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Boston.com: “New England is at once sleepless, breathless, and full of hope. David Ortiz and the Red Sox just beat the Yankees in two extra-inning playoff games on the same calendar day. This century-long Sox-Yankee show, featuring themes of revenge and redemption, moves back to New York tonight.”

The Astros also had a walk-off win tonight. Jeff Kent, the former San Francisco Giant hit a game-winning home-run in the bottom of the 9th, ending a game which had been scoreless up to that point.

Amazing night of baseball. Would that all the games could be this exciting. Now if only Boston would beat the damn Yankees.

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I was talking with my friend Brad yesterday, while waiting to go to the airport in Durango. He told me about something called the ‘Starve the Beast’ theory being applied by the Republican party, when it comes to their tax-and-spend implementation — a practice which is oddly opposed to everything their party is supposed to represent.

The idea is this: Government, and in particular Social Security, is a beast that they want to go away. Nobody in their right mind would make killing Social Security part of their campaign platform, so if you want to kill Social Security, the only way to do it is to ‘Starve the Beast’.

You lower taxes. You increase spending. (Wars are a very good way to do the latter.) You blow the budget. You let the economy falter. Eventually it becomes painfully obvious that you have to kill large government programs like Social Security.

Now I’m not in a position to say that this is what Bush was planning on doing, but so far it fits very well with what’s actually been done. I’ll leave it up to you to decide what you think. Just please vote this November.

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Well, here I am in Durango, CO, for the wedding of my oldest friend in the world, Bradley Rowe. As his mom puts it, we were friends before we were born. Brad was at mine and Cindy’s wedding last month, and he gave a great toast. Maybe I should prepare a speech (gasp! <wink/>)…

After traveling all day, I picked up the rental car, got a bite to eat, and then went with Brad, Rachel and some friends and family, to the Hot Springs for a couple of hours. We left refreshed, relaxed, and a little woozy from the altitude.

Now I’m back in the Hotel, stuck on a dial-up, watching the Daily Show. Joh Stewart kicks some serious butt. If you missed it, you should seriously check out John Stewart on Fresh Air on NPR from last Wed…

Oh my god! Bill O’Reilly is on the Daily Show! I hope my TiVo is recording this. (Remind me to make a tunnel for myself to talk to my TiVo at home when I’m out of town…)

PS: O’Reilly just said that there’s “no question that mistakes were made in Iraq”… He dodged the question of whether Rumsfeld should be held responsible for mistakes in Iraq, by saying (paraphrase), “by the way, Rumsfeld is coming on the Factor…” Oy. O’Reilly needs a trip to the Dr. Phil show.

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As I mentioned before, I put together a slideshow on DVD for our wedding. We gave a copy to everyone who came to the reception instead of some silly favor that people would just leave behind.

I put up a copy for you to watch online in case you’re interested. The people who attended were quite moved, though if you don’t know the people in the photos, it might not have the same effect on you.

For your viewing pleasure, here it is, as a QuickTime movie (29MB), and as an MPEG-4 video (14MB). The QuickTime movie is higher resolution, but if you have a slower connection, I recommend the MPEG-4 version.

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Cindy and I arrived home last night after a whirlwind five days, which peaked in our wedding on Saturday, Sept. 11.

The wedding itself went outstandingly well. Everyone was wonderful, and the ceremony and reception were awesome. The DVD-slideshow I’d worked so hard on was a terriffic hit, and even some of the staff teared up a bit. The toasts were amazing, and even Cindy’s song went well, despite her lack of sleep from the bad shrimp at dinner on Friday night.

I’ll be posting more over the coming days and weeks — reflections, photos, and maybe even some video. For now, here are twelve tips for those of you planning a wedding:

  1. Make sure nobody in the wedding party eats seafood either the day of, or the day before the wedding.
  2. Make sure that the person performing the ceremony, and anyone doing announcements actually has the correct names written down, with pronunciation tips or phoenetic spelling if necessary. (Apparently our Justice of the Peace thinks I should change my name to David.)
  3. You’re not going to get much time to eat at your own wedding, so make sure someone from the wedding party saves a plate of food for you. (Ours was lost by the wedding planner or help staff, possibly eaten.)
  4. If your wedding account has money left in it which you won’t get back, make sure it gets spent. If one of the parents or someone in the wedding party is in charge of logistics, make sure they understand how the budget works.
  5. Register for gifts at least 45 days before the wedding, and put someone in the family (or both families) in charge of letting people know where. These days you can register online for most stores, and if you can, make it easy by creating a web page with links to all of your registries. (We got this stuff right, but started quite late.)
  6. Do photos right after the ceremony so you can go have fun as soon as possible. Don’t let yourself get caught in the crowd right after the wedding — make sure you do photos first and then socialize.
  7. Make sure that anyone who needs to be in photos sticks around after the ceremony. Have the photographer collect them immediately, and take them somewhere safe, away from food and booze. Tell everyone beforehand that this is what will happen.
  8. Make sure you know which side to stand on at the front for the ceremony. I was told two different things — one by the planner, and one by the Justice of the Peace. Go with what you hear from the person performing the ceremony.
  9. Along with don’t eat seafood the night before, don’t get too drunk or stay up too late. (We didn’t get drunk, but the shrimp scampi was unwise.)
  10. If the wedding planner (assuming you have one) will leave during the reception, make sure that the person or people who take over know everything that’s supposed to happen, and know who the people are that they’ll need to direct.
  11. If you’re being driven to somewhere after the reception, make sure the driver knows where to take you beforehand. (We were driven off in a golf cart, but the driver didn’t know what room we were in, and neither did we.)
  12. If you’re doing video, make sure that the groom or the person performing the ceremony has a wireless lapel microphone. You can get them at Radio Shack for about $50. If you don’t have one of these, then you won’t be able to hear the ceremony on the video.

I’m sure I’ve left things out that we’ve learned, so I’ll post them if I think of them.

All in all though, it went very well, and we’re both extremely happy. More soon…

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Despite the fact that the IOC has a policy of barring Olympic participants from posting first-hand accounts online, Philip Dunn, ‘A’ standard Olympic racewalker for the USA is keeping an online journal of his experiences at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

He did the same when he competed in Sydney in 2000.

Do check it out…

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So here they are — the 2004 Summer Olympics from Athens.

A symbol of openness, peace, working together, healthy competition, yadda, yadda.

And then we have this completely idiotic hyperlinking policy on the official Athens Olympics website:

For your protection and ours we have established a procedure for parties wishing to introduce a link to the ATHENS 2004 website on their site. By introducing a link to the ATHENS 2004 official Website on your site you are agreeing to comply with the ATHENS 2004 Website General Terms and Conditions. In order to place a link embedded in copy interested parties should:

a) Use the term ATHENS 2004 only, and no other term as the text referent

b) Not associate the link with any image, esp. the ATHENS 2004 Emblem (see paragraph below)

c) Send a request letter to the Internet Department stating:

  • Short description of site
  • Reason for linking
  • Unique URL containing the link (if no unique URL than just the main URL)
  • Publishing period
  • Contact point (e-mail address)

Once the request has been mailed, interested parties can proceed to include the link and will only receive a response if ATHENS 2004 does not accept the link.

Ok, so I was going to complain about lack of syndication support, but really, this is kind of rediculous. I thought we were done with inane linking policies in 2000, but apparently the Olympic Oraganizing Commitee is at least three years behind the times. And they claim it’s “for my protection”??? Harumph.

Thinking about this for a minute, there are two possible motivations for this BS: Either they’re really stupid (not so likely) and trying to actually only allow links that they sign off on, or they’re really stupid (also not so likely) and they’re trying to find out who’s linking to them.

Ok, so they’re stupid. They can’t prevent links, and they don’t know how to look at referer logs. (But then again, if they’re Greek, and they tried to look up "referer" in the English/Greek dictionary, that would be trouble too, but let’s not go there.)

I must admit though, that they’ve stayed up-to-date in the TV-realm: The opening ceremonies were quite impressive in HD. Now if only I could choose to watch the events that I actually want to watch. Oh wait — that’s NBC’s fault…

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I spent the better part of a day over the weekend scanning old pictures — probably about 200 of them. Many I scanned one at a time, but that got too slow, so I started at some point scanning two, three or four at a time.

This is part of an ongoing project — a DVD that I’m making for favors at our wedding reception in September, with a slide-show of Cindy and I, along with the people we care about, set to music. (It’s a very cool idea, and props to Cindy for thinking of it.)

Anyway, this round of scans, when I’ve scanned more than one photo at a time, I’ve been careful to keep the orientation straight, so that I minimise the amount of work I have to do later in Photoshop. An ounce of prevention and all that…

But it’s still too hard.

Why can’t someone come up with a scanner that takes a photo in one end, and spits out a scan and the photo for returning to your album at the other end. It would automatically (with a couple of $0.02 sensors, and a $0.25 motor) rotate the picture if needed, and sense its dimensions, so you wouldn’t have to rotate or crop anything once it was digital.

I can handle making sure that it’s right-side-up when I stick it in the slot at the front, but I don’t want to have to finesse the thing when laying it on a flat, slippery piece of glass, while not getting finger prints on anything, and not breathing so I don’t screw it up. I mean really — what if I were 70 and had a tremor — it would be impossible.

Once the hardware is covered, couple it with some software to do some basic level balancing, flagging you on the go if it thought it was about to make adjustments too far outside of the normal range. (A dialog box with Ok, Edit, Cancel, Skip — or something like that sounds right.) I think along with an auto-sensing/auto-positioning scanner, we’d have a very powerful little scanning suite capable of dispatching large numbers of pictures without too much chance for error, and without unnecessary interaction or uncommon exterity.

Ok, so that’s version 1. For version 2, add some automatic (and sensible) solution for delivery — give me a DVD, a web directory, and 3×5 prints on my BubbleJet™…

Version 3 could add a slide scanner option with an auto-feeder tray and 1200dpi. Version 4 could do noise reduction, anti-red-eye, and Photoshop integration.

I think there’s a small fortune to be made here by someone. I’d pay $350 for a scanner and software that did version 1, at medium quality (300dpi), without bothering with noise reduction and fancy Photoshop plugins, and I’m pretty sure that I’m basically mid-market as far as scanning is concerned.

I guess what I want is a consumer version of the digital archiving stuff that commercial and government folks are presumably using, because scanning pictures is a pain in the ass. And if they aren’t using something like this, then there’s an even bigger opportunity here.

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Here I am with a new website… again.

It’s been a while since I’ve done much writing for the web, and even longer since I wrote anything of a personal nature. I think because I’d not made a clear distinction between the personal and work-related on my other sites, I got a little crossed up, and (probably incorrectly) came to the conclusion that my personal writing didn’t belong on my site: it had become a place for work-related stuff only. Odd, since my main motivation in starting to write online in the first place was personal, and my writing reflected that.

So this is a new place for me to write, one not afflicted with any motivational conflicts. It’s a place for me to write personal stuff, not work stuff, and will remain so. The other site will remain what it had become — a place for work-related stuff.

I may over time move (or duplicate) some of my favorite past, personal things here, or I may link to it from here, or I may do neither. One of the nice things about having a personal space is that I don’t have to worry about it looking professional. Hopefully that will make me feel more free to express myself, which is what I got into the Web for in the first place.

That’s all for now. I’ll leave you with a link to the lyrics that my tagline came from: Elephant Talk by King Crimson. “Talk talk talk, it’s only talk”

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