Archive for the ‘Rant’ category

Learning Arabic Is Controversial?

September 4, 2007

I spent three years of high school (long ago) learning to speak French (for the fun of it). I’ve spent the last 13 years of my life learning to speak HTML, CSS, Javascript, etc (to make my living). I’ve spent the last two years of my life learning to speak Farsi and Arabic (for, you guessed it, the $$). And, to see a mob mentality erupt over a language program in a public school is just beyond me. Yes, it’s NY. Yes, I understand the sensitivity to things Arabic given 9/11.

I work in the oil and gas business by day. I’m responsible for sales and marketing of a not for profit association serving the O&G market. Some of my customers are of middle eastern persuasions. I could just as easily have picked Chinese (and still might).

But, to single out a language program simply because of someone’s ethnicity or interest in language development exposes the ignorance (a word chosen carefully) of the accuser. There are some TREMENDOUS opportunities for those with the right combination of language and technical skills. We’re talking HUGE.

No one got this bent out of shape when I was taught BASIC in middle school.

Google Maps No-Go on

August 21, 2007

Must be WordPress day (it is their second birthday and all…).

Google just came out with embeddable maps. You know, kinda like you’d do with YouTube and such. Just tried it via the admin system here on my hosted blogs… no workie.

For all the goodness that is in WordPress… why do they limit stuff like this?! Drives me nuts! (You know, that same – “Why can’t I just install such and such on my iPhone?” kinda nuts.

* Blocked in Turkey

August 21, 2007

Wow, If you’re wondering where all your blog traffic evaporated to… Visits from inside Turkey are now kaput until Matt and co wrench a solution. So, what happens when Turkey completely isolates themselves digitally? I mean, Google’s not a content company yet they have pointers to just about damn near anything on the planet (including the locally-stored/hosted, accessible caches of some pretty objectionable stuff I would imagine). Has Turkey banned Google? Kinda doubt it. So, why the kerfluffle over *

Process To Zero

August 15, 2007

Email. The bane of human existence? Or, THE Killer App?

Just finished listening to Merlin Mann’s Google Tech Talk “Inbox Zero” (hey, it was a Friday and I was shoveling invoices and reports around! It was that or Yanni from the next office over.)

Process to Zero I’m lucky in that I’m fairly nutso about staying on top of my email. It gets taken care of. However, what is fairly obvious to anyone who knows me… I am a packrat. I’m a hoarder. I can produce any non-spam email on demand for all of 2002 forward (including the attachments) that I have either received OR sent.What Merlin doesn’t address is the back-history or the “archive”. That’s a question I would have (and probably will) ask of him… I use as he does albeit in different ways to suit our different needs. But, still… he has to accumulate a pile o’ stuff. What’s he do with it? Archive it? Toss it in the waste bin?

I don’t subscribe to the whole ’email bankruptcy’ deal. There are messages someone sends just to be cute and then there’s the habitual funny-bone who sends every damned piece of shlock they encounter. Sad to say it, but there’s one person who my SpamSieve settings know by name… everything they have sent for the last year has gone directly into the bin and I’ve not had to pull a single thing back out. Sad. I’d rather not have the ugly conversation of, “Hey would you please stop sending that crap?” That only leads to bent feelers. I’ve had those before and there’s no good way to let an otherwise good person know it’s just not a welcome distraction. So, rules-based handling does my dirty work with a guilt-free approach.

Processing to Zero is a fine objective. The book “Mastery” comes to mind as it’s the journey to mastering something that is the reward. Not the end in and of itself. (Yeah, I went all Zen on you there for a second. It’s over now.)

I’ll Trade You My Moon for Your Arctic

August 12, 2007

OK, let’s get this straight… The Russians now somehow noodle that they have a claim on a good portion of the Arctic because they planted a flag on the sea bed. A cool trick… but “own”!? OK. So, by that logic Sir Hillary nabbed ownership of Mt. Everest for New Zealand… right? And, I guess, by default… the U.S. owns the moon… and all the natural resources each entail are forfeit to the ACTUAL stated partners in the ratified treaties. Yes, this is over natural resources (the possibility of massive oil and gas deposits) and not some hair-brained “we now have command over great technology” stunt.

Or, does ownership change when I capture your flag? I’m confused. [They don’t call it “lunacy” for no reason.]

Are You Black Enough?

August 12, 2007

Or, how about “Woman enough?” or maybe “Mormon enough?” or if you like “Heavy enough”?

No one asks the “Are you competent enough” question anymore. (sigh)

Miss 100% Of The Shots You Don’t Take

August 10, 2007

The above is maybe correctly or incorrectly attributed to Wayne Gretsky. I’ve loved this quote since the first time I heard it and it’s absolutely, undisputedly – true.

The reason for me even bringing it up is Marc Andreessen’s posting on Age, Creativity, Productivity and Prolific Contribution (most definitely a worthwhile read). It comes down to shots on goal. The more shots you take, the more goals you could make over the course of a career (no guarantees, but it holds water). Let’s say you’re a crack shot up against a crack goalie, though. Well, ok, the equation changes a bit maybe. But, let’s look at the more likely situation where you’re just persistent as hell at whatever it is you’re doing (music, startups, investing, basketball, hockey). The more attempts you make: the more likely you are to rack up a lot of successes.

Think of Barry Bonds (sorry…). Think he’d have the home run record if he’d never swung the bat? Nope. Think how many strike outs he has. It’s probably a LOT! Maybe less than some. But I bet the number’s big. So what! No one’s going to remember him for the strike outs. (maybe noone will remember him for the HR record either)

Point is… age is probably NOT the big issue here. Sure, the younger you are and the longer your career… the more opportunities you’re likely to attempt to rise to the occasion. For those of us later bloomers, it’s about getting up out of the comfort zone and doing something, LOTS of something and piling up the tallest stack of success we’re capable of.  That’s my true north with GROCIO. What’s yours?

Barry Bonds*

August 8, 2007

Bonds-756 One little character has the ability to overshadow an otherwise noteworthy accomplishment. (see the irony in the jersey pic? yeah… how’d you like to have that one following you around?)

No question… Barry Bonds smacked #756 over the right-field wall in San Diego last night against Mike Bacsik. Records are meant to be broken but it makes a great deal of difference in HOW those records are busted. Or, does it?

It does to me. It darned sure better to my kids. At least, that’s how I’m raising them. I’d rather see a solid and honest effort out of family, friends and colleagues than to strongly suspect the secret of their success was obtained by less than legit methods. Yeah, yeah… presumed innocent. Right? OK, I’ll buy that and give Bonds the benefit of the doubt just like I would anyone else.

But, it’s that same reason I have to keep a cloud over Pete Rose. ‘Course, he was absolutely nailed to the wall. No questions. As much as I’d like to see Pete take a well-deserved spot in the hall-of-fame… You screw up and dangit you jeaopardize your place in the books for good. So, regardless of if ever or whenever Bonds is nailed for the suspected juicing… I sincerely hope there’s a slugger out there that takes this record (of sorts) off the books in our lifetime and erases that little * from its current place of prominence.

And to all you out there putting in an honest-days effort without cutting corners or gaming the system… hat’s off to you! Keep those funky ASCII characters off your accomplishments! 🙂

(Image credit to

You’re Gonna Be Remembered For Something

July 30, 2007

Take Frank Johnson. Who!? You know… FRANK JOHNSON… “The Johnson Box”… Direct mail…? Not ringing any bells?

OK. I’m reading the printed (gasp!) Target Marketing’s inside back cover op ed where Denny Hatch is talking about “American Heritage” magazine and the fact it is folding after one hellluva run. The story only briefly mentions Mr. Johnson. But, what it has to say about him is actually quite an interesting tell on us all. See, Frank is popularized for his creation of the prominent rectangular space above the “Dear Mrs. Soandso” salutation in direct mail pieces… The one with a big headline in it surrounded by a rectangle made up of asteriks. It’s called “The Johnson Box” (Hmm, wonder if he patented THAT! heheh)

* HEADLINE * <– THAT was his BFD in life. What’s yours!?

Anyway, the point is, he didn’t think that was going to be his magnum opus. He thought some other innovative thing I’ve never seen in my life was his grand creation and an obit worthy contribution to mankind. We never truly know what our legacy is going to be do we? It could easily be some throw away piece of open source code or an algorithm or a smile at just the right time to someone who needed it to keep on keeping on.

The bottom of the bottom line here is keep on trying. Be passionate. Live your life with your own special kind of zeal, zest, zip (I don’t know which Z word to use)… Even us you pups, we’re going to be remembered for something! Hedge your bets, make it something good. And, if you’ve never read it… The Brand You 50 series from Tom Peters is a great start.

Another Photographer Ripped Off

May 29, 2007

LaraJade was ripped off. Her self-portrait (at 14 years old) has been misused at (OUCH!)

The bad guys in this deal are claiming LaraJade baited them? Bull Shit!! You think they’d cry foul if someone blatantly ripped off one of THEIR copyrighted images? You bet they would! They’re counting on LaraJade to not be able to raise the money to sue in Texas (she’s in the UK). That may turn out to be the case. All the same, time to raise the temperature up on these dolts. Sometimes money isn’t the determining factor of who wins/loses in the public court of opinions.

Help out please! Read her Flickr post and rally to her help in the blogosphere.

Might DIGG her story too… here.