Stop casting blame and work on solving the problem
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I drive by this every day, at least twice a day:
It is the closed factory next to where I work.
Over the past few months I have been growing more and more frustrated by the political discourse that is going on in the USA. I believe that the politicians are missing what impact their actions, or inactions, have on people. This came to a head for me with the brouhaha forming over when a Presidential Address to Congress should be scheduled for. For those that are not familiar with it, more information is avaibale at this CNN article, “Dispute erupts over timing of Obama address to Congress”
This comes on the heels of the issues with the debt ceiling debate. A game of brinksmanship played between the political parties in Congress. For years these debt-ceiling raises happened very quietly without much fanfare or awareness by the public. A history of the debt ceiling can be found at www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL31967.pdf
However with the current issues going on, what I am seeing is that it appears that each side is not working for success but for the other side to fail. Let me say that again, in my opinion each side is not working toward a solution but is working to make the other side lose.
To me this situation is obscene and a dereliction of the duties that the parties were elected to carry out. The politicians were elected to govern and run the government as we have asked them to. They were not elected to win the next election. However that appears what is happening., they are working to get reelected, not to make the situation better.
I believe that both sides of the issue have contributed to this situation. One party had already scheduled a political event for Wednesday, September 7, 2011; the President then scheduled an event for the same time. That appears to have been targeted to directly go head to head with other event.
The fact that both parties were not willing to work together for a solution; such as moving one event back by 30 minutes and the other ahead by 30 minutes, is a large problem.
I liken the political situation to a house fire. Currently the house is burning, the fire department (politicians) have arrived on the scene. Rather than start putting the fire out the parties are first trying to determine the cause of the fire. Meanwhile the house continues to burn. Yes, it is important to know the cause of the fire, but not at the expense of destruction. Most people would put the fire out first, then investigate what caused it so it can be prevented in the future.
I urge everyone, no matter what your political viewpoint, to tell your representatives to stop bickering over blame and fix the problems first. There will be more than enough blame to go around. Now if you will excuse me, I need to write a letter to my representatives.
Metadata is your friend
Previously I wrote about how one can store too much data. I was guilty of that personally. I have way too much data hard to sort through easily. This collection of data was not just images I have taken; it is also documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. What is often overlooked is that there are tools out there to address the issue head on, but most of us don’t use them. It is the power of Metadata.
For those of you not familiar with the term metadata, it is data about data. Yes, that sentence is circular, on purpose. Metadata is a way to describe data using additional data. A few examples to illustrate the idea could be thought of as the “Tag Cloud” to the right on this blog. I manually go in and add descriptive tags for each post so that people can find them easily. That is just one example; another one is key wording or captions in pictures. The actual data is the image itself; the metadata is describing the data that is contained within the image.
The key is to actually fill it out and use the metadata options in pieces of software. This can make finding something much later, much easier. Metadata is not limited just to photographs and blog posts; the much-maligned Microsoft Office products include the ability to add metadata to the file. Microsoft does not call metadata “metadata”, they call it “Properties”. This data can be very helpful.
Let’s say that you were writing a letter to an airline about the difficulties you had with booking a flight with frequent flier miles. Now when you save the file, you might give it a filename such as “United July 2011”. Now later you go looking for the file, will you be able to find it just based on the filename? What happens for something less directly identifiable? It becomes a little harder. However if I add a brief sentence that says “Correspondence about trouble booking a flight using frequent flier middles” and put in keywords of “United, Frequent Flier, Reward, Travel”. Both Mac and Windows operating systems provide utilities to find files using metadata. It is the search tool built into the finder.
You might be thinking to yourself, “I do not need to do all this extra work, I can keep track of my files.” I would like to leave you with perhaps the most compelling reason to fill out your metadata – media files.
All the MP3 and other media files that are organized in iTunes are organized using metadata. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to go through 4,730 files to find one specific piece of media? How about if you have multiple versions of the same song? Without metadata, media management would be very difficult.
Now if you will excuse me, I have to go fill in some document properties.
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