Archive for category Opinion

Dumped…

No, this post has nothing to do with a relationship, well, actually it does, but not in the way you may think.

I have ended a relationship less than 24 hours ago, but I did the dumping, I wasn’t the one dumped, and it wasn’t even a relationship with a person, or a pet, or a job.

I dumped Facebook last night.

I am probably going to ramble a bit, but I promise there is a salient point to all of this.

It was a bit of a hard breakup, any breakup or separation with someone or something that has become an ingrained, everyday part of your life is a difficult decision to make, and an even more difficult decision to execute. Just like with other difficult choices I have made in my life before this, people, jobs, and other such things, I have been thinking about it for awhile and weighing in the positives and the negatives and what it would mean for other aspects of my life.

I think the positives outweigh the negatives though, part of the positives are eliminating the negative aspects of Facebook in the first place. This applies to Facebook as well as MySpace if anyone actually still uses that, or any other social network that is out there that isn’t focused on a specific topic. I say that as an exclusion to other semi-social networks like Flickr, or LinkedIn, or even FourSquare; All of those have some fairly specific in their nature and are not as insipidly invasive as Facebook.

All of this goes back to what I think is the real contradiction of social networks and social networking, it’s not actually social. Partially because so many people have a misunderstanding about the internet and they don’t realize that the internet is not real, therefore we have developed a culture of the illusion of being social.

We have developed a culture of the illusion of being social.

From the Merriam Webster dictionary:

Socialrelating to or involving activities in which people spend time talking to each other or doing enjoyable things with each other

That’s the first definition listed, there are 2 more listed as well.

– liking to be with and talk to people : happy to be with people

– of or relating to people or society in general

I think if you read any of those quickly, then they can certainly apply to the use of a social network, however I think upon some deeper reflection, only the last one actually applies to a social network, but everyone thinks of the first two as the ones which describe them.

Prepositions are some powerful parts of speech that people often overlook and don’t think about their real meanings and the affect they have on the definition of a word. In these definitions, the key prepositions are those of “with” and “to”, they’re so small, yet they carry so much meaning and yet people ignore them so easily.

Withused to say that people or things are together in one place

 – used to say that two or more people or things are doing something together or are involved in something

Toused to indicate the place, person, or thing that someone or something moves toward

– used to indicate the place where someone participates in a particular activity

“Together in one place”

“Doing something together”

“Someone or something moves toward”

Now, this is where people’s lack of understanding of the internet comes into the picture, the internet is not real, it is not a physical place, and you are not actually moving toward anyone, and you are not together with those who you interact with online. Yes, you are interacting, but it’s not together, it’s not in unison, it is not a social interaction. Posting to a person’s wall and then them responding 10 minutes later, or 10 seconds later, it’s still not together.

You aren’t talking to a person, you aren’t focused on that person, you aren’t interacting with them, even when you add another person or 10, it’s not a social interaction because you lose all context for emotion, physical cues, tone of voice and timing. When you have a conversation with someone, hearing their statement and then thinking about how to respond for 10 minutes or a day isn’t going to work. It’s cold, it’s calculating, it’s unnatural for what is a real social interaction.

For a real world example, let’s take it literally for the way a social network actually works. Imagine that you have something you want to share with your friends, so you post a note on a bulletin board on the front door of your house, then your friends wander by on their morning walk with the dog, or they stop by on their way to work quickly and read what you have to say. Then, a few of those people have a reaction so they respond to you by writing a note for you and then tacks it under the message you left and then you see it when you get home.

What was social about that?

NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

This is the illusion that I talk about, we post on each other walls, lists, we share things with other people that we wouldn’t share with people in the course of regular conversation, things that are so insignificant that we don’t even care about them.

It’s not social to sit, alone, in your house watching tv by yourself and bouncing around on Facebook commenting on this or that, liking this, posting a photo of your eggs or the new sneakers you go, or bragging about how cute your child, dog, or boyfriend is or what funny thing that any of them did today.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that there are some great aspects to the site, like being able to keep in touch with people or organize events, or share pictures of your kids with people who want to see them without needing to email dozens of photos to dozens of people. There are other methods to do this sort of thing though, and this is where Facebook has capitalized in order to get what they want… they have taken advantage of our greatest weakness, the fact that we have become an inherently lazy society. This is similar to Amazon’s capitalizing on the same thing, we are lazy, we want everything in one place and we want it to be as easy as possible, which is exactly what Facebook has accomplished, the problem is that we are so enamored with how easy it is and how easy it has made certain things for us, that we don’t realize the negative effects that this has had on us, both individually and as a society.

So, this is the main issue I have and have developed through the use of Facebook, and it’s what I want to change at least about myself, and maybe hopefully a few other people out there in the world. I want to actually be social with people, I want real experiences and I want real people actually in my life that actually are willing to put in some effort to be part of my life, not just tag along because it’s easy.

There is more I have to say on this, but I don’t want to overwhelm in just one entry… this will continue with more in the future… maybe tomorrow, maybe next week…

Comment is you want, or don’t, I don’t really care if you do, but one thing I would like to have you do is think, just think for a little bit about your time, your life, your experiences and the people with whom you are actually TOGETHER with during those times, during that life, and are part of those experiences.

So Ned Cleary is no longer on Facebook.

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Talk About Impatience…

So i am here at the airport and it is ridiculously early. I have a 7:30 flight and it is just past 6:00am.

So there is a guy who definitely wants to be the first one on the plane for some reason. He is obviously flying first class since that’s the lane he is standing in, but thats the thing, he’s standing in line already.

The flight isn’t even scheduled to start boarding for another 45 minutes at least, and yet there he is, standing in line already and playing with his iPhone as he stands there.

I really just don’t understand why…

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Facebook & Social Media Falsehoods…

Ugh…

This happens every time Facebook sends out any kind of privacy update, and it kind of annoys me every time I see it. It’s not just facebook, but Twitter, Flickr, or almost any other site where users are the ones generating the content on the site. No, it’s not the update to the privacy policy of Facebook that annoys me, it’s the reaction of the users and the buying into myths that someone decides to create in terms of letting people know how they can “protect” their own intellectual property, usually through referencing some sort of law, legal decision or some other kind of legalese.

This is the current text of the one I have seen posted by more than one person, and it always really bothers me when I see someone I have always believed to be intelligent, sensible human beings, and yet they buy into the fallacious postings as if they are absolute and true. The superscript numbers apply to my comments afterwards.

In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention1,2).
For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!3

Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place them under protection of copyright laws by the present communiqué, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook’s direction or control.4 The content of this profile is private and confidential information.5 The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-1036 and the Rome Statute7).

Facebook is now an open capital entity.8 All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates.9

Now to deconstruct and explain why this is meaningless for you…

1- There is no such thing as the Berner Convention. There is something known as the Berne Convention, which is what this is likely referencing, but failing to do so because of a bad typist, and then no one actually understanding what they are copying and pasting, but just blindly doing so because they are sheep and think they are protecting something that either needs no protection or can’t be protected.

2- According to the Berne Convention, which the US didn’t actually agree to become a member country until 1989, you own any original creative work and automatically own the copyright unless you sign away that copyright to someone else, or you created that creative work under contract for someone else. Even if it contains a trademarked item, image, or phrase, you still automatically own the copyright to what you created, you just can’t use it for anything since someone else owns the trademark.

3- Facebook already has your written consent to use your updates and their content, you agreed to the Terms of Use/Service when you signed up for an account.

4- Facebook isn’t going to take any action against you unless you violate the the TOU/S that you agreed to when you signed up. What kind of action do you think they will actually do? Delete a post? Delete your account? While this may surprise some people, this is completely within their rights to do those things.

5- Nothing you post anywhere online is private and confidential, the very act of posting it online makes it public. Yes, you can control who can view your profile on Facebook with security settings, but that only applies to other users, not to Facebook or any of it’s partners. They can and will use anything you post in whatever way they want, you posting is what generates content, which generates information for them to use in order to market ads and products to you based on your interests and your friends interests.

6- This section I find incredibly funny. I am not 100% sure what they are referencing with the UCC, it could be either Universal Copyright Code or because the numbers don’t align with anything in the Universal Copyright Code it more likely is a reference to the Uniform Commercial Code, but even then, it doesn’t make any sense.

Sections it would be referencing in the Uniform Commercial Code.

§ 1-103. Construction of [Uniform Commercial Code] to Promote its Purposes and Policies: Applicability of Supplemental Principles of Law.

(a) [The Uniform Commercial Code] must be liberally construed and applied to promote its underlying purposes and policies, which are: (1) to simplify, clarify, and modernize the law governing commercial transactions; (2) to permit the continued expansion of commercial practices through custom, usage, and agreement of the parties; and (3) to make uniform the law among the various jurisdictions.

(b) Unless displaced by the particular provisions of [the Uniform Commercial Code], the principles of law and equity, including the law merchant and the law relative to capacity to contract, principal and agent, estoppel, fraud, misrepresentation, duress, coercion, mistake, bankruptcy, and other validating or invalidating cause supplement its provisions.

§ 1-308. Performance or Acceptance Under Reservation of Rights.

(a) A party that with explicit reservation of rights performs or promises performance or assents to performance in a manner demanded or offered by the other party does not thereby prejudice the rights reserved. Such words as “without prejudice,” “under protest,” or the like are sufficient.

(b) Subsection (a) does not apply to an accord and satisfaction.

Neither of these means anything within the context of a posting on Facebook.

7- The Rome Statute – Sounds serious and intimidating and official right? Well, unless you think Facebook is committing a core international crime such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression, then you don’t have any claims under the Rome Statute. If you think that Facebook is committing any of these crimes by using your content, then you should go talk to a therapist first, you have some major issues to work through.

8- So Facebook is an open capital entity now, so they are a public company. This has no bearing on anything to do with any type of privacy or copyright.

9- The crème de la crème of this entire posting. This is an outright and blatant lie. You are in no way tacitly giving Facebook any kind of permission by not reposting this or any similar statement; You have already explicitly given Facebook the right to ” use elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates”. When you may ask? When you signed up and joined the site you gave them that permission.

This section from the terms that can’t be over-ridden by anything you post on your timeline – “you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook”.

To translate this for you in everyday language, “by posting anything on Facebook you give us the right to use it, give it to someone else to use, or sell it to someone else to use, anywhere in the world and we don’t have to pay you anything to do that.”


So let’s wrap up this with a simple explanation.

Anything you post on Facebook can be used by Facebook however they want. You have granted them the full right to use or license to someone else for them to use simply by using the site and giving them the pictures or status update content.

Everyone always thinks that Facebook is great because it’s free, but while it may not cost you any money, it is not even anywhere close to being “free” in any sense of the word. Facebook has you pay for it’s service and it’s features because you are paying for it with your information instead of cash money, Facebook then uses that information to make money, either through generating ad income because it can intelligently parse your posts and determine your interests, or by selling your information to other people to parse for their own purposes. The more information you give them through posts, responses, games played, applications used, people, products, companies, and posts “liked” then the more you are paying them for the use of their service.

Yes, you own the content, every social media site is always going to tell you that you own your content because you do, and they can’t usurp your right to own your content and intellectual property. The part they hide in all the long user agreements is the legal aspect that while you own the content/IP that you are posting, the fact you are posting it means you are licensing it to them for their own use and their own purposes.

If you or anyone you know really is concerned about your own privacy and don’t want your things used, then you should really just stop using Facebook, or any other social media site. Anything you post online should always be assumed to be in the public domain and visible to anyone and everyone, if you don’t want someone or anyone to know about it then don’t post it online, ANYWHERE. If you want to privately share something with someone else, then you should either call them on the phone, email them, or do the completely unthinkable thing in this day and age – TALK TO THEM FACE TO FACE.

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For the First Time… In a Long Time…

Here I am, sitting at the airport waiting for my flight. I have not been on a plane in almost a year and a half at this point, which seems weird considering I used to be on a flight 2-3 times a week at a minimum. The last time I was on a plane it was on my trip to Fantasy Camp for a vacation, so if we skip that trip it would be almost a full 2 years since I have been on a plane for work.

Logan airport hasn’t changed much, although the construction that was going on in Central Parking for over 2 years appears to be finally completed so the whole garage is now accessible for parking, and surprisingly, the cost to park a car has only increased by $2 a day in the past 2 years.

The ads are new and there is a Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar and Grill in Terminal C, but the kiosks and everything are still the same, and the same escalator is still not working to get down from the skyway to the concourse to check in. I still think it’s a conspiracy by the repair companies to keep them busy, same as with the T, fix them just enough to work for a bit and then break again.

Same carpets, same white rocking chairs, same vinyl rows of seats. It feels good to be back. Only trouble is that I have lost my frequent flyer status, so no free upgrade and I needed to wait in the standard security line, unlike in the past where I was able to take the super special speedy line.

I did notice one change though, what used to be the candy and nut stand halfway down the ramp to the gates is now some kind of health food stand with dried fruits and fruit juices. Yay?

I think the shoeshine guy was the same guy, although he was falling asleep and kept doing the head bob. You know the one, head resting on a hand and then you fall asleep so it slips off and then you wake up because of the jerking motion of your head falling, then you look around suspiciously to see if anyone noticed and then go back to snoozing, then repeat over and over again.

I have missed this, and while there is not much currently scheduled, I certainly hope that there is a lot more of this to come. The job looks very promising and I think this is going to end up leading to a whole lot of good things in terms of travel, professional life and personal life.

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Might Be The Funniest Spam Ever…

Below is a picture of the text of a SPAM email that came to my spam folder today. I like to peruse through my spam filter once in awhile to see what kind of crap is going through it… this one is a gem… it’s a new spin on the whole lottery/inheritance type of scam coming out of foreign countries. You get $800K for simply paying the $126 wire charge fees.

The funniest part of this entire thing, is that they are trying to convince you that the email is coming from the FBI as part of a current investigation.

I totally believe it, I mean, why wouldn’t a person who works at a bank or at the FBI be using a hotmail.com email address when notifying and dealing with transactions well in excess of half a million bucks?

I honestly wonder exactly how gullible some people must be to actually fall for these scams. I put the email into a picture so that I don’t end up with a ton of stupid search engine results from the content of the email.

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I Just Don’t Get It Sometimes…

Sure, I don’t have kids so many people will probably discount my opinion on this topic, but really, I don’t think being a parent gives anyone more insight into the topic, and if anything I think it may cloud their perception of the topic.

Times have certainly changed since I was in school, and there is way too much sugar coating for kids nowadays for fear of “damaging them” even though the same things were done when I was in school, and it didn’t do any damage to me or anyone else I knew.

This blog is prompted by a Facebook status that was posted by one of my good friends, this was her status update:

This is what my daughter`s teacher wrote on her assignment “this shows a laziness and a lack of pride in your work”. Really? That`s appropriate to call a 9 yr old lazy? Am I missing something?

Now to me, I see nothing wrong with this, her daughter is in the fourth grade, and last time I checked a teacher’s job was to instruct, correct and teach children new things and to always try to get the kids to improve themselves and their work. Am I wrong about that?

Should a teacher not criticize a child’s work and allow them to continue bad habits or practices that are going to be unacceptable to the next teacher as well?

I seem to be in the minority since there were some interesting comments by other people as well who seemed to share the same outrage of the mom.

that is nuts!

I would go have a chat with that teacher. That’s not acceptable.

Hon let me at her/ him They need to be reminded that those that can – (do) tand hose that can’t – (Teach) Sorry but negative reinforcement never has the result that is trying to be achieved. a truley intelagent persons teachs by example.

That is crazy!!! I would set up a meeting the the teacher and the Principal together and discuss that. I can’t imagine! I would be SO pissed!!!

Really? You really feel this way? First off, I don’t see anything nuts about it, even without knowing the specifics of the assignment, the reason an assignment is turned in to a teacher is to have it graded, corrected and receive feedback on the assignment so the child can learn for future assignments and life.

Are those helicopters I hear?

Why is that not acceptable? Why would that make you pissed? Should the teacher continue to let the student hand in unsatisfactory work? Should the teacher not teach the child so they can learn? How else can you tell a student what they are doing is wrong and shows a lack of effort?

Are people really this sensitive that they can’t accept criticism of what they do? Are we so scared of hurting a child’s ego so much that simple criticism is no longer acceptable?

Also, while I agree about negative re-enforcement not being effective, I don’t consider this negative re-enforcement.  Don’t even get me started on the whole “those who can’t do, teach”  misnomer, whoever came up with that saying has never actually tried teaching and has no clue at exactly how hard teaching is, no matter what the subject. Personally I think the person that came up with it had some kind of serious personal issues, either self loathing or real feelings of insecurity, therefore they felt the need to lash out negatively against a teacher.

Back to my own experience, I know I got some notes like this when I was in the 4th grade, a few in the third grade too. I was in the Easton School System and had Mrs. Hooker as a 4th grade teacher, to say she was old school would be a complete understatement. She was harsh, but she was a great teacher. I am pretty sure she would have user a ruler to rap someone’s knuckles if she could have gotten away with it.

I’m not damaged because of that, plenty of other things may have damaged me, but having my teacher tell me that I wasn’t putting enough effort into an assignment and it showed in my resulting work isn’t a bad thing.

If a student is never told that, then how would they ever know that they were doing it? Where do we draw the line? How far are we going to go?

This goes way beyond just kids in school, that just happens to be the topic of this entry.

What about the constant use of hand sanitizer? Not letting kids get dirty? Not letting kids wait outside for the bus alone? Giving every kid a trophy? Not keeping score in games? Not publishing the Honor Roll in the town paper because it causes too much “stress” (Here and Here)?

At what point do you start to teach a kid that they did something wrong, someone else is better than you at something, or that you aren’t perfect?

At this rate is seems like we are going puts kids in hermetically sealed bubbles, get rid of grades completely, everyone gets into the college they want, and then eventually get the exact job they want at whatever they think they deserve for a salary while living with their parents rent free until they are in their 40’s.

C’mon people, let them fail at something, let them realize someone else is better than they are at something, let them make mistakes, let them solve some of their own problems by taking responsibility for their actions, let them get some real world experience now so they can grow and become an adult in the future, otherwise it is going to be one seriously harsh slap in the face when they actually get into the real world. (Feel free to correct me about this long run on sentence, you won’t hurt my feelings)

I’ve seen it with some kids in college, and even in the corporate world where someone wasn’t used to failing or being told that what they were doing and how they were doing it was wrong. Even funnier were responses I heard along the lines of “this is how I have always done it and it’s always been accepted before” as if it mattered in the current situation.

/end rant

On the bright side, at least the mom who I disagree with doesn’t hold it against me since it is just my opinion, and it’s one of the great things about this country and most of this world, we can all have our own opinions.

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Lewis and Reed and Mason Oh My!

So the Patriots are playing the Ravens this weekend in the first round of the playoffs. This is going to be an interesting matchup, and the game is certainly going to be exciting.

To know why it is going to be exciting is to look back to the first time these two teams faced off in the regular season. It was the 4th game of the season and the Patriots were 2-1 while the Ravens were 3-0.

Neither team had a secure hold on the game at any point, and outside of Ray Rice, no one really had what could be considered a great game statistically. The Ravens were better though on the ground and through the air, while the Patriots managed to commit fewer penalties and control the time of possession better than the Ravens.

Now we come to the end of the season and the playoffs where these 2 teams meet again, a single game separating their regular season records.

Even as a diehard Patriots fan, the overwhelming majority of factors in this game favor the Ravens. The Patriots have 4 things in their favor on the field of play, their quarterback Tom Brady, their 3 man Defensive line, and their place kicker Stephen Gostowski. Wait, that is only 3, I will get to the fourth in a moment. The Ravens are better than the Patriots in pretty much every other category when it comes to running backs, offensive line, wide receivers, defensive backfield, and tight ends.

Then there is the 4th thing that I did not mention above, which probably gives the Patriots a slight edge in this entire situation. This is a desire for the young players, the stars of the future to make their mark and prove something to themselves, the press, their opponents and the rest of the league who are all calling them done, out of it, the end of an era. This is their time to step up and become what they know they can become.

Wes Welker went down with a serious injury last week, that is not good for the Patriots in general, he was their leading WR this season, near the top of the league in almost every WR category, 2nd all time in catches for a single season, and yet he also missed games 2 and 3 this year, as well as virtually all of the last game. To doubt or underestimate his importance to this team, and this team’s offense would be foolish. I do hope however that the opponents of the Patriots take this as an opportunity to overestimate how much his loss will affect the Patriots game plan and execution for the game.

I know I can be called crazy for what I am about to say, but so be it. I think that the loss of Wes Welker actually has the potential to be an advantage to the Patriots this post season and their ability to win. What? Yes, Yes I really did just type those words, and hear me out with this wild and crazy thought process.

Every team knows that Welker has been Tom Brady’s backup plan on nearly every play this year, he was the go to guy and was available on 2nd and 3rd looks all the time, and it worked. Teams didn’t try to stop him, they just tried to contain him, while also preventing the long ball to Sam Aiken or Randy Moss. Teams knew it would be him, it was always him, but who will it be now? Will it be Julian Edelman who filled in almost without a pause last week? Will it be Kevin Faulk who seems to step up and become the guy willing to do anything the coach asks him to? Will it be Ben Watson who steps it up to use his size and speed to his full potential? Will Sebastian Vollmer bouncing from the right side to the left side to mix it up against the defensive line make a difference?

I know I don’t know that, and I am guessing the Ravens, Colts, Chargers or whoever else the Patriots could be may not know that answer either. This is what gives the Patriots a slight advantage by not having Wes Welker in the game, it forces them to think of more and new options and use players in a way that the other team’s defenses don’t know how to defend.

Welker has been a mainstay in this offense for 3 years now, defenses are used to him and know what to expect and can study the film on him for the past 3 years, but what film is there from 4 or 5 years ago that would still be relevant to the Patriots now? Not a single WR was here 4 years ago, so it’s tough to really compare then to now with the passing offense.

If the Patriots want to win, they need to go back to 01, 03, 04 and do what was working for them and what made that team a winner. It wasn’t the big play, it wasn’t the long ball to Moss for 40+ yards that got them those wins. The things that will win this playoff run for the Patriots are screen passes, in routes, out routes, drag routes and curls to Edelman, Watson, Faulk, and Baker. While all those routes are going on, Moss needs to stick to it, run his come backs, go routes, and post patterns to be open in case that long shot is available.

If the Pats can do that, then I think they have the chance to go far, if not all the way in these playoffs.

Is this the only key to winning? No, definitely not. The defensive backfield needs to step up to not just the next level, but the level 1 step beyond that as well. They have been acceptable for most of the year, yes they give up yards and plays, but they have their moments when they are good at what they do, and while the WR against the Ravens this weekend hold the advantage, they also hold the disadvantage of having the ball thrown to them by Joe Flacco. Same goes for the defensive line, they need to step it up and get a better pass rush to force Flacco to make more errors than he normally would. These are definitely important, but I think the veteran leadership of Junior Seau on the field, and some motivation of the younger players like Butler, Mayo, Chung, and Meriweather to be stepping it up and being the players the patriots thing they can be.

Remember the beginning of this decade for the New England Patriots, it wasn’t the big name players who got those wins, it was the rough and tumble, hard playing almost unknown players who’s wins got them those big names.

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The Laurel Grille and Bar

This was not my first time at the Laurel Grill and Bar, and it is still not going to be my last time either. As it always has in the past, the meal exceeded my expectations and was a delightful treat for the taste buds.

I had only previously been to the Laurel on the weekend while taking my mother to a show, or celebrating a birthday with family. So a Thursday night experience was a new one for me, I felt a little foolish when we arrived and said we had a reservation. The restaurant was less than half full. Not really surprising though but better to have been safe than sorry, I know if we did not have a reservation the place would have been packed and we never would have gotten a table.

I had a tasty cocktail called a pink lemonade to start off the meal with, I forget what exactly was in it, but it tasted great so that’s all that matters. Then we had some calamari, which was very good as well it tasted extremely fresh.. I would have skipped the banana peppers that were mixed in, but I was easily able to pick around them.

For dinner, I had the lobster risotto and Kate had the stuffed pork loin, and they were both awesome. The pork loin was stuffed with italian sausage, onions, and cheese. The risotto had lobster, asparagus, fresh tomato, sun dried tomato, and Parmesan cheese. I really liked how they cut the asparagus up into tiny pieces making it part of the meal instead of putting it on presentation style by laying 2 or 3 pieces on top of the risotto, it was also cooked perfectly by still being crisp instead of the over mushy that so many places end up having.

The bartender was a bit loud, and I think a bit tipsy, but it wasn’t anything that would disturb the meal, plus it was obvious he was dealing with a few regulars with his boisterous actions.

Always a win here, and I will be back… again… and again…

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Joe Tecce’s Ristorante

Now, normally I don’t like to write a bad review of any restaurant, I will generally just keep my opinion to myself and save my posts for praise of a good or great meal/restaurant. I need to make an exception this time for Joe Tecce’s Ristorante on the edge of Boston’s North End. I write this as a customer with extensive experience as a waiter in a restaurant who knows what it takes to wait on a table especially a large party that you are virtually dedicated to because of it’s size.

We headed there for dinner this past Friday night with a group of about 16 people. We were seated at 2 different tables and were working on 2 separate checks, our choice on the checks. One table was basically the kids table with their wranglers and one table the adults table.

First off, the menus are completely screwy with how they are laid out. They lack order and don’t follow the general flow of a meal the way a “normal” menu would be laid out for an Italian restaurant. Antipasto, then salads/soups, pastas, entress, desserts. Theirs had some entrees on the first page, salads/soups on the second, antipasto on the third, pastas on the fourth, and then some entrees and then desserts. Confusing to say the least!

Drink orders went sorta mostly ok, the service of them was very slow. Refills for water or soda were no quicker, and she didn’t seem to be able to remember who ordered what drink.

The ordering of the meal went mostly ok, the waitress did the normal start with one person, and then work your way around the table getting everyone’s orders. Then came the wait, it seemed like forever for the meals to come out, and when it did it was pure chaos! She had no idea who ordered what! She had a list in front of her, with everyone’s order, in order from first person to last person. She couldn’t figure out who ordered what, so she was yelling off what she held in her hand while waving it around hoping someone would tell her “hey that’s mine” meanwhile she is staring right at her list of who ordered what. It had been so long since we had ordered that many people forgot exactly what they had ordered, so meals got mixed up when one person was given a chicken marsala when they ordered a chicken parmesian because all they could remember was they had chicken in the name of it. Also unfortunately, the kids, usually the most anxious group of people while waiting for dinner were some of the last people to get their food.

The food itself, well, it gets a giant MEH from me, it wasn’t bad, but for the $30 that I dropped for the Veal Medallions with Proscuitto and Mozzarella, I was extremely disappointed. The medallions themselves were good, but when the waitress was rattling off the specials to us from memory instead of having them written down, she somehow failed to mention they were going to be covered in a mushroom and artichoke hearts sauce. I was certainly shocked when it arrived that way. I was also disappointed when I ordered and was told that it did not come with a salad since when she was rattling off the specials she said that it came with a salad and choice of pasta. The choice in pasta did not come with a choice of sauces though, and along with incredibly small size of the side of pasta, this was an extreme disappointment.

While other people’s meals were larger, I did try some of the chicken parm that kate had ordered, while it was tasty, it didn’t really strike me as anything exceptional.

Overall, underwhelmed doesn’t even come close to describing my experiences at Joe Tecce’s Ristorante. I will not be back.

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How Much is Too Much?

How much information is a prospective employeer entitled to while doing a background check as part of the hiring process?

Let’s think about this, they have our name and our email address since you likely emailed them your resume. Who uses paper nowadays right? On top of that you have probably filled out an application which included your phone number, social security number, previous employers and address.

So that would allow them to find out some information through traditional channels as well as general Google searches, unless a Google search is now considered traditional? What about usernames or alternative email addresses? What about a list of all forums, chat rooms, groups or social sites that you use? What about the login and password to those sites?

Did that last line catch you off guard? Did it make you do an “OMG WTF LOL” at the very idea of giving someone your username and password to a website?

Many people have felt the same way about the City of Bozeman Montana who is requesting that very information as past of their standard “CONSENT AND RELEASE TO CONDUCT CRIMINAL BACKGROUND and REFERENCE CHECKS” for all prospective employees to the city.

Needless to say, I won’t be applying for a job with Bozeman anytime soon, but I wonder if this idea will start to spread out to other places as well. Is this really a set of information that an employer needs in order to do a background check into someone prior to hiring them? I don’t think so and I think it’s a huge violation of personal privacy.

Should an employer also be allowed full access to do a search of your home? Read all personal diaries? Get the full lowdown on why you left previous jobs?

No to all of these, public information is what should be relevant to employment. Private information should only be considered if it is relevant to something that would directly affect yoru ability to perform the duties of your job, these jobs are few and far between.

On top of the personal privacy issues, there is also another point which needs to be addressed, the Terms of Use/Service of the websites for which they are requesting username and passwords.

Facebook:

3.4 You will not solicit login information or access an account belonging to someone else.
4.6 You will not share your password, let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account.

Myspace:

4.   Password. When you sign up to become a Member, you will also be asked to choose a password.  You are entirely responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your password.  You agree not to use the account, username, or password of another Member at any time or to disclose your password to any third party.  You agree to notify MySpace immediately if you suspect any unauthorized use of your account or access to your password.  You are solely responsible for any and all use of your account.

Now above and beyond the privacy issues, there are also personal security issues with giving this information to someone, especially on a sheet of paper that will be seen by who knows how many people and be stored in who knows what manner? This is a security nightmare of epic proportions for anyone in my opinion. Google and Yahoo are not just social clubs, chat rooms or forums, they are also email providers, so not only would someone have access to that, they could potentially have access to every website you belong to by simply going and having your password emailed to yourself, or scanning through old emails that are still stored within your account.

On top of all that, there is also the risk of whoever is doing the research getting caught up in unrelated social drama where another person could be posting things that aren’t true.

When do we say when? Where do the boundries of personal and professional stop? Who decides what is or is not relevant and do they really have that right?

I honestly question some of the legality of this request in the first place, and while I am sure the city had lawyers that have cleared it; I am sure there are lawyers out there who could find some references that could help clear up the murky waters of legality.

Just to be fair, there are plenty of other parts of this consent and release form that I have issues with, but they don’t really apply to IE, so I won’t go into them.

If the city of Bozeman is interested in hiring me, then they can go get their own Facebook account or Myspace account and become my friend if they want to know what is on my profile.

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