Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mozilla Firefox 3 release

Not sure about the party hats and the surge of downloads but next Tuesday - June 17 - Mozilla releases Firefox 3. Don't know about you but I love using Firefox over Explorer. It's more intuitive for one thing. I really like the multiple open tabs. I'm sure there are ways to make it dance better than I do but its definitely my browser of choice - and I like Microsoft products for the most part. Big advantage is its security - or so I've read - and the new release is even better. The updates are smooth as butter. Thank you developers!

Everyone knows I'm no wizard but wizards I know heartily recommend its use. Tip o' the hat to my pal, Tom Sowa, who alerted me via his .txt blog.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Weekly Media Diet

David Reich tagged me a week or so with the Media Diet meme. He got touched by C.B. at Flooring the Consumer who was asked by Blog till You Drop's Lolly. Arun was tagged by Ryan - who was tagged by David the same time as me. Life really IS a cycle of circles, a network of connections-wouldn't you agree? Pic is my under 30 yo niece reading the newspaper - a habit developed over the generations. Warning: this post is link heavy.

These are some serious media consumers. My media diet might be bland in comparison. What I read, watch and listen to creates my own little media niche. I feel each of us define & grow our own base of knowledge through the increasing mounds of available information. Sadly, the misinformation begins to outweigh the good stuff. There are influences along the path but those are for another meme - something like "major impacts to my thinking" or "what I've learned from gurus" posts.

Media I read - My hometown daily newspaper The Spokesman-Review - every day*. A carrier brings it to me. I prefer it in print but read it online in a pinch. Frankly, its a pain to boot my pc before the coffee is brewed. Plus, I spend my spare money on bikes and guitars so nothing remains for gadgets like Blackberry, iPhone or Treo. I like the smell of ink. I like the way a story can move me through a range of emotions. I like the box scores during baseball season. When traveling, I buy the local paper. Here is the main reason. At minimum, the front page of your local paper provides 5 things you can talk about - have a conversation - with anybody at any time. It also presents the opportunity to remember what they were - today it was the earthquake in China, a battle for superintendent of schools in the state of Washington, McCain talks about global warming, a local human rights activist retires, and the bonehead who refused to turn his cell phone off in flight resulting in arrest. I also like to read the NYT, SF Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, Des Moines Register and Waterloo Courier online. Admittedly, not every day do I read and/or visit. Their email feeds alert me to stories of interest.

Part of my monthly diet, magazine and newsletters are a basic food group - The Nation, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Bicycling, Adventure Cyclist, Utne Reader, Wired, Washington Spectator, Real Money along with publications from the charities I favor. All of these are consumed hard copy and then recycled. Again, in a pinch, I'll access online. Like now - when I needed the links. The trouble with me reading online is I'm easily distracted. There are far too many places to visit. I am poorly disciplined and tend to wander.

Media I watch - live - Jeopardy, Dancing with the Stars & Mariners Baseball. Via tape - Grey's Anatomy, SNL and a wide array of movies. I currently possess over 1200 VCR tapes with 3-4 movies on each one. The earliest is from 1922 - Nosferatu - and the latest are current. My favorite HBO series are The Wire, Big Love, The Sopranos, Entourage, and Showtime's Weeds. I LOVE the big screen. Movies I've watched this year - with popcorn - are Juno, The Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford, There Will Be Blood, and No Country for Old Men. I'm also fond of YouTube - a real easy place to get lost.

Media I listen to - right this moment it's Phil Lesh and Friends on Internet Archive. I listen to Stephanie Miller - laughing out loud at her morning drive time radio on the AM frequency. Occasionally, I'll catch local public radio - KPBX - on the FM. On XM, I listen to Bluesville, Bluegrass Junction, Deep Tracks - especially developing a fondness for Tom Petty's Buried Treasure and Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour. I catch the Tapers Section at along with GD Radio Hour hosted by David Gans.

While not strictly consumption but for pure listening pleasure - and community building - I jam with a bluegrass bunch twice a week.

My media diet has changed over the last 50 years but the basics remain the same. This week is not much different than the last 52! I've become more of a media glutton for no other reason than availability - heck, there's 170 radio choices on the XM. Frankly, it's astounding all of the message is available via the medium called internet. It is everywhere and there's still only 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and 365 days in a year, 366 in a leap year.

Choose willfully - consume wisely. Take your proper portions. And ride your bike now more than ever. The media smorgasbord will wait.

I'm tagging Mario, Cody, Robyn and Jackie. Realizing you are all focused, play when you can. Anybody else who wants to play, here's an open invitation. The weather is warming up in the NW.

*full disclosure - I work for the local newspaper

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Every day is Earth Day - "On Your Left"!

When I was in HS, ecology was scorned and Earth Day was a celebration for the new activist. We were only just being exposed to our impact on Mother Earth. Here's a little something from the "founder". We are still learning how our actions effect future generations. The result is that today its a movement - action, marketing, advertising ... the works. Green is the buzzword and beyond. Who says you can't change the world?

In honor of gently treading upon our rock in space, I favor riding a bike. "On Your Left" is a term of warning when passing another rider or someone walking along the path. No way for me to tell how many readers are local or how many climb onto a saddle. Just in case, here is a link to a survey for cyclists who use the streets in Spokane. We are currently updating the Master Bike Plan for the city. Does your city have a bicycle plan?

An organization based in SF is planning and designing for a Bicycle City in every state. Washington, DC is trying a SmartBike program. It's funded at least in part by a division of Clear Channel. At first glance, this program appears to be a great example of private and public enterprise coming together. Anything to move people from point A to point B with one less car is a giant step.

Ten Ideas for a better today and the 364 days leading up to Earth Day 2009 -

1 - climb on your bike
2 - count how many days in a month you can avoid turning on your car ignition
3 - plant a tree
4 - remember to carry your reusable cloth bag to the market
5 - find biodegradable shampoos and soaps - use them
6 - switch that darn incandescent light bulb
7 - reduce, reuse, and recycle metal, paper and plastic. support organizations who walk the talk.
8 - if you must print something - print on both sides of your printer paper
9 - use tap water - buy a filter if you must - its cheaper, cleaner, and you don't have to toss a bottle
10 - add your own by letting your imagination fly

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday's for Art

A few months back I began posting about aspects of Art on Fridays. You loyal readers will note a decided slowdown in this "regular" part of One Reader. Life happens :)

An aspect of Art that I've grown to love is it's intersection with Science and Technology. One of the best examples is Leonardo. The Italian Renaissance opened doors to the matrix that along with Art and Science included humanism, religion and self-awareness. To me, the finest example is Michelangelo's David.

Yesterday, I wandered onto a site created by The Baltimore Sun newspaper. The site is part of their effort to reach the elusive 18-34 yo members of US culture. While 34 is but a foggy memory, I really like what they are doing.

Here's the feature that caught my eye. But the real story is the student/designer/artist Rebecca Stern. Her work combines technology with her passion for art. Its worth a look at the projects to learn she and her colleagues are immersed in. A couple of my favorites are SensorSquid and DeclarativeLampProject. Both are open source exploring the links between creativity, community and imagination.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

About the future, hope, and yes we can

Last - and only - time I visited NYC was 1972. We visited a teacher in his classroom in the Bronx. The school - PS-something or other - was rundown, in need of paint, and appeared abandoned. Jaime, the teacher, was a friend of the guy, Bob, who took us on the trip. He reflected on how much he loved teaching but how difficult it was to focus and ultimately "teach" the kids within the environment.

I'm not naive enough to think this video is representative of every HS in NYC. Or in the US. These are obviously gifted children. The classroom size alone reflects a special group. Racism is not simply solved.

It is solved through one speech, one election, one YouTube video, one group of people, one conversation.

One at a time. One little instance at a time.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Good News, Bad News - Congrats, Des Moines!

Of course, the real point is Spokane's catapult into the top 10. Forbes magazine ranks our fair city # 9 in its yearly Best Places for Business and Careers. We've always been known as the biggest city between Minneapolis and Seattle. The good news is more people will take notice - the bad news is more people will take notice :) We don't have RAGBRAI but we do have a nice river plus riding trails.

You'll need to visit to discover the real secrets. Hint: mostly it centers around driving less than an hour in any direction! Let me know and we'll have a grand time. You can all stay at my house - only rule is we don't talk business!

Here's how the top 10 rolls out:

Raleigh NC
Boise ID
Fort Collins CO
Des Moines IA
Lexington KY
Atlanta GA
Richmond VA
Olympia WA
Spokane WA
Knoxville TN

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Cool the World

When the temperature spikes to 30 degrees, its time for the first bike ride to work. Along come feelings of hope, optimism, and change. One less car contributes to the wellness of everyone. One small change impacts one person at a time.

Ecospace sends a newsletter chockful of items endlessly fascinating items. Today's "buried deep" story links to a haunting music loop by an artist, Deborah Pardes. Its called "Cool the World". Simple melody, wonderful message, and a call to action. As a bonus, it offers anyone with video skills to create a picture show.

Hack away all the doubt and fear. Rid yourself of political bias. Listen to the science. Time for a change, readers. Its not as hard as you think. Make conscious choices. Its real - we have but one journey, one world - let's enjoy the ride.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Play - Have Fun

Online magazine SMITH has just published a book "Not quite what I was planning" that contains six-word memoirs. Here is mine -

Be more rather than do more.

I believe we're called human beings rather that human doings.

Happy March 2008!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Feel Spring Coming

Its a few months away but Bike to Work in Spokane - my home place - has an active group of planning volunteers. I got email from BarbC with a request to post it on my blog. Here it is and I'll keep plugging away. The logo displayed is courtesy of the website - Bike to Work Spokane. May is the month and 12-16 is the week. This is the 50th Bike to Work month - though some say 57th. I can find no definitive source but that's a bit like cycling - its got a lot to do with freedom!

While I realize not everyone who visits One Reader shares my love of cycling, it's never too late. As often happens, a spark of an idea can turn into a flame. If winter's bracing chill has got you down - jump on a bike and you'll warm right up. Second best is taking a walk. Short advice - not that you need any - get outside to beat the blues. Rode on Saturday and it was a darn tasty treat. If the weather warms just a touch, it will be time to begin rides to work.

Help spread the word!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Strike ends - More strikes on the way!

A victory for the organized of the world! Overwhelming writers approval. The best quote?

Michael R. Perry, a writer for “Persons Unknown” and other TV dramas, said the deal made him hopeful the guild and studios could be “partners in a growing pie” of Internet revenue.

I want them to be fabulously, filthy rich. I just want my piece,” Perry said.

Hope springs eternal (thanks to Ryan @ the News Tribune) - even while Congress listens to more half truths - now with live blogging.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Trash total from week Two

My trash from week 2 weighed in at 1.22 lbs - which is nearly 3 lbs. less than last week. Most of the savings came by planning ahead - taking coffee in my own mug - thanks Next Door - and packing a thermos of milk for lunch. Those "to go" cups make a big difference. I've even switched to a mug if sitting in the coffee shop!

Planning ahead makes a huge difference. In all fairness, this weigh in did not include all of the junk mail - like last week. There is a place in town - EarthWorks - that takes mixed use paper for a small fee of $.08 per pound. They shred it and send it to an outfit that makes some sort of outdoor equipment. Deb says the next step is to "follow our trash" to see where it really ends up! That might take some serious planning.

One thing for certain - this exercise showed me that just thinking about waste makes a huge difference. It effects the choices I make.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Trash Stinks after a week!

Phew!!! Gross is right. The odor was beginning to raise a few eyebrows. Ya think I should have rinses out the milk cartons and yogurt containers? Here's my total trash accumulation for a week - 4 lb 1.5 oz. It would have weighed a little lower but my 15 year old alarm clock broke on Thursday - I loved that clock.

A couple things about this first week of the experiment surprised me. Number one was how much more aware I became about alternative choices. There is something to be said for experiential learning. My brain focused on choices for the future. There were a couple times mid-week that I wanted to switch to a reusable coffee cup. But to set a base trash weight (BTW), I had decided that business as usual was best. Secondly, this was a "light" mail week - and still it added a lot to the gross total. Really torn between ending direct mail solicitations from my favorite causes or finding a local recycler that takes mixed paper i.e. junk mail. Thirdly, there were a ton of places I visited focused on reduce, reuse and recycle. Either I was just more aware or there is something in the air.

Future forward design for the world you inhabit - Inhabit

No Impact Man - a family in NYC challenging current convention and behavior. The blog that inspired my experiment.

Sustainable Living with a Lighter Footstep.

Trashformations - a blog about fun and easy ways to live green.

THE spot to learn more - Co-op America - Economic action for a just planet. Membership is a bargain!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Pox on Plastic Bags

The collectors come right right to the end of my driveway every Thursday. This week the Rubbermaid container is a bit lighter. I'm holding my personal trash to weigh until tomorrow. Its contained in two carry-out plastic bags. Odd for someone who has committed to shrinking his footprint. While I've carried only one plastic bag into the house in 2008, I am a product of the 21st century.

But wait - there appears to be a movement afoot! The NYC council has passed a law for business to recycle plastic bags. San Francisco leads the way in the US with an outright BAN on plastic bags. Melbourne, Australia and Sydney close, also ban the blight that has become a bottomless pile in kitchens around the world. China's cabinet has issued a ban, along with a fine for usage after June 1. Today at my Toastmaster's Club, a woman delivered a speech on recycling. Something is in the air!

Anne Barnard wrote the Times piece and also the blog post. Be sure to check the comments section for the wit that only New Yorkers can share. I particularly like the first one :) I'm skeptical at how successful an initiative directed at merchants can be. But it is an excellent first step.

One of the bloggers at The Blue Voice, marigolds2, posts a snappy entry with great links. My favorite is reusable bags - a site with endless choices previously mentioned. If you're into chic, colorful and home grown then Baggubags is your spot. Created and distributed by mother and daughter, Joan and Emily, they are in CA.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

It's Tuesday - The Bag Begins Bursting

Today - everywhere I look people carry water bottles. Chris Jordan is an artist in Seattle whose work puts consumerism into stark perspective. He's big on statistics though he calls it "Running the Numbers". Check out his photo about 1/4 way down the page link. His statement strikes at our humanity:

My underlying desire is to emphasize the role of the individual in a society that is increasingly enormous, incomprehensible, and overwhelming.
This is NOT about guilt - its about doing what's best for the planet. Jordan uses his images to help us consider the value of one. I'm not a big water bottle user - I'm a re-user - but damn am I gathering to-go coffee cups! I can see that next week will find me becoming a travel mug coffee drinker. Wonder what the barista will say? If its anything like the response from the grocery store when I use my own cloth bag, it will be a humorous time. They look at me like I have 2 heads - which I don't....yet :)

Yesterday's trash: coffee cups, paper towels, yogurt container (non-recyclable so far as I can tell), napkins, mixed paper, miscellaneous bag is bulging. The custodian at work is going to think I'm on holiday! No trash to pull! HA

For hi-resolution - go to the originating site from Cornell University.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Footprint Awareness - Days 2 & 3

Saturdays trash that would normally go into the garbage can is to the right - three Papa Murphy's take and bake pizza trays (had to have bread AND cinnamon twirl), a couple to go coffees, napkins, straws, etc. Sundays was more of the same minus the pizza ( I ate at Subway). It ain't pretty! It's garbage for pete sake :) I've only had to go into the trash can to retrieve items 4 or 5 times. Some habits are hard to break! And I didn't open my mail on Saturday - it was all bills!

This is turning into a fascinating experiment. Thinking before acting makes a big difference. Already, I am imagining ways to cut down my footprint. In measurement experiment, there needs to be a control number or base. Creating a base wight of garbage for comparison purposes is the goal this week. I'll weigh it on Friday. Next week, I'll implement ways of making the whole mess lighter.

Living low impact has been part of my lifestyle for a number of years. I live in the Pacific Northwest - its crunchy here - so it goes with the territory. We recycle, we hug trees, we ride bikes (not like Portland but....), we sell aluminum! Still, focusing in this specific way is sharpening some thoughtless actions.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Reducing my Trash Footprint

Here's my garbage from 1.11.2008. I won't bore you with each item but I'd say its about average. A combination of coffee cups, sandwich wrapping, a couple straws, napkins and an emery board. The sand was worn of it so I tossed it. This also is today's mail - mostly junk.

In order to reduce my ecological footprint, I need to recognize it's size. Here's the plan - I'll collect all my trash for two weeks. Photograph it daily and blog about it daily. The first week is intended to focus my brain on how much garbage I create. In the 2nd week, I'll try to reduce it. Simple, right? I'm stealing the idea from Frog Design and Tess' Trash Challenge. I currently recycle newspaper, magazines, plastic, glass, tin, aluminum and clothes I haven't worn in a year. I'm going to try to live smaller still.

I'll admit to being obsessive enough to tackle this challenge. There is a finite amount of space on this rock in space we call home. About 66% of it can be considered productive which means it is capable of meeting all our needs and absorbing all our waste. Based on current world population, there are about 4.45 productive acres per person per year. The average global citizen has a footprint of about 5.56 acres per year. This will come as no shock but the average US citizen footprint is about 23 acres per person per year. We got big feet.

Try one of these sites to learn more and do more about your footprint.
Adventures with Bobbie Bigfoot - set up for the kid in all of us. If everyone was my Bobbie, we'd need 1.8 planets. Bit of a surprise!
Best Foot Forward: Bringing Sustainability Down to Earth - UK based calculator - if everybody lived like me, we would need 2.2 planets - YIPES!
Ecological Footprint Quiz - site is upgrading to new quiz. A lot of technical info on the concept of ecological footprint.
Conservation International - 10 question quiz which takes a couple minutes. I discover my score is 49. My title is Eco-Apprentice. Already I can see ways to be reduce my footprint mostly in the food choices I make.
The Green Office:Carbon Offsetting - Geared toward those who manage an office with multiple workers. I may try this at work - on my break time, of course :)

I like Frog Design and my local One Man's Trash.

In the next 14 days, we'll see how I progress. Here's the size of today's bag - it fits in my chair.