The problem, in a paragraph-shaped nutshell, as described by George Packer in The New Yorker:
It is true that the presence of American troops is a source of great tension and violence in Iraq, and that overwhelming numbers of Iraqis want them to leave. But it is also true that wherever American troop levels have been reduced–in Falluja and Mosul in 2004, in Tal Afar in 2005, in Baghdad in 2006–security has deteriorated. In the absence of adequate and impartial Iraqi forces, Sunni insurgents or Shiite militias have filled the power vacuum with a reign of terror. An American withdrawal could produce the same result on a vast scale. That is why so many Iraqis, after expressing their ardent desire to see the last foreign troops leave their country, quickly add, “But not until they clean up the mess they made.” And it is why a public-service announcement scrolling across the bottom of the screen during a recent broadcast on an Iraqi network said, “The Ministry of Defense requests that civilians not comply with the orders of the Army or police on nightly patrols unless they are accompanied by coalition forces working in that area.”
I know that I don’t know what the solution is. I think “bring the troops home now” is irresponsible. And nobody likes “stay the course” either, any more, which is a good thing: we need to get our collective brainpower together to find some less-bad solution to the mess. (more…)
I have taken to getting some basic cardiovascular fitness in the morning by taking a brisk walk uphill to Forest Hill station. Today, as I rounded the corner to make my long hilltop descent into the subway, I caught sight of this bus, waiting:
Who needs to leave town to take a globe trot? We forget the breadth of Muni’s service area! When you get to Prague you can take the train to Lyon, where you can catch the 32 Etats-Unis!
A little while back, I had the chance to meet Jenny Yee, a fellow dot-com professional who, like me, has also recently moved to San Francisco. I was impressed by the quality of some of the portrait photography she has taken. She explained that she was working to set up a studio at her new place. I have been thinking that as I become comfortable with single life and begin looking forward to finding that special lady, it will be more and more important to look pretty: to put my best face forward.
I am still getting in to the whole projecting-a-self-image thing, and I’m not ready just yet to pay much to look glamorous, so I approached Jenny to volunteer as a “test model” to help her get up to speed with her new digs. She smiled warmly and agreed, and it is time I returned her favor by sharing the experience online. I will start with a melodramatic before-and-after, of High School Danny versus Jenny’s Web 2.0 Danny:
I smile, because while my shoulders have filled out and I have grown the goatee, in both images I see the same basic, good-natured geek. Fortunately for me: geek is now chic! (Some even feel fondly toward the old Napolean Dynamite look.)
Fun, huh? Well, so was the time spent with Jenny. (more…)
A toe-tappingly titillating trade, which demonstrates that if you’re going to be a player hater, you should do it with a smile, and hopefully a strumming guitar, so we can be reminded of awful things while chuckling despite ourselves:
Do do do do doo dee do / Clinton got a blowjob!
ObWordPress: If you want to enable embedding of YouTube videos, disable the stupid GUI editor.
Thanks, gapingvoid for a Friday Afternoon Diversion. :)
Well, I owe a plug, here . . . and a reminder note for myself if this happens again!
My third Canon camera has suffered a death comparable to my second Canon camera. So, I ordered myself a Christmas present today: a Fujifilm FinePix F30 — should be here Wednesday!
Anyway, one thing my second Canon camera did for a very long time was to EAT pictures I had taken. I tried multiple cards but they would just randomly get corrupted in the camera, and Canon went to great lengths to presume that the problem was with me, and not with their camera. (They got sued for doing that–yay class actions!) I am still bugged that I lost pictures of Clapham Junction and of the Eiffel Tower! Grr! Anyway, when I got to Thailand I slowed down enough to find a work-around to the problem of my second Canon: PhotoRescue! (more…)
“More than 155,000 American women have served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Among their ranks, the Pentagon said, are more than 16,000 single mothers.”
The Washington Post via The Week
My hunch is that a lot of these women are reservists or National Guard, doing a true “hardship” deployment. I imagine than some became single parents while deployed–serving overseas puts a lot of strain on young families, and many families do not survive.
Anyway . . . any veteran who might read this, I say “thank you.”
And, any single parent who might read this, “thank you.”
And, any single parents who is serving or has served in a combat zone? I guess I would add “wow!” And, I suppose “I hope that life will smile upon you. I hope you come home safe.”
Forget Saddam. Imagine for one moment
all the work-roughened hands
that have picked your food and sewn your clothes
and kept you alive since day one.
When we die, will there be a reckoning
of what and whom we’ve used
to pay for our lives, and how,
and will lack of imagination be allowed as an excuse?
Excerpt from Saddam Hussein is Writing Poetry in Solitary Confinement
Via “The Sun”
When I read the above, I was thinking “well, there is a lot that I have to give, as well.”
In that idea, the word “have” can be read as possession and as imperative.
Also “read” can function in the past-tense and the present tense.
The ambiguities of English, like the ambiguities of life, have their own beauty.
In networking we refer to “the last mile” as the most difficult, time-consuming, expensive bit of the journey. I am waiting on a plane that has just traveled 2,000 miles across the continent. We are stuck here on the tarmac because our gate is occupied. I could get out and walk!
“Ladies and gentlemen, our ten minute wait has come and gone, and the aircraft at the gate has called for maintenance. We know there are people making connections from this aircraft and if it looks like the wait will go too long they’ll get us another gate.”
“Why don’t they just get us another gate?”
“We now have a new arrival gate: gate kilo-1. Well be starting that way shortly.”
Anyway, we call it “the last mile” because for the most part, long-haul network routes are like air travel, which moves pretty well between the hubs. It is getting from the local phone company “central office” through the copper wires on the telephone poles and neighborhood junction boxes that sometimes calls for improvisation and creativity.
We are headed toward the gate . . . but now we are stuck again, waiting on the new gate to be readied. However, the engines just started whirring and we are again rolling so . . . I should be at Grandma’s house for Christmas very soon now!
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Chicago. Please enjoy the holidays . . .”
Just thinking out loud here after some casual Googling left me unsatisfied . . .
I like Thunderbird, mostly, but while it has an extensions interface, I am finding it lacking for basic customization. For example, I like to toss e-mails in an “archive” folder . . . but as far as I can tell I have to drag messages to the folder every time I want to archive them! I dug around and found the “file” button . . . but that thing is just awful! I’d like to . . . press “a” or something, or click an icon, and get the mail archived that way. (Like, to delete a message I press “delete” . . . eh?)
Has anyone found a useful configuration option / extension / doohickey to realize this stuff? Or should I re-acquaint myself with mutt for e-mail triage?
My last camera had a special sensor in it so it could mark the picture it took with Exif metadata indicating the correct orientation. I set my Flickr account to “auto-rotate” the images and everything was groovy, except Windows and the Macintosh screensaver don’t know for EXIF metadata, so some pictures stay sideways when viewed on my computers.
In my new camera, I have to run through my pictures and manually set the rotation before I offload them to my computer. Again, this because the Windows explorer and picture viewer doohickey, which is otherwise pretty neat, doesn’t grok Exif metadata, so if I use Windows to rotate my photos, I will suffer generational loss on my JPEGs.
Anyway, rotating images within the camera is pretty easy, so I just do that before I offload. For Windows, I Googled and found this awesome little utility, that will go through and rotate your images, losslessly, based on the orientation set in the Exif on the camera. You just right-click on an image, or a directory of images, and it will go through and rotate all your pictures just right once and for all!
Well, until you upload the rotated images to Flickr. If you have enabled auto-rotation in Flickr, and auto-rotate your images the right way beforehand, then Flickr will rotate your images again! At least, this happened to me!
So, I turned off Flickr auto-rotate, and from now on, I’ll set my image orientation in the camera before I transfer to Windows, and on Windows, I’ll right-click and auto-rotate before uploading to Flickr.
Of course, this would all be easier if the Windows explorer supported lossless rotation. At least it warns you that it doesn’t when you try to rotate an image. You would think that if they bothered to warn you they could have just stuck a summer intern on the project. Oh well.
This is not a New Year’s Resolution, simply something-I-want-to-do, and that is to keep track of everyone’s birthday, and hopefully send cards.
But, I lack data. If you are reading this, and you are a friend or acquaintance, please shoot me a quick e-mail with your birthday, birth year, and address.
Optional: Please indicate if you would like to share your information with other friends-of-dannyman, in which case I’ll dump your data in a pile with everyone else who wants to share, then I’ll forward the resulting list to the sharing types.
Thanks and Happy 2007!
Update: Please send phone numbers, as appropriate. I will not share the phone numbers. :)