May 2008 Archives

I Can't Help It, Thesauri Make Me Happy

There are a number of thesauri/taxonomies/whatever you care to call them in the project that I am currently working on. I've been pasting lists of words into Excel and today it finally dawned on me: Use a thesaurus construction program!

I fired up MultiTes via Parallels, but I couldn't get it to work. It kept crashing before it even got started. I headed over to Willpower Information's page on software for building and editing thesauri and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it is still being maintained! It directed me to Cognatrix, a program for Macs!

I've been playing around with the demo version (you can't save anything unless you buy it) and reading through the user manual. OMG. I can't wait to start using this thing. I am SO excited. It seems to be able to do anything that I might want to do. Yippie!

Buy a Truck, Get a Gun!

The people in this country never cease to amaze me. The BBC had a story this morning about a car dealer in Missouri that is running a special promotion. Buy a vehicle and get a gun!

The owner is quoted by the BBC as saying "We're just damn glad to live in a free country where you can have a gun if you want to. [I recommend the Kel-Tec .380 pistol, which is] "a nice little handgun that fits in your pocket."

Wasn't I Just Saying...

I just love it when I start thinking or talking about something and then everywhere I turn around I see that topic. I don't know if it was that the topic was there and I just never noticed it before, or if I'm in tune with the universe or what.

But this morning I got the following in my inbox from the Sierra Club on "Can travel be good for the planet?" As you may remember, I was musing about just this thing a few weeks ago.

Let's face it: Every time you get in your car, on a plane, or even in a train or bus, you are responsible for carbon emissions. So how can you reduce your travel footprint? Try these five strategies:

1. Take fewer trips.
It may seem odd for a travel provider to tell you to travel less. Then again, we're not your average travel provider. Can you combine a week in the mountains with a family visit? Can you take one longer vacation per year instead of two short ones?Do you really need to attend that business conference in Vegas?

2. Explore your own backyard.
Sure, we offer great trips in 35 states and around the world. But have you checked out our local Outings program, run by Sierra Club chapters? From hiking in Yosemite to paddling in Florida, there's something for everyone. Better yet, volunteer for our Inner City Outings program and help get urban youth outdoors.

3. Be gas-savvy when you do drive.
Did you know you can boost your fuel efficiency by as much as 30%, just by slowing down from 75mph to 55mph? Learn more and take our pledge to drive 55.

4. Make your travel matter.
You can spend your vacation at mega-resort in Hawaii, or you can learn about saving Sequoias in California -- while hiking among said Sequoias. We believe that wilderness travel should not only be fun, but should leave you inspired, informed, and motivated to act. To take it a step further, consider one of our volunteer vacations.

5. Consider carbon offsets. Through our new partnership with NativeEnergy, you can now offset carbon emissions generated by your travel to and from your Sierra Club Outings trip by helping get renewable energy projects off the ground.

I can certainly vouch for the Sierra Club service trips. I've done two, one in upstate New York and another in Maui. Both were incredible trips and I highly recommend them.

I am so very proud of the city and state I live in!!

"In contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual's capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual's sexual orientation," the court said in the 120-page ruling, "and, more generally, that an individual's sexual orientation -- like a person's race or gender -- does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights.

"We therefore conclude that in view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship, the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples."

Read more about the steps to making gay marriage legal.

World Wide Knit In Public Day - June 14

I just found out about the World Wide Knit in Public Day (WWKIP). It's where knitters gather together in a public space and, well, knit. Sounds fun, don't it?

There are a bunch of WWKIP day events this year in the Bay Area, such as Berkeley, Lafayette, San Mateo, Menlo Park, Los Gatos, Redwood City, San Rafael, Pleasanton, and Albany. Check the website for the one near you. I'm going to try to attend the one in San Francisco proper. Here's the skinny:

World Wide Knit In Public Day
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Union Square (underground Macy's food court if weather is icky)
Bring a chair, water, sunscreen, hat and of course, your knitting!

The 5 Senses on Twitter

--- Originally posted on the Adaptive Path Blog ---

Like most folks in the office, I've joined the Twitter bandwagon. I find it's an easy way to keep in touch with folks I don't see on a regular basis. And learn new things about those a I do see.

Graph of the 5 senses on TwitterJust now I checked out Twist, a site that lets you chart how much folks are twittering about a topic and plots them against each other, over time. It's a neat way to see how topics ebb and flow. I thought it would be neat to see how much the five senses are talked about on Twitter.

I think it's fascinating that folks Twitter the most about things they see so much more than any other sense. I would have thought that smell would have ranked higher. I wonder if it's because we are used to sharing things we saw with our cell phone cameras. Or if it's just part of human storytelling. "You'll never believe what I saw on the way home today..."

Good Old Days?

Every time I start waxing nostalgic for days gone by, and thinking that it would have been better if I had lived in an earlier time, I need to remember this:

Decisions, Decisions

I'm having trouble deciding what to do with my blogs. I started out with just this one and then spun off Chachi In Charge because I figured that folks coming here because they knew me from work didn't really care about my political rantings or what the cats were doing today. ended up going fallow for a long time as a result. I posted a lot more on Chachi. Yet, ChiaraFox is the one that has the wider readership, higher rankings in Technorati and such. Which makes me want to post here more often and really spruce up this site.

I'm wondering if I should merge them back together. Or change the focus. Or, I'm not sure what I want to do. A new visual design is in the works. And I'll be thinking a lot about the content and topics to cover here. Any input from you readers would be most helpful. :)

Today on Today

I was just fast-forwarding to through the Today Show episode I recorded today, looking for the interview with Dooce. I was watching the show go by (god I love Tivo) and I realized that it has been *years* since I've watched the Today Show.

I used to watch the Today Show all the time, when I first moved out on my own. I think it's because it is what my mother always used to watch in the mornings when I was growing up. And on some level, being a responsible adult meant watching grown-up shows like the Today Show.


All I could think about as I watched the show go by was all the consumerism and the plastic people, and how shows like that are the epitome of what I hate about popular culture. I thank my lucky stars for NPR and the intarwebs so I can get my news another way.

Heather did a great job though. I'm so glad she is getting the recognition she deserves for all her hard work.

Learning About Me Learning About You

One of the things that I love about my job is I get to meet a lot of people. As a consultant there are always new clients to meet, stakeholders to understand, and extended teams to work with. Most projects I work on also have a component of user research, where I get to learn about people in relation to This Thing that I'm working with. At conferences and as a teacher, there are always new faces to meet and new folks to learn from.

It's not really surprising that I carry-over this interest in meeting people to my personal time as well. However, since I am an introvert, and it takes me awhile to recharge after meeting a lot of new folks. I'm always exhausted from a conference even if I'm not speaking. Making connections is hard work, but I also find it rewarding. Which I think is why I pursue making connections when I'm off the clock too.

One of the things that I really enjoy about being in SecondLife is getting to meet new people. It's not just the "I just talked with someone from France!" type of interactions. It's watching someone's personality come into focus as you get to know them better.

In SL, there's the disadvantage of not being about to see facial expressions or hear tones of voice. I (usually, okay, sometimes) know when someone is teasing me when we are chatting at a conference reception. But in-world it's harder to tell. I end up reading more into what is being said, trying to puzzle out who it is that is on the other screen from me.

I find that I bring more assumptions with me about who someone is when I'm in world than in the real world. I think it's because I don't have the physical clues to tell me about the person. You can't rely on outward demeanor and appearance to help you get a feel for who someone is.

It's as if everyone is initially a blob of clay. As I talk with them, and we get to know each other, I'm able to sketch out a sense of who the person is. I know that I am never going to form a picture that is accurate of who they are. I only get to see what they want me to see. And in a world like SecondLife you never know someone's motivations for being there or how honestly they are representing themselves.

But I really enjoying filling in the details and learning who someone is. And I've found that when I have gaps, I often fill them in with what I would do or expect until I learn otherwise. I give people the benefit of the doubt and assume the best.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from May 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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