Miller Place Starbucks

Today I stop by a place where I used to work. The  Starbucks at Miller Place, New York. I Worked there for about three months in 2006. It was an interesting ride. I had lots of fun. The people I worked with were great. They made me feel accepted in ways that I had not known were important. A lot has changed since I was there. It took 2 min 6 seconds do me to get a venti ice water. My time working in a NY Starbucks would go on to shape my mind about food customer service and about the appropriate speed of service. Unfortunately, there was no one at the store that I recognized-of course, it’s almost 8 years later (what should one expect?). Going back kind of makes me emotional. Not sure why. It was just a lot. I guess it was a good time in my life. 

I remember some of the regulars quite well, that is their drinks of course. There was the triple venti carmel macchiato guy that would come in three times a day.  And there was this guy who owned a pizza shop at the adjacent parking lot. He got an espresso sometimes, but mostly just a cup of joe.

The guy who owned a pizza shop once sold me the best pizza I have ever tasted. I thought I’d stop by and order a pie but there was a sign saying they were closed and selling the assets. Made me sad a disappointed.  I know that life goes on, but maybe that shop owner died.  I mean he might have been in his late 60’s at the time.  I remember the love of his life was there in the shop as was his son. 

A Facebook position 

My Facebook Use

A Facebook position isn't easy. I have multiple positions on multiple different aspects of Facebook. I was in early adopter Facebook, I have been there from almost the beginning - I have a lot invested in my interactions via Facebook. I remember Facebook rolling out Facebook graph, the iOS phone app, messenger, the various redesigns, policy changes, and the announcement of the IPO. It has been an interesting journey through the development of the Facebook brand and product.

In short this post says: “Yes, I use Facebook, but please don't post photos of my kids, or of the inside of my house on Facebook, WhatsApp, or Instagram.”

A Facebook position is important, it helps us think about when and where it might be appropriate to use Facebook - weather as an individual, a business, or a large corporation. A Facebook position is going to be unique to every individual. In this post I will discuss it in three aspects. I run a small business, I run a personal blog, and I have kids (well an 11 month old daughter). In general, Facebook's terms of service is of some help to Facebook users in understanding some of Facebook's positions on what it wants to do with the data metadata and relationships between data that it gathers from its users.
I'm a big believer in personal privacy. Part of personal privacy I think is controlling for the connections between data points (the relationships between associated data), and also controlling for metadata.

In contrast to personal privacy and self revelation of personal data, Social privacy is a lot more difficult to control for, because other people make revelations about you that you may or may not appreciate. These revelations may be new data points or they may be new relationships between existing data points. For instance, in the Facebook world, a new data point might be a photo and a new relationship might be tagging someone in that photo and making that tag connect to that person’s profile.
One of Facebook's goals is to make it conducive and easy for people to share information about the other people that they know. So Facebook is engineered and designed to help create accurate metadata and relationships between data points among users. 
Truth is though even though I am a big personal privacy advocate, I do like to share information with others, but I like to do so on my own terms. That is why when Facebook pushed out a new version of their iOS app which required users to let Facebook to have unlimited access to your phone's microphone, I deleted the app and disabled functionality from Facebook to my phone.
Because I am a long-time Facebook user I have a quite a network of personal and professional contacts from various time depths of my life on Facebook. It is to my advantage to leverage these contacts in the various personal and business dealings I have. That's why Becky and I use a business oriented Facebook page for updates about our work in Nigeria. I also connect Facebook with various blog post of mine from my independently run WordPress site. This allows me to connect with new and existing audiences via Facebook.

Facebook and kids

Facebook requires that one be 13 or older to have their own account. You can see the policy guidelines here:

As far as I can tell that is because there are certain US federal regulations about privacy for children that Facebook would have to comply with if it aloud younger people to create accounts.

Some countries have a lower or higher age limit, Yet, other countries like Ireland have no specific age limit at all. There's an interesting discussion helping parents think through issues from an Irish national perspective here:

Because others have lengthy and detailed discussions about age appropriateness and issues for young users of social to consider when using these complex platforms, I am not going to directly discuss those issues here.
For me is more important to understand the Facebook business model, and to ask: “How do I want to engage with that business model and how do I want to engage my children with that business model.”
For me I want to let my children choose to engage with the Facebook business model when they are old enough to independently think about the consequences. It does not mean that I won't discuss it with them or help them think it through, but I would rather them inter the marketplace of their own accord, rather than me inducing them in from birth.
This means for my children that I want to give them the option to put their personal information into the hands of another company's structured information set.
It doesn't mean that I don't believe in sharing photos of my kids (I do share photos through this blog and another website here:, it means that I don't believe the medium best suited for sharing those photos is Facebook. For me owning the distribution and connectivity platform means that if I want to remove the source image from the web I can. In contrast to Facebook if I want to remove content from Facebook I am not guaranteed that Facebook will actually remove that content. Facebook even acknowledges that my data and data about me may persist even after I delete my account. There are several good articles which give a rundown about Facebook's Terms of Service (TOS). One from the Huffington Post is here: (Because we all know that even reading the TOS of a platform we love can be confusing.)

My opinions about use of Facebook with my kids and property apply to WhatsApp, Instagram (link to TOS), and Facebook, which are all owned by Facebook.

Photos of Kids

I may be off my rocker, but I really think that parents have a responsibility to protect their kids. Part of that may be from the encroachment of social media companies (data collectors) into the personal lives of our kids (not to mention other powerful marketing forces that parents need to protect their kids from). I would also like to think that parents should have the privilege of approving the use of photos of their kids in all cases, although I realize that in public places, permission to photograph children in the United States might be considered a first amendment right (this often includes school sports games). A short bit of googling shows that there is different jurisdictions with different laws (discussion for the UK context), and there are also different protocols for different types of photos (see discussion 1, and discussion 2 ), such as the intended use of the photo, like commercial marketing. The complexity with respect to social media (beyond the persistence of personal data) is that The social media platform may apply a license to the photos allowing for commercial use. For a general overview of the topic consider looking at the wikipedia article for Photography and the law.

Funding language documentation 

Just a quick thought.

Perception based loosely on facts:

A lot of language documentation money gets pushed towards endangered languages or languages with very few speakers. Is often endowed upon the aspiring academic, who may be promising to create a grammar for a previously un-written or undescribed language.

Sometimes I have the opportunity to read grammars. I read them and have questions about how the described data sounds. Both In context and as elicited. To that end I wonder if it wouldn't be money better spent for language documentation and benefit to the academy, if organizations funding language documentation research for the academy would rather fund the collection of audio texts and video texts of data already described in grammars. In a way provide the support that modern grammars should have.

That is, I find that often the state of grammars about languages (often about African languages) are so fraught with errors, or jaded with theoretical disposition, that it would be immensely helpful if these grammars were supported with audio texts. It seems that the focus on small, often dying, languages, requiring an impetus of "adequate" endangerment for funding, shows a pre-disposition to try and collect specimens of some exotic language. While the collection of rare specimens is good in some sense, it is not always the most gentrifying for the language speakers, nor is it really the most helpful for academic pursuits.

An Awesome list for Open Source Software

The world is full of problems. Some of these can be solved through the use of technology. Other problems can't be solved directly through the use of technology, but the deployment of technologies can impact social environments and social interactions in a way so that the problems not solvable directly though technology can be addressed.

Low-resource languages suffer from one of the problems of the second type. That is there is a sociological problem that follows briefly in the following way:

Feel-good, and do-good linguists often want to help "low-resourced" language community have digital tools in their language. This scenario is mirrored by the a different scenario, which may be contrasted with people "helping" from the outside. That is,people from within the low-resource language want to create tools for using their language - often in written form - in digital contexts. The result is that there are often a set of persons who are project managers, or who hold the business strings (access to grant funding, and are responsible for contracting with technologists to implement the project ideas and goals). The problem that occurs is that the more project managers there are (which might be more than one per language - with over 7,000 languages) the more divergent the technological solutions which are expensive and often not compatible or extensible - even if they are "open sourced".

Problem we are trying to solve is the communication problem between the plethora of coders which vary from cowboy soloists to dedicated shops working on language software targeted for use in Low-resourced communities, and the growing number of visionary project managers, who might have a background in linguistics, but often not have one in information technology or in information technology project management.

The benefits of collaboration, and reusability of code are obvious. However, there still stand a large gap between the project manager and the coding technologist. We find that this gap can be characterized by two critical problems:

What are the things which have been coded - and for what purpose are they coded?
Assuming that this data can be gathered, how can this data be quirky made usable so that project managers can use the information intelligently in their evolving relationships with their technical teams? In summary we must create a pile of data, and then we need to make it usable.
In the sprit of taking baby steps, we have started to amass a pile of data (asking the question - what do we know has been coded), we have started with a solution which is more native to coders than to project managers. We have used an element of Github culture - 'the Awesome list'.

While this does list does make a browse able list, it does not address the myriad of points of view which project managers come from. Synthesizing the data to match the various points of view; making the data relevant and usable is still an open task.

CNC Laser

Continuing on my thoughts about woodworking, I was looking at laser engraved wood and CNC machines. Here are a couple of DIY videos from YouTube.

There is a company here in Eugene which specializes in this.

Here is a DIY project page:

It also seems that andrio or bananna pi are also used.

Images in the Free Culture Movement

I have been really encouraged by the availability of images which have been released under Creative Commons licenses.

While there are a lot of icon sets out there, here are some of my "go to" places.

  • The first place I usually go for free icons There is a growing community behind the endeavor and their management operations are being taken seriously.
  • A second place which I have found helpful is:
  • I have also found these images which are SVG for maps:

As an archivist, I wonder where will these icons go if they are just privately hosted? - Is there an archive for these things?

Excel, XML, and CSV

I never thought the day would come when I would say that I wished that I had a Windows version of MS Excel. I am simply aghast. But never-the-less I have been looking for an XML parsing solution for OS X and can not find one which is graphically oriented.

I want to move certain XML encoded content to my blog and the best way (that I can figure) to do this is to import CSV files (although there is a WordPress plugin for importing XML).

I want to be able to do this, but the Mac version of Excel does not do this:

I really want to drag and drop, but this tutorial makes it look easy-ish to do at the command line.

What am I Using this for? Well I would like to use it with itunes XML, Endnote XML, Bookpedia XML, BibTeXXML, SIL-OLAC data as XML, WorldCat Data as XML? Glotalogue data as XML.