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Palliative Care Thursday, 25 October 2007

Posted by R Garfield in Drifting.
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Palliative Care

I’m in shock; I haven’t talked to my youngest brother, but I have to my sister. She went shopping.

I went shopping, then I went to work, because my brain won’t shut down, but I’m not exactly being productive. The shopping wasn’t productive, either. For either of us. It was just get out of the house, do something. Fight or flight activity when there’s nothing to do.

Prognosis: 6 months. Half a year. Time goes by so fast.

Dad – what will my dad do?

Processing. We’re all still processing.

I love you, mom…


Am-Expressing myself … Sunday, 21 October 2007

Posted by R Garfield in Drifting.
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Had some issues with a Credit Card Company website tonight. I thought it was a potentially serious issue, so I called customer service. Customer service was extremely focused on helping me complete my initial action, which I couldn’t on the site.

That was nice. However, my concern, id est, my reason for calling them in the first place, for the most part, was not addressed.

I was trying to take an action on the site that required that I enter my card security number. I have no problem with that, it’s what the number is there for, after all. The problem was, after checking whatever sources it checks, the website came back with “The information you entered below does not match our records. Please try again.”

So I did. Several times. With and without my glasses, with FireFox and MSIE, with the card in and out of the wallet, with the number pad and without. Error message persisted throughout all the various combinations.

OK, forget about the action I was trying to take. It became, to me, of secondary or even tertiary importance to the fact that the company that issued me my card (or at least their website) was telling me that the correct information was incorrect.

I repeated this to to both the initial CR Representative, and a technical support person. Both offered several times to help me complete my initial action. As I said before, that was great, but that wasn’t the reason I was calling. Neither of them seemed to get that.

At some point, someone must have clicked something, or corrected a database, or something, because the warning went away. That means I can now complete my initial action myself. But I haven’t… I’m having second thoughts. Third ones, even.

You see, while I give the card company VERY high marks for having both CR and Tech staff online and available to help me, and both were very polite and listened to me carefully, the failure to address my reason for calling in favor of completing the initial action without addressing my concern just won’t let me push the submit key.

And I’m sure someone at the Credit Card Company is reviewing this (the call was being recorded) and then looking at my account and saying, “After spending all that time on the phone, why didn’t he go through with it?”

The above text contain 393 words, and according to 2 different standards, should make sense to an 8th grader.

It’s an interesting quandry: in order… Thursday, 18 October 2007

Posted by R Garfield in Drifting.
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It’s an interesting quandary: in order to learn chemistry, you have to learn how different chemicals react: what’s safe, what isn’t. In short, to learn how to make aspirin, you have to learn how to make a bomb. At some point, you learn that it’s a bad idea to mix, say, drain cleaner and ammonia and bleach… but you also learn that that’s exactly what you do if you want to cause caustic damage to someone.

A new panel (http://news.wired.com/dynamic/stories/S/SCIENCE_AND_SECURITY?SITE=WIRE&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2007-10-18-09-32-13 ) has been proposed that would supposedly balance the need for knowledge and the need for security.

I myself can’t see it working, but the idea has some basis in real need.

I’d propose instead the teaching of ethics and moral behavior: positive socialization trumps secrecy any time in my book. But I don’t think that would fly, either.

Anybody’s content… parva componere magnis Saturday, 6 October 2007

Posted by R Garfield in Bemused, People.
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This is a return to a favorite topic of mine to bore people with: the way-too-level playing field that the Internet offers people.

Don’t get me wrong … I like the fact that everyone has a voice. I do think – there go my left-wing leanings again – that everyone has a right to have their voice heard. I really like sites like wordpress.com, for instance, which let a fair number of people access the mike, and croon away. Or Wikipedia, which lets even someone like myself edit and correct information. I try to limit myself to topics I actually know about, so I’m not a prolific editor.

My problem tonight isn’t with people having their voices heard. Instead, it’s with sites like Associated Content, or more specifically, the use some people make of them. Associated Content is billed as “The people’s media company.” Essentially, it allows someone to put their content online, in multiple formats, and potentially monetize it.

Fine by me. Have your voice heard and earn a buck or two. It’s all good, right?

Not so, young grasshopper.

My problem is with the fact that AC is billed as a ‘media’ outlet, and yet, some people use it as they would a personal blog. ‘Media,’ to me, brings to mind television, newspaper and radio – and Internet sites like WikiNews. You know, like ‘mainstream media,’ ‘left wing media,’ and some blogs. News, or at the least, well-thought-out reviews, not personal rants.

In researching a store credit card, on Blogger or wordpress.com, the title “Why not to apply for the (store name) credit card” would clue me in that it might just be a personal rant. However, on a media site, I expect a bit more of a fair and balanced report … or what I was looking for in the first place, a review.

I don’t expect someone old enough to apply for credit crying because she maxed out her (store name) credit card, didn’t read the notices the card company sent her, got charged a large late fee, and calling everyone that doesn’t agree with her that (store name) is inherently evil for treating her this way “ignorant.”

That’s fine … on a blog. As media, it sucketh mightily. Far too level a playing field.

Actually, it reminds me of a quote that sums up the Internet’s free speech dichotomy far more succinctly than I will ever be capable of doing:

“Just because your voice reaches across the world does not mean that you are any wiser than when it reached the end of the bar.”

-Edward R. Murrow