I See A Pattern Here

Sarah is a Walnut Hills alumna (how could I forget), so my eye notices things about WHHS. So, I ended up reading this story about the head football coach resigning, in the midst of a 30-game losing streak.

You have to read to the end to get to the funny part:

Walnut Hills' 30-game football losing streak marked the area's longest since Amelia also lost 30 straight, a streak that ended in October 2005. Amelia broke its streak by beating Walnut Hills 12-0 in the final game of the 2005 season.
But wait, there's more!
Entering Friday, Walnut Hills had not won a varsity football game in more than three years. The Eagles' last win was 35-0 over Amelia on Sept. 17, 2004, the fourth week of the '04 season.
Amelia is on the schedule on October 12. Go Eagles!

Twitter Sucks, Somewhat

After using Twitter for a couple weeks or so, I like the service and the idea well enough. But the site itself is pissing me off.


Tales of performance woes and downtime on Twitter have not been greatly exaggerated. I had heard of these problems before, but now I get to experience them firsthand. About a quarter of the time I click on anything, the site just hangs, or the little Ajax progress indicator swirly-thing in the corner of the page just spins and spins and spins.


Another quarter of the time I click on anything, I get an error message, or the request returns, but without having effected the intended result. As a result, my home page is littered with twitters from some spammo turd and I can't seem to unfollow him, and there are people I would like to follow, but can't. At least I think I can't - sometimes I get their updates. But I guess getting an error or incorrect results is better than waiting indefinitely for no results.


They really need to clarify some of the flows through the whole system. If I log on to IM and message OFF, does my phone get messages? What if I message ON to IM, then go to my home page, and click Send To Phone (assuming it works)? The documentation on the site is mediocre. But I can't say much there because nobody likes documentation.

In Conclusion

Twitter was the first large-scale, super-popular, consumer internet site built with Ruby on Rails. There has been much debate on the merits of that decision. Now, there are other successful Rails sites out there, including the 37signals folks, and Zvents. But I wonder how wide their audience is and/or how much traffic they get. (And there a lot of newsy, CMS-type sites, but simply publishing articles doesn't really turn me on.)

Personally, I'm not impressed with Rails when I consider Twitter. I don't know if it's the language, or their developers, but neither speaks well for Rails. Of course, I say that having coded exactly one Rails app in my life. These days, I can make PHP do anything for me (of course, it wasn't easy getting here).

Captcha Cincinnati

So yesterday I signed up for Capture Cincinnati, a collaboration between CiNWeekly, C-Change, and Pediment Books. The concept is simple: the public uploads photos, the public votes on photos, the best photos are made into a book and DVD. My questions is: who made the website?

Because I think it's a great website. Love the design, love the look-and-feel, love the navigation. It's intuitive and responsive. Very web 2.0, dare I say. But from the links at the bottom I can't figure out who built it. It differs so much from the other Gannett properties - not to mention that it's just better than other Gannett websites - that it couldn't be Gannett. I don't know much about C-Change, but it didn't sound like they built it. I don't know anything about the publisher, but they didn't claim it either. I'm just curious.

By the way, vote for my photos!

Progressive Cincinnati

The topic in Sunday's Forum was the Independent Living program run by Lighthouse Youth Services and Hamilton County. In a nutshell, the program places 17-yr-old foster kids in their own apartment. They are given some financial support, but other than that must operate pretty much on their own. They must hold down a part-time job, manage their income, their rent, their laundry, their meals, and all the while finish their (ideally) last year of high school.

It's a great program, especially when you consider most foster kids, upon turning 18, are "handed bus fare and their belongings in plastic garbage bags, sometimes being chauffeured to the nearest Salvation Army shelter." I know 18 is considered adult in our society, but how many 18-yr-olds do you know who can suddenly live on their own with no family?

I'd heard about Independent Living before from Sarah, who sees some of her kids enter foster care under Lighthouse, and from CityBeat. But this is what I never knew: the Lighthouse Independent Living program started right here in Cincinnati and is now considered a best-practices model being implemented all across the country.

Who knew Cincinnati was so progressive?

Meeting People In My Neighborhood

Sarah and I get two parking spots for our townhouse. One spot is directly in front of our unit. The other spot is in the parking lot past the other end of our row and at the bottom of the hill. I give her the spot in front because I figure she has to be at work at a certain time and I don't.

So every day I get home from work, and I have to walk up the hill, past all of our neighbors.

But I don't mind. This way, I get to talk to some of our neighbors on the way home. I figure I know about half the people in the complex. Don't get me wrong. Sometimes, after a long day, I sprint up the hill, muttering, "Please, please, let nobody talk to me." But usually I like it. It really is one of the qualities of living in the city. Sometimes, you just can't avoid your neighbor. Another quality is that parking will be a pain in the ass. In this case, the two qualities are intertwined.

So there's that and also, most days, the walk is the only way to keep my legs from atrophying after sitting at my desk all day long.


For god's sake, more coverage of Brenda Nesselroad-Slaby? As if two weeks of unrelenting stories and video of her police interview and video of her dropping off doughnuts moments before Cecilia's death weren't enough, now we have exclusive photos of... the inside of her car.

At least the print edition doesn't have the the same photo front and center, like it did recently with a vidcap from her police interview.

Not to say I haven't read each and every one of those articles (I did not watch the videos!).

Because the Enquirer is right about one thing: the story provokes, I believe, some interesting opinions on topics ranging from equality in our justice system across race and class, to the frenetic lives many middle-to-upper class Americans are leading right now.

In a society that is moving faster and faster, observe: a 40-yr-old mother with a 2-yr old and a 5-yr old, an assistant principal, earning $70-$80k/yr. Put another way, a career woman holding off children like many career women these days, doing well for herself compared to most women, her daughter's not-too-common name, and her own hyphenated surname. From her interview today, she had tried to do be everything to everybody, a super mom and a super administrator.

Let me point out some other things. Admittedly, I am biased because I hear about some nightmares in education every day. Nesselroad-Slaby was at the bakery by 6:30 am, at work by 7 am for her 7:15 am school-openeing meeting that was to last 8 hours. The woman was up by 6 am at the latest. I know that there are millions of career mothers who have never left their children in their cars. But all it takes is one time. And how many of them consistently wake up before 6 am every morning?

Some months ago, a poor, young, single African mother was arrested for locking her two children in the closet while she went to work. Her children were taken away. The children were fine save some bruises, hungry - I think they had pissed themselves or something. Apparently, she had done it many times before. This mother was single and poor. No father to watch the kids. No money for daycare or a babysitter. No father to earn extra money. Have to have a job. America is worst in the world when it comes to policies for working mothers. What was she supposed to do? Now she has a criminal record. Her young children will grow up in foster care for quite some time probably. Any chances her son/daughter will contribute to a single parent family himself/herself?

The mother who accidentally forgot her 2-yr-old daughter in her car deserves no charges and no jail time. Honestly, I don't believe the poor, African mother deserved any either. In the single mother's case, of course she made a (bad) choice to leave her children at home, when she should have sought help from either friends or from government programs that are available. But if she didn't have any friends, and these programs are not ideal or she didn't even know about them, then it doesn't leave many options. I'm not sure what the solution would have been for her case, but locking her up and taking away her kids certainly does not get at the root causes.

Not Quite A Cubicle

So Zipscene just moved offices. Our new place is pretty sweet. Here is a picture of my desk.

I guess one of the perks of working an unconventional job is you get to work in an unconventional office.

Blogging... Microblogging... Nanoblogging?

I just signed up for a Twitter account. In the way that blogging has become a way to keep your audience informed of your whatever via short (paragraph scale), somewhat frequent posts on a web page, Twitter, and now also, Jaiku and Pownce, present microblogging (did I see that somewhere, or did I make that up?), a way to to keep your audience informed of your whatever via very short (sentence scale), very frequent (multiple times per day) updates, ideally over SMS.

So what's next, you may ask? How do you make this more real-time? And is this crap really necessary? If there is something that is next, you better start building it.