On Saturday the 19th, Lisa and I will be jogging up the 1,378 steps of the Bank of America building to help the American Lung Association. The BofA building is
the 27th tallest building in the world. It is also the tallest building in the United States outside of Chicago and New York City, and the tallest building in any U.S. state capital. If you want to donate, go to their donation page and look up either my or Lisa's name to offer up a few Shekels. I started training up and down the eight floors of our humble Peachtree Lofts building today. Hrm.
[ Updated 6 May 2008 ]
Finished in 12:39. Lisa never got her time.
A few months ago, I had this genius idea to set up telescopes out in the country somewhere, hook them up to the internets, and write software to schedule viewing time. The hardware to control telescopes and record imagery is available and relatively inexpensive. Users could log into a web site, find a free block of time, and request images or video. Neat.
Alas, as proof that every neat idea has already been done, the recent issue of Wired lists four sites that already provide this service. Three of them free. I haven't messed with any of them yet, but it's a pretty cool concept (he says, sortof complimenting himself too).
Sort of. More accurately, he types up blistering NSFW rants on movie-type subjects over at Rotten Tomatoes. Current content is justifiably abrasive insults hurled at Tyler Perry (not abrasive enough, actually) and equally justifiable lusting after Zooey Deschanel. Seems to be ~once a week.
This possibly needs a gilded frame...
Pullum over at Language Log gives a more cogent dismissal of word count metrics in Wikipedia articles than I could express. He's responding to a snotty put-down of Wikipedia by of all people a professor of media studies, citing the comparative word counts of Klingon and Latin language entries (imperfectly counted, no less) as proof of Wikipedia's worthlessness. The counter-argument? First, when an encyclopedia isn't bound by paper, articles of lesser importance (however that is determined) no longer need to be edited for size. As I've often argued when people say that boring blogs are somehow useless (ahem), the internet you don't approve of can easily be ignored without diminishing the experience. Second, if an important article is too small, where're the fucking specialists interested enough to add content and help millions of others understand their specialty? If you don't have enough passion on your specialty to communicate it to others, maybe that's a more useful metric of the importance of a subject.
Please? (I guess I should have done one of those "FREE BEER--NOW THAT I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION" things, but whatever.) Someone set up a fund to give a dollar for each word in his "More Perfect Union" speech. Cheeky, yes, but it got me to give, and I'll shill for others to give more. HERE.
I don't look to them to be the caricature that the right-wing makes them out to be, the caricature that the right-wing media actually is, but I expect some sort of level-headedness and a credit-where-credit-is-due sort of thing. NPR today gave the most limp assessment of Obama's speech that you could imagine. And this after I actually watched the whole thing, so I had some perspective on its strengths. That speech was 30 minutes of honesty in the middle of an election cycle that needed it. He praised his reverend and their friendship, denounced the hatefulness of what was said, and pleaded that the media drop its shallow obsession with the inelegant speeches of both his and Hillary's associates. (And, oddly, he didn't once point out what everyone else is saying: that 300 white preachers can say America is decaying from its forced gayness and abortion fetishists, but a black preacher can't say that America is decaying from its international meddling and racism.) I really wanted more fire from him, and it's good that he didn't give it and chose reconciliation instead.
Ad seen on Digg. What in the hell?!?
Crazy, although it really didn't sink in until my mom called us. We were watching TiVoed episodes of Jerico and eating Friday night pasta and only sort of noticed the lightning going on. Impressive vertical lightning AND THEN impressive horizontal lightning right above our building. Very neat, but no photos. I'm sure you all lived through it anyway. We canceled our reservations for Cuerno because we were out drinking late last night, but now it seems like a wise decision (canceling, not necessarily drinking) (although it would've been fun to be out in it....).
Oh, and my server is still up, so I rock.
So one of our critical applications had some serious downtime a couple of days this week because of a faulty switch. Working from home yesterday, I wasn't able to attend the meeting where all of the details of the bonk were given to the company-as-a-whole, but I did hear--and I am not making this up--that the big whig giving the speech emotionally credited his wife's prayers as a key element of the solution. Ignoring logic and, well, good judgement in problem solving, I have to question for the 1000th time how a tech company gets so diluted with the faithful. Can I start missing deadlines on the basis of prayers not being answered? I don't want to diminish the anguish of a stressful situation, but crediting the hardware and software techs that actually used their skills to find the faulty hardware seems to me a more appropriate and finite direction of any gratitude than the carcass of a slaughtered goat or a few notched bones thrown in the dirt.
No harm done I guess (beyond insulting those who did the work) but geesh, join the 21st century will ya?
(photo courtesy of our friends at 4chan)
So most Spitzer headlines were phrased along-the-lines-of "Spitzer connected to prostitution ring," to which I immediately thought that he was somehow running or controlling some cat house (
Prostitution, loan sharking, numbers... The kid liked to wet his beak in everything.). Ho-hum, it ends up it was the more pedestrian act of hiring prostitutes. As the Republicans call for impeachment (I know, the absurd imbalance of ire is a bit sour to the taste) they're probably just miffed that all the good Democratic sex scandals are of the opposite sex type. Still, with Spitzer the Democrats are at least attempting to match Republicans one-to-one on hypocrisy. The very Republicans that rail against homosexuals are invariably caught in the more colorful of gay and public situations; the Democrat who railed against prostitution was going behind his ... hey, very attractive ... wife's back for some very expensive action on the side.
But what really got me was this: NPR this morning had a quote from a female aide (or acquaintance?) stating something-along-the-lines-of how surprised she was because Spitzer acted like such a moral man and she'd never think he'd do such a thing by looking at him, however others she could just look at and know that they were up to horrible things in their private life. That alone speaks volumes. She didn't even--as the basic facts of reality slapped her around--come to the epiphany that no, you can't just look at a person and know whether they are moral, immoral, or otherwise. She registered the shock but was impervious to knowledge. You think people in the public eye don't know when they're expected to look pious and know specifically when they have an audience of those that only respond to the appearance of piety? I don't deny the hypocrisy of the event, but I deny the prevalent attitude that you can sniff out hypocrisy specifically (and ee-vil generally) simply by appearance alone.
Wednesday: 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days [ IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ] (4/5) at Landmark. Like Maria Full of Grace, less painful to watch than I had feared yet still moving. Otilia's expression in the last couple of seconds of the film was agonizing and perfect. Except for the time period, it is almost a Dogme film and that served the story and locale. How did this film get ignored by the Oscars? Fucking hacks. I just wish now that I would've gone to see another overlooked film, The Band's Visit, when Landmark had it. Next week, In Bruges; after that, Gus Van Sant's Paranoid Park (note to anyone: rent his film Elephant, stunning).
Last night: Diva [ IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ] (4/5) at Landmark. This was a favorite of mine in college, and it was great to see it again, anew. Funny and frantic with the style-over-substance approach failing in only a couple scenes. Labeled as French New New Wave (no Wikipedia entry for that style, but many refs from a Google search), it almost made the 80s look cool. Afterwards was dinner at Steele and drinks at a new bar next door to Steele called Amore. Wow! The interior--at least from my drunken memories--was like an ornate Italian opera house, with small tables throughout, alcoves, an interior balcony, and warm lighting. Definitely go for dinner.
Overheard on the The Brian Lehrer show this morning on WNYC from a caller describing the consumer and new media:
the deer have guns now. He couldn't remember the source, but there are many references to Gordon Borrell, CEO of the online market research company Borrell Associates, using the phrase
What do you do when the deer have guns? Get into the ammunition business. Just searching for any of the variations on the deer phrase brings up interesting media tracking sites: unmediated, TV News in a Postmodern World, Marketing & Strategy Innovation Blog, Social Media, etc. This is a good spelunking technique I hadn't thought of: in order to find sites that cover a specific area of interest, search for a notable quote from that area.
And now they promise a version with a 9-inch screen. I'm not so much interested in it (400 euros = 600 dollars), but I know the price of my 701 is going to drop. Still, you can't second-guess tech purchases: everything goes out of date...