Small world

We’re so used to thinking of each other as pages on a computer screen that it catches at me when I read something like Doug Alder’s current post containing photos of his hometown of Rossland in British Columbia.

I grew up less than 50 miles from the town he describes. Down from the mountains, on the other side of the border, and along the river valley. This is actually a pretty amazing coincidence when you realize how remote our respective homes are, and how sparsely populated the area is. Or was.

When my parents first separated, I was quite young. My mother had a boyfriend who owned a large store in Doug’s area and she used to go visit him for a few days at a time. He’d always bring my brother and I Canadian chocolate bars because, as I remember him saying, they were …better than the American Hershey’s.

I wish I could remember his name. I wonder if he’s still alive, and if Doug knows him?

Small world.

Photography Writing

A touch of spring

Yesterday and today were perfect days to herald in a gentle Spring, and I was able to photograph several early flowers, including magnolia, snow drops, and, of course, daffodils. The magnolia and snow drops will wait till tomorrow; for today, in what is becoming a Burningbird Spring tradition, the first of the daffodils and the perfect poem to go with them, Henry Wordsworth’s “Daffodils”.


I wandered lonely as a cloud
   That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
   A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.


Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the Milky Way, 
They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay: 
Ten thousand saw I at a glance, 
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.


The waves beside them danced, 
but they Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: 
A Poet could not but be gay, 
In such a jocund company: 
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought 
What wealth the show to me had brought:


For oft, 
when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, 
They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; 
And then my heart with pleasure fills, 
And dances with the daffodils.



Dedicated to promise of future Springs.




Question as to perceived hostility

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I’ve been posting comments over in Jeff Jarvis’ space, primarily as a way of learning to not get offended, because if you say something someone doesn’t agree with there, you will get blasted.

In addition, Jarvis does attract some very interesting people who have much good to say, but if you make an idiot comment, these types will ignore you. So, I’ve been in ‘training’ so to speak in how to make comments that engage the more intelligent responder, while learning not to react to the people cruisen’ for a fight.

Interesting thread today on the TypeKey issue in which Jarvis felt that my comment was rude and hostile. To be honest, I didn’t see it as such. If anything, I was frustrated because I’ve felt for some time now that he doesn’t respond to what I write but will respond to other people, instead, and then use this as an indirect response to me.

Maybe I was rude, but hostile and nasty? Hmmm.

So my question is to you to review the comments, and let me know – did you perceive my response to Jarvis as hostile, rude, and nasty? If so, why? If not, why not? Glenn Fleishman seems to agree with Jarvis, but then, they also seem to know each other.

Is that also a factor in perception? How much we seem to ‘know’ the other person, or how much we value them?

Finally, and this is a sensitive one – does gender influence this perception? After all, aren’t girls supposed to be sugar and spice and everything nice. Is a critical comment given by a woman perceived to be more negative than the same type of comment given by a man?

And please be honest. Sigh, knowing my readers, I know you will be.


More on purist/straight photography

In an uncanny bit of serendipity, I was out looking for baby squirrel images (now why is she looking for images of baby squirrels, her reader’s ask), when I found before and after images of a baby squirrel that shows how Photoshop can be used to salvage a photo.

The before photo isn’t all that great – the background is noisy, the image is muddy, and you can barely see the baby squirrel.

But look at the after photo. Now, if that doesn’t have you going ‘ahhh’, then you don’t like baby squirrels. (Hush, qB–focus on fish.)

How far is too far in Photoshop? And do we think less of a photo that has been repaired or enhanced by Photoshop, than a photo that’s ’straight from the camera’?


TypeKey: The Patriot Act of Weblogging

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Six Apart has posted a page describing their TypeKey installation, and it is a centralized authentication system. Only one word can describe this design idea: bad.

With a centralized authentication system for comments, a person can be tracked by their comments wherever they go, even if they don’t want to be so tracked. Six Apart says they would never share this information with anyone. I don’t care – the potential for abuse is there.

Now, just imagine someone cracking into the TypeKey system – what kind of information about you can be found? What kind of havoc can occur when comments are managed in such a centralized way? Especially when this system transcends weblogging tools?

From a performance standpoint, how many times do you get a failure when you ping or or even Blogspot or TypePad users, have any problems accessing your service? Have you all tried to ping two Trackback-enabled TypePad weblog posts with the same entry, and found it has failed? How about you folks that link to Amazon or Google or Sitemeter or on your pages – ever notice how slow your page loads?

All of these are dependent on centralized systems, and as we have found in every single instance of centralization and weblogs, they don’t scale. Every single instance.

Now imagine trying to comment at someone’s page, and you can’t because TypeKey is currently overloaded. What is the reason for having your own weblog installation if you clutter it up with all these centralized bits?

And who asked for authentication? We asked for better management of comment spam, and a better method to delete comment spam. We were willing to tolerate a comment registration system for this, but no one asked for a centralized authentication system.

No one.

Authentication is not a solution for comment spam – it’s a way of cutting out those individuals who might be more comfortable commenting anonymously, or without attaching a URL or email address. And sometimes it is these people who provide the most honest feedback, even though the feedback may be ‘negative’, disagreeing with what we say.

The page at TypeKey says that the identity can be protected, but what happens if someone complains about a person and their comments – is Ben and Mena going to set up behavior standards for every one to follow with what they write? This is a private service: they can set up any standard they want, and once you’re tied into the service, you’re stuck. What if they define you as an ‘abuser’?

Yo! All you Howard Stern fans! Ding, ding, ding! Ring any bells?

If we’re so afraid of openness, why have comments? Why not just turn comments off? Better yet, put your weblog behind a firewall and only give the key to entry to those friends who have sworn a blood oath with you.

And less we think only Movable Type weblogs or TypePad weblogs will be tied into this vendor controlled solution, think again: Six Apart will be kind enough to provide this for everyone to use with their weblogs, regardless of software. Though the service is free, it does tie the weblogging community tightly into dependency on Six Apart, and this is not a good thing. Want me to enumerate other problems that have occurred because of dependency on a single entity?

Well, I have a hint for you: I will never register with a centralized authentication system. So if you want comments from me, forget it. Know something else? There’s going to be a whole lot of people right there with me.

I’ve been told that, supposedly, civilized people only use positive means to criticize each other. And after all, TypeKey is from Ben and Mena – we all know Ben and Mena. They’re part of us.

Well, sorry, this doesn’t wash anymore. Six Apart is no longer the baby squirrels; it’s a growing VC-funded company that just opened offices in Japan. And there is no ‘positive’ way to say this – TypeKey is a bad idea.

And when I published this, Movable Type gave me the following error:

Ping ‘′ failed: Ping error: Can’t accept the ping because the weblog hasn’t changed.


A second essay on TypeKey can be read here based on newer information. My response to the release of the TypeKey FAQ can be read here.