October 31, 2006

JotSpot and Google to Merge

JotSpot and Google: Frequently Asked Questions

%This is a big deal because it puts Google in the wiki world. I'm convinced wiki tools are incredibly powerful for group collaboration. I'm a big fan of Wikipedia and many other wikis abound.

I think wikis have a substantial role in business collaboration, both within and between companies and organizations.

Burlington Free Press Endorses Rich Tarrant for Senate

Wow! I am blown away that the Free Press has endorsed Rich Tarrant for U.S. Senator. I thought for sure that Bernie (Outrageous) Sanders would get the Freep's nod. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when the editorial board debated that decision.
Rich deserves the seat because he is a successful independent thinker who would serve Vermont well.

We have had enough of Outrageous. As I posted previously, Sanders does not represent Vermont well. His actions and rants against business display his belief system that government should be in the business of redistributing wealth. He is a Socialist, pure and simple, and does not support capitalism, a bedrock principle underlying our democratic republic. Sanders is a purely political animal who, unlike Tarrant, has no history of success in the private sector.

October 30, 2006

The Senate Race in Connecticut - New York Times

The Senate Race in Connecticut - New York Times

As would be expected, the New York Times has endorsed Mr. Lamont for Senator over Mr. Lieberman. Once again they show their ultra-liberal stripes and, as is more often than not the case these days, are wrong. The liberals have consistently failed to offer an alternative to President Bush's strategy to defeat terrorists.

They are quick to criticize, but slow to step up to the reality we face in the world from the RATs (Radical Islamic Terrorists). They simply have no plan beyond bashing Bush .

Joe Lieberman is a decent man who understands the world we face and he is Connecticut's best alternative for the Senate. The polls show that be will be elected. That's good news.

I am happy to evaluate an alternative strategy to defeat RATs, but the radical liberals do not have one.

I will not vote for a candidate/party who/which offers criticism without alternatives.

October 25, 2006

Welch eyes $600m bid for Boston Globe - Markets - Times Online

Welch eyes $600m bid for Boston Globe - Markets - Times Online

If Jack Welch gets the Globe, you can bet he'll change the editorial policy to suit his views. He can't be in it for the money!

The Caledonian-Record endorses Rich!

A lucid, well articulated endorsement for Rich Tarrant to be the next U.S. Senator from Vermont.

I can hardly wait for the Burlington Free Press to announce its position. My guess, sadly, is they will go with Sanders.

Get smart: Top 10 research tools - Internet

Get smart: Top 10 research tools - Internet

A useful review of research and search tools online and, in one case, off (Britannica Encyclopedia DVD). Must try a couple of these I haven't played with before. (One's whole life could be spent in front of a screen for someone interested in information and knowledge!)

October 24, 2006

Bernie Sanders At His Most Offensive

Bernie Sanders At His Most Offensive

Bernie apparently went into hyperdrive during a debate in St. Johnsbury and was roundly...and deservedly... booed by the veterans in attendance. His wild and 'outrageous' (his favorite word during his political career) behavior is typical of a self-righteous ideologue who believes he has the best and only legitimate answers to complex problems. Yet he refuses to run under the Socialist label, which characterizes his values.

He is not a person who represents Vermont well in Washington...or anywhere for that matter. I hope Rich Tarrant will be our next Representative in the U.S Senate.

October 19, 2006

Small Business 2.0 - Using Technology to Succeed

Small Business 2.0 - Using Technology to Succeed

Hmmm. I've been considering moving my blog to a different platform, (I've got >2200 posts) possibly using WordPress hosted at www.usher.net. Seems it maybe a daunting task to transfer all the posts. I may need some professional help.

Run, Barack, Run - New York Times

Run, Barack, Run - New York Times

Very interesting analysis of Obama by David Brooks who is encouraging him to run for President in 2008. Obvious by omission is any reference to Hillary. I'll bet she's not pleased that a rising star could (and should) eclipse her.

Scientists Create ‘Cloak of Invisibility’ - New York Times

Scientists Create ‘Cloak of Invisibility’ - New York Times

I never cease to be amazed at the constant march of science and technology. If cloaking is real, this is an amazing development! Three cheers for the researchers who pulled it off.

October 17, 2006

Why Aren’t We Shocked? - New York Times

Why Aren’t We Shocked? - New York Times

Bob Herbert is right. This terrible situation that degrades women is the result of a long, deteriorating sense of morality in the U.S. and elsewhere. Secular humanism, an 'anything goes, if it feels good, do it' culture, an evaporating sense of right and wrong, and constant barrages against religion in the public square have led to this awful state of affairs.

Sure, one can argue that the individuals who did these awful things in Amish country and Colorado were deranged, but that in no way excuses the moral swamp that so many in America choose to live in. This is all exacerbated by the greed and money-making opportunities offered by glorifying sex and degradation. Man (generic) is inherently evil and it's only the rule of law that restrains those who have no internal moral or spiritual standards to believe in and guide their actions and decisions.

As only one flagrant example, help me understand how rap/hip hop music and videos enrich the culture of America? Yet we spend $billions on that junk.


France in Denial - New York Times

France in Denial - New York Times

Perhaps it's quite simple. France likely prefers that Muslim Turkey not be part of the EU.

The Times rightly acknowledges, as most of the world does.. or should, the terrible Armenian genocide by the Turks in the early 1900s. This genocide was outrageous and deserves equal footing with Hitler's Holocaust.

October 16, 2006

Brian Schweizer Montana Governor

I just watched on C-SPAN Montana Governor Brian Schweizer's address to the National Press Club on October 13, 2006. He is my kind of guy.

He is bright , articulate and effusive when it comes to energy independence for the U.S. Brian has done his homework and the math behind what it will take for the U.S. to become independent of Middle East oil. Beyond that, he understands the science and technology that underlies our energy portfolio

If you haven't seen or listened to him speak, you are missing one of the lights of the current generation of Democrats. He has lived all around the world and speaks some Arabic. At the same time he owns a ranch in Whitefish and speaks common sense unlike nearly all politicians who have spent time in Washington.

Unfortunately, he is unwilling to run for President in 2008. If he ran, he'd have my vote in a minute. If you have the opportunity, listen to him speak. He grabbed me with his common sense combined with brilliance.

October 15, 2006

A Moral Philosophy for Middle-Class America - New York Times

A Moral Philosophy for Middle-Class America - New York Times:

Brooks is on the mark again. He omits the spiritual dimension, probably because he is not a Spirit-filled man. But in the secular realm he is right on the money.

"In the 1980s, Smith (Adam Smith of "Wealth of Nations" fame) was known as the apostle of free-market capitalism. But these days attention has shifted over to his social philosophy. The culture war has become self-parodic, so people are hungry for a morality that is neither absolutist nor nihilistic. As the economy has opened up opportunities, it's become clear many people lack the cultural capital to take advantage of them."

Planet Google Wants You - New York Times

Planet Google Wants You - New York Times

I find Google products very helpful and use several daily including Gmail, Calendar, Blogger, Spreadsheets & documents, Picasa, Picasa Web, Notebook, Groups, Base, Analyzer, Maps, the various browser toolbars and, of, course, Search.

I guess you can cay that I'm addicted. I find the apps simple to use, free and allow me to access stuff wherever I am. I'm a big fan of Web 2.0 services constantly exploring new apps and whatever comes next.

Drawing a Clearer Line Between News and Opinion - New York Times

Drawing a Clearer Line Between News and Opinion - New York Times

The Public Editor at the NY Times describes the hand-wringing underway at the newspaper to draw a line between news and opinion.

It's impossible for reporters and editors not to have personal opinions and biases that creep into straight news. Perhaps this is most invisible in the decisions of what news to cover or what to exclude from news articles.

What gripes me most about the Times is the overwhelming leftist bias (with the exception of David Brooks and a few others) that permeates the opinion pages and cannot help but creep into news reporting/editing. Their hoped for 'bright line' becomes more blurred as time passes.

The newspaper continues its decline in relevance to general readers and perhaps will find its home exclusively with liberals. "All the news that's fit to print." is a motto I no longer believe.

October 14, 2006

Dave Winer Muses on the Future of News

Winer, arguably the inventor of blogging, argues that news organizations will morph into something far more like the developing blogging community where trusted gatekeepers, i.e. regular folks, will edit and sort and suggest what to read and pay attention to. Maybe, but the requirement for solid reporting worldwide will always be there which may not be possible on a shoestring budget.

Winer fails to recognize that most people are not cerebral when it comes to what news they are willing to spend their energy consuming. Many, if not most, may prefer the scandalous, emotional, sordid, or mysterious.

Air America, Home of Liberal Talk, Files for Bankruptcy Protection - New York Times

Air America, Home of Liberal Talk, Files for Bankruptcy Protection - New York Times:

This piece is trying to put a good face on an abject failure. This network's business model apparently lacked any substance besides RealNetworks Rob Glaser's willingness to spend millions on it.

"While the network's future appeared uncertain, industry executives were quick to deny any suggestion that the filing reflected lack of listener interest in the so-called progressive talk format. Air America says its programming is carried on 92 stations nationwide and reaches 2.4 million listeners a week."

Is Windows Near End of Its Run? - New York Times

Is Windows Near End of Its Run? - New York Times

A worth-reading interview with Microsoft's Steve Ballmer about some of Microsoft's future in computing and the Internet. I think they will do well for several years. They always hired smart, hard-working people. Google will be a challenge for them, but that will keep them sharper.

October 13, 2006

The Korean Peninsula

A startling comparison of the night lights in North Korea and South Korea. From space ...and on the ground I should think...the economic difference is stark between freedom, democracy, capitalism in the South and totalitarianism, communism and the state running everything in the North.

We must do everything necessary to keep nukes out of the hands of that evil regime of North Korea.

A Growing Free-for-All - New York Times

A Growing Free-for-All - New York Times

The Times is wrong again. They would have you believe that evil demons lurk everywhere in big companies who are always out to screw the little guy. They'd have you believe that corporate consolidation and acquisitions are bad in principle. They would create an environment where lawyers get even richer. They continue their Bush bashing in every way they can think of.

In the U. S. we are awash in frivolous litigation that seems to serve mostly to fatten the pockets of attorneys with little benefit to the economy. For example, I just received notice that I can be a member of a class action suit against a telecommunication company. The mailing to millions of people cost $Millions . The telecom company proposes to settle for $35 million to avoid spending even more defending the action and the attorneys who brought the suit will reap 30% of that amount. This is utterly ridiculous. If I chose to participate in the settlement, my 'award' would be a dollar or two. Foolishness!

Certainly, the prosecution of Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia and others who are really crooks is necessary and appropriate. These guys are bad actors and deserve severe punishment. The sad part is that they were able to carry on their crookedness for so long and, in the case of Enron, so many employees/shareowners suffered severe losses.

Some Perspective on Privacy - New York Times

Some Perspective on Privacy - New York Times:

Pogue displays some realism about privacy and anonimity. Common sense prevails. There is no absolute privacy in electronic communications. 'Use it and lose it.'

"So what's my point?

I'm alarmed at our loss of privacy. I wish we had more. I wish we left fewer tracks.

But please--have some perspective. Before you worry that Futurephone is collecting phone numbers in Venezuela, shouldn't you first cut up your credit cards, get an unlisted number and pay for your hotel rooms in cash? Before you conjure up visions of some bored employee at Cingular tuning in to your chats with your mom, shouldn't you cancel your home phone and make all your calls from a pay phone in Grand Central?

All of the much smaller potential abuses make a whopping assumption: that somebody actually *cares a whit* about you and your mundane daily communications. Yes, of course someone at the phone company could look over your phone records and figure out whom you call. But who would ever be so bored, and--forgive me--what could ever be so boring?

You're already in a thousand databases. Your tracks are everywhere. MasterCard knows where you go and what you buy. Your grocery store knows what you eat and how often. You gave up your theoretical online privacy the day you signed up for an Internet account, let alone this newsletter.

The bottom line: Worrying that Futurephone might have secret plans to invade your privacy is like repairing the screen door when all your windows are wide open. If you're going to be paranoid, at least focus on the real threats; there are plenty of those to go around."

October 12, 2006

What's a Teacher To Do?

Author unknown, but the irony of this piece elevates it to 'recommended reading.'
After being interviewed by the school administration, the eager teaching prospect said: "Let me see if I've got this right. You want me to go into that room with all those kids, and fill their every waking moment with a love for learning, and I'm supposed to instill a sense of pride in their ethnicity, modify their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse and even censor their T-shirt messages and dress habits. You want me to wage a war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, check their backpacks for weapons of mass destruction, and raise their self esteem. You want me to teach them patriotism, good citizenship, sportsmanship, fair play, how to register to vote, how to balance a checkbook, and how to apply for a job. I am to check their heads for lice, maintain a safe environment, recognize signs of anti-social behavior, make sure all students pass the state exams, even those who don't come to school regularly or complete any of their assignments. Plus, I am to make sure that all of the students with handicaps get an equal education regardless of the extent of their mental or physical handicap. I am to communicate regularly with the parents by letter, telephone, newsletter and report card. All of this I am to do with just a piece of chalk, a computer, a few books, a bulletin board, a big smile AND on a starting salary that qualifies my family for food stamps! You want me to do all of this and then you tell me... I CAN'T PRAY?

Across Europe, Worries on Islam Spread to Center - New York Times

Across Europe, Worries on Islam Spread to Center - New York Times

Europeans are waking up to the reality that Islam generally does not want to integrate into their society. Unless assimilation is a goal for Islamic immigrants, the R.A.T.s will take advantage of the growing animosity to further their craziness to kill Westerners (infidels) and/or force them to convert.

It's about time people wake up to the reality that we have have a fundamental clash of values fostered by the radical beliefs of some Muslims. In Europe talk of expulsion will continue to grow. The notion that things will be OK if everyone would 'play nice together' is equivalent to putting one's head in the sand, as so many in the U.S. would have us do.

Merkel and Reid have it right:

'With each incident, mainstream leaders are speaking more plainly. "Self-censorship does not help us against people who want to practice violence in the name of Islam," Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said in criticizing the opera's cancellation. "It makes no sense to retreat."

The backlash is revealing itself in other ways. Last month the British home secretary, John Reid, called on Muslim parents to keep a close watch on their children. "There's no nice way of saying this," he told a Muslim group in East London. "These fanatics are looking to groom and brainwash children, including your children, for suicide bombing, grooming them to kill themselves to murder others."

October 11, 2006

American in Qaeda Videos Charged - New York Times

American in Qaeda Videos Charged - New York Times

A good move by the Feds to charge this former American terrorist with treason. Let's see how the Times views it.

Photos and a Fair Trial - New York Times

Photos and a Fair Trial - New York Times

Another Balderdash editorial from the Times. Next thing you know, the Times will argue that courtroom spectators must all be clad in drab khaki unisex jumpsuits so as not to influence a jury.

Jurors have the obligation to ignore the antics of spectators and attorneys, too, for that matter.

There's no place like a home page - Internet

There's no place like a home page - Internet

A neat summary matrix of the major Web start pages. I use Google and sometimes Windows Live. I have never been tucked in to Yahoo (I don't know why, I guess I just grew up with Prodigy, then AT&T WorldNet) for anything except a couple of photo groups.

I find myself gravitating more to the Google Web 2.0 apps. I really like the new interface that combines the Writely document app and Google spreadsheets, both of which I use extensively.

October 9, 2006

Mary Usher's Funeral

My mom was buried today, October 9, 2006, at Evergreen Cemetery in the Woodville section of Hopkinton in the family plot where my Dad, Joe, was buried in 1980. Friends and family were so very supportive of Carol and me during the past days. I appreciate everyone's love and concern.

The wake was held at Buma-Sargeant Funeral home in Milford where Dick Buma and his son orchestrated all aspects of the funeral with excellence.

Bearers were:

Richard Cowern (nephew)
Ted Cowern (nephew)
John Stockwell (nephew)
Winston Chase (friend)
Scott Barnet (friend, Laura Usher's brother)

Mass in St. Mary's Catholic church in Milford was celebrated by Fr. Mike Foley. Music was arranged and provided by:

Karl and Laura Usher (singing)
Estlin and Gawain (violin)

Communion gifts were presented by:

Grace and Katie Usher assisted by Caroline Usher

Scripture readings by:

Irene Cowern (Isaiah 25: 6-9)
Karl Usher (I Pet 1: 3-9)

A remembrance was delivered by Dick Cowern (nephew) . You can view it here.

Burial was followed by a great meal at one of Mary's favorite restaurants, Carbone's, in the Cordaville section of Hopkinton, which had special meaning for the Usher, Harrall and Cowern families.

Irene Cowern shared some photographs. They are here on Shutterfly.

October 7, 2006

Kicked While Down - New York Times

Kicked While Down - New York Times

Once more the NY Times cannot refrain from Bush bashing. The fact of the matter is that unions are on the decline for a host of reasons. Nor is any mention made of the total compensation of workers. Wages alone are not a sufficient measure to be compared with corporate profits.

Does the Times espouse and support some roll-back of globalization? If so, I would be interested in their formula to accomplish it.

October 5, 2006

Mary Usher Passes

As I have posted here previously, my mother, Mary, entered Vermont Respite House on Tuesday. She continued to decline rapidly and on Wednesday night, October 4, 2006 at 11:20 pm she died peacefully in her sleep. She lived a long life and was able to spend the last eight years with us in Colchester.

The folks at the Respite House and the nurses from the VNA Hospice Program were wonderful to her and to us throughout Mary's last days. We are thankful to all the people who assisted in her medical care.

The funeral will be held in Milford, MA. Arrangements below:

Visiting hours at Buma-Sargeant Funeral Home, 42 Congress St., Milford MA 01757
Sunday, October 8, 5:00 -7:00 pm

Funeral service at the funeral home Monday, October 9 11:00 am

Funeral Mass at St. Mary's Catholic Church, 19 Winter St. , Milford, MA 01757 Monday, October 9 at noon.

Interment will be at Evergreen cemetery in the Woodville Section of Hopkinton immediately following the funeral Mass.

Mary's obituary will be published in the Burlington Free Press, Milford Daily News, MetroWest News and the Worcester Gazette.

October 3, 2006

Mom at Vermont Respite House

We took my mother, Mary, to Vermont Respite House today. She is slipping fast, mostly sleeping/dozing all morning during the trip and after we arrived at Respite House. She has been sleeping in the recliner at home for a week instead of a bed. (The hospital bed that arrived on Friday was too uncomfortable and she couldn't get in or out of it without help, so she didn't sleep in it.) The recliner seems her most comfortable position, but with the morphine to help her shortness ( it really does help) of breath and constant napping, day and night blend together for her.

Her appetite had been fair for the past few days, but she has eaten very little yesterday here at home and today at Respite House hardly anything.

We are very happy with the Respite House based on our experience so far. Wonderful people and a very relaxed, caring atmosphere.

Mary was not happy, but seemed resigned under the circumstances, to leave her home for the past 8 years.

October 1, 2006

The Inside Agitator - New York Times

The Inside Agitator - New York Times

Dr. Howard Dean seems to be on the outs with the Democratic party leadership. He's spending money where many would prefer he didn't, particularly as the mid-term elections have given the Dems some hope for regaining more power in the House and Senate.

He suffers from his association with the far left fringe party elements. I think a fundamental question is Dean's ability and willingness to raise money from mainstream Democrats, in addition to the concerns that Democrat leadership has about how he spends it. The speculation in the piece about Dean's potential 2012 presidential ambitions is fascinating.

Also conspicuous by its absence is any comment from either Bill or Hillary Clinton. The absence of references to them shows the editorial bias of the Times or/and the author.