Background: Google Apps is a service where Google will host the e-mail and calendar for your domain. So, instead of going to gmail.com I go to mail.toldme.com and log in as dannyman for email@example.com. The annoying thing that has been going on for several years now is that only a minority of the growing array of Google software that features personalized content will support my Apps login, so I have two completely separate Google accounts:
Apps Account: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gmail Account: email@example.com
The first contains an archive of e-mail going back 15 years, my combined e-mail, telephone, and address book of all my friends, and Calendar appointments for the past five years. It integrates seamlessly with my Android Phone.
The second is for all the stupid Google applications that do not work with my Google account and require me to have a Gmail account that I never use otherwise: Picasa, Blogger, Google Maps, Google Voice . . . that last one is especially annoying, because now the brokenness leaks onto my Android phone!
The following is adapted from http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Google+Apps/thread?fid=475790531056779f00047e151dc314f4:
As a big Google fan, I have an Android phone and a Google Apps account, and a Google Voice account. Google Voice is really neat, but since it only supports Gmail logins it is really poor that my Gmail / Android contacts aren’t available in Google Voice. That’s right: since I’m a really big Google fan, the Google Voice application will NOT sync with my Google Phone.
I understand that it is possible to install software that pulls the data out of your Apps Gmail account or Android phone, and then re-copies that back in to the Google Voice non-Apps account. But this requires extra effort on my part to maintain a kludge to have duplicate copies of data stored in two different places.
What I want instead is the obvious and sane solution, where I log in to Google Voice the same way I log in to everything else: with my Google Apps account. My Android phone logs in to my Google Apps account and has instant access to my contacts list, and my hosted Gmail logs in to my hosted Apps account, and has instant access to the very same contacts list shared seamlessly with my Android phone. So, when I log in to Google Voice, I want to log in with my Apps account, and then Google Voice has instant access to all of my phone numbers and e-mail addresses associated with my Google Apps login.
Basically, I am asking for sanity, and short of sanity, at least an acknowledgement that sanity is a desired outcome.
This “second class citizen” treatment is really frustrating at times: the biggest fans get the worst support. Any idea when Google Voice is going to stop locking us out? And when that time comes will I be able to keep my phone number, or will it be like when I was forcibly migrated from Google Calendar over to a blank Google Apps Calendar, losing all my appointments and shared calendars, with no option to migrate my data?
I have tried to get an answer from Google Voice to no avail. I would like to think the Google employees behind Apps are working behind the scenes to make Google Voice available seamlessly to paying and loyal customers. Or maybe this simply is not a priority and us common folk Google Evangelists just shouldn’t get too worked up about Google products, and consider switching to competing technologies. Thanks!
These days my Android phone is in a weird way, because I’m starting to use Google Voice for SMS, except Google Voice has no access to my address book, so everywhere I am accustomed to seeing names and pictures for my contacts I see a ten-digit number, because Google Voice has no access to the contacts in my Google account.
Sunday, January 10
2010-01-10 . . . it is too bad they didn’t have binary numbers one thousand years ago.
Last night I began reading Studs Terkel’s “Division Street America” . . . it is starting to remind me of Richard Linklater’s “Waking Life” where you drift from person to person, hearing a monologue . . . things shift around as in a dream. Some are more engaging than others.
I like that by page 27, I find a kindred soul in Elizabeth Chapin, who was 75 years old in 1967:
“The automobile, what could you do without it? In another few generations, people will have no legs, we won’t need them. I take the dog for a walk every day. Walk a few blocks to the bakery shop. I have known people who live around the corner from the bakery, who take their car to get there. People are amazed when I tell them I don’t pass a day that I don’t walk three, four miles. It just wouldn’t occur to me. There’s so much to see, to observe, while you’re walking. What happens to us when we don’t see these things? When I take the dog for a walk, I see things. People’s eyes are closed, with a thin film over them, or what is it?”
I should be walking more, myself.
Another theme so far is the people are bothered by the increasing isolation . . . 40 years ago. In the old days it was playing cards and long conversations. I’ve been thinking the world might be a better place if television was a metered service: you pay $1 for each hour you watch, with a fair portion of that going to whomever created the programming. People would watch less TV and the quality would go up if people were more selective about it. Anyway, maybe I’ll actually set up a jar in my own living room. Since I pay the cable/Internet bill I can reimburse myself. Or give it to charity or something.
0.5h Saturday Night Live
1.0h Nova: What Darwin Didn’t Know
Monday, January 11
In the afternoon I snuck off to the Tea Lounge before returning home for the Pager Review Meeting which is at 3pm in California. I go on-call Tuesday morning at 11am . . . well, 2pm local time. Right before the pager review meeting my workstation crashed and required a
fsck . . .
1.0h Nova: What Darwin Didn’t Know
Tuesday, January 12
I started feeling seriously blue on Monday, and this morning was no better. The contributing factors are known and temporary, so no reason to freak out, but damn. This morning I treated myself to brunch . . . and spent some time just standing in the frigid sunlight, synthesizing vitamin D and hopefully ameliorating seasonal blues, thinking that office workers should work while the sun is down.
At brunch it was more the people watching than the delicious chorizo frittata that did me good. At first I kinda sympathized with the girl who kept sighing at her computer, which she had to hard-reset . . . Windows Vista or 7 running on a ThinkPad T61 . . . but she kept sighing and I was thinking “attitude problem” . . . the guys next to me sounded like the older guy providing some career mentoring advice for the younger guy. All while I was reading about the Whole Foods CEO in The New Yorker.
“. . . a tendency, common among smart people, to presume that everyone in the world either does or should think as he does–to take for granted that people can (or want to) strike his patented balance of enlightenment and self-interest. It sometimes sounds as if he believed that, if every company had him at the helm, there would be no need for unions or health-care reform, and therefor every company should have someone like him, and that therefor there should be no unions or health-care reform. In other words, because he runs a business a certain way, others will, can, and should, and so safeguards that have evolved over generations to protect against human venality–against, say, greedy, bullying bosses–are no longer necessary. The logic is as sound as the presumption is preposterous.”
On my way out I saw the girl on my left was editing an article in a WordPress blog, and I felt better about her. People who have found the joy of good software have a preposterous notion that software doesn’t have to suck, and so they are logically entitled to sigh when their computer’s operating system starts acting dumb.
Wednesday, January 13
Rough day on-call. I never even left the house.
1.0h Daily Show
Thursday, January 14
Another rough day on-call, but I went out for groceries. I walked to the store farther away, since it was a beautiful day: sunny with a high of 38F. On the shopping list was an onion, which allowed Mei to make beef stew. Yum!
1.0h Project Runway
Friday, January 15
I was paged throughout the night as a consequence of maintenance activity that ran long. I sent an e-mail to management sharing my reservations about how the project in question was being handled. During the day I took it easy, and we managed to roll out an emergency measure to keep this other thing that had been paging a lot quiet.
Usually, on-call isn’t so bad. My last few times on-call had plenty nights of uninterrupted sleep. Luck of the draw.
1.0h Daily Show
Saturday, January 16
The weather was nice so I sat on the park bench in front of the house and read. Of course, the wind kept blowing so I made a few trips inside for more clothing.
I have been bothered by my level of credit card debt and have hatched a scheme whereby I’m thinking to pay it all off out of savings and lay the cards aside. I’ll reduce my monthly “allowance” that I draw from savings for the year in order to re-pay the money borrowed, and basically live within my means on a tighter budget, whipping out the debit card when I need to pay with plastic, and then only if I can afford it. Hooray for austerity! (I haven’t put this idea into motion yet.)
And no, its not that I am anywhere near broke, but I have had my share of hard times, and I am pretty excited that in July I may have a 20% down payment on real estate I can afford, right around the bottom of the real estate market, which has been brought to us by reckless overspending. When I was a kid, my mother yearned for years to own our own home, and it was always just out of reach. As a kid, I seldom had much money I could spend, and had to learn to say “no” to nice things. Well, finally being able to afford a place will feel good. And there is also a value in being able to say “no” to nice things you don’t really need.
0.5h Colbert Report
0.5h King of the Hill
1.0h Aqua Teen Hunger Force
Excerpt from Studs Terkel’s “Division Street America” (1967)
There were about forty of us went down there to protest James Dukes’ execution. We had a very orderly, and I think, dignified picket line. We marched in two’s up and down, very quiet. We rarely spoke to each other. But across the street there were about two hundred people in their cars with the doors open, the radios blarin’ out rock’n’roll music, with beer cans and with sandwiches. They were there all evening, and very often there would be jeers at us from across the street.
I was marching with a Northwestern student, who goes down to protest every time there’s an execution. He said these people are there at every execution. Every single one. He said no matter how cold it is–this was a warm night, this was August–no matter how cold it is, there are approximately the same number of people. He believes they’re there because the lights dim in the building, which isn’t true, because the chair is rigged up to a different electrical system.
They stay there until the body is brought out in an ambulance. You got the feeling, you know, that this was the instinct that sent people to the Colosseum in Rome. And it’s here, right here and now, present in our society. Warden Johnson said people call up and ask for tickets. Well, if tickets were sold, I’m sure it would be a sellout house every single time.
It was so brutish. I was marching with pacifists and ministers, and the quiet of these people compared to the crowd across the street gave it a nightmarish quality. At the time of the execution we all turned toward the jail and ceased conversation. And this was when the rhythm of the noise on the other side gained momentum. They had all the radios on, first of all because they wanted to hear the announcement. The sounds on the other side increased as our silence increased.
When the announcement came through on the radio, there was a big reaction across the street: Oh, that’s over with. Oh, that’s great. Especially toward us. It was a victory for them, you see? A great victory against the crackpots who were demonstrating across the street. You know: This is how much your demonstration has achieved, you’re no place at all.
I will never forget a day in high school when I was sitting on a crowded bus, headed home, and the lady in front of me, who was not old or pregnant, had what looked to me to be a pained expression on her face. I wondered if maybe her legs hurt as the vehicle lurched around, but I was a shy kid scared to offer her my seat in case really I had just totally misread the situation. After a while the crowd eased and the woman took a seat near me with obvious relief. I had failed on that day to give my seat to someone in need, and ever since I have made an effort not to repeat that mistake by paying greater attention to my fellow passengers.
I still ride transit most weekdays, and I have noticed especially that younger people tend to fail at the whole courtesy thing. Part of it may be self-involved rudeness, but part of it I think is a combination of shyness, and a fear of making contact with strangers in a public place. My generation was raised on the lessons that the world outside our homes is extremely violent and treacherous and that the most dangerous thing a child could ever ever do is to talk to a stranger. I like to think that with time most people grow out of their shells and feel more comfortable taking the initiative for social responsibility.
My own strategy is that if I see a person who might better deserve my seat, I try to make eye contact, at which point I start to get out of my chair. Then they either move forward or gesture for me to sit down. (It is better to err on the side of getting someone a seat. Also, I think people looking for a seat know to look others in the eye.) In other cases if the vehicle is crowded and eye contact can not be achieved, I’ll often just stand the heck up anyway, positioning myself in such a way that the person who could best use my seat finds it most accessible. (I would hate for a young punk to ignorantly snipe my seat.) (more…)
I am presently enjoying an old thick history book. A footnote in the first chapter says:
“Biologically considered, the distinguishing mark of humanity was systematic developmental retardation, making the human child infantile in comparison to the normal protohuman. Some adult human traits are also infantile when compared to those of an ape: e.g., the overdevelopment of brain size in relation to the rest of the body, underdevelopment of teeth and brow-ridges. But developmental retardation of course meant prolonged plasticity, so that learning could be lengthened. Thereby the range of cultural as against mere biological evolution widened enormously; and humanity launched itself upon a biologically as well as historically extraordinary career.”
W H McNeill
“The Rise of the West”
I was thinking that domesticated animals are similarly developmentally retarded relations of their wild kin. Dogs mature to a wolfishly adolescent level. By remaining in a younger, more affably co-dependent state, they more easily get along with humans. From what I have seen, a lot of adult humans could be described as childish, and while the usual concern is that they are less effective for their childishness, they also subordinate themselves more readily to more ambitious leaders, and this facilitates collaboration.
Or, I guess, domesticated humans and animals fall more naturally into packs, for better and for worse.
We used to visit Newton, IA every year or two for McConeghey family reunions. Iowa’s a nice place, though admittedly somewhat dull. But today, America has a big patch of purple right at its heart because the Iowa Supreme Court has declared the state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Joe Eskenazi explains beautifully in “Will Gay Mecca Relocate From San Francisco To Des Moines?”
Disdain of San Franciscans’ disdain of all things Midwestern has become nearly as clichéd as the original sin. And, yet, there’s always a touch of schadenfreude anticipating city residents’ chagrin whenever legitimately good news emanates from the Midwest indicating its denizens have out-progressived our self-anointed capital of progressivism.
The Iowa Supreme Court this morning did what many observers feel its San Francisco-based California colleagues will not — rule that a ban on same-sex marriage violates the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples. This morning’s decision adds Iowa to the very short list of states in which same-sex marriage is legal — Connecticut, Massachusetts, and, now, The Tall Corn State. Perhaps it’s only fitting for a state with the motto “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.”
From what I have read, if conservatives want to defeat this, it will require the legislature to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot. This could be done by 2011, and even then Iowa residents may not support it. Personally, I’m just really proud to see progress being made on this issue, from of all places, the “fly over country” where I grew up. (Well, I’m from Illinois, but I can still root for the hawkeyes on this one.)
As someone who has wondered at the issues involving monastic vows of sexual abstinence, I found myself dog-earing the following passage from an interview with a Buddhist couple who gave up the monastic life for marriage, as interviewed by Leslee Goodman in the January, 2009 issue of The Sun. (more…)
A bit that got me laughing out loud, from a New Yorker article on breast milk:
In 1735, when the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus first sorted out the animal kingdom, he classed humans in a category called Quadrupedia: four-footed beasts. Even those of Linnaeus’s contemporaries who conceded the animality of man averred that people have two feet, not four. Ah, but hands are just feet that can grip, Linnaeus countered. This proved unpersuasive. By 1758, in a process that the Stanford historian of science Londa Schiebinger has reconstructed, Linnaeus had abandoned Quadrupedia in favor of a word that he made up, Mammalia: animals with milk-producing nipples. (The Latin root, mamma, meaning breast, teat, or udder, is closely related to the onomatopoeic mama—“mother”—thought to derive from the sound that a baby makes while suckling.) As categories go, “mammal” is an improvement over “quadruped,” especially if you’re thinking about what we have in common with whales. But, for a while, at least, it was deemed scandalously erotic. (Linnaeus’s classification of plants based on their reproductive organs, stamens and pistils, fell prey to a similar attack. “Loathsome harlotry,” one botanist called it.) More important, the name falls something short of capacious: only female mammals lactate; males, strictly speaking, are not mammals.
Personally, I think I would approve of anything that was scandalously erotic. Oh my! Also, my high school biology teacher said that I, a male mammal, could indeed lactate, if given the right hormones. I was glad to hear that I had the capability, just in case . . .
I was asked to “critique” a friend’s new blog. Because I’ve been writing like this since before anyone called this format a “blog” . . . here’s two paragraphs from my response:
I’m really excited about Prop 8 as well, and it is funny that you borrow that story from Gandhi that I enjoy as well. Tonight I just watched “Cry, the Beloved Country” and was moved all over again by great words in a book I have read twice, about . . . compassion and forgiveness. I did not expect to be left feeling so emotionally.
[ . . . ]
And I hope you enjoy the blogging thing. Write for yourself but remember you are being read. I still get emails from old posts I wrote, especially about the divorce stuff. Occasionally someone comes to me expressing a pain that is familiar, and I have the chance to return in a small way some of the kindnesses that have been bestowed upon me over the years. Your children, your grandchildren may some day read through or skim what you had to say. In that way you may be able to help them in their growth, years from now. And remind yourself of things forgotten.
To be sure, “the divorce stuff” is really just a bunch of excerpts from a book someone else wrote. Lately though I have had very little to say about my personal life or things that have stirred my passion. There is less creative self-expression or revealing of myself these days. I am not sure if that is as it should be, or if that needs to change. I figure that my relationship with my web site changes over time based on my needs and how I take responsibility for fulfilling those needs.
Oh yeah, and I love reading what Dennis has to write as well. Happy holidays, folks!
Update: Tammie was laid off a few weeks ago. If you know anyone looking for a smart, talented and diligent Microsoft .net and C# hacker, please check out her LinkedIn profile. (Welcome to the economic down cycle. Yahh!!)
Surely you have by now heard about the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush. Whatever your own position on Iraq War II I think we can all agree that this seems like the perfect expression at Iraqi anger and frustration at how terribly the postwar occupation has been managed. I also enjoy hearing how Chinese Internet folk look at the issue. Here’s some of the quotes I most enjoy, as translated by ChinaSMACK:
This (news) shows that the democracy of Iraq has been greatly improved.
If any one dared to throw shoes at Saddam, he might have already been fed to the lions.
The United Sates had spent billions of dollars and thousands of human lives to gain the right for Iraqi people to throw shoes. Chinese people’s right for throwing shoes needs to be gained by the Chinese themselves.
What was the brand of the shoe he threw at bush? If it was made in China, the U.S. would again say China provided terrorists with weapons.
I saw it too,
Little Bush was nimble;
The journalist’s courage was laudable;
Good job, both!
Note from Fauna: Although not many people like Bush, I think many Chinese netizens will still miss him because he was such a funny man and not many people could be very serious about him.
I myself have always thought Bush was kind of funny. I have made a conscious decision not to get too worked up over the many awful things he has done as President, if only for my own health. Obama has been elected and Bush was bidding adieu to his greatest legacy; I hope the people of Iraq find the shoe-throwing somewhat cathartic.
If Iraq’s democracy survives, I hope that one day they erect a status of this guy in a square somewhere, leaning back to hurl his shoe, a testament to the mixed blessing of American occupation and the (often terrible and bloody) freedoms it has brought. More power to them!
I enjoy the New York Times “Freakonomics” Blog but recently I was reminded of one of the shortcomings of modern academics: they can deny common sense by talking too much. Take the following sentence recently published by Eric Oliver:
“Racially isolated whites in Arkansas or Alabama may have been more afraid of voting for Obama not because they are more racist than white voters in Minnesota or Montana, but because they perceive greater racial competition with nearby black populations.”
Seriously: WTF? This is like saying: “It is not that they are racist, it is just that they have a reason to be racist.”
“When Frank got into a car accident while under the influence of alcohol, it isn’t because he was a drunk driver, it is just that he has been going through a lot lately, and he enjoys drinking a lot of cheap beer.”
The Red Vic is possibly my favorite funky little movie house in San Francisco. And in their recent e-mail they just pour it on:
The Red Vic Has Gone Solar: OK, so you know about our organic popcorn served in wooden popcorn bowls and that we serve our (fair trade) coffee in mugs instead of disposable paper cups. In fact, we have done so ever since opening in 1980 – we were “green-minded” before the term even existed! (Not to mention the fact that we have washed a zillion dishes since then). We also use eco-friendly cleaning products and this calendar is printed on recycled paper with soy-based ink. Well, thanks to our fabulous landlord we have now gone solar with the assistance of Sunlight Electric (http://sunlightelectric.com/). There is an impressive array of solar panels on our roof and our electric meter is now running backward. Our solar panels are the equivalent of 21,962 pounds of CO2 not emitted per year, or equal to planting 3 acres of trees. We fortunately share our building with like-minded businesses; the Alembic is all about the local, sustainable slow-food scene and Escape From New York Pizza has a robust composting program. So, on your next visit to the Red Vic, as you munch away on popcorn in your wooden bowl and take a sip from a ceramic mug of coffee, you can also give a thought to the power of the sun and to communities working together – if you are not too engrossed in the movie that is!
I just like that little bit enough to share. Now when I sit in one of their cozy chairs, I can watch the movie using solar power. (I guess they run the meter forward at night, though, so probably it’ll be utility coal power for the movie but you know, its the overall impact that counts.)
Go go Google!
We do not generally take a position on issues outside of our field, especially not social issues . . . however, while there are many objections to this proposition — further government encroachment on personal lives, ambiguously written text — it is the chilling and discriminatory effect of the proposition on many of our employees that brings Google to publicly oppose Proposition 8. While we respect the strongly-held beliefs that people have on both sides of this argument, we see this fundamentally as an issue of equality. We hope that California voters will vote no on Proposition 8 — we should not eliminate anyone’s fundamental rights, whatever their sexuality, to marry the person they love.
Official Google Blog
And one more excerpt from Mister Pip which so aptly describes depression:
The only thing I could think to do was to get into bed. And there I stayed.
For six days I didn’t get up except to make a cup of tea, or fry an egg, or lie in the skinny bath gazing at a cracked ceiling. The days punished me with their slowness, piling up the hours on me, spreading their joylessness about the room.
I listened to the buses change down gear outside the boardinghouse. I listened to the hiss of tires on the wet road. I lay in bed listening to the woman downstairs get ready for work. I listened to her run the shower and the shrill whistle on her kettle. I waited for her footsteps on the path below my window, and as that brief contact with the world departed I shut my eyes and begged the walls to let me go back to sleep.
A doctor would have said I was suffering from depression. Everything I have read since suggests this was the case. But when you are in the grip of something like that it doesn’t usually announce itself. No. What happens is you sit in a dark, dark cave, and you wait. If you are lucky there is a pinprick of light, and if you are especially lucky that pinprick will grow larger and larger, until one day the cave appears to slip behind, and just like that you find yourself in daylight and free. This is how it happened for me.
“Mr. Watts was as elusive as ever. He was whatever he needed to be, what we asked him to be. Perhaps there are lives like that–they pour into whatever space we have made ready for them to fill. We needed a teacher, Mr. Watts became that teacher. We needed a magician to conjure up other worlds, and Mr. Watts had become that magician. When we needed a savior, Mr. Watts had filled that role. When the redskins required a life, Mr. Watts had given himself.”
I like that epitaph: a life lived for others. It is also a reminder that whoever you may think you are, more versions of you come to exist in the minds, hearts, and souls of the people you come to know.
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