Monday, September 29, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
"September 25, 2008
From the Desk of David Pogue
The Mother of All Search Functions
By DAVID POGUE
Today's e-column is nothing but a computer tip, but it's a biggie. It seems obvious in retrospect, but I've got to tell you, it's totally rocked my world:
Use Google search for everything.
Let me explain.
Every major Web site has its own Search box and Search button. The Times. Amazon. EBay. IMDB.com. Wikipedia. YouTube. Facebook. And so on.
But usually, that Search function is not as good as the mother of all Search functions--Google. And it's definitely not as quick, since you have to navigate to the site you want (YouTube, Amazon, whatever) before you can use its internal Search box. But why bother, since Google already searches within all those sites?
Used to be, when I wanted to look up a Times movie review, I'd go to nytimes.com/movies; hunt around for the proper Search box (there are two now; there used to be more) for searching the archives; type the movie title; and click Search. Four steps.
Used to be, when I wanted to consult Wikipedia, I'd go to Wikipedia.org; I'd click English; I'd click in the Search box; I'd type "blu-ray"; and click Search. Five steps.
Used to be, when I wanted to look up a movie on IMDB.com (the ever-wonderful Internet Movie Database), I'd go to that site; type in the name of the movie; click Search; look over the results; click the actual movie name. Five steps.
Used to be, when I wanted to look up a book on Amazon, I'd go to Amazon.com, click in the Search box, type the book name, then click its name in the results list. Four steps.
And it used to be, when I wanted to call up one of my own blog posts, I'd go to nytimes.com/pogue; click in the "Search this blog" box; type a keyword; and click Search. It usually comes up empty-handed (it doesn't even find search terms in the blog posts' titles), and I'd try a different keyword until I got frustrated. 100 steps.
And so on.
I've been totally wasting my time. Google blows all of this out of the water.
Now, when I want the Times movie critic's review, I type "ny times shrek" into the Google box and click the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button. BOOM! I'm reading the review. Two steps.
When I want an IMDB page, I type "groundhog day" and click "I'm Feeling Lucky." WHAM! I'm looking at that movie's IMDB.com page. Two steps.
When I want to search my own blog, I type "pogue blog tivo" and click "I'm Feeling Lucky." Presto! I'm reading the post. Two steps.
In other words, there's very little point in using the Search box within your favorite sites. Use Google to take you to that site and to the page you want within it. Works for Amazon ("amazon freakonomics"), ebay ("ebay delft figurine"), Define.com ("define ersatz"), Facebok ("facebook amy pomeroy"), any newspaper or magazine, and hundreds of other kinds of sites.
Google has been sneakily introducing some other changes, too. You've probably noticed that as you type in the Search box, a drop-down list of suggested matches appears. It's culled from searches that other people have performed.
It's intended to save you typing (and creativity in wording), of course, but it also gives you a weird feeling of community. It makes you realize that you're not so unique. You're only one of the millions who use Google, and many have been this way before. (I wanted to see that famous video where these guys drop Mentos into Coke bottles to make them explode. I hadn't typed more than two words, "Coke and," when it appeared in the suggestions list--"Coke and Mentos." Two clicks, and I was watching the video.)
I've also noticed that if you type a search term that leads you to a huge Web site, like NYtimes.com, eBay, Amazon, and so on, you actually get a little table in the search results, providing direct links to all the sections *within* that site. In the Times's case, you can type "nytimes" and get a table of sections like Today's Paper, Politics, Business News, Sports and so on. (In fact, there's even a secondary Search box beneath this table--a pretty wild effect I haven't been able to reproduce with any other newspaper or search.)
Google may or may not be evil, but wow, is it getting good at search."
I couldn't have said it better myself!
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Then came college. The Fall after High School I found myself in a new place for school. I had never really been away from home for more than a few weeks at a time. So moving away to go to school was a new experience. I was still in Idaho, but clear on the other side of the state, five hours from home in a town about one-third the size of the city I grew up in. Needless to say it was a small and different kind of place. It was Rexburg, ID. I knew that I would be going to school for the year and then leaving on a two year mission. So I wanted it to be a good experience and pack in a lot of memories (more about those another time). The apartment I moved into was off campus and I had five other roommates. None of us were return missionaries, all freshman. So for us that Fall meant freedom. Freedom to do or not do whatever we wanted. For us that meant staying up late and then sleeping in. Many Saturdays were spend watching college football while we waited for laundry to finish. That Fall we went to many of the Ricks College football games (before it changed to BYU-Idaho). In a small college town it was like time stopped during those games. If you had to go grocery shopping or do anything on campus you would not wait; no lines. There was a lot of campus life. You had to try not to get involved someway. I remember not wanting to do homework. I remember voting in my first election that Fall.
Fall in Rexburg was windy. Come to think about it, Rexburg was almost always windy. I had a car at Ricks. I know that not many kids did, don't get excited. It was a 1978 Datsun puck up that I drove in high school and used to haul around lawn mowers. Anyway, I used to go for drives in my car to get my bearings. I drove all over town past the golf course, by the airport, past Retrix and Horkleys' (where I would work the year after my mission). I even drove out to the Teton Dam site to see the remains after the flood.
Fall (Bouquets of sharpened pencils).
Monday, September 22, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
A few nights ago I (along with four other friends) was invited by my friend Joe to have dinner at Nobu- a very high end restaurant that on my social work salary I would NEVER be able to afford.Posted by Karyn Mann at 10:32 AM
So, there we were, eating blackened cod with miso and rock shrimp when we noticed that Michael Buble was sitting at the table next to us, and Bill Clinton was three tables away. Okay, that's kind of cool, but really we were just there to enjoy each other's company.
During the course of the night, my friend Laura pulled out a T-shirt she had made- the shirt featured a picture of Barack Obama with a quote saying "Every time Obama speaks, an angel has an orgasm."
Ha, ha, ha... we were laughing.
BILL CLINTON walks by and is shown the shirt. He laughs, makes some jokes, talks to our table, and leaves with the T-shirt (stating he is going to put it next to the Lincoln Coins in the White House).
It was pretty amazing and we were still reeling from this encouter. Not 20 minutes later, Michael Buble comes to the table. He chats with Laura, laughs at the T-shirt story, shakes hands with the table, etc...
Now, I respect and enjoy Michael Buble for his talent... but without a doubt, the highlight was meeting Bill Clinton. I mean, HE WAS THE PRESIDENT for Pete's sake!
While most nights I am home doing laundry, watching TV, or chilling with friends... there are some nights that I am really glad I live in NYC.
September 15, 2008 --
BILL Clinton likes sex jokes. A spy tells us that when Laura Bell Bundy - who starred in "Legally Blonde" and is a fierce, dyed-in- the-wool Democrat - ran into the former president at Nobu the other night, the blond cutie quickly whipped out a T- shirt she had made in support of Barack Obama and handed it to him. "The shirt read, 'Every Time Obama Speaks, an Angel Has an Orgasm," ' our insider said. "Bill loved it and even chuckled he couldn't wait to show it to Hillary."
*** This was also picked up by New York Magazine. HA!
Pretty interesting. Never know who you'll bump into in NYC, but Karyn we miss a in ID.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Gibson graduated from Princeton University where he was news director for the university radio station, WPRB-FM ...[he]joined the RKO Radio Network in 1966 as a producer, but then switched gears given the Vietnam War and joined the Coast Guard and worked as a reporter/anchor for WLVA (now WSET) in Lynchburg, Virginia as one of five employees. He then moved to WMAL-TV (now WJLA) in 1970, and took a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1973 before joining ABC in 1975.
So it can be said that he is good at what he does. And generally speaking the people who did not like the Palin interview are Palin supporters and those who applauded it are not. That seems to me right where it should be for a journalist.
Governor Palin is going to be interviewed on TV again, this time on FOX news. But not by a journalist. By commentator and pundit Sean Hannity. From the NY Daily News "Hannity - ...a commentator paid to express his opinions" and from wikipeida:
Sean Hannity is an American radio and television host, conservative political commentator, and an author. His nationally-syndicated radio program, The Sean Hannity Show, airs throughout the United States on ABC Radio Networks. Hannity also hosts two television shows on Fox News Channel: Hannity & Colmes and Hannity's America. Hannity graduated in 1980 from St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary high school, located in Uniondale, New York. Described as "an indifferent student", Hannity dropped out of New York University for financial reasons and later decided to pursue a radio career. In 2005, Jerry Falwell, chancellor of Liberty University awarded him an honorary degree.No where does it say that Hannity is a journalist. This is not a problem as long as the two interviews are not seen as equal; as they are not. There are many capable and talented journalists at FOX News, they are just not being utilized to perform this interview.
As the election draws near just remember to use your own judgement to make decisions about who to vote for. Don't support someone ONLY because of the political party they belong to. We are all more than just (D) and (R).
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Take a look.
EepyBird's Sticky Note experiment from Eepybird on Vimeo.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Superman is a fictional comic book superhero widely considered to be one of the most famous and popular of such characters and an American cultural icon. Created by American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian-born artist Joe Shuster in 1932 while both were living in Cleveland, Ohio, and sold to Detective Comics, Inc. in 1938, the character first appeared in Action Comics #1 (June 30, 1938) and subsequently appeared in various radio serials, television programs, films, newspaper strips, and video games. With the success of his adventures, Superman helped to create the superhero genre and establish its primacy within the American comic book. The character's appearance is distinctive and iconic: a red, blue and yellow costume, complete with cape, like a circus costume, with a stylized "S" shield on his chest. This shield is now typically used across media to symbolize the character.
Here is an interesting video about the house where Superman was created so many years ago.
Monday, September 08, 2008
I was reading a blog last night about people that are different and I wanted to share what I read.
Ten years ago, Elder Jensen spent some time publicly explaining that good members of the Church can belong to a variety of political parties(Salt Lake Tribune: "GOP Dominance Troubles Church"). Elder Jensen is a Democrat, and he has become one of the examples in life that I would like to emulate. It seems to me (I thought as I listened to Elder Jensen's talk this morning) that somehow those who are of the Democrat persuasion, despite (or because of?) the fact that they often urge more governmental support for the poor and needy, have a more developed ability to see the importance of caring for and understanding those who are "different". Source
Salt Lake Tribune, May 3, 1998
GOP Dominance Troubles Church
It hurts Utah, says general authority, disavowing any perceived Republican-LDS Link
LDS Official Calls for More Political Diversity
The LDS Church, through a high-ranking leader, is making its strongest public statement to date about the need for political diversity among members, while expressing concerns the Republican Party is becoming the "church party."
Jensen said major national political parties may take stands that do not coincide with teachings of the 10 million-member Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but that should not put them out of bounds for members.
A former attorney and lifelong Democrat, Jensen was careful in his comments not to suggest an official LDS preference for any political party but to maintain the church's traditional stand of partisan neutrality.
The First Quorum of the Seventy is the third tier in LDS Church leadership after the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and the governing First Presidency.
Jensen for the past three years has been a member of the church's Public Affairs Committee. He was designated by church officials to respond to The Salt Lake Tribune's request for an interview on the topic of partisan imbalance in Utah and among LDS members.
The Tribune's inquiry came on the heels of two significant developments: Utah Democrats' unprecedented failure to field a candidate in a congressional race and a statement from the LDS First Presidency -- read over pulpits in January -- urging members to seek elective office.
In an hourlong interview at the church's worldwide headquarters in downtown Salt Lake City arranged and overseen by LDS media-relations director Mike Otterson, Jensen discussed leaders' views about the seeming demise of two-party politics among members. Among the concerns he aired:
-- The LDS Church's reputation as a one-party monolith is damaging in the long run because of the seesaw fortunes of the national political parties.
-- The overwhelming Republican bent of LDS members in Utah and the Intermountain West undermines the checks-and-balances principle of democratic government.
-- Any notion that it is impossible to be a Democrat and a good Mormon is wrongheaded and should be "obliterated."
-- Faithful LDS members have a moral obligation to actively participate in politics and civic affairs, a duty many have neglected.
"I am in shock," Utah Democratic Party Chairwoman Meghan Zanolli Holbrook said when told of Jensen's comments. "I have never heard anything like this in the years I've been here."
"That's an earthshaker," said Democrat Ted Wilson, head of the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics and a longtime critic of the close connection between the Mormon Church and Republican Party.
"Mormon Democrats have been praying for this," said Wilson, who is LDS. "This is more than seeking -- we have beseeched the divinity over this."
Utah Republican Chairman Rob Bishop's reaction was less enthusiastic. "Any time a major player in the social fabric of the state, like the church, says something, it will have an impact."
"We obviously will not change," Bishop added. "If Mormons feel comfortable we welcome them. And if non-Mormons feel comfortable, we welcome them, too."
Jensen, who was called as a general authority in 1989, said high church officials lament the near-extinction of the Democratic Party in Utah and the perception -- incorrect though it is -- that the GOP enjoys official sanction of the church.
All five Congress members from Utah are Mormon and Republican, four of the five statewide offices are held by GOP officials and two-thirds of the state Legislature is Republican. Nearly 90 percent of state lawmakers are LDS. Democrats last held a majority in the state House in 1975, and in the Senate in 1977.
President Clinton finished third in balloting in Utah in 1992, the only state in which the Democrat finished behind Republican George Bush and independent Ross Perot. Utahns last voted for a Democrat for president in 1964, when they supported Lyndon B. Johnson.
Public-opinion polls show voters identifying themselves as Republican outnumber Democrats by a ratio of about 2-1.
However, a statewide survey taken in April by Valley Research, The Tribune's independent pollster, found the state equally divided when asked if the question if Republicans had too much power. Forty-six percent of the 502 respondents answered yes, 45 percent did not believe the GOP held too much sway and nine percent were unsure.
"One of the things that prompted this discussion in the first place was the regret that's felt about the decline of the Democratic Party [in Utah] and the notion that may prevail in some areas that you can't be a good Mormon and a good Democrat at the same time," Jensen said.
"There have been some awfully good men and women who have been both and are both today. So I think it would be a very healthy thing for the church -- particularly the Utah church -- if that notion could be obliterated."
The idea that Mormonism and Democratic Party affiliation are incompatible traces back to the early 1970s, when LDS general authority Ezra Taft Benson, who later became church president, was quoted in an Associated Press interview as saying it would be difficult for a faithful member to be a liberal Democrat.
Church officials later claimed the comment was taken out of context, although the AP stood by its account.
Jensen said concerns exist on two levels about the unofficial linkage of the Republican Party and Mormon Church.
One is the fear that by being closely identified with one political party, the church's national reputation and influence is subject to the roller-coaster turns and dips of that partisan organization. Also bothersome is that the uncontested dominance of the Republican Party in Utah deprives residents of the debate and competition of ideas that underlie good government.
"There is a feeling that even nationally as a church, it's not in our best interest to be known as a one-party church," Jensen said. "The national fortunes of the parties ebb and flow. Whereas the Republicans may clearly have the upper hand today, in another 10 years they may not."
Closer to home, he pointed to the Democrats' precarious toehold in Utah -- a circumstance highlighted by the dearth of minority-party officeholders and the current one-sided election in the 3rd Congressional District.
Republican Rep. Chris Cannon in 1996 defeated Bill Orton, a conservative Democrat and Mormon who had been the lone member of the minority party in Utah's delegation. This year, Cannon is seeking a second term without any challenge from a Democrat -- a first in Utah history.
(In 1982, Democrat Henry Huish missed the filing deadline and had to run as an independent. Still, he had the backing of the Democratic Party.)
"The Democratic Party has in the last 20 years waned to the point where it really is almost not a factor in our political life," Jensen said. "There is a feeling that that is not healthy at all -- that as a state we suffer in different ways. But certainly any time you don't have the dialogue and the give-and-take that the democratic process provides, you're going to be poorer for it in the long run."
There also are more immediate, tangible costs, he said.
Jensen blamed the Republican monopoly for contributing to Utah political leaders' inability or unwillingness to grapple with long-range planning issues. He pointed to the lack of state leadership on issues of open-space preservation and land-use planning.
He also pointed to the massive, catch-up highway-building binge that has disrupted Salt Lake County commuters and businesses. "One might say that the transportation crisis that we're in might have been averted had there been better balance in the parties and something was thrashed out 10 years ago, perhaps during Gov. Bangerter's time, rather than being allowed to wait until we reached a crisis situation.
"There are probably issues like that environmentally, educationally that we'd really benefit from if there were a more robust dialogue going on. But we've lacked that and I think we've suffered somewhat because of it."
Jensen's comments are bound to cause ripples among the 70 percent of Utahns who are counted as members of the LDS Church, as well as millions of faithful throughout the country, say political observers.
"This is the second dramatic time in the history of the state when forceful signals have been flashed from church headquarters calling on Mormons to choose up political sides more evenly," said J.D. Williams, retired University of Utah political scientist.
Williams compared Jensen's public pronouncements to the church's attempts in the 1890s to divide congregations up evenly among the two major political parties.
"Thus, wonder of wonders, theocracy was the mother of democracy in the territory of Utah," Williams said. "We achieved statehood five years later."
Jensen also referred to the 19th-century splitting of congregations along partisan lines, when the territorial People's and Liberal parties were abandoned in favor of national party affiliations.
He repeated an anecdote told by prominent LDS Democrat Oscar McConkie about his father's recollections of a church leader telling a congregation during a Sunday morning meeting to "sign up to be Republicans."
At that time, Mormons favored the Democratic Party because it was less stridently anti-polygamy than were Republicans.
When members of the flock returned for an afternoon session, the Republican sign-up sheet remained blank, Jensen said. "Brothers and sisters, you have misunderstood," said the church leader. "God needs Republicans."
"And Oscar said his father would wink and say, `And you know, Oscar, those damned Republicans think they've had God on their side ever since,' " Jensen said.
"I don't know if you can make any use of that but it's a great story. And there's a little of that embedded in our culture, unfortunately," he said.
Elbert Peck, editor of Sunstone magazine, said it is noteworthy that it is not LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley or one of his counselors breaking the church's silence on political imbalance.
"It is not as official as if it was an apostle or a member of the First Presidency saying it," Peck said. "Still, the quotes are out there and people will use them. You can bet they'll be remembered and taken as a sign."
Peck, whose Salt Lake City-based independent journal publishes articles on historical and contemporary Mormonism, predicts similar comments will be made in other settings -- church firesides and the like, because messages sent by LDS general authorities are repeated.
"Privately, I've heard reports of these opinions, but not publicly," Peck said. "The church leaders have been careful about saying anything publicly."
The tremendous growth of the Mormon Church worldwide has forced attention to its image as a good, trustworthy neighbor in the communities, states and countries where it is taking root, he said.
"We need to develop a tolerance -- so we don't demonize people that we have a disagreement with," Peck said. "It really was the church leaders' position on abortion and the Equal Rights Amendment [in the 1970s] that was the death of the Utah Democratic Party, because it became a litmus test," he said.
Jensen said it is time for LDS members to take a broader view of political affiliation.
"We would probably hope that they wouldn't abandon a party necessarily because it has a philosophy or two that may not square with Mormonism. Because, as I say, [parties] in their philosophies ebb and flow," Jensen said.
"You know, the Republicans came very close last time to bringing a pro-abortion plank into their platform. That was maybe the biggest battle of their [1996 national] convention," he said. "Which shows that if you're a pure ideologue, eventually you're going to have trouble in either party."
"Everyone who is a good Latter-day Saint is going to have to pick and choose a little bit regardless of the party that they're in and that may be required a lot more in the future than it has been in the past. But I think there's room for that and the gospel leaves us lots of latitude."
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Friday, September 05, 2008
Team dumps logo near buttocks after 70-0 loss1 hour agoBOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho Vandals football team is dumping the letter "I" from the buttocks region of players' new pants following a season-opening 70-0 loss to the Arizona Wildcats.Rob Spears, the school's athletic director, says nobody realized just how the logo placed in the center of the players' behinds would look before they tried their pants on.Spears told the Idaho Statesman the sewn-in University of Idaho logo has since been hastily removed by equipment managers after complaints.Spears says there was a miscommunication with equipment supplier Nike over the placement of the logo."I was disappointed with the look and the appearance," Spears says. "It's changed."As a result, the Vandal pants will be logo-less when the team's players suit up for their game this Saturday with Idaho State University.Information from: Idaho Statesman, http://www.idahostatesman.com
Here are some more stories about it: