah and I can relate to and even remember.
London is a bustling center of fashion and high finance, and we found ourselves right at home with the pace of the city that was very much like New York. While the only Londoners we met were people trying to sell us stuff (again, not too unlike NYC), many of the people we interacted with were kind. Our favorite person by far was Alan, our double-decker bus tour guide. With his microtirades on the “Gherkin” building and the Fergie’s pop video “London Bridge”, he was like Ricky Gervais on a bus — his occasionally sarcastic Tour Guide role played very much like David from the BBC comedy, The Office.
I have to admit that it took a while for London’s charms to set in, but it finally happened while we were standing in Trafalgar Square at dusk. Standing in front of the National Gallery as Big Ben lit up in the distance — just breathtaking. That same afternoon, we’d had a delicious High Tea at the historically frou-frou Fortnam & Mason hotel. Even the photos of our food makes me hungry for scones and Earl Grey.
We left London after a break-neck tour of the National Museum, seeing _the_ Rosetta Stone — used by archeologists to translate hieroglyphs and unlock 4000 years of ancient written culture — Assyrian stone tablets and gates, and the greek Elgin Marbles, which the Apostle Paul likely saw in the Acropolis when he arrived in Rome.
We’d run out of cash on the last of our three days in London, so I went to use the ATM. I should have known there was a problem with our card when I had tried to download an album from iTunes just the night before and the transaction was rejected. Sure enough, the ATM gobbled up our card, with no way of getting it back. We had a whole 20 GBP left to make it through the day in crazy-expensive London while we waited for an opportune time to call the bank.
After the museum, we grabbed a cheap lunch from a nearby supermarket, caught the tube to the airport and took a flight to Berlin.
Getting to Berlin is a story in itself as we flew into town at 10:30 PM — apparently past closing time for the ticket counter. With our Eurail pass yet to be validated, we risked having the pass confiscated or facing a 40 Euro fine. With 92 pence left in my pocket, we prayed as we rode the S-Bahn into town that we would be able to avoid either of these dire consequences. No one ever checked our pass.
Berlin is an amazing city with a short and dramatic history. Once the home of Hitler’s totalitarian regime only to become the site of American/USSR tensions during the Cold War, the city is now rebounding under unified Germany. Our efforts to get a new ATM card sent to our next stop killed half a day, sending me trolling around the city for free Wi-Fi. Later that afternoon, though, we were able to take in the sights as we walked through Rick Steves’ do-it-yourself tour on Bus #100. The bombed-out Wilhelm Memorial Church near Bahnhof Zoo and the shelling damage in the marble Victory Column in Tiergarten were not-so-subtle reminders of Berlin’s recent past, and it was eerie to stand there and imagine the sounds of air raid sirens and tanks as American forces bombarded the city during World War II.
Stranger still were the sights of Nazi sculptures nestled in the trees around the Victory Column — which was moved to the “Central Park” of Berlin by Hitler himself in anticipation of the victory marches following the defeat of the Allied forces. Further uptown we found the impressively large Reichstag parlimentary building. The proud hulk of a building stands as reminder of the hope of a unified Germany. Outside the building is the memorial to the early senators who were persecuted and killed because they opposed Hitler as he rose to power. We walked south of the Reichstag to find Brandenburg Gate and, beyond it, Pariser Square. The Berlin Wall once cut right past this gate and, as we crossed into what used to be East Berlin, we were astonished to find a Starbucks. We sat and had a latté from one of the most capitalist of institutions inside of what, only 40 years ago, was one of the most fortified communist strongholds.
From there, we toured Unter den Linden and strolled past fancy car dealerships, embassies, and historic landmarks (including the Hotel Adlom, where Michael Jackson dangled his child from the balcony). We took in the sights and made our way to what used to be known as Checkpoint Charlie, where a replica of the original gate stands alongside a new and bewildering museum remembering the stories of those daring enough to escape into West Berlin.
The next day, still strapped for cash, we stopped short of entering the Pergamon museum to see the Gates of Ischtar — an ancient Assyrian structure which we’d seen pieces of in the Metropolitan Museum of Art just the week before. Not able to pay the 10 Euro admittance for each of us, we settled instead on buying a small cardboard cut-out for our pastor, who is now preaching through the Book of Daniel.
Afterwards, we boarded a train for our next stop, Frankfurt, with a handful of small bills and cheese sandwiches we’d created from our hotel’s breakfast buffet.
After the Jump
I’ve never resigned from a job before. The experience was a little surreal, even while I was having the conversation with my boss. His look of shock helped, though.
I wasn’t looking forward to it at all. I have a decent working relationship with him, but my manager and I haven’t been close. I hadn’t the slightest idea of whether he was going to laugh, be furious, or get strangely quiet. Getting a new job can be a lot of fun, but I think only the most bitter employees look forward to quitting.
There’s nothing quite like changing jobs to teach you about the sovereignty of God. I had breakfast with Frank that morning and he raised the question: “So, what have you been doubting Him about lately?” I don’t know whether it’s the corporate world or because we constantly struggled with finances when I was growing up, but I’m often pressed with the weight of responsibility of providing for my family.
Beyond the immediate, we also talked about the idea of one’s “Life’s Work” and of having “arrived” in one’s own career. I think artists struggle with this question in a more dynamic way than many business people, but I think everyone working a job they don’t like wonders what they should _really_ be doing with their lives.
In the end, after the initial shock, my manager was ecstatic for me. He said I was one of the best people he’s worked with, that my career growth was limited in my current role, and said I made absolutely the right decision. I was floored — of all the things to come out of his mouth, I expected this the least.
My new job within Citigroup starts at the end of the month, and then we leave for three weeks for Europe. I’m looking forward to stepping back from work for a while and getting some perspective on what it really means to eat and drink and find satisfaction in my work.
Before the Jump
Darryl came by the old stomping grounds on his way to the color printer. “Hey Ken, you’re good with databases and web development, right?”
“‘Cause Adam has a job he’s looking to fill. You should ask him about it.”
“Okay, sure, I’ll send him an email.”
monster interview questionsÂ â†’ Monster: At the Interview (3:51 PM) â†’ Six Interview Mistakes
I met Dan for lunch after having bumped into him on Church Street two months before. I know him, but not really well — just some passing conversations in church and during his work in his “former life.”
We met up over pizza and swapped stories about work. Dan is really excited about his job: he’s a product manager for the CRM system at an education and curriculum company, and they’re branching out into other enterprisey information tools like ERP. He’s being stretched, and he’s learning the nuances of project management in a large organization. He asked me how things were with my job.
I told him what I did, and that I was sorta working on making a change. I mentioned in passing that I was concerned that my leaving my group was going to be pretty disruptive with a major project coming up in September, and that I might try to work out helping with that project for a few weeks in my new role. “No,” he stabbed a plastic fork in the air, “two weeks, that’s it.” But I don’t want to burn any bridges, I said. “Fine, then don’t burn any bridges. But just give them two weeks. You’re too talented to be doing things like taking meeting minutes and scheduling video conference calls.”
transfer internally career adviceÂ â†’ Being Bold Blog: Managing Internal Transfers (12:30 AM) â†’ Transfer Internally the Right Way
I ran into Marty as I was walking across campus the other day. We exchanged pleasantries and he asked what I was up to. “Oh, the same old thing,” I told him.
“The same old thing?” he asked, incredulous — and maybe a little disappointed. This same manager shook my hand in his office before he left the group and told me in no uncertain terms that I should be looking for another job. He thought well of the work I’d done for him during the eight months we’d worked together, but that he was unsure of the future of the group and the stability of my role.
After a quick internal calculus, I decided to keep my mouth shut, “Yeah, a few tweaks, but pretty much the same old thing.”
rands resignation checklistÂ â†’ Rands In Repose: YOUR RESIGNATION/LAYOFF CHECKLIST (11:18 AM)
So, in the fine tradition of blogging “about sandwiches”:http://textism.com/article/798/monty-you-terrible-word after long “blogging absences”:http://kennsarah.net/2006/07/30/one-thing-rethinking-on-the-radar/#comment-1875, I’m pleased to report that I finally had the long-coveted “PB&J sandwich”:http://www.panera.com/familynutritionalprofile.aspx?familyid=228 at Panera. I’ve been debating ordering this from the kids menu since they started offering several weeks ago. First, some highlights:
* Yes, I did feel a little stupid ordering it
* But, only after the guy behind the counter asked if I wanted apple juice or chocolate milk
* I got a fountain drink instead
* The sandwich had grape jelly on it
* I would have preferred strawberry
* The bread was awesome
* It came with chips
* I wasn’t offered (nor did I ask for) the squeezable yogurt
All in all, it was _really_ good. And, given that my entire Panera lunch cost me a whopping $3.28 (!), I’d totally do it again.
Totally unrelated: I know I haven’t been _blogging_ per se, but I have been digging. Check the links over at the left. If you need the feed, “here it is”:http://digg.com/rss/kwalker411/index2.xml.
One Thing: Rethinking 'On the Radar'
After blogging dozens of On the Radar type posts “like Thursday’s”:http://kennsarah.net/2006/07/27/on-the-radar-10/ for the past four years, I have to admit it: it’s a lot of work. Slavishly cutting and pasting select quotes, formatting, and writing the copy is something I’ve thought of as fun ever since I first saw Mark Pilgrim’s “earlier efforts”:http://diveintomark.org/archives/2002/10/28/i_need_a_name_for_these_lists back in 2002, weeks before I started blogging myself. But, lately, I’m not so sure.
My desire to troll my news reader every week for the purpose of reposting the links on my own site has started to seem downright insideous: sucking away valuable time that I should be _creating_ content, not regurgitating it. Even the word “content” is troublesome — as if it were this soulless ether that we just pump out for the purpose of consumption by the blogosphere. I think the word I really mean to use here is “stories.”
The web — and its predecessor, the “Bulletin Board System”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulletin_board_system — has always fascinated me in its ability to connect people through thoughts and ideas. I spent countless hours as a slacker teenager BBSing in front of MTV and arguing about the merits of…well, the “SysOp”:http://the-forgotten.org/ only knows what. But it gave me the opportunity to connect in a very real way with a community where thoughtful dialog was valued. We were telling our stories, whether they were actual stories, or debates, or artwork, or source code.
Six months, a year ago, I would have talked about what I think made Wonkette successful and makes Gawker successful, to a certain extent, and other blogs: A strong, defined personality with a sense of humor about themselves. An ability to filter news quickly and to recognize, you know, what is interesting to other people as well as interesting to themselves, and finding the balance between those things.
What I think is changing is that people have now become addicted to the rapid update. You know, the not just 12 times a day; 18 times a day, 24 times a day. And itâ€™s almost physically impossible for one person to do that.
— ??Ana Marie Cox?? on David Pogue’s blog, “Wonketteâ€™s Ingredients for a Successful Blog”:http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/?p=102
When we were introduced to the Internet in the early nineties, the prospect of cheap, instant communication across vast distances was exhilarating. I found myself spending hours and hours in front of the ad supported, dial-up email from “Juno”:http://www.ebuddies.org/informed/computers/juno.html, writing friends all over the world. Those were thrilling, innocent times, before Wikipedia and Google and Digg and blogs. Before we realized that too much information can be a “bad thing”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_overload. Before we used words like “attention economy”:http://www.google.com/search?q=attention%20economy.
I’m highly suspect of the attention economy — the idea that your attention, your thoughts themselves, will be monetized and commodified, and that even attention itself can become a sort of currency for the exchange of goods. I’ve found that many places on the web are steadily heading in this direction, creating a culture that is becoming numb to all but the most immediate and easy-to-digest information, lacking depth and insight. Digg has just launched “Swarm”:http://labs.digg.com/swarm/, web app that lets you watch news stories break and gain attention in real time. I find it to be both brilliant and terrifying, but this is the future: the web will continue to demand more and more of our attention as we learn to process information at an ever-increasing pace. And, by “process”, I mean just about anything other than “think deeply about.”
It is a wonder of the world, the Web. I have facts at hand by the thousands about everything from the different kinds of government to the names of the stars of television shows I’ve never even seen. I’m smarter, then, with my computer on, but not much deeper. I worry that my knowledge of the world is actually growing shallower, in fact, because for every idea there are a dozen articles and Wikipedia entries to read that allow me to avoid thinking for myself.
— ??Paul Ford??, “Followup/Distraction”:http://www.ftrain.com/Followup.html
All this to say that I’m starting to wonder about the process of my contributions to the echo chamber. These On the Radar linkdumps have kept me well informed, but less thoughtful, always providing an easy escape from the mild discomfort of rerouting a few synapses. If this blog is to really convey something meaningful about our story, I think I’d like to devote time to writing more thoughtfully, rather than collecting the detritus of a thousand other bloggers.
On the Radar: Giving the blog some love again
* ??Mark Glaser?? for ??PBS??: “Should Community-Edited News Sites Pay Top Editors?”:http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2006/07/digging_deepershould_community.html (via “Digg”:http://digg.com/tech_news/Kevin_Rose_Responds_to_Jason_Calacanis_Rant_from_Netscape → “Kevin”:http://krose.typepad.com/kevinrose/2006/07/calacanis.html → “Jason”:http://www.calacanis.com/2006/07/25/kevin-rose-cracks-or-how-to-know-when-youve-won-the-debate/). Aside from the Digg vs. Netscape drama that’s been erupting over the past couple of weeks, Calacanis raises some interesting questions about how people in the *attention economy* are compensated for their time and hard work. The next 18 months as these two players in community-driven news hash it out should be really interesting.
* ??John Gruber??: “Magic 8-Ball Answers Your Questions Regarding Microsoftâ€™s â€˜Zuneâ€™”:http://daringfireball.net/2006/07/magic_8ball_zune. That 8-ball. He sure knows a lot about the *digital music* industry.
* ??NPR??: “Avoiding the Housing Market ‘Dead Zone'”:http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5565128 and “Location, Location: What to Buy, and Where”:http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5565119. The nesting instinct kicks in: these interviews were pretty insightful about the state of the housing market right now. Of course, there are derivations for where you are, but the overall buyer’s recommendation is to wait until some of the *already-present market pressures* (housing surplus, higher interest rates, and exotic mortgages held by peers) bring prices down — perhaps even way down.
* ??Everything Newark??: “‘Newark is an Emerging Market””:http://blog.newarker.info/2006/07/19/newark-is-an-emerging-market/. The ??New York Post??, of all places, has a practically beaming article about Newark’s comeback. Booker’s enthusiasm, that Newark is a place of *untapped potential*, hangs on the very critical results of his stopping crime in the city.
* ??Washington Post??: “Religious Left Gears Up to Face Right Counterpart”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/25/AR2006072500437.html (“via Digg”:http://digg.com/politics/Religious_Left_Gears_Up_To_Face_Right_Counterpart). Favorite quote:
‘I’m an evangelical Christian who thinks that justice is a biblical imperative,’ said Wallis. ‘The *monologue of the religious right* is finally over and a new dialogue has just begun.’ I really hope Wallis is right.
* ??The Motley Fool??: “Opportunity Knocking for Citigroup”:http://www.fool.com/news/commentary/2006/commentary06072514.htm. Citigroup may (or may not) be on the rise if the Fed stops raising interest rates to counteract inflation, which would be nice for shareholders given the “latest anxiety”:http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aWJ3CLLNPUp4&refer=us over rising costs. A thought for Mr. Prince: consumer banking is sucking wind because *the customer experience is just awful*. The ATMs are nice, and the marketing is fun, but customer service just pales in comparison to banks like Wachovia.
* ??37signals??: “Writing Words vs. Writing Software”:http://37signals.com/svn/archives2/writing_words_vs_writing_software.php. I love these guys:
Everyone and his cousin is working on a web app. But how many are actually finishing? Thatâ€™s why we argue for biting off less. Write a short story/small app instead of a novel/massive app. *Shrinking scope means you actually finish*. And finishing is huge. When you finish something, you show up. And, like Woody Allen said, ‘Eighty percent of success is showing up.’
* ??Rosecrans Baldwin?? for ??The Morning News??: “The Maine Attraction”:http://www.themorningnews.org/archives/the_nonexpert/the_maine_attraction.php. Never been, but this sure was funny:
Crystal Meth is easier to obtain in rural Maine than it is back home. So are crystals, and posters of *wolves kissing dolphins* in outer space.
* ??Paul Ford?? for ??43folders??: “Are there ‘good’ distractions?”:http://www.43folders.com/2005/10/24/paul-ford-distractions/ Paul’s struggle between accomplishing something with his life vs. “swimming in a sea of data” really touched a chord. I’ll have more thoughts on this later, but, if you read only one of these linky-things, make it this one.
When Iâ€™m not getting enough done I get unhappy and depressed and think about the billions of years Iâ€™ll be dead before the heat death of the universe erases everything. I want to feel like *I did something during my brief life* besides check my email.
* LAUNCHED: Sarah goes independent with “Side by Side Dog Training”:http://sidebysidetraining.com/. The quick-and-not-so-dirty site brought to you by the wonders of “WordPress”:http://wordpress.org, “Quilm”:http://oriol.f2o.org/qwilm-a-wordpress-theme/ theme, and the “DreamHost”:http://www.dreamhost.com/r.cgi?63570 “1-click install”:http://wiki.dreamhost.com/index.php/Goodies_Control_Panel#One-Click_Installs. Feel free to pass the site along to your friends with dogs — especially the ones that accessorize their dogs with *Louis Vuitton dog carriers and DKNY collars*.
* ??Jon Katz?? for ??Slate??: “The Loneliness of Rose”:http://www.slate.com/id/2146000/.
Rose is not cute. She is a working dog, a farm dog. She herds sheep, keeps the donkeys apart from the other animals during graining, alerts me when lambs are born, watches my back when the ram is around. *She battles the donkeys*, the ewes who protect their lambs, and stray dogs who approach the farm. She and I take the sheep out to graze two or three times a day. On Sundays, we sometimes march the flock down to the Presbyterian Church to hear the organ music and present ourselves through the big windows. ‘Hey, Rose,’ the kids sometimes shout after the service is over. With Rose, we don’t need fences. As my friend Peter Hanks said, Rose is the fence.
* ??Washington Post??: “US waives sanctions on Saudi over religious rights”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/19/AR2006071901178.html (“via Angela”:http://hereisangela.com/2006/07/25/galatians-221-turbans-teaching-and-temperance/)
The United States has extended a waiver that avoids imposing sanctions on Saudi Arabia because it has made efforts to *improve religious tolerance* in the kingdom, U.S. officials said on Wednesday. The US ignores the religious freedoms of millions to suck up to one of its few allies in the Middle East.
* ??New York Times??: “What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage”:http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/25/fashion/25love.html (via Angela over IM). If you read _two_ of these linky-things, make this the other one. 🙂
It was only a matter of time before he was again tearing around the house searching for his keys, at which point I said nothing and kept at what I was doing. It took a lot of discipline to maintain my calm, but results were immediate and stunning. His temper fell far shy of its usual pitch and then waned like a fast-moving storm. I felt as if *I should throw him a mackerel*. Incidentally, this is how Sarah trains Dina (and maybe me).
On the Radar: Quietly Freaking Me Out
??Angela Wu?? thinks the “sky is falling”:http://hereisangela.com/2006/07/13/coup-doeil-the-sky-is-falling/ — lately, I tend to want to agree. My news reader has been terrorizing me lately. For your consideration, a short list of things that have been quietly freaking me out over the past few days:
* ??New York Times??: “Accused G.I. Was Troubled Long Before Iraq”:http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/14/us/14private.html
* ??BBC News??: “Scores dead in Mumbai train bombs”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/5169332.stm
* ??New York Times??: “Japan Finds Still Harsher Words for North Koreaâ€™s Missile Tests”:http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/11/world/asia/11missiles.html
* ??ABC News??: “Extreme Weather Fits Global Warming Pattern”:http://www.abcnews.go.com/WNT/GlobalWarming/story?id=2115144&page=1
* ??NPR??: “Detainees at Guantanamo Bay”:http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4711397
* ??CNN??: “Hezbollah ready for ‘war on every level'”:http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/07/14/mideast/index.html
Ironically, the best news I heard all day “came out of Newark”:http://blog.newarker.info/2006/07/14/not-in-my-city/.
I started trolling Wikipedia this afternoon: “World War III”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_III → “Mutual assured destruction”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutually_Assured_Destruction → “Extinction event”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction_event → “Red telephone”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_telephone → “Brinkmanship”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brinkmanship → “Six-Day War”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1967_Arab-Israeli_war. Huh, strangely familar:
The Six-Day War … also known as the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Six Days War, or June War, was fought between Israel and the nearby Arab states of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Syria. Egyptian aggression initiated the war as Egypt formed a blockade of Israeli shipping in the Straits of Tiran, removed the UNEF peacekeeping forces from the Sinai, and deployed a large military force in the Sinai on the Israeli border.
Responding in an act of defense, Israel launched a preemptive attack against Egypt. Jordan in turn attacked the Israeli cities of Jerusalem and Netanya. At the war’s end, Israel had gained control of the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. The results of the war affect the geopolitics of the region to this day.
Somehow, blogging a list of links to the latest Web 2.0 applications just didn’t seem worth it today.