This routine is called “Blind Ball Juggling”. I started by saying I would be juggling with my eyes closed. As soon as I closed my eyes Caleb stole the ball from me. He returns them at the end when I open my eyes again. The kids loved it. Posted by Picasa

People are the Problem

Another great quote from “In the Bubble” where John Thackara about a conference on a “pervasive computing” conference held in Greece in 2003:

Greger Linden, a Finnish expert in “psychosocial computing,” anticipated, in another conference presentation, that when direct brain computer interface are implemented, “people will be the problem. Rather than concentrate on one thing at a time, which suits the software, people tend to think about other things. This messes up the results.”

Indeed. Wouldn’t life for the computer be so much simpler if the darned people would quit getting in the way?

Dave and Caleb at the Magical Winter Faire!

If you are in downtown Portland on Saturday you can come see Caleb and me perform our first Father/Son juggling show. The show will be part of the “Magical Winter Faire” which is an event held every year at the kid’s School. The event is a lot of fun – there will be live performances, games, crafts, massages and a local artisan marketplace. We will be performing at 11:45 AM in the Eurythmy Room (the first room on the right when you go through the main doors to the school.

The school is located at 3030 SW Second Avenue, Portland, OR. It is just down the hill from the Old Children’s Museum. Another local landmark is the YMCA up on Barbur just a few blocks away. Expect parking to be difficult – the event starts at 10AM and is extremely popular. Bring the kids and cheer on the latest generation of Sohigian showmen!

Here is a flyer with more details on the event.

And a picture of the show from last year:

Skype with Bluetooth

I have been trying to get Skype to work with my bluetooth headset (it is a Treo Headset) and was having little luck until I found this post on how to configure PC to headset connections

It describes how to configure a dongle (I have the DLink DBT-120) to work with a headset. The problem with most installs is that the Microsoft Bluetooth drivers don’t work with headsets – and they take over the dongle’s drivers if you don’t disable them. The posting gives a good description of the steps to get your headset connected.

Even once it is connected it is a little unwieldy because unlike a phone/headset connection it is in a semi-live mode all the time – which uses up a lot of battery power. So you need to connect/disconnect to the headset when you are not using it to conserve power. It is still nice to have when I don’t happen to be carrying a wired headset for the computer.

The Spoken Word

In the book “In the Bubble“, John Thackara observes:

Ivan Illich discovered that in the 1930s, nine out of ten words that a man had heard when he reached the age of twenty were words spoken to him directly – one to one, or as a member of a crowd – by somebody whom he could touch and feel and smell. By the 1970s, that proportion had been reversed: About 9 out of ten words heard in a day were spoken through a loudspeaker. “Computers are doing to communication what fences did to pastures and cars did to streets,” Illich said in 1982. For Illich, there was a huge difference between a colloquial tongue – what people say to each other in a context, with meaning and a language uttered by people into microphones.

I think this the last part of this passage is the most revealing – the nature of what people say when they are face to face vs. what they say when speaking into a microphone. The same applies to emails (particularly one to many emails) and blogs. I often hear about how blogs promote people’s “voice”, but what is the quality of that voice when it is directed at a mass audience?

Las Vegas Travel Tip

I am in Las Vegas today and I was given a valuable tip when I arrived at the airport. Because the airport is such a short drive from the strip, most people use taxis, which means the line for taxis is often extremely long (especially on certain days of the week). You can avoid that line by hiring a porter from the luggage area – even if you only have a couple of bags. A few bucks to the porter can save a very long wait in line because they take you to your own line with only one or two other people (who also used porters) in it.