Saturday, February 21, 2009

My Cluster Map and My Ego

Last year about this time, I added a Cluster Map to my blog. I didn't do it as ego trip, but as a demonstration in workshop I was doing, but things have changed a bit. Since adding it, I've become attached to it. I get a kick out of watching new dots pop up in exotic and out of the way places.

Yesterday I receive an email that was a blow to my ego. It seems that once a year, the Cluster Map fairy comes along and sweeps up all the dots on your Cluster Map and takes them to Cluster Map heaven.

But they are not gone forever. I can visit them through the statistics on my account page and they won't leave me with a barren landscape, because my current map will stay as it is until the next time it updates. It updates when the number of hits since the last update reaches 10% of the numbers currently on the map.

So my ego is intact for a while, and I'll say, "Hi and bye." to my clusters before they slip off on their journey with the Cluster Map fairy. RIP little Cluster buddies...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Facebooks TOS - Nothing Nefarious

So what's the big deal? Terms of service are written in legalese and we hardly ever pay attention to them until someone point out something that sounds nefarious. The changes that Facebook made were no big deal when you really understand them. Without them, they can't do what they do. Let me explain.

If I send a message to my friends, Facebook can't send it to them unless I grant them a license to do so. So I grant them nonexclusive rights to everything I put up. (Note to self... Don't write the great American novel on Facebook.)

So why do I have to grant them this right forever? Simple! If I leave Facebook and my friends stay. The message stays on their page. If they don't have rights forever, every time someone leaves, everything they ever did anywhere with anyone would have to be deleted.

What Facebook and just about everyone else does is that they write in legalese and people don't understand the language or intent. Why don't the write in plain English. Simple again. LAWYERS! Nuff said?

BTW - If think Facebooks desire to have rights anywhere in the world is extreme, read some other Terms of Service out there. They have rights anywhere in the UNIVERSE!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Gray Squirrel Chronicles - Plan C

The rope was a flop and my funnel failed. So it's time to call in the pros. Yesterday, after it looked as if my Rube Goldberg solution wasn't going to cut it, I called the Popcorn Park Zoo in Lacey Township. They are a wonderful animal shelter that services the area. It's a great place to take the kids! They even have a camel that has been successfully predicting Superbowl winners!

I've been supporting them with small donations for a number of years now. So I called them up and asked if they would be kind enough to lend me a humane trap. They told me they would put me in touch with Mark, their animal control officer. In less than an hour, Mark called and asked if he could drop it off the following day.

Can you imagine that? They are going to come to my rescue and they asked if I minded waiting a little. Heck, I would have stood on my head waiting. I can't say enough good things about the folks at Popcorn Park!

Mark arrived at high noon; very appropriate for the show down at the Wolinsky fireplace. Here's the video of what transpired.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Gray Squirrel Chronicles

The day before yesterday, I heard a sound that I had heard only once before and it didn't make me happy. I immediately recognized it as a squirrel who had managed to get through the screen on our chimney. He was now sitting just above the flue scratching in a vain effort to get out.

Next came the fun part, namely trying to get him out humanely. Plan A was a long shot, but it was the easiest to do. I climbed up on the roof and dropped a rope down the chimney in the hope that the squirrel would climb out on his own. Twenty-four hours later he had neither scaled the heights nor hung himself. It was time for Plan B.

The efforts started about 10 AM today with no success. Rather than write about an effort that I know is going to be a long adventure, I decided to film the efforts some of the efforts. Here's the unsuccessful Plan B. (Plan C coming later)