Baby shower

With family in from Ohio and with all our extended family and friends Maggie and I enjoyed a wonderful baby shower Sunday. Mom, Dad, Grandma and my Aunt Mary arrived Friday for the weekend festivities.
baby cakeNeedless to say this cake was amazing. (The Cake Lady located on Kinnickinnic) We were very careful to drive cautiously on the way to the party.

I was just overwhelmed by the generosity of gifts we received. It was a perfect day: perfect weather, perfect stories and a lot of laughs. Countdown is now minus six weeks.

Technorati Tags: cake lady

Hello world!

Welcome to my own WordPress site. Decided to move from wordpress.com so I can edit the blog structure and script elements not permitted at the free hosting site. Looking forward to customized this communication tool. Enjoy! Technorati Profile

David Halberstam RIP

Mr. Halberstam,

Your writing is a true gift. I cannot recall how many times professors would talk about your work and the impact of your writing. The highlight for me was also one of my favorite classes in college: The Vietnam War. This class was taught by one of my favorite professors Dr. Charles Debenedetti. Our class text was Vietnam: A History by Stanley Karnow and Dispatches by Michael Herr. I also read A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam by Neil Sheehan.

War in a Time of Peace was an enjoyable read for me and foreshadows the US war in Iraq. For some reason I cannot explain why it took me so long to start The Best and the Brightest. Last night I stopped at page 44 and awoke to hear of your tragic passing. I was stunned and saddened.

Thank you for being a great writer. Writers are heroes.

Tags: , Vietnam, The Best and the Brightest, Charles Debenedetti

Latest read: Koba the dread

Martin Amis’ 2002 work Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million is another post-USSR look at Stalin’s brutal rule in Russia.  “It loves blood, the Russian earth.”

Koba the dread

Did you think I forgot all my interest in Russian and Soviet studies? I received a wonderful birthday gift from my brother Chris. Three books about Stalin, war with Germany and ultimately about sadness.

It is very difficult (again) to acknowledge the use of famine as a method of control. Both executed by Lenin and Stalin was so inhuman, yet effective for Soviet control of the non-Russian regions of the USSR. Was it not horrific enough that Stalin bled Ukraine, the fertile lands that kept his Bolsheviks temporarily alive?

Again, like Solzhenitsyn‘s The Gulag Archipelago: 1918-1956, Amis reveals the true horror of Stalin’s rule. How many people were shot on Stalin’s orders?
Continue reading “Latest read: Koba the dread”

Copywrong … again

wkrpAs you may know the well known television series WKRP in Cincinnati has been butchered due to copyright. And yes I am old enough to have watched this show growing up in Ohio…which made me feel good about the fact that every television show in America did not have to be about life in New York or LA.  I also remember the 11 kids killed at The Who concert in Cincinnati back in December 1979…and the WKRP episode regarding the tragedy.

All the music played in the background of the show has been replaced by Muzak. Wired ran a story about the individual responsible for making all the changes.

Really shows how copyright limits our culture. This bothers me on many levels. If I did watch an episode and heard a song that struck a cord…I’d buy the damn thing on iTunes.

Technorati Tags: , copyright, music business

Latest read: Naked Conversations

With a lot of anticipation I read Robert Scoble’s Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers.

naked conversations

For some time I had been skimming his blog Scoblizer since he became Microsoft’s first official blogger and rose to instant superstar.

As if that ‘permission’ by Microsoft made blogging okay for Corporate America. While his feed is loaded in my NetNewsWire this book is really really entry level…or if you have not read any book about blogging.

While many on Amazon rave about it (maybe my expectations are too high) it really is a rehash of plain – common – sense approaches to having honest communication or “chats” via a blog.

Maybe for the mid-size corporation looking to communicate to their customers…but don’t good companies talk to their customers already?

Boreas comes to Wisconsin

Wisconsin is moving in the right digital direction, literally at the speed of light. Announced yesterday the UW System is connected to a new network named Boreas.

Boreas was the name of the Greek God of the North Wind, but today it is knows as the Broadband Optical Research, Education and Sciences Network. This enhances UW-Madison’s connection to the high speed Internet2 network about 20,000 times faster.

Yes a leap in network speed x 20,000. Its part of a larger Regional Optical Network or RON, connecting the UW system to Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and the University of Minnesota.

This serious bandwidth increase cements Wisconsin (and the Midwest) as a base for future economic development, federal research and education. Quite simply to be “in the arena” of computing power and research collaboration the jump was necessary to remain at the top in today’s globalized world. Update posted at The Chronicle

Tags: , Boreas, Internet2, network, Madison

Visual plagiarism

While searching for Masters hilights I found AT&T’s Blue room media directory. Their visual identity jumped right out as a copy of Terena, Europe’s version of Internet2, a high speed academic research network.

 

terena at&t blueroom

Terena’s brand identity was redesigned in late 2006 and incorporates their identity into their website layout. AT&T’s blue room favors music, sports and gaming media….but no idea on when it was introduced.

So who is hurting who’s brand?

 

Technorati Tags: , branding, Terena, at&t, creative, graphic design, logo

Copywrong

The real golden rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.
I’m always disappointed to see how copyright handcuffs what an artist can create. For example:

stitcher

This message is from RealViz’s Stitcher program, a photographic virtual reality rendering program. “Due to legal issues” you cannot look at an image if the camera focal length is really wide.

What could a visual artist create without this man made limitation?

Technorati Tags: , photography, virtual reality, artist, creative

Saturday Night Massacre Remix?

A chance to remix history? Confused by the current developments inside the Beltway regarding the firing of attorneys in the Justice Department? Millions of emails regarding this process are “missing” resulting in another Bush Administration scandal. Now the Democratic congress is seeking communication as to understand the process that lead to the firings. As the NYTimes reported:

“Taken together, Democrats asserted, the e-mail supported their contention that the ousted prosecutors were dismissed to make room for favored candidates who were chosen on the basis of their political qualifications as much as prosecutorial experience.”

Today the Times revealed Rachel L. Brand being considered the top political appointment for Federal Prosecutor in the Western District of Michigan admitted she “never prosecuted so much as a traffic case.” Brilliant.

The Saturday Night Massacre October 20, 1973: Special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox subpoenaed tapes of key White House conversations regarding the growing Watergate scandal.

october 21, 1973President Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson resigned in protest.

Nixon then instructed Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox. Ruckelshaus also refused and was fired by Nixon.

Facing a crisis, Nixon turned to Solicitor General Robert Bork (third in line to the Attorney General) who fired Cox. The event was hyper escalated when the FBI sealed the offices of Richardson, Ruckelshaus and Coxs.
Continue reading “Saturday Night Massacre Remix?”

Latest read: The Long Tail

I read about Chris Anderson’s Long Tail in Wired Magazine back in the day (2004 – wow how time really flies) and immediately recognized the Amazon story. Chris turned that article into a book: The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More. Pretty compelling for the opening chapters…but then it just rehashes itself over the last four or five chapters. His website provides the surface overview that fits the needs of the book. NYTimes book review

How many books can you tap into at a local reseller? Two or three thousand? Try competing against Amazon’s millions of titles. Overwhelming only to their competition. Anyone in Toledo remember Thackery’s bookstore? I do — and still miss that store every time I visit. It was a hangout when I was off campus.

Once able to purchase your own unique tastes in music, movies, television shows and books (for example) the idea of a retail store just turns into a sink hole.

Retail locations justify selling only the top 100 popular titles in music, movies, TV and books to pay for electricity, staff and rental space. Clearly this model is broken. Your given few selections, and the limited selection is forced to mass audiences — but not your own niche interests.

Today on in the internet you can find any niche, regardless of age and download it to your computer. Sadly the only thing standing in the way of a massive long tail is copyright.

While Walmart can outsell at fixed locations based upon pricing for the top 100 DVDs, Netflix will fill your niche filled with thousands of opportunities that Walmart cannot cost justify.

Continue reading “Latest read: The Long Tail”

Google’s new “My Maps”

Google continues to revolutionize the way social networks can thrive in a web2.0 world. The only problem with this is the amount of time it will take to render VR imaging for My Maps.

Now the challenge for Google Earth will be to permit users to embed rich media (Flash, QuickTime VR) into these elements…then the interactive element would really fly if they can sync rotation of the VR object and Google Earth. I’m ready for the next release of Google Earth to support that feature!

A beautiful view of Kaneohe Bay on the island of Oahu. Click here to enjoy this in real-time.

nuuana pali

Technorati Tags: Google, My maps, photography, Nuuau Pali, trends