Friday, January 16, 2009

The Era of Clinton, Remembered...

Next week we'll officially enter the Obama Era, but before we do here's a quick (and totally indulgent) reminder of the good old days of Clinton (The First)'s reign. I promise this will be the last Clinton remembrance/ Clinton "shoulda been" for at least a little while. Old folks will remember that "Don't Stop Thinkin' About Tomorrow" was WJC's campaign anthem...


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Random Thought: Facebook Friends and Photos

So I was talking (or really more like arguing) with H the other day about Facebook friends.  It seems that he is losing Facebook friends left and right, for no apparent reason - and he is noticing because he monitors his number of friends.  Personally, I don't monitor the number of friends I have - I just know it is over 1,234 because GWCharlie pointed it out when I was at 1,233 - urging me to get to 1-2-3-4.  I just checked ... I have 1,325 friends (I'll check again tomorrow and let you know what the number is).

Anyway ... back to H ... He wonders why all these people are de-friending him or deactivating their accounts (he loses about a friend per day).  I thought that was a bunch of hogwash (I've never used that term, but it seems fun), and said that I thought it was just Facebook being stupid.  Back in the old days - when it was theFacebook (If you don't remember that, you suck) - I used to monitor my friend number ... and it used to fluctuate.  It would never constantly lose people - but it moved around, and I always just thought it was because Facebook had trouble counting.  Thinking about it H's hypothesis really makes more sense, but I insisted that I was correct.

Then he started accusing me of not knowing all 1,325 of my friends - and I conceded that I probably would only say hello to and/or have a conversation with about 1,100 of them (maybe 1,000 at the very least).  And of those other 300-400,  I would probably at least nod hello to half of them ... so that leaves 200 people that I really don't even know.  I generally have a strict rule about not friending people I don't really know, but even the best of rules gets broken now and again (apparently I broke my own rule quite frequently).  H suggested I go through my friends and clear out the people I don't know - something that seemed unnecessarily time consuming to me.

So I came up with the greatest idea ... I am also sending it to Facebook as a suggestion.  I personally think that all of us could use a friend purge from time to time, just because there are people who you add who you really don't know.  I think Facebook should prompt you - on the two year anniversary of a friendship - to find out if you are still friends with someone?  Just a simple "Do you know who X is?" and a button to "Remain Facebook Friends" or "Remove Facebook Friend".   I would assume that somewhere in Facebook's code is planted the date that we all became friends with each other - and if not, they can add it effective the implementation of the feature.  With all previous friends they could start a rolling-friend check ... and have it go through and check all your non-dated friends, slowly (to not overwhelm you all at once).

Thoughts?  I personally think its a great idea.

Along those lines it should be noted - I am going to spread some knowledge about Facebook customs.  If you know someone, and have interacted with them - you should remain friends.  
* If myself and Mr. X were grave enemies - we should be Facebook friends, we know each other and have dealt with each other.  
* If myself and Mrs. Y were once really good friends but had a falling out - we should still be Facebook friends, we knew each other for a long time and clearly had a friendship.  
* If myself and Mr. T went to high school with each other and would recognize each other on the street - we should be Facebook friends.

I have learned that some people just don't understand the concept of Facebook friends ... so I am here to teach you all.

So you might ask ... if I have such strict rules about how people who don't know eachother that well should remain friends - what purpose does this feature have?  Well, once in a while you meet people at a party, or online, or a friend of a friend - who after two years you realize that you don't really know this person, wouldn't say hi on the streets, and probably shouldn't be Facebook friends.  That is where this feature would come in handy.

Also ... I would like to touch on the issue of Facebook pictures.  This is an issue of great contention between me and the rest of the world.  And it probably has to do with my confused/distorted reality of the world and Facebook...  But to me, Facebook is a representation of you created by you and assisted by the world - this isn't a yearbook, everything isn't perfect.  I'm sure most people would agree with that.  And while I certainly frown upon it, I understand if you don't allow anyone to see pictures that are tagged of you.  But what I don't understand is people who de-tag pictures that they deem are unattractive, or unbecoming.

The purpose of tagging a picture is to show you - if you are in the picture, no matter how ridiculous you look - you should be tagged.  Done and done.  Everyone has bad pictures taken of them ... it is a fact, it happens, people understand.  If someone is Facebook stalking you and sees 15 bad pictures out of 100 - they aren't going to think about the bad ones - they are going to think about all of them.   Yet if I stalk someone who only has the most perfect pictures of them up, I wonder what is wrong with them.  Are they insecure?  Do they have a distorted reality of the world?  Clearly something is wrong that they seem to find the need to only portray themselves in an unrealistic, perfect light.

I realize I am in minority on this one ... and have stopped fighting with my friends over it - but I seek to start a change.  Join with me, leave a comment on this thread and take the pledge ... take the pledge to stop de-tagging pictures of yourself in Facebook picture - people deserve to see the real you.

America.  Out.

Apple without Steve Jobs

Unless you have been living under a rock you have heard that Steve Jobs is leaving Apple 'temporarily' - until June; due to continually worsening health issues.

As expected Apple stock has taken a nose dive ... which is frustrating.

In Steve's absence, Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook will be taking over.Bold  Tim has taken over before in Jobs' absence, and is an excellent leader.

I won't copy and paste the entire article - because I am pretty sure it is illegal to do so, but Bloomberg (cite H) has an excellent article on Tim's leadership style.  You can check it out by clicking here.  Here is an excerpt about Cook:
“He is the master of the Socratic method -- he will continue to ask why and why and why,” said Janes, who is now CEO of an event-ticket search-engine company called FanSnap Inc. in Palo Alto, California. “If you’re not prepared, it can be a very uncomfortable place.”

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Citizen's Oath

As we all know there has been a great amount of hype and interest in President-Elect Obama's impending inauguration; possibly more so than any modern inaugural. Even more important (I think) has been the renewed interest and excitement in coming together as a nation and fostering a new culture of service.

John F. Kennedy famously said in his inaugural speech that Americans should "...ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Whether or not you agreed with his politics, I'm confident everyone can agree with that sentiment. I'm very hopeful that we will see this renewed attitude of citizen-engagement and national service stay for the long run, not be a short-lived A.D.D asterisk in American history.

For my part, I'm making a new year's resolution to be more active and involved in my communities (neighborhood, local, and national -- thanks, Charlie!), but I'm taking it a slight step further and also taking the Citizen's Oath. By doing so with friends and family on Inauguration Day I hope to accomplish two things:
  1. Coaxing them into joining me in taking the Oath
  2. Enlisting their help in keeping me true to my Oath.
The Citizen's Oath was created by the National Conference on Citizenship (a non-partisan non-profit that I've mentioned before, mainly focusing on civic engagement and "defining modern citizenship") and first administered by Senators Harris Wofford and Robert Byrd on Citizenship Day 2006.

I encourage everyone to take the Oath this year, either on Inauguration Day with the Prez-elect, today, tomorrow, whenever. I find this to be a much more meaningful expression of patriotism than the Pledge of Allegiance or any other affirmation I have seen yet.

Here it is:

As an American I embrace the responsibilities of self-government.

-I PLEDGE to learn and live the principles set forth in the charters that define our freedoms: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

-I PLEDGE to keep myself informed about the challenges that face our country and world, and to work with others to meet those challenges.

-I PLEDGE to assist persons in need, and thereby strengthen the bonds among us.

-I PLEDGE to register and vote when I am of age, in every election in which I am eligible.

-I PLEDGE to conduct myself according to the highest standards of civic decency, to foster those standards throughout my community and to expect them of all public officials.

Through these acts, I commit myself to building a more just, humane, and ethical nation, for my own and all future generations.

**For more on the Citizen's Oath or the history of the Presidential Oath of Office, visit NCoC's guide on their website here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Connecticut Ave Closed

Connectiquette Connecticut Ave was closed earlier today. Read the full article here. To summarize, there was a suspicious looking truck.

Wapo Reports...
Police summoned bomb technicians and dogs trained to detect explosives, and the dogs identified a second vehicle -- a commercial van -- that was nearby on Connecticut Avenue and apparently contained chemicals that smelled suspicious, Hughes said.

Joggers and Dog Walkers ,were informed to take alternate routes. More details to come.

Cleveland park metro station was closed as well!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Why we should love Sliced Bread

When, i was a kid, my mom use to say " That is the Best thing since sliced bread", well i kinda thought the dinosaurs invented sliced bread, thus everything was cool since the dinosaurs. However, i grossly over estimated the luxury of sliced bread. I will not make this another study abroad blog, but rather a interesting post on what life would be like without sliced bread.

After going to Tesco, a English grocery store, I noticed none of the bread in the store is sliced. I thought the English were backwards with their use of Microsoft Outlook, and a computer lab full of Microsoft 2000 (ME). Yet I still had hope that it would stop there, but apparently they do not slice their bread. Although they have a better recycling center, including using 98% of a demolished building to create another one. 

It takes several attempts to cut one's own bread. I was not really sure how large to make the piece. Also, i never eat the ends first because the whole roll will get stale if i do that. So with my Blunt Knife i hacked away at this loaf. Let me tell you, i must like my sandwiches thin, because that's the way it came out.

If anyone thinks they can cut their own bread, i say bring it, i would like to see a proper method. This Idiot vegetarian  attempts to explain it here 

Warren Reversal?

Well, okay, not quite a reversal. But perhaps in response to the (unexpected?) level of outrcry from the gay community, the Inaugural Committee has announced that openly gay Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson is set to lead a prayer during Inauguration Week. While this is hardly the full-fledged bully pulpit that gay basher Rick Warren is set to enjoy at the inauguration itself, Robinson is scheduled to lead a prayer at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday in an inaugural kick-off event the Obama team is (surprisingly/creatively) calling "We Are One".

While I personally don't think this does much to remove the taint Warren brings to the Inaugural festivities, at least this is a sign that the Obama camp is acknowledging the the gay community's feelings about that choice. Instead of walking back the Warren announcement or asking for Warren to withdraw from the event they've simply added a pro-gay voice to balance out the anti-gay voice. Great policy? Probably not. Good precedent? I'd say no. But maybe it's a sign that Mr. Obama hasn't entirely sold the gay community up the creek.

I just hope that this whole episode isn't a sign of things to come in the new administration. If they somehow make a wrong step or upset one of their constituent groups the plan is to admit no error, call it "open-mindedness", and then just offer the wronged/upset party a consolation prize. Either you're being bold and 'audacious' by taking a brave stance (in this case by staying by Warren) or you aren't; nothing is accomplished by trying to appease everyone. That's just politics.

Barack Obama: Open Minded Uniter, or Cynical Pol? I'm tempted to say that latter. What are your thoughts?