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  • BrainStream

    A stream of consciousness from the brain of B.K. DeLong

    07/25/2004

    Beautiful Day, Beautiful Night

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 9:59:50 pm

    I just got in from the dogs’ last walk for the night. It’s in the mid 60s, the breeze is gone & the temperature is perfect. The moon is just over half full, (or is that half empty?), and there is scarsely a cloud in the sky. The barely detectible breeze bring a mix of scents from extinguished grills & smouldering fireplaces. It’s heaven.

    Its almost like we’re getting a preview of fall, which is strange as it’s the end of July. I know I’m preoccupied with politics for the time being but this should be a reminder to all of us to take a moment to enjoy that which surrounds us.

    (That…and my wife & son come home tomorrow! He’s apparently more animated and giggling now!! I can’t wait!!!)

    07/13/2004

    FOAF & Political Leanings

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 3:05:48 pm

    As FOAF becomes more and more a “personal profile” RDF language as well as a form of “personal identification", people are
    going to want to add more detailed information about their preferences. What about politics? It’s hot right now- worldwide.

    So what about a MyPolitics FOAF extension? It would need to be internationalization-friendly. The person should be able to
    say what country their politics are with, (i.e. US), what party they affiliate with, (i.e. Democrat, Republican, Green,
    Libertarian, Independent, None), and what their politics are (i.e. conservative, liberal, far left, far right, moderate,
    centrist, anarchist, libertarian), and finally even be able to identify their views on certain issues from Marriage to Family
    Planning to the Environment.

    Anyone have any ideas for RDF properties?

    07/6/2004

    The Fourth and Friends

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 8:40:24 am

    It occurs to me that I haven’t written about me of late and have been using this site to record instances of prior
    art. So here’s a little tidbit.

    I am immensely enjoying fatherhood. Though I’m much more tired than I would like to be, it’s not nearly as bad as I was
    expecting. Most of that is due to my wonderful wife who lets me sleep through the night. I’m normally a light sleeper but have
    managed to train my brain to shut out the nightly feedings with an emergency switch-on for when I detect Kirky’s frustration
    level rising or an increase in the volume of my son’s wails. Or maybe it’s just that I’m so damn tired.

    But seriously….my son spoils us. He is quick to calm though sometimes figuring out what will sooth him is a crap shoot.
    Change in position? pacifier? black-and-white bullseye side of his whoosit? bouncing? tummy time? Though one thing that always
    works is food. The breast is the world’s best and fastest pacifier.

    It’s been amazing watching him over the past few weeks. He’s about six weeks old and he’s already holding his head up with
    surprising control. He’s smiling more and more each day, & learning to imitate people - mostly when they stick their tongue
    out at him. Last night we played a game of “silly noises” where he’d make a funny sound, I’d imitate it and he’d repeat me. We
    did that for almost 5 minutes…it was great.

    This past weekend we took him on his first road trip. We drove 7 hours to target="_blank” title="Melissa Anelli"> Melissa’s house in Toms River, NJ. This was the same place we all had gathered for
    the Book 5 summit and I couldn’t imagine a more low-key, relaxing place for Will’s first vacation.

    OK, maybe “low-key” wasn’t the correct phrase but it was still relaxing. Melissa invited us down to spend the 4th with her
    family & family friends and it was a blast. Melissa’s mother is an amazing hostess and we watched as she flawlessly directed
    carloads of people coming in and out of her house at all hours. There was always food to be had from munchies to dogs and
    burgers to goodies from Melissa’s uncle’s bakery, (the canoles and sugar-free cheesecake was to die for), to the crabs I
    caught with Melissa’s “cousin” Joe that were marvelously cooked on the grill by his and Melissa’s father with a wonderful
    garlic sauce. That was the other thing - the house was constantly full of the delectable aroma of roasted garlic. Absolutely
    amazing.

    There was other things besides the food - but it’s always about the food. ;)

    Another highlight was getting to “teach” Joe how to fish as its something I haven’t done in years & pulled the knowledge
    from goodness knows where. We didn’t catch anything but besides learning something new, Joe seemed to enjoy the meditative
    nature of casting.

    We spent a lot of time in the pool as my sunburn proves. I waited a tad too late to put on sunblock and now have a pink hue
    about me. “I don’t burn” Ha, ha, ha….maybe 10 years ago when I actually spent summers outside. I don’t think I’ve spent that
    much time outdoors since my honeymoon - which is pretty pathetic.

    The night of the fourth all we had to do is sit on Melissa’s back patio to see fireworks. She’s right on the bay and there
    were 360 degrees of color all around us - it was great not having to go out or even move from ones chair to see the
    display.

    Probably the highlight of the weekend was seeing Melissa and title="Megan Morrison">Megan with Will. It’s important to me to surround my son with friends of mine who are educated,
    funny, open-minded, & intelligent and I couldn’t imagine a better pair to foist him upon. We all took some great pictures of
    him that I’ll get up on his site soon.

    I also had the honor of eavesdropping while Melissa and Meg worked on their next joint project - a play. I don’t think I’ve
    really said enough of how talented Melissa is as a reporter and Meg is as a writer. Watching them plot, plan and pen is as
    much fun as reading the stuff they produce. I can’t wait to see this show on Broadway - it’s going to be a hit. While
    Melissa’s href="http://www.silive.com/search/index.ssf?sconfig=silive&xpath.category_letter=&xpath.pubdate=07%2F06%2F04+07%2F05%2F04+07%2F04%2F04+07%2F03%2F04+07%2F02%2F04+07%2F01%2F04+06%2F30%2F04+06%2F29%2F04+06%2F28%2F04+06%2F27%2F04+06%2F26%2F04+06%2F25%2F04+06%2F24%2F04+06%2F23%2F04&xpath.any=Melissa+Anelli&count=20″
    target="_blank” title="Articles Melissa has written for the Staten Island Advance">been churning out copy, it won’t be
    long before Meg has several books published. Mark my words - they’re going to be famous if I have anything to say
    about it.

    Before I part, permit me to be overly sappy. I want to say how lucky I am to have such great friends. Kirky and I aren’t
    really actively social people. Most of my friends come from the Internet with my various hobbies and we don’t get to see each
    other often, in person. When we do, I am continually surprised by them including their wit, intelligence and just how
    generously sweet they are. Melissa and Meg make up an integral part to this small core group of friends & though we are always
    sad when we must part from our in-person visits, that melancholy is far outweighed by the memories formed during our stays
    with them. I can’t imagine a better group of people to call my friends.

    We’ll be seeing them again in August at the same location as we continue our whirlwind summer tour of showing off Will. In
    the next two months, my Dad and his wife will be visiting as will my Mom and we’ll be taking Will to Western Mass., Western
    Connecticut, California, & Georgia. Phew!

    06/15/2004

    BrainDump: Freevo, TiVo and Ubiqitious connectivity

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 8:28:44 am

    Alright - another brain dump. I’m not sure what’s up with me but the ideas keep a-flowin. Bear with me because some of
    these ideas may have already been done while others are just….weird.

    So I’ve been getting more into my TiVo of late when I realize just how much data there is inside it. Unfortunately, I have
    a Series 2 TiVo which isn’t hack-friendly nor running Open Source. I love my TiVo - not sure what I’d do without it but it’s
    the little things that irritate me:

    • Why is there only the ability to rate movies/shows with 3 thumbs up or 3 thumbs down? Why not a simple rating of 1-10.
      Anything from 1-4 sucks, 5 is “no opinion” and 6-10 is pretty good to great. I want my TiVo to be able to make good
      recommendations and I want to give good data to TiVo but I can’t with such a limiting rating system.
    • Why can’t we rate individual episodes. There are some shows that have a completely different subject each episode, let me
      decide whether I liked the subject, episode, how it was presented etc. Maybe even have a database of multiple-choice
      contextual questions based on the show’s subject/metadata that helps tell WHY I didn’t or did like the show.
    • Why not make the “Advanced Search” easy to access? Why do I have to do a hardware hack just so I can have a Wishlist with
      both a Director and Actor….or a keyword and actor?
    • If I have some wishlists & season passes set to autorecordbased on preference, let me say “If a more preferred show is a
      rerun that I have recorded and fully watched once, and will be recorded instead of a less preferred show that is a first run,
      ASK me if I want to see that instead. More intelligent TV!
    • I want to know why I cannot watch movie trailers on my TiVo. I can listen to music and share photos, but I so want to
      watch all these cool trailers on my TV - not my computer screen. Wake up TiVo!

    So in my desire for all things data, I want to get my data from the source. Why should I have to copy data down? It’s in
    format that’s usable as-is or is transformable via XML….so why can’t I access it?

    My brother is playing with Freevo since he’s the *nix wonk in the family and I hope he makes progress. With TiVo being so
    closed now, it seems building my own Personal Video Recorder (PVR) is the future. I hate to say it, but true. So I’ll make the
    rest of my ideas PVR-generic.

    Idea 1: Fun with GPS, RFIDs and Presence

    With all this talk and thinking about MeNow, I’ve started getting more and more interested in GPS. My phone apparently has
    911-accessible GPS as well as AGPS where I guess I need some service to assist me in accessing my GPS location. Annoying.

    The future of mobile computing is going to be presence-based. Let’s say I’m walking down some Main St. USA - could be
    Broadway in NYC, Newbury St in Boston, or even Essex St. in my town of Salem, MA. Each location I walk by may have some data
    I’m interested in. This is why I’m perfectly happy to give TiVo my TV-watching data, IMDB my movie watching data, Amazon my
    media shopping data and ranking, and Google my search data - heck, even my supermarket my shopping history. I want
    recommendations and special deals. I feel confident enough to handle spam sent my way and want to benefit from the data
    aggregated about me.

    So ideally, I’d have my FOAF file combined with encryption-based “trust-relationships” saying who can and cannot have
    access to certain data. Ideally this would be linked to MeNow data with a GPS location of where I am at a given time and
    possibly an RFID/Wireless/Bluetooth identifier that says “I’m here waiting for queries” and may be pushing out all my various
    user data anonymously. If I walk past a store, I’d get a ping that says “Acme Groceries thinks they have some specials you
    might be interested in.” I can either say.."ok spill it” or “no thanks". There’s have to be some sort of robots.txt stating
    which types of shops I am OK with getting queries from, which ones can outright give me info and which ones are
    blacklisted.

    I’m also annoyed by my favorite store never having large containers of Fat Free Sour Cream (only the small), being out of
    Green Chilie Enchilada Sauce, Rosemary and never having more than one flavor of Edy’s Fat-Free, No Sugar Added Ice Cream. So I
    can have an “allow” that says let me know stores that have these things in stock.

    If I walk past a restaurant, it would look for similar restaurant ratings I have done or dishes that are my favorite and
    let me know if they have them. A movie theatre may say it still has tickets left for a show I want to see and a music store
    may let me know they have a CD I’ve been seeking for ages.

    Of course, in a dreamworld this information would be accessible from my home or in my car as well. If I am looking for any
    of the above I mentioned, my home digital agent can let me know when a favorite or local store has one in stock or if in my
    car, I can be alerted that there is a store on my route that has what I’m looking for - based on preferences that say I don’t
    want to have to turn onto more than one street after taking an exit from a highway.

    In most cases, the data is out there. Almost everything nowadays is done on computers and if people can be educated to save
    or ask for digital files from companies who produce printed material for them and then have some means of making it available,
    it would be amazing. Perhaps there’s a market for local or regional aggregators who run a series of servers in neighborhoods
    and communities and have representatives who work with the stores & businesses in those locations to send data to the server
    where it gets transformed and served.

    Ah, pipe dreams.

    So where does that fit into PVRs, you might ask? Well, a few things. So I have my GPS coords being sent to my Web/Presence
    server. Say my wife wants to know when I’m within 15min of home. I can call her when I leave work or see can see my AIM
    connection go down or notice the “status” on the front page of BrainStream. But traffic in Boston can be unpredictible. Short
    of calling me every so often, how can she know where I am? That’s impractical.

    A little jiggering with my FOAF & MeNow plus telling some sort of application or script - if I am <> MeNow:isWith
    rel:spouseOf, and MeNow:status = “enroute home” then send a note to foaf:person kirkyr, using her MeNow:preferredcontact to
    let her know when my MeNow:isLocated is within 5 miles or 10-15min of the house. (Which reminds me, I want to add a preferred
    contact method toMeNow because there are many different ways to contact me at any given time….also, adding some sort of list
    of common locations to my FOAF would be great.).

    There’s where the PVR comes in. Kirky’s presence app looks at her MeNow and notices her contactPreference is set to “PVR".
    So the app looks to see if the PVR is actively being used AND if the TV is on - is that possible? Maybe the TV power would
    have to be plugged into the PVR ala a surge protector like thing. If both these factors are true, it sends a popup window in
    the bottom corner of the screen much like annoying Network TV ads have been doing during shows lately - and says “Ben is
    10-15min from home".

    Depending on trust-relationship definitions on my end and detail preferences on her end, it could give her the option to
    access my GPS coords on a map to see where I am. That way she COULD contact me to ask me to bring somethig home or just start
    prepping dinner or doing anything else she wanted to do before I got home.

    I wonder if anyone’s done any work on pulling data from a car’s computer. Right now I’m guessing there’s few standards and
    the only pople who can do it are mechanics. It would be cool, though, if once in-car wireless became more prevalent, you could
    easily pull all sorts of data from your car’s computer like speed data, gas consumption, fluid levels etc. Is there an RDF
    schema for this data? You could factor in the GPS location, add in the restrictions to movement of maps, measure distance, and
    based on traffic patterns (I can just see an RDF schema for traffic - designate a traffic incident, what caused it, how long
    will it take to get clear, what is the delay and reduced speed etc) plus the speed the car is going, get the most accurate
    amount it would take for you to reach a location.

    Details aren’t too important but ideally a Linux-based PVR would have a small email client/server for sending and receiving
    notifications or some other means. This alert system could be used for almost anything - checking the weather for severe
    weather in the area, neighborhood watch alerts for the neighborhood, or some other alert that we’ve specified via preferences.
    If there is data, you could be alerted.

    But what if the PVR is off? Then it would see the second means of contact is a phone. I’d love to have an application that
    “called” her phone number, and either played a pre-recorded message from me saying I’m 15min away or read in a text-to-speech
    voice something getting the message across.

    Idea 2: PVR News feeds, other applications

    It’s getting to the point that the more powerful PVRs become, the more applications that can be built into them. Why not
    turn them into a terminal server of sorts? Grab my OPML file from my central server and keep my RSS/Atom news feeds up to date
    so between shows, I can see what the news is - better than any Live News Network Ticker - no need to change the channel. Allow
    me to set preferences in my PVR alert system so I’m alerted to certain feeds when they are updated. I’d love to get FoodTV or
    food-oriented feed updates while on FoodTV.

    Heck, for that matter, why not let me terminal service into my laptop or IMAP my email account and check email so I don’t
    have to be on a computer. It’s only a mater of time before PVRs allow for wireless keyboard/mouse or some other interaction -
    like gesture-based (think Minority Report) or using one’s eyes.

    Idea 3: Closed-captioning data

    I’m not sure this is even possible as I haven’t had time to research. Is it possible to pull close-captioning data from a
    TV stream using a TV card? There’s an incredible amount of potential if so.

    For starters, you could get full transcripts for shows - helpful if you wanted to find something later but are not sure
    what was said or even cooler - use your browser and network access on your PVR to “blog” a show while watching it. You’d be
    able to quote and cite relevant materal based on text from closed-captions.

    What about metadata? The more I get involved in the semantic web, the more I realize just how critical metadata is. Let
    advanced users go through the closed-captions to attach a series of keywords to shows and then tie that data to
    recommendations and ratings. If there was a particular thing about a show that interested you, you can rank keywords
    appropriately- maybe even use that metadata to easily search for stored shows.

    The only problem is not everyone uses closed-captioning and speech-to-text that doesn’t involve voice training is pretty
    poor. Something to think abot though - now THAT’s interactive TV.

    Idea 4: Sharing data

    Just like I would REALLY, really like to share all of my “My Movies” lists from the IMDB, I’d love to share data from my
    TiVo - what movies have I seen recently, what shows do I have a season pass to, what are my top-ranked shows or episodes, what
    are the worst? Why not make Atom feeds of these lists and use an XSLT to create RSS 0.91, RSS 1.0 and RSS 2.0 feeds that can
    be pulled. I want to find like-minded people who share my interests ala Audioscrobbler.

    Someday, all this preference data aggregation will allow for customized commercials that people will actually watch, so all
    you network execs should listen.

    So in conclusion, presence, presence, presence, metadata, metadata, sharing, sharing, aggregation. It’s the future ladies &
    gents, hopefully it will be here sooner than later.

    (Links to come)

    06/12/2004

    BrainDump: Neighborhood Association Web Sites

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 9:29:35 am

    I’ve been thinking more and more about a Web site for my neighborhood since I have a son and an investment in the
    community. Walking the dog this morning, I saw a poster for a lost cat one street down and two more for yard sales in the
    area. Those would be perfect things to announce. Also, houses that are for sale (who is moving), and new neighbors who have
    recently moved in.

    I need to find if there are neighborhood associations here. I think there’s one for Broad St. - my street - but the various
    things are in a several block radius. I might do the McIntire Historic District which has several more streets.

    Then there’s the neighborhood watch system, other community events and announcements, resources like notes on which weeks
    are recycling collection or lawn waste collection, and an email list for other alerts and discussion.

    Anything I’m missing? Think of the most outrageous use of tech for a neighborhood.

    06/9/2004

    BrainDump: Neighborhood Groups & PVR Alerts

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 7:20:50 pm

    So I got this letter in my front stoop this morning about how a local homeless shelter just purchased a nearby church and how
    it must be stopped less crime, degradation, litter & real estate devaluation come to our neighborhood.

    I was appauled. I still am and plan to reply to the letter via the enclosed email and to a Letter to the Editor. I also plan
    on creating a neighborhood Web site to have things like a virtual “Neighborhood Watch", coordinating group trash pickup days,
    and tracking things like tresspassing requests (38 Broad St. wishes dogs would not urinate on their lawn, 42 would like people
    to stop walking on their flowers). I prefer THESE then turning away a homeless shelter. If anything, it will give people a
    place to stay - matter of fact, we should work to allow them to get online so the homeless can login and become a have rather
    than stay a have-not. So my next bit of research will be looking at neighborhood organization Web sites.

    Was also thinking if neighborhood watch goes online via email or something and there’s an “alert", having it set to make a
    little popup on my TV via TiVO or some other PVR setup. It would be perfect - I’d do the same thing for notifications from
    home appliances & other important things.

    More to come.

    05/22/2004

    My Son has Arrived

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 5:31:21 pm

    Kimberly Ringer DeLong and Benjamin Kirk DeLong are proud to announce the birth of their first son, William “Will” Kirk
    DeLong, born 5/22/2004, at 6:13am ET, weighing 7lbs, 15oz.

    Pictures and information will be posted at Will’s new Web site- target="_blank">http://www.wkdelong.org.

    Feel free to send well-wishes and greetings to will@brain-stream.org.

    05/16/2004

    Quiet is Loud

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 4:27:50 pm

    My house is incredibly quiet right now. All I can hear is the clicking of my keyboard, the whirring of the fan in the
    kitchen, and occasional “whooshes” as cars drive by my house. My adorable cat is curled up next to me on a pile of recipes and
    a duvee cover and I’m here waiting for the arrival of my son.

    Kirky is out with her mother shopping. My weekend has been filled with massive surges of cleaning and then loud periods of
    quiet as we prepare the house for its new arrival. The house is impeccably clean aside from the kitty-litter area, which is
    always in some state of disarray. All of the laundry is done, everything is vaccumed & dusted - I don’t know how we would have
    done this without my mother-in-law.

    But there’s something eerie about the quiet. I’m getting anxious for things to start happening. We’re ready- we’ve been
    ready and my body feels like I’m sitting here signing as I tap my foot and click my fingers on an imaginary watch about my
    wrist.

    The due date isn’t until the end of next week but we’re as ready as we’ll ever be. Time to go watch the pot of Mother
    Nature just to make sure she’s not boiling in secret.

    05/1/2004

    Attrition vs. Chick-Fil-A

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 11:49:37 am

    Its things like this that make me reminisce being part of the Attrition.org staff. Its pretty much a one-man show these
    days with Brian Martin running things. Here’s his latest bit of sarcasm, sharp wit, and curmudgeoness - Chick-Fil-A threatens to sue
    Attrition.org

    Happy Beltane!

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 11:28:03 am

    I’d like to wish you all a Happy Beltane or May Day to you Muggles and Mundanes out there. Beltane is an ancient
    Celtic holiday translated from Gaelic as “fire of Bel” with Bel being a Celtic Sun God.

    Beltane is a fertility holiday celebrating spring. It is still celebrated throughout the Ireland, href="http://www.beltane.org” target="_blank” title="Beltane Fire Society of Edinburgh, Scotland">Scotland, and England.
    This Fire holiday has been continued in some Pagan traditions and adopted by others as part of the Wheel of the Year -
    Midsummer, Lughnasadh, Mabon, Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, and Ostara. It is the anti-Halloween or the opposite of Samhain,
    representing new life as opposed to observing death.

    My views on spirituality have been changing throughout the years - definitely so since href="http://www.brain-stream.com/blog/archives/000070.html#religion">I last posted my thoughts a few days from 3 years
    ago. Unfortunately, I’ve not made time for my own spiritual needs since I began target="_blank” title="B.K. DeLong’s Work Site">working at MIT. I have become disillusioned with the Pagan community in
    Salem as it seems it is plagued by Witch Wars. There are a handful of powerful women and a few men in the Pagan community of Salem and they all spend
    time exerting their authority and power. Not conducive to community at all. I’ve also moved away from refering myself to
    Wiccan, practicing Wicca or being a Witch practicing Witchcraft. I am a Pagan. Simply put, I am a non-Christian spritual
    practitioner choosing to worship nature or polytheistic incarnations of the Earth. I like to point to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman
    series or Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality books to illustrate what I mean.

    In the past year I have been reading more about Shamanism through books authored by Lynn Andrews. One of my good friends,
    Charel Morris, is a Shaman herself and produces several of Lynn’s shows as well as helps with her Shaman School. Two years
    ago, I participated in a Spirit Animal ceremony and found Athena, a female Brown Bear. She’s a very important part of who I
    am.

    Similar to my discussions with Michael Gleason about Witchcraft and Santeria, Charel is an amazing person to talk with
    about Spirituality. There’s no secrets, no “you have to be a 3rd level initiate to learn about that", its all an open book-
    with both of them. They are truly my spiritual mentors. I regret I have had no time to spend with Mike for almost 2 years and
    will be missing my first yearly conference where I work with Charel. This will become more difficult once the baby is born,
    but I want to recognize their important contributions to who I am as a spiritual person.

    Last night, I was musing about how gorgrous the weather was and how beautiful it was that it is spring. Of course, I only
    think this in morning & evening when the humidity is still low. But I still have the need to commune with my spiritual
    representatives of the Earth and nature around me - that will always be an important part of who I am.

    Happy Beltane - or May Day. Be you always be spiritually fulfilled.

    Orkut Reinvites Your Friends Who Didn’t Join

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 10:42:18 am

    href="http://www.onlinebusinessnetworks.com/blog/2004/04/30/does-orkut-have-absolutely-no-sense-of-social-propriety”
    target="_blank">According to Scott Allen
    , Orkut has taken it upon themselves to reinvite friends who I originally invited but did not join for one reason or
    another. I’m posting this mostly because I hope those people will come here first before asking me about it, since many of
    them declined. It’s very embarassing because most declined to me personally via email. So how dare Orkut assume to reinvite
    them- in MY name no less?

    This is another reason why I find Orkut to be behind the times and a cheesy, non-useful social network. It’s all about
    “collecting” friends and getting people to rate you high. It’s like a high school click. But what do you expect from a social
    network who takes its name from the founder of it. Frankly, I expect a lot more from the team behind Google - moreso after the announcement of href="http://news.google.com/news?q=Google+IPO&hl=en&lr=&IE=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&c2coff=1&safe=off&sa=N&tab=nn” target="_blank”
    title="News about Google’s IPO announcement">their 2.7bn IPO this week. I’ve recently purchased “ href="http://allconsuming.net/item.cgi?id=0596004478″ title="Google Hacks by Tara Calishain, Rael Dornfest - An O’Reilly
    Book">Google Hacks” and think maybe Google should stick to Search Engines. Or at least listen to why people like the
    successful sites in the multitude of title=”
    YASNS Meta List - The Social Software Weblog">YASNs
    out there.

    04/29/2004

    MIT Hawk Cam

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 3:31:44 pm

    As promised,
    it looks like we have a Webcam for the
    hawks
    . Yay!

    04/22/2004

    Hawks & Squirrels

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 10:38:15 am

    We just moved offices at work this week and I have a sweet corner cube at the corner
    of our building looking out over Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge at the place where the href="http://whereis.mit.edu/map-jpg?zoom=level1&selection=7&selectlayer=Buildings&selectfield=facility&centerx=709835&centery=495530&oldzoom=level2&map.x=147&map.y=201″
    target="_blank">Stratton Student Center and the grand href="http://whereis.mit.edu/map-jpg?zoom=level2&centerx=709812&centery=495507&oldzoom=level3&map.x=310&map.y=184″
    target="_blank">Rogers Building connect.

    I have this great little “green area” outside my window that has a large tree with a pretty decent sized squirrel nest at
    the top. Behind me in front of href="http://whereis.mit.edu/map-jpg?zoom=level2&centerx=709693&centery=495725&oldzoom=level3&map.x=309&map.y=195″
    target="_blank">Building 9, (to the right of the tree title="View from northwest corner of Building 9, architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill">in this picture), is a dying pine
    tree with a bird’s nest at the top. In this bird’s nest, reside a mating pair of red-tailed hawks and their two
    recently-hatched chicks.

    I’ve had the immense pleasure of watching these hawks fly in a cycle around campus. To the top of Building 7, to another
    tree across the street, and sometimes in the trees outside my window hopping after some of the rapidly-growing squirrels who
    were also born earlier this year. Truly a sight to behold - a gift of nature. MIT has started a “Hawk Cam” on href="http://web.mit.edu/mitcable/www/” target="_blank">Campus Cable and today, I finally brought in my own camera, soon
    to be producing pictures of this couple, their hatchlings as well as the squirrels hanging out around my window.

    04/20/2004

    OCW Nominated for Webby Award

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 2:47:32 pm

    Mucho coolness to find out that OCW was
    nominated for a href="http://www.webbyawards.com/main/webby_awards/nominees.html#services">The Webby Award - this the same day we launched
    a partnership with Utah State University to create title="OSLO Group Announces ‘Open Learning Support’">Online Learning Support communities for OCW courses.

    Not sure why we’re in the category of “Services” alongside target="_blank” title="iTunes Music Service">iTMS, Google, href="http://www.gracenote.com/gn_products/cddb.html” target="_blank” title="Gracenote CDDB">CDDB, and href="http://www.meetup.com” target="_blank">MeetUp. I mean, those services have been around for a while and we’re more
    educational than a service. jgd3 sez
    iTMS will take us - so far according to title="Webby Awards People’s Voice">People’s Voice we’re ahead of iTMS but behind Google. However the latter is also in
    the Best Practices
    category and the former in the target="_blank">Music & target="_blank">Commerce categories. How about sharing the love?

    04/19/2004

    Countdown to Fatherhood

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 7:55:06 pm

    Well, one more step to fatherhood today. We picked up our first car seat today - a href="http://www.gracobaby.com/catalog/product.aspx?modelNumber=8646CJG&CategoryName=Car%20Seats&CategoryID=1&ProdType=Infant%20Car%20Seats”
    target="_blank">Graco SnugRide. We too some time to wander about target="_blank">BabysRUs and look at the plethora of target="_blank">strollers, car seats
    and stroller-carseat combinations called
    “Travel Systems".

    We wandered rather aimlessly and half-heartedly tried to figure out the difference. I think we were both embarrased really
    - neither of us wanted to ask for help. Finally, I pulled out the cell phone and called my sister-in-law, haning the phone to
    the wife. Basically, we need a car seat. The “travel systems” tend to be heavier and a little more expensive. But we
    definitely needed a car seat - we could get by without a stroller if we had to. Besides, who can resist carrying baby around
    with a snuggli?!

    So we picked up the car seat and tossed the href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0000D9RQ9/ref=ba_br_o_a5//102-0341161-9191335?v=glance&s=baby&me=A1F83G8C2ARO7P&coliid=IJ5DKWI4NB8S8″
    target="_blank">matching stroller on the Baby
    Registry
    . We’ve been a bit frustrated because we have a shower being thrown at work and there are a lot of grad students
    who have been asking what to get the baby. They don’t really need to get us anything but there’s no “low-budget” items on our
    list. Plus we cannot seem to find many online to add to the list. We can find the sing-along CDs and relaxation music in the
    Music store but we cannot add them to our Baby Registry. So we created our child’s first href="http://www.amazon.com/o/registry/1M3HM4VSQ3FAW” target="_blank">Amazon.com Wish list. A bit cheesy, I know, and
    probably a bit presumptious. It was bound to happen sooner or later - I mean, his parents are incredibly geeky.

    I’m getting incredibly nervous with …..what should I call it….. href="http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=anthropomorphizing” target="_blank">anthropomorphizing doesn’t seem like
    the right word since he’s certainly not inanimate - I felt the baby href="http://www.ivillage.co.uk/pregnancyandbaby/pregnancy/tri3/qas/0,,16_158391,00.html” target="_blank">hiccuping the
    other morning. But “he” has a name, we talk to him and basically assume he’s always there with us. My wife has had an
    incredibly good pregnancy. Only a little bit of nausea in the beginning and other than that she keeps saying things like “I
    forget I’m pregnant". She looks gorgeous, radiant, and very healthy. Still….I wonder if I’m jinxing things.

    I’ve also been thinking about people who say “it’s going to change your life” and “things will never be the same". Sure, I
    believe it to an extent - especially in the beginning. Sleepless nights, potential medical issues, raising someone who is
    essentially a blank slate. But I think our social live is incredibly different than others. We don’t go out a lot except to
    dinner, (alone), and to the movies (alone) once in a great while. We enjoy spending most of our time at home playing on the
    computer, watching TV or DVDs. We love to cook, like to lay about and read books and truly enjoy each other’s company - i.e.
    we have no active social live.

    Who knows. Perhaps, like most people I will come back in a month or two and say “you have no idea". But for now, I’ll
    continue the final month looking forward to being a dad.

    04/4/2004

    Down 41 to 265

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 1:56:47 pm

    On January 5th of this year, I started my trek into the world of the href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1579546463?v=glance">South Beach Diet as first recommended by my
    doctor and then by a group of friends who wanted to all try it together.

    Due to this new way of eating combined with daily exercise (mostly), I have lost 41lbs as of this morning: down from 306 to
    265. That’s damn impressive if I must say so myself.

    I say “mostly” regarding the daily exercise because the last 2 weeks have been nasty outside and incredibly busy at work -
    so I ignored my morning 30-min walk around campus. Plus, we had a ton of work being done on the house which disrupted access
    to the kitchen and I had a piece of chocolate cake to celebrate work’s release of 200 more courses.

    So tomorrow, provided the weather holds out for the most part, I will start up my morning walks again. I have 9 more pounds
    until I hit 50lbs and 15 more pounds until I reach my first goal of 250lbs. I have two more goals after that - to be 200lbs by
    the end of summer and 175lbs by next January. The latter goal is quite ambitious - but it wouldn’t hurt.

    As soon as I figure out MovableType categories a bit more, I will create a whole page dedicated to my foray into better
    health. I have a checkup on the 14th and think my doctor will be pleasantly surprised - I know I am.

    07/8/2002

    Atkins - the beginning.

    Filed under: B.K. DeLong @ 11:32:26 pm

    Vindication - 15lbs gone, 85 to go.

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