25 August 2009

QOTD - John D. Rockefeller

“Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it.”

“If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.”

“Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.”

~ John D. Rockefeller, 1839-1937
(American Industrialist and Philanthropist,
founder of the Standard Oil Company)

(QOTD=Quote Of The Day)

10 August 2009

QOTD -- Friends vs Enemies

I can't believe no one has said this before, so I'll say it now:

"Friends agree to disagree. Enemies just disagree."

~Peter C. Frank (197x-present)
Disabled New York LGBT Political Activist

#TechTuesday on Twitter

OK, I've been trying to do this for the past few weeks but things just haven't been in my favour. I'm hoping that today, they are. Actually, I started this tag a number of weeks ago in my #followfriday and #samesexsunday recommendation posts but I just never had the chance to explain it until now.

As most of you know, I use Twitter, that wonderful micro-blogging service that where you send status updates in 140 characters (or less) in response to a very basic question: What are you doing?

One of the greatest things about Twitter, and what I find most valuable about it, is the ability to connect with people around the world who you may otherwise never come into contact with. I hold daily conversations with folks from the Netherlands, Australia, Europe, Asia, and the Americas (North and South) that I've met -- solely through Twitter. I've formed great friendships, and met some truly wonderful folk.

The way to interact with people on Twitter is by following them, or by having them follow you. When you follow someone on Twitter, you see all of their status updates in your "tweet stream."

So some time ago, a few folks got the idea that it would be kind of cool to let the folks who are following them know know about some of the really great folks with whom they interact. Most notably, Mashable started the trend of #FollowFriday.

Since then, a number of other "following" trends have been created. In addition to #FollowFriday, there's #SameSexSunday, #Women2Follow, and #MondayMensch, among others. Other days of the week have been taken up with other Twitter trends, such as #MusicMonday and #ThankfulThursday. Here's a blog post that, although a bit outdated, tells us a few of the Twitter Weekday Trends.

So today is Tuesday, and one of the things I've found about Twitter is that there are a great number of geeks, or technology enthusiasts if you will. This got me to thinking, why isn't there a #followfriday type of event for these tech folk?

And here you have it, the beginning of #TechTuesday on Twitter.

#TechTuesday is a #FollowFriday of sorts where users will recommend great Twitter folk to follow who tweet about technology in some fashion. They may be employed in the technology or IT field, may be an advocate of technology, a user who tweets about their experiences, an enthusiast, or just a plain old geek. But in any event, #TechTuesday is all about the Twitter users who are in to Tech.

With that said, here are my #TechTuesday recommendations:

Additions for the #techtuesday of 8 September 2009 (and previous weeks as well):

@rockingjude -- this awesome inspiring @women2follow @mondaymensch @followfriday gay will rock your socks off with how she researches and delves into the truth about things. She loves using technology as a tool for research and will tweet about great ways in which to do so. Be warned, though; she is definitely no-holds-barred in her opinions (she keeps it cordial, mature, and safe for work, though, so no worries about that). And like her Twitter name implies, she totally rocks!
@eCOST -- another Tweep to follow if you're in the market for some great tech bargains.
@DownloadSquad -- need help picking out the best offerings from the myriad shareware & freeware programs that are floating about the Interwebs? Have no fear, DownloadSquad is here to help you with insightful tweets about great programs available for download as either shareware or freeware.

Additions for the #techtuesday of 22 September 2009 (and previous weeks as well):

@BBUENVIAJE -- is just geeky that way. Loves to read about new trends and always wants the latest gadget. Isn't that what being a geek/tech lover is all about?
@ThinkGeek -- tweets about new & cool products for lovers of tech. Responsive. Helpful. Offers insight, tips, tricks, etc.
@gadgetfreaks -- For the love of everything gadget, this is the tweeter to follow. This is mostly a news feed of articles, though, so don't expect any interaction with them. :(
@TheNextWeb -- news feed via Twitter of thenextweb.com -- great tech site but again, no interaction with other Tweeters :(
@engadget -- Another twitter feed account with no interaction of other Tweeters, if you want to keep up with the latest articles/posts to the engadget web site, follow them!
@Techmeme -- if you like to stay abreast of the latest in tech news, this is the twitter feed to follow. But like other twitter feeds (as opposed to twitter accounts/tweeple), don't expect any interaction from them. :(
@Tylertorment -- a true geek who tweets about his geek life. Not sure if you get interaction with him via @ replies but his bio says to DM him and he'll retweet your tech links for you.
@cyberthoughts -- an educator (not sure of what level, though) who loves tech, loves educating people about tech, and how tech is integrated into daily living, exposing just how things in our daily life are affected by technology. True geek, and you will get interaction from this tweeter.
@tomgerace -- Founder & CEO of http://gather.com/ this #samesexsunday bloke tweets about his life, so it's a great way to get a peek into the life of a true Web 2.0 entrepreneur.
@NeweggHotDeals -- For the latest & greatest deals from a great source of tech products in the USA -- http://newegg.com/
@Newegg -- the official Twitter account of http://newegg.com/ providing tips, advice, and customer service for users of their web site, as well as tweets about products that it sells and how to best use them.
@PianoGeek -- a classical-music loving #samesexsunday geek, follow him for great tweets about music, life, love, and technology.
@YouTube -- the official twitter account of YouTube, providing tweets on YouTube news, trends, and -- of course -- videos.
@googlereader -- for news, tips, and tricks for users of Google Reader -- a great web-based RSS feed reader
@stevenjayl -- a senior writer/journalist for Wired magazine, look for tweets about his personal life mixed into tweets about technology, tech news, trivia, tidbits, and other items for the professional geek.
@markoff -- a journalist/writer for the New York Times assigned to cover science, look for items and tidbits that don't make the paper or his column, as well as his editorial/personal opinion about the science news that he tracks
@elatable -- for information regarding current and future Google products, look to this Tweeter's twitstream.
@Pogue -- the official Twitter account of the infamous David Pogue, tech writer for the New York Times and CNBC correspondent on all things tech. Tips, tricks, news, reviews, and more!
@rustybrick -- everybody needs an expert search/SEO geek in their life, and he's certainly top drawer in this area!
@sreenet -- Dean of the Columbia School of Journalism, this self-professed technology evangelist provides insightful commentary into how technology fuses into our life, as well as useful content for tech newbies!
@arstechnica -- the fusion of art and technology. Or in layman's terms, which tech gadgets look the coolest!
@Wired -- Wired magazine's interactive Twitter feed. How cool is that?
@lhawthorn -- a FLOSS (Free Libre Open Source Software) advocate, this Tweeter pushes the FOSS agenda and connects others in the FOSS movement.
@pcworld -- the official Twitter account of the magazine of the same name, look for everything that PC World is online and off, in 140 characters or less.
@slashdot -- news feed for slashdot, or /. -- you know, the news site for geeks!
@GoogleWebmaster -- if you're involved in any way with the creation, maintenance, design, coding, or development of web sites, then you should be following this Twitter account.
@googletalks -- this is pretty cool, from their bio: GoogleTalks hosts innovators, world leaders, authors and more from around the world and broadcasts their talks on our YouTube channel.
@googlemaps -- if you use Google's Maps service, this is a great account to follow. If you're a Google Maps API developer, then you should definitely be following them!
@googleresearch -- to follow the latest projects that Google is working on company-wide
@newscientist -- combining science and technology on a weekly basis.
@NYT_JenPreston -- This interactive #women2follow is the
Social-Media Editor of The New York Times, a mother-of-twins, Adjunct for Columbia University New Media, and Author tweets about all of the above and how it weaves into her (and others') life.
@creativesandbox -- another great account for the artist in us, this Google account tweets about all things created digitally (or is that digitally creative?)
@TechPolicy -- pushing the envelope in innovative technology and advocating for the expanded use of technology in all areas of life.
@google -- the official Google Twitter account. Do I really need to say any more?

Finally, this isn't a Twitter account but rather a petition regarding a great tech legend, Alan Turing. You probably are familiar with this name, the test named after him, or the award named in his honour. What you probably don't know about him is that Alan Turing was gay (he'd be a #samesexsunday bloke today) and that the UK government basically shunned him after using his genius during World War II. There is a petition requesting the UK government and HRH Queen Elizabeth II to issue a posthumous apology and award/delcaration to this great man of technology.

Please sign this petition now to give this British World War II Hero the recognition he so rightfully deserves.

Additions for the #techtuesday of 10 August 2009:

@FaithfulChosen -- Everybody needs one of those nerds who refuses to go with the flow in their life. This particular #samesexsunday #followfriday nerd is one who not only refuses to go with the flow but in doing so creates a flow of her own.
@CyberEddieGr -- This Greecian (is that what you call folks from Greece?) provides awesome links on spectacular deals, tidbits of tech news, and just interesting info all around. A great #followfriday individual.
@AreYouAdam -- Every geek/tech enthusiast needs to have a great gadget freak on their speed-dial, and this #samesexsunday bloke from down under fits the bill quite nicely. Just don't give him one of those laser-pointer thingies, please?
@Geekix -- probably a bot yes, I know, but this one retweets all that is chic in geekdom.
@USbargains -- Tired and frustrated of searching for the best deals on- and off-line? Then start following this tweeter, and spend more time on things that truly matter, like starting a flamewar on which Star Trek series is best!
@Rufuscoolkitty -- I don't think a geek is complete without a pet, and this kitty is just plain-out cool. OK but seriously, a Mac expert, politico, IT manager, #samesexsunday originator of awesome tweets to fill your heart with glee (and other types of fairy-dust goodness), this tweeter is more tech than geek.
@StanNYC -- he's a software developer. Developer of what, he doesn't say. But his tweets are interesting (especially those of his pets). Another #samesexsunday fellow and just great all-around guy.
@Krewell -- a self-professed "long-time geek", Krewell works for NVIDIA (you know, the maker of that awesome graphics chip who provides so-so drivers for Linux), his tweets are 90% geek (OK, I've got to stop rhyming!) and 10% panache. If you have a question about wine and don't want to bother @GaryVee, then try this tweet with a few hundred thousand less followers. ;)

Additions for the #techtuesday of 4 August 2009:

@Twithug -- what a great way for we geeks to spread a little love on-line. A total #MonayMensch and #FollowFriday account, just send @Twithug an @reply with the name (or names) or twitterers that you'd like to send some lovin' to and just watch what happens!
@KeithDriscoll -- this local (to me at least) Twerson will answer just about any tech questions thrown his way, even if the answer is "I don't know the answer to that, but I'll do my best to find out and get back to you!" I mean, how refreshing is that, to have someone in IT--instead of pretending to know the answer to something they don't and mess things up for you even more--provide honest, workable answers? A total #followfriday #mondaymensch.
@InfoWorld -- what can I say other than they're one of the better IT publications out there for true IT folks. If you're in the world of IT, then you probably already know about them but perhaps not their Twitter account!
@SuzeOrmanShow -- what IT person couldn't do with a bit of no-nonsense financial advice from one who truly knows what she's talking about? Reign in that "I've gotta spend my entire paycheck on the new gizmodo gadget that's coming out tomorrow instead of waiting a few weeks for it to go on sale and save myself a few thousand bucks..." attitude with help from this #samesexsunday financial guru and get your finances in order!
@MentalFloss -- as their bio line says, it's "Where knowledge junkies get their fix." What geek would be complete without their daily dose of inane trivia?
@Twitter -- I can't believe that I missed this account in my initial posting but here it is now. If you want to know what's going on with Twitter, follow them!
@Consumerist, @CReporter, @ConsumerReports -- not all tech not all the time but this trio of consumer-centric tweeple write about tech from the non-geek, consumer point of view (POV).
@Krutal -- he's just a fountain of knowledge; a true geek. Provides links to some great geek/IT resources.
@eBayDailyDeal -- Four items per day, eBay tweets about their latest "Daily Deals" -- four items that are priced at super-low, bargain-basement prices. Usually at least one tech item per day, what true geek doesn't love a great deal?
@DunkinDonuts -- Follow them for announcements from the creators of the fuel that geeks and IT staff run on.
@0penSource -- for all tweets that are all about FOSS (Free, Open-Source Software), this is the place to be.
@chrispirillo -- a true über-Geek who's been making things happen online since 1992, Chris is one of those friendly tech experts that CNN calls upon when they need things explained to them.
@FLOSStoday -- this #mondaymensch helps promote FOSS open-source in schools and the workplace. He tweets about great FOSS alternatives to proprietary software and also gives great URLs, links, and other resources on using FOSS alternatives to replace expensive, proprietary software.
@SoftwareIsFree -- updated daily, they give away a different piece of software every day.
@GiveAwayotDay -- this great web site gives away software. Sometimes it's free software, sometimes it's shareware, and sometimes it's expensiveware. But whatever the software, the website--which is updated on a daily basis, lets visitors download and install their Giveaway of the Day (provided you install it before their 12am Pacific Time deadline). How cool is that?
@Singa and @Truskowski -- these two tweeple tweet about IT from a gay perspective, such as how to match your iPhone cover with your socks. But seriously, these great #samesexsunday tweeple are true nerds/geeks whose love of tech rivals their other loves...
@Naehutch -- if you want your tech from a more feminine point of view, then follow this great geek and fellow bookworm from down under!

Here's the list I started with, on 21 July 2009:

@LanceUlanoff -- the Editor-in-Chief of PC Magazine is a great tech enthusiast who's into robots. If you tweet him, he'll usually respond to you, despite being swamped with the responsibilities of his job.
@PhoneScooper -- this is your go-to source for anything and everything having to do with phones and mobile products.
@MarcThom -- this great #samesexsunday bloke from down under tweets about his experiences, both the good and the bad, with all of his wonderful tech gadgets.
@MathieuB -- this #mondaymensch tweets about building computers, finding great deals on components, and reviews all the different parts that make up a computer to find the best ones, for the best value, out there. Give him a @tweet and he'll @reply back to ya!
@MattSkal -- this #samesexsunday wonder seems to know just about everything there is to know about social networking and working the social networking to market one's self or one's products without being intrusive about it, and in a manner that does NOT turn people off.
@cligs -- every Tweeter needs a URL Shortening Service and this is my pick, and the one I use most often. Providing great analytics, http://cli.gs/ tells you where in the world people are when they're clicking on your short URL links.
@BBCClick -- Click is a top-rated news programme from the British Broadcasting Corporation that focuses on technology.
@tedoe -- This #women2follow is an awesome web designer who creates eye-popping, visually-appealing, completely usable web sites.
@TweetOpenSource -- One of my favourite sources for all that is FOSS (Free, open-source software) and open-source tweets in general. Both the good, the bad, and the ugly.
@TigerDirectcom -- one of my two favourite sources for purchasing tech products, TigerDirect.com tweets about special deals and savings. My other favourite, Newegg.com, unfortunately, doesn't use Twitter or see the value of social networking. :(
@SayItWithEcards -- I've known about this #mondaymensch #women2follow for quite some time. She's an older gal who's tackling technology at an alarming pace, and succeeding in doing so, showing that the older generation CAN "get" technology and use it to better their lives.
@MMOhub -- what technology enthusiast isn't a fan of, or player of, MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games)?
@Mashable -- How could I have forgotten the ultimate expert on all that is social networking? Follow @Mashable to become more fluent, knowledgeable, up2date on all the latest, and just in general a better social networker.
@RyanBrack -- this #samesexsunday #mondaymensch tech enthusiast is using social media and networking to better enable our educational system (in particular, that of New York City's public schools) to deal with modern-day living.
@GeekJames -- this #samesexsunday IT pro opened a bakery and uses social media to market its delicious specials. If you have an IT question, he's a good bloke to ask in hopes of receiving an answer that's useful. :)
@MariSmith -- This #women2follow explains social media sites like Twitter and Facebook in easy-to-understand language for those of you who aren't quite that tech-savvy. A total #followfriday #women2follow with a great heart who just loves life, technology, and all that is great and wonderful in the world.
@Scobleizer -- he started out as a blogger but has come into being a full enthusiast of all things tech. Isn't it great how the Internet can make a geek out of you? ;-)

I'll be adding to this list as I remember and discover other great #techtuesday tweeters. And I'll update this list just about every Tuesday with more recommendations of great new Tweeters to follow for your tech needs. Until then, check out my #followfriday and #samesexsunday recommendations, too!

07 August 2009

Update 6 on Jennal

This is the 6th update to my blog about my niece, Jennal, and what she's been going through. Here's a link back to the 5th update on her condition. If you haven't been following this story, please read the original blog post.

What a whirlwind these last few days have been. Jennal's fever really began to spike so I spent quite a bit of time down at hospital. She's doing better now, insofar as the fever is concerned. It still can run up to 101.something quite easily, however. I wish her body were adjusting to this procedure better but I guess it's just a matter of time. It is cause for concern, however, so that's something that will have to be monitored constantly.

Jennal really is not doing well in the setting of a hospital. She totally does not want to be bothered about anything, by anyone. She won't let doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff approach her or do anything to her. Right now, the only people who are able to do anything for her are her family.

As such, Jennal's parents are trying to arrange to bring her home for her recovery, instead of completing it in hospital. The expense will be considerably more but we all believe that it is in Jennal's best interest, both medically and psychologically.

At home, Jennal will have (if the insurance expenditure is approved) her former physical therapist, with whom she has a good rapport, her home nurse, her family, familiar surroundings, and fewer interruptions by people whom she doesn't know, doesn't trust, and believes will cause her more pain.

Physically, Jennal isn't ready to come home. We've been putting her in a wheelchair to get her sitting up, trying to strengthen her for the 45-to-60 minute drive home (depending on traffic) from hospital. If she can't tolerate in a chair, sitting up, for at least sixty minutes, then her parents will not be able to bring her home.

It's extremely painful for me to watch (and sometimes participate) in this -- pushing Jennal beyond what she wants (or, perhaps, is ready) to do. Moving her, especially lifting her and placing her into the chair, causes her such pain that she almost shrieks. It's something that must be done; however, I wish there were ways to further reduce her pain levels when this occurs. Even just wheeling her around the pediatric unit, as I've done a few times, is most difficult.

First, she doesn't want to leave the room and the comfort of her parents. Second, once they persuade her to leave with me, when we approach the doors of the unit she gets extremely upset, repeating over and over "I want to go back, I want to go back to my room NOW" and "No I don't want to go there again."

To see my niece in such a condition truly is heartbreaking for me. I'm so used to seeing her in such a better state. I can only imagine what her parents are going through; however, I know that they're doing everything in their power to help her heal -- both physically and emotionally -- from this experience. And it seems to be working.

As can be seen from this photograph of Jennal's head (click on the photo to see a larger image of it, in full-scale), they really weren't kidding when they spoke of removing 1/2 of her brain (an entire hemisphere).

Other positive signs are that she is starting to eat a bit more (the IV lines have all been removed and feeding via IV has stopped), and she's drinking more as well. It's nearly impossible for her to chew at the moment so most of the food she can consume is very soft -- pasta, mac & cheese, rice and other soups (an Asian dish), etc.

This is what my sister posted to her Facebook account. I haven't heard from her w/in the past 24 hours so I don't know whether or not Jennal has, in fact, been brought home or if she's still in hospital. I'll have to find out today, to determine where my journeys will bring me:

Aiming to bring my baby girl home today, shes not ready physically, not even sitting up yet on her own, but shes too terrified there. She wont recover, wont let a Dr, nurse or PT near her. I pray these fevers subside soon and she improves physically and emotionally with all of our love, care and support. You all played a role in helping her get this far with your prayers, thank you and may your kindness be returned. 22 hours ago

I, too, hope that Jennal will be home soon, where--hopefully--she can recover much quicker than she has been doing in hospital. While NYU Hospital, Langone Medical Center, might have some of the best surgeons in the world, especially for this type of procedure, the nursing and other staff leave much to be desired, especially as compared with the local hospitals in Westchester County, New York and Greenwich, Connecticut (specifically, Westchester Medical Center and Greenwich Hospital).

Out of the past 24 hours, I've spent at least 18 of those sleeping -- catching up on much-needed rest. This entire ordeal has been exhaustive for me, and I can only imagine what my sister and her fiancé have been going through and how tired they must be. Instead of them both being there 24/7, they've taken to taking turns at Jennal's bedside. If Jennal is returned to her loving, nurturing home, then both of Jennal's parents (and other family) can be by her side to aide in her recovery.

[UPDATED: 7 August 2009 12:00pm] Jennal has returned home very late last night (Thursday night). Her fever still remains but she is in much better spirits. She has laughed and is eating much better. Hopefully her road to recovery will now be much quicker and less painful on my wonderful, loving niece!

Links to all posts in Jennal's Hemispherectomy series:

03 August 2009

Update 5 on Jennal

This is the 5th update to my blog about my niece, Jennal, and what she's been going through. Here's a link back to the 4th update on her condition. If you haven't been following this story, please read the original blog post.

So Jennal was moved from ICU to a regular pediatrics hospital bed. The staff there is not nearly as responsive as the staff in ICU but they have a much heavier caseload. As such, while it's not an excuse for the nurse to call on the Intercom ten minutes after pressing the call button, it is understandable as the nursing staff has an entire ward to tend to, instead of just one room (in ICU, it's one nurse per room/four patients maximum; it's probably about quadruple the patient load in the regular rooms).

They started -- or should I say attempted to start -- physical therapy (PT) with my niece over the weekend but Jennal just was not having it. Putting her in a wheelchair was just about all they could coax her into doing and even that took every trick in the bag to accomplish. Jennal still is very drowsy/groggy but she no longer is on narcotic painkillers so she's more alert and, unfortunately, much more in pain. "Don't even think about touching me," is the aura/look she gives off when you approach her now.

Even in the above photograph, which was taken over the weekend while she was in a deep sleep, you could tell that she was not in a good mood. She's talking but I think she's confused about what she's saying or she doesn't quite know what she's saying. For instance, when I came to her bedside and said hello she told me to go away but then she reached out and grabbed my hand. I told her I was leaving and she gripped my hand and wouldn't let go, even though I asked her if she wanted me to stay and she said, "no." So at this point I'm taking her actions as speaking louder than her words, as I'm pretty certain that her refusing to let go of my hand was an indication of her true wishes.

In any event, today, they did manage to get her into the wheelchair a bit easier and Jennal sat up in bed by herself. So she is showing signs of continued improvement. Her attitude hasn't changed, however, and she remains impossible to deal with and basically xenophobic. If you were to cut out half of my brain, however, I'm not so certain that I'd feel much differently than she now feels.

In other news, the neurosurgeon came in to visit and spoke with us for a bit. He stated that Jennal is way ahead of the curve in terms of recovery; most of his patients didn't even begin to speak/babble until 4-7 days after the surgery, whereas Jennal spoke as soon as they removed the tracheal intubator. She's also showing motor skill movement, even if it's not as controlled as it used to be, and that hasn't occurred in his other patients until after speech has returned in them. So we're all taking this as a good sign and we're all hoping that Jennal will be able to return home soon, which will be less traumatic for her, under the care of a visiting nurse or something like that.

On a personal note, I returned to my apartment for the third day in a row without hot water and I don't think I can go out tomorrow or later tonight to return to hospital without showing for a fourth day. I called my landlord, Alan Suridis, and left him an unpleasant e-mail--basically letting him know that I have a family crisis and don't have time/energy/strength to have to fight him for hot water that should be continuously supplied and not interrupted once per week for a few days as it's been over the course of the last month.

I'll update again soon, when I have more information and photos.