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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Airport body scanner controversy

Posted by Dawn-Ann on November 17, 2010

I haven’t really been paying attention to this whole body scanner thing. You know, the one that takes transparent, real-life looking images of your personal body parts, allegedly to spot any contraband you may be carrying. After all, I haven’t flown much lately.

But I just found this article and it has given me pause for thought. Stepchick has been stewing about her upcoming flight plans and worrying about just accepting the imaging or subjecting herself to a “groin grope and feeling up.” And maybe she has good reason to worry?

Read Stepchick’s article here. As she says, “For my friend with a colostomy bag. For my sister with a partial breast reconstruction. For the oh-so-many other women who have been raped or molested. There has to be a better way.”

New genealogy site unveiled

Posted by Dawn-Ann on July 11, 2010

Well, not exactly new, but it’s a new template designed by moi.

It’s the refreshed Alberta Family Histories Society website and it’s been a long time coming. I’ve been working on it in my “spare time,” tweaking and refining until it was good enough to go live.

I can already see some things I’d do differently but what the hey? It was a learning experience! :)

Facebook free, three days and counting

Posted by Dawn-Ann on May 20, 2010

First cup o' coffee

Well, I did it. I joined the Facebook protesters who are leaving in droves, peeved at the blatant disregard FB has for our privacy and security. It actually feels pretty good to be free!

I agonized over it for awhile, don’t get me wrong. It was rather convenient to have all my friends and family in one place, after all. But Zuck’s adolescent antics had done their work. The bad taste that was left in my mouth by this whole affair made gorgonzola cheese taste like nectar of the gods. I had been soured on Facebook but good.

Day one was a little tough. There was a mild sense of withdrawal and thinking “what have I done?” But day two and three were already much better. Instead of stalking my friends, I have been spending time on my own things – some of my projects, volunteer work, and even (gasp) relaxing with Tom. It’s actually been quite nice.

And I can still contact any of my friends any time I want to – just by other means. Some of us are playing around with alternatives, to get a feel for what’s out there, but the bottom line is that we want to take control of information that’s available about us in cyberspace.

I may have to enlist a friend’s help in finding out what, if any, of my profile still remains. Facebook makes it tremendously difficult to delete your account and says it won’t happen for 14 days (I’m rolling my eyes here). Until that time, people can still tag me in photos and see my previous posts. You can just bet Facebook does that hoping I’ll change my mind.

But I won’t.

If you need help finding the delete button, here’s an article on the subject.

Take back the ‘Net, take back your privacy

Posted by Dawn-Ann on May 12, 2010

I’ll be leaving Facebook soon, so am looking around for fun alternatives. After all, I kinda like staying in touch with everyone. I’m playing around with Google’s Orkut, but not too many of my friends are there yet.

In my searching, I came across Diaspora. A group of four enterprising young men have come up with the brilliant idea of creating a collaboration of resources to host your data, so you can display what you want when you want.

The world must be ready for them. Their goal was to raise $10,000 and as of this writing they have already raised six times that. Go Diaspora guys!

Blog analytics

Posted by Dawn-Ann on September 14, 2009

It’s so interesting to analyze where my blog visitors are coming from and what they’re looking for. I recently had a look and here is how some people are finding my site:

  • Kirkpatrick family research (definitely the number one hit-maker!)
  • Facebook profile
  • Links from my email signature line
  • Searching for something I’ve written about, such as wee homes or urban homesteading
  • Some people have even started searching for me by name

One person has even stolen one of my pictures already. I’ve now hit the big time. I’m a real blogger!

Here is a cool map that Statcounter has generated for me showing all the places my readers come from. Welcome to each and every one of you!

Visitors as of September 12, 2009

This is cute: “Romancing your blog”

Posted by Dawn-Ann on July 26, 2009

I don’t know a lot of people who maintain blogs (although, I think the number may be higher than I am aware of), but some of my friends and passers by may get something out of this. It’s a cute article called Romancing your blog and it’s packed with a lot of great suggestions for how to improve your blog work. Suggestions like: Look At Your Blog As A Long-Term Commitment; Trying To Juggle More Than One Blog Is Dangerous; and, Share What’s Great About Your Blog With The World.

Worth a look, I’d say!

Dion’s first impressions of Google’s Wave

Posted by Dawn-Ann on July 25, 2009

Google’s new Wave, coming soon, has had me intrigued from the first time I saw the video. I plan to be one of the first in line to try it out and just can’t wait for the day.

So I was gratified to read Dion Hinchcliffe’s article on his first experiences with Wave. Although Dion is looking at the product from a business perspective (as an enterprise solution) and I am looking at it from a social perspective (to replace Facebook), he has some valuable insights to share.

Have a read. Bottom line – I’m even more excited than I was before!

Seven settles in

Posted by Dawn-Ann on June 25, 2009

I bought myself a Roomba because, a) our vacuum got removed in the renos, b) I hate vacuuming, and c) I hate having a dirty floor and it doesn’t clean itself. Well, Seven is the next best thing.

I named her Seven after Star Trek’s 7 of 9 character because she has to dock to rest and replenish her energy levels. She buzzes around the house and I took some video footage with my other new toy – a little Flip video camera.

I’m really tickled with my first Youtube upload. It’s simple but it’s a start. Enjoy!

Author says challenging simple concepts can save planet

Posted by Dawn-Ann on May 29, 2009

Going green doesn’t have to mean using less power or slower economic growth

    OTTAWA, May 29 /CNW Telbec/ – Author and democracy activist Frances Moore Lappé says we already know how to solve the pressing issues of our time, such as climate change and world hunger.
    But she says our own pre-conceived ideas about how things should work – our mental map of the world – is actually preventing us from taking action.
    In a speech at Ottawa’s Carleton University as part of the 78th Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Lappé called for a wholesale revamping of the way we view government, the economy and democracy. If we manage to do it, she says, we can save ourselves from our own demise.
    Lappé, made famous in the 1970s by her bestselling vegetarian cookbook Diet for a Small Planet, is an activist, author and co-founder with her daughter Anna Lappé of The Small Planet Institute. She says many people today are frightened by the potential for disaster, ecological and otherwise, and fearful that nothing can be done to prevent it. Lappé says we can do something – if we challenge five assumptions about the way the world works.
    The first is that going green means “powering down,” or reducing our consumption of energy. Lappé says all we have to do is stop getting energy from fossil fuels and start getting it from renewable sources like the sun.
    “Every day the sun supplies us with 15,000 times the amount of energy we’re now using in fossil fuels,” she says. If everyone had a solar panel or windmill on their roof, we wouldn’t be dependent on oil companies – and as
individuals we’d feel more in control of our own destiny.
    The second idea to dispense with, she says, is that going green means an end to economic growth. What we have to do, she says, is change our idea of what growth is. Right now, she says, the Walton family – owners of Wal-Mart -
controls as much wealth as the bottom 40 per cent of the U.S. population. Is it growth if the wealthy families just get wealthier?
    There’s plenty of room for growth, she says, if we learn to do things more efficiently. For example, she says various estimates show that between 25 and 50 per cent of all food produced in the United States is wasted. And that every year, Americans throw out some 300 pounds of packaging material.
    The third idea she wants to challenge is the notion that humans are by nature greedy, self-centred and materialistic. Under certain conditions, she said, we can be monsters. But there wouldn’t be 6.8 billion of us on the planet today if we didn’t also have positive qualities such as empathy, cooperation and fairness. As a society, she said we should simply try to make sure our rules try to bring out the best, not the worst in us.
    The fourth idea she disputes is that we dislike rules. She says humans crave structure, particularly rules that make sense to us as individuals and which foster a sense of inclusion. We will accept the right rules, she says, citing as an example a German law that enables individual citizens to sell power they produce at home, through renewable sources such windmills or solar panels for example, to utilities at a guaranteed price. People there have embraced the idea, she says.
    The final concept she wants to challenge is the idea that our problems are so pressing there’s no time for democracy, and only an authoritarian regime can save us. She believes the only hope for the planet is to trust in people and set rules that bring out the best in us.
    “The mother of all issues is who makes the decisions,” she says, adding that if decisions are taken by people with the most money, we all suffer.
    Lappé says she’s not against a market economy – just the idea that there’s only one way to run the economy.
    She also wants to challenge the idea, she says, that change is impossible. Recent history has shown that seemingly insoluble problems have in fact been solved. “It’s not possible to know what’s possible.”

    Organized by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Congress 2009 brings together over 8,000 researchers from Canada and around the world.

My new baby

Posted by Dawn-Ann on March 7, 2009

Because I tend to travel a fair amount (and like to stay connected when I do), I jumped when I first saw this little beauty. She’s an Acer Aspire and she looks like a laptop but she’s tiny. She fits in my purse and can pick up wi-fi hotspots over a very large range. She has a crystal-clear display AND she only cost me $400! Does it get any better than that?

She's my new baby. I haven't named her yet, but she DOES keep me up at night. I finally took her to bed with me the other night just to keep each other happy. ;)

I haven't named her yet, but she DOES keep me up at night.

I should add that this is not just another pretty face. This girl has a huge amount of disk space and runs XP just like my home computer. The only thing I’m not happy with is that it came with a trial STUDENT edition of Office 2007, but that’s no biggie. I’ve downloaded Open Office and am going to give it a try instead. It’s free and I’ve always wanted to play with it.