Mar 13

Nobody is Calling Anyone Anymore

telephone With the new technologies out there, actual phone conversations seem like they are going away for good. 

I have a teen-aged boy. He has a phone, but I’ve only seen him actually ‘talking’ on it once or twice.  For some reason, texting is a far better alternative for him and most others.  And Text he does. Thousands over the course of a month. I’m just amazed.

Thankfully there is unlimited text plans.

I think the big draw to texting is that the conversation can’t be overheard. When you’re talking on the phone, your words are being picked up by everybody else in the room, and perhaps those in the next room. Texting, on the other hand, is more difficult to eavesdrop on. Sure a parent can go back and look at the history, but that can be deleted.

Personally though, there’s just something about hearing the other person’s voice that makes the conversation so much more satisfying.  I’m not opposed to text messages. I use that form of communication daily. But often the awkwardness of typing on a tiny screen and being limited to 256 characters is just too restrictive.

And also, somehow I think my wife would rather receive an actual phone call when I’m away on a business trip than a short misspelled text message “LOL, hvn a great tme in cali. TTFN  :)”.

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I’m all for the free market.  And if we are headed for better forms of communication that are more convenient than the telephone, I’m all for it.

Just don’t invent it and then ban me from using it while I’m driving.   :)

Mar 12

Privacy vs. convenience: How we enable data mining

This Data Mining is one of the most important issues of our generation.

As I point out in my other post Google is Evil, there is no end to what web companies know about you. 

I just have to ask… Is this OK with you?  I mean maybe it’s not a big deal that every aspect of your life is being recorded.  What do you think?

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I would love to hear your perspective on the issue.

Mar 11

Shouldn’t we reserve legislation for systemic problems?

laws This country in general, and Oregon in specific has a sever lack of perspective  with regard to the laws we let our representatives discuss and pass.  We’re passing bills left and right and the public mindset for some reason seems to be “the more laws, the better”. I feel like I’m the only one in Oregon that thinks congress should just stop passing laws. Period. Stick to solving our current budget crisis.

I cringe when I hear someone say we need a “bi-partisan effort” and get this legislation passed “for the good of the people”. Or “Congress needs to work together on this”. No they don’t. There are very few laws in the past 20 years that have actually been for the “good of the people”.  Honestly, we’ve passed thousands, and I really can’t think of one off the top of my head that is actually beneficial.

Our state and federal reps routinely use rare one-off events as excuses to change huge facets of our way of life.

One person gets mad in traffic and shoots someone else, so we draft sweeping road rage laws. Is road-rage really a problem? Of course not. The incidents are extremely rare.  But it’s a good excuse to pass a law.

A careless biker gets hit by a car, so we pass tight restrictions and stiff fines for drivers who look at a cycler wrong.

Give a job to someone who is not an “approved” government sanctioned minority and you could face prison time.

One kid in some rural town accidentally gets shot playing with their father’s gun so let’s make it illegal for anyone to own a firearm…  till the end of time.

No Smoking in public; No talking on cell phones while driving; No bike trailers carrying children under 6; No eating fattening French Fries; No guns – ever; No walking people to the airport terminal;  No liquids on the plane; Red light cameras at every intersection; On-star tracking in every car;

Isn’t it time we just STOP making laws?

The Oregon House approved a bill Thursday that would remove legal protection for parents who choose faith healing over medical intervention when treating their children.

The bill passed unanimously, though two Republican representatives raised concerns that the legislation was taking the issue away from juries and sending the state down a slippery slope.

The legislation comes in response to an Oregon City church, the Followers of Christ, that has a long history of child deaths even though the conditions from which the children died were medically treatable.

Oregon House unanimously votes to end faith healing exception | OregonLive.com

I hate it when these fringe churches and Christian sects do stupid things that make the rest of us look bad.  I can’t stand the thought of people letting their children die of very curable illnesses. I think it’s stupid, irresponsible and shows the gospel in a very negative light. But really, that’s beside the point. This legislation is potentially dangerous if walked out to it’s logical end and ultimately infringes on the religious (and ethical) rights of all US citizens.

I agree that this is a bad situation. But can’t we find a better solution to this isolated incident of stupidity than making a state-wide law?

 

Am I way off here?

Mar 10

I just found Blogging Ease.

 

It seems to me that the second biggest hurdle to blogging is the ease of use factor. Before today, when I wanted to write a blog post I had to think about it, gather my images and content, go to the web site, log in, wrestle with the blog interface, struggle with uploading images, and eventually hit “post” after previewing and altering a draft version 5 or 6 times.

 

The first hurdle for me is coming up with an idea or topic to write about.

Example Picture to the left: (very easy to insert images)

Fortunately, today I have found a solution to both of these problems… hopefully.

This article you’re reading is being created with a program that you veteran bloggers have probably been using for years but I’ve just discovered.  It’s called “Windows Live Writer” and it comes as part of  a FREE Windows Essentials Pack.

Windows Live Writer is a stand alone program that will simply post content to your blogs.  But the great thing is that the interface just feels better.  Inserting images is a breeze. And formatting text, creating links, spell checking, adding tags and video clips seems just, well, sort-of natural; like a MS Word environment.

Writer also has a live preview feature that allows you to see exactly how the post is going to look on your site. It’s a simple click of a button.

But the greatest thing is that I have found browser plug-ins for the program.  The program install automatically creates an IE plug-in, but there are also plug-ins available for FireFox as well. I can now simply highlight a section of text on any website, click the little icon in my browser and it automatically opens the program, inserts the highlighted text, and titles the article for me. How convenient is that?

How to Install

 

Conclusion

So, if you are a blogger or like to try out new blogging tools, take a look at Windows Live Writer.  So far, I love it.  But I’ll post more after using it a few time and let you know what I think then.

Do you have any experience with this program?  Has it helped your blogging out?  Let me know in the comments below.