July 31, 2007


Category: Documentaries,Politics,Tech — Biella @ 1:08 pm

Get your documentary on.

July 25, 2007

All my data

Category: Tech — Biella @ 9:09 pm

I am back in NYC and my data seems to be a-ok and all there. We copied the files onto another computer too and will make an off-site back up tomorrow. Whew.

July 21, 2007


Category: Tech,Travel — Biella @ 5:49 pm

So for the last week or so I have been manically trying not to lose Really Important Stuff like documents, passports, files etc as I have just moved from Canada to NYC and have made a brief stop in PR to visit my mom. Well the last thing I expected to lose—my laptop—is of course what is gone, vanished, entirely. There is a small chance that the TSA at the Newark airport has it but I won’t find out till Monday as their lost and found unit is closed during the weeked. I never thought that I would so want the TSA to help me out, although they, and the whole crazy security protocols, are part of the reason my laptop is gone.

I made a backup of my computer right before leaving Canada, but I did it pretty quickly and did not check if it was really ok. All the really really important stuff is also backed up in email, or printed on paper, so Total F*cking Disaster is not imminent, just Total Disaster. So I won’t find out if I have my computer contents until Wed evening when I return to NYC. Since there is not much I can do here, I will cross my fingers and hope for the best.

When I got home to PR, at 3:30 am to find no computer, I was pretty devastated. But instead of brooding over it, I switched into emergency mode, spending the next hour changing all sorts of passwords at 4 am, stealing the wireless from the hotel that is next door to my mom’s apartment (thankfully my SO was with me, donning a laptop). Although I did not store any on my computer, I did have my userid information in various places and I am pretty sure my computer was not off but only on sleep mode.. Yuck.

After waking up after a few hours of sleep, I was pretty shocked that a good portion of my life is potentially gone, but then again, my mother’s alzheimers shocked me in other ways. Not too much has changed, though her memory loss, not surprisingly, is worse. In some ways, the fact that her data loss is permanent, that you can’t make a back up of the memories that are gone, that the data loss is so much more important than what you can have on a computer, has put things in some perspective, although I wish I only had the computer data loss to deal with instead.

July 13, 2007

Food Hacking

Category: Hackers,Politics,Tech — Biella @ 6:58 am

See the video. I was lucky enough to be there and yes, the meal was deliciiousssssssssssssssssssssssssss.

July 10, 2007

Nothing to Hide in 25 Pages or Less

Category: Academic,Privacy,Tech — Biella @ 7:43 pm

I am excited to read I’ve Got Nothing to Hide” and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy by Daniel Solove and I am also excited of its “short” length, mostly because I reckon I can use this for undergraduate teaching (and will perhaps include it when I teach some version of this in the future).

I place short in scare quotes because I don’t think a 25 single spaced article is really all that short though it is flagged as such in the abstract. But given this is a law journal article, which tend to trail into the 75-100 page range (and thus out of reach for most undergraduate teaching), it is indeed tiny. I am in the lookout for more law journal articles that are under 30 pages as I find them to be quite useful in the classroom…

July 9, 2007

La Rogativa

Category: Puerto Rico — Biella @ 10:56 am

Last night I came across an amazing photo of one of my favorite spots in Viejo San Juan, Puerto Rico, La Rogativa.

It is one of the *best* spots to sit, at night, after a walk and few drinks, and watch the lights dazzle in front of you till the sun decides to rise. You will not be disappointed, especially during a winter’s night when there just may also be a slight touch of cool breeze to caress your skin.

Here is the story of the statue:

A modern bronze statue of the Bishop of San Juan and three torch-bearing women stands in the Plazuela de la Rogativa. A good spot for scenic views, due to is fine location overlooking the bay. The beautiful bronze statue is the work of Lindsay Daen, created in 1971 to mark the old city’s 450th anniversary.

Plazuela de la Rogativa (plaza of the procession) features a modern sculpture depicting a procession of religious women and a bishop. It commemorates an event that took place on the site in 1797. During the spring of that year, a fleet of British ships led by under Sir Ralph Ambercrombie sailed into San Juan Bay, meaning to launch an assault on the city and take control of the colony. When the attack was foiled, they undertook a naval blockade of San Juan, hoping to starve the residents into submission. As the town’s people began to despair of any help from soldiers garrisoned in the inland towns, the governor ordered a rogativa, or plea, to ask the saints for assistance. The women of the town formed a procession through the streets, carrying torches and ringing bells. The British, hearing the commotion and seeing the moving lights, decided that reinforcements had arrived and quickly sailed off.

Category: Uncategorized — Biella @ 10:46 am

La Rogativa

July 8, 2007

Impacts of Technology

Category: Academic,Teaching,Tech — Biella @ 5:29 am

Most of my recurring anxiety nightmares emerge straight out of work experiences. A common dream I had, for years, was basically being slammed with a deluge of like 25 customers/tables while waitressing. Yes, I have waited tables for many years.

Now, I have a new dream which reflects new working conditions. Basically I show up on the first day of class with NO syllabus and it is horribly embarrassing. Thankfully that scenario is easily avoided.

I am teaching two classes this fall, one called Impacts of Technology, the other Human Culture and Communication. I had to come up with the Impacts of Technology syllabus from scratch (Culture and Comm is somewhat standard for the Department I am teaching in) and here is a first version of my syllabus.

I am sure it will change but it is nice to have most of it done as I hope to avoid any work-related nightmares this summer.

July 6, 2007

Blue Cross Blue Shield Internal Memos Leaked

Don’t you just love leaked corporate memos?

I do.

They are a window into that which we KNOW exists, yet we are not privvy to very often. Because corporations like to keep their dark, dirty secrets well hidden. Memos give us access to what I call in High Academic Jargonese “Corporate Psychological Interiority,” or to put in simpler language: memos allow us to see corporations crapping in their pants. Gross, but pleasant to see from time to time.

I just got word of leaked memos from the Insurance Company I love to hate: Blue Cross Blue Shield.

The four pages are chock full of interesting stuff, so take a read for yourself. Here, I will only highlight two things:

* Horizon BlueCross/BlueShield is picked out early in the film in a collage of stories citing bad
treatment of members.

And well, as most readers here know, I concur. Well at least
Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey/Horizon can be proud for being one of the worst.

In their concluding talking point sections, they say:

2) The Blues recognize the need for improvement of both the coverage and delivery of healthcare.
But the divisive tone set forth by Michael Moore and his movie “Sicko” is not helpful. Positive
change to our healthcare system can be best achieved through shared responsibility, not
recrimination. To ensure Americans have access to the best healthcare that is both timely,
efficient, and of high quality, requires the collective contribution of all stakeholders –
consumers, providers, employers and the government.

Try NOT being angry at a 4,000 dollar bill or worse, an 80,000 dollar bill, or even worse a death.

It is near to impossible to stop the rumblings of anger. We are human beings, after all. We are born with the capacity to think and feel, passionately and deeply.

And some of the best change comes from the fire that is anger and I hope that enough Americans are finally feeling the fire.

Happy B-day SC

Category: Debian,F/OSS,Tech — Biella @ 6:39 am


So, we did manage to have some pancakes to celebrate Debian’s Big 10 (Social Contract) anniversary, though albeit, they are not your traditional sort of pancake, but certainly close enough and really tasty.