This Saturday: The Internet as a Political Tool

I'll be speaking this Saturday the 17th at a free event held at Morrisson-Reeves Library, on "The Internet as a Political Tool" - how the Internet continues to change the world of politics and what it means for local citizens. The talk starts at 10 AM in the Bard Room. If you're interested in politics and technology, please come and join the conversation! For more information, you can check out the flyer on the Morrisson-Reeves website.

Links for the Week - January 12, 2008

Links of recent interest:

August Milestones

It was 10 years ago this month that I co-founded Summersault website development with Mark. We're celebrating with some donations to help improve the community, and a look back at our milestones over the years.

It was 20 years ago this month that my father passed away from cancer. I celebrate his life, the family he left behind, the impact he had on me, and the cycles of life that give the world meaning and possibility.

It was 30 years ago this month that I was born into the world. I celebrate the landbase that sustains me, my health, my successes and failures, my friends and loved ones, my past and future, the hope that drives me, and so much more.

And so here I am, in August of 2007. As E.B. White said, "I get up every morning determined both to change the world and to have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning the day difficult."

All online data lost after Internet crashes

Sometimes when people call us for technical support at Summersault, they tell us that in trying to troubleshoot a problem on their desktop computer, they have "deleted the Internet." It's always tempting to feign shock and horror, saying "that was YOU!?" and ask them to "get it back, oh dear God, get it back right now!" But then decency steps in and dictates that we walk them through steps to get their network connection working again.

So I'm glad that someone out there is having fun imagining what the headlines will be on the day when the whole Internet crashes and all online data is lost. I can just hear Tony Snow saying that "we deeply regret that a backup of the Internet does not exist at this time...we had always meant to get around to making one."

What would it mean for your life?

One Day, Many Costumes

IMG_2282.JPGIt was a day where I've worn so many different costumes and had such a wide range of experiences, I know I'll never have another like it, and it just feels good to be alive.

Early Morning: black pants with dark blue dress shirt. Activities included helping track down someone selling stolen dogs and cats in New York, doing tech support for web hosting, setting up meetings for next week.

Late Morning: black pants with crazy silk vacation shirt, to perform a magic/juggling show with friends at Girls, Inc. Activities included talking to a ghost, making things vanish into thin air and then reappear elsewhere, feeling really good as an awesome group of kids and adults laugh and ooh and ahh.

Afternoon: black pants with black t-shirt. Activities included launching a new website, testing and delivering two other websites under development, laughing hysterically at some of the images on lolcats, cleaning up my inboxes (virtual and real).

Early Evening: black suit, white shirt, silver tie. Activities included eating from a buffet at a fancy dinner, hearing about some inspiring forms of servant leadership in my community, shaking hands and talking about the future.

Later Evening: tan shorts and a beat up t-shirt. Activities include tending the garden, sighing at the piles around the house, admiring the dusk, blogging.

Bits and pieces from a busy few days

Some bits and pieces from life right now: I'm really proud of the RNR podcast episode from last night, even though I was tired enough that my production quality wasn't what it usually is and I mispronounced some names. But it's been an emotionally charged week and it was an emotionally charged evening, so I think the episode reflects that.

Thanks to the folks at for linking here so prominently on the site. Of course, as much as I like and admire Phil, please know that I have not (nor do I plan to) endorsed any local political candidates here. I do wish them all the best in fulfilling the promise of the democratic process.

If you haven't already, you can head on over to, a site I set up for Joe Augustin after he was assaulted earlier this week. The technical details are mundane compared to what Joe is going through, but it was a strange experience going from scratch to a full-blown weblog with hundreds of visitors and comments pouring in in a matter of an hour or two. Thanks to all the people who are holding Joe up now and keeping each other posted on his progress.

In a little bit, I'm heading out to IU East to help unveil the preview and website for the new documentary being produced here, 1:47. I'm at Summersault right now working with my team on the final prep for actually making the new site live, so you can check that out shortly. I haven't gotten to do as much lately with video production as I would like, so it's at least rewarding to be peripherally involved in a project where some really great production work is being done.

Have a good weekend.

Checklists do not an existence complete

006 3Today I felt especially like a mindless automaton checking items off a list. It's pretty rare that I have that experience in my "day job" at Summersault, but sometimes the combination of a burst in client project activity + a bunch of administrative things + an overflowing inbox + accumulated personal tasks from the weekend add up to a big long to-do list of calls and e-mails and paperwork that I just have to plow through. A lot of our organizing tools in the office environment seem to promote this: a numbered e-mail inbox, an ordered list of voicemail messages, a stack of papers. It's all so linear and narrow. Sometimes I'm tempted to scatter my paper inbox around the building and create a little scavenger hunt for myself - decipher a clue to figure out which bill to pay next! Or I want to delete, without response, every other odd-numbered e-mail message whose subject line contains the letters "s" and "a", and just be okay with that. Hmmm. It's all too easy to just get in that flow of "" without really fully appreciating the people and ideas I'm encountering and the contribution I'm making to the overall work that Summersault is doing, let alone the incredible wider world that's going on around (and just fine without) me. And like today, sometimes it takes seeing how amazing the Sun is in the warmth and light of Spring it brings, or thinking about a far away friend who has had a loved one die just yesterday, or hearing the sounds of laughter from the kids playing in my neighborhood...all of these things help me remember the things I need to remember, and the checklists start to fall into place.

Interviewed on WKBV, anyone hear it?

I was interviewed yesterday morning (at 7:10, jeesh) by Chris Nolte on AM 1490 WKBV about the "dangers of unsecured wireless networks at home." I already posted some follow-up technical information on the Summersault Weblog, but I thought I'd see if anyone reading here heard the interview? I've not to date thought of that station or time slot as the place to go for the latest technology news and discussion, but perhaps there's a trend I've been missing out on.

To whom it may vaguely concern...

I'm always amazed at what people assume you will automatically know or do when they send you a vague e-mail message with a vague request. At Summersault, we get messages sent to a generic "webmaster" address on a regular basis where people say "This website isn't working" or "I have a question about this website" and that's it. Of course, we host hundreds of websites, so it's kind of hard to figure out what they're talking about. Just today, someone posted a time-sensitive billing request for their local cable company on my web page about local ISPs that happens to mention said company. Sure, ma'am, I'll just update their billing records for you the next time I'm logged in to their system. I'm sure she'll be more confused when her service is shut off and she claims "but I sent you a message through some guy's website!".