Just Shelley

Wood chip path

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Best laid plans and all. Yesterday I was on my way to Kansas City for two nights, having cashed in the rest of my Hotwire dollars. On the way I was going to visit Burr Oak Conservation area, to see the brilliant fall foliage and the paths by the limestone cliffs.

The foliage was disappointing, the park rather dreary, the cliffs about 6 feet tall, and the people at the Nature Center weren’t particularly friendly, but at least the trails at Burr Oak Woods are very easy and pleasant walks: two are paved, and the other three are covered with wood chips. Wood chip trails are about as difficulty free as can be; a drunken sailor waltzing two barroom girls in high heels and fishnet stockings could walk a wood chip trail with nary a misstep. Next time that’s who I’ll take with me.

Oak Burr path and fence

At one spot near a bench overlooking a watering hole, I stepped back to take a photo and tripped over the board used to surround the bench. Arms flailing, I swung hard around to grab a tree to keep from falling, severely pulling the piriformis muscle on my right side. I’ve done this once before and the results can limit mobility rather a lot. I would have been better off falling. If I’d fallen, I would have ended up on a wood chip path–just this side of falling into a lumpy bed. Instincts, though, kick in.

“Mustn’t fall! Mustn’t fall!”

I remember my Karate teacher from years before talking about instincts. According to him, we thought we were taking karate to develop a better set of instincts–to be able to react swiftly and immediately to any situation. Instead, he would say, we were there to learn to overcome our instincts; to learn to let events happen.

For instance, during sparring, he said he could tell when we women hadn’t been hit hard in the face yet, as we would expose any number of vulnerable spots on the body to protect the face. Once we’re hit in the face, and have accepted the shock of such a hit and realized we’re neither dead nor disfigured, we can then turn off that instinct and become a better balanced fighter. Men are as protective of their groin as women are with their faces. However, there is reason for the instinct in this case: hitting a man in the groin can put even the biggest and strongest male on the floor. Which, if you consider all things being equal as regards training and compensating for physical size differences, women should always beat men in a fight.

I returned home yesterday, which is a good thing as I had a note from a client that the Newsgator API changes added some time on Monday broke the application I created for them. I’ve fixed the code; piriformis muscle will take a wee bit longer. Ah well, weather’s not great in Kansas City right now, anyway.



More on Neighbors

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Phil has continued the discussion related to the Doppleganger post, providing some eye opening insight:

My immediate reaction to Shelley’s GreatestJournal post was to leap to the defence of walled gardens – “Walled gardens are full of people!”. It’s a nice line, but on reflection I don’t think it’s quite right. What we’re hearing is a sublime (although far from unprecedented) example of chutzpah – a critique of barriers by advocates of enclosure. The blogosphere isn’t a walled garden, it’s a wide-open common where nobody has ownership rights. An enclave which can’t be strip-mined isn’t walled in; all that’s happened is that the predators – who would put their own fences around it if they could – have been walled out. Long may they remain so.

I prefer not to have my writing republished in its entirety elsewhere, and those who wish to do so criticize me for my actions, and for acting counter to the common good. But where is it written that their wish to republish the writing is an act made on behalf of the common good?

Looking at many of these types of discussions about ‘open’ data from this viewpoint adds a rather interesting perspective.


PopTech: Better

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

A year ago I and others wrote on Pop!Tech and the lack of women and diversity in its speaker list. At the time, the conference had one woman speaking out of 30. I don’t know if what we wrote had an impact or not, but I was heartened to see a more diverse speaker list this year.

More, I noticed that the speakers who didn’t fall into the typical white, Euro-Pacific-Americas white male pattern are touching on some unusual and unique topics: from underwater exploration, to Saturn fly-bys, to patenting living things, and so on.

The representation still isn’t perfect, but it is better. If the organizers continue the trend into the future, I’ll have to start saving my pennies to attend Pop!Tech in 2008-9.


Need and want

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I’m not usually driven to ‘want’ when reading about this gadget or that. I don’t have an iPod, and don’t have one on my wishlist. I have enough camera for my needs (D70) and a very nice printer and several lenses so I’m fine there. My smallish TV/DVD combo works , as does my portable stereo; oh, and my Kitchenaide Mixer, which will live longer than me.

But I have to admit to a wistful wanting when I read this Guardian article about the new Power Mac and especially the Aperture software, to work with RAW images.

It’s not that I can’t process photos on my TiBook; it’s that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to manage. I have 512MB of RAM, and a line down the monitor, a cracked shell, and a battery that easily disconnects. The screen is getting marked and fuzzy, and I only have 18GB of hard drive. When you take 1GB of photos at a time, 18GB becomes very small, very quickly.

I could use my PC more, and am contemplating it, but I like the Mac. I like the Unix underneath the glam.

It would be nice to have a really good machine again — top of the line with loads of space and memory and the most recent software. But I can make do with what I have. I have Neo and OpenOffice on my Mac, and OpenOffice on my PC (dual boot with Ubuntu and Windows 2000). I also have Gimp on my PC and Photoshop CS on my Mac. I have CD burners for both, and CDs are cheap now. My scanner is excellent, and I have two good film cameras. I haven’t exhausted all the possibilities of all the software I do have, to add more. I haven’t exhausted my capabilities on both machines.

Come to think on it, how we use our machines is somewhat like how we use our brains: we don’t use either to their fullest capacity. Increasing the use of one could extend and increase the use of the other.

Still, it is fun to indulge in a little wishful wanting now and again. I wonder if Aperture can work on my machine?