Bottle v Tap

Its funny what people think about something we take for granted. Brown tap municipal tap water was stated as the reason for drinking bottled water. Is it a corporate v goverment thing? Is it because bottled water is so much more expensive than tap water so it must be better?

From Coca-Cola’s letter to the state of California about what is in DASANI water:

Most facilities that purify and bottle DASANI procure water from municipal water systems. At a few plants, however, water is obtained from protected groundwater sources managed by the bottling plant, with approvals from local authorities. DASANI® Bottled Water Report as required by California SB 220 (PDF)

It goes on to describe what they do to purify the water they procure: activated carbon filtration, reverse osmosis, ultraviolet light disinfection, re-mineralized, ozonation. So the municipalities get the water to within EPA standards but not FDA standards. Companies selling bottled water have to adhere to the FDA standard not the EPA. Maybe its a good thing: “Generally, over the years, the FDA has adopted EPA standards for tap water as standards for bottled water.” FDA Consumer magazine: Bottled Water: Better Than the Tap? (Should we be worried the same overworked agency which lets us get hit with all kinds of bacteria is protecting us from bad water?)

Athens-Clarke County Public Utilities Department has a similar report where they list how the water exceeds the EPA standards.

Personally, I would love everyone producing water to publish reports about their water quality with the amounts of detected contaminants listed as is shown in this DASANI analysis example. Too bad its just an example of a typical analysis. Anyone know where the real DASANI quality reports might be found?

Brainwashed

People do weird things. Often these are due to the operant conditioning or classical conditioning inflicted on them. Its funny I’ve been seeing references lately to these to describe….

  • Email – Like Skinner’s pigeons, we hit the button to check for new messages hoping to get something. The intermittent reinforcement of not getting a new message with every click just helps strengthen the behavior.
  • Twitter – Similar to email, click the button and hope for something good.
Are we our habits? Or are we something more?

Fine Print

One of the employees at Last Resort Grill was mutually entertaining a toddler. Overheard her talking about it, “He’s totally flirting with me.” I found it funny. When she happened by my table, I asked her about it.

She said entertaining the kids is part of the fine print of the job. Additionally, people have asked employees to take kids to the restroom, watch the kids for an undetermined amount of time, sanitary napkins on clothing, etc.

In answer to how all these experiences will help her career, she related dealing with all these issues to learning how to deal with unexpected circumstances.

Is there a job worth doing where we don’t have to think about what is being done? If someone cannot make creative decisions, then isn’t the job better done by technology?

Being Judgemental

Mom sent me The Edison Gene: ADHD and the Gift of the Hunter Child for my birthday a while back. This is the latest book I have been reading while eating. So last night, I put Chelsea on the spot by asking her, “Which would you rather be judged by: what you do or who you are?” Yes, it was a trick question. More on that later.

Her first choice was what she does, but she quickly flipped to who she is. I smiled my most evil smile. The longer I smiled, the more she thought about it and was torn about which was the right answer.

The trick was, according to Thom Hartmann, our culture judges boys by a standard of what they do and girls by a standard of who they are. This dual standard ends up in boys getting overly recommended for ADHD testing. However, I see this kind of difference in evaluating people as one of the reasons for glass ceilings. People have a hard time achieving unless measured on the same scale.

So, that Chelsea could not pick prior to even hearing what it actually meant was funny to me.

Bb 9 is NextGen?

UPDATE: Have another source who disagrees with Badge who made the claim below.

———

Hopefully this is true. I’d hate to be spreading a false rumor. Anyone willing to confirm? 😀

According to J. L. Badge, Blackboard 9 will be the “NextGen” product we are… *cough* eagerly… *ahem* waiting to see. John Fontaine was in our building Thursday. He mentioned NextGen several times. I must have fallen asleep to have missed a version number was mentioned when he talked about NextGen. It makes me wonder if Jan Posten Day’s recent blog post re: Blackboard Ide Exchange is to elicit early feedback on NextGen?

Certainly, if Bb9 is The One and people can get a first look at BbWorld ’08, then the conference will be mobbed. Lovely.

The “Too little, too late.” comment is funny. Apparently he is professor who has moved on to hanging out by himself in Second Life. A little ahead of the curve.

My interest for Blackboard products are 1) stability, 2) deployments, and 3) doing tier 3+ support well. These early looks are only going to tell me maybe a bit about #3. I really won’t know what I want to know until I talk to the Bb Perfomance Team and look at the dirt from the command-line. Of course, the elimination of all but a few Java applets deserves for us to lift John Fontaine up on our shoulders and parade him around all during BbWorld ’09.

Maybe Now We’ll Be Heard?

Its funny. Apparently its time consuming for companies to conduct brand analysis (just know what is being said about them). So a niche has been filled by Scout Labs and others. (Hopefully Scout is paying attention and is reading this. Maybe Umbria will also comment their product is better. :D)

On the one hand, I think more companies ought to pay attention. In addition, I hope through honest reflection they use the reactions exposed online to make improvements. For example, I will pick on Blackboard (the company I pick on most). A complaint about documentation from Laura Gekeler’s blog resulted in a contact from a senior director offering help. There are dozens of people who blog about their experiences with Blackboard. I doubt most of them are on the radar of Blackboard’s marketing folks.

How many of these posts help to sway the impressions to Blackboard brands? My readership is tiny. The same compliment issued on my blog, Laura’s blog, and a top blogger would help the brand most coming from the top blogger. So far, except for the patent rumble, the top bloggers and sites like Slashdot have remained mostly silent. The profile of the typical blogger who will mention Blackboard is that of a user. Students mention having to use it for a class. Faculty members mention putting something up for a class they teach. Instructional designers talk about building classes. The smallest but most vocal group are the technical behind the scenes people (like me) who have to make this stuff run. None of these build a huge following. At best we read each others’ blogs so we influence each other than the masses.

Something that used to bother me is the appeal to being a publicly traded company as the reason why they are mostly silent. That is quite okay with me. Just fix it and don’t say anything.
🙂

tag: Blackboard Inc, , brand analysis, ,

Vista’s Third Life?

Scott Schamp is teaching at UGA using Second Life. This is from his blog.

But last Friday, I found myself saying things I never thought I would have to say. “Please don’t sit on the fountain during class. Don’t forget that everyone needs to wear clothes the next time we meet. And, please, try and remember not to fly during class time.”
I Can’t Believe I Just Said That!

Its funny. Years ago, some enterprising faculty members latched onto email for use in conducting class without an actual classroom. Then the web sites become the new online classroom platform. Gee, if that had not happened, then I would have a different career.

Schamp has thoughts along the same lines for use of the web.

SL is a place for minds. It is going to take a while to figure out how we should use it. Frankly, now virtual worlds seem like a powerful creative solution. We just need to find the right problems for virtual worlds to solve. Back in 1994 I felt the same way about the web. It is going to take a lot of patient experimentation to find the best way to harness its potential.

Maybe it will take less than 5 years to see where this technology will take us.

Misleading CNN Information

Yesterday, CNN’s Erica Hill was following a story about 2 pit bulls who got loose and killed a woman in while she slept. My first complaint is citing statistics without saying from where they originated. Only because the of rebuttal guest pointing out the study was based on media reporting incidents rather than police reporting am I able to guess this CDC study (PDF may require additional software) is the one.

The numbers cited by CNN sounded outrageous. Out of 238 deaths, pit bulls were supposedly responsible for 105 (over a 20 year period). It was so outrageous because german shepards, the next highest, were responsible for only 17. Well… the actual study says pit bulls were responsible for 66 deaths and rottweilers for 39 deaths and german shepards for 17 deaths.

Interestingly the authors of the study have these points about legislation for laws restricting the ownership of violent breeds:

  1. fatal attacks have been relatively stable over time (inconsistent with Erica’s question “Why have these attacks increased lately?”, funny given the study is based in large part on media coverage).
  2. different breeds were the dangerous dogs at different points of their study.

At least the mistake got me to read and understand the issue a little better.

Yeah for Fall

It’s 67 F in my apartment this morning. It feels so very good. Over the past week I’ve noticed temperatures have dropped. My apartment retains heat pretty well. Its 42 outside.

I went to visit Cat in Lawrenceville. She asked me to help her with her computers. I knew both were old and one is a Mac. What I didn’t know is she only has a Dial-Up Internet connection, one is a generic (AST) 486, the other a Macintosh LC III, and she didn’t have the ADB cable for the keyboard. She just wanted to get files off these two computers.

So I was able to get her the files she wanted off the 486 without any trouble. I ended up calling arfore and asking his advice on dealing with the lack of a cable for the Mac keyboard. His ideas? 1) Get a SCSi adapter, put the hard drive in a box running Linux, mount it with HFS. 2) Go buy a cable. To get Win to read the floppies, put tape over the High Density hole of the floppy. So the Mac is still a work in progress. She has ordered an ADB cable, so once she has it, we will be able get into it and see just how much further we can go.

BTW, Cat is interested in getting rid of both computers (once she has her files off):

  • AST 486, 8 MB RAM, with monitor
  • Macintosh LC III with monitor (no base)

Its funny that people think “good with computers” means good dealing with everything computer related. I know web servers, web design, web programming, and databases. This issue is way over my head, but I know people and can get advice. 🙂 I have been around long enough to know not to futz too much.