Thursday, November 19, 2009

You may use my photos within the bounds of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License I've selected for said photo, but I ask explicitly that you provide credit. "Photo by Rojer" should be listed in some fashion on the page that displays the picture. That includes a mouse-over tag, credit immediately below the picture, or the previous quoted text in a footer. Proper credit need not interfere with your page's or publication's design. Thank you.




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Monday, October 5, 2009

On the move to nowhere.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Just Curious

Google crawls and tracks nearly everything from every user to every click and every social link. They probably know yours friends connectivity three, six, perhaps a dozen times deep. That's the fiends of friends of friends of friends of friends of friends of friends of friends of friends of friends of friends of your friend. Perhaps. They know what you buy online, what you search for, click on, linger on, how you got there and maybe more. Facebook collects some personal information and lots of public information. The sell the use of API's for advertisers can track you with the use of resistant cookies, super cookies, fingerprints (MAC & IP addresses), and who knows what else. They also know the same info about your friends, and the links you may not even know about. The Google API's mashed up with Facebook's, Twitter's, flickr's, etc., etc., etc. can match user names, groups, affiliations, with individual activity. It just takes the time and effort along with sufficient skills and motivation.

Google once proclaimed on their public blog that they were proud to have hired to top-level programmers away from the CIA. Really? There was a rumor that the CIA had an office on the same campus as the Google complex, and even shared a wall. Probably not true, but that was the rumor that I had heard in three different web sites at the time. Hard to believe. Even scary to think it could be true.

Is it possible that could could publicly fight tooth & nail against disclosing any personal data without a wiretap warrant and at the same time, perhaps unwittingly (denial is a powerful adversary), be providing detailed personal data to a government agency? Maybe the CIA is just a platinum class member of advertisers, who may have storefront websites set-up as a rouse. They can buy all the API's they want from the search engines and social websites or create their own API's to collect data with social engineering, advertising and super-persistent cookies. They may be able to garner information on perhaps 90% of all web users, with semi-publicly available computer codes and databases.

Just what is the worst case scenario possible today or next year? Assuming someone pulled all the resources available from the top five of each of the most populace social websites (via advertiser's tools) together, with advertisers access to Google data, and performed a remarkably efficient mash-up of scripted API's and created their own coherent database of records for individuals with links to all of their associations. How much information can they cull for each individual? What could they tell me about me? How scary is that?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Matt Cutts might not like what I have to say.

I apologize in advance for the disjointedness of the following rant. I attempted to make two comments to Matt Cutts blog about "Studying a Study". The last that I saw was that my comments were waiting for "moderation." I cleaned up the spelling after the fact, but below are the two comments that I ranted about. He may feel they were a bit off topic or too revealing, or what ever. Don't know, yet anyway.

From an article I read in a personal blog of a Google employee, he raises the concern that a survey didn’t fully disclose the principle involvements of the survey presenter.
(From: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/studying-a-study/#comment-398801 )

The information regarding the survey:
This morning I saw an article in the New York Times with the headline Two-Thirds of Americans Object to Online Tracking:
ABOUT two-thirds of Americans object to online tracking by advertisers — and that number rises once they learn the different ways marketers are following their online movements, according to a new survey from professors at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Berkeley.
And the objection:
Studying a study
September 30, 2009
in Google/SEO

…”Most people know that the choice of questions in an study can make a huge difference to the outcome. To fully inform the people who read the study, do I wish Chris Jay Hoofnagle had mentioned his connection to EPIC in the paper’s bio section? Yeah, I kinda do.”

My submission of a comment (corrected for spelling now):

I don’t believe a well worded question requires the disclosure of who is asking it. Given that the current state of law is lagging so very far behind the technological advances, and the penchant for the government, businesses, and criminals to manipulate and misuse data, and completely disregard the fundamental constitutional right to privacy, it is abhorrent that Google, advertisers, social websites and others use extremely covert tactics to sell or provide the means to discover every shred of activity a specific user is involved with. IF, and only if, all this techno-voyeurism was benevolent, perhaps it wouldn’t matter so much. But we are on the verge of total information awareness of all activity by everybody except ourselves. And so, when Joe Agent says to Ad Agent, I would like to have all you got on Qpublic, we have them under investigation, the government has access to more information than they can understand, and so minimum wage Charlie says, I think we found a person of interest, lets start an assessment. My RIGHT to privacy has been usurped in the name of profitability. All of this, just because I allowed FarmLand to connect to my FaceBook. I didn’t need or want all those advertisers know that I also have a Flickr account, a boss with a foreign name, an old classmate that has gone ex-patriot, and a relative that likes pot-related music. We are demanding transparency from our governments, our social networks, and the businesses that are exploiting our habits. Answer the question on the face of it. Do you like mustard – yes or no? Who cares if I am the sole French’s mustard heir? The question would stands well on its own. (Sorry for the passionate ramble). I do not like all these API’s being used to uncover my every web encounter. For any reason. Period. It’s the same answer to anyone asking this question.

Did I go way off topic? I don’t think so. Matt’s objection was one regarding full disclosure. Yet he fails to mention that the average Joe, doesn’t know a darn thing about API’s. My understanding, which could be flawed, is that these can be hooks in to gaining access to the collected data of some host. Google collects and saves for posterity a plethora upon a plethora of data, from nearly every web page on every web site it can get its crawlers on. These sites may also collect a plethora of data on those who access their pages. What is this information and what is it used for and who gets to see it, sell it, measure it, and store it? What about laws protecting any of it? It will not be in the year 2525AD that everything you think, say, and do will be in the bills that are sent to you. Loosely speaking of course.


02/10/2009
Regarding the full disclosure of whom is asking the question and why, I believe a well worded question doesn't need such transparency. I don't care if CATO, EFF, EPIC, NSA, CIA, FBI, or Google asks if I object to online tracking. As it stands today, in general, yes, I object. The API's that provide this functionality are easily abused. The average Joe User simply doesn't have any clue as to how deeply these API's track data. They can effect data collection off family, friends and others with-out their knowledge that they have been assessed by these creepy crawlers. If Matt wants transparency, why didn't he mention that Google has publicly posted that they had hired top-level programmers who had previously been employed by the CIA? Does Matt know he works with these folks? Does anybody know if any former CIA agent every really quit the CIA? Yes, I agree that transparency and accountability are desirable, but it should be across the board, in every direction. We should all know who is doing what with whom. Total Information Awareness for everyone, about everything. Let's start with all of the various US government entities. Then work our way in to all the search engine companies and tele-communication entities; then let's open up the advertisers and their databases. Once everybody knows everything about everybody else, then we can have our customized content and advertisements too.

I did all of the above in haste, and haste makes waste. But that never stopped me before. Occasionally, I am a bit eccentric, just for the fun of it. I hope Matt Cutts considers posting my comments or sending me a thanks, but no thanks note.

Person of Intrest?

I am not sure. I don't know for a fact. However, it appears that I may have inadvertently become a person of interest in an ongoing investigation regarding WMD. OK, maybe I am being a bit Chicken Little here, but I got visited this morning by some agency, not the local police force mind you, but somebody with big badges. I couldn't see which agency was on the ornate badges, they didn't offer their department name association, like "I'm agent Joe Friday, FBI, I carry a badge." or anything, and I was bit nervous about asking for a business card. I should have followed them to the street when they left, to see if their car gave it away. But I had other things to attend to.

"We're looking for Rojer." he said. "I am." I replied. "Do you drive a white Volkswagon?", "Yes." "Is it here?" "Yes." "Were you at Smart & Final this morning?" "No, I was yesturday." "Did you by Hydrogen Per Oxide, bleach and drain cleaner?" "I did." "Do you still have it?" "I do, it's still in the trunk of my car." "What's this about, drugs or bombs?" I asked. "Bombs, you know the guy who did the Oklahma City bombings used Hydrogen Per Oxide?" he replied. "He had fertalizer" I responded. "What are you using it for?" he asked.

I explained that I have a very long sewer line out to the street and that I have somekind of major clog that I thought was between the sinks and the street and that this was a cheaper way to clear such a long sewer line. They asked to see what I had left. I stepped inside to hit the garage door button, he was looking in to see how much he could gander upon. I opened the garage and let him see the few bottles left. Closed the door and they left. I went back in the house.

I saw on the news about the dude who was arrested for WMD's and thought to myself - they think I'm doing the same type of thing? All I want is a cleared sewer line, all 300 feet or so.

The lessons I could learn from this? Don't shop Smart & Final for bulk drain cleaner, Clorox, and Hydrogen per Oxide in the same trip. Ask for the officers' business cards. Watch the news more.

So, I know that I have an FBI file. I was in the military, worked in communications, was overseas. Now, I am curious what has been amended to that file that got the authorities at my doorstep less than 18 hours after my otherwise innocent purchase? I guess that's the power of the news media. Or perhaps Smart & Final is under somekind of mandate or guidlines to report such purchases. What will be in my file on Monday?

The scarry part is that they may choose to make me a target of one of their "assessments." See: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/09/prompted-eff-lawsuit-fbi-partially-releases-domest the third paragrah. And who knows what erroneous conclusions they might choose to drum up? After all, I am blogging about it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Letter From Beth?

Aside from possibly being sappy and old, what do the following songs have in common?

Linda Ronstadt – Winter Light
Jackson Browne – Doctor My Eyes
Carole King – (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman
Seals & Crofts – Summer Breeze (Album Version)
Firefall – You Are the Woman
Emmylou Harris – May This Be Love
Emmylou Harris – Goodbye
Faith Hill – Breathe
Orleans – Dance With Me
Carly Simon – When You Close Your Eyes
Judy Collins – Song For Sarajevo
Firefall – Just Remember I Love You
Jennifer Warnes – Coming Back to You
k.d. lang – Get Some
Nanci Griffith – Late Night Grande Hotel
Melissa Manchester – My Christmas Song For You
Crystal Gayle – Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue
Nicolette Larson – Lotta Love (LP Version)
Maria Muldaur – Three Dollar Bill
Alison Krauss – Down To The River To Pray
Jackson Browne – Ready Or Not

That is a partial song list from my Last.FM stream last night. I say partial, because somehow a few of songs got accidentally truncated while listening, and Last.FM won't keep a record of it up until the 10 seconds left mark. So I think there were three or four songs that got left off of the list. And there isn't any way I'll ever remember them. It seemed as if Beth had setup this play list just for me (for the most part). Some of these song, I would have never sought out to listen to on my own. Some of these songs are from artist Beth new I really enjoyed. A funny thing about this list, is that the artist's "Radio Station" that I requested was for Linda Ronstadt. But there was only one of her songs in the sequence. Beth was a bit jealous of my fondness for Linda's voice. I used to tease Beth about her singing ability, as she never seemed to demonstrate the expertise that she claimed to have. I, on the other hand, only pretend to sing. I enjoy pretending to sing. I know I don't have a very good voice and even less control of it, most of the time. I don't mind, I "sing" anyway.

Anyway, I think Beth had something to do with me hearing these songs. It seems there was a message here, or at least, it did last night. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. (I'd post the lyrics, but that would be violating some stupid copyright laws).

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Open Challenge for Real-3D or Developers.

I would really like to see two iTunes Visualizer Plug-ins. Big deal, you may say. But here is the scenario pitch....

I am running Apple iTunes 8.2.1 (6) on OS-X 10.5.7 on a Mac-Mini, 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo w/4GB 1067MHz DDR3 RAM. I am listening to All Chilled @ 181.FM Radio. I am watching the iTunes Visualizer.

What's wrong with this picture?

I am missing an updated version of Real-3D for LCD or HD technologies.

I am trying to imagine the screen-saver's particle elements coming out of the screen in a fashion not unlike that experienced in "Monsters versus Aliens". software providing a full visual-field maximizing an optimized parallax. Maybe using an available webcam to auto-align maximum concise parallax. Projected both inwardly and outwardly as far as would seem most effective in a computationally, simple and quick fashion. That would be a blast.

Moreover, if I could also watch the music as interpreted in a new version, a Real-3D version, of a Lissijous* (x-y)z + (x+y)r or some exotic algorithm that offers a real-time 3-D spacial field.

I can only imagine myself sitting back and relaxing to the soothing sound & vision this advancement will be making soon.

Are YOU programer enough to make it happen for the release of Snow Leopard?

I was thinking that it may be possible to simulate the polarizing shutter system of Real 3D.
My guess is that if you processed the data in the same way as the primary film data is processed, then added two opaque masks, a mesh of rectangles aligned to the polarization of each of the two Real-3D lenses. And the masks would traverse the same path visually maintaining alignment for each lens. If the two masks open up the full video brilliance (mimicking the visual cues produced from the reflection of light off of the viewing-screen in a full Real-3D set-up) fast enough to not be uniquely perceived by the average human observer, then one should be able to replicate the full Real-3D experience in the home and w/o the need for special hardware, other than the requisite Real-3D Glasses.


* sic

Beth's Memorial

Beth passed away about 7PM, Wednesday, July 15th.

I am told that she was asleep or unconscious at the time.
Unofficially, she died of heat stroke and possibly dehydration.

However, the root cause of her death was a symptom of her untreated alcoholism.
I guess, she ran out of energy to stay sober.
She was found behind a shopping center where she had been staying for quite sometime with others of the homeless community.
I am told she had been drinking heavily earlier that day and had passed out, never to awaken again.

However, Beth has been liberated.
Liberated from the tragic symptoms - of the horrendous disease of alcoholism.
Liberated from behaviors that the disease imposes upon the inflicted.
Liberated from consequences of those behaviors.
Liberated from any responsibilities she may have had.
Indeed, she has been set free.
She has been returned to our Creator.

Let me apologize right now in advance.
I hope not to sound irreverent, trite, or crass, but I am going to use lyrics of songs we liked and listened to.

Music played an important role in Beth's life and mine too.
Sometimes we have a tendency to adopt lyrics as being our own stories or place them in high regards within our own philosophies.
We romanticize our views with those of the singer or song writer.

One song Beth had adopted for herself, "By Your Side", by Sade on her Lovers Rock album, seemed to exemplify what Beth felt she should be for me.
And expected me to be for her.

SEE Lyrics: "By Your Side", Sade - Lovers Rock

"You Think I'd Leave Your Side Baby?
You Know Me Better Than That
You Think I'd Leave Down When Your Down On Your Knees?
I Wouldn't Do That

I'll Do You Right When Your Wrong
I-----Ohhh, Ohhh

If Only You Could See Into Me

Oh, When Your Cold
I'll Be There To Hold You Tight To Me
When Your On The Outside Baby And You Can't Get In
I Will Show You, Your So Much Better Than You Know
When Your Lost, When Your Alone And You Can't Get Back Again
I Will Find You Darling I'll Bring You Home

If You Want To Cry
I Am Here To Dry Your Eyes
And In No Time You'll Be Fine"

However, as Eric Clapton sings in "Promises":

SEE Lyrics: "Promises",  Eric Clapton

"I got a problem
Can you relate?
I got a woman
Callin' love hate.
We made a vow
we'd always be friends.
How could we know that promises end."
As you may already know, Beth had little regard towards rules and even less respect for being told what to do.
She wanted to do things her way, by herself, when she wanted to.
It comes as no surprise that she reveled in Frank Sinatra's "My Way."
I think, Ana McGarrigle penned more appropriate lyrics that Linda Ronsdat sings:

SEE Lyrics: "You Tell Me That I'm Falling Down", Linda Ronstadt

"You tell me that I'm falling down
A drifter with no role
You tell me that I need a friend
To help me take control

Well let it be I'm not alone
I'm only lonely see
And you can't tell me where to go
Or what or who to be

I am exactly what I am
And not the way you'd like to see me be
I look outside long as I can
Then I close my eyes and watch my world unfold before me
"

About 3 years ago, Beth and I went to see a simul-cast of David Gilmour, the main voice of Pink Floyd.
One particular song struck a resonating chord with Beth.
She heard the song as if sung from her own perspective towards me.
It's about a couple in the midst of some disagreement.
Whilst one has fallen asleep, the other slips out for some time alone, in hopes of returning to a smile.
Recognizing that they are wasting days and days on the fight, the singer goes on to say:

SEE Lyrics: "Smile", David Gilmour - On An Island

"All alone
Though you're right here
Now it's time to go
From your sad stare

Make my getaway
Time on my own
Needing a better way
To find my way home
To your smile "

Over a year ago, I ran out of smiles.
I made difficult decisions.
I had to protect my daughter and myself from the insane behavior that alcoholism drove Beth in to doing.
They were merely symptoms of a disease that took control of Beth.
Beth wanted us all to hear David Gilmour's song.

Just as she romanticized the song, I tried to do so with the accompanying slideshow.

Here it is - SMILE
Play Smile

Alcoholism is genetic.
It is inherited from parents and passed down to children and grandchildren.
It is a family disease.
One of the symptoms is odd behavior.
Illogical, unusual, unthinkable behavior.
And the disease spills all over other family members.
And so too, the symptoms of crazy behavior begin pouring out from those who love an alcoholic.
We can't help it.
We don't know any better.
Many behaviors that are normal and common, or even expected in a normal relationship, get twisted, engorged, and unhealthy when dealing with an active alcoholic.
Early on in this type of a relationship, we may get stuck in the steps of grieving.
We unwittingly contribute to the care and feeding of the Monster of Alcoholism.
We often make bad situations worse.

Beth frequently pointed that out to me. She claimed I was sick.
She said she met a fellow in one of her rehab. aftercare A.A. meetings that said that I needed help.
That I needed Al-anon.
Naturally, I resisted that suggestion.
It's all her fault, her problem, her disease, not mine.
But Resistance is Futile.
Eventually, to help me cope with the spillage, the effects of of alcoholism on my life, I began going to Al-anon.
And that fellow who claimed I was sick became my sponsor.
I have asked him to say a few words.
Please welcome, David.
David speaks....
I'd like to thank you David and your wife, Beth, as well - Thanks

At this time, I would like us to share our happier memories, funny stories, or personal moments that we were luck enough to have experienced by having Beth in our lives.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Toys For Spooks

Just imagine what toys the spooks must have. Those are the minions of the shadow government and I'm not speaking about the 4chan clan. I'm talking about the folks with the endless budget, beyond just the CIA, NSA, and the FBI.

What made me think of this is Shazam! That is the nifty little application and service available to any smart phone user. Shazam can listen to a snippet of a song and tell you the Artist, Album and title of the track, then show you if it is on the iTunes Music Store.

What does this have to do with the spooks? Think about it. We, the public, know that the FBI has the 10+GB/sec. data analyzing servers connected to the backbone of the various communication channels, Internet, land line phones, cell towers, satellites, 911 tapes, and police microphones. Shazam compares about 10 seconds of a song to all the songs in the Gracenotes database. Any 10 seconds. And in under a minute can identify the what, who, and when of the song and link one to a store for it's purchase and subsequent download.

I would be willing to bet that the spooks can do the same thing with you or I at any time. It will be much sooner than the year 2525AD before we are billed for everything we think, say and do. It will be in the bill they send to you. Well, taken directly from your bank account most likely. Zager and Evans had the idea right, they just could not have imagined how quickly we would be so close to the technological capabilities we would have become so soon. We may not need to rescue HAL9000 from the peril of Jupiter's atmosphere or have flying cars, but we do have people listening to and reading all our conversations. Too bad they can't mind their own business.

Think about it - or - not.

Monday, April 27, 2009

ClassMates W/O Faces

GRRRR. What is it with people? I am not pleased with ClassMates dot Com anyway, but most of the people from my six or so schools won't post any pictures. OK - I can see not posting a "Now" picture, but for-crying-out-LOUD! - at least post a "Then" picture. It is tough enough just trying to remember the names or the faces that match them from 30~ years ago.

Give me a break, give me a clue. Yes, I know I wasn't the popular kid, but odds are, if your not posting a picture, neither were you.

Anyway - if your not going to identify yourselves, why be on ClassMates website anyway?

Oh well - just another thing I've no control over.

L8r

Mixed Blessings

Just a quick comment about converting older 8MM Hi-8 video tape in to computer files.

Why does it have to take so loooong? I mean - hours upon hours of the baby sleeping, the wedding reception that was on the hottest day of the year (over 100 degrees anyway), and a bunch of other things actually bogus. WHAT WAS I THINKING?

Not to say that there wasn't a precious moment here and there, but you won't see any of this stuff on Funnest Home Video's.

13 tapes, thankfully not all filled full. But unfortunately, a few moments were taped over or mysteriously deleted. Reminds me of an episode from Home Improvements.

But I am nearly finished and I found what seems to be the best tape of the entire bunch. This tape has the day we brought my daughter home. Small amount of sleeping, me doing some feeding, mom doing a diaper change, Kitaro playing in the background. What a gem.

The ADS PYRO A/V Link has given me two issues this whole time. The picture is significantly dimmer, darker, flatter than what I see on the Sharp VL-H860 ViewCam's bright and crisp LCD display. And the lock slips in and out, some times the screen on the computer just pauses while the tape keeps slipping along. But considering so much of it is less then dribble, I don't think I lost much in the translation.

I am not looking forward to the next task. Somehow, I have to figure out how to make some of this stuff watchable. Fortunately, I have iMovie to help with this daunting task. The end product such give us a full 15 minutes of infamy among all who dare to watch (once I get something on disk, that is).

Wish me luck, I'll need all I can get.

TT4N!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ain't Godda, Anymore

Are you one of those folks who try to correct someone when they use the word, "ain't?" Stop. Give it up. Let it go. Get over it. "Ain't" has tenure.

I've been around long enough to see thousands of new words added to the dictionary, and hundreds more dropped. I've seen the brand name Aspirin turned in to the generic term aspirin, such that if you look at the ingredients of an aspirin bottle, it says it contains aspirin, not acetylsalicylic acid. The brand name Google is now also used as a verb* (I'm going to google his name to see who he is). The English language is not dead, it is living, expanding, ever-changing. We no longer need to appease our grandparents. Ain't is de facto common American-English. Get over it.

Any argument against the usage of the word ain't is superfelous. The dogma that one is somehow less of a person for using it is insane. Unless one is using Microsoft Office, if one keeps doing the exact same thing over and over expecting different results, one is employing insane behavior. How many folks have been saying - how many time have you been saying - over the years "Ain't isn't proper English." Well neither is answering, "Who is it?" with, "It's me!", the rules would suggest saying, "It is I." I'd bet you've never said that in your life.

If you use the word ain't occasionally, don't feel guilty. If someone has the audacity to correct you, tell them to "Get over it - ain't has tenure." If their educated enough to figure that one out - they'll understand, and if not - oh well.

In my lifetime, I think the USA may have gone from the first or second in leading scores for math and science in K-12 to probably the dead last, even behind most third-world countries. Unless these teachers go to Dubai or China to teach English, I doubt they would find higher pay, or an apropriate audience anywhere else in the world for their less-than-pragmatisic views. Let's worry less about one using the word ain't and more about arthmatic, science, and telling time (on both analog and digital clocks). There certainly is more to fix in one's own life then to try to fix another's vocabulary.

You ain't got to tell anyone not to use ain't, anymore. You have my permission.

*see reference: http://dictionary.reference.com/dic?q=google&search=search

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Facebook vs flickr

Today, I tried an experiment. I created a new group on flickr.com called Rojer Rojer Rojer.
The other day I had noticed that there are nearly 400 FaceBook users who use the spelling of R•o•j•e•r. Looking through the listing, I noticed that they are a diverse group. So I figured it might be a neat mash-up if the FaceBook Rojers shared their photos and culture on Flickr.

Alas, not an easy task to promote the idea. FaceBook, and with good reason, poped up a warning to me that my efforts violated the terms of usage agreement, as I had tried to send the same message to a few of those folks. The warning stated that I may be engaging in abusive or offensive behavior, and was told that my behavior was anoying. It isn't the first time I had heard this, but this was an algorythm telling me so. Now, that is a first for me. Anyway, I understand. It is an unsolicited message, which is half-way to SPAM, which I understand to be unsolicited bulk messages.

So how do I promote or attract these other Rojers? I guess I'll just have to wait and see if anybody joins. However, in the meantime, I will post the message here, just so it might get picked-up by the spiders at Google and CUIL.

Hello.

I am Rojer, an admin for a photo-sharing group called Rojer Rojer Rojer at http://www.flickr.com/groups/imrojer/ .

Flickr is a service of Yahoo! You can have a free flickr account which allows you to share up to 200 photos for free, and you control the tags and copy-write, who gets to see, print, annotate, or comment on your pictures and even whether your pictures are searchable.

I am inviting you to join this public group simply because part of your name is "Rojer" and you are unique. The group is intended for sharing photos representing you, your family and friends, but most of all, your culture, style and talents.

I hope this message finds you well and if you are not interested - just delete and forget about. Otherwise, take a look at the group's or my photos and decide if you are willing to join and share.

I hope to see and hear from you soon.

Thanks.
Rojer
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rojer/
Going to the group link from above takes you to the group's main page with the following description:

About Rojer Rojer Rojer

This group is for you if your first name (forename), your last name (surname), or any of your middle names is Rojer, regardless if you got it at birth, by marriage, by adoption, or changed it to this spelling.

This group is not for you if you are a "Rodger," a "Roger," or a Rajah, et cetera. I will remove you, not because you are not worthy or I don't like you, but because the first rule of this group is the spelling of your name. No offense intended.

I'd like to see photos of you, your family and friends, but mostly - your culture. Show off your ethnicity. Share the parties, food, music, style and your unique contributions to the world. Links are welcome.

This is a public group - I don't think I want to make it by invitation only, yet. As such - please post only family friendly photos and language. However, feel free to refer to moderate content or the occasional restricted content, but make sure you make it clear, that is the type of information you are referring to, we thank you for this in advance.

There are nearly 400 Rojers in Facebook, I haven't checked MySpace, but there is a growing number here on flickr as well. If you know of another Rojer, invite them, encourage them to become Flickr members and start the sharing.


So, on with the show, even if nobody's watching.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sweet Dreams

I just had to compare:


And:


With the original:



I have to say, that Marilyn Manson is entertaining in the most perverse way - I had to laugh through most of the song. That's some funny - if not truly weird - stuff.

I haven't found a full version of Britney Spears' cover, but she seems to be quite the soft-porn-star, from what I can tell. Not that that is a bad thing, mind you. But.

The Eurythmics made a classic tune that should hang out in various forms for years and years to come. Thank you Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart.

Then I got to wondering - how many others did a cover. A quick look at Apple's iTunes Music Store showed nearly a dozen different covers of the Eurythmics' tune. Turns out that Sweet Dreams is a popular title to use and the Eurythmics' sub title (Are Made Of This) isn't always used by the bands doing the covers.

I found the artist in iTunes Music Store include:
Automatic (a trance - house version)
Axxis
Badi Assad, et. al.
Bebel Gilberto (a Brazilian-like style)
Countdown (a copycat version, in the K-Tel style)
ibiza Dance Party (can you say RAVE)
Krystal Meyers (another copycat. Any relation to Brystal Meyers?)
Marilynn Manson (Drama Metal, Theatrical Metal, Dusty Corners of Hell-Metal)
Mika
Overdub & Sophia (a few other techno, trance, rave versions)
Señor Coconut (A totaly different Brazilian?-like version, kind of cool)
Térez Montcalm (a sexier version)
and finally,
Wykked Wytch (a cover of Marilynn Manson's cover, only a more over-the-top, scream like a puking banshee version).

I am sure I could easily find a dozen more on e-music.com or elsewhere. Sufice it to say, it is a song worthy of imitation, modification and even obfuscation by a diverse group of talented (and not so talented) musicians.

I think I'll go back and give the two South American-style covers a serious listen. Señor Coconut (the name says enough) and Bebel Gilberto each had an interesting take on their cuts.

I may revisit Cover Tunes in subsequent posts. Hmm.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Of Gay Marriage, Didn't Jesus Say...

If I remember correctly, Jesus said, "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's."
I think I believe it is Caesar's duty, our government's mandate, to provide equal security for all it's citizens, equal education for all its citizens, and to facilitate good business practices.

Perhaps it might behoove the "Anti-Gay Marriage" folks to be good dogmatists and practice minding their own business.

Let Caesar take care of its citizens in a fair and equal manor without freaking-out over semantics. No religious sect owns the word "marriage." The state issues the "marriage license" and should do so equally to its citizens. The only change made to that process might be perhaps to call it a "civil-union license" or similar phrase. But that is a superfluous argument at best.

I believe Jesus also said of God's blessings, "the greatest of these is love" and I don't think he said who gets to decide who got God's good blessings and who got God's bad blessings. We are under a new contract and the old law is completed - finished. We are supposed to judge ourselves, not others. That's God's job. And God is Love. Let Love rule. Let Caesar do his sworn duty, to protect all his citizens - equally.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The New Great Depression of 2010

As we usher in a new era of unbelievable recession, let us not think that it will get better any time soon. Like the Great Empire of Rome, I think we are about to get burned. The fat, dumb and happy has grown too large, while the over-achievers have gotten quite easily too greedy.

It seems that economically, monetarily, emotionally, educationally and spiritually speaking, we are a nation, if not a world - out of balance.

It seems to me is that what we have here is a failure to govern intelligently. The ENTIRE system is broken and needs to be refurbished. Democrats - Republicans, what ever! They are both failures. We need a better balance of decision making. Perhaps we need a three to five party system - with honest, intelligent folks instead of self-righteous, self-serving bureaucrats. There aren't any quick, easy solutions, but we have to insist that our entire set of governments get their priorities straight. Let's start with Maslow's Hierarchy of needs, modify it for local, state, and federal issues, where personal security takes precedence over national security, where educating the young takes precedence over empowering incarcerated criminals, and facilitating business to help local and national needs. We MUST enforce honest, global, generational-minded ethics and ensure that rewards/punishments fit the benefits/crimes.

We need to start thinking 7 generations ahead rather than seven minutes until our next pleasure. We need to fix the voting system and start voting and start enacting and enforcing our votes.

But then, maybe it's too late.

Monday, February 2, 2009

iPhoto '09 (v.8.0)

OK. No, better than OK.

Aside from a few caveats, the latest iPhoto from Apple has some fairly decent new features.

First: Faces. This is the initial implementation of face recognition software that helps to identify certain faces in one's photographs. It is far from perfect, but it is quite handy. There are a few tricks that seem to help, but more than a few shortcomings. This is an initial release of this feature, so be forgiving. It works best on straight on and straight up faces. It seems to have a hard time with heads cocked to one side and has an even harder time even noticing profile shots.

One thing I do find very frustrating, is that upon initial updating of an existing iPhoto Library, the face recognition begins building what looks like a list of pictures that it believes are pictures that have faces. At least, faces are displayed as the progress bar advances. However, when I clicked on "Faces" the corkboard had a default "How to begin" message instead of a listing of unknown faces. So then, one has to go to a photo that has a known face, either by going in to an Event and then on to a photo, or straight on in to the Photos listing. Pick a picture with a face, hope that it recognizes that there is a face or add the missing face selection to the person's face, and then identify the person.

Sounds cumbersome. It's not too bad, but it is less convenient then it will be in the next few updates, I hope. Anyway, once you ID a face, it seems quickest to let the program find what it thinks are matching faces and then confirm or deny them. You've got to keep doing this for as long as it takes to find as many faces as the software can find, by each new lesson. So you may have to do this a dozen times before iPhoto stops presenting you with new choices to evaluate.

Another thing I wish would be available is the index picture, which is the portion, the subset of the photo, which has the face. A photo could have any number of heads and faces in it, but when confirming a "Face", iPhoto presents just one of the faces it believes it sees. It zooms in to this face and presents it in a standard size at the best resolution it can muster-up.

Second: Places. This is an attempt at popularizing geo-tagging. Something that flickr has been doing for some time now. This implementation has a ways to go as well. However, it could be my first generation Mac-mini is feelings its oats drop with a thud, but it seems like a slow process.

I believe that many of my pictures have geo-data in their EXIF data file. I have an Eye•Fi card that I use in one of my cameras. When the library was updated, those pictures did not automatically show up on the iPhoto map. I have only done a small number of map placements so far, and they were to photos of our recent vacation. Many of these photos do not have geo-tags or necessarily correct info if they do. It's the nature of the Eye•Fi card in these instances. So I will reserve judgment on the functionality of the Places feature until I know more about it.

Third: Adjustments. Apple changed the way the photo editor window looks. Not a very big change, just a little better organization. However, change is change and I will need to get my hands dirty on this modification before I make further comment on it.

Most of my recent hours in iPhoto has been time spent in updating each of my various iPhoto '08 libraries and teaching each and everyone, the names of my family members and then pointing out who and where the are. Oh, this brings me back to one other oddity. When one has to add a face for recognition to the photo, the selection tool is a rectangle whose size and proportions varies on center. The handles work on axis from the center of the rectangle. Seems kind of clumsy if you were to ask me. I would suggest that the selection would be an oval with one handle for rotation (or orientation, if that makes more sense to say) and another or two for size and shape - o - 0 - O. That seems more face like and would allow you to cover an individual with a head cocked to one side.

I think the selection tool is a rectangle because it only uses the eyes-nose-mouth area for its calculations. But then, maybe the tool should have been a triangle. Anyway, it works as well as it works. The software misses what seems to be about 60% of all the faces available from all pictures, and all heads turned away (which makes sense). Hopefully, as they add profile algorithms to the software updates, this gap will diminish.

Overall, I am pleased with my $80 investment.