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Not a New Year's Resolution, no matter how much it looks like one

This past couple of years, I've made numerous attempts to get myself to post regularly to this blog. As you can see by the time between posts recently, I've never managed to follow through on it.

Work and life provide me with far too many distractions and I end up with tons of half-written ideas and no time to get them in shape enough to post.

Once again, I'm going to give it a try.

Inspired by Noah Scalin's new book, 365: A Daily Creativity Journal I'm going to try to write something here every day for the next year. Whether it's a rant, a photo I took that day, fact-checking some crazy statement I read online, a list of tabs I have open in Firefox that I really will get around to reading someday, or something more substantial.

My experience doing project coordination and management tells me to always have a fallback plan. So, if I don't manage the daily posting goal, I am going to force myself to post something here every time I want to change my facebook status.

tab dump Jan 1st

Starting off my year of daily posts, here are some tabs I have open in firefox that either I have not had the time to look into enough or that I just feel like sharing.

from their About Us page
By collecting women and LGBTQ folks’ stories and pictures in a safe and share-able way with our very own mobile phone applications, Hollaback! is creating a crowd-sourced initiative to end street harassment. Hollaback! breaks the silence that has perpetuated sexual violence internationally, asserts that any and all gender-based violence is unacceptable, and creates a world where we have an option—and, more importantly—a response.

Bread People
silly but really well done image alterations combining famous people and types of bread. This site makes me wish I never stopped doing image production work

Giant Metal Transmission Towers Designed to Look Like Humans
image of towers
(image used without permission from the site linked to above)

thinking about a theme

I can tell already that finding the discipline to post something every single day is going to be a challenge for me.

In his book, Noah Scalin suggests that for this sort of 365 day project a theme is really helpful (if not required). Both for finding the discipline and for having the necessary focus, a theme is important.

For now, I have no idea what the common thread will be. At the moment, I expect this year of blog posts to be a mix of musings about technology, the Drupal software community, politics, and urban cycling. I'm not sure if there will be more writing and ranting or more artwork and photos. Two possible themes for visual art/photography come to mind: garbage and disrespect for bike lanes.

So... here are some photos today of garbage on east 4th street and cars blocking the bike lane on Clinton Street.

3 of 365

3 days into this attempt at a year of daily posts and I have not yet decided on a theme.

I hope I manage to motivate myself to start writing, that really was the initial goal -- but there's something I'm enjoying about the photography side of this project that I think is more likely to keep me engaged.

My father died at the end of October and one of the only things I shared with him was an enjoyment of photography. Wandering around the City with his camera has been an important ritual for me since his camera became mine. We were not all that close; he put in the effort to visit me 4, maybe 5 times in the past 27 years. Despite that distance, his death hit me rather hard and had a far deeper impact on me than I would have ever imagined possible. He might not have ever come to see the apartment that Jenna and I are so happy to be living in; he might never have given me the chance to take him on a tour of ABC No Rio; I was never able to get him to see my world, but now his camera will see it all for him.

With that tangent out of the way, here's today's photos:

A shovel that gave its all in the snowstorm and some guy that was walking around washington square park feeding pigeons from his hands and pockets.

Auto Complete Abecedary

I've enjoyed reading Jenna's and Jessamyn's Auto Complete Abecedary posts. I noticed today that Amanda has posted one also. Inspired by them and looking for a great low-stress way to get some content for today's post here is mine.

[The rules I'm playing by are simple, type in a letter and make note of the top auto complete suggestion from firefox. It's a really fun way of looking at ones browsing habits. It seems that I use the net 25% for work and 75% to avoid work.]

A: ABC No Rio: cultivating the culture of opposition since 1980
B: bugs.openflows.com: Openflows bug, task and issue tracking tool. We're using Mantis, which is one of my favorite project management tools.
C: Clients From Hell: when you think your client or boss is the worst, think again.
D: Dear blank, Please blank. procrastination can be fun
E: EV Grieve My favorite neighborhood blogger.
F: Facebook... I'm not addicted, I can quit anytime I want.
G: google.com Big brother's hive mind owns my internet searches
H: https://psc-staging.openflows.com work in progress: new website for the CUNY Professional Staff Congress, which will launch in two weeks. Odd that firefox does not ignore http when selecting options for autocomplete.
I: I Can Has Cheezeburger I see a procrastination theme developing here.
J: The Lower East Side Librarian Hi dear, I love you and your blog.
K: Pundit Kitchen political procrastination
L: LIS Host radical reference's hosting provider
M: http://maps.google.com/ I guess the hive mind also owns my map queries
N: Netflix A higher level of procrastination
O: Open Green Map, A great environmental mapping project
P: http://www.psc-cuny.org/ Current Site for The CUNY Professional Staff Congress
Q: http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?query=10009 I could just look out the window
R: Retail Me Not share online coupon codes
S: Snopes procrastinate by reading debunked rumors
T: http://www.timewarnercable.com/nynj/ paying my bills
U: http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop/get-ubuntu/download : get linux
V: The Village Voice more procrastination
W: http://webenabled.net/ a great place to experiment with Free Software tools
X: http://xkcd.com/ sigh... more procrastination
Y: http://youthchannel.org/ youth focused subset of MNN (public access). another project we do web work for.
Z: http://www.zipcar.com/reservations yes, I sometimes drive a car these days

And for today's photos, we have a Police Line, a Fire Line and Crossing Delancey Ring Toss

tab dump Jan 5th

I don't have much to say today, so here's another set of tabs I've been meaning to read or that I think are worthy of attention.

Drupal 7 was released today. It's been seriously rewritten, which for the most part is a good thing -- but from first look at the code it seems that all my knowledge is now useless and I have to re-learn the entire API
And for those interested, a bunch of parties will be happening on Friday night
The NYC party is at a bar at 77 east 7th street (people are taking this "7" branding thing way too far), and there will be $7 beer and drink "specials" (seriously?! $7 for a bottle of beer is a "drink special"?)

Article 31 of the Iraqi Constitution, drafted by the Bush administration in 2005 and ratified by the Iraqi people, includes state-guaranteed (single payer) healthcare for life for every Iraqi citizen.

Biella Coleman's interesting take on the wikileaks controversy

post-modern bike mount

And, today's photos: a squirrel that stared me down for 10 minutes until I agreed to take its picture and a set of garbage cans that caught my eye

Today's rant: comment sort order

I have noticed that, with youtube leading the way, a lot of media and newspaper sites are now sorting comments in chronological order (newest comment first). The old-school standard was reverse-chronological order (oldest comment first).

For example, today I followed a link to an article on the New York Post's website. When I look at the comments, the first comment says "I agree with [username] and [other username], they are totally correct!" and then I have to search down through the other comments to find what this guy felt was so important that he needed to tell everyone he agreed with. It's totally counter-intuitive. On the other side are sites like slashdot.org and ask.metafilter.com, sites designed for conversation and discussion. It's so much easier to read through the conversation and therefor be able to participate in an intelligent way.

This has been a debate in the drupal community over the past couple of years because when Drupal 6 was released, the default sort order for comments went from oldest first to newest first. I've never seen the logic of this choice. It makes it impossible to actually follow the discussion; you read the replies to comments before the comments being replied to. It totally destroys the continuity of conversation (which could be part of the goal, I have no idea).

I have not installed or played much with Drupal 7 yet, but from reading the issue queue ( here and here among others) it seems that the default has been changed back to the way I prefer it.

Does anyone out there actually prefer newest comment first? Why?

Today's photos: a stack of soon-to-be-mulched trees in Tompkins Square and some discarded flowers.

It makes sense if you think

It makes sense if you think the comments on your site are of approximately equal (low) value; if you think of comments primarily to give readers an outlet to _feel like_ they are "engaged" ("wow!" "me too!" "$obvious_thing" ) with the site; putting comments first spreads the attention of the rest of your visitors more evenly to each (relatively low value) comment. But yes, it seems counter to a productive conversation -- though this is difficult to accomplish consistently after a certain scale even with well designed commenting system patterns.

think? never.

I guess you are right, if you have a certain level of comments, it's nearly impossible to have any system in place that can allow for good overview and discussion.

If we are talking about a

If we are talking about a topic style forum, then it makes more sense for oldest messages to start first because users will want to read through the discussion of a particular subject and get involved with the topic. But if its more of a comment for a video for example, I think its best to have newest comments first because users want to see the latest comments for that video and they want to reply to them quickly and easily. Imagine watching a video on youtube and having to page right to the end of the comments just to see the latest one? Or having to scroll through to page 390 on your Facebook wall! Would drive me mad! So I think the answer to this debate is it depends on the nature of the comment board. Drupal 7 should provide an option like it did for D6!

not much to say today

Today was a long day and I don't have much to say here other than this: I'd rather spend two hours on hold listening to muzak than have to spend 10 minutes trying to talk to a voice activated phone system. Repeating the same thing over and over and having a machine tell me "I'm sorry, I did not understand, please say that again" is not fun. "You are not sorry! you're a fucking machine!!!!"

Today's photos: a trash can and snow in Tompkins Square

tab dump Jan 8th

It's tempting to make today's post about the random nutjob in Arizona that decided to select a completely non-random target for his gun and how when one desensitizes people through violent rhetoric, one should not be shocked if some unstable random nutjob acts like a random nutjob -- but I've done enough of that on facebook today so instead here are some tabs open in firefox at the moment.

Article about A man that was sentenced last week to 33 months in prison for blog posts that advocated for violence and assassination of 3 Federal Judges.
An interesting view of the issues behind Net Neutrality
NYC Bike Portriats 2010
A long article looking at an important question: How far along the road to Fascism are we.
The word fascism is thrown around a lot lately, mostly by people that do not understand that they themselves are fascists.
The article clarifies the definition of fascism as "a system of political authority and social order intended to reinforce the unity, energy, and purity of communities in which liberal democracy stands accused of producing division and decline."
"a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion."
And on that note, today's photos are of an abandoned scarf and balls in a playground.

number 9...

9 days in and I'm seriously running out of things to say. I promised myself that I would only allow 25% of the posts to be rants or complaining about things, and today that seems to be all I feel like doing. So, on to today's photos: orange peel, lonely banana, and a terrible job to have in this cold.