You’re So Vain

You probably think this blog is about you.

Well… Maybe….

I’m not even sure this blog is about me. Probably it is not about you. Instead, it making a generalization. You know, those statements which are based on false reductionist approaches and assume some random event represents the key to solving everything.


Stop taking things personally.

Unless derogatory language is used to directly describe you (specifically named or tonal inflection used on a noun which can only refer to you), something is not a personal attack.

Your operating system of choice… is… not… you. Unless you were the creator, in which case you do have the right to think of yourself as the operating system. Ironically, the creators seem to be the only sane ones.

The science fiction serials or soap operas you watch… are… not… you.

The software of the human brain seeks to identify when others have wronged us in some way. This justifies violence or at least harsh words. Except, this software was designed for interactions thousands of years ago when we operated in small tribal groups where we knew the people with which we daily interacted. Someone who wronged us would be someone who knew where we slept. Not a faceless entity anywhere on the globe. We have laws because the software is incapable of handling the modern social dilemmas of one-off interactions.

So stop acting like Cro-Magnons.

Start acting like you have compassion. Because through such acting, your software will start actually having compassion.

Green is Pretty?

Weird dream this morning before I woke:

I was walking around familiar places in my home town with a woman I know from there and her niece. Every where we went, sites looked way prettier than they appear now.

In every commercial area between the road and parking lots were 10 feet tall berms with decorative trees along the top and azalea bushes at the base. Every parking lot had its own holding pond for the water the lots displace.

Buildings were multi-story and huddled together in bunches. Even the corner gas station I visited most days after school was now just the first floor with the Walgreens down the road now occupying the second floor and the offices catercorner on the third through fifth floors. Every building was somewhere between light and dark brown.

Signs were no bigger than 4′ x 2′. None of these huge monstrosities one can see from miles down the road.

Philosophically, I would not portray myself as politically green. The environment falls pretty low when ranked against things I consider politically important. (Not even in the top 5 or 10.)

Also, I am lazy. Don’t make me have to exert disciplined behavior to effect change. Just change it in small steps towards what it should be. I’ll notice, but the small steps ensure I’ll be upset for maybe 24 hours and over the course of a few weeks will no longer care.

Hopefully the politics are not invading my sleep?

Integrating With Facebook

At least a couple years ago, I set up the Facebook Notes app to import this blog’s posts as notes. By setting this up, a number of friends have taking to commenting on my posts. I get far more comments on Facebook than I do here.

However, this was a horrible way to get traffic to this blog.

  1. All of the text and images go into Fb Notes. Nevermind the terms of service. People looking at my blog posts think I wrote it in Facebook. Unless they are observant enough to see “View Original Post” links in tiny text, they have no idea about the blog which was originally the point. When I cross post stuff to multiple blogs I make it obvious the other places it exists.
  2. Embedded videos get stripped from Fb Notes. Lately, I have been posting embedded TED Talks videos here. So I have to think about how to change my posts to accommodate Facebook.

So, I discovered some friends who are also photographers on Facebook use an app called NetworkedBlogs. (They are Flip!Photography, Invisible Green Photography, and Stylized Portraiture.) Once configured, this app will post to my and friends’ (on my behalf) Facebook Walls a link to my wall. The format of the posts look similar to when a link is posted, such as a thumbnail.

The setup is also fairly easy. Enter the location, description, category, and email for your blog. Prove it is yours whether by having others verify it belongs to you or placing code on the site. Finally, go to “Feed Settings” link and click “Auto-publish to personal profile”.

I am hopeful this solves my problem. If so, then I have another blog to setup. (Someone asked to buy that domain. I guess I asked too much for it?)

TED Talk: Taryn Simon

My favorite quote from Taryn is, “Photography threatens fantasy.” Disney uses intricate interior design, photography, and video to construct fantasy. Advertisements, magazines, weddings, and portraits are about showing others the ideal instead of the reality. Have you seen the Dove Evolution video? (This one has music and singing by a Baha’i musician Devon Gundry.) What about the Ralph Lauren photo?

Reality bites. Hard.

(See Taryn Simon photographs secret sites on the TED site)

TED About this talk: Taryn Simon exhibits her startling take on photography — to reveal worlds and people we would never see otherwise. She shares two projects: one documents otherworldly locations typically kept secret from the public, the other involves haunting portraits of men convicted for crimes they did not commit.

Also: Taryn on Charlie Rose, Discomfort Zone (Telegraph)

Useful User Agents

Rather than depend on end users to accurately report the browser used, I look for the user-agent in the web server logs. (Yes, I know it can be spoofed. Power users would be trying different things to resolve their own issues not coming to us.)

Followers of this blog may recall I changed the Weblogic config.xml to record user agents to the webserver.log.

One trick I use is the double quotes in awk to identify just the user agent. This information is then sorting by name to count (uniq -c) how many of each is present. Finally, I sort again by number with the largest at the top to see which are the most common.

grep <term> webserver.log | awk -F\” ‘{print $2}’ | sort | uniq -c | sort -n -r

This is what I will use looking for a specific user. If I am looking at a wider range, such as the user age for hits on a page, then I probably will use the head command to look at the top 20.

A “feature” of this is getting the build (Firefox 3.011) rather than just the version (Firefox 3). For getting the version, I tend to use something more like this to count the found version out of the log.

grep <term> webserver.log | awk -F\” ‘{print $2}’ | grep -c ‘<version>’

I have yet to see many CE/Vista URIs with the names of web browsers. So these are the most common versions one would likely find (what to grep – name – notes):

  1. MSIE # – Microsoft Internet Explorer – I’ve seen 5 through 8 in the last few months.
  2. Firefox # – Mozilla Firefox – I’ve seen 2 through 3.5. There is enough difference between 3 and 3.5 (also 2 and 2.5) I would count them separately.
  3. Safari – Apple/WebKit – In searching for this one, I would add to the search a ‘grep -v Chrome’ or to eliminate Google Chrome user agents.
  4. Chrome # – Google Chrome – Only versions 1 and 2.

Naturally there many, many others. It surprised me to see iPhone and Android on the list.

NRA Poll

The National Rifle Association needs better pollsters. It might help to keep off the list people who are going to analyze your question for how it might be used and provide an answer just to be contrarian.

An “Andy Bush” (I think that was the name) asked in a phone poll:

Do you think 3rd world dictatorships and Hillary Clinton should determine US gun rights?

Apparently I was supposed to forget their own VP Wayne LaPierre in a recorded message (portrayed as live) described the United Nations as a bunch of 3rd world dictators. LaPierre has for years claimed the UN deliberations about buying the illicit arms in African war torn areas somehow means taking American firearms but omitted anything about Africa from his message. Shame on me for being well read to know the background information so as to not be completely swayed by the spin. In the recorded message he also described the United States Congress as willing to hand our country over to the dictators. (Whatever that means.)

This message and question are deliberately framed the so the only possible answer is “No.” At the time I could not see this question as possibly being shown in any publication as anyone would dismiss the question as so completely skewed the results are meaningless.

Such an attempt to manipulate me annoyed me, so I answered “Yes” just to waste as much of their time as they did mine. Andy Bush sounded confused when he asked me if I said “Yes”. He asked if I wanted to change my mind.

Next time ask me a legitimate question to get an real answer.

Bayeux Tapestry

At least a couple years ago I read 1066: The Hidden History in the Bayeux Tapestry which is a great book. It has all the great elements of an epic story. Betrayal, decapitation, romance, impalement, and prisoner exchange make appearances. The Battle of Hastings amuses me just setting the stage for the merging of Frisian and French. Of course, my brother was named somewhat for William the Conquerer.

Elizabeth posted this well done Youtube video.

Animated version of the Bayeux Tapestry. Starts about halfway through the original work at the appearence of Halley’s Comet and concludes at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

Why Read Books?

That I read books probably lowers my highly coveted geek cred. Instead, e-books read on the computer screen, phone screen, or e-book reader should have long ago replaced reading on dead wood. Unfortunately, I am intentionally avoiding reading books much on computers, phone, or readers.

  1. Why I need a purseNo purse to carry more stuff. I have big fingers, so I need stuff with big buttons. Things like iPhones are maddening to use because I cannot seem to hit the buttons correctly. Things with lots of big buttons tend to be big which makes them a pain to carry.

  2. Never underestimate my ability to break toys. Only the most resilient of electronic toys survive me. It isn’t uncommon for my laptops, phones, or cameras to experience 5 foot falls. Everything I carry with me ends up with marks from the abuse even books. Paper can take the abuse. I have no faith e-book readers could maintain their screens from being around me.
  3. Computers tend to tempt me to fail at multi-tasking. When I shut down my computer to go home, I typically have at the minimum a dozen windows. (Even the client I use to connect to my servers usually can fill that dozen.) Reading on a computer rarely will result in more than a page of reading every 10 minutes. Because blog posts are usually pretty short, distractions have less chance to interfere with reading them.
  4. Books are common enough people accept them as normal. Cool toys attract attention. I’d expect an expensive phone or e-reader or laptop to attract the kind of attention which results in theft. Books are cheap few would care to go to the effort.
  5. Phone are becoming more like computers. What I don’t want is a phone (or another device) which I treat like my computer, aka failing at multi-tasking. Just today I squared 1024 on paper instead of using the calculator on my phone. Having access to the Internet through my phone could be bad for keeping me on task.
  6. Why faux paper when you could use paper? The e-book readers market how much their technology looks like paper. Paper looks, feels, smells, and tastes like paper.
  7. Spending money on a device to get to read seems counter-intuitive. The devices should be subsidized by the content. But that would mean Amazon $10 books would cost more like $20.

Typically I don’t change until I have a problem with what I am using. Books don’t cause me problems. So I am happy to continue to read books for the foreseeable future.

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes Originally uploaded by Ezra F

Yesterday was the second Athens, GA Strobist meeting. Like the first meeting, it was fun and informative. I really ought to invest in my own setup to practice outside these meets.

Maybe it is time to start selling my work so I can afford more gear.

Missing about 4 people. Photographers sites: 1) Erik (Onelight), 2) David, 3) Sherri (Onelight), 4) Wes, 5) Sara, 6) Steven, 7) Tim

I’m excited to see their photos.