Welcome to my site. Here you will find some info about me, the things I do and a listing of upcoming (and past) presentations and lectures. While I initially expected most of my posts to be about Open Source/Free Software (hence the name), these days it's mostly rants and ramblings about running.

today's links and photos

Female desire and the princess culture
a review of Peggy Orenstein's new book Cinderella Ate My Daughter.
Think that the congress overstepped with the healthcare bill? The founders of the country disagree
Congress Passes Socialized Medicine and Mandates Health Insurance -In 1798
In July of 1798, Congress passed – and President John Adams signed - “An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen.” The law authorized the creation of a government operated marine hospital service and mandated that privately employed sailors be required to purchase health care insurance.
Grow NYC has taken the idea of the "really really free market" and run with it. This should be fun.
Community "swaps" provide the perfect opportunity to find new homes for things you no longer need. By taking home items that you can use, you are also helping to prevent waste from production, packaging and transportation required to get new things.
and of course, today's photos:




5 thoughts on what makes a great technology project client

I'm just finishing up on another relatively long-term project, and for the first time in a long time I'm really sad that it's over.

The staff at PSC CUNY, the City University of New York teacher's union, has been amazing to work with; and I've been thinking about the things that made this project so much less grief-ridden than others.

So, for those of you working on projects from the client end, here's some things you can keep in mind if you want to be loved by your technology development crew.

5: be demanding, but flexible. Know when to push for exactly what you want and when to accept "no" from the developers. You are likely to get more in the end if you know where to draw that line.

4: use the tools for communication and coordination that your developers want you to use. It's easy to default to phone calls or email to give feedback and make requests, but in the long run it's better to use a tool that provides for tracking of these things and that the techies are going to be looking at frequently. For us, this tool is mantis. Being able to keep track of what needs to be done, what questions there are, what we've asked and what responses we've been given allows us to give more in the end. Things don't get lost; everyone knows what the decisions and agreements were; time is not wasted on searching for old emails or figuring out what to do next.

3: respect the skills and experience of your techies. Remember, you know what your organization does better than anyone, you know what you need: but you don't know technology -- that's why you hired consultants and developers. Help them see how to make what they know work to facilitate what you do.

2: Look for creative solutions to problems. When your techies say "we can't do that" don't assume they are being lazy. Collaborate and brainstorm, don't complain and demand the impossible. You'll get what you need and more if you don't force time to be spent pushing digital rocks up a hill.

1: Accept that no technology project is ever without bugs, glitches or problems. Look at technology projects as a never ending process. Get what you need in place and build with future additions in mind. Successful technology projects are not completed commodities, they are ongoing collaborations.

And now for today's photos:

sad little umbrella

beware the trees!

Next step: all pedestrians must wear license plates?

From time to time, members of the NY City Council need to make a stink so their constituents think they are doing something. Often, they will pick some powerless segment of society to attack; the poor, tenants in rent regulated apartments, and of course bicyclists.

It's that time of year again. A new proposal is going to be brought to the City Council by Councilmember Eric Ulrich. This insane proposal would require all bicycles to have license plates.

The logic is painfully disconnected with reality. Let's ignore for now how silly it would be to create a new bureaucracy to oversee and administer this policy and look at what problems they hope to solve with this. The advocates for this plan say that it will make the streets safer by making enforcement of bicycling laws possible. Recent history shows clearly that the police have no problems writing tickets to cyclists -- this law would not change that at all. If you are one of the few unfortunate people to get hit by a bicycle, the license plates will be so small that there's little chance of being able to see it and write it down.

However, this will make it harder for people to take up cycling, it will prevent people with limited funds from using free transportation, and will instantly create a huge new class of criminals and provide new excuses for various violations of rights.

Nothing good can come from this.

Go to http://transalt.org/takeaction/actioncenter/5059?v=4 and send an email to Councilmember Ulrich letting him know how misdirected his plan is.

Today's photos:

Not sure how the crate ended up balancing on this angle

Big metal box

nice arrangement of assorted trash

today's post delayed due to rain

Due to rain and deadlines, today's post will be delayed.

one minor update: Facebook has temporarily disabled the new "feature" I mentioned yesterday where applications can access your phone number and home address, but you should still remove that information if you don't want it given out.

Remember, there are only two types of information: private and digital.

Over the weekend, we got some useful feedback that we could make people more clearly aware of when they are granting access to this data. We agree, and we are making changes to help ensure you only share this information when you intend to do so. We’ll be working to launch these updates as soon as possible, and will be temporarily disabling this feature until those changes are ready. We look forward to re-enabling this improved feature in the next few weeks.
Today's photos:



today's links and photos

My brain is totally fried by last minute glitches in the project I'm working on that launches tomorrow, so other than passing on a couple links, I just don't have much to say today. I can't even think of a creative title for today's post.

For those that use facebook, you might want to think about how much info you put in your profile. As of friday, facebook's API now allows applications and websites that use facebook connect to access your home address and phone number. What could possibly go wrong with that? Facebook announcement of these new features is at http://developers.facebook.com/blog/post/446 and some commentary on it can be found at http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2011/01/16/rogue-facebook-apps-access-yo...

This site is worth wasting some time with, each time you reload the page it shows you another quote from someone that has expressed a desire to see Julian Assange of wikileaks killed. http://www.peopleokwithmurderingassange.com

Today's photos: