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Pulse update May 28, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Grab Bag.
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Feeding the beast has not been easy lately. Maybe I jinxed myself by writing about earlier. Smart ass.

College graduation is now over for my youngest. He has applied to Grad. School at his alma mater. Will know acceptance (please!) or not soon.
After three days, I resolved a virus on his PC. He called it a STD; I laughed at that (about the only time during). Learned a few things with that experience. Like, restore points, up to date virus definitions and boot options (there are several).

May 29 Virus Update -> Turns out that ‘Spyware Protect 2009’ is malware that has been going around for a while. I manually removed a exe called ‘sysguard’ that seemed to remove it. Here are some links to install and clean an infected PC (note – I have not used either). SWP removal link#1 seems quick and easy and removal link #2 may be a bit nore involve, based on description only.

Pool has been open for a week; water is almost 65 degrees. No one has gone in…but I’ve cleaned it twice already.

Celebration Alley continues – My wife’s birthday came and went. No returns = success! A quiet celebration and she had lots of cards. My son’s b’day up next then our anniversary next week. Then a brief respite until my b’day. Can you guess when?
Lots of other things happening recently also. New Supreme Court nominee, GM on the brink but has a path forward. Whew – that was close. On the world political stage, North Korea has stepped up their game. Insert your headlines <here> and <here>.

“The one function TV news performs very well is that when there is no news we give it to you with the same emphasis as if there were. ” -David Brinkley

Anyway, a light (not, lite Thank You) snack for the beast.

The Bell rang one more time May 18, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Grab Bag.
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True to my word, I went off the grid recently as this was the weekend my son graduated from college.

I’m really impressed that he did this in four years while playing football full time. At each game in high school and college,  my wife rang a Swiss Cow Bell. This is not an ordinary bell. It was a souvenir from a 2001 Europe trip. The bell we chose has great harmonics – once you hear it, you know where we are sitting at a football game. Many times the seats in from of us are empty – but I digress. A great summer vacation and another post someday on the four of us driving 1500+ miles from Amsterdam to Zurich to Budapest and back to Amsterdam in 3 weeks.

Official graduation photo

Official graduation photo

That’s my boy. Very proud of him for reaching this milestone. I think he heard the bell ringing. Even if he did, he wouldn’t acknowledge it – not his style. Being an athlete and carrying a full time credit load is not so easy. AU plays at the D3 level for football. As coach has siad many times, they are ‘Student-Athletes’, emphasis on student. That was evident as we noticed several ‘super’ Seniors in the ceremony. Players that used all four years of eligibility with the NCAA and yet did not complete their degree. Some needed a 9th or 10th semester to complete their under-graduate  requirements. To be fair, playing any sport requires dedication, focus and managing your time. Different strokes and no issue.
The ceremonyhad an early start time (10:00 AM). Our party of four (my wife, my daughter, her boyfriend and moi) needed to travel so it was an early start that day to get to campus on time. We made it with time to spare; got good seats on the right side of the stage. This gave us a good vantage point to watch as each graduate walked off the stage right toward us in the bleachers and had their portrait taken holding the newly conferred diploma.
Bleacher Creature

Bleacher Creature

Our commencement speaker was our own esteemed state governor, David A. Paterson. He gave an interesting and brief speech. He talked easily and referenced that he did not remember who was the Commencement Speaker at his graduation. The governor’s humor showed when he mentioned that he hoped the AU grads. would not forgot him. He asked the graduates to stay in New York to live and work . He received an honorary degree as a Doctor of Humane Laws, honoris causa.
The program has it listed as hororis causa, but that is just wrong.
AU 2009 Commencement Speaker

AU 2009 Commencement Speaker

After his speech was done , he left. On to another commencement, I suppose.  Then it finally dawned on me why the ceremony started so early – we were constrained by the Governor’s schedule. Obviously, AU was his first stop. He walked off the stage (exit, stage right, which was just below our seats). He and his entourage walked out of the Mc ClaneCenter and on with the ceremony.
Dr. Charles Edmondson, the AU President, mentioned in his opening remarks the service was informal – take pictures of your graduate, let your baby cry.
So, there was a blur of motion as graduates walked up to the podium, got their degree, walked off, got the official portrait as well as the family snaps.
When Robert walked across the stage, my wife rang the Swiss cowbell. Granted it was not a football game, but she rang the bell at his high school graduation also. So, it rang out one more time as Robert closed out his undergraduate career. Nice to hear it even inside the school gym.
Congratulations to all the 2009 college graduates. Good luck finding gainful employment. You’ll need it as only 19% of the graduates have a job coming out of college (compared to 26% in 2008).
Can’t wait for Robert’s Grad. School ceremony next year and the bell will ring once again.

‘Feeding’ the White Bull May 14, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Grab Bag.
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I read the story that Hemingway wrote about fighting the white bull. Maybe you have also. It is the allegory of how a writer deals with an empty page.  The central theme of the story describes the struggle a writer has in having to deal with a clean sheet of paper.  At least how I remember it.

A bit pessimistic I think. Even the use of the bull as an adversary underscores the challenge a blank page presents. An optimist would say there are endless possibilities in dealing with an empty page.

The group Traffic also had a song about empty pages. That was much easier to find. 😉

In the virtual online world, that struggle to publish is similar in concept. But, instead of fighting the white bull, you feed it. As soon as you post something online, it is old. You must  keep updating. We find ourselves in a “What have you posted lately?” immediacy Information age.

There are, of course, many ways to feed the white bull. The best way to feed is by posting content. Social Media provides many different tools for ‘feeding’ the beast. It is easier then ever to feed that white bull.  True, but  I’m the first to admit, I have not posted in this space in some time. It is easy but there have been other distractions. Mind you, I  have posted content in other places but not here.

I can’t seem to find the title of the specific short story on fighting the white bull. I did learn that I have the Finca Vigia edition of his complete short stories. Forgot I had that on the shelf – a happy surprise. It is also a book I started a long time ago and one I never finished reading. If you know the title, let me know.

Good luck feeding your white bull.

“Hemingway knew that staring down that white bull – while wielding nothing more than a fountain pen – is truly one of the most intimidating of all intellectual pursuits.” – Unknown

Spoiling the Journey, updated May 6, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Miscellaneous.
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Media Post Blogger CORY TREFFILETTI read the same article in Wired that I did. I have posted my comments previously here.Wanted to share Cory’s post on the same subject.

BTW, he enjoys the journey also. 😉

Words in the air vs. online May 1, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Grab Bag, Trends.
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Seems like everyone has thoughts on the Social Media phenomena.  One of my thoughts is that tweets are the online equivalent of what you discuss at the office water cooler.

Haven’t you heard? C’mon, you know what I mean. Those brief, casual exchanges with colleagues about what is top of mind. A way to stay connected. Maybe, it leads to more discussion or sparks a new idea, answers a question even. I have seen those done on Twitter and more.

The difference is that instead of words in the air, now there are in the ether and will remain. You may not remember what you said last week at the water cooler.

But, Twitter does and you or anyone else can look it up. Whether it’s Twitter or FaceBook or some other Social Media tool, they all provide a way to stay connected and current in a virtual sense.

So, when someone asks you ‘What would I Tweet about’? Tell them the same things they would say while getting a drink of water. At least, that’s what I saw online. Why, what did you hear?