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.

When is voluntary labor not voluntary? Some thoughts on NY State Proposition 2

I'm wondering why there has not been any real discussion in the press or information distribution by activist organizations about New York State Ballot Proposition 2. The wording of the proposition seems very different from the actual change to the State Constitution that will be enacted if the proposition passes. Is this about allowing prisoners to volunteer at nonprofit organizations or is this about allowing prisons to force inmates to do unpaid labor?

the healthcare debate is pissing me off

The past week has been very difficult. After a long struggle to provide care for her at home, we admitted my mother to a psychiatric hospital. Sadly, it's the only care option we have that does not require winning the lottery.

Even with what we thought was good insurance and medicare, the sad reality is that the options we would prefer are all beyond what my parents, my brothers and I could afford. There is still a good chance that providing for her care long-term will bankrupt my parents despite their once reasonable retirement savings, pension and social security.

According to recent estimates, 2.4 to 4.5 million people in the United States have Alzheimer's disease. [1]

Alzheimer's is the seventh-leading cause of death in the US. [2]

Neither Medicare nor private insurance covers the type of long-term care that people with Alzheimer's need [3]

While there is no movement in private insurance to add care and services for Alzheimer's dementia patients, in 2001 political pressure forced an increase to the list of services that are available via medicare. [4]

While this still does not provide coverage for the things that most experts feel are the most effective, at least it's a start.

When care decisions can be made by doctors and government bureaucrats, there is the potential to apply pressure to force changes that benefit patients. With those decisions in the hands of accountants concerned with profit and shareholders, care continues to be limited. It seems that the only times for-profit health insurance expands what is covered it's because elected officials have passed laws to force them to do so.

I wish there were fewer accountants and more bureaucrats between my parents and their healthcare.

1: http://www.nia.nih.gov/Alzheimers/Publications/adfact.htm

2: http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_facts_figures.asp

3: Chronic illness By Ilene Morof Lubkin, Pamala D. Larsen page 481

4: http://www.alzinfo.org/alzheimers-treatment-overview.asp

My new old-school monitor stand

I picked up a small LCD monitor at this past month's Really Really Free Market.

It works great but did not have a stand. When I got it to the office, I spent a while working on different methods of propping it up, none of which really worked. I was resigning myself to the fact that I'd have to go out and buy something to mount it to the desk when I looked at the ancient manual typewriter I keep around and had an idea.

The monitor fits perfectly into the top of the typewriter box and the typewriter keeps it from falling down. The only down side is that I occasionally find myself reaching for the typewriter keys to reload the browser window on the second monitor (future project: make the typewriter work as a keyboard).

child's toy delivers healthy amount of cynicism

We were having dinner at Todd and Laura's recently and Todd and I were playing with one of Wyeth's toys -- a set of 3 wood blocks on a stick with letters. You turn the blocks to spell words.
In some combinations, more than one face of the toy has a word. In some of those, the combination of words is totally brilliant. I hope this was by design.

Don't use Windows? Don't have Internet Explorer? Don't apply for New York City's 2009 Summer Youth Employment Program

Check out dkg's blog post where he talks about how New York City's 2009 Summer Youth Employment Program requires Internet Explorer in order to apply online.

He points out that "Even downloading the pdf version of the application to print out from the site is impossible under non-IE browsers because the actual pdf link is wrapped in some IE-only javascript."

Everyone should read the post and if you live in NYC, please follow his suggestions for further action: call 311 and file an official complaint against the NYC Dept. of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) or even call the number on the application page (1-800-246-4646) and demand that City services be built on public and open standards and not locked to use of any one proprietary system.