2nd Peeve – Analog vs. Digital, Brick and Mortar vs. the Cloud

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I’m a techie. I love technology. Always have, always will.

I’ve worked with “bleeding-edge” technology and literally had serial numbers 01 and 02 of gear over the years. I did a stint doing development in Silicon Valley and spent five years on a 1,600 person NASA prime contract. Having worked at a space flight center and having been around astronauts, when I say, “this is not rocket science…” I am speaking from experience!

From that perspective I have to question the effects – positive and negative, of our relentless drive from analog to digital, brick & mortar to the cloud.

Admittedly our current progression just makes sense. Some rather perplexing technological desires and in some instances problems are finally being solved, and it promises to give us amazing capabilities at great price points. At the same time I have to wonder about how some cultural things will affected.

If you are like me, you love to read: books, magazines, books on tape/CD/MP3…My question is, How do you make your selections?  Recommendations from family and friends plays a big part. For me, with rather diverse interests that do not necessarily trend with the pop culture, I prefer to go on explorations.

When time allows, usually once or twice per month, I’ll visit either my local libraries – both Dallas and Plano, or try to find a bookstore. My process entails an exploration. Based upon my interests at the time I’ll do a hunt and peck through the aisles. I love it. Browsing the books and magazines has opened new horizons for me. It’s sort of like doing a manual web browse, except there is a higher tactile and visual element to it.

Here’s my quandary: Libraries are shrinking and bookstores are becoming nonexistent. Other than a local Barnes and Noble and two Half Price Books there are virtually no more brick and mortar book stores. What a shame!

As we drive to access everything electronically we are losing some of our cultures oldest resources. What we are losing sight of is that these locations are much more than just periodical repositories. Libraries are critical meeting places for students and community organizations. While in the Haggard library, Plano, this past weekend I noticed that upstairs it was packed. The meeting rooms were full, most of the terminals were occupied and most of the tables were in use. When I headed over to the Addison Barnes and Noble I noticed that the coffee shop was packed also. People were playing chess. Another group was having a meeting and bunch of students were working on something and a few individuals bumped into each other and were catching up. It was energizing!

I encourage you take the following polls and jump in with your observations?

Here are 3 questions to you:

1.

2.

3. (I’ll have more to discuss about cloud access and reliability in a future txpeeves posting)

1st Peeve – North Texas vs. the world and how we care for persons of special needs

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h1>North Texas vs. the World

Dallas Morning News – Article Misses Attitudes Towards a Whole Population That Limits Growth In Region

fI read an interesting article in the Dallas Morning News Points section a few Sundays ago. Titled: “North Texas vs. the world” (citation below) it addressed economic issues, global competition and our region. Focusing primarily on the area’s economics, it pointed out that the region faired fairly well over the past couple of years, but we still have some economic challenges.

The article commented that the two major economic centers – Dallas-Plano and Fort Worth-Arlington metro areas – can no longer afford to compete against one another…

When looking at our North Texas area, I’ll define it as the following counties: Dallas, Collin, Denton and Tarrant, I think we have a social issue that affects not only the people living here, but potential talent, their families and companies from either relocating or remaining here.

That problem is how we care for those individuals that are disabled or have intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

While the State of Texas has focused attention on reducing the populations of State Institutions.  Virtually nothing has been accomplished in reducing the potential homelessness and abuse of people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) that live in the community.

Previously, disabled individuals lived out their lives living with their families. This is no longer the case. Disabled individuals are living longer, and are expected to outlive their parents! This is the first generation of adults living with IDD that will be living outside their family’s housing and outside of institutions as adults.

Census data and community input shows that 20% of caregivers in Texas are over the age of 60, and 35% are aged 41-59.

How big is the problem?

According to test standards and studies, about 2.7% of the Texas population (or about 679,000 people) are at or below an IQ score of 70 (the legal level for Mental Retardation) and have some degree of intellectual disability.  (Source: Texas DADs 2/11).

When you combine this with fact that Texas has the 2nd lowest percentage of households with retirement income at 13.6% (2009 census data) it should make you shudder.

85% of parents of adult children with disabilities have fears about their child after they die. (Easter Seals, Living with Disabilities Study)  Parents are being faced with the choice of having to bankrupt themselves so their adult disabled child will not become homeless.

If you were an individual, family member or company looking to relocate, would you consider the North Texas region?

I suspect not. What are your thoughts?

Take the poll and post your opinions.

==

Article citation:

Dallas Morning News, Sunday, April 1, 2012, Points section, Page 6P

http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/sunday-commentary/20120330-richard-florida-and-james-spaniolo-north-texas-is-stronger-together.ece

  • Note: this link will allow you to view the article if you have a subscription. The DMN does not make it easy to find their published articles. It took me multiple attempts! I am not sure if there is a way to see the article if you are not a subscriber 😦

Aside

Welcome to Texas Peeves

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Welcome to Texas Peeves, a place to read, ponder, educated, become educated and discuss a range of topics from your pet peeves to your ethereal thoughts and everything in-between.

This blog is a living record of my and the participating community’s opinions. As such I expect it to evolve, grow and mature in numerous ways. I assume the tenor of tomorrow’s modern political discourse will shape Texas Peeves.

Initially Texas Peeves will concentrate on a few broad areas:

  1. Peeves – how could we not start with what annoys us?
  2. Esoterica – there are just things out there that don’t fit nicely into one easily definable topic heading.
  3. Community & Service Related – I have been and will continue to attempt to give back. Those that have heard me present over the years have heard me speak of insights great and small I gained from others that truly helped me and my family. Regardless of political correctness, I learned a long time ago that without the assistance of others our society and those less fortunate would not be where it/they are today.
  4. Outside Interests & Hobbies: photography, camping, music, literature, art and shadow the “I wonder dog” It’s what I do when not “on the clock”.
  5. Appeasements – Those that know me know that while I am not politically correct, it is not and has never been my intention to insult or be an affront to others. Unfortunately, from time to time it happens. Here is where I can attempt to make amends.
  6. Ethereal Thoughts – There are things that are just bigger than ourselves and our everyday lives and issues that are worthy of discussing.

At the start postings will be mine. In many instances I may have had input from others ranging from friends, family, business associates and commentary from a range of press and periodicals I read regularly.  Whenever possible, I will attempt to credit those key sources.

You will find that my writing style is somewhat long. What I assume is a mild case of ADHD that can be both a blessing and curse. Combined with being neither right-brain nor left-brain dominant: I’m one of those people that are “middle-brain” oriented and have the ability to take strong qualities from both hemispheres of the brain. I benefit from the left side’s logic as well as the right’s intuition.

Put differently, I can be verbal, detail-oriented, logical and forward-looking – mechanistic one moment and spatial, intuitive, thought provoking intuitive, almost emotional and spontaneous – almost introverted the next.  Does this make you think of the movie, “Being John Malkovich”?

Jumping back to style, I enjoy taking the contrarian view if for no other reason than to get everyone thinking. It’s almost like verbal sparring. Please do not be offended. In many instances these positions are not what I ascribe to. They are merely a means to generate discussion.

I encourage you to comment. Don’t be shy. That said, please try not offend or direct your comments at others. We can agree, disagree vehemently without creating a personal affront.

Lastly, give me your feedback. What’s on your mind? What’s your peeve?

Outside Interests & Hobbies – Photography – Nikon Coolpix P100 Makes The Grade

Anyone that knows me, knows that I have only a few outside interests other than my family; I consider Shadow, our 70 pound black lab part of the family. What can I say, I’m a dog lover.

Side note: if anyone is looking for a rescue dog, the folks at DFW Lab Rescue are great. (http://www.dfwlabrescue.org/) I fully support their mission and all the effort the volunteers put in.

But I am off topic, this post is about photography. Like most hobbyists, I spent years running around with first with my 35mm equipment and sometimes with my 2 ¼, an assortment of lenses, a Bogen tripod that weighed as much as a small animal, flashes, filters, backdrops during the period I got into portraiture, and a myriad of other stuff.

It was backbreaking but definitely worth it. While an amateur, I have gotten some photos over the years that I am rather proud to show. Well as you can imagine, the tonnage just did not match up with my other hobby, camping.

I’ve been camping, canoeing, rafting and light climbing since I was a child. My lens assortment was great. Ranging from a standalone wide angle lens to a moderately fast 300 mm and a few intermediate zooms, they provided great flexibility. I must confess though, that bashing a big lens on a canyon wall while rafting through a rapid on the Colorado River was not too great. At least I got a fair image out of it!

Over the years I switched to digital, a Canon EOS Digital body with a few new lenses. During the time my son Jeff was in Scouting working his way to Eagle, we went camping once per month for a few years. Add summer and winter camps – usually a week each, my attending Wood Badge training along with a few extended trips with the family and I had lots of opportunity to shoot the outdoors.

My love of outdoors photography began to centralize on panoramas: big panoramas. People that know me, especially the teckie me, can’t see me taking off my watch, turning off my phone, my 2-way pager in the 90’s, my  computers, tablet, etc. etc. Photography was the only way I could express to others what this beautiful country is like.

It really started coming together for me a few years ago. There is nothing like standing high in a canyon range or relatively alone in a river bed and taking it all in.

Well as I said, the flexibility of all that stuff just was incongruous with my desire to get out there.

As my early digital equipment was getting old I decided to take a rather radical turn, for me at least. I’ve been experimenting for the last few years with a one of the new super zooms on the market.

My choice was the Nikon Coolpix P100. It’s a pretty nifty little camera. I know, the serious shooters are saying, Huh? It’s a glorified point-and-shoot. Well, I guess it is, but is weights about 17.0 oz., has a fairly nice piece of glass – 26x optical zoom with a couple of different types of image stabilization, macro capability, 10 Megapixels resolution – fair, full 1080 HD video with stereo audio, what was at the time a version of their new backside illuminated CMOS sensor, a really bright 3.0-inch vari-angle HVGA Color Display, oh and did I say it weighs just over a pound?

Well there was a learning curve – a few actually. Going from Canon to Nikon: that alone is almost a left brain right brain thing, going to a fixed lens system, and on.

Well, as Mikie says, “I like it, I really like it”.  There have been some rather large trade-offs, but the P100 really got points last september during a fly fishing trip to the

Owhyee River in southeast Oregon. There’s just something about being mid body deep in a river, wearing waders in this case, using your walking stick for balance and then reaching overhead into your daypack for camera and being able to really perform.  There is just no way I could have done that with my old set-up. Again, please remember, I am a hobbyiest, but you judge for yourselves and tell me what you think.

Assuming I can get it all together, my wife and I will be going to Big Bend Ranch State Park. According to Texas Parks and Recreation, “…he scenic drive along the River Road, following the meanders of the Rio Grande, is among the most spectacular in the nation…”

Here are a few samples of of my panoramas. What are your thoughts? To all you photographers reading this, is it worth the tradeoff?

If anyone from Nikon or Canon, Soney Leica, Olympus, etc. is reading this, I’d love to test some of your new equipment during this summer’s trip. Please call me.

The Galena Overlook – Northern Idaho.

Cathedral – Central Park West – New York City.

Owahyee River, Oregon.

Fly fishermen on the Owhyee River, Oregon.

Winter on the Mississippi River, St. Paul, MN.

Panorama of Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho.

Flower on side of Gun Lake, Michigan.

Pretty evil looking spider in the back yard!

Stage side, Opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Dallas, TX.

Looking up – Opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Dallas, TX.

Collage – The Puppet Parade

Costumed Performer – Opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Dallas, TX

Boating at Sunset

River Sunset

July 4th – Cedar Creek Lake, Texas

Big Tex – State Fair 2011

Texas Rangers – Panorama

Sunset – Cedar Creek Lake, Texas.

Texas Peeves Disclaimer

Here is my Disclaimer:

  1. Please understand that the writings here, mine or anyone else’s are not necessarily politically correct. That said, IT IS NOT MY INTENTION to either be insensitive to someone or offend anyone.
  2. I officially apologize if I inadvertently offended your or your organization, etc. Feel free to let me know so I do not do it again.
  3. The posts, re-posts, images, photos, videos, links, etc. on the txpeeves site – those developed by me or added by readers or contributing posters, do not necessarily represent the positions of myself, my employers or any organizations I may be a member of.
  4. Please assume that the posts are for discussion purposes and in some cases enjoyment.
  5. Unless specifically stated, the posts on txpeeves are intended to be non-partisan commentary, observations and opinions. If they seem to hit too close to home, maybe some reflection is necessary. See #2 above.

Esoterica – Lobbying & “Cows with Guns!”

I was doing some research this morning on the difference been advocacy and lobbying, more on that at some other time, and I can across a great video animation. I found it humerous, enjoyable and worth the five minutes.

What do you think of the animation?

While on the topic what do think are the differences between advocates and lobbyist? In a few days I’ll post some definitions for everyone to read. The distinctions are interesting.

Cows With Guns
By Dana Lyons