The reason I've come to like friendfeed

I've been trying to describe to folks why I like friendfeed, the one stop shopping site for web 2.0 presence aggregation. Today Terry Paul Walhus tweeted this which linked a message on pownce :

Hey, you're already my twitter friend and I'd like to add you as a friend on pownce. If you'd like to see me and my work, check out where I interview Leah Culver, Cali Lewis, Zadi Diaz, Veronica Belmont and more blogerati/digerati at sxsw 2008 I'm springnet on twitter and walhus on skype. I'd like to do a skype interview with you for my blog like the interviews I just mentioned.

Now, the magic of friendfeed is that you set up your presence across the net. If I'm following you there, no matter what new services you adapt or what services you abandon I'll know and be able to follow you. If I decide to move from flickr to zoomr or twitter to pounce *poof* anyone subscribed to friend feed see it. If I decide to add a new blog, they start getting when I add it. No announcements, no follow me here messages, everyone just knows.

Not a knock on Terry... just a comment on ff.

    Posted: Mar 17, 2008


Today I came across this article on CNN about the existence of confession websites and drop in the amount of people going to confession and if there's a connection between the 2 or not. I have a number of thoughts on this from a technical, social and spiritual point of view.

Before I launch into the post I think I need to share a secret. I have 2 blogs this one which is a personal tech / geek / photography blog and this one which is more of a blog on my thoughts on religion and life. The religion blog is still a work in progress where I am moving some things over from a paper journal to the digital realm. The reason I mention this is that I intent to cross post this and no matter who you are you're going to see a different side of me; something you might not be comfortable with. For a minute I thought about 2 separate posts, one on the tech and one on the religion but I think this is better presented this way.

To me, the important part of confession is giving a voice to the thing we've done and the counseling we receive from the process. Let's face it, confessing to G_d is easy, He knows what's in our hearts, He doesn't need the someone else in the process to forgive you. It's the sinner that needs the counsel, strength and support of another human being which is the reason why confession is important.

While I was still regularly attending a Catholic Church (though last December) I noticed that the number of people going to confession had dropped but this is a process that has been happening for a while. The CNN article doesn't discuss other methods of Confession people have been using. As psychiatry and psychology have become more main stream (sorry scientologists), people have been receiving the the human side of forgiveness from other sources. I believe that people are more likely using these sources then some website.

Every now and then I take a look at the "confession" account on twitter ( I don't follow it, mostly because a lot of it is NSFW and I don't want that popping up when people stop by my desk. Where it's an interesting experiment in social graffiti I'm not sure there's much confession going on there. Currently there's a message on there "I killed the president" (Hi Mr NSA agent, really that's a quote not a threat), there tends to be a ton of angsty "I still love her" type stuff, and the occasional confession of something outrageous involving rape or murder. It seems to be a source of drama and shock then anything else.

I would like to discuss the difference between privacy and anonymity for a bit. In a confessional booth and a therapist's office there is a moral and ethical responsibility to keep the information inside the room. Although you don't leave your name on these confession sites, the server may log your IP address and other identifying information. There have been a number of cases where anonymized data has been tracked back to the source including netflix and AOL search data.

    Posted: Mar 13, 2008

The 7 Social Sins

Just read an article on bloomberg about the new list of "7 social sins" that the Roman Catholic church published this week. I am assuming that these supplement and don't replace the 7 deadly ones. Here is the list:

  1. Bioethical violations such as birth control
  2. Morally dubious experiments such as stem cell research
  3. Drug abuse
  4. Polluting the environment
  5. Contributing to widening divide between rich and poor
  6. Excessive wealth
  7. Creating poverty

I, obviously, do have some thought about this.

  • "Bioethical violations such as birth control" - I'm staying out of the birth control debate because it's a battle I can't win. I will point out that it does little when it comes to circumventing G_d's will (if He wants you to be pregnant, no amount of latex will stop Him).
  • "Morally dubious experiments such as stem cell research" - Leaving abortion on the side for a minute... better yet let's not, let's say abortion is murder then how is stem cell research any different then experiments on cadavers donated to science? I haven't heard many people committing murder to help science lately. Saying stem cell research supports abortion is like saying organ donation is supporting murder
  • "Excessive wealth" - It's not the wealth that's the problem, it's what you do with it. You can't say that Waren Buffett's or Bill Gate's wealth is a problem as they are giving it away. Jesus said "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" He did not say it was impossible.

The others all seem to be restatements of other sins greed for 5 and 7... (what is the difference between Creating Poverty and Widening divide between rich and poor anyway?) , sloth and or greed for 4 depending on your motivation, gluttony for 3,

    Posted: Mar 13, 2008

A playlist for NYC

A long while back I was discussing with my friend Alex the concept of a creating a playlist with music that evoked the different areas of NYC. I finally got around to putting it together and I've finally added my feed to the side bar I thought it was time to publish it. I know this is a little meme-ish but thought it was a good thing. If nothing else this may show off some of my diverse musical tastes.

  • Yankee Stadium, "New York, New York", Frank Sinatra - song played at the end of every game. In the old days it was Frank if they won and Liza if they lost, so I have a bias towards the Sinatra version.
  • Hayden Planetarium, "The 7 Stars of the Big Dipper" ,Manheim Steamroller
  • Central Park, "Saturday in the Park", Chicago - I don't think I need to explain why on this one.
  • Strawberry Fields, "Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)", Elton John - Elton wrote the song as a tribute to John Lennon and, ironically, when I'm there I'm more of that song then The Beatles's own "Strawberry Fields"
  • Rockefeller Center / Radio City Music Hall, "The Spirit of Radio", Rush - RCA (who owned the radio patents in the US, started NBC and was a major influence in radio) was originally based in Rockefeller Center, and that's where Radio City Music Hall gets its name. I'd like to think some of the ghosts of radio are still there, haunting the place.
  • Hell's Kitchen (Not Clinton, Not Midtown West, Hell's Kitchen, you don't re-brand neighborhoods), "The Black and Tans", The Irish Descendants - A good Irish rebellion song. I like the Irish Descendants version, but take any version you like.
  • Hotel Pennsylvania, "PEnnsylvania 6-5000", The Glenn Miller Orchestra - Song was written for the Hotel, 212-PE6-5000 is the phone number of the hotel to this day.
  • The Bowery (Former home of CBGB's), "Let's Dance", The Ramones - Some old school punk for the former center of NYC punk.
  • World Trade Center Site / Ground Zero - "Miami 2017", Billy Joel - "I've seen the light go out on Broadway, I've seen the Empire State laid low".. in retrospect their are powerful lyrics.
    Posted: Mar 13, 2008

Just email us your credit card information...

So, while in LA at Gali some friends an I went to Star Trek: The Tour and did the geek take the pics on the bridge thing. The company that does the photos ustar will sell you jpegs of the images for 20 bucks. I figured I'd get the pictures and print them myself at the Adorama. So, we don't get the photos there just the instructions on how to order the pics. We are also told to give them a few weeks to get the photos from the tour to their corporate offices.
So, Today I decide to place an order... There is a form on ustar's website which I fill out (just some basic information) and am told someone will contact me. I then get this in my email

To complete your order we will also need you to please fill out the attached order form to complete your order. You may return the completed order form to us by email[cut for brevity]UStar Video will accept Master Card, Visa, Discover Card, American Express and Personal Check.For Credit Card orders please complete the following:Name as it appears on the card - ________________________Billing address - _______________________________________City, ST, Zip - _________________________________________Card number - ________________________________________Expiration date - _______________________________________CID (security code located on the back of your card)- ___

I'm shooting them an email explaining why this is a bad idea and questioning their sanity (how hard is it to setup paypal invoices, where I don't trust pp, they are better then sending my CC info in the clear). I'm just shocked that a company even thinks about doing things this way.
EDIT: to make things clear... this is a problem with ustar, not adorama, whom I adore and does great work.

    Posted: Mar 11, 2008

Fairness in the Universe

Between going away a few weeks back and me being sick this week I've fallen behind on some religious growth (almost said "obligations" but Episcopalians seem to consider going to church a privilege and not an obligation). I have however listened to the sermons via the podcast feed I setup (I'm grateful right now that my laziness got me to setup that feed).
Today I listened to Tom Synan's Sermon. His sermon was based on this week's Gospel, John 9:1-41, where Jesus heals a blind man. When His Apostles ask if it was this man or his parents whose sin caused the blindness. Jesus explained that the man was blind so G_d's works can be revealed through him.
I got to thinking about some of the things I've done in life. The concept that G_d would punish me in this life in proportion to my sins is a scary thing. Not only would I be blind but deaf and lame as well. If I received some injury for each person I injured, I'd probably be permanently scarred. Perhaps you're the same, perhaps not.
Upon Reflection, I have decided to rejoice in the unfairness of the universe.

    Posted: Mar 7, 2008