April 2004 Archives

peace must be our goal

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Lane and friends playing recorders in their spring concertLast night I attended the fourth-grade spring concert at my sons' elementary school. It was the first such event that I've been to since we got a digital camcorder as a gift (thanks, Dad!), so I've been playing with iMovie this morning.

For family members and other folks affiliated with the school, I've made a "web-friendly" (meaning tiny and highly compressed) full-length QuickTime version of the movie . Click here to see it streamed (could be slow, depending on server load), or right-click and choose "save target to disk" here to download it directly to disk and play it locally--it's a 42MB file. (If you want the higher-quality, uncompressed version on DVD, let me know).

For those with less patience for home movies of kids, especially those you don't know, here's a small QuickTime clip of the kids playing their recorders and then singing a verse from a song called "Peace Must Be Our Goal."

Given the state of the world today, this song--sung by such innocents--touched me deeply. These kids are too young to be drafted, but they're more than halfway to that age. Will their world be more peaceful than ours? As a parent who doesn't ever want to send her sons off to war, I can only hope so.

installing tomcat 5 on os x

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You'd think there'd be some documentation of this somewhere, wouldn't you?

Nope. None. Lots on Tomcat 4. None on Tomcat 5. And none that don't assume some crucial details that I had to bang my head against for a while.

So, for my own reference later (and for the benefit of others who want to do this without having to read a book on the subject), here's what I ended up doing.

I installed all the XCode 1.1 developer tools for OS X 10.3 (the December 2003 CD). Then I installed the Java 1.42 developer tool update and the Java application server package from the Apple developer site.

The appserver package install gave me Tomcat 4 in the /Library/Tomcat directory, which I then renamed to Tomcat4.

Then I downloaded the latest binary of Tomcat 5 from the Apache Jakarta site.

Following guidelines that I found on developer.com for installing Tomcat 4, I extracted the Tomcat 5 files into a directory in usr/local, and then created a symbolic link to it from the Library directory, like so:

ln -s /usr/local/jakarta-tomcat-5.0.19 /Library/Tomcat

Turns out that when you download and extract the files from the .zip archive, the permissions aren't set properly to allow execution of the files, so I had to change the permissions on the .bat and .sh files in the /Library/Tomcat/bin directory to allow execution.

chmod 755 /Library/Tomcat/*.sh
chmod 755 /Library/Tomcat/*.bat

When I tried to run Tomcat at this point (/Library/Tomcat/startup.sh), I got an error telling me that JAVA_HOME was not defined. You'd be surprised how hard it is to find out how to fix this seemingly small problem. Several sites told me that I could set JAVA_HOME to /usr, but that was not successful. Then I tried setting it to /Library/Java, but that didn't work, either. I finally found the solution on SnipSnap.org (although their server wasn't responding, so I had to use the Google-cached version). Turns out you have to set it to /Library/Java/Home, like so:

setenv JAVA_HOME /Library/Java/Home

Once I'd done that I was able to run startup.sh, and at that point loading http://localhost:8080 successfully brought up the Tomcat 5 home page.


Update, 5/1/04

In order to connect to my mySQL db install using JSP, I downloaded Connector/J 3.0 and installed it using these instructions.

shrook problems


So, I really do like Shrook, and I even paid for my copy. However, I'm having consistent problems with it killing my Internet connection, which may mean I have to drop it in favor of another newsreader (NetNewsWire comes highly recommended).

I've never before had the experience of an application single-handedly killing my Internet connectivity, but I've been able to replicate the problem enough times that I'm quite sure it's not coincidence.

The problem occurs only when I'm viewing a site that I've set to show me web pages rather than the RSS entry--one if the features I like best about Shrook, really, so I'm loathe to just turn it off.

The process is this...I start up Shrook, it does its checking, all with no problem. I can then view entries from any of my "channels" without difficulty, until I get to one where the setting is to view web pages. More than 50% of the time (but not 100%, which is frustrating from a troubleshooting standpoint) nothing happens. No information appears in the window. And at that point, all of my other TCP/IP apps stop working. If I pull up the Network control panel in OS X, it shows me as being online with a valid IP address for 1-2 minutes after that, but then it switches to a 169.254 self-assigned IP. Attempting to renew my DHCP lease doesn't do anything; I have to restart the computer to get my connectivity back. This happens both at home and in the office, and only when I click on a Shrook entry that's been set for web page viewing.

(I'm running OS X 10.3.3 with all current software updates installed, btw.)

I figured I'd post about it in case anyone else has or had the same problem; I searched for it and couldn't find any other information about it. If you've got any ideas or solutions, please let me know!

Update, 4/26: It's getting worse; now it appears to be causing my connection to die without my even loading a web-view channel. I'll need to stop using it until an update comes out to address whatever network instability the application is introducing.

states i've spent time in

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Doing my map of visited states was a little harder than doing the countries. I started out with the criteria of "have spent the night there," so as to avoid including states I'd only flown over or walked through the airport of. However, I realized there were a number of states that I'd traveled visited on day trips (like Mississippi, when I lived in Alabama) that really seemed like they should be included, so I put those in as well.

The resulting map is interesting...clearly I've traveled a lot in the states, but I've not spent much time in the great plains. And I don't know how I managed to miss Wisconsin and Delaware when I visited all their its neighbors. Strange.

(Create your own personalized map of the USA on the World66 site.)

countries i've visited

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So I've been to 19 countries, which is only 8% of the countries in the world. Lots more traveling left to do. I've never been anywhere in Africa or South America or the South Pacific.

Create your own visited country map, courtesy of the MyWorld66 site.

you may ask yourself "how did i get here?"

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One of the questions I've been asked a lot lately, mostly by full-time academics, was how/why I started blogging. It's not a quick and easy answer, but I've been asked it enough now that it's probably worth having it here in a public and somewhat permanent form.

my rite of spring

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One of the nice things about maintaining a blog for more than a year is the ability to see annual cycles.

Every year, when Rochester shakes off its interminable wintry grayness and takes on the subtle gold-green of early spring, I'm reminded of my favorite Robert Frost poem, Nothing Gold Can Stay.

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

By mid-April, I've generally given up hope that spring will ever arrive. But this year, I was able to look back in my archives and see that I'd posted the poem on April 22nd of last year. Mother Nature was consistent this year; I noticed on the drive home last night that we'd hit that golden moment. By this evening, it had already edged closer to green.

Anil has his annual panda joke; I'm thinking that this poem will be my annual ritual, a reminder to me that spring really does come to Rochester, every year.

when worlds collide converge


I spent most of the day Thursday at a workshop on cyber-communities sponsored by the sociology and anthropology departments here at RIT. (It was planned in conjunction with Howard Rheingold's visit, who gave a great talk last night; Weez and I streamed it from my laptop for #joiito members, and the official archived version is already available on the RIT web site in .ram format.)

There weren't very many people at the cyber-communities workshop, unfortunately, which was primarily due to the lack of good publicity for the workshop. Even though I was speaking at it in the afternoon, I didn't realize that some really cool people were going to be giving talks, including Keith Hampton (I'm writing up his excellent talk for M2M this weekend--in the meantime, check out his site and read his papers!), and Lori Kendall (whose book, Hanging Out in the Virtual Pub: Masculinities and Relationships Online, I'm going to have to get and read this summer). The only web page I could find for the workshop was a press release on the RIT news site--which seems surprising for a cyber communities activty. Why weren't "cyber tools" being used to promote this?

Part of the problem, I think, is the tendency for people who study about technology and its impact to disassociate themselves from those who study it directly. Happily, that's happening less and less at RIT--this week was a great example. On Wednesday, digital poet Loss Pequeño Glazier , founder of the Electronic Poetry Center at SUNY Buffalo, gave a wonderful talk on campus. He was there as part of a series of talks for a digital poetry my mom is team-teaching this year, and they've brought in a number of technology focused people (including me...) to talk to the class. The cyber-communities presentations included talks by several people from IT or technology fields, as well.

What was particularly nice about my day yesterday was that it marked the first time that my RIT world has significantly intersected with my social computing world. Having Howard and Keith on campus, going to dinner with them and colleagues from RIT, was both strange and wonderful. I've felt for the past year or so as though I've been living dual professional lives, and yesterday was the first time it felt as though the two might be converging rather than diverging.

So yesterday was wonderful, and today I woke up to a birthday with sunshine and spring air and birds chasing each other around the backyard. It's shaping up to be one of the best birthdays ever. And on that note, I'm headed outside to play!

havin' a party


dc_e_fuzzyWe're having a (small) party on Friday night for my birthday, and Weez has been dropping fabulous discs in my office to fit the "cocktail lounge" theme that we've chosen.

The best of the bunch is one called Ultra-Lounge, which has (I kid you not) a leopard-print velour cover on the disc.

Turns out that UltraLounge has a web site, complete with streaming lounge music and a whole lotta compilations. w00t! I'm craving the Tiki Sampler...may have to acquire that one for myself.

rheingold @ rit

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howard rheingoldHoward Rheingold arrives in Rochester tonight, and will be speaking on campus tomorrow evening at 7:30pm as part of RIT's Gannett Lecture Series.

If you've ever heard Howard speak, you probably don't need me to tell you it's well worth attending the talk. If you haven't heard Howard speak...well, it's well worth attending the talk!

You can visit Howard's web site for more information on him, and/or the Smart Mobs site that supports his excellent recent book.

books in the wild

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So clearly I'm late to the party in discovering Bookcrossing. But it's still worth writing about, if only because of how thoroughly it has captivated both me and my kids.

I first heard about the site when Scott Heiferman, founder of Meetup, spoke about it at the Microsoft social software symposium. I was intrigued--regular meetings of people who wanted to swap books? As a bibliophile whose house is full of books I'm unlikely to read again but hate to throw away, that sounded intriguing. I took a look at the Meetup site, and even signed up for one of the meetings...and then promptly forgot about it. This morning, I got an email reminding me about the upcoming Meetup (this Tuesday at Barnes and Noble), which I ignored.

Then I took my older son to Starbucks for our weekly ritual of "private time"--which usually involves a coffee shop and a couple of books. The Starbucks closest to us has a book exchange shelf, so we grabbed a couple of books and settled in. The one my son chose was an old favorite of mine, Flowers for Algernon. It turned out to be a little too depressing for him, but before we put it down I noticed the Bookcrossing label inside the front cover. I couldn't resist taking it home with me, just so I could see how the whole thing worked.

When I got home, I pulled out my computer and typed in the BCID (Bookcrossing ID number), and up popped the information about the book I had in my hand. It had been purchased at a used bookstore in Mississauga, Ontario. The person who bought it had sent it to an online friend in Rochester, who had then left it in our local Starbucks ("released it into the wild"). When we found it, and noted that on the site, it was then listed as "caught."

The boys were fascinated by the fact that we could find out where that exact book had come from. They were even more excited by the idea that we could tag our unwanted books, "release them," and then (hopefully) track them as they made their way to new homes.

The timing is perfect, since we're in the midst of a "clean sweep" operation here--going from a study, a guest room, and a shared room for the boys to separate rooms for each of them, and the study/guest room consolidated into the room that used to be theirs. It's been a great catalyst for cleaning up and cleaning out some of our possessions, and a lot of those are books that are long overdue for new homes and new readers.

So if you find a wild book with a BCID tag in it, do the right thing--go online and record it on the site, so that my kids (or others like us) will know what happened to their formerly beloved books. And think about releasing some of your own--it's easy enough to print labels and affix them to the books. You can register each book individually (they make it easy; enter the ISBN number and they attempt to retrieve not only the bibliographic info but also the cover art), or, if you have a lot of books, you can print pre-numbered labels and let the book recipients fill in the info when they get the book.

Oh...and if you're here in Rochester, come say hi on Tuesday at the Bookcrossing Meetup. I'll be there, probably with my 9yo in tow.

city envy


It's hard to read this (extraordinary) interview of Clay Shirky and not wish, just a little, that I lived in NYC.

But I live where I live for a lot of good reasons. Because I have family here. Because I have a job that (on most days) I love. Because I grew up in western NY and it feels like home, even when it's at its most gray and cold and depressing. (Oooo, look, I used it's and its properly in the same sentence!) And yes, because our four-bedroom house in a nice suburban neighborhood has lilacs budding and kids laughing in the front yard today, and cost us less than $120K six years ago.

Still, the interview gave me a serious case of city envy.

early birthday gift


LAFJust received a Librarian Action Figure in the mail. It was a gift from my new friend, the delightful Linda Stone (aka "The Valley Node").

Thanks, Linda! I love it!


eggs to spare


If you're craving an invitation to Breedster (a combination multi-player game, tamagotchi system, and social networking service in which you are a bug that can ingest, defacate, and fornicate), I have some extra eggs (which serve as invitations). Let me know.

fighting antisemitism

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Tonight is the first night of Passover.

As Michael Froomkin says, what better night to try to dislodge an antisemitic site from the first position in a Google search for "jew," and replace it with the Wikipedia entry for the term. Or, if you don't care for the Wikipedia, you could link to the Judaism 101 article "Who is a Jew." (Google weights pages in search results in part based on the number and rank of sites linking to the page; by linking to the Wikipedia and Judaism 101 pages rather than the antisemitic site, I help to increase their page rank. This is a process known as "Googlebombing," and it's the first time I've seen it used to address an ethically problematic result in Google's search results.)

There have number of incidents recently in my personal and professional lives that have reminded me that hatred and antisemitism are still alive and well and dwelling in our midst. What's almost as bad as the antisemitism is the lack of outrage it seems to generate in those who observe it. It's depressing, and demoralizing.

The Happy Tutor posed a classic question this week on his site: "Must those committed to tolerance tolerate the intolerant?" Then he responded in the affirmative, saying "Because the intolerant must learn to tolerate the tolerant, no less than the other way around, that we all might be forgiven and reintegrated with the Carnival of Self-Acknowledged Fools."

I suspect it's easier to tolerate the intolerant when what they're intolerant of is others rather than you and those you love.

hating the post, not the poster

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I don't know why I'm always surprised when people respond to my posts on controversial subjects with personal attacks and venom. It's not unique to the blogosphere, of course; I deal with this in academic politics all the time, as well.

There are plenty of people online whose ideas I disagree with, or whose writing makes me angry. But in general, I try to separate out my responses to their ideas from my responses to them as people--particularly if they're people with whom I've had little or no personal interaction.

I'm fine with someone coming onto my site and saying "I think that's a terrible idea," particularly if they say why they think that. And I've found that most interesting discussions start not with "That's stupid!" (or worse, "You're an asshole!") but rather with "Well, here's why I disagree." Ad hominem attacks do little to set the tone for a debate.

Don't like what I say? Then debate the ideas. Think what I say is rendered worthless by my very existence? Then stop reading. But don't poison my comments with venomous, hurtful remarks. From now on, personal attacks on this site will be deleted without comment. Repeat offenders will be banned from the site.

pledge of allegiance, rendered in powerpoint

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This is fabulous. Slate has provided us with a powerpoint version of the pledge of allegiance.

(via Jenny Levine)

margaret cho on prince

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Not only can she rock the house, she can write. Margaret Cho blogs the opening night of Prince's new Musicology tour.

There was an overwhelming moment onstage during the acoustic portion of the show, where its just Prince, and he's sitting on a stool playing guitar, and the crowd is unable to stop screaming. He just stopped for a moment. His eyes welled up with tears, as he looked out into the massive crowd of worshippers, kids who were now adults who had grown up with him, the purple light cutting into the blackness of the Staples Center. It seemed he hadn't played a show like this in years, to so many fans, and possibly that he'd forgotten how much he was loved. Maybe Paisley Park is an isolated place where they practice and record and work and then leave for the day, and that he just didn't remember, that it was Prince we all screamed for, and that love for him was a tidal wave of nostalgic bliss, and we loved him now as we always did and always will.

please pray for marshall


On the bus to the symposium on Tuesday morning, my phone rang. It was my husband calling to tell me about this.

Marshall is the "baby brother" of my stepdaughters (he's their mother's son from a subsequent marriage).

Our most recent information is that he's hanging on, and that he appears to be aware that his family (including Gerald's daughters) is there and with him.

If you're one who believes in the power of positive energy, or prayer (or even if you're not...), I'd be very grateful if you'd direct some towards Marshall right now.

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

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