Monthly Archives: November 2009

Charter for Compassion

The Golden Rule requires that we use empathy — moral imagination — to put ourselves in others’ shoes. We should act toward them as we would want them to act toward us. We should refuse, under any circumstance, to carry out actions which would cause them harm.

If you missed it today, the American Public Media broadcast of Speaking of Faith was Krista Tippett’s interview with Karen Armstrong, that reference’s Ms. Armstrong’s TED 2008 talk which sparked the Charter of Compassion.
I heard the SoF broadcast today on KPCC while driving home from Glendale and by the time I was home, I was determined to find out a bit more about the Charter for Compassion.
It is time to focus on compassion, no war. It is time to focus on justice, not revenge. It is time to work towards making a world that we can all live in, not die in as we kill it and each other.
And that it is time for faith, hope and love to reign over certainty, fundamentalism, and despair.

BLKPHBE, Black What?

BLKPHBE, Black What?
Photo taken by Ms. Jen with a Nokia N97.

Sat 11.07.09 – To all of you who know me in person, know that my car’s license plate is BLKPHBE and that my Prius’ name is ‘Black Phoebe’. Not named after this website, but named after the bird that this website is named after.
For those of you who don’t know me in person, or who don’t know about my lifelong passion for native song birds, here are some reference pages on my all time favorite SoCal bird, the black phoebe:

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/black_phoebe/id

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Phoebe
http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/framlst/i4580id.html
Why does this come up today? Because recently I had the third comment where someone who doesn’t know me or a neighbor who I only know in passing has said, “Black Phobe? What are you racist?”
The first time someone asked this I was so surprised. Each of the three times it has happened I have said, “No, it is black phoebe, it is a local bird.” I then go on to describe a black phoebe and its habits, some of which are very unique to flycatchers. The first two inquirers knew exactly what bird it was and were a more than a bit baffled that I would name my car after a bird. The third one, a retired neighbor, asked a couple of days ago and kept asking me to describe the bird, as it was obvious he didn’t believe me.
I find this baffling. Why would I have a license plate named ‘black phobe’?

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Portal Poopers

All day today, as I wrapped up working in the PHP Salt Mines, I had tons of ideas for good and scintillating blog posts, but soon as I sat down to blog all of the ideas fled to someone else’s brain.
Instead, I will tell you about the new dog religion or ritual practice I have observed lately. For over a month now, whenever I take Scruffy out for a walk, I have noticed that Scruffy always wants to do his dog-ly business in front of someone’s door or at the entrance of their walkway. If I drag him off to find another spot, like a lawn, before he makes his deposit he will hold it until we are in front of another doorway or walkway.
I have decided that Scruffy must be participating in some obscure dog cult of the Portal Poopers.
Fast forward to this last week when Belle was visiting, several mornings in a row as we went to leave for our walk a pile of dog poop would be blocking our way. Cold dog poop. Not Belle’s. Not Scruffys. Not fresh, but cold.
What other dog had entered the breezeway to participate in the Portal Pooping ritual?
Tonight, I found out who, as he was portal pooping in front of Earl & Sharon’s doorway before he came over to visit with Mr. McDoglet…
Yes, Magnus & Scruffy must both belong to the PP dog cult!

Perfectionism and Programming, Where to Stop?

I know it is good to be a DRY, Agile programmer and not repeat yourself, but I have a hard time being “lazy” due to a problem with perfectionism.
I have been working on finishing up additions to a web app in PHP that I coded last year and for each day that I *should* wrap up, I find One More Thing that should be polished A Bit More, just One More Thing. Last week, I fell down a hole of internet research about the latest developments in PHP security. This was bad, because there have been new techniques on how to best beat the bad boy hackers, so this week I found myself making a few changes to reflect best, current secure practices of the most recent cutting edge.
This is the right thing to do, right?
Well, bits of the app then needed to be recoded, and then a few more changes, and then test the database, and then some more recoding, and I had a huge refactoring snowball rolling down a hill attacking me. Gah. But in good conscience, I could not leave the client with security holes.
Where do you stop? Right at the letter and law of the contract? A few extra hours of work if you find some new information on the latest and greatest practices? Or do you just do it and refactor the whole app for professional pride and a good job well done?
Let me know where you draw the line.

The Berm and a Worm, furthermore, I Repent What I Said About the Nokia N97

So Begins the Annual Seal Beach Winter Storm Protection Sand Berm Usual worm with a triangle flat head as seen on the Greenbelt sidewalk this morning.

Photos taken today by Ms. Jen with a Nokia N97 camera phone.

Wed 11.04.09 – Today I am combining my photo post with my text post, as I have received a trial Nokia N97 from WOM World to be an alpha tester for the new Carl Zeiss mobile application. Given that there is no Lifeblog on the N97 and I have been working deep in the PHP Salt Mines, I have not had time to set up the trial N97 for moblogging, so today’s photos were uploaded from my MT install.
As I stated yesterday, I repent of most of what I said in my March & August reviews of the Nokia n97, as the recent October firmware update has solved about 98% of my complaints. It is now a device that is fun to use and is not a struggle, this is the version that should have been released back in July, not three months later as an update.
Upon receiving the Nokia N97 yesterday, I was able to set it up about 80% to my satisfaction within the first 15 minutes. I did not attempt to set up moblogging or email, as setting up a POP email account is what made my blood pressure raise so high in July. Today, I did install the Gmail app very quickly, but have not installed PixelPipe* to Share Online.
What I am most satisfied with the new N97 firmware is the to the responsiveness of the touchscreen – fast scrolling / flicking – w00t!, and more refined camera functionality. Scrolling/flicking aside, it is the ability of the camera to now get clear, sharp shots, close-ups, and good color that makes me happy.
The last two days the inland parts of the greater LA area have been quite warm but at the beach we have had pea soup fog most of the day. When I went to walk the dogs this morning the fog made visibility low and all surfaces wet. Even though the air was gray & murky with water droplets, the Nokia N97 was able to take a good photo of the building of the annual winter sand berm.
As we ended our walk, I noticed an unusual worm with a flat triangle head crossing the sidewalk, I was able to crouch down, set the Nokia N97 to close-up mode and get the camera lens within 5 inches of the worm and still get a good, clear shot of the worm, its colors, and bizarre head. Before the October firmware update, I would not have been able to get the clarity and sharpness of the worm at 5-6 inches away.
More on the Carl Zeiss app tomorrow.

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