I Don't See How Gay is a Pro or Anti Issue

OK, before I actually get to the post, a little housekeeping. Where I received a few positive comments from yesterday's post, [If You're Not Sleeping With Someone, Why Do You Care Who They Sleep With?](http://seanreiser.com/blog/earlyreiser/2009/07/19/if-youre-not-sleeping-someone-why-do-you-care-who-they-sleep), I've gotten some rather negative, vulgar and abusive email, which I won't post here. I do have one request though, I have the courage to post my thoughts here, online, where people can see them, please feel free to use the comment box below to voice your disapproval. Oh, if you're going to point out that since you have my address you're coming to "get me and f** me up the a**" be aware that if you're not using a proxy it's easy to track an email back to the source. Flying from Germany to NYC is a lot just to "get me" and if you want me so bad, I do wonder about your sexuality. I am disappointed, none of you actually answered my question; Why Do You Care? To the topic, I did get some serious questions in my inbox and I wanted to address them. I prefer to do it publicly to cut down on having to answer the same questions in the future. One big thing is people are discussing me being "pro-gay". Quite frankly, I don't know what that means, and I'll explain why as we go on. If I'm anything I'm "anti-hate". There are two schools of thought about sexuality: 1. Being gay is a part of someone's makeup, either through nature or nurture, like height, race or eye-color. 2. Being gay is a conscious choice. Let's break each of these down. Assuming sexuality is part of the genes, or at least outside a person's control, I don't understand what there is to be "pro" or "anti-" about. It would be like being anti-brown eyes. Ok, now the big one. What if being gay is a choice? Also let's assume that not only is it a choice but it's a sin of some sort. As far as sins go this seems to be a victimless one. In a world where abuse, rape, and murder the activities of 2 people's private activities in a bedroom seems to be a hill of small beans. If you're saying "well it's a sin, so I'm fighting G_d's battle", I have to wonder, are you gong after all sins with the same gusto? Do you spend time hating everyone who's had an affair? Do you threaten the thieves and liars? Does you blood boil when someone doesn't honour their mother and father? If you're not, I have to wonder why you've chosen the one victimless sin as the sin to attack. So, now the one question people may ask, "Sean, Do you Think It's A Choice, or Part of Who People Are?". Honestly, I really don't know. It's not a copout, I'm not gay and have no idea why people live one lifestyle or the other. I can tell you that I'm straight because I find women attractive, not men. The one thing that makes me thing it's part of a person's makeup is that no person would choose to live a life in secret, or be discriminated against if they could avoid it.
    Posted: Jul 20, 2009

If You're Not Sleeping With Someone, Why Do You Care Who They Sleep With?

OK, I suspect this may cause some problems for me in the future, but I really don't care, I've been carrying this post inside of me for a while and I'm going to let it out. Through a series of retweets I would up staring at the twitter feed of someone who seems to be homophobic and angry. I engaged him earlier today with the following tweet: > I know I'm going to kick myself later for asking this. @REDACTED if a person isn't sleeping with you, why do you care who they sleep with? > Note I've redacted his handle because he doesn't deserve the traffic. For some reason I'm having more and more issues other other folk's intolerance and I suspect that this blog is going to have the bare some of the blunt of my feelings over the next few weeks as I work them out. That's why I've fed the troll on twitter and why I'm writing this post. In all honesty, I almost never think of someone's sexuality. A bunch of years back I was on a date when the topic of the sexuality of a mutual acquaintance came up. My date was surprised that I didn't know that acquaintance was gay and I responded that I never paid attention to someone's sexuality unless I was interested in them (of course I followed up by asking about my date's sexuality with a wink). A few years later I was away with some friends in LA and we wound up in West Hollywood for dinner at a rather good yet simple Italian Restaurant. It happened to be on the same block as a leather bar which sorta spilled out into the street. On out way back to the car, one of my friends knowing I was the only straight guy in our party, apologized to me "Sean I didn't remember that the bar was so wild, sorry". I responded, "John, as long their not sleeping with me, I don't give a sh!t who someone sleeps with". Of course there are exceptions to this line that get thrown in my face, but "John, as long their not sleeping with me, are consenting adults , and are not doing are physical nor emotional harm, to each other, I don't give a sh!t who someone sleeps with" doesn't roll off the tongue. Recently, I was discussing this with a rather closed mined friend who asked me, "Sean, wouldn't you feel uncomfortable if a gay man hit on you?". I responded: >Gay men have hit on me and Yes, it's uncomfortable, but not the way you think. It's no 'ohh no, someone gay hit on me ick, I must not be hetero enough.'. It's 'how do I tell this brave person I'm not interested without hurting his feelings?'. I feel exactly the same way when a women hits on me who I'm not interested in. I know how brave it is to hit on someone, how much it can hurt to be turned down and really don't want to hurt this other person. Someone may, "Sean, you're a Christian you should be hating the gays". I must read a different Bible then these folks. Jesus surrounded Himself with thieves, tax collectors and prostitutes and shunned the religious elite. He preached a philosophy of love, especially for those that you disagreed with. I believe if He were here today He would be in the Village here in NYC and not with the Westboro Baptist Church folks. I'm just a rather flawed, dumb out of work technologist, who am I to judge anyone?
    Posted: Jul 19, 2009

I'm a Horrible Blogger

So, I have a confession to make I'm a horrible blogger and I'm rather unrepentant about it. The core issue isn't my lack of proof reading, nor is it my inconsistent posting schedule, there is one reason why I'm a horrible blogger: ## I Don't Care If You Read My Blog or Not ## I know that might sound odd. It's not that I don't want you to read, I'm just rather apathetic about it. You might be asking why I blog if I'm not interesting in being read. It's a long story..... Years ago I kept a [livejournal](http://seanreiser.com/livejournal) it was a bit of silliness. Quite frankly, I don't have an interesting life so journaling it is rather mundane and of interest to very few people. The exercise died on the vine after a little bit. A few years ago I had some medical issues and it was suggested that I find reasons to read and write more to stimulate parts of the brain. I began blogging here on some tech and geeky things as an excuse to write regularly. My intent was never to have anyone read what I wrote, it was just to write. Once I got into a pattern of doing it, I have to admit that I rather enjoyed it. ## I Don't Think Of My Readers When I'm Writing ## When I write, I write for me. I never think "readers will find this interesting", I think "ooh, I find this interesting". Many bloggers look at techmeme, twitter's trending topics, digg, reddit, etc to determine what to write about. I go, "ooh, look! Bunny! I'm gonna tell people". I don't care if people want to know about it or not as I expect no one to read it. ## Focus May Be A Problem ## Because I write for me, not you, I want to write about whatever interests me, whenever it interests me. I'll often post multiple times in a day and then go for a month without posting. This is also why there have been so many experiments such as separating non-geek and photos posts onto a separate domains. The net effect of this was having three rarely updated blogs instead of one site. On my birthday this year I merged my blogs onto [http://seanreiser.com](http://seanreiser.com). So now I have one schizophrenic blog which is updated frequently more. I was temped to use "Your Home For Tech, Dr Who Silliness, Politics, Baseball and Random Pictures of Flowers and The New York City Skyline" as a tag line. Like a Seinfeld episode this blog is about everything and nothing. ## I Should Make a Minor Effort Let People Know I'm Here ## Because I don't care if you're anyone reads my stuff, I tend not to promote my blog as I should. I push the content notification via RSS to friendfeed, and twitter. And I syndicate content into Facebook and Livejournal. But that's quite frankly all I usually do. You see, as I expect no one to read what I write, so having a 200 people read an article I've written makes me happy. If I'm reading an article similar to something I've written I may comment with a link, but I don't do it often enough. If I'm inspired by a post to write something I'll link to the original post but will rarely comment on the original post. I should also be looking for similar articles, making substantial comments and link back to my story. I never take advantage of the forums I'm active in. When I post articles of interest I should me mentioning them on these forums as the rest of the world seems to do it. I know these things work. This weekend, for example, I posted a link to something I've written in a comment on [webmonkey](http://www.webmonkey.com/blog/10_Reasons_to_Politely_Decline_a_Web_Design_Gig) and I'm seeing a dramatic increase in traffic. Of course I wrote my thing before seeing the webmonkey piece and thought they complemented each other. ## Why I Should Care More ## Quite frankly I'm looking for either contract or full-time work. If you're on my site and not the places I've syndicated it too, you probably see that there's a hire me button on the menu and a rather fun JS and Flash page curl effect on the upper right hand corner of the site, linking to my [Hire Me](http://seanreiser.com/hire-me) page. You never now where you'll find a lead, so I should be leveraging everything put in front of me.
    Posted: Jul 19, 2009

Walter Cronkite and the Changes in the News

As I'm sure you've heard Walter Cronkite has passed away at the age of 92. My parents were fond of telling me that when I was a little over 1 month old, on July 20, 1969, they had me in front of the TV to watch Apollo 11. I suspect somehow this imprinted him as the image of a journalist in my mind. To this day I believe that journalists should cover serious stories and should be serious about the stories they cover. You should be certain about what you report and report it with confidence. It's more important to be right then it is to be fast. A journalist should find the details of the story and not become the story. News should be communicated in as many words as necessary, because sometimes 140 characters just isn't enough. I'd like to believe that if Walter was given documents with a small business' plans, the story would be how did the documents get out, the ethics of publishing the documents, because the contents of the documents really aren't newsworthy. A journalist must have integrity so he can communicate the story. There are so many stories of the 60's, 70's and 80's which he serves as the narrator in my head. Whether it's the good (The Space Program), the bad (The Kennedy Assassination) or the ugly (The Iranian Hostage Crisis), Walter was in our living rooms telling us what had happened. He was the person America trusted to tell them the story. When reflected on his passing and about all the recent deaths I had the following thought which I tweeted: >I just had a rather depressing thought.. Walter Cronkite's memorial will be smaller then Michael Jackson's This in no way was meant at as a knock on MJ. I do feel his memorial was a little "over the top" (let's face it, the only thing missing was a zombified MJ corpse rising from casket to the dulcet tones of Thriller), but that has little to do with him, it's a statement on us, as a society more then Michael, the person. Based on some of the responses I received on twitter, people felt I was knocking MJ. I have to admit, I did make a mistake and fed a troll for a few tweets and upon looking at the stream with fresh eyes this afternoon I've realized how much journalism has changed since Walter has retired. Some of the tweets that were thrown at me: * lol...yeah by interview people he moved millions..lol get real * Hmmmm, how many radio n TV's were around back then? Bout 12. Reporting the news and making the news kinda different.. * It's Because of Micheal Jackson, that people like him and Barbra WaWa even had jobs.. I do find it funny that Cronkite who was CBS Evening News Anchor from 1962 - 1981 has a job because of Michael Jackson who was born in 1958, MJ was a rather powerful 3 year old. When you consider that 2 networks have new anchors who came up from AM television where the news tends to be "softer", it's not surprising that there is an impression that news anchors interview celebrities. News has changed. In a world where we are fighting 2 wars, there's upheavals in Iran and Honduras, the congress is making home farming illegal, new taxes are being passed in order to "save the atmosphere from humans" and there's a man in North Korea testing missiles, Walter wouldn't have wall to wall coverage of the death of a pop-signer. It would've been a story but not the story. And that's the way it is.... July 17, 2009
    Posted: Jul 18, 2009

It's 2009, Internet Access Is Required

I had some meetings yesterday with a firm who was looking for me to help them with their website. They told me they were having problems keeping tech employees, which initially surprised me because they seemed to be reasonable people until it took the left turn in this article. In the course of the discussions they asked about using Social Media to enhance their brand. I told them about some of my experiences with Social Media, discussed some products that can help them and how I could help implement some of these technologies so they could take part in the conversations about their products that exist on the web. After that a crazy conversation happened: Potential Client (PC) : "How does that work?" Me: "You'd identify some folks in your organization who can speak well about your services and we'd start to train them in the tools. Then they'd got online and engage in the conversation as representatives of your firm." PC: "That won't work, none of our employes are allowed on the internet except the owner." Me: "I can understand that you don't want your staff on the net, but if you're looking for representation on the web you'll obviously need someone doing the representing" PC: "We were thinking of something more automated" Me: "I don't understand" PC: "Couldn't you write a program that searches sites for our company's and products' names and reply asking them to email us?" Me: "That would generally be a bad idea. Folks who use these services would find it distasteful to have bots replying to them. " PC: "It's our policy, no one has access to the internet period" At this moment, a light went off in my head. Me: "That would include me?" PC: "Yes" Me: "So how would I work on your site then" PC: "You'd give the files you need uploaded to the owner, he uploads them. If you need to see the site you'd go to his office and he'll load whatever you need" At the end of the day, I'm not getting this job as they don't think I'm a fit (which is OK). I do have some thoughts on the subject. Borrowing from the [Cluetrain Manifesto](http://www.cluetrain.com/book/), "Markets are conversations". If people see you driving the conversation back behind the wall where people can't watch and participate, they assume you're up to no good. I'm not saying you "must be using social media". There are no middle grounds in social media, you need to be firm, you're in or out. When it comes to me having access, it's vital that developers have access to the internet. On more then one occasion, I've saved time by getting documentation, code, or debugging information by using the web. When you see a new error code or situation google is often a quick way to understand what's going on. There's a reason Google Is Your Friend is such a popular meme in development circles. I think I see why they were having issues keeping tech guys. Additionally I'm concerned that they've set up an environment where people need to go into the owner's office to get to the internet. Does this mean that the owner of this firm is involved every time someone is ordering paper from Staples? Does the owner of this firm manage any corporate travel the same way?
    Posted: Jul 17, 2009

Where You Shop May Affect Your Credit Score

Was turned onto [this article](http://www.cmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090712/OPINION/907120328/1027/OPINION01) from the Concord Monitor which states: >In May, President Obama signed a bill that will limit some of the worst practices of credit card companies that have been raising rates with little reason and without notice and charging obscene late fees. The bill also requires that banking regulators study the practice of using information about where a person shops to assessing credit worthiness. That means credit card companies, which are already raising rates and cutting credit limits before the new law goes into effect in January, are likely to continue keep track of where and how their customers spend money until at least 2011. The article goes on to state some activities which might be red flags to the credit card companies including: * Charging items at auto parts or grocery stores. Both are seen as a sign of financial distress. * Charging items at pawn shops, drug stores and shoe repair shops. * Charging beer, wine or liquor. (article even mentioned buying "a late-night round of drinks") * Charging purchases at the Salvation Army or a discount store * Charging medical care I have a number of issues with this: 1. The credit card companies have based large campaigns around "cards are easier then checks and safer then cash", now that some folks have bought into that mindset could theoretically be punished for it. 2. Because of rewards programs and many people will charge every one of their purchases and pay off their entire balance monthly. I know it's a practice that the CC companies don't like because they're making less money on these transactions, but it's their system. 3. Some items on the list like shopping at discount stores, pawn shops and the Salvation Army as well as getting shoe repairs and repairing you own car might show financial responsibility, not a lack of ability to pay. 4. Many companies require employees carry expenses on their personal credit card. So that "late-night round of drinks" might be business related. The article mentions companies purchasing it's client's spending records through companies like Equifax so, in theory, they'll be able to get data on your purchases even if you're not using their credit card. As I type this, it occurs to me that if you use an affinity card your purchases can even be tracked if you pay in cash. The reproductions of this is mind boggling "My Smith, we know you've always paid your bills on time and know you're employed but we see you're buying cancer medication, as you might not be around longer we need to raise your rates". At the end of the day, I know credit card companies (and the entire nation) have an issues right now which are caused by the overextension of credit. I really don't think that invasive tracking of a person's spending habits is the solution to the problem.
    Posted: Jul 16, 2009

I'm Confused By Starring, Liking and Sharing in Google Reader

I'd like to think that I'm a smart guy (not always wise, but smart) and someone who uses social media and understands what he's doing most of the time, but I've become confused by the actions I can now take in Google Reader. Until recently there were 2 options "Star" and "Share" (optionally with a note). It was nice a simple, if I read an article and thought it was noteworthy I'd share it, through Google Reader's RSS feed, it gets slurped up by FriendFeed and pushed to Twitter and Facebook. On the other hand if I'm reading an article and need to followup on it later, I star it and unstar it when I'm done with it. Nice and simple. Now they've added a like option and I'm confused. Like many folks playing in the social media space, I think of "like" and "favorite" as "interesting" or "noteworthy", which is how you can "like" a story on Michael Jackson's passing. I agree it's a nomenclature problem, but quite frankly so is "friend". Social Media redefines these terms. So, back to Google Reader, I understand that when you "like" something other people who are looking at the same story are told you like it and when you share something other people see it in your RSS feed and on your page. Other then that, what's the difference? I can't come up with a use case where I would read an article I like it but wouldn't share it nor can I think of a time when I'd want to share something I didn't like (using the above description). So, have you used both Like and Share in Google Reader. If so what's the difference to you?
    Posted: Jul 16, 2009

New York Times sells WQXR-FM

I was listening to [Off The Wall](http://www.2600.com/offthewall/) last night when Emmanuel mentioned that [WQXR](http://www.wqxr.com/), the Classical Music radio station owned by the [New York Times](http://www.nytimes.com/) was being sold to [WNYC](http://www.wnyc.org/), one of NYC's NPR stations. It appears they bought the station to preserve an all classical music format in NYC, which is a good thing. For those who don't know, the details of the deal, as [reported in the Times](http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/arts/music/15radio.html) look something like this: * Univision pays Times Co. $33.5 million to swap broadcasting licenses and shift its WCAA broadcast to 96.3 FM from 105.9 FM, which will become WQXR and WCAA will get 96.3 FM’s stronger signal * WNYC will pay Times Co. $11.5 million for 105.9 FM’s license and equipment and the WQXR call letters. One of the unique things about the QXR was it's relationship with the Times. The Times owned QXR before the FCC regulations prohibiting newspapers ownership of a radio station were enacted. Because of this relationship, QXR's newsroom was located in the NY Times building and news gathering resources were shared. In a precursor to newspaper reporters doing podcasts, Times columnists and arts reporters would often appear on the air doing segments. QXR was the muzac for groups that couldn't afford muzac. If you were getting your hair cut in NYC, in a small store or in a small restaurant and classical music was playing, odds are you were listening to QXR. QXR was a station that inspired me as a child. As I was learning to play piano and trumpet, I would often listen to QXR to hear how things "should sound". To this day it's a station I listen to in background as I work. As WNYC is looking to preserve classical music in New York, one presumes that once this officially goes down later this year we'll get more of the same, but with pledge drives instead of commercials, which will be good for all of the city.
    Posted: Jul 15, 2009

Some Observations about Open Atrium: An Opensource Intranet Package Written in Drupal

As some of you know my "love affair" with Drupal started a few year ago when I was leading a development team and realized we needed a better way of communicating. Of course there was no budget for developing or purchasing a tool, and after some looking around I found Drupal, and built a small site for my team to track bugs and share information as a skunkworks project. Since then I've repeated that experiment in a number of different firms. Recently, I've begun building a similar site for myself to help manage myself, any outside contractors I have and my clients. I know [basecamp](http://www.basecamphq.com/) is out there, but wanted something I could more easily control, backup and enhance as needed. It looks like I'm not going to be building something afterall. Yesterday [development seed](http://www.developmentseed.org/), a major Drupal development show released a beta version of [Open Atrium](http://openatrium.com/), an opensource intranet / project management system. I've spent a few hours kicking the tires, not enough for a full opinion. Atrium's install is implemented as a Drupal 6 Installation Profile and as such it's as easy / difficult to install as Drupal 6. I've never had issues installing Drupal 6 and have always found it's install to be quite simple but I know others have found it to be a barrier to entry. Atrium's Dashboard The default themes have a "basecamp" style web 2.0 look and feel, communicating a lot of information at times but still doing it simply and easy on the eyes. There are simplified admin menus which are approachable to both developers and admins, but should make adminning by non-drupalists easy. Of course there's the possibility for you to create a theme that fits your organization's look and feel. Functional groups can be setup inside the software. As you might suspect the this is handled via Drupal's Organic groups. Functionally the system gives you access to Blogs, Cases (issue tracking), Documents, a Calendar a Dashboard and a "Shout Box". Any combination of these can live in any group. Simply speaking The Shout Box is a group level short messaging system (think Twitter on a group level). The Dashboard shows activity in all the groups your active in. I think Blogs, Cases Documents (which are Drupal Book Pages) and the Calendar are rather self explanatorily. At the end of the day this is an excellent drupal systems with all the OG, Views, CCK, and spaces goodness you'd expect. I suspect it will fit at least 90% of the needs of an organization who needs an intranet or ticket tracking package. As it's written in Drupal you can modify it to your hearts content with existing or custom modules. Atrium provides hooks into their tools so you can add features which integrate seamlessly with the atrium's. Full details on on [their site](http://openatrium.com/build_a_feature) As an aside if you're a programmer learning Drupal or just looking for some new tricks, you should look at the source code of their custom modules, it's well written and rather educational. I suspect in the coming weeks I'll be implementing this for my own needs.
    Posted: Jul 15, 2009

Hunt's Point Condos, Trains and Zoning Regulations

A few weeks back [this story](http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/queens/2009/07/03/2009-07-03_hunters_point_residents_say_diesel_engine_at_railyard_run_all_day.html) about the condos near the hunt's point railroad yard. The crux of the argument is that trains run all day and there's smoke and noise and it decreases the quality of life there. I'm not an expert but I can understand that the process of shutting down or starting up a locomotive is not the same as turning the keys on a buick. A little bit of history the Hunt's Point storage yard has been there since the late 1800's. Until recently the area around the train yard was surrounded by factories and other industrial buildings. It was never an area fit for human habitation, but that's fine. I have a question for all the residents of the area: What do you expect living so close to a train storage yard? Did you spend any time looking at the areas before you bought or rented your place? Did you do 10 mins of research into the area before you moved there? How can you be surprised by the trains? Now, the Daily News article misses the real story. Why were these pieces of land ever zoned to allow housing there? A cursory inspection of the area should show that it's not a "good idea" for people to live there. I know that a few years ago, when they started building housing in that area, that there was a housing boom and an industrial bust so there was a need for housing and not factories (which, in hindsight is a probably a statement on our economy). I'm not a big fan of gov't regulation (which is why I asked the questions of the residents first) but this is one area where I probably wouldn't have complained.
    Posted: Jul 13, 2009