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Archive for November, 2008

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The First Presidential BlackBerry?

Monday, November 17th, 2008

From today’s Associated Press:

Obama May Have to Bury his Beloved BlackBerry

The president’s e-mail can be subpoenaed by Congress and courts and may be subject to public records laws, so if a president doesn’t want his e-mail public, he shouldn’t e-mail, experts said. And there may be security issues about carrying around trackable cell phones.

Obama transition officials haven’t made a decision on what the new president will or will not carry, but those who have been there say it’s unlikely he’ll carry his BlackBerry and he may be in for some withdrawal pains. President-elect Obama has often been seen avidly checking his e-mail on his handheld equipment. This past summer, news cameras recorded him checking his BlackBerry while watching his daughter’s soccer game, only to have Michelle Obama slap at his hands, prompting him to return the device to its holster.

“This is a decision President-elect Obama will have to face,” said former Bush press secretary Scott McClellan, who added that Obama’s legal advisers will probably recommend against an e-mailing president. “While he has pledged an open and transparent government, I doubt the president-elect is interested in subjecting his own personal communications to that standard,” McClellan wrote in an e-mail interview. He added, “He will have to think very hard about whether he wants to make his own words that subject to open records by having his own e-mail and his own BlackBerry.”

On the one hand, I hope he keeps it, because a) it will help him maintain that “everyman” image that he’s got nailed so well right now, and b) because, over time, it will redefine real-time personal communication as a necessity that the law will need to deal with rather than something that would otherwise be useful , but is foregone to avoid legal issues. After all, if a law is discouraging people from legal, productive behavior, then we should change the law, not the behavior, right?

On the other hand, the point of a blackberry is to remain in real-time contact with those who need to reach you the most. The President’s entourage serves that purpose for him, in that people who need to reach him can contact one of the people that travel with him constantly. In that sense, they’re like those people in the Verizon Wireless commercials, and they obfuscate the need for a blackberry entirely.

Separate, but somewhat related note – Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also did not use e-mail:

A few days before Bush took office in 2001, he sent an e-mail to a few dozen close friends saying he would no longer use e-mail: “Since I do not want my private conversations looked at by those out to embarrass, the only course of action is not to correspond in cyberspace. This saddens me.”

Bush was unhappy about losing his e-mail and mostly used the phone to talk to friends, McClellan wrote, adding, “I am sure the president looks forward to being able to communicate with them via e-mail again come January 20, 2009.”

Note that back in 2000, Bush wasn’t worried about legal ramifications, but about the tabloid press. Also note that the BlackBerry was invented in 2002.

Categories: Political Rantings, Tech Talk | 9 Comments »

Absent Mindedness Goes Hi-Tech

Monday, November 17th, 2008

In the past:  Walk into a room, forget why you went in there, leave.

Today:  Open a web browser, forget what page you were going to browse, close the browser.

Categories: Random Acts of Blogging | 1 Comment »

The Onion Takes Aim at Obama Supporters

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

This gave me a chuckle:

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

(hat tip: Kushol Gupta)

Categories: Political Rantings, Random Acts of Blogging | No Comments »

How to give a child a superiority complex

Friday, November 14th, 2008

Video shot at the Philadelphia Phillies World Series Parade:

(hat tip: Kevin Rakszawski)

Categories: Random Acts of Blogging | 1 Comment »

A Sense of Humor is Important

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Categories: Money Talk | No Comments »

Alphabet Movie Meme

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Jason got me again. That’s what I get for not ducking…

The rules:

1. Pick one film to represent each letter of the alphabet.

2. The letter “A” and the word “The” do not count as the beginning of a film’s title, unless the film is simply titled A or The, and I don’t know of any films with those titles.

3. Return of the Jedi belongs under “R,” not “S” as in Star Wars Episode IV: Return of the Jedi. This rule applies to all films in the original Star Wars trilogy; all that followed start with “S.” Similarly, Raiders of the Lost Ark belongs under “R,” not “I” as in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Conversely, all films in the Lord of the Rings series belong under “L” and all films in the Chronicles of Narnia series belong under “C,” as that’s what those filmmakers called their films from the start. In other words, movies are stuck with the titles their owners gave them at the time of their theatrical release. Use your better judgement to apply the above rule to any series/films not mentioned.

4. Films that start with a number are filed under the first letter of their number’s word. 12 Monkeys would be filed under “T.”

5. Link back to Blog Cabins in your post so that I can eventually type “alphabet meme” into Google and come up #1, then make a post where I declare that I am the King of Google.

6. If you’re selected, you have to then select 5 more people.

Here’s Step #1-#4:

Step #5 is taken care of above.

Step #6 is always a problem for me. I simply don’t know 5 bloggers well enough to tag them with memes (especially when the meme comes from one or more of the bloggers I do know. So I’ll unceremoniously tag Jeff Porten, and leave it at that.

Categories: Movie Talk | 4 Comments »

Oops, I’m Late!

Monday, November 10th, 2008

As the iPhone has proven to us, any application that makes use of an internal GPS or gyroscope is inherently cool. LifeHacker provides us with one called Oops, I’m Late that isn’t for the iPhone, but it’s cool anyway.

Oops, I’m Late checks the calendar on your phone for meetings and their locations. It then uses the GPS device in your phone to determine how far away from the location you are and your current speed, in order to determine an estimated time of arrival (ETA). It can then send an e-mail, twitter, SMS, or Facebook message to each scheduled attendee in the meeting saying, “I’m running late, I’ll be there in X minutes.”

That’s pretty good use of multiple datasets in one device to create something inherently useful. Bravo…

Categories: Tech Talk, The Future is Now | No Comments »

Bar(ac)k the Vote!

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

Yes, it’s my sixth post in a row that has to do with the election, but at least this one is relatively cute.  Someone has gone and registered nameobamaspuppy.com, where people can go and vote for what the Obama girls should name the puppy that President-elect Daddy promised them in Grant Park in Chicago.

The choices are as follows: Abe (as in Lincoln), Walnuts, Hope, Jed Barklett, Madelyn, Maverick, Lemon, “Who Cares?” and Other.

As of this writing, “Hope” is in the lead, with “Maverick” running a distant second (not counting “Other,” which really contains votes for lots of different names). I voted for “Hope,” because of the cool quotes it would generate from inside the White House, such as: “Has anyone seen Hope?” or “Don’t forget to feed the dog. You’ve got to Keep Hope Alive!” Although I agree that Maverick is a cute, if ironic, choice.

Sadly, voter turnout has not been as big as the last time around (only 444 votes so far). Click over and let your voice be heard!

Categories: Political Rantings, The World Wide Weird | 1 Comment »

Proud? Yes, but…

Friday, November 7th, 2008

I knew that when Barack Obama was elected President of the United States, there would be a great deal of excitement in the country.  And why not?  He is an exciting public speaker, a very popular candidate, and (as it turned out) a decisive winner of the election.

He’s also the first African-American to be elected to that position.  This is, of course, noteworthy, and an important milestone for our country.  The amount of attention it’s been getting over the last couple of days, though, has me a bit unnerved.  I’ve read or heard people calling it a “validation of the civil rights movement,” “America’s first ‘show, not tell’ moment with regard to race” and, as Jason Bennion showed us recently, a ratification of the Declaration of Independence’s famous claim that “All Men are Created Equal.”

Prominent African-Americans like Jesse Jackson and Oprah Winfrey are repeatedly shown weeping on television.  Others are recounting the days of slavery, the dreams of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the pre-civil rights days of segregation and bigotry.  This election, they all say, is the turning point; the indication that America has moved past its sins and entered a world of enlightenment.

As I said above, it’s an important milestone, and one about which we should be exceedingly proud.  But to speak of it as revolution rather than evolution seems, at least to me, to denigrate all of the progress we’ve made over the last few decades, and even rises to the level of insult to a number of very successful people.

Perhaps it’s worth recalling: before Barack Obama was elected President, there were African-American congressmen, senators, cabinet members, generals, joint chiefs of staff, national security advisers, and supreme court justices. There were also black CEOs, entrepreneurs, Nobel prize winners, sports heroes and movie stars. Each and every one of these people represented another nail in the coffin of bigotry. To suggest that this one election was the rubicon for years of oppression and hatred is, in my opinion, to forget the significant accomplishments and hardships of the many who came before. America did not become ready to elect a black president last Tuesday. America was ready for quite some time before that, and on Tuesday, it happened. There’s a big difference.

I even heard one guy say (paraphrasing here) “Only in America! Only in America can a man who’s ancestors were treated as second class citizens just a couple of generations ago rise to be the most powerful person in the land.” I wonder what this guy thought of that statement.

You know what I’m really proud of, though? I’m really proud that, for the most part, we didn’t elect him because he was black. I’m reminded of what Mike Huckabee said about him at the Republican National Convention:

I grew up at a time and in a place where the civil rights movement was fought. And I witnessed firsthand the shameful evil of racism. I saw how ignorance and prejudice caused people to do the unthinkable to people of color, and it wasn’t so many years ago.

I want to say with the utmost of sincerity, not as a Republican, but as an American, that I have great respect for Senator Obama’s historic achievement to become his party’s nominee, not because of his color, but with indifference to it. Party or politics aside, as Americans, we celebrate this milestone because it elevates our country.

Were there those who voted for him simply because he was black? I’m sure. Just as I’m sure there were those who voted against him for the same reason. But here’s the thing that never gets said, because punditry is a job with no consequences for being wrong: there was no Bradley effect. The election turned out roughly the way the polls said it would. If there is a latent racism flowing through America, it’s become so contained, so obscure, so limited that it doesn’t move the needle on a national election. The elderly Jewish people in Florida who wouldn’t vote for a black man and the crazy ladies at the McCain rallies who were convinced he was a Muslim (and that that was inherently a bad thing) did not prevail. We, as a people, reject that kind of thinking, and we proved it last Tuesday.

Barack Obama was judged not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character. That was Dr. King’s dream, and that is a dream worth being proud of.

Categories: Political Rantings | 5 Comments »

She just won’t go away…

Friday, November 7th, 2008

The folks over at Powerline Blog point out an interesting irony in the Alaskan senate race.

At this moment, according to CNN.com, incumbent (and convict) Ted Stevens is leading his Democratic challenger, Mark Begich by 3,353 votes (results still being processed, whatever that means).  If Ted Stevens wins, and is then sent to jail based on his recent conviction, the next senator from Alaska would be chosen by . . . (wait for it) . . . . Sarah Palin!

Ironic? You betcha!! <wink>

Categories: Political Rantings | 1 Comment »

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