Monday, March 21, 2005

A blogging primer for my less tech-savvy friends

Blog is short for web log. A blog is a website that a person creates to publish articles, short or long, called blog posts. This person is called a blogger. The subculture of bloggers in the world has been labelled the blogosphere. Blogs generally have a facility for readers of the blog to write comments that can be viewed along with the blog post.

You can read a blog just by visiting the blog's website, in my case. People who read multiple blogs often use a blog reader. In the blog reader, you subscribe to the blogs you are interested in, and when you open the blog reader, it shows you the new blog posts on the blogs to which you have subscribed. I use the blog reader. At bloglines, you can also download a notifier program that sits in the corner of your screen and lets you know when one of the blogs you have subscribed to has a new post.

To read the comments that have been written about a blog post, click the link labelled "comments" below the article you are interested in. You can also add your own comment. If you clicked on the "comments" link, you should see a text window titled "Leave your comment." Type your comment in this text box. Where it asks you to Choose an Identity, pick either Other, if you want to leave your name, or Anonymous, if you don't. Then press the "Publish Your Comment" button, and your comment should appear!

Rim shot department

True story, only slightly embellished...

A friend of mine had brain surgery recently. It went well and he is doing fine. Before the operation, he was extremely worried about it. I said to him, "What's the big deal? It's not rocket science."

Friday, March 18, 2005

Can a software developer survive as a luddite?

I'm a computer programmer. I'm also a bit of a luddite. I don't have a cell phone. I don't watch much TV, so I don't have TiVo or a DVD player. (I admit, I watch the occasional DVD on my computer, and get bootleg copies of The Sopranos.) I don't have an iPod, nor do I listen to much music on my computer, which is particularly strange since I'm developing software for people who listen to music on their computers. I was about 15 years late in getting a CD player. I admit that I am hooked on my Palm Pilot, but I resist getting the latest one, and resist adding more software on it, for fear of the frustration when it inevitably breaks.

Moreover, with the exception of this excursion into the world of blogging, I'm having a lot of trouble getting into the online lifestyle. I surf the web when I need something, but I can't get into recreational surfing. Sometimes when I'm at my computer and bored I think that I should do some surfing, but I can't think of and/or find much of interest. I don't care much instant messaging, although I need to use it professionally.

I'm a very good computer programmer, but I'm starting to worry -- will my aversion to most things cyber make me professionally obsolete?

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The death penalty - you can't make this stuff up

Juan Manuel Alvarez, the mercurially suicidal guy who parked his SUV on the train tracks in Glendale, CA, killing 11 people, was placed on a suicide watch. There is no decision yet about whether prosecutors will seek the death penalty.

Do we live in a great country or what?

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The meaning of those magnetic yellow ribbons

It finally dawned on me why those magnetic yellow ribbons are so popular, more popular than any other display of support for the troops and/or the war. Those ribbons appear on many a vehicle that has no other message emblazoned on its backside. The reason: they're magnetic. You don't have to sully your ride with a sticker that will ruin the finish and look ugly 6 months from now. And if you change your mind, no problemo! You can just peel the magnet off. In short, the magnetic yellow magnet requires no commitment.

Those ribbons are a metaphor for the character of many Americans' support for the war in Iraq. They support the war, but aren't willing to make any sacrifices to support it. They won't pay higher taxes. They won't stop driving giant gas-guzzling SUVs. They won't even tarnish their vehicles with some bumper-sticker glue.

Here is one idea about what you can do with those yellow ribbons.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Anybody listening?

Me, with my own blog? Hard to believe. But where else to articulate the opinions that no flesh-and-blood person wants to listen to?