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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Stop Cyberbullying

Andy Carvin is advocating for stopcyberbullying this Friday. I applaud his efforts and will add my 2 cents to endorse it here and elsewhere.

In my advocation of this is I would not limited this to just one day. We should practice this every day.

We need to treat each other with respect. We need to have civil conversations.

The more we do this the better off we will all be.

Read Andy's posting on this here.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Rapid Fire Learning - March 2007

It is not an excuse, just a reason, that I am late partly because there has been so much going on. without further ado, here are the five things I learned this March:

1 - The list of books I should, or now want to, read has grown tremendously this month. Usually I'll pick up at least two or three, sometimes four books during the course of a month to put on my list. This month primarily due to the Love Affair with Books, I have exceeded my reading capacity for the next several months. This is a GOOD problem mind you, I am not complaining! The conversations for many of the book reviews were very interactive and insightful. I won't need to keep a separate listing of what to read, it is already provided for. If you have not stopped by the Joyful Jubilant Learning blog, I think it would be worth you while to do so.

2 - I figured out how to officially create a podcast. The audio blogging I had done previously was a good learning experience. A necessary step in the direction of the creation of my podcast for Passionate Runner. You can benefit from my 30 plus years of running experience by tuning into this podcast. Will I stop there? No, a new podcast for my poetry is on the schedule for April.

3 - From several corners, I had come across The Power of Play by David Elkind and it jumped to the top of the reading list. As I got into the book, I realized that a lot of what I had experienced as "good learning" was really nicely explained by David. So much so that I have a series of postings expanding upon several quotes from his book. If you are into learning, and how to learn, this is a good book to read.

4 - I was fortunate to finally meet Phil Gerbyshak in person. After almost two years of conversations, via email, blogging comments, and a few conference calls, we met when he had the opportunity to come to my neighborhood to speak at the local HDI chapter event. I thoroughly enjoyed "taking the blog off the blog" and learning how to "make it great" in person. If you get a chance to connect with Phil, do so. It will be great. Inside tip, be prepared to play a good game of cribbage! My wife will attest to Phil's card skills/luck. And while they were picking on each others cards, I managed to scoot ahead to victory by the barest of margins.

5 - Last but not least, I'll go back to a concert at the Circle of Friends Coffeehouse where we got to hear Garnet Rogers perform. The chorus that still sticks in my mind has a great message for all time.
Give your love and never count the cost
Lose your heart and never call it lost

May your love be your shelter

to the ending of your days

love is all that is, all that ever was
The full text of "All that is" can be found here.


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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Trail proposed

The Boston Globe editorial page in Sunday's edition talks about a new hiking trail proposed to extend from Mount Monadnock to Long Island Sound.

HOME TO some of the most spectacular sections of the Appalachian Trail, New England could gain a new interstate hiking trail that is closer to the region's population centers. US Representative John Olver of Amherst filed a bill this month to create a New England National Scenic Trail that could one day stretch from Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire to the Long Island Sound at Guilford, Conn.

For 190 miles of the 220-mile distance, the trail would roughly follow the route through the Connecticut River Valley of the existing Monadnock, Metacomet, and Mattabessett trail system in Massachusetts and Connecticut. The principal addition would be a 14-mile spur from the southern end of the Mattabessett in Connecticut to the shoreline in Guilford.


The goal of planners is that the scenic trail will have a single trail blazing system, but with few through hikers, since overnight camping would be permitted in only a limited number of locations. Of course, decades ago planners of the Appalachian Trail did not envision through hikers for its 2,175-mile length, either. Congress should designate the path as a new national scenic trail and let the walking public decide how best to use it.

I heartily endorse this concept. We once went to Mt Monadnock for a hike on a Sunday. We got a late start and were overdressed for the warm day. We ended up coming back before the peak vowing to return some day and complete the trail. We have yet to do so.

I was fortunate to hike Mt Mansfield and see Mt Monadnock in the distance on the clear weather day we had. I will get back to Monadnock to do the peak. I would love to see the trail go all the way to the shore.

If you hear of anything about this trail, talk up the positive. This would be a good thing for New England, and not just those of us who live here.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

FTC and Gift Cards

Michelle Singletary has a good article this week in the Boston Globe on the recent FTC ruling about gift cards.

In its first enforcement action involving gift cards, the FTC claims that Kmart advertised its branded gift cards as good as cash when, in fact, hidden fees would render them worthless after a certain amount of time.

Specifically, the FTC alleged that Kmart, a subsidiary of Sears Holding, told consumers that its gift cards never expired. However, the agency claims the retailer didn't clearly inform customers that a $2.10 monthly fee kicked in retroactively if a gift card went unused for two years. According to the FTC complaint, this meant an unused card's value was immediately reduced by $50.40 after two years.

Without admitting any wrongdoing, Kmart has agreed to settle the FTC charges. Under the agreement, which is not final, the retailer will reimburse the dormancy fees to consumers who provide an affected gift card's number, a mailing address, and a telephone number. Kmart has also agreed to publicize the refund program on its website, including a toll-free number, e-mail, and postal address so that eligible consumers can seek a refund.

If you have or know someone who has a gift card from Kmart, you can do them a favor and let them know about this.

Thanks, Michelle!

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Spring Portrait

the first day of spring came and went already this week, I decided it was time to do a new set of portraits. A set to continue the main theme of Steve's 2 Cents, 2 heads are better than one, whatever...

I have set my self up for doing another set each season... oh well, such is the life!

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Justice, injustice

The book review section of today's Boston Globe has an article on Infidel written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The wikipedia entry for her is detailed with some particulars are still being worked out.

In this article Eric Weinberger

A revealing moment in "Infidel" is when she discusses the single broadcast of "Submission." She had been invited to appear on a program whose guests normally share clips from sports or children's programs or documentaries that nostalgic Dutch viewers will identify with , but "having no shared Dutch experience to speak of," Hirsi Ali requested that they screen her film. Remarks like this help explain the attraction of the United States as the next stage of her migrant's journey. Furthermore, as a "one-issue politician" she had become disenchanted with the Dutch system, where "social democracy is grounded in the rights of groups of people, not individuals."

In addition to the books that have been reviewed and discussed during the Love Affair with Books on the Joyful Jubilant Learning blog this month, I think I should add this one.

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Inspirational Shadows

The wonderful writing of Patti Digh can inspire you to take some shadow photos with her new challenge at 37Days.

My photos are in this Flickr set.

Are you going to take up the challenge?

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Bum Rush the Charts - Results & Analysis

The results are in.

Christopher S Penn does the in depth analysis

I'll be ready to sign up again for the next time!

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Make it Great

Originally uploaded by shersteve.
Phil Gerbyshak came to town to deliver a keynote address to the HDI New England "HelpDesks Unpluged" event.

Low and behold, Elvis decided to make an appearance so we just had to get a picture taken of the three of us.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Today is the day!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Wireless Signals Bounce off Paint

Yes, technically it is possible to create a special paint that can bounce "unwanted" wireless signals of the walls that the paint is applied to. Or so the article says. But it stands to reason to be possible.

I question, the "unwanted" part of it. It sounds to me like it will bounce "all" the signals off the painted walls.

Does that mean if you paint the inside of the building, wireless signals won't 'bleed' outside?

Aside from special security spaces, this might be a solution for those who insist on talking in movie theaters, concert halls, etc.

Read the full article here and decide for yourself!

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Monday, March 19, 2007

HDI New England "Helpdesks Unplugged"

Yes, the New England Chapter of HDI is holding a special one day event coming up this Friday, March 23 to be held at the Conference Center, Marlborough, MA.





Opening remarks by HDI regional representatives


John Custy -Where ITIL and Knowledge meet


Chip Gliedman - What is this thing called ITIL and what should I do about it?




Phil Gerbyshak - Make it Great! with the insights of "How to be a Relationship Geek"


Networking lunch / Vendor show


Naomi Karten - Cave Dwellers and Chatter Boxes: Demystifying Introversion and Extroversion




Sam Rizzico - Tech Support Center Optimization


Closing remarks by HDI/door prizes

Yes, blogger buddy Phil Gerbyshak is coming to the area.

This was going to be a good one day event, with Phil there it will surely be Great!

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Dad's making dinner

Maybe it will be on YouTube or some other video source soon.

Ha, I should have googled before writing that line. It is already available here.

In any case, I don't like the implications of what McDonald's is claiming.

The same google query shows I am also not alone.

I am not loving it! When I cook dinner, the last place I would go to is McD's.

Dolores is cruising through a cook book loving every recipe. We'll have plenty to try and we generally only cook dinner twice a week (on weekends when we have time and then eat the left overs later during the week).

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Free or Illegal?

Received this letter from FreeConference.Com yesterday:

Dear FreeConference User:

AT&T/Cingular, Sprint, and Qwest Are Blocking Your Conference Calling

As of Friday, March 9, it's come to our attention that Cingular Wireless has begun blocking all conference calls made from Cingular handsets to selected conference numbers. If you call our service, you receive a recording that says, "This call is not allowed from this number. Please dial 611 for customer service".

Earlier this week, Sprint and Qwest joined in this action, blocking cellular and land line calls to these same numbers. This appears to be a coordinated effort to force you to use the paid services they provide, eliminating competition and blocking your right to use the conferencing services that work best for you.

Don't Let AT&T/Cingular, Sprint, or Qwest Take Away Your Right to Use the Conference Service of Your Choice!

We Need Your Help! Please Take the Actions Below:

Whether you are one of their customers, or an organizer who is being impacted by these uncompetitive actions, please file a complaint with the FCC or send an email to your State Attorney General to complain about this monopolistic practice to limit the choices of consumers.

You can also let these companies know how you feel about their attempt to block competitive services:

  • Sprint Customers can click here or dial *2 from their Sprint Phone

  • Cingular Customers can click here or call 1-888-333-6651

  • Qwest Customers can click here or call 1-800-860-2255

Your FreeConference Team remains steadfastly committed to bringing you simple, convenient and reliable conferencing services at the lowest cost possible. We appreciate your support in this endeavor.

Your FreeConference Team

Seth Godin wrote about this posing the situation as "monopolies vs everybody else" and then updating it with a information from a reader that remains to be validated.

As a FreeConference user, and of other tools that are available for free on the web, I like "free".

I also understand that "somebody" is really paying the bill as the economic principle TANSTAAFL comes to play here. Oh, you don't recall what TANSTAAFL means? That's okay: There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

I need to do more research on this to find out who is right, if that is possible. The Telco's have a reputation of doing it for self preservation.

Google search for news on this.
Google search for blogs on this.

If you find or have any good information on this, please let me know. Leave a comment or send me an email.

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Bum rush the charts!

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

What's with flavor shots?

On our new walking route for Sunday's Dolores and I stop by Dunkin Donuts to get our morning brew on the way home.

She ordered her medium coffee selecting Hazelnut. He poured, covered the cup and gave it to Dolores. I asked for my small Dunkin Dounts coffee and he poured from the same coffee pot.

Surprised by this, I asked: didn't you just pour her Hazelnut from the same pot? And if you did what did I get? Hazelnut or regular?

"Oh, you got regular," he said. "I put a shot of Hazelnut in hers before pouring."

Not one to make a scene, I said thanks, took my change and left.

Outside I find out Dolores' coffee doesn't really taste like Hazelnut. Now I know why.

And this is a company that sells flavored coffee beans or ground coffee in bags by the pound but can't brew their own flavors?

I may be showing my coffee naivety but has anyone else noticed this?

Is anyone else bothered by this?

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

iPod Ads - Variations on a theme

A series of pictures became posts on four of my blogs in the "variations on a theme" format I try every once in a while. It is a good exercise (no pun intended).



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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Kick that board!

Kick that board!
Originally uploaded by shersteve.
Caught waiting for a late train as I worked on a special project, I had some time to take photos of the latest iPod ads in South Station. You may recall the photos during the Jewel concert during February featured Dewar's.

The schedule board had just gone on the blink. So it seemed appropriate that the iPoder was seeming to kick the board to get it started again. Note the last column. Train numbers and times listed but no destinations.

The train to Nowhere?

No, the train we won't tell you about until it is ready to go.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

BarCampBoston2 March 17th

Hey, another inexpensive, unconference in Boston, what is not to like about that?

I'll be there.

Will you?

Check out the wiki and consider registering.

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