Tuesday, September 30, 2003
For starters, I decided to subject my two cats to a quick photo shoot just for a test drive. Dizzy is the tuxedo cat; Winston is the chubby orange tabby. Click on either pic to get the full size photo.
The camera also has a nice little video feature that allows you to record as much as three minutes of Quicktime video for use on the Web. So without further ado, here's Dizzy getting ready for his closeup.
So I'll be spending the next few days getting acquainted with my new camera. While I'm in London this upcoming weekend and in Dubai the week after that, I'll be bringing along the camera so I can post photos from the field as quickly as possible... -ac
Monday, September 29, 2003
Still no word on whether the film will air on cable or satellite here in the States, even though we've managed to get it aired in about 140 countries already. Of course, dear blogees, you'll be the first to know if we ever get the good news... -ac
Saturday, September 27, 2003
Now, the film will be shown in Ft Lauderdale at 1pm on November 1, and we plan to be there for the showing. Oddly enough, the film will also be showing that same day at the Hawaii International Film Festival in Honolulu, and the same weekend at the First Annual Annapolis Film Fest. Talk about harmonic convergence! Too bad we can't be in all three places at once.... -ac
Friday, September 26, 2003
So, despite the fact that today was my day off and I should have been enjoying the lovely autumn weather reading a book on my balcony, instead I hunkered down at my Mac and tried to put together a Blogger template based on Benton's website template. It took me a good four hours to get the damn thing even close to right, but after coming back from a satisfying Mexican dinner tonight, I managed to get the template in basic working order.
So if you go to our Communications-Related Headlines page, the content you see will have actually been added via Blogger Friday evening while watching a well-censored broadcast of Blazing Saddles on TV tonight. For now it's pretty basic stuff, but using a blog service will allow us to post stories with greater ease, and (much more exciting) allow us to start syndicating our news via RSS feeds -- assuming I can get this RSS stuff to work. But hey, I think I'm off to a decent start considering I was a total blog version nary one week ago. So stay tuned over the coming days and weeks, and visit Communications-Related Headlines often. Hopefully my interns and the rest of the Benton staff will take to it like a kitten frolicking in catnip.
Anyway, enough of this computer stuff. Back to Blazing Saddles.... -ac
The challenge for me is figuring out what on earth I'm doing with RSS. I'm using Blogger to power my blog, and at the moment the service isn't offering an RSS service. Previously, blogger had a premium service that included RSS syndication, but they've discontinued the premium service, yet haven't put RSS into their free service as of yet.
So rather than twiddling my thumbs waiting for Blogger/Google to add the RSS feature, I trolled around the Net to see if there were any free tools for helping you set up an RSS feed. I quickly found a site called Onamap.com, which has a variety of blogging and metadata tools. I followed the directions and added some buttons to my blog (see the right side of the screen) that supposedly link to an RSS feed. I looked at the underlying code of the link and found its descriptions rather limiting, so I made a copy of the code and added more info, such as the name of my blog rather than just the URL. This new info is listed as experimental RSS feed #2.
So, will either of these things allow my site to be syndicated? Honestly I have no clue since I'm still so new at this. So if any reader of this blog with some RSS savvy could test it out and let me know if it's working, I'd be much obliged. You can reach me at acarvin@nospam_benton.org, as always, minus the nospam_, of course.
Thursday, September 25, 2003
To wit, here's what the gubernator had to say:
"I think as you can see the other debates did wrong--only 1 share ratings, or something like that, but this [debate] is going to have a high rating."
This has to be a first, folks: claiming to use TV ratings to craft your debate participation strategy. Politicians have always pulled from a goody bag of lame excuses as to why they didn't want to participate in debates -- because of the particular format, because they're a waste of time, because you can't equate forensic skills with executive or legislative skills, etc. But because of a lack of Nielsen ratings? Granted, it's Arnold's business to know how well his mug plays when it's aired in some movie for the umpteenth time on USA Network (and I'd bet the average Beltway suit would know what on earth a "1 share" is except for mistaking it for having something to do with Wall Street).
But the fact that Arnold actually used Nielsen ratings as his public excuse for not participating in the debates shows how much he's having a hard time separating his Hollywood persona from his political persona. His penchant for using Terminator-esque one liners isn't exactly helping either.
Let's face it, Arnold's a serious candidate because he's got the political and financial backing to make himself one. But Just because you've got clout and name recognition doesn't necessarily add up to posessing the ability to govern and make executive decisions. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn't. But until he stops talking about his big policy plans in the future tense and gives the public some detail, I'm gonna remain skeptical.
"1 share ratings...." Sheesh. Maybe at his next speech he'll tell a compelling story about a working class Nielsen household or something.... -ac
Cruz Bustamante: Smart, smug, defensive
Ariana Huffington: Thought she was still a guest on Politically Incorrect
Ahnold: Drop the one-liners and give us some specifics!
Tom McClintock: composed, articulate, but not my cup of tea
Peter Camejo: Background noise
Moderator Stan Statham: Passive beyond comprehension
Fortunately, my wife and I were babysitting for a friend last night, so at least we had a four-month-old to distract us from this chaotic, pre-fabbed shouting match masquerading as a debate. Just don't ask me who actually did more screaming -- the baby or the candidates. It remains a toss-up.... -ac
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
So what did I get? According to the Compass, I come in as a -4.75/-7.08. That means I'm pretty much a middle-of-the-road lefty, but I also happen to be more libertarian than most. According to the analysis section of the compass, that puts me closest to, of all people, the Dalai Lama -- only politically speaking of course. I suppose I could be in a lot worse company. :-) Anyway, it's a fun little test and a good way to kill some time while waiting for the California gubenatorial debate to commence.... -ac
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
Now it's looking like there's a chance I'll be in London the week before the Dubai meeting at a Commonwealth summit on digital divide issues. It's not definite yet, but it's a strong possibility. Either way, stay tuned to this blogspace to follow my reports from the field. I better brush off my suitcase and get some new batteries for my alarm clock, I guess... -ac
Friday, September 19, 2003
Then, by 11pm, Isabel let loose on Dupont Circle. Wind gusts up to 50mph, horizontal rain. You could feel the sliding glass door to our 7th floor balcony bulge as the winds from the south pressed directly into the side of our apartment complex.
The one time I woke up in the middle of the night - around 4am - the rain was still coming down. But when I got up at 8am, the storms had passed. We were left with grim grey skies and a steady 20mph wind that kept our Tibetan prayer flags horizontal in the air.
Susanne and I went for a walk just after 9am. It was still breezy, but the sun was actually trying to break through. Most of the neighborhoods around Dupont Circle had tree branches scattered across the sidewalks and streets. Several tree limbs had sheered off and were being tackled by men with menacing chainsaws. The most dramatic image, though, was the tragic sight of a noble, old oak tree, probably eight feet in circumference at the base, snapped like a twig. Half of the giant tree was planted firmly against the side of the Embassy of Mali and FDR's Dupont Circle House -- an important historic property, to say the least. Across the street, yet another tree had collapsed and consumed two cars, one of which was buried under so much debris you could barely make it out. Amazingly, a third car sat just a foot or two from the other cars with nary a scratch. I guess it was their lucky day. Several Malian families with connections to the embassy stood along the side of the street, scratching their heads and trying to figure out how to start cleaning up the mess. There are probably hundreds of trees down across the entire District, so who knows when city cleanup crews will get to it.
At least it's turned into a beautiful day - sunny, mid-70s, strong breeze. Not the typical federal emergency closure day... -ac
Thursday, September 18, 2003
Let me rephrase that - my first auto-blog. If you've been to my personal website, Andy Carvin's Waste of Bandwidth, you've seen me write about all sorts of stuff on the Net -- especially my travelogues, probably. But up til now, they've all been done by hand - handcoded into individual html pages and then slapped up online by a good-ole-fashion FTP tool. But starting with this message, I'm finally getting my act together and using an actual blog tool to crank out these cyber missives. Whether this is a short-term noble experiment or a the advent of a longtime hobby, only time will tell.
So with that, here we go. Welcome to Andy Carvin's Waste of Bandwith: The Blog Edition....