October 16, 2008

Podcasts

Filed under: Podcasts — Les Bain @ 7:53 pm

I did a presentation today on Podcasting for the East Bay Business Leaders networking group.

[audio:ebbl-podcasts.mp3]

October 15, 2008

Poverty

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 8:46 am

Today is Blog Action Day.  The topic is Poverty.

I try to relate to poverty.  I remember trivial things in my life.

  • Selling books at the used book store to get money for food, but I drove to the book store.
  • Sleeping in my car at a rest stop for 3 nights, but only because I was waiting on my new apartment to be available, and I did not want to spend the money.
  • Hitchhiking with little money and accepting change from a generous person, but I used the change to buy cigarettes.
  • I lived below the supposed poverty line as defined by the government when I was in the service, but we had lots of benefits.

I have never known poverty in my life.  I always had the capability to earn money.  I had friends with money.  My family always welcomed me.  I have been “short”.  I have had “cash flow problems”.  I have never known poverty.

But especially in this nation of abundance, people should not have to live without the necessities of life.

It seems in this country we are Socialist when it comes to big business, Capitalist when it comes to poor people.  I think we should rescue the poor and not wall street.

I add my blog today to the all the blogs that want an end to poverty.

October 14, 2008

Audio on the Internet – Podcasts

Filed under: Podcasts — Les Bain @ 10:48 am

Podcasts

  • The word podcast is a combination of broadcast and IPOD.  It is an audio broadcast designed to allow it to go directly to an MP3 player like an IPOD.
  • Podcasts are a technology that sprang out of Blogs and RSS.  Podcasts are technically an RSS 2.0 enclosure.  The new technology was getting the audio from the RSS feed to the IPOD using software known as Podcatchers.
  • Apple has problem with the term Podcast, so many are using terms like Webcast.
  • There is an informal convention that Podcasts should be shorter than 40 minutes.
  • Most podcasts are listened to on computers.
  • Podcasts are regular radio shows without the need for a radio station.

October 13, 2008

Recession Business Ideas

Filed under: Management — Les Bain @ 10:34 am

What sorts of businesses are recession proof?  This is a random list of trends that might happen during a recession or depression.  There are some business ideas buried in there somewhere.

Get it Free or Buy it Used or Buy it Cheap

  • FreeCycle.com
  • Pawn shops, Thrift stores, Secondhand retail
  • Classified including online like Craigslist or eBay
  • Used Cars
  • Walmart, Target, K-mart
  • Fast Foods

Do It Yourself and Repair versus Buy

  • Auto parts companies.
  • Home Depot and Do It Yourself
  • Appliance Repair, Automobile repair

Reduce Transportation Costs

  • Bicycles
  • Mass transit
  • Online meetings (as opposed to travel) On24, Webex, Ustream, Chat Tools

Entertain yourself at home

  • TV
  • Rent a movie versus Go to a movie with Netflix and BlockBuster
  • Video Games
  • Comfort Foods

Escape

  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Internet
  • Role Play Games

Deal with the Stress

  • Meditation
  • Religion

Handle the tragedies

  • Vehicle repossession, bankruptcy lawyers, fix repossessed houses

October 12, 2008

The Nasty Campaign

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 5:09 pm

The Presidential Campaign is nasty and getting worse.  It makes me grieve for the United States of America.

The only good news that I can find is that there are so many United States citizens that are passionate about politics.

I have to go on a personal news blackout.  It is getting me depressed.

Senator John McCain started out with the best intentions to run a positive campaign.  The seduction of power and winning is apparently too much temptation.

Senator John McCain needs to be concerned that he leaves the campaign with any honor at all.

October 9, 2008

RSS Conversation

Filed under: Marketing,Technology — Les Bain @ 5:44 pm

This morning at the East Bay Business Leaders meeting I talked about RSS.

[audio:ebbl-rss.mp3]

October 5, 2008

The Presidential Campaign

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 5:36 pm

Some thoughts:

  • The Presidential Campaign is getting far more attention than the Congressional campaigns.  The Congressional campaigns could be more important.
  • Those people I know that are not involved in the campaign are much happier at this point in time than those are very involved.
  • Sometimes it appears that Senator Barack Obama is the calmest person in the campaign.
  • I fear for the country during the next month.  The negativity will bring many down, and create strong rage in others.
  • I just want it to be over.

October 4, 2008

RSS – Really Simple Syndication

Filed under: Blogging,Technology — Les Bain @ 3:20 pm

RSS is one of those great technologies that are not easy to explain.

Many people use RSS in iGoogle or MyYahoo and do not know that they are using RSS.

Many people blog and create RSS feeds but they do not know they are creating an RSS feed.

  • RSS feeds are part of your Internet presence and need to be managed
  • RSS feeds can be ignored, but it should be a conscious decision.

As people start to understand RSS, they become prosumers, which is a combination of producer and consumer.

  • They consume RSS feeds in a reader or product
  • They produce RSS feeds in their blogs, social media account, or Twitter account.

October 2, 2008

Blogging Conversation

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 3:30 pm

I belong to a networking group called East Bay Business Leaders.  This month I am doing an educational series on some tech topics.  Today was blogging.

[audio: ebbl-blogging.mp3]

October 1, 2008

Conversations about Politics

Filed under: Personal,Politics — Les Bain @ 5:05 pm

I read more about politics than I discuss politics.  I read blogs and comments, so I read individual voices, but I do not discuss much.  When I am with people, we are more likely to be discussing business.

Today I was in a conversation that turned to politics.  Even though we were all in essential agreement, the conversation quickly turned emotional, and I heard profanities from this group for the first time.

It was actually interesting to see the heat that it generated.  I have been reading George Lakoff, so I was mentally applying what I have been learning to the conversation.

All in all, I enjoyed it.

September 28, 2008

The Presidential Debate

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 4:51 pm

A most important debate: Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain.

  • Which one looked the other one in the eye?  Which one did not?
  • Which one swore quietly while the other was talking?
  • Which one called the other by first name? Which one addressed the other as Senator?
  • Which one wore the flag lapel pin?
  • Which one wore the inappropriate tie?
  • Which one had the authentic smile? Which one had the forced smile?

Got to know the important stuff.

September 27, 2008

From the RSS Tutorial

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 5:16 pm

The RSS Tutorial:

RSS can deliver current information from the Internet in our areas of expertise or interest.

RSS comes close to fulfilling the promise of a custom newspaper or magazine that is delivered to our desktops.

My RSS reader delivers to my desktop a custom mix of articles on news, technology, the Law of Attraction, personal growth, web 2.0, website development, information technology… and of course, RSS.

I continually refine this daily flow of information, dropping those feeds that get stale, and picking up new feeds for current events like the Presidential Election.

Some RSS feeds are updated hourly (Associated Press and BBC news), some RSS feeds are updated daily, and others are updated weekly or irregularly.  RSS reduces my web surfing time and gives me more reading time.

September 23, 2008

State of the Blogosphere / 2008

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 9:26 am

State of the Blogosphere / 2008 results.

The Blogosphere is the universe of all blogs.

  • 133 million blog records indexed by Technorati
  • 7.4 milion blog posts in the last 120 days
  • 1.5 million blog posts in the last 7 days
  • 900,000 blog posts in 24 hours

September 21, 2008

Google Maps

Filed under: Marketing — Les Bain @ 3:29 pm

Google Maps is used by many to find businesses.

“Millions of people search Google Maps every day. A free listing on Google Maps makes it easy for them to find you.
Use the Local Business Center to create your free listing. When potential customers search Maps for local information, they’ll find your business: your address, hours of operation, even photos of your storefront or products. It’s easy, free, and you don’t need a website of your own.”
 

Every business should take advantage of this free service to make sure people have the best information when search on Google Maps. You do not even need your own website.

September 20, 2008

Blogging Organization

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 1:26 pm

Blogs and blog posts are organized serially by date, latest one first.  So how are blog posts organized.

Most blog services allow blog posts to be tagged or categorized.

Tagging is a way of organizing blog posts into topics.

There are two basic ways to organized webpages: Heirarchies and Tagging

Heirarchies are top down organizations of greater and greater detail.  Think of the folder or directory structures of most computers.

Tagging is more free form.  Each blog post can be assigned tags. 

  • A Blog post might be about the IRS, taxes, and personal finance.  Each one could be a tag.
  • Another post might be about personal finance and savings.
  • Blog Posts can be retrieved by tag. 
    • The personal finance tag would retrieve both posts.
    • The taxes tag would retrieve only the first post.

September 19, 2008

Blogging and RSS

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 10:52 am

Blogging and RSS grew up together.

Blogs and RSS are a natural fit, so it is understandable that there is compatibility between Blogs and RSS.

  • Blogs are created an entry at a time; RSS feeds are created an item at a time.
  • Each blog entry becomes an RSS feed item showing “what’s new”.
  • Most blog services automatically create RSS feeds.

Instead of checking for blog posts, RSS feeds provide automatic blog surfing.

RSS feeds can be full or partial text.  People feel strongly both ways.

September 18, 2008

MicroBlogging

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 7:36 pm

MicroBlogging is a new type of blogging.  Users can write brief text messages up to 140 characters and publish them.  They are read using the microblogging service.  The services can be accessed using text messaging, instant messaging, email, MP3, or through the web. 

Twitter is the most popular service.  Users can sign on to twitter, leave a short message called a tweet, and read messages from other Tweeters. Tweets can be read using RSS.

Twitter recorded 2.3 million unique visitors in August of 2008, and increase of 422% over the same time last year.

Twitter is open, so there are a number of support products like TweetDesk, TwitterBar, and TwitterBerry.

Many of the articles that review Twitter

  • Cannot figure out why it is so popular – until they try it.
  • Find it addictive and have to take Twitter breaks.
  • Are trying to figure out a way to use Twitter to market.

September 17, 2008

The Blog Business

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 8:17 am

70 million blogs generate business opportunties.

  • Blog Directories list blogs by categories to help people find blogs in their area of interest.
  • Blog Templates define the look of blogs.  Change the template: change the look.  Some templates are free.  Some templates are not.
  • Technorati is the leading source of information about blogs and blogging.
  • WordPress and other blogging services create the opportunity for individuals and companies to create addons.  Addons add functionality to the basic packages.
    • Addons can help add video, audio, and photos.
    • Addons can enhance tagging or blog rolls.
    • Addons can enhance comments or linkbacks.
  • People write books about blogs and blogging.  People blog about blogging.
  • People sell advertising on blogs.  Advertising companies create ad systems for blogs.
  • Companies create widgets and gadgets for blogs.

September 16, 2008

Blogging Notes

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 1:36 am

Blog as often as you like, there is no set time for blog posts.  As a general rule, posting more attracts more readers however.

Blogs can be successful with just a few readers.

  • Sometimes only close friends and family read a blog, but that is the intended audience.
  • Sometimes a blog is for members of a club or organizations.
  • Sometimes a blog is just for personal expression, and no readers are required.

It is customary to leave blog posts unchanged.  If there is a correction to be made, then a new blog post is created to make the correction.

Bloggers are becoming mainstream.  Bloggers attend the Democratic and Republican National Conventions and report on their blogs.  Bloggers do not have editors, so sometimes their posts have radical or unusual opinions.

September 15, 2008

What is a blog?

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 3:04 pm

A blog is a journal, log, or diary that is online on the web.  Web + log = Blog.

It is characterized by sequential entries in descending sequence by date.

Blogs can be written by one person.  They can be written by teams of people. 

There are many types of blogs.

  • Personal Blogs are closer to diaries and are often very personal.
  • Photoblogs are blogs with photographs.
  • Linkblogs contain links to other online articles and blog posts.
  • Vlogs are Video Blogs
  • Blogs with audio are called Audio blogs or Podcasts.

Blogs can be organized by topic. 

  • Political Blogs
  • Technical Blogs
  • Sports Blogs

September 14, 2008

Blogging Services

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 11:06 am

There are many blogging services, many of them free.

Blogger from Google is free, easy, and getting better.  It suffered for a while because it was used to create many spam blogs called splogs.   After Google acquired Blogger, it was stagnant for a while, but now there are regular enhancements.

WordPress is another free service.  WordPress was written so that there are lots of opportunity to create addon products, and there are many.  It makes WordPress popular and easy to customize. WordPress has features that put it in the category of a content management system.

TypePad from SixApart is the largest paid blogging service.  It is considered to be a very solid blogging platform for professionals.

MSN spaces is the new blogging service from Microsoft.

Many of the Social Networking systems also include blog functionality.

  • Vox from Six Apart
  • MySpace
  • Yahoo 360
  • AOL Journals

September 13, 2008

Blogging Conversation

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

Blogging is often considered a conversation.  The conversation includes the following:

  1. Blog posts and comments.
    Blogs as a default have comments.  Blog readers can post comments about each post.  Blog comments can quickly degenerate into advertising, profanity, and viciousness, so blogging commenting is generally moderated.
  2. Linkbacks.
    Linkbacks are a way for the original blogger to be notified when another blogger links to one of their blog posts.  Blogging software supports linkbacks in a number of ways.
  3. Websites that gather blog posts on related topics.
    Techmeme is just one of many sites that gather up blog posts and other websites into topics, bringing blogs posts on the same topic together.

September 12, 2008

Reviewing the Blogosphere

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 3:53 pm

Technorati publishes regular reports on the Status of the Blogosphere.

I reviewed the numbers getting ready for a presentation:

Blogs:

  • 70 million weblogs.
  • 120,000 new weblogs being created worldwide each day.
  • 1.4 blogs created every second of every day.

Postings:

  • 1.5 million postings per day.
  • 17 posts per second.

Languages:

  • 37% Japanese
  • 36% Enlish
  •   8% Chinese
  •   3% Italian

September 11, 2008

East Bay Business Leaders Audio

Filed under: Marketing — Les Bain @ 12:54 pm

This morning I spoke to the East Bay Business Leaders introducing myself and Wizard Creek Consulting.

[audio:EBBL 2008 09 11]

September 10, 2008

Treo

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 6:06 am

The more I use my Treo 700P, the more I like it.

I have used Palms for years, so I like the Palm OS, but I also like the way the Treo works.

Each month I add a new feature or two.  This month was a Bluetooth headset.  I got a very basic and inexpensive headset, but it works just fine.  And it satisfies the new handsfree California law.

I also got a Secure Digital Card.  It is just a 2G, but it enables me to start doing a few other functions.

I like the idea of adding something new every month, it keeps it fresh.

September 8, 2008

Sarah Palin

Filed under: Podcasts — Les Bain @ 2:31 pm

This is my suggestion on what Senator Barack Obama should do about Sarah Palin. Damn her with faint praise.

Sarah is one of the bright young faces of the Republican party … BUT

  • John McCain got her on a National ticket ahead of her time
  • The campaign will help season her for when the time is right.

Sarah got off a supposedly good zinger about community service in her speech … BUT

  • Then John McCain undermined her and called for community service.
  • Jesus did community service, Pontius Pilate was the Governor
  • All those that do Community Service were unfortunately offended.

Sarah supported the Bridge to Nowhere and then changed her position … BUT

  • That is just the process young politicians go through to learn
  • At the time, earmarks were OK with Republicans.

Sarah wants to teach Adam and Eve in science class … BUT

  • She probably knows better but had to satisfy the the Religious Right
  • She only meant for that to be done in Alaska and Alaska does not have that many people

Sarah does not have that much foreign policy experience … BUT

  • She does live close to Siberia and that should count for something
  • She wanted to make a separate country of Alaska: then the USA would have been a foreign country

September 7, 2008

The Presidential Campaign

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 8:02 pm

The news reporters were joyful today.  The polls show the presidential campaign to be very close.

One news reporter crowed “we have a horse race”.  

We all know that if a sports game is one sided, the viewers turn it off and those in attendance leave early. If the campaign is not close, we tune out the news reporters.

So now we have a contest, and I just hope it not only inspires the new reporters, but inspires the electorate.

September 5, 2008

Browsers

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 7:09 pm

Google Chome has opened up the browser conversation again.

People I am talking to are chatting about IE, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Chrome.  The new entry into the browser world has caused us all to reassess what we really want in a browser.

I have talked to several who have taken a hard look at their FireFox addons to see which ones are really desired and not just “nice to have”.  Many of us now have a hard list of what would have to be in Chome to switch.

This is my list of FireFox addons that I will not give up.

  • All-in-One Gestures
  • Firebug
  • FireFTP
  • Google Toolbar for FireFox
  • Pronouce
  • Web Developer

September 4, 2008

Watching the Political Convention

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 7:52 pm

Tonight was John McCain’s speech at the Republican Covention. 

He was brutal in his assessment of the Republican party and its record in Washington, and he certainly tried to separate himself from the current Republican administration.

But:

  • He used the old George W. Bush line about “education being the current civil rights”.
  • He outlined a very typical Republican platform. 

But Governor Palin got some nice applause.

September 2, 2008

Google Chrome

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 6:55 pm

Google Chrome is causing system problems.  When I try and view Flash Videos, it takes 100% of the CPU, and then does not really show the flash video.

Screen captures show the results of trying to watch a flash video using Google Chrome. Because all the CPU was being used, I could not stop the video and had to cancel Google Chrome.
Chrome Results

Chrome Results 2

Chrome Results 3

Governor Sarah Palin

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 4:55 pm

Governor Sarah Palin was picked by John McCain to be his running mate.  It is the first time that the Republicans have picked a woman to run for the Vice President of the United States.

There have been a series of stores about Governor Palin after she was nominated, so the question is how she was vetted.  How she was investigated and picked.

The word vetted comes from the word vet.  According to Wikipedia:

To vet was originally a horse-racing term, referring to the requirement that a horse be checked for health and soundness by a veterinarian before being allowed to race. Thus, it has taken the general meaning “to check.”

No matter how much or little research is done by the politicians, the media (including bloggers) seems to uncover new information.

The conservative right was pushing Senator McCain to pick Governor Palin, so I wonder why the press did not investigate her earlier.

If Governor Palin was a potential NFL draft pick, everything would have been known about her.

September 1, 2008

Google Chrome

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 3:49 pm

Google Chrome is the new Google browser.

http://blogoscoped.com/google-chrome/ is the comic book that introduces the new Google browser. 

It might be the most important technical comic book ever published.

For me, they should turn it into a video and put it on YouTube.  In fact, I would guess that someone will do that shortly.

Tomorrow, Google Chrome will be available.  Any bet on whether there are Google server problems tomorrow?

And for those of us who work with Browser incompatibilities every day, I wish Google would address basic HTML and CSS issues also.

Internet Explorer

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 12:09 pm

Firefox got so bad I switched to Internet Explorer, and I thought I would never to that.  I cannot switch to Opera, because many of the addons I like to use, like Google toolbar, do not run with Opera.

Firefox runs well enough to use FireFTP and FireBug which I now find essential, but Internet Explorer (gasp!) is now my default browser.

It is probably some combination of add-ons that I have put on Firefox, or some corruption, but Firefox is no longer stable.

Bring on Google Chrome!

August 31, 2008

FireFox

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 1:55 am

I am having lots of problems with FireFox.

  • It is not shutting down properly most of the time
  • Consequently, it is not starting up all of the time.  Sometimes I have to go into task manager and kill the process before it can start.
  • Blog This works in Internet Explorer, but not in Firefox.
  • FireFox goes into a loop and uses all the CPU resources.

First I will uninstall and install FireFox.

Already I am starting to use IE and Opera more.

August 29, 2008

Extended Software Evaluations

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 2:19 pm

I question the value of doing extended software evaluations. I recommend that people find a product that has the basic functionality they need, and instead of evaluating multiple products, spend the time learning how to use the product effectively.

There are several reasons for this:

  • Software products change so rapidly, that extended evaluations are difficult because things are always changing.
  • There is usually a price point that is the major factor.  Find the product in your price range, get it, and spend your time learning how to make it work for you.
  • Software rarely matches 100% of the need.  Once the product is installed, time can be spent finding ways to satisfy the rest of the functionality needed.

I was once in a mainframe Information Technology company that needed to decide on a database system.  Mainframe database systems cost 100K or more and the usual evaluation period was 6-9 months.  The CIO called anyone with database experience into a conference room, invited them to tell of any mainframe database product, and do a quick evaluation.  We decided on a product during that meeting, ordered it the following day, and installed if with a few days.  At the end of 6-9 months, we had the first two applications running, and we all knew how to use the database product.

August 28, 2008

I am tired

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 10:53 am

A very unprofessional post today.  I am tired.

Every morning at 7:30 the construction crews arrive and begin work in the area.  It has been going on for 3 weeks.

I know many get up earlier than that each morning, but I am a night owl and often work past midnight coding and designing.

I need to make some sort of adjustment.

I am tired.

August 26, 2008

Hillary Clinton speaks at Convention – a Perspective

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 6:29 pm

I do not often just reference another article, but this article was insightful on so many levels that I wanted to point to it here.  The article points up the latest example of “conventional wisdom” in the press that has little to do with reality.

“Hillary Clinton speaks at convention. The press concocts a story

by Eric Boehlert

Within the fast-forward world of campaign journalism, it’s not considered cool to examine the recent past in order to provide context for today’s events. (We know it’s not cool because nobody does it.) Nonetheless, here’s a very brief history lesson that the political press prefers to ignore.”

WordPress problems today

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 10:27 am

I signed on to this blog today to write a blog post.  It took a long time to initialize.  When the blog dashboard came up, it said the blog had no posts.

I did the normal debug first step. I shut it down and then restarted.  Everything is fine.

I exported the blog just in case, groaned at the size of the exported file, came back and deleted all spam comments, and then exported it again.  Much better.

It seems to be fine now.  I will assume that the database did not open, or the database server was unavailable, or something else was temporarily unavailable.  I am not going to trace the problem unless it happens again.  But I am glad I have an exported file.

I think I will also go and backup the database just to be sure.

So I am blogging about blogging again.

August 25, 2008

Obama and Adsense

Filed under: Podcasts,Technology — Les Bain @ 2:53 pm

I support Senator Barack Obama.  I say that in this blog.

Adsense picks up on Bararck Obama and presents ads about Barack Obama, some of them negative.  That creates a quandary.  Do I allow those that are trying to place negative ads advertise on this blog?

I cannot really click the ads to find out if they are reasonable, because that is click fraud.  I do not want to spend my time reading negative Senator Obama ads.  So I restrict the negative ads that I see.

It is simple to go to Adsense and register the URL of those that I would prefer not show on this blog.  It is the first time I have used that service.

RoboForm

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 2:46 pm

I sometimes think that RoboForm is my best productivity tool.

It keeps track of userid/passwords for all the web services that I use, and not only that, allows me to automatically enter them as well.

I find myself looking through the RoboForm list to remember the name for a webpage I have not entered in months, selecting the webpage, and then being signed on and presented with the service.

A fine service done well.

August 19, 2008

Upgraded WordPress to new Version

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 6:21 pm

Ran the WordPress automated upgrade process to install the new version of WordPress.

  • It is a WordPress plugin and it does make the upgrade much smoother.
  • It is a little confusing running the process responding to the messages, but it does work.

The bottom line: the plugin makes it easier.

August 14, 2008

Blogging

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 2:22 pm

Helping a client blog.

  • Use the blog service
  • Send an email
  • Use Blog This!
  • Use a general purpose blog client

I like to help a client with this sort of research, it is research that I can use.

August 13, 2008

“In the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations.”

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 5:53 pm

John McCain speaking today said “In the 21st century, nations don’t invade other nations.”

Senator McCain!  The United States invaded Afghanistan and Iraq in the 21st century, and John McCain wants to stay for 100 years.

Damn!

August 10, 2008

Thoughts on the News

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 6:03 pm

I am pleased that John Edwards was not nominated for a Democratic office.  It would have been just too painful.

Russia and Georgia go to war.  An earnest CNN reporter asks the Russian ambassador why Russia invaded a sovereign country.  Wonder if the reporter has heard of Afghanistan or Iraq.

President Bush criticized Moscow’s military violence in Georgia. Wonder if President Bush has heard of Afghanistan or Iraq.

The Olympics have started.  The medal totals are given by country.  China tries to make a good impression on the world.  A citizen of China kills an American man there to see a family member compete in the Olympics.

Malaysia faces another sodomy trial.  Apparently if you get close to winning an election to topple the existing rulers, you get charged with sodomy.

I think I will turn off the news for a while.

August 5, 2008

Posting Regularly

Filed under: Blogging,Personal — Les Bain @ 11:50 am

If I do not post on the blog regularly, I do not know what to write about.   There are too many things backed up and I do not know where to start.

Seems that is the way with many things.  If you exercise everyday it is a pattern and it generates energy to keep it up.  Getting started again after a period of no exercise is difficult.

It is the difference in a smooth running stream of water versus one that is jammed up or backed up with debris.  Getting the debris out the way is required to get it running smoothly again.

August 4, 2008

Networking groups

Filed under: Management — Les Bain @ 8:14 pm

Entrepreneurs are encouraged to join networking groups.  These are the groups that meet regularly and help each other find referrals for new business.

Some for very organized and very large, like BNI – which claims to be the largest business networking organization in the world.  Rules are stringent, attendance is compulsory, participation is required.

Others are local, spontaneous, disorganized and fun.

I have had success finding business by going to business networking groups, but I resist going.  I have to sort that out.

August 1, 2008

WordPress and RSS feed

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 12:08 pm

I wrote an RSS tutorial.  I know a little something about RSS, but the RSS feed for this blog is broken.  I have had it on the task list for a while without giving it priority.  But it is getting embarrassing to have this RSS feed broken.

I will update to WordPress 2.6 first, then fix the RSS feed.

OK:

  • Used the Automatic Upgrade plugin to upgrade WordPress to 2.6
  • Upgraded the plugins to new versions where appropriate.
  • Finished or deleted all the drafts

Reviewed the comments, which reminded me of the sixties:

  • Sex (All the porn sites, some with dozens of links)
  • Drugs (Viagra, Levitra, and others)
  • But instead of Rock and Roll – Poker and Gambling.

The RSS Feed is fixed.  Easy enough.  Feedburner was pointing to the incorrect source rss xml file.  Such a simple fix for an ongoing problem.  Oh well.

A trillion web pages

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 11:47 am

Google announced that there are now over a trillion web pages, even after the duplicates are eliminated.

I have a hard enough time with numbers already.  Let’s review:

Decimal
Value SI
10001 k kilo-
10002 M mega-
10003 G giga-
10004 T tera-
10005 P peta-
10006 E exa-
10007 Z zetta-
10008 Y yotta-

does yotta mean the same as lotta … as in lot of.

I remember when Teradata Corporation was selling a data base machine.  Seemed like more data than anyone could ever use.

July 13, 2008

logmein.com

Filed under: Personal,Technology — Les Bain @ 10:19 am

I use logmein.com.  I find it to be a good service. I have no financial interest in the service, although as I write this I think I should sign up and be an affiliate.

I have a desktop and a laptop.  Many are getting away from that combination and just working with a laptop, but I still have both.

When I go out on the road, I take my laptop.  If I am working on the Internet, I just connect directly.  But sometimes I want to access a program that is only on my desktop, like Photoshop.

Then I connect to the internet, sign on to logmein.com, and then link up with the desktop.  I can use all the desktop products.

I am certainly aware that there are multiple products and services that do this, but logmein is my favorite, and for what I described, it is free.

The reason that it came to mind today is that the video card on my desktop died.  I will put a new one in soon, but in the interim, I started the desktop and the laptop, and I am accessing the desktop through the Internet.

So I am sitting here using the desktop monitor and keyboard, but running through the Internet using the laptop.  The laptop and the desktop are a few feet away, but I am sending the packets over the Internet.

Now I know of course there are other ways to connect, but this way was already set up, and so it was the most expedient to do.

It is surprisingly quick.

Computers

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 10:04 am

Keeping computers operating and running well requires regular effort, unless you have an Apple Mac of course.

I have never had a Mac, but people I know that have one tell me the Macs work without fail all of the time, and even clean their own monitor screens, but I do not know if they are exagerating.

I had some work to do on my computers this week, so the first thing you know is that they are not Macs.  Now why would I own something that requires constant effort?  Because I also work on other people’s computers, and get paid for it.  Makes no sense to become an expert on Macs.  No money in it.

This week my monitor was going out, starting to tile, flicker, and behave badly.  So I got a new monitor.  I did not buy a new one, just asked around and got a couple of monitors that other technicians were not using.

Same problem.  hmmmm … must be the video card.  So I gave the video card a little push to make sure it was seated properly, and now there is no signal at all. So today I will put in a new video card and see if that is really the problem.

I am like most technicians, and have boxes of computer parts, boards, wires, and connectors.  I will go through the box and see if I have a video card.  I do not play video games, so any video card that works is ok with me.

My desktop continually gets reworked with new parts.  I wonder if there is any thing original that came when the computer was first put together, other than the case.

Banks and Your Money

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 9:40 am

Today, in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Gail Hillebrand, a senior attorney is quoted as follows “You think when you open a bank account that the money belongs to you.  That’s not the way the bank sees it and it’s not the way the law sees it.”

I learned this lesson the hard way.  It is a long painful story, but I know now that money in a bank account is not always under my control. I argued with a bank long and hard about this point, but I lost.

The article tells the stories of various people that also learned the lesson.  They were all shocked as I was.  A most painful lesson.

July 6, 2008

Client Work

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 10:10 am

I have had more client work recently.  I like to do client work for lots of different reasons.

  • Clients always push me in a different direction.  They want something done differently than I have done in the past.  They want a feature that I have not used before.
  • I work too much on my own.  It is good to get out and work with clients.
  • Many of the clients I work with are out of town and I work with them using telephone and email.  Recent clients have been local and I have had face time.  I had to get a hair cut.

Got to go.  Client work to do.

July 5, 2008

An Audio about Les Bain

Filed under: Marketing,Podcasts,Technology,Website — Les Bain @ 3:01 pm

I added the audio player plugin to WordPress today, so of course I had to add an audio. I picked out an audio I did some time ago when I was doing a daily podcast at BizIII.

A BizIII Podcast about Les Bain:

[audio:http://www.biziii.com/podcasts/20070521.mp3]

July 2, 2008

Thinking about the campaign

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 1:21 pm

I am pained when I watch the Presidential Campaign.  It seems as a country we move to the lowest common denominator in this process.  I am not sure what it would take to rise above the current process and make the discourse more civil.

The contest between Senator Obama and Senator Clinton was brutal, and there are hard feelings even yet.

It reminds me of the notion that we fight the hardest with those that are the closest to us.

In religion:

  • In Islam, the Sunni Shiite divide seems to cause as many wars as Muslims and everyone else.
  • In Christianity, and Protestants and Catholics have fought throughout history and recently in Northern Ireland.

In the animal kingdom

  • Lions and others are most territorial and fight each other with gusto.
  • The battles of Bighorn sheep, moose, and deer are certainly dramatic.

To outsiders, there was probably not much difference between the Hatfields and the McCoys.

And family feuds are certainly common.

So I suppose it is not that unusual.

July 1, 2008

A Political Fantasy

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 12:26 am

I have this fantasy that Senator Obama and Senator McCain make a joint appearance and make some of the following statements together.

  1. Senator Obama is not a Muslim, and even if he was, it should not matter.
  2. Senator McCain should be judged on his policies, not his age.
  3. They both believe the other to be a man of integrity, honesty, and patriotism.
  4. They both believe that their spouses should not be part of the campaign.
  5. They will focus on ideas, and when smear tactics come from somewhere else, they will both address it as an unfounded smear.

Would that be something? The two political nominees taking the high road, maybe even calling the media to task for getting away from the issues.

June 23, 2008

Hot days, cool nights

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 9:15 am

I live in the San Francisco area, East Bay.  In the summer, we get hot days and cool nights.  I understand it is because the humidity is low.  When humidity is high, it holds the heat after the sun goes down.

Yesterday during the day was in the 90’s.  Last night is was so cool I turned on the electric blanket for a while to warm up the bed.  This morning the window is open and it is cool.  I have a light jacket on while working at the desk.

The weather forecast is for the low 80’s today.

In this part of the East Bay, it is regularly hot, so there is Air Conditioning everywhere.  It is always a question of when to turn the Air Conditioning on, and when to turn it off.

And I know when I blog about the weather, it is because I am worrying about things I do not want to discuss.  I suppose it is like making conversation about the weather during ackward moments.  I hope you have pleasant weather today where ever you are.

June 22, 2008

New Web Hosting

Filed under: Internet,Technology,Website — Les Bain @ 3:07 pm

So what did I learn while moving to a new web host.

  • The HTML and PHP code was well organized on my local computer with both a local and remote backup.  It was uploaded to the new webhosting with no problem.
  • The .htaccess files did not work the same on the new web hosting site, and had to be tweaked.  It was a simple change, but a significant impact.
  • The most significant impact was the email accounts being down.  I should have given the email a higher priority.  But it is all working down.
  • Restoring MySQL databases was smoother than I had anticipated.  I wanted to control backup and restore with PHP, but so far that has not worked.
  • On the new webhosting, I moved everything to PHP 5 and MySQL 5.  That might have caused some problems.  I have one vendor PHP routine that is not working, but instead of trying to debug it, I am going to download another PHP script.
  • Moving the WordPress blog took some time, because the problems were not apparent.  I finally just installed WordPress fresh, and reinstalled all of my theme and plugin changes.  That went quickly.
  • The wordpress database restore worked just fine.  I lost two posts, but I remembered them and posted them again.
  • Blogger blogs were very easy, I just had to republish.
  • In testing everything on the new web host, I found problems that I did not know about.  I have a task list of things to fix going forward.
  • Finding the right webhosting vendor is a crap shoot.  Basically, I decided to pick one with no setup and monthly fee so I could check it out and make good notes in case I had to move again, which I did.
  • Bottom line was that even though there were system wide problems to start, usually one parameter fixed many problems.

June 21, 2008

Rebuilt WordPress Blog

Filed under: Blogging — Les Bain @ 11:32 pm

I moved Webhosting provides and had to transport this WordPress blog from one Webhost server to another.  It went pretty well.  There are always wrinkles to work out, but all in all, a pretty smooth process.

The biggest problem was trying to reload the database.  The problem was too many records.  There were thousands of spam comments, once I took them out of the batch SQL file, all went well.

I did not backup over the last couple of days, so I did loose a couple of blog posts.  It is a very minor situation.

I will recreate two and the other one is better not recreated.

June 20, 2008

Opiophoia

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 12:00 am

Opiophobia is the unreasonable fear of prescribing opiates by both the medical professions and the public.

Opiophobia is responsible for the current situation where people on pain medications suffer difficulties from medical professionals, friends, and family.

I want to know where Opiophobia got started. I am doing research which I am capturing on a blog called History of Opiophobia.

I have identied several papers and books on the history of OpioPhobia, but they are either vary expensive or behind a firewall.   I am continuing to reasearch.

June 19, 2008

Aparment File

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 11:40 pm

There was a fire in our apartment complex.  We are fine.  It did get our attention.

Apartment Complex Fire

June 16, 2008

Senator Obama vs. Senator McCain

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 10:21 am

Senator Obama and Senator McCain give us two different approaches to choose from.

They differ on the Iraq war, diplomacy, economics, taxes, and social issues.

I would like to add my voice to the chorus that is suggesting we look at those differences and vote according to which way we want the country to go.

We do not need to slander these men who want to lead the country. Let their positions on the issues stand or fall on their own merits.  Let the citizenry reason and decide without rancor.

June 14, 2008

Security Agreement with Iraq

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 1:55 pm

The United States and Iraq are negotiating a new security agreement. Can you imagine.

Iraq insists that the agreement recognize Iraq’s sovereignty. What a concept.

If I was Mr. Maliki, which of the following would I agree to:

  • The US wants contract soldiers to be able to operate outside of Iraq law.
  • The US wants to be be able to arrest citizens of Iraq.
  • The US wants to stay in Iraq indefinitely.
  • The US wants to specify what kind of government Iraq has.

And Iraq wants their sovereignty to be recognized.

Sounds like some negotiation.

June 11, 2008

Who protects Iraq?

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 9:50 am

When Irag invaded Kuwait, the United States came to the rescue. We drove Iraq out of Kuwait.

Then we invaded Irag, but we are the biggest guy on the block, so there is no one to rescue Iraq.

The other day I was talking about Iraq with a colleague, and he could not understand why they did not welcome us with open arms. I suggested that if Canada did not like George Bush and invaded us, would he welcome them with open arms? He laughed and said he would learn how to make Improvised Explosive Devices if we were invaded.

But somehow it was different he said. Saddam Hussein was evil, George Bush is not. How many evil guys have we had ruling countries in this century: Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Hussein, Amin, Kim Jong-il, and many others.

It is a quagmire.

June 10, 2008

Writing Code

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 12:08 pm

I am writing PHP code for a project that I am working on. There is good news and bad news.

The good news is that I really enjoy writing the code. But, I enjoy the coding so much that I keep wanting to do the code. I keep putting off more urgent and important tasks. That will end today – today is urgent and important tasks only. The code is important but not urgent.

I wake up thinking about the code and ways to improve it. Maybe it is just an excuse to stay in bed for a few more minutes working out the next routine to be coded.

It is certainly a type of system that I have written before, but as always, things change over time. So I bring some experience, but there are always new things to learn.

OK, I will set a goal for tasks to complete. If I complete all the tasks, I will take some time to code.

June 9, 2008

CSS and Color

Filed under: Website — Les Bain @ 2:17 pm

I am trying some new things with CSS.

I am taking all the color parameters out and putting them into one file. ../color.css. Because of the nature of CSS, I can replicate names of course, and it is last on the list.

I want to create different files for different color sets. I am not a sophisticated color person, so I use one of the many color sites to find compatible colors. I create the file and then have a “blue” set or a “orange and red” set of colors in different files. I can quickly change color sets to change the complete color scheme of a website.

There are lots of issues of course.

  • Matching Adsense code
  • Matching photos and logos
  • Matching graphics

But overall, I like doing it. I get tired looking at the same colors, and it is a good thing to be able to switch color schemes effortlessly.

The next thing to do is to create one for this blog. I am tired of these colors.

Waiting for Software

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 2:08 pm

Whatever happened to Windows XP SP3? Did I miss the memo?

I am still on SP2 – I just checked – and I do the regular Windows updates. Perhaps I need to manually choose to install SP3.

Windows® XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) includes all previously released updates for the operating system.

I apply all the updates, so perhaps I am at the equivalent of SP3. I have not heard the customary screaming about SP3, so it is either a clean update, or no one is doing it.


And what about Firefox Version 3? I signed up for the memorable day to download and install the new version of Firefox. I am still waiting.

I have read some reviews that say it is a fine product, so I will make it a point to download if soon in the big day does not arrive.


I just have to remember to not do them at the same time, because then if there are problems I will not know which one caused the problems.

June 8, 2008

What to blog about?

Filed under: Blogging,Personal — Les Bain @ 4:58 pm

When I find myself wondering what to blog about on a particular day, it usually means that what is on my mind is not something I want to blog about.

It is like running into an acquaintance who asks how you are doing and answering “I am doing fine”. There is no reason to speak of the fears, the failures, the problems, and the disappointments.

I sometimes think that I should start another blog – an anonymous blog – so that I can speak about what is really doing on.

One of the things that stops me is that I am not sure what makes it truly anonymous. Seems like one can penetrate the IP address of posts and identify people pretty quickly.

Maybe I can look up Mini-Microsoft and see how he or she did it.

June 7, 2008

Thirty Thousand Foot View

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 3:39 pm

Reading bloggers and listening to political pundits it is hard to find the “thirty thousand foot view”.

The view that:

  • Does not over react to events of one day.
  • Provides some historical perspective
  • Has some sense of what will pass in 2 weeks or 2 months and what will be an ongoing issue.

There are two that seem to have this perspective.

  • David Gergen
  • Donna Brazile

Aids Lifecycle closing ceremonies

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 3:32 pm

It is hard to focus on work because my mind keeps going to the Aids Lifecycle.  The closing ceremonies should be going on as I write this post.  My son rode this year.

My son is a cyclist, and I thought he was riding because of pure altruistic motives – to raise money for Aids.

Eventually I found out about the demographics of the riders.

  • Lots of gay men
  • Lots of older straight men.
  • Lots of young straight women.
  • Very few young straight men.

My son is a young straight guy.  He is meeting lots of fit, young, engaged straight women.  Just another benefit of doing a good thing I suppose.

For whatever the reason he rode, I am very proud of him.

June 6, 2008

Timing

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 7:02 pm

Tracy Kidder wrote a book called “The Soul of a New Machine” about a computer design team.

One engineer, Josh Rosen, who burned out fighting nanosecond-level timing bugs was seduced by the attraction of commune living and left to live in the country. His resignation note declared, “I’m going to a commune in Vermont and will deal with no unit of time shorter than a season.”

I was thinking of that quote today. I have been dealing with units of time no longer than an hour, or a least a few hours.

  • Is Twitter up or down?
  • Is Senator Obama or Senator Clinton or Senator McCain going to give a speech?
  • What is the latest on CNN or MSNBC?
  • Work on critical client updates.
  • Watch a scheduled webinar.

I am going to take some time this weekend and meditate and read a book.  Think about something longer than an hour.

newsjunk.com

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 8:30 am

A picture named nj2.jpg

T h e F r e s h e s t P o l i t i c s f o r N e w s J u n k i e s

Check out newsjunk if you are a news junkie. Dave Winer and others are behind it.

http://www.newsjunk.com

June 5, 2008

Democrats, Republicans and Others

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 5:35 am

There are two major political parties in the United States.

  • The two parties represent 60% of the people in the United States.
  • Independents and other small parties represent 40% of the people.

CNN and other news stations normally have two pundits, one from the Republican Party and one from the Democratic Party.  Today they had on Jessie Ventura, who represents the 40% who are not part of either major political party.  It is refreshing to have that voice.

June 4, 2008

How Obama won: How Clinton lost

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 4:43 pm

The pundits are hard at work doing post analysis.

This is what makes sense to me.

  • Senator Obama and his staff understood it was delegates, delegates, delegates. They organized and went after delegates. They went after small states and large, primaries and caucuses, but always with the eye to delegates.

“Between Idaho, Nebraska, Vermont, Maine, Mississippi, North Dakota, the District of Columbia, Hawaii and Alaska, Obama would amass 118 delegates to Clinton’s 57.”

  • The most interesting analysis I saw for Senator Clinton and staff suggested that she would have been better served as the “passionate” candidate and not the “experienced” candidate.
  • Senator Obama used the Internet.  He supposedly had a group of twenty somethings working the Internet from the start.  He used social media, websites, Twitter, Facebook.  He raised money and engaged individuals over the Internet.

Now Obama has to engage the older voters.

  • The Younger voters are saying “Yes we can”.
  • The Older voters are saying “Who is Obama”.

The Democratic primary raised questions of racism and sexism.

The Presidential campaign will raise issues of ageism.

June 3, 2008

Time is flying by

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 12:07 pm

Adding just a few things to my daily schedule has made my day very full.  Time seems to race by.

  • Bird sitting for a couple of cute parakeets
  • Watching the Aids LifeCycle news because my son is riding in the event
  • Paying attention to the Democratic Party nominating process
  • Voting in the California primary today.  Yes, the California primary was split and we voted for candidates early, but the other part of the primary is today.
  • Along with the client and business work.

Adding just a few items seems to make the day very busy, but it could be because some of the items have an emotional charge.

June 2, 2008

Website Technology

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 6:47 pm

I looked at a website today that I created 5 years ago.  It was a mess.

  • The HTML had lots of repetitive code.
  • There was no CSS.
  • The website used FrontPage extensions which I would never use today.
  • The website loaded slowly.

There were some simple changes that I had to make but they were difficult to make.  I suppose I will have to retool the website.  FrontPage extensions will be obsolete soon.

If I had the time, I would welcome the opportunity, because I like to take messy code and create more elegant code.

June 1, 2008

Aids LifeCycle

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 10:37 am

Today is the start of the Aids LifeCycle. It is a bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money for Aids.

My son is riding along with 2500 other riders. I am a typical parent and I am both very proud and a little concerned.

Aids LifeCycle Blog

The 2500 riders will raise more than 11 million dollars for Aids. It is quite a story and quite an adventure.

It feels a little strange sitting at my desk today while my son rides 80 miles on a bicycle. Maybe I will do a walk today.

May 31, 2008

Democratic National Committee

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 2:55 pm

Today, I am watching the Democratic National Committee Rules and Bylaws Committee.

Some observations:

  • I am so happy I am not a Democrat (I am not a Republican either).
  • Will Rogers was right when he said, “I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.”
  • Supposedly, the Republicans are taping angry members of the Democratic party saying they will vote for Senator McCain before they will vote for the “other” Democrat. It will be a coming attraction on YouTube.
  • DNC Meeting Protest “DissNfranChise?” is already up on YouTube. The background music is Linda Ronstadt’s “When Will I Be Loved”.
    • I’ve been cheated
    • Been mistreated
    • When will I be loved

There will be no party unity after this meeting. Bet on McCain.

Content and Nontent

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 3:19 am

Content is king on the Internet. So they say.

Nontent is lack of content. Nontent.com is for sale. Maybe nontent is the court jester to the king.

There is a certain amount of real content. That content is then re-used, re-purposed, and re-blogged.

Yahoo kills a billion pieces of spam a day. Content killers.

How much of content is someone (like me) expressing their opinions of the content of the day.

May 30, 2008

Clerics and Comics

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 5:06 pm

Father Michael Pfleger gave a sermon making fun of Senator Clinton. He was criticized and censured.

One of the comments usually heard is that is was very inappropriate for church.

Hmmm. Maybe so.

But it was funny, and would have been very appropriate in a comedy club. Take down the church sign, put up a comedy club sign, and all would be well.

Scott McClellan writes a book

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 12:41 pm

Scott McCellan wrote a book about his time in the Bush administration.

The central thesis is that the United States government is immersed in a campaign culture. Scott says that everyone, including himself, is so involved in partisan politics that they were short sighted about everything else.

  • It was more important to spin an issue toward the Republican side than to tell the truth.
  • It was more important to be loyal to the Republicans than to tell the truth.
  • It was all consuming to be caught up in the partisan fighting.

When asked why he did not protest or quit, Scott says that he was in a partisan fight and was so focused on that that he had to leave government to see the ramifications.

It sounds like the campaign culture to me. Can anyone discuss the situation between Senator Clinton and Senator Obama rationally these days? There are advocates on both sides with known talking points.

I am convinced that the TV news casts could use one pundit with two hats to comment on any of the stories.

  • Put on the red hat and do the Republican talking points.
  • Put on the blue hat and do the Democratic talking points.

And the for the Democratic primary

  • Put on the Hillary hat for those talking points
  • Put on the Barack hat for those talking points.

Then at least we would not have people talking over each other.

May 29, 2008

Repeat Reverent Ruckus

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 9:28 pm

Another Reverent has been taped giving a shocking sermon.

What is it like to be one of those ministers?

You are a prominent religious leader in the community. You have built a large church with thousands of members. You are respected in the community. You sit on advisory boards.

You are invited to the White House.  Here is Reverent Wright at a White House breakfast.

You stand in front of an adoring congregation preaching, your congregation is responding positively, the ‘Amens’ are loud, and the adulations are sure to follow. At the end of the sermon people shake your hand, tell you it was a great sermon, and say ‘God to bless you’.

Then the sermon shows up on CNN. You are roundly criticized. Pundits are shocked. The congregation is criticized. If a politician has attended the church or been endorsed by you, the politician is vilified.

What a disconnect that must be.

May 28, 2008

Curse of the Golden Flower

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 1:23 pm

As I was finishing my work day yesterday, the movie Curse of the Golden Flower came on TV. I watched it from start to finish.

It was a visual feast. A stunning collage of colors, ritual, martial arts, family intrigue and grand opera themes.

I do not normally check to see what reviewers write about movies, but I did read a sampling of reviews about this movie. It was so magnificent visually that I wanted to read other’s reactions.

Almost every review remarked on the incredible visuals.

And every review discussed the plot that was a stew of intrigue, betrayal, murder, poisoning, and stepmother-stepson, and stepbrother-stepsister passion.

It was a remarkable movie.

May 27, 2008

Twitter

Filed under: Personal,Technology — Les Bain @ 7:03 pm

Twitter has been a great source of amusement and amazement.

  • Some blog posts discuss why the writer will not go on Twitter
  • Others bloggers post reasons why they cannot live without Twitter
  • When Twitter goes down, some people act like the Internet is down.
  • The Gillmor gang would have to shut down without Twitter to discuss.
  • Dave Winer uses Twitter as an example of how to develop software which is fascinating
  • Twitter will be the poster child for scaling issues for many months.
  • Twitter is used as an lesson for centralization vs. decentralization.
  • One comment about Twitter: Twitter is Facebook for those that do not have Facebook.
  • Some want Twitter to charge super users to raise money to fix it.

And Twitter is free.

May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 10:38 am

Today is Memorial Day – the last Monday of May. Today we remember those that died while in the military service of the United States in any war or military action.

It was originally called Decoration Day, because on this day the dead were honored by decorating their graves.

I remember as a young man getting dressed up and going to the cemetery at this day. There were flowers everywhere. People decorated graves of relatives whether they had died in the military or not.

When you went to the cemetery, there were veterans in uniform giving out poppies and requesting donations for some veterans fund. Usually, we all got a poppy.

It was an obligation of the day, and people dealt with it in the normal way

  • Some got up early and took care of the obligation early.
  • Some procrastinated and went later in the day.

Our family went early in the day. We had moved a good deal, so there were no relatives buried in the vicinity, so we paid our respects to the relatives of friends of the family.

The decorating of graves seems out of step with life today.

  • First, we are rarely in the same place as the graves of our family members that have passed.
  • Second, we acknowledge the family members that died by addressing their spirits or memories.

I will take a moment today to remember my Mother and Father. Their graves are too far away to decorate, so I will remember them and smile.

May 25, 2008

My new Treo and the sounds

Filed under: Personal,Technology — Les Bain @ 7:55 am

The next function I am going to learn about my new Treo is all the sounds, beeps, rings, alerts, and alarms.

I learned about

  • how to set different ring tones
  • how to turn off the phone
  • how to turn down the phone ringer

but ….

I still get alerts, etc. Some of them go off early in the morning.

I need to find the way to turn off all sounds so

  • my sleep is not interrupted
  • and it is not beeping during a meeting.

May 22, 2008

Write every day

Filed under: Blogging,Personal — Les Bain @ 11:56 am

That is the advice given to aspiring writers. Write every day.

I am blogging every day. It is starting to effect my writing. I am starting to think more about word choice and sentence structure.

I did not start blogging that way. I started by just trying to get some thoughts into sentences and hitting the “publish” button. Check. That task done.

I was an English major and an aspiring writer at one time. I discovered it was not for me. But I certainly would like to be able to write better.

I read some blogs that are written well. They are captivating and engaging. When I read good writing I find myself reading more intently and staying with the writing longer.

I would not mind if my readers had the same experience.

May 21, 2008

Who’s got the most?

Filed under: Politics — Les Bain @ 5:18 pm

Senator Clinton continues to say she got the most popular votes. Good for her, but the candidate that gets the most delegates is the one that wins.

  • It is like a basketball team saying the other team scored more points, but they got the most rebounds.
  • It is like a football team saying the other team scored more points, but they had a much higher time of possession.
  • It is like a baseball team saying the other team scored more runs, but they had more hits.

I understand that there are super delegates that have not decided and Senator Clinton is trying to convince them.

But how they keep score is delegates. The one with the most delegates wins.

Blog every day

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 4:23 am

I try and blog every day.  Blogging is therapeutic.  It is like motivation and hygiene.  It needs to be done every day to be effective.

There are times when blogging comes easily.  There are times blogging is difficult.

When blogging is difficult, it is usually because what is on my mind is not something I want to discuss.

  • Sometimes it is too personal.
  • Sometimes it is just embarrassing.
  • Sometimes it is not clear.

I am going back to reading about the Law of Attraction.  Get my mind right.

May 20, 2008

Content Ads

Filed under: Blogging,Personal — Les Bain @ 12:06 pm

I added Google Adsense ads to this blog. I was interested in the results.

  • Lots of ads for computer backups. Yep. I investigated, changed, and monitored new backup systems. That makes sense.
  • Ads for blogs and blogging software. Yep. I talk about blogging in this blog.
  • Ads for UPS systems. Hmmmm. I guess so. Backups are part of disaster preparedness.

It is like an instant summary of what I have been blogging.

Web Site Surprises

Filed under: Technology,Website — Les Bain @ 11:57 am

Potential website clients will call and ask how much it would cost to make a small change to their website.  Boy is that tricky.

I cringe as I wonder if the previous webmaster used any sort of technique for common code.

  • Will there be a dynamic template from Expression Web, Dreamweaver or Frontpage.
  • Will there be server side includes for the common code.
  • Will the code be standard enough for a website scan and replace.

I wonder if the client can find their Web hosting user id and password, or whether that disappeared with their last webmaster.  Of course it can be retrieved.  It usually takes a conference call with the web hosting site, the owner, and myself.

I wonder if there is any unusual pattern of redirects that must be followed.  I started to look at one website where the redirects were 4 deep.  A went to B went to C went to D.  I have no idea why.

And I wonder if the previous webmaster has two duplicate sites depending on where the visitor is coming from.  It must have been an analysis to see if one worked better than the other, but I changed the website, then discovered there was a duplicate site in another subdirectory.

I have discovered these and other traps waiting for me as I look at a new website.  Sometimes it takes a few minutes to make sure the there are no traps.

May 19, 2008

Marriage

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 9:23 pm

The California Supreme Court ruled that the law prohibiting same sex marriage is unconstitutional.  Same sex marriages will probably begin in California 30 days from the ruling.  There will be a constitutional amendment on the ballet in November so the people can vote to change the constitution if they wish.

The entire issue resolves around the fact that the state gave special considerations to married couples.  If the state gives special rights to one group, it cannot withhold those rights from another group.

Let us step back and consider.  What if the state did not consider marriage in any of the laws, taxes, or benefits.

People could create civil unions to protect jointly shared property and share benefits.  The IRS could give special consideration to civil unions if that is the law.  Social Security benefits could be defined by civil union.

It is not a far stretch to go from corporations to civil unions.  We form groups that are treated as entities by the state.  This would be another one of those entities.

Marriage should just be a issue for the church.  The state should be prohibited from even asking about one’s marital status.  It should be as unimportant to the state as someone’s baptismal or communion status.

If marriage is a religious institution, it would take place in the church as do baptisms, communion, confirmations, and other religions rites.

I do not have a problem if the Muslims have up to 4 wifes.  I do not have a problem if the Latter Day Saints have multiple wives.  I do not care if churches practice infant or adult baptisms.  I do not care who prays to what God.  Those are matters left in the Church.

There would be no marriage license, unless the church issues one.

The state can provide another kind of legal entity called a civil union with tax and benefit laws.  The state should get out of the marriage business entirely.

PHP Code

Filed under: Personal,Technology — Les Bain @ 1:26 am

I am writing some PHP code. It is for a project that I am have been working on. It is the most elaborate code that I have written for a good while. Just about everything that I am coding is something I have not coded before.

The coding process, however, is most familiar. I use a combination of “top down development” and “step wise progression”. We used to have signs that said “programmers do it top down”. That was before we were engineers.

But the system could have great promise.

I will see.

May 18, 2008

Blogging the same thing twice

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 6:51 pm

Sometimes I start to blog about something, and it seems I have blogged on the same topic before.  It is not a problem to blog on the same topic of course, but I do not want to write the same blog post more than once.

On the other hand, I am not sure anyone including myself, would notice … or care.  If the thought comes up again, perhaps the best thing to do is just to write it down again.

I could do a search and try and discover if it is in the archives, but I am not sure I want to do that.  Perhaps it will be different enough this time not to matter.  If it is what is on my mind today, why not just write it.

So that is what I am going to do.

Ah … Sunday

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 2:06 pm

If you have a Monday to Friday work or school week, Saturday and Sunday are the weekend.

Sunday is the classic touchstone for optimism versus pessimism. It is either a wonderful full day of no work or school, or a depressing end to the weekend.

Now some of us work every day, so it is a moot point, but it is fascinating to see how people react.

I work on Sunday, but I get very few client calls or emails that need to be answered, so it is a different sort of day. I schedule a project each weekend to take advantage of the uninterrupted time.

May 17, 2008

Heat Wave

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 7:19 pm

It is the weekend. It feels wonderful.

  • I am watching the Tweets as my son rides 100 miles today getting ready for the Aids Lifecycle.  The last tweet was at 80 miles.
  • I am helping my family move Ethernet wire around the apartment so they can find the coolest spot to work.  I will go out later to get a switch and some more Ethernet to make it all work smoother.
  • I am watching Book TV and it is always good to watch people discuss ideas.  I remember the adage that little minds discuss people, average minds discuss things, and big minds discuss ideas.  On book TV, at least some of the time they discuss ideas.
  • I consolidated my task lists so there are fewer tasks and a clearer priority.

All is well.

May 16, 2008

Unsubscribing

Filed under: Internet — Les Bain @ 11:47 am

I continue to unsubscribe from all email newsletters and ezines. I want to move all subscriptions to RSS so that they are under my control.

The process has been most interesting.

I received this email:

If you are receiving this email, it means you are NOT signed up to receive our weekly … newsletter. Don’t miss an opportunity of wealth as we will make the website only available to subscribers soon. Subscription is free.

The spam was so blatant it took me a minute to understand.

I have also had to do this process a number of times.

  • An email newsletter arrives. One that I subscribed to some time ago.
  • I click the unsubscribe link in order to stop the newsletter.
  • I am taken to the website where I am asked to login, but I do not remember my password.
  • I follow the instructions to reset my password, which means I get another email.
  • I read the email, follow the instructions to retrieve my password, logon on and unsubscribe.
  • I receive an email notifying me that I changed my password.
  • I receive an email notifying me that I unsubscribed.

That totals 4 unwanted emails to stop the newsletter, but at least it worked.


I have also had this process.

  • I receive an email newsletter to a specific email account.
  • I follow the unsubscribe link to a website.
  • The website asks me to logon to change my subscription, but I do not remember my password.
  • I follow the link to retrieve my password, but the website says I do not have an account.

Here is another one. I received one today that said:

If you want to unsubscribe to this email, simply block the following email – xxx.domain.com

I want to block it before it gets to my computer of course.


I should have kept a log of my adventures, but I did not think it was going to be so interesting.

May 15, 2008

Coding

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 10:19 pm

I was up late last night coding PHP to add functionality to my website.  If the functionality works well, I will use it on other websites.  It is so consuming to program.

Today, I am doing all the other business with the understanding that when all my business tasks are done, then I am rewarded by being able to code.  You would think that after being a programmer for 40 years, it would get old, but it does not.

I was a manager for part of that time, but I always seemed to find some code to write.

Heat Wave

Filed under: Technology — Les Bain @ 10:12 pm

We are having our first heat wave of the year.  It was over 100 degrees today.  It is not a major problem to survive, it gets hot in the afternoon and then cools off.  It is pleasant now.

There is air conditioning in our apartment, so it is pleasant.

However, my computers have apparently been overheating today.

  • My laptop is sitting on two cold packs now, and it is running consistently for the first time today.
  • My external hard drive has a fan pointed directly at it, and it is running consistently for the first time today.

Yes I do worry about moisture with the cold packs, but I wrap them in paper towels and do my best to keep them dry.

May 12, 2008

Aids Lifecycle

Filed under: Personal — Les Bain @ 6:23 pm

My son is getting ready to ride in the Aids Lifecycle. It is a bike ride that will take place June 1-7, 2008, as cyclists and volunteers will travel 545 miles through beautiful California from San Francisco to Los Angeles. My son will be one of 2500 cyclists riding in the event.

It is the official cycling event of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.

The event will raise close to 11 million dollars.

We are enormously proud of him of course. It is a wonderful event for a good cause.

May 9, 2008

Parental Controls

Filed under: Notes,Personal,Politics,Technology — Les Bain @ 3:08 am

When my children were young, we did not restrict their Internet access. We talked about the dangers openly, asked them what they knew about the dangers from their readings, and asked them what rules they followed. We agreed on the rules.

  • Do not give out your name or address
  • Do not agree to meet anyone

When they were in elementary school, the computers were in a public area of the house.

That was just about it.

I am not saying that was wise, it is just our style. Having a frank talk about the dangers allowed them to set their own limits. I knew they were going to visit porn sites and other sites, but I was much happier that they did it without having to try and hide it.

When my son was a Freshman in high school, he told me if I ever wanted to go to a porn site, he had account and password hacks.

When I set up computers for parents now, I am often instructed to put on the parental controls. I of course do it, and I always think back about how it was when my children were small.

I do not have any regrets. I still think we were right. But it is definitely worse now on the Internet, so I do wonder if I would put on parental controls now. Probably not.

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