The Eclectic

Time moves in one direction, memory in another. – William Gibson

Archive for August, 2004

Should someone be fired for blogging?

Posted by David Leslie on August 31, 2004

Word broke today of what could be the first case of someone getting fired for blogging. Joyce Pack was a programmer for Friendster. She was let go thanks to two postings dealing with her part in the development of their new PHP backend and her roll on that project. You can read those posts and try and find what could have gotten her popped.

On behalf of Friendster, let me say that in context, she might have exposed the company to a fall out with a vendor or given out more information to a potenal competitor or hacker by noting what tools she had used in the redesign.

Without knowing what her employment agreement said, all we can do is guess. But it should be pointed out that the Microsoft folks are blogging sections of code in their public blogs plus Scoble rips the Bill even now in then on his.

Sure sure, the guy who posted the shot of the Macs on Microsoft’s dock to his moblog got popped but he was a contractor. The Friendster case is different. In fact, this is up there with the cases of the NY Times and ESPN fired staffers for inproper use of the email a few years back. People both of those cases, the folks got whacked as an example for not undstanding the policy. Given that Joyce was an employee and thats she was working for a firm that is building personal networks via the internet which happens to involve blogs, I’m kinda stunded that they would make an example of her but stranger things have happen…

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The Leslie Theory of Tech adoption rates

Posted by David Leslie on August 30, 2004

Every once in awhile, I run across one of those dreaded marketing studies dealing with the adoption rate of new Technologies into the mainstream.

Almost always they have some marketing munbo jumbo by which they break down out the groups.

Rather than moan and complain, I’ve decided to come up with my own with groups that make more sense to the average techie.

Geeks: First to run everything.
Technology in the hands of the Average Joe: Has no hope of running it without giving up a weekend and then its a maybe followed by “Now What?”

College Kids: Friend in the computer lab hooks them up and next thing you know the whole dorm is on it.
Technology in the hands of the average Joe: Needs the college kid to help get started but finds its pretty cool and worth the $30 for the pizza and wings

AOL: The world’s largest provider adds it as a feature to its new software
Technology in the hands of the average Joe: It is in the hands of the Average Joe who took the time to watch the flash movie on how to set it up.

Verb: Enters the collective language. Like “Email me” that or I’ll burn it for you”.

So that’s it.. Now what about the stuff I’ve been interested in? Well…

Blog: Almost to verb. I mean bloggers got Press Passes to the DNC this year. Just don’t say blog around some of the press, they still think you need a masters in journalism to write.

RSS: Between College Kids and AOL at the moment. College kids at the moment. Strong love in the computer science lab among those left and the media barons are busting out their Push based media models to try and make a buck. Yet it’s not quite on AOL radar but it is on Microsoft’s and Mozilla’s.

Wiki: Between Geek and College Kids but gaining speed. Wikipedia has started another “It’s not authoritative” cries from the academic community. I could dig up papers talking about the web 8 years ago, swap Web for Wikipedia and get published. Yet if publishers keep driving up prices for online references tools, don’t be stunned to see the Net step in and fill the void. Remember, Free and good will always beat fee and excellent.

One other thing, when those college kids graduate, they’ll expect the level of tech they had in school in “the world”.

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Creating an RSS feed of the books you have checked out of the library

Posted by David Leslie on August 29, 2004

Well would ya look at this. It’s a way to build an RSS feed of the books you have check out with a PERL script.

Appears my idea wasn’t as crack pot after all.

Off to see if I can get this to work with CML

Creating an RSS feed of the books you have checked out of the library

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Jamie Cullum

Posted by David Leslie on August 28, 2004

It’s late Friday night or early Saturday morning depending on your POV. Coming to you from Solon Oh…

I’ve been hunting on my Father-In-Law’s dog slow AOL connection trying to find a song that’s been stuck in my head. An 20 min tops on RR, 1 hour and 54 minutes on dial up. Not sure if going to a slow connection is worth it after you’ve tasted the power that comes from the Runner’s cable based lifeline to the world.

Oh, how I miss it so..
BTW the song is from Jame Cullum “All at Sea”

Check this guy out…

“Like a warm drink it seeps into my soul…Please just leave me right here on my own”

Yes I’m up at 2 in the morning. I’m in a funk. I’ll sing the 2nd line in italics for you.

Maybe whacking some golf balls might help.

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Misc stuff

Posted by David Leslie on August 24, 2004

– Ok, the anon comment on the RSS post from this morning..that was me. I was demo’ing the comment feature to one of our project managers who is interested in using a blog.

As for the idea, sure you would have to have a feed for each library card in the system thus a url for each card which could be a security issue. My work around for this would be to have the feature as an opt in with the understanding that your information could get picked up by someone else.

Yet you could sell even this as a feature. Parents can track what is on their kid’s cards for example…

– Picked up the bike from the folks at bicycle one tonight and in the process picked up another bike that we had fitted for Jean. Its a hybrid Trek 7100. Three reasons for this pick up
1. My Gary Fisher Marlin to built for riding on mountains. Riding on streets while towing a baby trailer it stinks.
2. Jean needed a taller frame
3. It has a nice comfortable seat in addition to the fact you ride it at a comfortable 45 degree angle rather than bent over the frame.

– I had to kill a big spider that over the course of 12 hours had almost 1/3 of our patio door covered with a web. We are now looking into bringing in a professional to get medieval on our bug problem.

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RSS and the Library

Posted by David Leslie on August 24, 2004

The other day I was checking out at the Dublin branch of the CML. After the last DVD was scanned, I started with my pile out the door. The librarian stopped me to hand me my receipt. I thanked her and mentioned that I don’t really need the receipt since I check the items on my card via the website and with the new email alert feature.

Then it hits me, why not use RSS? The information for my current checkout and holds are in metadata already plus my reader could do the checking for me whenever it scans for updates. It would also be a handly way to shair what I’m reading these days.

Now what about email you ask? Email is nice for an item by item update for when things are due or holds that are available for pickup. RSS shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for email. What RSS will do is offer the big picture of what is out and on reserve at the time of the last check.

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BoingBoing on Swift Boat

Posted by David Leslie on August 23, 2004

Whole mess has gone nuts. Washington Post had a nice story on how both sides have been playing lose with the facts to suit their needs. Yet even the Post notes that the Swifty’s for Truth can’t prove any of the claims.

Then again, this isn’t the first time Bush has used an outside group to go after someone’s service record. Bush attacked McCain in 2000. Kerry notes in his new ad. This coming from a guy who was in the Texas National Gaurd as a pilot.. Talk about an easy and fun way to serve. I should know, my Dad was an air traffic controler at a guard base.

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BongBong on Halo 2’s ilovebees promo

Posted by David Leslie on August 23, 2004

Looks like the fellas at MS Games Studios have hatched another Beast for Halo 2
http://www.boingboing.net/2004/08/22/augmented_reality_ha.html

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Weekend Wrap up

Posted by David Leslie on August 22, 2004

Friday: Took the day off from work since Jean and I are still trying to get John back on something resembling a normal sleep cycle. It didn’t help our efforts when the thunderstorms rolled in waking John up at 4 am and sending Cloe into her usual thunderstorm panic.

My plan was to call off, sleep in and then try to get boy back on his schedule. What in fact happened was that I remember my monthly status report was due at noon. So I worked on the report, sent it to my boss and then heard John on the baby monitor. Boy didn’t nap until almost 4 which meant Dad had to forgo his nap or risk staying up all night. Jean headed out with some friends to see Garden State. She really enjoyed it plus it was good for her to get our with her friends and not worry about boy.

Saturday: Worked with Jean to get the shelfs we had been talking about up in the office. Its quite nice and wasn’t all that hard. We were to have gone to a cook out but John’s still got scabs from the hand, foot and mouth so we didn’t really want him around other kids.

We also got a new Cuisinart SPB-7 blender to replace our old one and broke it out by mixing milkshakes after dinner.. Dinner was at the new BD’s Mongolian BBQ at Easton (complete with faux flame on the roof) with Patty and Jay. I was bummed that BD’ is going the route on Genghis Grill by replacing the oil and sauce added in the bowl to just adding the sauce in a cup with the oil and sauce then added by the cook on the grill. I also saw a great jacket at Jos A Banks, just hope they can kind it in XXL.

During milkshakes, Patty gave us a run down of her presentation to a client that coming up. She knows her stuff and she’ll do a great job with it.

Sunday: While we were up late with Patty’s talk, it wasn’t wake up at noon late which was the case for me and the boy. So after breakfast and a quick bath I played with John until nap time and then headed to the Wendy’s Championship for Children over at Tartan Fields. See at the Ohio State Fair last week, I had one a free any day pass to the event at a putting contest. Why were we at the Fair on the last day? We were shopping, with a list even. Certain fair only products are not junk but soiled stuff. Our list was for

  • a Sweepa Rubber Broom. The new one has a bigger head and there great on pet hair. For the price of 1 we got the new bigger head, old head and the dog brush
  • Something new professional jewelry cleaner: 1-800-434-7889 So good we give it as a gift
  • PVA Super Mop: The last one went 7 years before it gave up the ghost.

OK, so back to the golf. I wanted to see Michelle Wei the 14 year old from Hawaii’. I got out there just in time to watch her play number 18. A few things.

  1. She hits the ball a ton
  2. She looks like a 24 year old out there, not a 14 year old

I stood in the landing zone for 18 most of the day. Almost got hit by Lorie Kane‘s 2nd shot from 18 fairway bunker. Watch 5 balls go in the water. Talked to a member of Scarlet and Gray who was telling me as Meg Mallon walked up how he remembered her as a freshman at OSU. Saw a very pregnant finish 18 Nancy Scranton as she tied for 4th. Amazing given they played 2 rounds on Saturday. Plus watched as the ESPN camera crew realized that their volunteer runner left a camera battery next to a tree on 14 when they needed it.

Walking back to the car I overhead one of the ESPN guys on his cell phone talk about how Wei was flying back to Hawaii and she was bummed that school starts for her on Thursday. Must be tough to jump that flight for 10 hours just to go back to high school, even if its in Hawaii.

May I mention that Tartan Fields is not the best set up for an event like this. You park in a field, walk to a gate, then walk from the gate for about a block past the still open swimming pool before getting to the clubhouse. Well off to bed.

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A bike, a boy and a sore butt

Posted by David Leslie on August 17, 2004

A few weeks ago, Jean and I got talking about the idea of getting a bike trailer for John. Hanging in our garage is a 2000 Gary Fisher Marlin bike that hasn’t seen a mile on it. I won the bike while at AOL and just never found the time to use it. Jean’s family took bike trips all the time and she’s been looking for a way to get active with John.

I started price out the different trailers and found most were a bit more than what we wanted to spend. The next day as we headed to a friend’s garage sale, we noticed our neighbor was also having a sale… with a Kid Kaboose bike trailer with a for sale sign next to it. So for about 1/4 the price of a new trailer, we had a new for us trailer.

A week went by but we hadn’t messed with the trailer since John was sick with Hand, Foot and Mouth (nasty chicken pox virus). Our neighbor couldn’t find the manual and my attempt to hook it on just left scatches on my frame.

Now today, Jean took a crack at the trailer and in fact found the owner’s guide in the back storage area. She threw John in for a test ride and the kid was hooked. The bike however did not respond in kind to its three year layoff, snapping the chain as Jean shifted to climb up our drive way hill.

A quick run to Meijers for a flag and a kids helmet for John, then to Bicycle One in Gahanna to get the chain fixed, have a kick stand put on (to help get the trailer on and off without having to balance the bike) and have the seat adjusted before heading to Patty and Jay’s to borrow one of their bikes for the first family ride.

Now I’ve been working out on stationary bikes for a few weeks now. That’s not the same thing as a real bike. Given that the inlaws live in a pretty hilly sub division, we were lovin the down hill coasts while gasping as we cranked up the hills, Jean tugging the trailer since she’ll use it during the day more than I will.

After the first ride, my butt hurt from the seat, my legs burning, sweat falling off me like rain, stomach reading the first round of hurl, and I’m still having fun and ready to take John for another spin.

Then another bike problem crops up. Jean had complained that the right peddle felt weak on the up stoke. When it was my turn to tug John, I noticed the same thing but worse, the peddle was coming off the bike. I had to walk the bike back up hill to the inlaws, boy still enjoying the ride in the buggy.

In the end, the fact that he had fun and got to see us active made it all worth it. In fact, we didn’t take the bike out of the van.. It gotta go to Bicycle One for a new pedal

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