“Did you know I was related to Lafayette?”

As the B-52s punch their words into my inner ear, “down, down, down…skedubidub…hrrrrr…ahhh..ahhhahhh…Rock Lobstah!” I recall a few minutes ago when a 20-something guy with a crew cut, backpack, and wild look in his eyes walks into the Starbucks on 76th and Columbus where I’m doing my evening news catch-up, drinking the requisite decaf, checking out the Red Sox losing to the Cleveland Indians in the bottom of the second inning live on espn.com, and he taps my shoulder because, after all, I have these antisocial white iPod earplugs in the side of my head that announce, “Please know that I am occupied with a little Alternative Music R&R,” and he stumbles for words, and I think, Uh, Oh, here we go:  This reminds me of London 1985 when I sat in that hotel lobby with brother Jim and college friend Kim and some dude walks in and convinces me that he lost his trumpet – for real, I tell you, and you thought I wasn’t gullible… – and 101507damo_4701.jpgneeds twenty quid (which then was about only $30) which of course I gave him because he promised to send it back to me later to my US home and he even gave me his name and address, which I am sure now corresponded with some ex-foreman at a women’s girdle factory in Yorkshire.  This is going through my mind.  I am thinking: Get ready for the pitch, Man.

But instead he insists he is lost and needs to get access to his Hotmail account and may he log on to my laptop.  He speaks broken English because he is French.   So I consider the fact of the American Revolution and how his country did all those nice things for us.  (After all, since then, the relationship’s been a little…strained…although now there’s a guy in office who might convince the French Language Puritan Nazis to let in such words as “laptop” and “Starbucks” to the rigid lexicon.  So what if YouTube has a video of Sarkozy drunk at the G8 Conference.  President G.H.W. Bush puked on the Japanese Prime Minister, remember?)  We navigate out of my default Windows Live ID screen and away he goes into French MSN and his email account.  He says it’s hard to get to the “web cafe.”

He finds the street address he’s looking for, on West 107th, and asks how far it is.  Walk?  Train?  Taxi?  I ask.  Taxi, he says.  About ten minutes.  He looks comforted, gathers his things.

He does not ask me for money.  He hasn’t lost a wind instrument of any kind.

I am happy.

photo:  damo 4701


rotten apple

I know I should feel more creative than I do. I mean, after all, I am composing this post on an Apple iBook G4. Oooooooh. Let me bow and scrape.

See, I’ve been working on a PC for…umpteen years, which is like the Caterpillar construction equipment to Apple’s “Daisy Razor” of a091607matchstick.jpg machine and, being between jobs this weekend and between PCs, I am using an Apple. It belongs to the Lovely K and, yes, this in itself makes it worthy of respect. As she is artistic and beautiful, the Apple also is a thing of beauty and is used by artists worldwide. It has clean lines and is easy on the eyes. They go together. But you can’t right click easily on an Apple. (It takes Ctrl-Click.) It feels sluggish. The mouse does goofy things under my fingers. The browsers available – Firefox and Safari – somehow seem sleepy and disinterested with my ardent desire for more and more information at faster and faster rates of acquisition. The Apple wants to sit poolside, admiring the lillies and frogs and that white egret that comes back each fall at this time. Perhaps it composes a sonnet and maybe finds a lyre laying around and launches into song…a song with as many verses and as interminable a story as Don McLean’s “American Pie,” or maybe it would be like Deepak Chopra singing Handel. I don’t know where I am getting this stuff; it isn’t making much sense, but that’s because – Dear Reader – it’s on an Apple. It isn’t logical or rational. It doesn’t dig down into the earth to make way for a concrete foundation of thought. Rather, it plucks a dandelion and blows the spores into the wind because it looks pretty, leaving the rest of us to mow a yard filled with more dandelions next week. Blast the Apple.

Tomorrow morning when I get to NYC’s midtown, where my new office is, I get back on the Caterpillar dozer and dig up some earth.

Leave the leg shaving for the Apple.

photo: matchstick

Optimizing interactive interfacing technologies

A bio I…encountered…online for a man who works with a consultant in the homeland security field mused as follows:

“[Dr. Joe Smith] a medical neuroscientist, has an MD/PhD  from [West Coast] University, is the [employee title] of the Institute for Interventional Informatics and has gained international recognition for pioneering new methods of physiologically based human-computer interaction. [Smith’s] research efforts have focused on advanced instrumentation and new methods of analysis which can be applied to evaluating various aspects of human function as it relates to human-computer interaction, this effort was to identify methods and techniques which optimize 083007sradion.jpginformation flow between humans and computers. [Smith’s] work has indicated an optimal mapping of interactive interface technologies to the human nervous system’s capacity to transduce, assimilate and respond intelligently to information in an integrative-multisensory interaction will fundamentally change the way that humans interact with information systems. Application areas for this work include quantitative assessment of human performance, augmentative communication systems, environmental controls for the disabled, medical communications and integrated interactive educational systems. [Smith] is particularly active in technology transfer of aerospace and other defense derived technologies to the fields of health care and education. Specific areas of interest are: advanced instrumentation for the acquisition and analysis of medically relevant biological signals; intelligent  informatics systems which augment both the general flow of medical information and provide decision support for the health care professional; public accesses health information databases designed to empower the average citizen to become more involved in their own health care; and advanced training technologies which will adaptively optimize interactive educational systems to the capacity of the user. “

Frankly, I think he has done so much interactive interfacing, optimally speaking of course, he has left the rest of us scratching our heads and not knowing how to transduce, assimilate or respond intelligently.

photo:  sradion