31 July 2008

[teh_funnay] Do You Like Dallas? How About Space:1999?


Never have the time to watch both of them? Just watch them simulaneously ...

This is what I spent my creative time today doing. iMovie and QuickTime Pro can get quite a bit of work done, if you know how to use 'em right.

But I'm using Vimeo because YouTube will upload it, but will not play nice to it; it adds about fifty seconds to the video. Result: video out of synch with audio from the get-go. (Update: YouTube finally converted it correctly after I wrote it out of QuickTime Pro as an AVI. It is now housed at YouTube)

Anyway, watch, laugh, adore me. I do and do and do for you people!

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29 July 2008

[design, film] Objectified: Because If It's From Gary Hustwit, It Has To Be Good


(via The Fire Wire RSS Feed) It seems to me that Gary Hustwit is fast becoming this generation's great popular documentarist and explainer of big-d-design. Of course, Helvetica hit it over the fences. Now, we hear, he's turned his attention toward the field of industrial design with a new film coming up called Objectified.

Of course, if he'd stopped at Helvetica, he'd be my hero, and no mistake there.

I'm really looking forward to this one. They had me at the graphic design, naturally.

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[fonts, teh_funnay] You'll Never Believe What Happened At The Font Conference


Or, what happens when danger threatens your cache.

This is not leaked video from TypeCon. But it should be.

See more funny videos and funny pictures at CollegeHumor.

Who knew Comic Sans would save the day?

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28 July 2008

[Address_Nerd] Morgan Wick's Street Blade Gallery


Some time ago I put out a call hoping to have people share thier street blade photos with me. I obsess on them, and I know there may be people who have pictures they want to share but don't care to bother with a blog or putting up a personal web page. That invitation still stands, though it has only been lightly taken up.

The next best thing is chatting with someone who puts up a pretty cool gallery. Morgan Wick has done this. In his gallery (surf it here) he has a whole armful of Seattle blades, which exist in a handful of obvious and interesting vintages. I've always enjoyed the look of Seattle blades, and he has a good selection of them ... but also he has blades from SoCal towns, including Beverly Hills, LA, and Santa Monica. There's even one of Hollywood and Vine.

View it all here, and here's one more appetizer which I found particularly interesting:

(All Images are property of and copyright Morgan Wick)

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[design] Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro – This Tool Rocks


I love Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro.

See what I had to say about at Designorati here.

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27 July 2008

[bloggage] He/We Like The Cut Of Our/His Jib


We announce that we not only like and link to The Fire Wire, but he likes/links back to us.

And he asked! How cool is that?

It's worth reading. Great geeky news about movies and graphic novels and gadgets and ...

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26 July 2008

[the_prisoner] AMC's "The Prisoner": This Could End In Tears


After being alerted by The Fire Wire that an AMC "reinterpretation" of The Prisoner was in the offing, I was ready to get the message. Today, on IO9. The message was sent.

The viral marketing campaign has fired its first salvo in the form of a rather appropriate puzzle. You can take a stab at it by going to seekthesix.com. It's actually quite a clever puzzle and no small bit of fun to unravel; I'll resist the impulse to document pictures of it at this time in order to allow anyone who wants to the fun of figuring it out for themselves. You will need Flash to play.

At the end you're invited to submit your email address and are assigned an (apparently) randomly-generated six-digit (oh hey!) number. Mine was 579528, which is a little offputting; if anything, I look more a 197291.

On AMC's blog keeping us up-to-date about their version, we learn that significant roles have been cast (they also punch the fan-service ticket with an 8-image gallery (on pic that belongs to Change of Mind miscredited to the episode A, B, & C) and a 10-question trivia quiz). The new face of Number 6 is to be Jim Caviezel; Ian McKellen is to be Number 2 (just the one Number 2?); and Lennie James, who famously portrayed the engimatic Robert Hawkins from the sadly ill-starred CBS series Jericho will play Number 147.

I have mixed feelings about it. I'll admit, after what I saw of AMC's reinterpreted Andromeda Strain and reading the review which came out to a nearly-unanimous "meh", I felt vindicated in my prejudging of the effort as a mostly-failed effort to follow the act of the original. And I feel that, just because the version of New we're being given by film producers these days is essentally Retreaded Old, that doesn't mean that what they do try shouldn't be well done.

I hope they approached "reinterpreting" (this word is fraught with peril) TP with the proper amount of thought and caution. Because, when you get right down to it, TP was pretty much done right the first time. Certainly, the series is a product of its time; the video technique seems dated and charming, but the message ... what you feel it is ... is evergreen. And the rendering is so very artistically unique that it is at once a moment of classic TV captured in amber as well as being timeless.

Above all, The Prisoner was a result of a lot of unique circumstances (the Portmeirion resort, the '60s secret-agent craze, cold war paranoia) coming together with and about one man and the people who worked with him (Patrick McGoohan's singular personality and POV gave the series its spark of life). It will be far too easy to apply a modern, fashionable gloss to it all ... which is what de-souled the latter-day Andromeda Strain.

I fear a Prisoner that looks done-by-committee.

And besides, commentary on surveillance paranoia these days seems to be .... well, redundant.

We keep our eyes on the horizon for this production with high hopes – and low expectations. To quote Madame Engadine from A, B, & C, "This will end in tears".

Of course, Number 6 replies to this with "All the best parties do". So we have that working for us.

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[tech] Google Earth, With Flight Simulator ... at No Extra Charge!


This has got to be one of the coolest Easter eggs ever.

As a free app, Google Earth hits it out of the park. But little did I know that it had a flight simulator built in. But commenter "My Left G'nad" advised (via yet another blog):

First of all you'll have to install the latest version of GE. Once you've started it all up, then all you have to do is hit Ctrl+Alt+A (if you're running OS X it's Command+Option+A; some people have reported that Ctrl+A or Ctrl+Windows+A work when the standard Ctrl+Alt+A does not). You must be in Earth mode (i.e. not Sky mode) for this to work

Hitting the key combination indicated gives you a dialog where you can choose either an F-14 jet or an SR-22 prop plane and allows you to pick a place to start (Kathmandu is the default ... sadly, no PDX). Study the key controls (it'll use a joystick if it detects one) and then start crashin' that plane!

Adding to the Easter Egg cred is the fact that after being used once, the Tools dropdown has grown a new item ... Enter Flight Simulator.

Judging by my few flights, those flight lessons would have been a waste ... had I ever actually had any.

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25 July 2008

[teh_funnay, design] You Suck At Photoshop #13: Donnie's Displacement


Hooray! Jump up and down and make happy noises and celebrate! You Suck at Photoshop #13: Displacement is live at MyDamnChannel!

Displacement is a mad cool tool. What it does is allow you to make a layer conform to an irregularly shaped layer, such as a layer containing type conform to a layer that is a wrinkled piece of fabric.

And Donnie explains it all to you ... you loser! (Not necessarily safe for work, remember, due to Donnie's trademark self-(and everyone else-) loathing):

It would seem that Donnie has more displacement issues than the one in Photoshop. But we'll leave that to his court-appointed therapist.

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24 July 2008

[liff] Murky Coffee: It Wasn't About The Quality After All.


In what we hope will be the footnote to the Murky Coffee Kerfluffle, Dale Sundstrom thought well enough of me to leave the following in the comments of the original post:

Murky's owner now admits the policy is NOT about the coffee.

In a discussion with me in the forums on CoffeeGeek, Nick Cho admitted that the main reason for the "no icing espresso" was not "Mostly for quality reasons," (the coffee) as he originally claimed, but to discourage the abuse of complimentary dairy products.

Setting policies for stuff like this just prevents your employees from using and developing their own good judgment and communication skills. Coffee and customer are both important; choosing one at the expense of the other is foolish and unnecessary.

The message thread can be found here; Dale's posting about it on his own site can be found here; WaPo's article about that whole thing here. What you think about Dale's conclusions can be found between your own ears.

But we can't help but wonder if things would have gone the way they did if Nick Cho had given his staff the freedom of saying the truth about it. Dairy products are expensive and even more so now; too many "poor-man's lattes" would be a significant cost. Half-n-half isn't cheap.

Thanks for the info, Dale. Tippin our coffee cap to you today.

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[net_liff, app_design] Google Earth Is A Surreal World


It's surreal in a good way, though. I adore Street View. After not having Google Earth on board here for a while, I re-downloaded it to see how it had grown.

The implementation of Street View in Google Earth requires a little bit of experimentation, there's a learning curve. But once you can finesse it, you get a really cool effect.

Enabling Street view causes a whole lot of little camera icons to appear, and they become more numerous the closer you zoom in (and they populate with the speed your connection allows). Clicking on any of these cameras, each one a position where the Google rover took a pic, will take you instantly to the Street View shot, and you can navigate about just as in the broswer-based version.

But if you zoom in just close enough, a positively sci-fi scene pertains:

Each camera position turns into a little "bubble", a miniaturized fish-eye view from the camera's POV.

When these are clicked on, you actually fall into the little bubble, and once you contact the surface, the fish-eye scene flattens out to take up the whole screen. The smoothness will depend on the speed of your processor of course. If you look sharp, you'll see a bit of the underlying photograph reflected on the outside before you dive in, further reinforcing the "cyberspacey" feel of it all.

It's fun, and visually seductive.

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[liff] Not Every Day Is A Perfect One, Mah Peoples


Some no doubt question the wisdom of enscribing your bad days/weeks/however on a blog which, one of whose aims is, to promote oneself as a hopeful designer.

I would remind those that one of the opening themes of this chronicle were the ups and downs of a hopeful graphic desiger. Not every day is a bowl of cherries.

You've[1] never had a bad day when the world doesn't return you the love that you put into it? You've [1] never had a crappy week?

I fancy that this blog, as minor as it is, is a little more respectable if I keep it honest. Just not brutally honest (recalling Niven's 11th Law (There is a time and place for tact).  I certainly wouldn't respect myself if I wasn't tactfully honest with it.

[1] We use the editorial "you" in this case, not the personal "you".

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[liff] It's The Thought That Counts ... And I Treasure Them


A few days ago, I enscribed a post about how my life had been going lately. We've suffered losses and have had more than (I feel) our share of travails.

The funny thing about it all is that for me it's very paradoxical. I'm addicted to blogging, which is an outgrowth of my (sadly neglected ... because of the blogging mostly) diary keeping. It's an on-and-off habit that I've had since high-school. Honestly, I love writing, sometimes just for its own sake ... I love drawing the letters, I love stringing sentences together.

The funny thing, and the paradox, lies in the fact that I'm actually quite quiet and private. Why do I put up such things on a blog that anyone can read? Damned if I know. I know it's fun. I know it keeps me writing. I know I like trying on identities and attitudes and moods and themes and seeing how they play out.

But I'm going off course, again.

The main point is, I got a handful of very sincere wishes and thoughts on that post, and they really touched me and cheered me up. They came from Stan, Dale, Pril, and Kevin Allman. I am ineffably touched and encouraged by these responses, and they've cheered me a great deal (Kevin: what you said about the job market having nothing do to with my talent was magic).

Thank you, you four, for chiming in with encouragement. The scene is still shambolic; the job offer bucket still dry, and it's still day for day for us around here. We've bought some time in some areas. The car is still utterly disabled in the driveway. 

But I've got a little bit off courage back, and I'm facing what I can.

If anyone knows of anyone needing a hungry Junior Graphic Designer ... I'm still open and can jump on it immediately. Just sayin'.

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23 July 2008

[pdx_media] Willamette Week to the Midlands: Drop Dead


Perusing the WW's annual "Best of Portland" issue is always something of an adventure. It's, at the very least, an interesting tour of trends, fads, and witty writing.

On the other hand, being a resident off what I at one time referred to as "Baja Gresham" is something of a mixed bag. We are fortunate to live in a very quiet corner of town, out near 117th and SE Market, with neighbors who at least keep their nose out of your business if they're not going to be friendlies with you. On my own street, kitty corner and at the bend of the avenue, there's some people who keep chickens in thier back yard. Nobody ever complains aboout this.

The impression you get in the papes about my area of town is somewhat less encouraging. Distressed neighborhoods; Northwest Culture on the Skids. When The Big O's inPortland supplement did an article on the concept some time ago, the street scene used to anchor the article pictured about four blocks of SE Division near 112th Avenue.

Well, I'll go so far as to say that it's hardly the most picturesque corner of Portland, but hey, not everyplace can have that Pearlescent ambiance or require a regular Mark Twain to navigate the Mississippi Ave bars.

WW adds to the disrespect; you see, as far as the "Best of Portland"goes, the wittily-named "districts" that the publication uses to give character to town only go as far east as I-205. That's right, Midlanders, take it on the chin again; as far as WW goes, you aren't really cool enough to even be in Portland. Even though you are in Portland – at least out as far as 164th Avenue north of Stark, and 174th Avenue south of it.

It's easy to understand why it's hard to remember so much of Portland that lies east of I-205 gets forgotten. The information is cleverly hidden in documents called "maps". Here's an example of just such a map downloaded for free at extreme expense and personal risk from this link:

(note: use the link to view it in detail. The illustration is a cut-down version that won't take forever to load in your browser)

What's more ironic is that the name of that brown area extending south of the Banfield in the map is "The Outer Limits – the land east of 60th Avenue and south of the Banfield, where Oregonian reporters fear to tread".

Indeed. Certainly there must be a similarly-witty name for this area east of I-205, where, apparently, Willamette Week reporters fear to tread.

"Best of Portland"?

Best of "Portland", more like.

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22 July 2008

[or_liff] The List Of People Who Will Have To Settle For Dutch Bros, Or, Failing That, Folgers


(via The Fire Wire) Of the 600 Charbucks that are closing worldwide (which, remember, is less than 4% of the entire chain, making the announcement, we feel, something of a storm-in-a-french-press sort of thing) only six are in Oregon, and all of them are in the Portland Metro Area. From this list, then, here they are:


Oh? Well, no worries ... there's one over at 188th and Cornell ...


Aw, damn.

Well, seriously, though ... if you have trouble finding to-go coffee in any form over in Tanasbourne, then I got some serious worries about you, homeslice.

Moving east now:


If I recall correctly, this one was vandalized just before it opened. Score one for the People's Front of Judea! But that's not all ... Melusine deprivation disease also can be found at the other end of Ladd's Addition:


This one was also vandalized prior to opening, but this was actually the Judean People's Front ... or was it the Judean Popular People's Front? ... eh ...


Of course, they'll still have a café powered by Starbucks in the Barnes 'n' Noble. Again, if you can't find yourself a Starbuckless coffee outside of that in Clackamas Clown Center, then I wonder about you, homes.


The ironic thing is that, as I understand Tillamook, this is the tony end of town. And it's out near the cheese factory. Those folks will be reduced to Folgers ... at least until the Dutch Mafia sets up shop (at the rate they're going, that should be any day now).

Well, there you go. If you're anywhere near one of these shops (except for Tillamook) you may have to go anywhere up to seven to 10 extra blocks to find a Starbucks.

Good luck, and Godspeed.

UPDATE Tue 22 Jun 1030: It has been pointed out to me that Tillamook is, in fact, not actually in the Portland Metropolitan Area. Which is true. I knew this, I was just getting impressed with my own verbiage. Ah, the verbiage ... how GOOD it feels! It, however, is true that the nearest Dutch Bros stand to the Land Of Many Rivers is located in The Grove That Is Forested (at 2406 Pacific Ave, which you may plug into your Google), so there's still an opportunity out there, peoples!

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[blogtopia] Am I The Only One This Happens To?


Firefox and Safari browsers refuse to play nice with embeds from YouTube and MyDamnChannel. They won't work mostly, and when they do, they work wierdly ... video will freeze if I have to scroll off then back.

Video will work fine when I go to the YouTube/MyDamnChannel page. Just not on this blog.

OS X 10.4.11, PowerMac G4. All system up to date.

Just wonderin'.

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21 July 2008

[liff] Visual Graffito: YouTube Juxtaposition


The logic that gives you related videos at the end of a YouTube clip is just inscrutable sometimes:

Yeah, you read it right. THE DEAD IS [sic] RISING ... THEY'RE COMING b/w Olivia Eats A Hot Dog.

... though G4's Olvia sure is the hot-cha. I know some fellahs who'd endure the Living Dead if they knew that Olivia eating a hot dog was the reward. Heck, I just might be one of them!

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[liff] The Shambolic Zone


If I had known that recieving news that a dear friend and teacher would succumb would be the half of it, I would have said that you were nuts. But that's exactly what yesterday was for us. I, for one, am feeling like someone had been hitting me with a plank. I just want to lay down. We, however have obligations.

Yesterday, one important thing happened and went pear-shaped. The Subaru GL, our sturdy trooper, needed both front half-axles replaced. Bad. Both CV joints were shot and had been for quite some time.

We had the half-axles. We had a friend who knew enough about cars (and Subes in particular) to replace them, meaning that for feeding him pizza and beer, we could have the work done for just the cost of the parts. Sweet. He had just the one day to do it.

It happened ... halfway. And not the good half. While his skills are not in doubt, certain factors of the job turned out to be unexpectedly outside of our collective ken. And it developed as such after the time when we could turn back. The Rubicon had been crossed.

So it was, before I went into work last night, I sat, chewing on pizza, unable to eat more than a slice and a half (and with my appetite for pizza, this is remarkable). I had to force the last of merely two pieces in, and I was feeling as though I were about to throw up.

A dear friend is gone.

For the moment, our workhorse is lamed up and will have to be towed in for repair without the front wheels attached.

We have to get down to McMinnville to pay back taxes to avoid having a piece of property foreclosed on for taxes.

I still can't find a job in design.

I feel a wreck right now.

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19 July 2008

[modren_times] The Worst Building Evar ... It's Baaaaack ...


There's something about the 75-degree angle on the building's wings that just ... well, wrong, somehow. It disturbs. It's like the R'yleh Hilton. It has an impressive profile from orbit. If it had been completed when originally planned, it would have been the tallest hotel on the planet. It was begun in the '80s, left unfinished in 1992, and is finally being advanced after a span of 16 years.

It's the Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea. Impossible to ignore but forbidden to talk about, it's stood silently, all 105 unfinished stories of it, since 1992; airbrushed out of official city photos but there all the same; everyone aware of it but nobody talks about it.

Well, it looks as though work is finally proceeding on it. According to reports, a conglomerate has actually put windows and finish on the upper floors:

According to foreign residents in Pyongyang, Egypt's Orascom group has recently begun refurbishing the top floors of the three-sided pyramid-shaped hotel whose 330-metre (1,083 ft) frame dominates the Pyongyang skyline.

The firm has put glass panels into the concrete shell, installed telecommunications antennas -- even though the North forbids its citizens to own mobile phones -- and put up an artist's impression of what it will look like.

Yep, you read it right ... there's going to be cell phone towers, even though your average Cho can't have a cell phone.

Fear this building.

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[liff, caffeine] If You Think PDX Is Anal-Retentive About Our Coffee ...


(via Boingboing, and WARNING: SOME OF THE LINKS CONTAIN NAUGHTY ADULT WORDS!) Now, here in PDX we take our coffee pretty damn seriously. No matter what they say in Seattle, The Invasion of the Caffeine People started here; I remember having my first espresso in 1985 down at a place called Coffee Ritz which was in the Galleria (back when it was a real shopping center and not whatever it it they're now trying to reinvent it as (which apparently is allergic to the old Peterson's quick-shop)).

Anyway! One day very recently, an Arlington, VA area blogger and (who really cares what bloggers do for a living?) posted a rant about a negative experience he had in an Arlington area espressomonger's:

I just ordered my usual summertime pick-me-up: a triple shot of espresso dumped over ice. And the guy at the counter looked me in the eye with a straight face and said “I’m sorry, we can’t serve iced espresso here. It’s against our policy.”

The whole world turned brown and chunky for a second. Flecks of corn floated past my pupils, and it took me a second to blink it all away.

“Okay,” I said, “I’ll have a triple espresso and a cup of ice, please.”

He rolled his eyes and rang it up, took my money, gave me change. I stood there and waited. Then the barista called me over to the bar. I reached for it, and he leaned over and locked his eyes with mine, saying “Hey man. What you’re about to do … that’s really, really Not Okay.”

I could hear the capital letters in his voice, could see the gravity of the situation in his eyes.

Besides the mental image of a literal crapstorm being so eloquently enscribed (and going up on the wall as one of the greatest bits of verbiage EVAR) the exchange (albeit from one side at this point) sure seems ... well ... a bit over the top. Pouring the guy's espresso ... whether or not you find that coarse ... over some ice was going to, what ... open a rip in the fabric of time and space and destroy us all?

It just seemed a bit unreasonable ... and it reminded me of a situation me and The Wife had some years back. There's a restaurant building down on SE Milwaukie Avenue just south of Powell Blvd ... right behind the ARCO am/pm that was upthrust on that corner sometime during the late Creosote era (Chinuk legends refer to that ARCO) that was a Tastee-Freeze but was then just a convenient burger joint. And me and The Wife™ like to mix our fizzy beverages up (yes, we are that prole. I learned my tastes at the concession stand at the Palace Theater in Silverton ... where'd you all learn yours?). And we asked the waitron to give us a soda pop mixture.

And she just stared at us, slack-jawed, saying she couldn't do that.

And you go inside, why can't you? I'd understand if I was asking you to fry me a burger, dip it in the rinsewater and slather turned mayo on it, and you said you couldn't do that. But all I'm doing is asking you to mix up some soda pop for me. They do it everywhere else. I can do it myself at the gas station next door.

You are told "no, absolutely not" on a totally resonable request, and all of a sudden ... fight or flight kicks in. This isn't a "customer is always right" sort of thing. This is like getting told that you can't have three napkins ... only two or four. Never three. And then your world despins and up becomes down and you lose your bearings for just a moment.

Well, we didn't cop any attitude ... as I recall, we did go over to the am/pm and get what we wanted the way we wanted it ... but to this day it seems odd to be told "no" to something like that.

As far as our Arlington correspondent ... well, you never know where lightning will strike. After the initial post, someone over at BoingBoing pronounced it nifty, and from there it went ... to the Washington Post of all places. And then even the owner of the espresso shop responded ...

Okay, we don't do espresso over ice. Why? Number one, because we don't do it. Number two, because we don't do it. Mostly for quality reasons. Also, because more than half the time, it's abused (Google "ghetto latte").

We have some policies at murky coffee. No sleeping in the shop. If you're asleep, you'll be tapped on the shoulder and asked not to sleep in the shop. We've had to ban a customer because of his chronic napping.

No modifications to the Classic Cappuccino. No questions will be answered about the $5 Hot Chocolate (during the months we offer it). No espresso in a to-go cup. No espresso over ice. These are our policies. We have our reasons, and we're happy to share them.

To others reading this I will say that if you don't like the policies, I respectfully recommend that you find some other place that will give you what you want, or select something that we can offer you. David, the barista in question, is respectful, passionate, and cares about making good coffee, and he cares about murky's policies. Nobody's perfect, and maybe David could have chosen different words or a slightly different tack in responding to Jeff Simmermon's request. But that's life. At murky, we try to treat people with common courtesy, and expect the same from our customers. Not in response or in turn, but because that's how people are supposed to treat each other. We're not supposed to go through life looking for reasons to get pissed off. Life's too short for that sort of thing.

I could assay the comments, but there are just too dang many of them.

Or maybe they could have just given him his iced espresso (which, when you think about it, is just an iced Americano sans water) and insulted him when he left. There's a fine line about caring about quality and telling the man how he's going to enjoy his coffee. One of the commenters (and the original blogger) called it a "soup nazi" mentality, and it kind of looks that way.

Just to show I've got some sophistcation, I do know a thing or two about enjoying espresso. The "proper" way (if you will) to enjoy espresso is to remember that espresso is where we get our word "express" ... fast. Espresso is a very volatile beverage which will actually begin to degrade in quality if not consumed within about two minutes of its making. Moreover, it's the original energy beverage: everything bold and beautiful about coffee, and absolutely nothing else.

Here's how you drink an espresso:

  1. Recieve the espresso from the barista.

  2. Breathe in the aroma. Seriously. Just take a moment to do this. If that doesn't get your pleasure center going, take a pulse. You're probably dead.

  3. Sweeten with whatever sweetener you prefer.

  4. Drink, but don't savor too long. Consume quickly, not so quickly that you can't enjoy the flavor, nor so quickly that you burn your esophagus and mouth, but don't linger. Espresso is for the moment.

  5. Note the spring in your step and the way the world sparkles now.

Some coffees are overtures, some are lovely background music. Espresso is punctuation, with a shout. If you want to linger over your coffee, get a latte.

Now, all that being said, would I drink my espresso the way the aggrieved fellow did? In the words of the great Will Smith, Aw, HELL naw! But if I were a barista delivering an order? I'd give the fella what he wanted.

And then make fun of him after he left the store.

As the original blogger said at the end of that post:

Look, this thing has officially gotten overexposed. Way overexposed. I’ve been writing this thing for years, and this thing is just a tiny drop in a bigger bucket of other stuff that has nothing to do with overexercised outrage. The comments are closed here because really, what can ANYONE say that’s going to add a fresh perspective? Now that the Washington Post has done a story about this, it’s officially DONE.

Wasn't it H.L. Mencken who said that America ought to get what it deserves, and when it does, get it good and hard? You just can't predict where lightning will strike.

Thank God we live in PDX, where YAY CHARBUCKS IS CLOSING SIX STORES BOOYAH we're reasonable, considerate adults who grant our fellows the respect of having their own tastes for things.

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[net_liff] ... And Grace Helbig Studied At The Jedi MacGyver School


... and started with an actual MacGyver style S.A.K.:

Of course, making a light sabre out of a copy of the DVD of Little Women is just so ... right, yes?

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[net_liff] Michelle Vargas' iJedi Traning Is Complete ...


The iPhone; making Padawans of the masses. Though Michelle does have a certain panache about it.

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18 July 2008

[net_liff] The Featured Video At MyDamnChannel, Hand Picked by ... Me!


It's Raging Bullwinkle ... pleasantly twisted, note-perfect mashup of the great Scorsese film with the sensibility of Jay Ward (NSFW or kids, folks ... the approach is full-frontal Scorsese) ... :

The story behind the honor: Yesterday afternoon, The Mighty Grace emailed me asking if I wouldn't mind choosing what went into the Big Box on the front page of MyDamnChannel today (you'll know this as something which won a number of Webbys this year with Wainy Days and You Suck at Photoshop, amongst other time-wasting treats).

Thrilled? You bet. The problem with MyDamnChannel is that there's so much there to love. What to choose? Eventually I'd winnowed by choices down to Raging Bullwinkle (in the "Carnival of Stuff" channel) and the Rumplestiltskin episode of Grace's very own Bedtime Stories. It was a tough choice. But I was so impressed with the tone-perfect take on Raging Bull and the Bullwinkle character that resulted in the Raging Bullwinkle gem and I thought it was a bit underrated ... so let that one shine.

Grace's Bedtime Stories series are righteous, though, and no mistake. If I ever get to name another video to the Big Box, then it's that one for sure.

Here, for the sake of posterity, is the screenshot of the front page of MyDamnChannel for 18 July 2008, with my very own mark upon. Tasteful, don'youthink:

Do you know why I love MyDamnChannel? It's not just because of the interesting stuff. It's not just because of the comedy, which hits it out of the park every single time. It's all that, and MDC loves me right back.

My E-List Internet celebrity can no longer be denied. Now, if more people will only link to me ...

MyDamnChannel rocks, y'alls. And I'm not just saying that because I'm a Co-Con.

Oh, and follow Grace herself through the MDC offices. Why? Because Grace told you to. You must do what Grace tells you to:

I don't care how the rest of my weekend goes, it's starting off on a good note.

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17 July 2008

[net_life, maps] Ever Wanted To Drive The Wrong Way On Water Street In Downtown Silverton?


Well, and get away with it and not hit any other cars, I mean.

Well, now you can. Google Street View comes to Silverton.

Well. Greater Salem, too.

Still not in Seattle. Sorry, Seattle.

Sadly, you can't drive up Danger Hill – you have to go either right or left on First Street at East Main. You can go past my childhood home however. It's on the right, going south on Steelhammer Road, just before the sharp right curve where it turns into Evans Valley Road NE.

Click on this link to start in (I kept try to embed the map, but Google Maps just won't work with this blog, at least, not the way I want it to).

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[net_life] Who Says What Goes In The Big Box At My Damn Channel Tomorrow?


Why, I do.

Check MyDamnChannel tomorrow to see which video I picked.

Also, because Grace told you to. You do what Grace tells you to.

More on this tomorrow.

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[teh_funnay] More Iranian Test Launches


Tehran used maybe $75 worth of Photoshop. I used $125, easy:

I say, if you're going to try and fool the world with crapass PS technique, go balls out, or just don't bother.

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16 July 2008

[net_life] Oh, Hey, It's Viral Marketing Again!


A few days back, Bogdanski noted this site ... Apathy Party 08.


The disclaimer made mention of P&G. That P&G?

Yes, Procter & Gamble ... that P&G. You find this page by following the "Terms & Conditions" link at the bottom of the main page.

So, what happens when you don't enter the site ... choosing the "I Choose Choice" link?

The main page of the People's Choice Awards.

For a moment, I thought it was going to be something important.


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14 July 2008

[liff] Why I'm Not All That Busted Up About An-HEI-zer Busch Being Sold To A Belgian Conglomerate


Because Budweiser blows.

Of course, Ed McMahon would be spnning in his grave, if he were buried.

Oh, yes, and dead too. That part's important. Otherwise ... awkward.

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12 July 2008

[liff] Delta Airlines: Abysinnia, Salem


On 26 Feb 2007, Salem's mayor announces, after a gap of decades, the return of commercial air service to Salem Airport. Daily flights to Salt Lake City, which seems a little strange, but there's no percentage in looking a gift horse in the mouth. Besides, Salem boosters worked awfully hard to win this.

On 12 Jun 2008 we read, via SalemPappy, that Delta's SkyWest is suspending air service to Salem Airport, after scarcely a year and a half. The contracting economy is cited as a reason.

That's life in Salem, as I recall it. Hard come, easy go.

Sorry to hear about that you guys. I remember the days when United made a daily stop in Salem. It was fun to go over to McNary Field and watch an actual commercial airliner come in. Good times.

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11 July 2008

[design] You Suck At Photoshop #12: Donnie Has Daddy Issues (So, No Surprise There)


It's here, you peoples: You Suck At Photoshop #12, where Donnie tells us about a tool that I didn't even know existed: Measurement Log.

Measurement Log is really cool. It looks and seems to work like a tabular display that you can simply record measurements you make with the Ruler tool. You can export it as a comma-delimited file for import into ... ah, other programs that use comma-delimited text. So there.

But Donnie Hoyle demonstrates it in his own, twarped and wisted way. Ring the bell. School's in:

And, for the LOVE OF GOD and ALL That IS HOLY, PLEASE DoN't DowNLOad RoNnIE!!!!

Also, my place as E-List Interneterati is further confirmed by a mention (my nom-de-net) by the Glorious Grace, which fairly made my day:

Grace rocks. This, I believe, can be verified scientifically.

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10 July 2008

[maps, Address_nerd] The Salem Map, Annotated


A few days back I posted a map of Salem Rural Routes around the year 1956, and commented about it. It just occurred to me that what might be crazy useful is what some of those roads are called today. Peforce, the following map, with modern street names in red FHWA-style type:

For those needing exterior references, the modern east boundary to Salem is about a mile to left of that area. Silverton is about 2.5 miles off the northeast corner of it.

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[viral] The Real Secret Behind Popping Corn With Your Cellie


Sweeping the intermets like a storm – cell phone radiation popping corn. Or did it? Of course not, as we found ... a viral marketing campaign. But how did they do it? Clever video editing; pop the kernels elsewhere, drop the video in, and erase the unpopped kernels.

CEO of Cardo, the Bluetooth headset manufacturer that came up with the video, explains it all to you here:

Of course, as another commentator pointed out, it may be a bit too obtuse. And, from my experience, people don't mind being manipulated too much, but is this too much?

Your mileage may vary there.

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09 July 2008

[bloggage] Is It Worth Flocking?


So what I'm going to do over the next few days is write a series of posts in the Flock blog post editor, unless, of course, I find it too frustrating. Flock Icon Flock of course, is the newer browser that has integrated so-called Web 2.0 features ... imagine if you can, a web browser that puts everything you might need in your online-networking (Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, etc, along with your blog posting access) at your finger tips.

That's a tall order.

 But does it do its job? It it something I'd like to use instead of my current workflow, which is post in Qumana and upload either from a Photobucket account or via Firefox (Safari, my former love, is sadly very very unable to do any in that department). For someone as addicted to blogging as I am, it should be axiomatic that the tool that will win me over eventually is the one that enables me to do all my posting/uploading/editing in one thing. And, as my experience in composing this blog posting so far shows, it comes close ... very close indeed.

Electric-Man.jpg Electric Man 1 image by zehnkatzenOne thing that is something that has always been frustrating is that so far, every offline-blog editor simply cannot upload illustrations to blog posts. it seems to be some problem with the Blogger API, in that it offers no facility for uploading to your Blogger/Picasa web album account from the desktop. And since I like loading from the desktop, this is an obstacle. Flock has this neato-mosquito feature called the Drag and Drop Web Clipboard which seems to enable it. Now, I don't think anything's uploaded to Picasa Web albums; rather, it appears to be hotlinked. But for the purpose of posting ease, since there's an integrated photo uploader, then that could indeed streamline the workflow for linking items from Photobucket or even Flickr, since these can live under other tabs and also be drug-and-dropped to the Web Clipboard. That's how that illustration of the Flock icon got into this entry (and the Electric Man). It's hotlinked from the Wikipedia entry on Flock.

And that link I just made? Drug and dropped in from the Web Clipboard as well. it's the next, best thing to dragging and dropping from the desktop. It also integrates every RSS Feed you read; export your current feeds from your feed reader as an OPML file and import that into Flock. Easy.

Another thing I need this Web 2.0 app to do for me is browse effectively.

 Flock does a pretty good job, but there have been speed bumps. For instance, when I first started trying to use it, loading my blog into the browser would cause the display to go somewhere into the Twilight Zone. Something in one of my blog postings, I don't know what, would cause the display to freeze, yet, strangely, the content would still load ... just not display. After the display froze, I could click anywhere on that and the browser would respond to whatever would have been there had the display would allow it to be seen. Also, photo illustrations that should show up, don't. For example, in this post at OurPDXNetwork, the dieselboi's photo illustration shows up as a link in Flock. It loads without a problem in Firefox. This is doubly-bizarre because the current version of Flock is said to be built on the Firefox 3 code base. So, perforce, Flock has things to recommend it:

  • Social network integration. I can see just what whom and what I"m tracking is doing.

  • Logins enabled between me and my online photo repostories, and I can get them from the sidebar. Nifty!

  • Web clipboard makes having links and photos at my fingertips second-nature

  • Integrated blog posting with the closest thing to drag-n-drop image posting I've seen yet

  • Great word-processor-esque blog post editor with common word-processor-esque functionality (I love being able to press command-I and command-B to make this happen)).

  • Built on the trusted Firefox 3

  • Multiple-search-engine enabled.

But, Flock doesn't quite yet hit it out of the park. Here's why:

  • Performance ... slow. RSS Feeds update slowly. This blog post editor has begun to run slowly. Highlighting text has to be done with patience, as I click and drag, and unclick and wait up to two seconds for the highlighted text to show up. Switching between editor view and source view is taking too long. I just had to wait for the typing to catch up on this very last line.

  • Uploading posts is undependable and slightly non-intuitive. Before updating this post I'll have to click a "replace this post" radio button on the upload dialog. This should be default behavior on updated an extant post. Moreover, if I try to post a new post with an illo, it freezes (that's why, for a very short time, this post was duplicated three times).

  • Strange browser behavior where hotlinked photos which show up fine in Firefox 3 show up as non-displaying links in Flock.

So that's what we have so far. Flock is encouraging, and we'll be using it for the next few blog posts to see if the inherent problems in the software are too irritating to prevent us using it on a regular basis ... actually, even with its flaws, we'd start using any blog post editor that would just give us a list of Blogger labels to click (the Qumana editor, which we have in Beta, doesn't do that either, and if it takes me one more step, I'm not likely to go to the trouble. Make it simple for me people!). Verdict so far? Good. Could be better. Might continue to use it ... but might not. We'll see.

Update, back in Qumana: We've seen. And we've seen a deal-breaker. One thing that Qumana does flawlessly is control leading consistently. That is, I get this perfect, eye-kind space between the lines both before and after I use a list. Only Qumana has done this consistently ... not even Adobe Contribute has been able to do this. Flock ... no, doesn't do it either.

Flock has potential, but until they can conquer that, it's back to Qumana. Sorry, Flock performance and format control are very important to me, and you look good ... but you're not yet ready for prime-time, at least not for this little duck.

Judge for yourselfs, good peoples: here's where you can download Flock.

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07 July 2008

[Address_Nerd] Salem Rural Routes, ca. 1958


Today, we grace the eye with a few views of a map. Before that,  a word about Rural Routes.

There was a time when 911 didn't prevail, when you had to know the local police number and write it down, and when urban-style address grids didn't extend to the limits of every county. In Oregon, most Boomers and Gen Xers from outside the Portland area will remember what it was like to have a Rural Route address.

A Rural Route is really a simple thing. An address on a country road might have a mailbox, and that mailbox would be marked (and assure that it could be read, else you won't get your mail) similarly to the following:

Joe Schmoe
Route 1, Box 265
Silverton, OR

The thought of Rural Routes came to the Address Nerd as we got an unexpected comment on a rather old post and answering it made us smile. The commenter wondered what was up with that. Here's what was up with that.

A Rural Route is, in its simplest form, a loop with mailboxes posted all along its traveling. They radiate out from the local post office, and boxes along it are simply numbered in order from low to high – Route 1 Box 1 (ideally) to Route 1 Box 827 (or however high it goes). As I recall, they did not necessarily were consecutive ... there were gaps. Route 1 Box 165 might have been followed by Route 1 Box 172, allowing room for new addresses.

Now, to the map. This is a thumbnail of an inset map scanned from a 1966 Chevron gas station map (distrubted by Erickson Chevron at Fairgrounds Road and Highland Avenue, locally printed) detailing the state-of-the-rural-route-art in the hinterlands of Salem ... as of 1958 (click here to go to the page in Picasa; click the zoom button, upper right, to embiggen):

Route 1 covered NW, or what we call today West Salem; Route 2, North; Route 3, South and West; Route 4, South, and Route 5, South and East.

A close look (at the resolution we were given, a patient, sharp, and un-fatigued eye will be required) shows how the system works. The arrows show the direction of travel of the carrier, and the number-notations give an idea of the run of the box numbers.

One thing that becomes clear real quick is the serpentine nature of the carrier's travelings. One would travel west into an intersection, go north to the next intersection, east and then NW then back to an intersection one went through before, then west and then turnaround and back in again, covering one side of the road going out and the other coming back.

For a better view, here's a clipping of a part of Route 5 ... a bit out of the center-right of the image above. this really gives an idea of the carrier's comings and goings and the way the box numbers play out:

Travelling east along the road straggling through the middle of the image (what we know today as Salem's State Street in its outer precincts), we come upon a crossroads called "Geer". Just below and to the left, there's the number 781; a house at the SW corner of State Street and Howell Prairie Road (the modern name of the N-S road at that junction) might have the address of Route 5 Box 781. Directly across the street, though, the address would be Route 5 Box 355, and the arrows tell that the carrier covered the area to the right of that intersection before covering the area to the left.

Another interesting point: look directly to the left of the word "Pratum" on the upper part of the image, and look for the numbers "795" and "604". Today, that's the intersection of Sunnyview Rd NE and Howell Prairie Rd NE, and the road completes that gap right there. Howell Prairie Road is the axis of those wide farmlands east of Salem, and at one time, it stopped at Sunnyview Rd instead of going straight though as it does today.

The Rural Route system had the benefit of having the road name being completely unnecessary in getting mail to its destnation. This also supplied the drawback – since it does not lay along a grid, quick and efficient location by emergency services is all but impossible ... never mind giving directions to your long-lost cousin who finally decided to see you after all these years. Hence the current systems of address gridirons that cover almost every county in Oregon.

But it's a pleasant memory, and hearing a "Route something Box whatever else" reminds me of some of the sweeter times of my childhood, and the beginning of an obsession with street signs that continue to this day.

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05 July 2008

[modren_times] Witigonen Staff To The White Courtesy Phone Please


Via BoingBoing, source The New York Times Effect On Man, we can only be left to wonder ... can the dirigible be on the way back?

The NYTEOM article mentions a hallowed name, as a matter of fact:

In Germany, Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei, the successor to the operator of the Hindenburg, has had success with a new generation of airship it uses to transport sightseers and scientific payloads.

The trend is not entirely new. Zeppelin-Reederei carried 12,000 passengers on sightseeing tours over southern Germany last year. Aerophile, a French company that revived tethered balloons, which compete with dirigibles as carriers of passengers, advertising and scientific instruments, was founded by two young French engineers in 1993.

Yes! Zeppelin (which, as any critical mind will tell you, is not a dirigible. All Zeppelins are dirigibles, but not all dirigibles are Zeppelins, as one might have said). And, a hotlinked photo, (c) NYT and all that:

This photo is on board a Zeppelin NT ... see? Even Zeppelins are based on NT technology!

And how'd you guys like this (from the BoingBoing article)?:

Is that not beautiful? It's apparently not real (yet), it's 690 feet in the beam, has a luxury hotel on board, floats all over the place, and is called the Manned Cloud.

If we survive the next couple of decades, get ready for a new era of romantic travel.

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[liff] Stark Street: In Search of Milestones, The Wife™ Gives Her Pint


Much earlier today, The Wife™ was called to the Red Cross blood drive to donate a pint. Whilst it may not have been the smartest thing to do personally, she was a bit tired but really wanted to show up, and I wanted to be by her side. So I drove.

The blood drive location was the Tabor Heights United Metodist Church at SE 62nd and Stark. The donation was fascinating to watch (I'd never been to a blood drive before) and the personnel, in terms of service and caring, hit it out of the park.

But I did have an ulterior motive. Earlier, in this discourse, it was mentioned that a certain range of milestones placed along SE Start Street (then known as Baseline Road) was still extant in part. Circumstance has prevented me from checking some of them out. But, taking the text on the plaque at 117th and SE Stark as a guide (where the P7 milestone was) I hoped I could get a look ... and a picture (the Vivicam 3705 went along for the ride).

The church being near SE 62nd and Stark, I figured a walk to approximately 57th and Stark wouldn't be a burden. And I was right. But, sadly, though I scoured both sides of the street both ways ... no milestone could be found.

I wonder, are they hiding them?

Deducing from the plaque next to the P7 milestone (which is, it will be recalled, at 117th and Stark), and noting that milestones 4, 5, and 6 should also exist, we conclude that we should find additional milestones at or near the following intersections (remembering that 20 avenues equal one mile):

  • P6 Should be at or near 97th and Stark.

  • P5 should be at or near 77th and Stark.

  • P4 Should be at or near 57th and Stark.

I have taken side loops on my commutes to try and find them. So far, no sign of either P4, P5, or P6.

Suffice it to say that the quest continues.

And if you want to donate blood, expect just the best care from the Red Cross people. As I said, they hit it out of the park.

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[bloggage] A Test of Flock.


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

This is how we FLOCK!

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03 July 2008

[logo_design] Meet the New Walmart ... Logo


There we are then. Goodbye Sans-Serif-of-doom-with-star-in-middle and yellow-smiley-face; it's a new day at Wal-mart ... sorry, Walmart ... as the retail Colossus refreshes its look

Refrresh is a good word for it. The look of the old look can be best summed up by what a writer in The Wall Street Journal said:

Part of Wal-Mart's continuing effort to update its once-dowdy image, the new logo for signs and building facades includes white letters on a burnt-orange background followed by a white starburst, according to an artist's rendering that the company filed recently with planning officials in Memphis, Tenn.

"Dowdy" is just the right word for it too. Walmart has many images in the minds of many USAans of as many political and economic stripes, but one thing "Wally-world"'s corporate identity could ever be accused of is being overly stylish. At best, generic; a heavy, nondescript sans-serif that bears down upon the viewer just as the clean, big-box style of building seems to bear down upon you as you walk up to one.

Go ahead. Go on in. What choice do you have ... you've come this far, yes?

But a bit of teal and a bright yellow starburst (sunburst? Asterisk flying apart?) soften the feeling quite a bit, actually:

Image hotlinked from Wikipedia.
Man, am I phoning it in today.

There actually is style to this. The mixed case and the merging of the historically separated word-parts is more befitting a friendly neighborhood retailer than a corporate behemoth. WAL-MART is a titan, astride the USAan landscape, kicking commercial ass and taking commercial names. "Walmart" is a friendly acquaintance. The "heartless asterisk" is a bright cheery thing, but comes close to being asterisky-enough that you want to start looking for the footnote.

The real creditable bit of style comes in the type. Note how, at the lower corners of the "W" and the "a"s, there is an identical curve. This is a touch that, like the Dude's rug, ties the whole room together and unifies the type in the design. This is subtle cleverness.

All the same, Walmart's new logo reboot will probably result in a lot of scratched heads and a lot of shrugs. Walmart being the loaded topic that is is in the USA today, many will see the rebranding as a cynical attempt at messagesmithing. Walmart's legion of loyal customers will probably like it. It's not world shattering, though. But it is, visually speaking, a whole lot more pleasant than their old look, so we'll give credit where due: it's an appropriate and timely update.

Other notable notes:

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