Archive for July, 2011

As promised, yard cleanup before and after pictures

Posted by on Friday, 22 July, 2011

Our anniversary present to ourselves: saving our backs. We did that by hiring a landscape crew to do our yard cleanup for us. Some of the best money we’ve spent! Here’s the proof…

Side by side comparisons of before/after the cleanup… sadly, it isn’t quite as dramatic in the pictures as it is in person:

Now all we need to do is maintain it… shouldn’t be too hard, right? RIGHT?


Some brief thoughts on Google+

Posted by on Thursday, 14 July, 2011

The past week has seen an amazing buzz surrounding Google+ as serious competition for social networking tools. Most people seem to be comparing it to Facebook for some reason. Personally, I think that is rather short sighted. G+ is not really a direct competitor to Facebook nor Twitter. Rather, G+ fills a gap which exists between those two monoliths. A comment on one of the various G+ conversations I’d seen over the week likened this to the game of thrones, wherein the result will not be a single victor, but rather the demolition of thrones¬† at all, where no one site will be dominant. I think that is the likely outcome to all of this… as I’ve said before, use that which works for you. I am on nearly every site for varying reasons, as I find value in each. I won’t be leaving one for the other until such a time as there is no value for me to gain form it. Much like my reasons for dropping MySpace, I simply got no value from my account on that site, so I finally let it go.

When it comes to G+, I’ve also seen a very disparate view of the party. In my experience thus far, there has been immediate and dynamic conversation sprouting up and gaining serious traction. For others, however, I’ve noted them likening their experience to entering an empty room. I attribute this directly to how actively those people have added to their circles, and how active the people in their circles at posting. In my case, I now have 137 people in my circles, a solid 20 of which are fairly active at posting. Because of those numbers, I am immediately able to see value in the space since there is activity in the space. Much like real life relationships, you get out what you put in. The same is true for G+, Facebook, twitter, Tumblr, and any other social network you join… after all, relationships are the basis of social!

For me, G+ is quickly becoming a widespread network of connections with whom I can globally collaborate, engage, and learn. Posts in G+ thus far seem to be more substantive, richer, thoughtful, and of higher quality than those coming across my Facebook news feed. While I -think- my twitter feed is just as substantive, the quality of those posts seems to be inhibited by the 140 character limitation, whereas G+ takes a long form approach and allows for those posts to be fully expressed not truncated. Plus, the multimedia aspect of G+ is implemented far better than in either Facebook or Twitter.  Oddly, this is the only area in which I think Tumblr may have a leg up, as tumblr does multimedia VERY well. The downside of tumblr, of course, if the conversation aspect is disjointed, difficult, and even hidden. So, while Tumblr may present multimedia content in a better fashion, I really am just a consumer, not a participant. G+ takes the cake again when it comes to enabling good discussion surrounding the originating posts.

When it comes to controlling and organizing how you post content to your streams, Circles are brilliant. I have even more ideas about how Circles can possibly be improved, but for that conversation you’re going to need to head over to Google+ and read my public post on the matter:

While you’re there, feel free to add me to your circles if you’re also on G+… if you aren’t there, feel free to ping me for an invite so we can continue this conversation and/or engage in others! You can find my profile at:


Some brief thoughts on the Media and our Judicial System

Posted by on Tuesday, 5 July, 2011

(as couched in the verdict levied today in the Casey Anthony trial)

Here is the problem with the media being so intertwined with our justice system… After watching the Casey Anthony case, the public at large now thinks they have the right to judge and and lay down a guilty verdict upon her, regardless of the court proceedings, and regardless of how the jury came to their verdict.

While the media filters ‘facts’ through their ratings tinted lenses, we all seem to have forgotten that 12 jurors had to deliberate, vote, and lay their determination based on the proceedings and facts presented. Is it so difficult to believe that perhaps the media has skewed our perception of what may really have happened? Do we all really think we know better because we saw a 30 second spot on TV or read a 3 paragraph news article? I’d love to hold the media as greatly responsible for the deep distrust society has for our system, but really, I can only blame our own arrogance;¬† our own belief that we know better because we have a little knowledge.

I know I wasn’t on the jury; I have no place to lay blame or judgment. I, for one, can only identify 12 people who DO have that capability and responsibility. The rest of us get to trust that their decision was more well informed and thoughtful than ours ever could be with only the media to influence our perception of the case.

The media has served to thoroughly break our trust in the system time and time again by providing tidbits of information disguised as fact. And, once broken, that trust is near to impossible to regain… even once we realize that cherry-picked facts never provide the whole story; that our condemnation of the accused may have been misguided by poor journalism standards and partial truths.