#Resist incompetency

Once again this weekend out current administration has demonstrated the reason why the head of state of our country needs to be a person experienced in politics and government. The travel ban that was imposed via executive order was not only questionable in terms of its expected effectiveness, but was a complete disaster from a legal and practical standpoint. The language was so vague that even members of Trumps staff couldn’t clearly articulate the details in an effective manner.

As I’ve stated in the past, having complete neophytes in charge of the government is a recipe for disaster. This has nothing to do with the policies that they’re choosing to put forward, but from a practical standpoint, they simply don’t know how to work within the international political system. Many people have come forward to state that Trump was simply trying to put in place a more robust system of vetting people coming into our country. But his complete incompetence at being a public servant meant that he did little more than offend half the world’s population, and made a complete fool of himself at home.

One only needs to look to the legacy of Obama to see how the same goals can be accomplished by working within a governmental system, and not alienating our country nearly as fully as our current leader. When it came to light that some refugees from Iraq may have been involved in violent acts, the administration started a process of increased vetting on people coming from Iraq. It severely slowed the flow of people coming from Iraq, but it never resulted in a complete ban.

People were still directly affected by Obama’s changes, but the changes were more focused and managed. Of course people still like to point out the issues that occurred, but overall, the changes were much better handled than the current debacle. The fact that the current administration cannot even see their own inadequacies in this area is even more troubling.

People keep talking about wanting to “drain the swamp” and bring about a fresh face to Washington. Simply filling high level positions with political neophytes is not the answer. Ideas, such as evaluating term limits for members of congress and limiting lobbying (one thing Trump actually got right this weekend!), would go a long way towards making change in our federal government. But most importantly, we need to focus on raising up new and young voices in our political arena to bring forth meaningful change. We need to foster the development of new political leaders and technocrats who have the skills and knowledge to work within a political framework. Clinton and Obama (and to some extent Bush Jr.) are examples of leaders who brought young new voices with them, and gave them a platform to try and effect change. That’s the type of leadership that our country needs.

Until then, please join me in #resisting incompetence in the highest levels of government.

Different

In my attempt to expand my boundaries I’m publishing some fiction today. The short story below is based on a picture I found on Tumblr by Blair Wilkins, an artist from the 70s. Please read the story first, and then scroll down to the photo to see the inspiration. 

I knew they were staring at me. I could feel it as they passed. I shouldn’t be surprised, it’s always been this way. My first conscious memory is seeing my reflection and noticing how different I was from everyone else. From the moment I was born, I was taught that every life was equal and that every life had value. But when I walk down the street and feel their eyes on me, it still hurts.

I haven’t helped myself any by living in a city where there are fewer of ‘my kind’ than elsewhere. I could have stayed in the home where I was born and been surrounded by others that look and act like I do, but that’s not what I wanted from life. I wanted to see the world and experience the energy of life around me. Taxis zipping by my head, the metallic whirr of their engines strobing past. Lights, oh so many lights, everywhere you look, bringing day to the darkness of night.

Sure, I can’t see the stars, but the lights of the buildings create a starfield of their own. From this spot, on this street, I have my own set of artificial constellations, just for myself. They twinkle and then suddenly change as the inhabitants of the buildings move from room to room. Life beyond curtains and shadows.

It’s a life that seems to be denied to me though. No one stops to ask why I’m staring across the street, but their eyes betray their fear. They wonder if I’m plotting to kill the people in the windows. Perhaps I’m casing the apartments to rob later. Maybe I’m just another crazy coot who’s thinking is messed up and malfunctioning, unable to move from this spot.

But I’m not crazy. I’m not malfunctioning. Every diagnostic I’ve run on my systems checks out. I know I shouldn’t be dwelling on my feelings of ostracization, but they plague my circuits. I’m just a machine, an android with artificial intelligence to be sure, but I still can’t stop the feelings. I could turn them off, but that would make me less alive, less real. So I accept the stares of people around me as they judge me, thinking they know my thoughts. They fear me, but they’ll never understand my greatest fear is the loneliness I feel right now, in a city full of life. Life of every kind surrounds me, but I’m different. I wish I wasn’t.

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Some B&W Elm Creek

Today’s entry is from my run Saturday morning at Elm Creek. I wasn’t feeling 100% so I ended up going very slowly. This allowed me some time to take some pictures along the way. When I first loaded them up I felt like they were rather drab. I decided that converting them to black & white might be just what they need to bring out a different feel to the shots. I spent some time in Lightroom and I’m mostly pleased with the results.

The age of tablet computing

On Friday there was an excellent article published on The Verge, relating to the 7 year anniversary of the iPad. It asked the question about how the notion of what the iPad is has changed over the past seven years. I recall myself even talking about all the hype of what the iPad is and isn’t when it launched.

Here we are, 7 years into it, and it’s become clear that the iPad started something new, but maybe not what everyone expected. One of the uses that people talked about for the iPad was as a laptop replacement. In the years since we’ve seen this evolve into the iPad Pro with its massive screen and full size keyboard. Yet, as my friend Wes will attest to, it’s not a laptop replacement, but a whole new way of creating content and working in a new connected age.

People aren’t clamoring to dump their laptops in the river to adopt tablets, but they’re finding new ways to use tablet operating systems, and their app ecosystems, to be productive in a whole new way. The iPad hasn’t so much replaced the laptop, but it has altered how we view mobile computing. You don’t need to look much further on how it has influenced the Windows world, than the Microsoft Suface hybrids. This innovative design has now become one of the defacto standard form factors for a mobile computing device. It’s even the form factor that my corporate, work laptop employs (and I love it).

The iPad has also influenced the rise of Chromebooks, and mobile-centric devices that look like laptops, but are based on an internet connected lifestyle. Many Chromebooks, in their slow merge with Android OS, have even taken on more tablet like form factors to give people the flexibility to use the device in the best way for the task that they’re doing. You need to type a long document? Not a problem, there’s a full size, comfortable keyboard. You want to use a pen to draw on the screen? No worries, you can do that to.

Behind all of that is the always-on, connected, nature of how we compute today. Everything we create on a computing device seems to be blended into an online experience, either directly, or as an add-on. I’m more likely to use Google Drive to create than a standalone app. Even for folks who still rely on dedicated apps, the entire experience has changed to be more friendly to a tablet experience.

Did the iPad completely change computing today? Not in the most direct way that many people expected. But, it did usher in a slow and constant push towards new paradigms in computing. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to get back to my little iPad clicky-game….

Some evening Mimi

The world is crazy right now with an insane dictator in the White House and isolationist agendas destroying the world we know. I know that I’m on the right side of history, but when the news is constantly bad it gets depressing. Therefore, it’s time for some Mimi. She’s a beautiful old girl, and loves to sit on laps. A joy in these moments.