30 and 2

September 26, 2007

I did something new tonight — a CPR class.

The good news is that I’m now officially certified. It’s cheap, painless, and useful.

The interesting news is that the CPR technique has changed significantly in the last couple of years, and for the simpler: 30 compressions and 2 breaths (regardless of age), don’t waste time checking for a pulse, and a simpler technique to find where to push.

The funny news is that the sophisticated CPR dummies have no arms and legs, so I couldn’t stop thinking of Boxing Helena. Plus, the class was taught by a Marine from Texas who passed his firefighter certifications at 49 and had a belt buckle that could double as a dinner plate. He told us in great detail that if done correctly, it is highly likely that you will hear terrible snapping, grinding, and crunching during compressions. You know, bones, tendons, cartilage and stuff. “That’s how you know you’re working hard enough.”

It was … awesome.

Anyhow. Highly recommended. It’s a skill worth having.

PS: Opening a duffel bag filled with rubber faces was worth the price of admission alone.

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Co-op

September 18, 2007

I attended an interesting presentation today at the OTBC: “Co-Ops, What Are They, and How Do You Start One?”

The gist of the co-op idea is that for certain groups of people or companies, coming together to share resources can be far more efficient than simply going at it alone. A good example that everyone’s heard of is OceanSpray, the cranberry company. It’s a group of independent cranberry farmers who came together and formed a corporation for distributing and marketing cranberry products. It’s run democratically, profits are shared amongst it’s members, and it’s very successful in it’s own right.

Adam DuVander (from the Portland Web Innovators) and I talked afterwards about how this concept applies to something closer to home: professional software development. There are lots of independent software developers and consultants in the Portland area, and while the technologies and applications vary wildly, there are probably some very common frustrations that could be aided under a co-op structure.

Ask any independent software developer or consultant what their biggest gripes are about running a business, and I’m pretty sure the same three things will show up on everyone’s list: managing money, legal issues, and insurance. Invoicing, book keeping, solid contracts, good NDAs, taxes, health and vision and dental plans and all those sorts of things are necessary for running a successful business … and have nothing to do with delivering high quality software.

My knee jerk thought is that a co-op could go a long way toward solving these problems. Larger groups have more bargaining power for getting accounting, legal, and insurance services … and centralized bookkeeping and payroll would make a lot of people’s lives easier: wouldn’t it be nice to do business as an independent software developer, to get paid for your work, and to not worry about the rest?

Anyhow. Does this sound like a compelling idea to anyone else?

Update:  You’re welcome to join the discussion on the Portland Web Innovators forums.

My Fingers Hurt

September 15, 2007

… but the pay off was awesome:

Less Talk, More Rokk in the house.

Found it! Sorta.

September 13, 2007

When I was sitting in a train station in Japan, I watched a variety show that featured a young guy with a banjo lookin’ thing who was dressed in traditional garb … but produced some SERIOUS TECHNO ACTION with some lady with a flute and a guy with a drum. It was awesome.

Not being able to communicate in Japanese has put a serious crimp in my plans to find out who this guy was and buy all of the music he’s ever made. So, this evening I was hunting around on the Intertron, and found a few things that get me close … but not quite there.

First, the thing he was playing is called a shamisen, which translated into American means “three stringed, cat skin banjo, played with a spatula.” No joke, it’s made with cat skin.

That let me dig up some pretty sweet stuff, like this dueling shamisen video, some hot solo action, a little shamisen vs. a DJ, and a shimsen vs. taiko video that gets pretty darned close to what I heard in that train station. The common thread in most of the good stuff I found is Kinoshita Shinichi, who, apparently, has awesome fingers. This is a promising lead.

Any chance anyone else out there can help me in my quest?

Update:  Worth posting again — the Hifana Wamono video that planted the Japanese hip hop / techno seed in my brain earlier this year.

Stupidity

September 12, 2007

“It is environmentally friendly, compared to a nuclear bomb.”

Which begs the question:  what isn’t environmentally friendly, compared to a nuclear bomb?

I don’t like getting political on my blog, but even the premise of this weapon is straight up retarded.

Zap!

September 9, 2007

Behold:  the Zap Xebra Sedan.

It’s an electric three wheeled jelly bean … and I drove one today.   It’s more or less like driving a … three wheeled jelly bean.  Kids screamed with glee when we drove past.  Other drivers looked horrified, or overjoyed.

My parents bought it as a little get around town car, and I have to say, it’s perfectly suited for the job.

Fun stuff.

Street Art in Japan

September 8, 2007

A few of my graffiti photos from Tokyo have been explained and pulled into a Flickr group for Japanese street art … it’s a big collection.  Worth checking out, if you’re into such things.