Posts tagged with "me"
It's a nice book - reasonable size for carrying around, hardback for hitting things, white and orange on the spine for simple recognition (and upsetting Moose's sense of æsthetics). You should all rush out and buy it - I am sure your bookshop has been stacking up advance copies in anticipation... (if you really want to buy it, drop me a message - I have some order forms).
The basic idea of our paper is that unlike normal XML, which is pretty much what library catalogues were since they started getting on computers, RDF gives you the ability to scribble more useful stuff on them or add a second or fifth card under a different category in the same way you could with an actual card catalogue. (When I started my university studies we atually had one of those - duplicated at different parts of the library. Sometimes cards from the 19th century are better than the computer records of the 21st). And the added bonus is being able to search it all electronicaly still, rather than fighting over the "PROM - PROT" box with the big guy with a bad reputation who doesn't much like you ...
Since my FileVault enryption failed and swallowed all my data, and sine it was non-critical, the book is probably the only copy I have handy of the paper, actually. Anyway, it is nice to see my name in a book even if it is only on the inside. And it was a fun artile to write - it was something I had been thinking for a while.
It caused quite a stir at work, where I have always had a beard, and a big one at that. I could also wander around and find people who didn't recogise me.
So Alfredo bought me a battery-powered razor - just a normal 30-zillion blade dispoable cartridge safety razor, but it has a built-in vibrator. Funnily enough, it works better than almost anything I have tried before.
And if you want a photo...
... and really have no idea where to look for one ...
... then you might be out of luck.
(If any W3Chien reads this, and knows how to find the photos from last time I shaved, and can send me a copy, I would be grateful).
My left eye is not bad. My right eye is not very good. A couple of months ago I lost my glasses, and had to revert to my "emergency" pair. Which had become my emergency pair becaus the right lens dropped out and was lost forever.
A month of working with those (and needing them, because my right eye was so often useless that I was really pushing the left) had me wondering if I would have learned to favour one eye.
At Gregory's place, the courier delivered my glasses. They are new, funky, don't have real frames, just arms and things stuck onto the lenses. They sit high, and they are amazingly light. (I have worn glasses for about ten years. When I was younger my eyesight was just as bad, but I had more energy to strain my eyes. I started with glass lenses, and have moved to ever-lighter glasses bit by bit).
Funnily enough, the courier also delivered my privacy screen to Gregory. It's a bit of plastic, made by the same people who invented those little yello sticky notes that are everywhere now. It is almost transparent, so long as you look at it straight on. From about 45˚ it is hard to see much at all, so I can sitin a meeting and read confidential mail in large type without worrying about who else is having it waved in front of them.
I wonder if the couriers thought about this, as they asked a blind guy to sign for a package. When I was younger I delivered televisions and the like around the suburbs of Melbourne for a while. Occasionally I would be asked to explain how to operate a new television or video recorder - and I remember that while blind people would ask for detailed explanations, they would also actually be good at remembering them. It struck me that having a couple of video recorders and a couple of TV's, all connected together, it would make sense to be good at remembering how each one worked. I don't think I had thought about it much before, but it seemed reasonable for people who had a lot of spare time to want to copy video cassettes, and record a lot of stuff.
Someone recently asked what blind people do with a photo website. I recall going to buy my first digital camera, with a blind friend who was replacing his (I should have just bought his old one, I guess), and asking him where he put his photos. He collected them, asked a bunch of friends to tell him which were good and which weren't (and what was in them), and then he stored them or sent them to people. Same as anyone does. After all, there are only a few things you can do with photos.
I have bad sleeping habits anyway. When I am thinking, it can be hard to get to sleep. When I have urgent work to do, it doesn't seem like a priority. When I am out having fun, it is the last thing I want to spend my time on. It often seems that it would be nice to function without sleep, and I can often go 30 or 40 hours that way.
But if I don't sleep, I become less effective, less thoughtful, I find it harder to concentrate, or my short term memory starts to slip. Serious sleep deprivation is lethal (whatever people say about it not being torture, it is, and an effective one at that).
So I try to sleep. I can twist myself into a seat that is narrower than me and have a cat-nap. If I am tired I can lie down on more or less any surface that is my size, and sleep. If I am really tired I can find somewhere and sleep for 12 hours, and enjoy it. I do sleep comfortably in my own bed, but I also sleep comfortably on the floor of an airport, or laid out in the back of a bus.
I rarely fly business class (occasionally I get upgraded on an overbooked flight), and more rarely still in the modern and luxurious long-haul business class where even someone my size has a proper bed to sleep in. Sometimes, it seems worthwhile. When I get onto an airplane and find there are not many people, and I can have a row of four seats to myself for the next 12 hours, I am always happy. The space to stretch out and sleep is worth more than the nice service and decent food - although it is much less certain than the guaranteed improvement from a single economy seat to one at the front.
Trains and buses, if you have a seat, are about the same comfort as planes. But the good thing is there is a lot less waiting around. Boarding a train or bus takes minutes rather than hours, and can usually be done somewhere much easier to get to.
So catching an overnight bus, instead of getting up horribly early to catch a flight, is often a good deal, simply because as soon as I am in my seat, if I want to, I can turn my head, roll up my jacket arm for a pillow, and ignore the world until we arrive. When the alternative is half a night of sleep, a quick nap in the airport train or bus, standing in a series of queues, a quick nap in a plane, and more queues and transport, the crawling early out of my bed seem less worthwhile.
And I don't like waking up. As I get older, it mostly seems to get easier, but I have overslept often enough that it troubles me every time I have to do it. Which is the worst way to ensure I benefit from the time that is available to sleep
As a child, I don't recall wanting to go to bed - only wanting to be allowed to stay up. I would happily wake up in the morning behind the couch on the carpet, or sleep in the car, rather than go to bed earlier. And I would sit up and read, or just think in the dark.
It seems that sleep is a discipline - a useful one, but not one that comes readily to everyone. As an adolescent, at a boarding school, and later as a student at university, I would wait until everyone had gone to sleep and then get up again, and go for a walk, or sit up and read or write. I had jobs that made me work at hours when most people are asleep, and I would finish work and be awake at 3am, with nothing better to do than to write a little.
And as the clock ticks over 3 here in New Jersey, I think "Plus ça change..."
But here, they are because I finished books number 8 and 9.
(I have been saying I would write about them for a while. This isn't the polished piece you might find in a 5-star hotel, but it is at least as clean as you would expect a reasonable house to be).
Having got my suit and tie back, I went to a meeting wearing them. Since people don't believe I possess such things, I followed up on a request to get photographic evidence.
I was thinking about school photographs recently. I really like the 19th century photographs of people, who are taking the whole thing very seriously, just as if they were sitting for a painter.
And as I get a bit bushier, and a bit more solid, and my hair gets a bit thinner, it seems easier to pull off the effect. I am not sure that this is a great thing, really. But I quite like the photo Navjot took with my phone. Here is the miniature version (which is perhaps better, truth be told).
At least this looks better than either the photo in my passport, or the photo taken for my current working visa (which is really horrible even before the dreadful printing, but photos in official documents are like that).
I am not the kind of person who really bothers to dress up before getting an official photo - sometimes I make a half-hearted effort to brush my hair, but that's about it. So finding photos of me that are reasonable turns out to be a challenge.
And this one is too dark for most things. Luckily it isn't that often people want my photograph anyway.
It has been hot in Oslo for at least two weeks. Hot in the sun, hot in the shade. In the early evening the sun comes in my window and lies along my arm, until I can feel it burning me like a truckie. Moving is melting.
But this evening, the lightning started to flash as I got home. I parked my bike, and the thunder was rolling. I had a shower, caught a bus downtown, and ordered a beer before the rain started - at first great heavy drops, but so few of them. And then a steady medium rain, a couple of times slanting in a little, and then getting heavier.
It may have rained as long as an hour and a half - no more. A few hours later the skies are clear. But it washed the streets clean, and it washed away some of the pressure that had been building.
It seems I like the rain.
My Granny, who is in her 90s, is not well, having been quite sprightly until recently. I thought that she would no longer be with us last weekend, and was glad to be in Australia and able to see her. She is still in hospital, and at any time her condition can only be described as unstable. I can't predict the future any more than the next person - she may get better, and live to be 105, or 125. She may not. It depends on many things, including whether she really wants to.
Perhaps all of these things are twice my current lifetime away from me. Perhaps not. We lose people from time to time. An ex-colleague passed away very recently, somewhat unexpectedly and apparently peacefully, at an age between Granny's and mine, leaving a number of people dealing with their first experience of losing a colleague at work. Others have dealt with it many times over.
Life is a gift. The lives of those who pass through our own, and our own life, are a short time we have. But if I could, as Woody Allen said, achieve immortality not through my work, but by not dying, would I? I don't know. Every new day is a gift, and people are precious in part because you never know how long they will be there. (In larger part, the people who are really precious to me are so because of the particular person they are...)
So how should I be passing my days? How should I note the accumulating years? I guess I will finish my life, some time, having left undone things I wanted to do and things I really should have done. There are times when I should have stopped, looked around, sat down in the grass and done nothing, instead of obsessively reading mail (or writing my blog ) or running off on some very-important-at-the-time errand or crusade. There are other times when I should have got off my backside and done something.
I didn't make it to see Granny in hospital today. I hope she's OK. I'll go see her tomorrow. She doesn't want to be there. I don't like being in hospital either.
Happy birthday to me. I guess Timboctou was out of the question this year. Still. I get to go to the Gathering, and do some cooking. That will be fun (and a little cold in medieval clothes). If I see you somewhere, ask and I might bake you a cake In the meantime it is one of those moments when I should do something. Make dinner, in particular.
when I was 8 or 10, a "shiner" (a black, puffy bruised eye) was something of a badge of honour. It ranked above most bandages (although below a real plaster cast) as an indication of physical courage, the fortitude needed to have engaged in and survived a fight with someone else.
In these more cautious times it's probably regarded by some regulation as a signal to check out the domestic safety of the wearer. That may seem sad, but it is better than a general acceptance of an obvious lie about walking into a door from a woman who clearly did not get into a fight at school.
I'm not a big fan of physical violence as a tactic of aggression or intimidation. There's not much that's funny about people beating other people. (Although there is something comedic about the image of someone who is trying to hit another person being held at arms length and unable to quite reach, it tends to be funnier for the spectators). And while I don't have a real shiner, I do have a slightly puffy eye today.
So what is it that leads me to be ready to make a physical attempt to solve someone else's problems, where a woman might talk through them a little more? And what is it that makes some (fewer, I think) women ready to lash out physically, while others talk and talk?
I think the last time I was prepared to even go along with being in a fight was when I was 14. I wasn't very big until about that time. I wasn't very inclined to break up a fight between others, and I wasn't very likely to come out ahead of the other guy, let alone clearly win a fight (I don't think I ever did). Now I am all of those things.
And what is it that makes me think boxing is a foolish, yet enjoyable sport? That brings out an urge to physical violence in response to stories of how people have mistreated others? How does it all relate to the willingness to put yourself in serious danger for someone else's benefit, or for that matter the urge to repeat an adrenalin rush that leads to putting oneself in physical danger with no real external goal?
I live in a risk-averse society. One that has invented for itself new ways of getting adrenaline pumping as it has tried to suppress physical violence. One that has begun to seriously tackle the issue of violence against other people in almost all the hidden places it occurs.
Has it lost something? Has it successfully channeled a dangerous tendency into some productive areas? Or has it stored up a problem, created an unnatural distortion and channeled a natural and readily understood behaviour into many unpleasant and dangerous but normally hidden forms?
I wish the fire alarm had not gone off only 3 hours after I started sleeping. Although it may not have changed much.
Widgets and things
Twitter, blogs, comments...
Twitter is quick, but not always great. I always wanted a blog made up of comments - and this link category is a step in making one :)
WYSIWYG Editors and HTML
Response to well-written blog explaining why "WYSIWYG Editors hate HTML5". I agree there are problems, I think there are solutions available.
WYSIWYG Editors and HTML, pt 2
Further exploration of how things really are and what can usefully be done.
JAWS got it wrong. Just handing over the keyboard is stupid - even if the role itself is not.
Entrevista con Jan Standal
Respuestas a los comentarios sobre una entrevista de Jan Standal (de Opera).
Opera Brasil na Noruega
Fotos que quero (e não)
(Muchos comentarios, un articulo)
Una conversación sobre la Web Móvil
Improving accessibility - what do we need?
It's not about one magic solution - this is a complex problem and lots of things need to be done.
Unite geolocation app
Cool ways to manage your own location data
Código abierto y Opera
Porque ser abierto no es la diferencía entre exito y la muerte.
HTML - a new standard
CSSquirrel suggests that listening to more people would make HTML better. I agree, but there are people who already influence HTML and should think about how they can do it better.
Walking in an exoskeleton, and why it isn't necessary
There is a big difference between (disabled) people achieving something, and expecting that everyone should do things "like us".