Three Piles

Today was the day I finally stepped up and faced an often dodged line item on the honey-do list with long overdue attention. You see, there is a portion of the house that I have been using as ‘my’ space. While I pride myself in victoriously claiming this space as mine, it has been brought to my attention that my space could benefit from a measure of serious organizational effort. Bottom line is that it had gotten out of control and I was given a deadline after which unilateral action would be taken by a particularly interested party. Their claim was familial health and wellbeing, but I suspect over-reaction.

Regardless of my motivation, or lack thereof, I got started about 10:00 this morning. I dutifully began three seperate piles; ‘keep’, ‘toss’ and ‘hey, look what I found’. Early on the ‘keep’ pile grew at a strong pace, but as the morning gave way to afternoon, the ‘toss’ pile not only caught up, but claimed some of the ‘keep’ pile and quickly took the lead. In the ‘hey, look what I found’ pile was placed a partially read October 2002 issue of Family Tree magazine. Apparently I stalled on page 48 where begins an article regarding surname searches on the web. In this pile I also placed a small sized container of Gorilla Snot, ten dollars in Moe Bucks and a small radio with TV1 and TV2 bands that I bought in 1986, while working second shift, in order to listen to the Mets dash the dreams of Red Sox fans nationwide… oh, the memories.

So, here I sit having a gander at the results of my efforts today and I like what I see. Yes, there still is the one corner that needs some minor attention, but overall I’m excited. A conservative estimate would suggest I may not have to throw anything away for another couple of years, at least!

Rumaging Through Pictures

Some of you may recall that awhile ago I had the misfortune of having my hard drive pitch a fit and refuse to work. Compaq replaced the hard drive and when I mentioned that the old drive still had data that I wanted to attempt to extract they said no problem, keep it. Well, I am finally getting around to pulling this data off of the drive. Among all the stuff on the drive was a whole lot of pictures. It has been fun to ‘flip through’ these pictures and remember the circumstances in which they were taken. The one you see here is perhaps my all time favorite. It was taken during a business trip to Norway. I was able to stay through the weekend with some friends and had an awesome time. Oh how I would jump on the opportunity to return.

With all these pictures I am going through, it seems to me there should be an easy way to label them quickly and with some intelligence. For now I have been clicking on each one and then trying to think of a name that is both descriptive and succinct. ‘Norway Mountains 012’ is not cutting it. Is there a convention that someone has found to work well for them? Also, I am thinking it might be worth the effort to store them online somewhere should the same fate fall upon my current hard drive. Anybody with an inside scoop or recommendation for online resources of this nature?

Take That!

I came across Googlefight (no affiliation with Google) by way of Dag on his blog over at Mission XP. There are some classic fights already listed such as God vs. Satan — God wins by over 174 million — and you can wage a custom fight by entering the adversaries of your choice.

In case your missing the point, there is actually a practical side to all this. For example; I have been doing a good bit of reading lately and tend to have a difficult time of choosing what is to be next in my queue. Well, to help with my next selection process I pitted NT Wright up against John Yoder. Well, it looks like “The Politics of Jesus” it is. While slugging things about I figured why not have a go with another classic battle. So, our next contestants: KJV vs. NIV

December Dilemma

How dare they? Don’t they understand that we have the constitutionally protected right to market our saviour’s birth in stores across this land of ours? American Family Association President Tim Wildmon cautions businesses most directly exploiting our heritage of uncontrolled consumerism in this country that they would be wise to advertise appropriately “if they expect Christians to come in and buy products during this so-called season.” Others doubt the likelihood of any noticeable change in christian stewardship.

Always the purveyors of reconciliation, the Anti-Defamation League suggests a different tact by avoiding problematic language and dropping all references to ‘christmas’ and ‘holiday’. DFL suggests replacing these words, used in reference to the months leading up to December 25th, with the more applicable words “December dilemma.” The point being that these words speak so much more directly to the heart of the season.

Such a move not only addresses the vocabulary of the season, but it also greatly expands marketing possibilities. In addition to the giving of various electronic gadgetry and burned CDs of pirated music, choices in the service industries become attractive gift options. Practitioners of various psychological treatment products would be the most obvious to profit from such a seasonal moniker change.

Smiley Xtra Caution

Last evening I embarrassed myself. More importantly, I offended people who I respect and care about. To them I extend a sincere appology.

I have used Smiley Xtra for awhile now. Smiley is a Firefox extension that uses an online database of smilies and allows users to insert these smilies into forum postings as well as blog posts and comments. Per the Smiley website,

All the smilies in the database are submitted by users of The Smile Project, so if you find a smiley you like, don’t forget to share it with the rest of us!

While it is true that the smilies are submitted by users, these users are not necessarily the ‘owners’ of these smilies, nor are they necessarily the operator of the server on which the smilies reside. In fact *anybody* may submit smilies from *anywhere*. The official page to submit smilies does include this disclaimer:

Please make sure the host that the smiley is hosted allows hot linking, and that the copyright owner and the host of the smiley is happy for you to submit the smiley.

However, there is no indication that Smiley takes any steps to validate legitimacy before making the smilies available publicly. Needing to understand what really happened, I contacted James Baker of Smiley Xtra project who responded as follows:

The Sick smiley was removed several weeks ago after it was found to display the disgusting picture instead of the smiley. What happens is that the server hosting the image can serve up different images based on where the image is being used. As it wasn’t being used on the originating website, I’m guessing they served up the nasty image to discourage hot-linking. Make sure you update your database regularly to prevent similar things happening.

I understand James’ recommendation to update the database regularly as that might have prevented me from passing along the offensive picture. I also noticed that with the new version of Smiley Xtra there is the ability to setup automatic updating. However, updating the database does not ensure that changes on the part of the actual host of the images will not render a previously active and utilized image as something unintended at some point in the future. It is for this reason that I will likely cease use of Smiley Xtra and recommend anyone else to at least consider potential ramifications.