Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Another Short List

Industries that refer to their customers as “users:”
illegal drugs

Credit to David Pogue - columnist, NYT

Spooky, more spooky than Halloween.

I love SF (Speculative Fiction - roughly the same as SciFi) and have been listening to EscapePod a lot lately.

So, to prevent premature click-through, first listen, then read the next two links in the order they appear.

I just listened to "Eight Episodes" a couple days ago, and today saw this in the news.

Spooky. Really spooky.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Short List

I'm testing out blogging from my phone and promised a list, so here you go.

The Different Kinds of People in the World
1. Those who over-generalize
2. Those who don't

More later....

Gross Insensitivity

Wow, how greedy of me to put adSense on my blog on Blog Action Day 2008, which is focused on fighting poverty. Certainly this is a noble cause and I do support it. I actually do quite a lot within my own community to give back to society and a substantial portion of that is directed at reducing poverty. Reaching further to those who really need help, I recommend Mothers Fighting for Others which helps kids in Africa. A remarkable model, though aimed at a different group, is microlending. Kiva has a good reputation, but as with any financial issue, check out who you're dealing with. One more great movement is "homeless newspapers." In Seattle, we have Real Change, a socially conscious newspaper largely (if not entirely) produced by the homeless and those who have found housing options by working for Real Change. Each copy of the paper costs ten cents to the distributors, who are all homeless, and is sold for a dollar each. Really great markup, but the paper is usually a good read, and it is only a buck. Plus, I like the model of people working and growing a business.

I love programs like Mothers Fighting for Others because there is very real, and far-reaching immediate need for assistance in so many places, and at the same time, very great capacities to alleviate this in so many other places.

I love establishment-busting ideas like microlending and "homeless newspapers" because they are long term solutions to help people who can help themselves and want to, but need a little outside help first. Bridging the Haves with the Have-nots has never been more effective.

Do Readers Care...?

I won't get any answers to this until I have some readers, but I've added adSense and would like to know whether people care, and if they do, what they think about it. I don't even notice the few ads that get through my filter. Anyhow, let me know what you all think if you ever find my blog.

Monday, October 6, 2008

15 Hours Ahead, and Ten Years Behind

After I graduated from college in southern Utah, I got married and we moved to Foshan, China. It is a "small town" (only 300,000 people, or so) three hours north of Hong Kong and about an hour south of Guangzhou. I often felt there that I was 15 hours ahead of my hometown of Cedar City, and ten years behind. I wasn't calling home that often, but when I was waiting for an e-mail response from the US, I typically had a long wait, in the order of hours. On the other hand, when I needed anything locally technologically higher than e-mail, I also had a long wait, in the order of years. Things there have changed a lot in the ten years since then, but I still see this theme recurring in my life.

I consider myself to be at the front of digital living in most regards, but until just now, I'd never blogged. Certainly, I am behind the times.

So, this is my entry into the blogosphere, a portmanteau that love only because I love portmanteaus, and I'm strangely a little nervous. It isn't as if I've never written anything, indeed, I consider myself a very competent writer, though I did have to check whether longer prepositions should be left in lowercase in titles (only shorter ones).

I get to write quite a bit at work, and as often as I care to outside of work. I've just never blogged and haven't worked out some details that I need to decide on before I'll be more comfortable. I've decided to blog because I think writing more about less technical stuff will be good for me. I enjoy technical writing; I even like writing technical documents in Standardized Technical English, a controlled language with very restrictive constraints. We use it quite a lot at Boeing and my group in Phantom Works develops tools for using it more effectively and efficiently. This is one of the things I'm still deciding: how much of who I am and what I do to share with literally anyone in the world.

I also believe in giving back, and I get quite a lot from the blogs I read, so this is my effort to contribute to the system. Really though, I don't expect to have much to contribute that can't be found anywhere else. I hope though that for a few people, my content or writing style will strike their fancy. As soon as I can figure out how Blogger handles blog rolls I 'll create mine.

So, I've decided not to conceal my identity, but will still be cautious about what I post about the details of my life. I'll probably even post a photo of myself. So far as I know, there is only one photo of me on the web that is linked in any way to my name. I'll find it for you some time.

Anyhow, I'm Duane Blanchard. I'm a research programmer at Boeing and love the outdoors. These and family occupy the most of my time and I'm undecided on blogging about family, so these are what you'll likely get a lot of.

Next time though, lists. Because I'm not doing anything outdoors this weekend to write about and I want to post at least weekly to start with. So, taking a cue from Penelope Trunk, I'll make a list for next week.

@~ whispers: Do I sign off, or just stop?