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“If they made tugboats bigger, they’d be the boats other boats tug.”

7/8/08 12:21 pm - Posted using TxtLJ (http://www.livejournal.com/manage/sms/)

This is a test.

5/23/08 01:44 am - Happy 10th Birthday, The Tiny

The Tiny was manufactured in May of 1998. It turns ten years old this month.

Bad news: I just got a few more things fixed.
Good news: It finally is running like it did when I bought it eight years ago.

And that's the last I'll post about The Tiny for quite some time.

5/15/08 02:20 pm - Project j0: Dissecting online communication

Project j0, step 0
Originally uploaded by fotogrog

In an effort to step up level my communication, I'm trying to do an audit of my various means to make contacts, broadcast my content, and exchange information with users and communities.

Thus far, in my own realm of communication, I have identified the following media:

  • command line realms, including:

    • BBSes (eschwa)
    • MUDs

  • email (personal and work)

  • IM (AIM, Gtalk, MSN, Yahoo!)

  • plain ol' telephone service (work, cell, etc.)

  • Skype [other online audio chat tools usually seem to be part of IM]

  • SMS

  • virtual environments (Second Life)

  • web-based realms, including:

    • audio and video services (flickr, MySpace, YouTube)
    • blogs (Blogger, LiveJournal, MySpace; others requiring per-site accounts or email for comments)
    • bookmarking and tagging (del.icio.us, Digg)
    • images (flickr, MySpace, picasa)
    • plain ol' HTML web content
    • social networks (Facebook, Friendster, LinkedIn, LiveJournal, LUGNET, MySpace, iPling,
    • wikis

¿Am I missing anything?

The telephone based options (POTS and SMS) are arguably harder to include, since the primary medium is not through an Internet-connected computer.

Each of the bold bullet items above seems to require its own unique client. There is some crossover with mechanisms such as twitter, but I'm lumping it in with the web since that's where the main means of management lies.

Unfortunately, all of these media have their own unique interfaces. There are individuals, groups, and systems generating (and expecting) messages of communication. Almost everyone I know is in one or more online community, but trying to reach them all at once is difficult -- some people only stay in one place, and so you often have to go to them.

In order to ultimately simply my side of things, I'm putting together Project j0.

Project j0 is one of the first proofs of concept for DUDE*, which has been an acronym I've kept under wraps up until now. Dynamic Universal Data Exchange provides a means to maintain data independent of its media, and derive media-specific content from the source. Project j0 will be using a pretty hacked up combination of tools and languages, but if my theories are right, that will be a clean-up task that won't be bound by the same constraints of current software development practices. (I can already hear my developer friends cringe. Wha..?)

Anyhow, I'll keep you posted. Eventually all from one source.

P.S. Yes, I am a bit concerned by the frequency that MySpace appears, but as bad as the interface is, the do manage to accomplish their all-eggs-in-one-basket mission.

*The acronym DUDE long preceded my first viewing of The Big Lebowski, so I don't want anyone to link those two together arbitrarily. Also, note that DUDE isn't one of those half-assed acronyms of convenience.

5/12/08 12:06 pm - Home security

Do you lock the desktop on your home computers?

5/11/08 07:00 pm - The Tiny Trap

The Tiny Trap
Originally uploaded by fotogrog

A flickr set for your... amusement?

Normally, I'd proclaim yet another triumph in my many tales of two-fisted parallel parking in the city, but the truth is that I have parked The Tiny into a spot from which it cannot escape.

Printer's Row has turned into a chaos-ridden war construction zone the past couple of years. Rampant overdevelopment was likely precipitated by phenomena such as the opening of the Target at Roosevelt and Clark in 2005. While I have no intention of moving any time soon, the evolution of the neighborhood has had an excessive impact on the available resident parking in the area. This was exacerbated greatly by the reconstruction of Wells south of Polk, which has been a 24 hour tow zone since the beginning of 2008. The first two months, not surprisingly, this space sat idle.

(There are other parking zones I have been making use of. Resourceful neighbors who survey the area should be able to discover it fairly easily, but I'm not willingly giving anyone the advantage in the quest for a street parking spot.)

Thursday I found a spot on the southbound side of Wells, north of Polk. This part of the road is in serious decay. In the past, I have managed to get The Tiny in and out of these crumbling parking zones in this area before.

But not this time.

Perhaps if I still had the snow tires, I could have off-roaded The Tiny back to on-roading. Perhaps if I had a bit more clearance in the SUV sandwich I'd have more maneuverability. Perhaps if the front left wheel wasn't facing an approximate 90° grade, I would be able to drive around town right now.

(Normally wiggle room has had little effect on my abilities to squeeze into spots, as clearly demonstrated by historical photographic documentation.)

Friday morning, after starting out the workday at home, I attempted to drive down to campus. It took about five minutes of doing the twist before I realized there was no escape. A driver-by attempted to push me out (not that I was soliciting assistance), but there was just no luck.

Who's to blame for this? Is it me, for not using better judgment during a time where the neighborhood roads are as bad as they ever have been? Or is it the city, which arguably could be waiting until there's a lull in construction to repair Wells?

The big swath of green space north of River City may actually be developed after many, many years. (I forget where I read this, and Google News renders nothing. May have been next to the mailboxes in the lobby, but I'm not running down to check right now.) Maybe in a few months development will start there too, and they'll be forced to rebuild that side of the street, making it a tow zone, and I will have a path cleared for escape.

So my choices are:

  1. Wait it out. Those SUVs will have to move eventually. Or will they? I don't think this side of the street is earmarked for street cleaning, as evidenced by the bang-up job the City of Chicago has done in this one particular area. Sure, they're neat freaks when it comes to inconveniencing those who park on Hyde Park streets north of the UC campus, but apparently the South Loop doesn't get the same TLC. Honestly, I don't think a street sweeper would be able to make much headway, either in terms of driving or cleaning.

    Meanwhile the neighboring SUVs could be there for weeks. It's ironic that there's such a squeeze for parking, yet cars seem to move very infrequently around my place. What's the point of having a car if you don't use it?

    An old van in North End sat in the same spot for months on end until it finally received an abandoned vehicle warning from the City of Boston. A few days later, the van had moved about three car lengths down the street, where it sat for many months there on.

    So I thought I could...

  2. Call the City of Chicago. I did call 311, and got redirected to some department. I can't recall, in part because <sarcasm>they're always so effective at clearly enunciating where the call is getting directed</sarcasm>. I made the dire mistake of not asking for the name and number of the person who ultimately answered my call.

    I was told that they'd send out a truck in "ten to twenty minutes," but they weren't going to do anything that would cause damage that they would be liable for. Didn't matter, as after half an hour, I gave up and decided to get on with my workday.

    (Future calls, naturally, will include a thorough survey of name, number, and job title.)

    I guess I could...

  3. Pay to have it moved... somehow. And then send the City the bill.

Calling AAA isn't an option, since I've used up my four emergency roadside assistance calls. One of which is thanks to a multi-wheel failure on The Tiny, rendering it undrivable (is that a word?). Which is thanks to the City of Chicago, as the first of the two wheel failures was due to a pothole on a degraded part of 55th Street in Hyde Park. (Arguably, the second wheel was thanks to the City as well, which apparently doesn't worry about issues such as street cleaning [or plowing!] 57th Street in the winter. A screw laying in the street punctured a tired, crippling The Tiny, even after I installed the donut.)

Why are we spending millions of dollars to repair roads every year with asphalt when it's clearly nothing but crap? Wells used to be a brick road, and the brick is now exposed where the asphalt has worn away. Of course, it's all a way for the road repair operations to stay in business, but having paid all sorts of taxes and tickets, is it too much to ask for THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE pump some of that hard-earned money back into actually maintaining the City's infrastructure?

The very fact that parking is overseen by THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE clearly sends the message that the City could care less about actual management of parking. All that matters is the revenue stream.

I've been a good citizen. I have paid every parking ticket in a reasonable amount of time. I've never complained to the staff at the Lowest Wacker Drive tow lot the three times I've had tow-worthy violations. But this is beyond my control, and I tried to make the best of a bad situation, and am now being denied my car. Of course, I can't ticket the city for holding my car ransom, or induce a strategic no parking zone (although they issue tow zone permits to developers like toilet paper).

I'm calling the Alderman's office tomorrow to see what can happen. Bob Fioretti was so hot to replace Madeline Haithcock. She let the developers run amok in the neighborhood. Fioretti apparently forgot about the disgruntled residents as soon as he got elected.

Yeah, this is nothing new. Bureaucracies and corruption rival the Sears Tower in terms of Chicago's claims to fame. But honestly, this is deplorable, and I am one of those people who actually gives a crap about urban development and city infrastructure.

The City of Chicago certainly doesn't, and I have the pictures to prove it.

This country is falling apart... remember New Orleans? How about the I-35W bridge that fell into the river between the Twin Cities? Of course, those incidents cost countless lives and billions of dollars, so they deserved the immediate attention of FEMA and the National Guard, not to mention repairs and upgrades per the recommendation of the Army Corps of Engineers.

Or wait.

Meanwhile, some loft-dwelling, BMW-driving, yuppie white guy can't get down to his job in academia because his car is stuck in a giant pothole. This is where I wish I could hide German engineering beneath one of those giant Honda H's. I mean, putting this in the perspective of the national infrastructure failures, I feel almost guilty bitching about what's arguably a mere inconvenience. There's always the CTA... at least until its next Doomsday Crisis™.

If it turns out that one really cannot fight City Hall and win, perhaps I can ask some of the local construction workers to help me reenact a particular Mentos commercial.

After all, with all of the development encroaching on my space, I think some guys in hard hats probably owe me a favor at this point.

(Oh, and to the Dutch-Scandinavian-French girl in the commercial: C'mon, for serious? I could have escaped from that space blindfolded.)

4/29/08 09:48 pm - I'm back.

I don't know what to say yet, though.

4/23/08 11:29 pm - Greetings from Hungary

I have pictures and stories, but wireless is kind of flaky. Hence the not-updates thus far.

Two words: paprika overload.

4/17/08 05:20 pm - Cicago to Budapesst

I'm leaving for the motherland tomorrow night. I call it the motherland because my mother was born there, and in fact, on land.

We'll see what the online-ness is like there.

It's been 28 years.
Kinda weird.
But okay.


4/16/08 05:42 am - "I feel shocked."

I'm posting this simply for my own amusement. And as an excuse to use my new Pepper Brooks icon.

4/12/08 12:28 pm - Life as UHF

Hey, Stanley?

Yeah, George?

How would you like your own
TV show?


This is what my life has become.
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