Archive for July, 2006

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Engage Me, Don’t Enrage Me

July 31, 2006

Engagement is more important than content. It’s even more important than technology. Why? Content’s gonna change. Technology’s gonna change. Only engagement (motivation, passion) will enable kids to learn into the future.

Paraphrased from Marc Prensky. He’s the keynote speaker this morning at the Desire2Learn User’s Conference.

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Guelph

July 31, 2006

Hello from Guelph, Ontario! I’m staying at the university here for a technology conference. I have no idea what there is to do in Guelph after hours. Nothing, I suspect, but we’ll see. I will be taking a drive into Toronto for some sight-seeing while I’m here, so that may be interesting.

Remember, I have a friend staying at my place who’s hopped up on espresso and fingering my samurai sword. Plus he has a mean dog. So don’t come by unannounced.

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Route This, FON Network

July 30, 2006

Remember my problems with my new FON Network router? I decided to give it another try. I made fresh appeals for help, tried several things, and utterly failed to make it work correctly. I could still access the internet, but nobody could access scottfeldstein.net.

So here’s what I did. I flashed the router with the Linksys firmware, essentially making it into a factory-original Linksys model having nothing to do with FON. I’m sure that violates some agreement I made with them. I mean they sent me a $5 router under the impression that I would be a part of their WiFi sharing program, and now I’m not part of it.

If you’re from FON and you’re reading this, I’ll tell you what. You get my router to work correctly and I’ll not only come back to the fold, I’ll write glowingly on my blog about your magnificent efforts to make good. If you want the router back instead, send me a postage-paid box to ship it in and I’ll send it back. Otherwise, I’m done with you folks and your “service.”

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America Believes in Saddam/9-11 Connection: Blame Liberals!

July 28, 2006

Owen over at Boots and Sabers blogged approvingly about president Bush calling out Iran for being behind Hezbollah. I offered that, though I was pretty sympathetic to Israel’s present activities and had no real idea about Iran’s potential involvement, I would be thinking long and hard before trusting Mr. Bush again when he says he knows who’s behind what. (Obviously referring to the whole Iraq/al Qaeda non-link in the 9/11 attacks.) This is where the discussion got sticky.

Jed has this to say about why Americans believe there’s a link between Saddam and 9/11:

The reason average Americans, including many conservatives, believe the 9/11 connection is because the liberals in this country, including much of the press, have twisted Bush’s words in an attempt to show that Bush made some connection—which he clearly did not, when you read what he actually said.

So basically it’s the fault of liberals and the media that so many Americans believed that Saddam had something to do with 9/11! I have considerably more respect for Jed and Owen than I have for some other conservative bloggers I could name, but this struck me as “crazier than a snakes armpit,” and I told them so.

What do you think? Here’s a multiple choice question.

Many Americans erroneously believe that there was a substantive connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 terrorist attack. They believe this because:

a) Bush, Cheney, Rice and other administration officials continually paired the two events/organizations in their rhetoric, often explicitly stating there was “a connection” – even if they never explicitly claimed that Saddam was directly responsible for the attack.

b) Liberals, including the media [heh], continually accused the administration of making this false link, and it was their bringing this accusation to everyone’s attention that actually caused people to believe it to be true.

Not being from anywhere remotely southern, I’m rapidly running out of cute southern phrases to describe how silly choice “b” is. Help me out here.

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Would You Do Photography For A Living?

July 26, 2006

I was asked this a couple of days ago. And the answer is definitely yes. If I could. I’d have to learn a lot more about the craft of photography, but yes I would do it for a living if I had the chance. Why not! I like taking pictures. (Or as one of my professional photographer friends often puts it, “making pictures.”) I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe it’s because it’s both technical and artistic. Maybe it’s because you can make people happy with your work. But the more I think about it the more it seems to me that photography encapsulates in a very satisfying way both something I am and something I’m not.

I’m an observer. A witness. At least I feel that way sometimes. I may not have the genius to create the internet, for example, but I do have an exquisite appreciation for it and a fairly deep understanding of it’s significance. I’m the straight man. I’m the guy that stuff happens to. I’m Neo in The Matrix: things happen around him and he says “whoa” because he gets it. And sometimes getting it is enough, because not everyone does. A photographer has to be like that. He has to “get” his subject in order to capture the truth, beauty or significance of it.

I may be someone who understands and appreciates things, but I’m not one to remember things. All my life I’ve fought the tendency to be a bit scattered – and with good success in many areas. But the truth is, I’m not naturally good at it. Memories of own life – my childhood, my adolescence, the early years of my own children’s lives – it slips away from me so frustratingly quickly. Where did we celebrate my son’s first birthday? Damned if I know. Forget about asking who was there or what kind of cake we had. I just can’t help you. But photography is a way to strike back at these failings. I can document things such that they will remain accessible to me. I don’t know how true a victory it really is, but I feel clever about it. Smug, even. (“Ha! There’s one event I won’t be forgetting!”)

I could do it, too. I think I could learn what I needed to learn and become a passable photographer. Maybe I’ll file that away with all the other things I will not grow up to be – right next to “cowboy” and “astronaut.” But I could do it. I’m just saying.

PS. Mad props to crickie for taking this exact plunge!

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A Midsummer Night’s Drinking Liberally

July 26, 2006

It’s time once again for Drinking Liberally — Milwaukee style! We meet tonight, Wednesday July 26, from 7 pm onward at Club Garibaldi in Bay View, 2501 S. Superior St. Ample street parking, nice bartenders, 30-cent wings, $2 off pitchers of Spotted Cow, good company…what more could you want?

Also…mark your calendars for August 1, 10 am and/or 10 pm, when your faithful Drinking Liberally Hosts will be featured on WUWM’s “At 10” program (90.7 89.7 FM). You can listen on the radio, or access the stream/podcast online.

Hope to see you tonight!

Stacie, Jason and Scott
and the rest of your Drinking Liberally Milwaukee team

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What America Believes

July 25, 2006

On the one hand, these stats are reassuring:

  • Still, six in 10 (61%) adults agree that invading and occupying Iraq has motivated more Islamic terrorists to attack the United States.
  • By 58 to 41 percent, a clear majority does not think that invading Iraq has helped to reduce the threat of another terrorist attack against the United States.

But these make me despair for the American people’s ability to discern what’s really going on:

  • Sixty-four percent say it is true that Saddam Hussein had strong links to Al Qaeda.
  • 50% of Americans say Iraq had weapons of mass destruction at the time of the US invasion.

Poll data courtesy of Harris Interactive