Archive for: December 2007

December 30, 2007

“Children of the Jihad”

Filed under: Internet,Politics — Les Bain @ 3:28 pm

Jared Cohen wrote a book describing the children of the Islamic countries.  He noticed they used the Internet and Cell phone technology to connect to others.  That sounds familiar.

December 29, 2007

End of Year Review

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 6:12 pm

Going through the normal process of reviewing the prior year and getting ready for the new year.  All I will say is that next year should be better.

December 28, 2007

Sharpening the Saw

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 8:11 pm

Habit #7 in Steve Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is called “Sharpen the Saw.”

I use down time at the end of the year to sharpen the saw.

  • I work on my tools – my computer, palm pilot, phone – reviewing the hardware and software and then I upgrade as necessary.
  • I go through my clothes and weed out the old and make sure the new is clean and repaired.
  • I go through the files and make sure everything is organized so that it can be found quickly.
  • I review the cable, phone, and cell contracts and make adjustments as required.

Getting ready for the new year.

December 23, 2007

Integrated Data

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 10:50 am

I worked on Enterprise systems for many years.

We started out building stand-alone application systems that did one function. We build payroll systems, accounts payable systems, and inventory systems. Each application had its own data. We typically had the systems communicate by doing exports and imports, where data was exported from one system and imported into another. There were utilities in fact whose whole purpose was to help extract, scrub, sort, and prepare data for import.
The next step was “integrated systems”.

  • We built financial systems that combined General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, and Payroll.
  • We built manufacturing systems that combined Order Entry, Order Processing, Inventory, Production Control, and Purchasing.

The ultimate prize was the Enterprise Resource Planning which was an integrated solution to the entire enterprise. SAP, Oracle and others tried to answer this call.

One of the big benefits of integrated systems was the integrated data base. We spoke of data as being a enterprise resource to be managed at the enterprise level, and not at the department level.

Now, my small company, like many others, seems to be moving back to the original model. I have documents in Google Docs, contacts in GMail, and company profiles in Facebook, MySpace, and Spoke.

Now I want to integrate the data.

December 22, 2007

E-Waste

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 7:45 pm

I have a client that helps recycle e-waste.  California has a program to keep topic material found in Monitors and Computers out of the land fills.  It is amazing to be at one of the e-waste events where they collect tons of used computers.

December 21, 2007

Spam Comments

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 7:12 am

Akismet has caught 6106 spam comments at this point, and this is not a popular blog.  I cannot imagine how many it would catch on a popular blog.  Or maybe for the spammers, it does not make any difference.

December 20, 2007

Maybe

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 4:25 am

I once worked with a Database system that had “MAYBE” as an option when doing a query.

A given database field – let us say AGE – had the following two states:

  • Age exists – there was a value for age.
  • Age was NULL – there was no value for age (for those that did not reveal their age.)

So when doing a query – one could say

  • If AGE > 21 – returned all rows where AGE existed and was greater than 21.
  • If AGE MAYBE > 21 – returned all rows where
    • AGE existed and was greater than 21
    • AGE was NULL – because maybe they were older than 21, but maybe not.

I liked using the MAYBE Function.

December 19, 2007

The Holidays are fast approaching

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 2:02 pm

The Holiday day season is upon us.  I am a real scrooge this year.  I have little interest in celebrating anything but the winter solstice, with the anticipation of more sunlight.

December 18, 2007

Working on the Website

Filed under: Internet — Les Bain @ 4:12 pm

I spent the day working on my website.  I really enjoy working on the website. I probably need to find a way to make money by working on my own websites.  I just do not enjoy working on other’s websites as much.

Blogging is 10 years old

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 2:26 am

Blogging is apparently 10 years old now.  There is of course controversy about when it really started and whether some of the early efforts were really blogging.  Was it blogging before it was called blogging?

Ten years ago I was working on mainframes for large enterprises.  We had a number of computer logs, some of them were annotated by humans, but that was not blogging.

December 16, 2007

FTP Backups

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 5:59 am

I have a contract with the backup system Carbonite, but I am looking for another alternative.  I want software that is as flexible as Carbonite or Data Deposit Box, but I want to back up to an FTP Server.

December 15, 2007

Positive Liberalism

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 11:28 pm

Are there any liberals left who are positive about America?

December 12, 2007

Bipartisanship in Congress

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 3:15 am

I hear the statement often that the people that voted for Democrats want the Democrats to propose solutions.  For one voter, that is not correct.  I am not a Democrat, but I voted for Democrats in order to add different voices to the legislative process in Congress.  I do not want Republican or Democrat proposals or solutions, I want Congressional or American proposals.  I do not want to hear about bipartisan effort – it is meaningless to me.  I want to hear about Congressional effort.

The United States has difficult problems, but I hear too many discussions about Democrats and Republicans.  I do not care a whit about what side of the aisle someone sits on.  I am not a Democrat or a Republican.  Can we please start to discuss Congressional proposals, not party proposals.

In this election,

  • 95% of Democrats said they would support Democrats
  • 88% of Republicans said they would vote Republican
  • The Independents were the swing vote.

In most other parliamentary systems, the Independents would be a separate party and exercise control.  And yet we talk of bipartisan effort.  If we consider Independents, small parties like Libertarians, and non-voters who are antipathetic to politics or apathetic about politics, does a bipartisan effort strictly represent a majority of Americans?

Do we need another discussion about the vote for party leadership in the house or Senate and what that means for one of the parties.

This American is concerned about Congress and its responsibilities.   Not political parties.

Parallels

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 3:11 am

I set up a Mac OS 10 computer with Parallels, the product that allows virtualization.

I loaded a Windows XP virtual machine onto the Mac.  It was a very straight forward install.  Windows ran very quickly.

The Mac OS was on an Airport Express wireless Lan.  Setting the Parallel parms allowed the Windows virtual machine to access the wireless Lan.

I then plugged the printer into the Airport Express unit, and the Mac machine instantly found it.  I was not sure how to set it up for the Windows virtual machine, but it appears that the best thing to do is load the Windows version of Bonjure.

It is hard to get away from the Windows mentality of wanting to install and configure everything.  With the Windows virtual computer, it is better to change one parm.

Web Based Office

Filed under: Internet,Technology — Les Bain @ 3:10 am

Microsoft Office solved the problem of having incompatible products to do the standard office functions.  There was one “look and feel” and data could be easily moved from one product to the next.

There is now some excitement about having web-based products to replace office.  We need web-based central data storage more than web-based systems.

Blogs, Lessons, and a Cup of Coffee.

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 3:08 am

I have a dozen link blogs on Blogger.  Link blogs are blogs where each entry is a link to other material.

I started the link blogs as a substitute for bookmarks / favorites.  Instead of setting an IE Favorite or a Firefox Bookmark, I used the “Blog This” button and created a blog post.  It gathered the links that I wanted to save in a convenient, searchable way.  Unlike using Favorites or Bookmarks, I was able to select a quote from the source or add a comment about the site that I was linking to.

I created a dozen link blogs on various topics that I was interested in, including Web Design, Web Based Learning, and Computer Support.  Every now and again, I would write a post myself.

The blogs are not popular, and do not get much traffic, but they started to get some spam comments.  I policed the comments, actually kept a few, and was delighted when Blogger added some sophistication to policing comments.

I added the code to display any links to my posts.

I considered adding a tag cloud feature, but it did not make that much sense in an organized link blog.

I could have used del.icio.us to save the links, and I do use del.icio.us to save links, creating the normal plethora of tags.  If the link is to be gathered into the dozen topics that I have selected, I use “Blog This” and add them to a link blog.  If the link is on another topic, I add it to del.icio.us.  Sometimes it is a gray area, and I add it to both.

I tweaked the blogs, changed the templates, added Google Adsense and Amazon affiliate ads, added links to my website, and added links so that each blog linked to every other blog.  It could have helped my search engine results.  I made enough money to take a friend for a cup of coffee.

I added the Feeds, and then downloaded a Feed reader to read my feeds.  My reader would not read Atom feeds, so I signed up for FeedBurner to convert to RSS Feeds.  I added ads to my feeds. I changed to partial feeds, and then changed back to full feeds.  It did not make much different because the posts were so small.  Several people subscribed to the feeds.

Once I had a Feed Reader, I subscribed to lots of other feeds. I learned about OPML and used it to add groups of feeds.

The other day I used “Blog This” to add a blog post, but Google had marked one of my blogs as a possible Splog, a dreaded “Spam Blog”.  I had to request that a Google human look at the blog to evaluate it.  The Google human was very prompt and ruled that the blog was legitimate.

It is an ongoing object lesson on Blogging, blog comments, splogs, spam, track backs, blog templates, taxonomies, folksonomies, tagging, social tagging, tag clouds, search engine optimization, ads, affiliations, RSS, Atom, OPML, feeds, full and partial feeds, and aggregators.

I saved some links I wanted to remember, I learned a great deal, I had a nice cup of coffee with a friend, and I did not spend any money.

Twitter

Filed under: Blogging,Internet — Les Bain @ 1:39 am

Once again I am working with Twitter and trying to grok it. I am following some of the people whose blogs I read. I need to keep an open mind – which of course means that so far I do not “get it”.

December 11, 2007

Your digital world in perpetuity

Filed under: Blogging,Internet — Les Bain @ 5:24 am

What happens to your blog, your profiles, your website, your entire Internet presence when you die? What do you want to happen?

There are bloggers and others who would like it maintained for perpetuity and are looking for a service to provide that functionality. Some suggestions are banks or insurance companies. No fly-by-night companies need apply for obvious reasons.

The reasons usually given are for a family legacy, for historical record, or just for egoistical satisfaction.

I have not decided whether I want that or not.

There are times I would like to have the destruct button. At time of death, hit the destruct button to delete everything, start auto responding to emails, and remove all traces.

December 10, 2007

Bush and Clinton for 36 years?

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 1:49 am

This is certainly not original, but if Hillary Clinton is elected as President and serves 8 years, a Bush or Clinton will have been in the white house as President or Vice President for 36 consecutive years.

  • 8 – George Bush Sr. as Vice President
  • 4 – George Bush Sr. as President
  • 8 – Bill Clinton as President
  • 8 – George W. Bush as President
  • 8 – Hillary Clinton as President (possibility)
  • 36 years

And then there is always Jeb Bush.

Presidential Campaign

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 1:45 am

The campaign is underway.  My wishes:

  • There would be coverage of other party candidates: Libertarian, Green, Socialist, etc.
  • There would be debates on one topic: immigration, education, or health care.
  • Each candidate would have to publish a vision statement for America for the next 10 years.

December 9, 2007

Tutorials

Filed under: Internet — Les Bain @ 11:35 pm

I wrote an RSS Tutorial.  It was great fun to research and write.  There is no better way to learn a topic than to teach it.  It is the one thing that brings the most traffic to my website.  I want to write another tutorial.  I think I will write it on how to improve your overall Internet Presence.

Book Events

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 11:31 pm

On the weekends, C-Span2 does 24 hour book events. What a treat. People discussing ideas and concepts. Authors with expertise. I often listen all weekend to this channel. The topics move with ease from the History of Starbucks, to the state of privacy, to the medical profession. Most enjoyable.

Blogging Consistency

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 2:32 am

Many bloggers post inconsistently.  Some are understandable.

  • Students do not post as much toward the end of the semester.
  • People do not post regularly when they are ill.
  • Holidays seem to cause a drop in posts across the board.
  • Vacation time usually causes a major drop in posts, but not for everyone.  Some post pictures of their vacation.

I post very erratically, but sometimes I am not sure why.  Sometime I come back to post and notice that I have not posted for several months, and I am not sure why.

For me it has something to do with moods, or feelings, or emotions.  I go through manic periods when I post, then down periods when I do not.

Information

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 2:19 am

I subscribe to a cable TV service.  I am an information junkie.

  • There are 4 or 5 news channels  including CNN and Fox.
  • There are 4 or 5 information channels including C-Span, and the History, Science, and Military Channels.

It is so interesting to move from the news channels to the information channels.  The news channels are so focused on the immediate, and the other channels are focused on the overall story.  It makes me wish I could scramble the two together.

December 8, 2007

Personal Information Management Podcasts

Filed under: Podcasts — Les Bain @ 5:17 am

I am going to do a series of podcasts on Personal Information Management. I will discuss the major pieces of Personal Information Management (Contacts, Tasks, Notes, and Calendar), how to make them all work together, and how they are the basis for many other systems within the enterprise.

Blogs

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 5:14 am

I maintain a number of link blogs on different topics.  I use them instead of del.icio.us to save links of interest.  One blog = one topic.  I have link blogs about RSS, blogging, website planning, website design, website construction, website promotion, and website planning.  I use the same template for all the blogs.  I can also add links to sites in all the blogs.

December 5, 2007

Internet in the News

Filed under: Internet — Les Bain @ 9:08 pm

Bill O’Reilly and others now have Internet News segments on their national programs.

December 4, 2007

Happy Holidays

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 8:57 am

I am surprised about two things this time of year.

  1. How little business gets done
  2. How much time the it takes to celebrate the holidays

December 1, 2007

Expressive Writing

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 8:03 pm

I received my newsletter from Lucy Grace Yaldezian today with the following quote: “Researchers have found that for older people and others, writing about events in your life that are causing you anxiety can lead to fewer doctor visits, better sleep and an enhanced immune system. The concept is called expressive writing.”

OK OK, I am going to start blogging again. I certainly need better sleep and an enhanced immune system.