Saturday, February 27, 2010

Rant on, RageBoy (aka Chief Blogging Officer)... and do it again! By JargonTalk

Do The Bombast Transcripts and The Cluetrain Manifesto mean anything to the ‘Net as we know it today?'

I've liked reading Chris Locke (aka Rageboy, aka Chief Blogging Officer) since he and fellow authors Rick Levine, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger showed how the Internet was turning business upside down with their original 
publication of The Cluetrain Manifesto a decade ago. They had argued that commerce should be about conversations, no matter what the medium, and should not be about transactions. This was pretty heady stuff a decade ago, and this book did cause a number of CEOs to examine their own businesses... but maybe not enough of them.

I was working for a now-defunct "Internet Super Carrier" (And here's Christine's partial addition)
ASHBURN, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 13, 2000

PSINet Inc. (Nasdaq:PSIX), the Internet Super Carrier, today announced that in response to customer demands for greater bandwidth, it has increased its network capacity with OC-192 circuit connections on the U.S. East Coast and entry points into Canada.

Four OC-192 wavelengths, or an aggregate of 40 gigabits per second speed, will connect four PSINet hosting centers located in Toronto, New York City, Herndon (VA) and Atlanta. The upgrade was necessary to satisfy…

located in Northern Virginia about the time of the paperback release of that title

2001: My associates and I quoted regularly from our copies as we watched our 'Net worlds sinking around us in that strange financial collapse of so many of the telecoms and ISPs during that year.

Shortly after getting and reading my original hardbound copy of Cluetrain, I found that Chris Locke had a number of regular online journals to be found, especially his Mystic Bourgeoisie and his Entropy Gradient Reversals. (The author of these is also the Chairman Emeritus of The Titanic Deck Chair Rearrangement Corporation NASDAQ:TDCRC, but that's another story in itself.) Chris was already quite experienced at publishing on the Web when some were asking "What's a blog?"

He provided diversionary enlightenment to a number of us as we watched the collapse our so-called 'Net empires that year. Many of the thoughts that the author was noting on his various Web pages and blogs proved to be prophetic.

When The Bombast Transcripts: Rants and Screeds of RageBoy came out in early 2002, I bought my first hardbound copy, one that became the merciless victim of a yellow highlighter and numerous Post-It tabs as I furiously noted sections that I felt were worth referencing for future use. All of this was taking place during a frantic search for a new IT project management leadership position and a complete personal domestic relations meltdown.

That book was "borrowed" by a colleague last year and never returned. As it's a critical one on my IT reference shelf, was pleased to find it still also listed here as a Bargain Book. I grabbed it, and reading it again has proven to be a pleasure as I've become quite accustomed over the years to RageBoy's gonzo-journalist style.

As Publishers Weekly once put it, "Resurrect William Burroughs, Charles Bukowski and , add a dash of Dilbert and that's RageBoy." I'll add a dash of Hunter S. Thompson to that, though Kat Herding may have other points of view.

But now authors Chris Locke, Rick Levine, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger have released The Cluetrain Manifesto: 10th Anniversary Edition, with a new introduction and chapters by the original authors, and commentary by Jake McKee, JP Rangaswami, and Dan Gillmor. A decade after its original publication, their message remains more relevant than ever. The Cluetrain Manifesto began as a Web site ( in 1999 when the authors, who have worked variously at IBM, Sun Microsystems, the Linux Journal, and NPR, posted 95 theses about the new reality of the networked marketplace. Ten years after its original publication, their message remains more relevant than ever.

I am personally finding this new book to be truly essential reading for anybody interested in the 'Net and e-commerce, and it's especially vital for businesses navigating the topography of the wired marketplace.

If you want an even broader understanding of Cluetrain, try The Bombast Transcripts: Rants and Screeds of Rageboy as a companion volume of sorts. It's not for everyone, and some may even find him irreverent and slightly offensive. This reader did not. He'll either charm or alarm you, but Chris has a way with words that is unforgettable. And just be aware that despite the fact that he lives in Boulder, Colorado, he has never recanted anything.

I'm calling this one a 5-star read. And apologies to the author for again bringing up the TDCRC.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Closure (The Good Kind) By Mike Gillis


I haven't been here in eons.

But I should let all of you know what I am doing now.

• Visual Webcomic!
• boat-misser
• multiple daily Twitter nonsense!!
• bindle party

Also, I have done the 'film' version of a post that lies within these very pages!
(Beachcomb Revue) has been accepted into the Brooklyn International Film Festival. Yes... in Brooklyn!

Also... also... more exciting new-projects to come. To get updates on those, you have to check Twitter for updates on those, check the Twitter. I think my blog, Sneakin' out of the Hospital is fine just the way it is, so I'm going to leave it exactly like this. Forever.

Thanks for all your comments, encouragement, and high fives over the years.

Peace, Love and Mirth;

Beachcomb Revue

Mike Gillis

Jargontalk's Review: Magellan Triton 2000: not ready for prime time

Amazon Review by Jargontalk

To purchase Magellan Triton 2000 Handheld Navigation System - go to this link.

Price: $399.99

Availability: Usually ships in 1 to 2 months

I was excited when first offered the Magellan Triton 2000 Handheld Navigation System, since I had been looking at a number of hand-held units that could be used for cycling. I had considered the more basic Magellan Triton 500 and the Garmin eTrex Legend HCx, but had ruled it out the Magellan product due to its mediocre reviews on Amazon. Then came the offer to get it as an "Amazon Vine participant", and I figured that I would try out the Triton 2000 GPS, figuring that maybe some of the reviewers just hadn't taken the time to check out the documentation and learn the product.

Must admit right now that I was wrong, and that most of the reviewers got it right.

I opened the box when it arrived, expecting to find a product that lived up to the specs listed on the product description. And it did... after a fashion. Immediately noticed that the documentation was a bit sparse, so I went to the Magellan site, registered the product, and downloaded the most recent 66-page manual in .PDF format. I then sat down with a cup of coffee, GPS in hand, and proceeded to read it in its entirety. Upon following the directions is when I found two things that became quickly apparent:
(1) that the Magellan 2000 really loves to eat AA alkaline batteries at a surprising rate, and (2) what other users and reviewers had reported about the unit crashing was an understatement, as it did lock up or completely crash... a lot.

Still I wasn't going to be deterred, so I installed the CD and its programs on my PC, and then hooked up the GPS with the supplied USB data cable, a device that was quickly recognized by the PC. I updated the supplied VantagePoint software and the unit's firmware to V1.71, as per the suggestions from the manufacturer. All went well there - except that the unit locked up again immediately after installation, so I reinstalled the firmware upgrade, and all was well... for the time being.

First Impressions:

Other than the observations I've already noted, I found that the Magellan 2000 appeared to be very well made. It had a rugged rubberized orange and black case, and had a number of interesting features that to a mountain bike cyclist were appealing. It's said to be water submersible, and though I didn't want to try dunking it in a sink to test that feature, a subsequent sojourn in unexpected rain proved that to be seemingly true. I have no doubt that it's shock resistant and not flimsy at all. Its built-in LED flashlight adds to the list of handy features, as do the integrated 2Mp digital camera and the MP3 player. They included a few spare stylus units, which I felt was a nice thoughtful touch.

Field Use:

If you buy this GPS, my suggestion is to take the time to read the sometimes-confusing documentation before you go out, as you'll likely be lost without a bit of understanding what the unit will do and how to use it. You'll also need to buy and download a few maps and load them before you go, as the pre-loaded base maps are useless for a beginner. You can get uploadable detail maps which will identify major roads, bodies of water and various geographical boundaries and features, and the best of these appear to be the TOPO! National Geographic USGS Topographic Maps (Pennsylvania, for example).

You view these first (in 3d, no less) on your PC, opt for the map areas you want, and then upload them to your Triton 2000. Be warned that you'll spend an hour or two doing this the first time, and that since this is optional software, be aware that you can spend a few bucks (about $100 or more, depending on the maps you get) doing so. You'll also need a Flash Memory Card on which to store your maps, MP3 music and any photos you may wish to take. As I said, be prepared to spend a few extra bucks before you hit the trails or roads, and that's with out considering a case (or Magellan Triton Handlebar Mountif you're a cyclist such as I am).

Now let's get down to some specific issues regarding the Magellan Triton 2000:


The unit's 2.7 inch touch screen is a good feature; it's bright and easy to see, though in bright sunlight it often doesn't seem quite bright enough. It dims automatically to avoid draining the batteries, and you can adjust the screen timer if you find it dims too quickly. A simple touch on the screen makes it brighter. I was able to use a fingertip for many selections. The protective bezel surrounding the screen doesn't allow for selection of some items in the corners, but the included stylus takes care of that. It can be tricky to pull the stylus out of the base of the case, but as noted above, Magellan included a few extras in case one is lost.

User Interface:

The user interface is somewhat clunky to operate. The navigation buttons on the unit don't provide feedback, so it's tricky to know if you entered the buttons or not. I also had repeated issues with the unit locking up and/or rebooting. It's not particularly user-friendly, but it does get the job done. The data transfer speeds between the PC and the GPS are respectable. The supplied VantagePoint software for loading maps is just adequate, and is PC only, so Mac users might wish to check with Magellan before purchasing this unit. In fact, according to Magellan's support site when queried in January 2010 about Macintosh compatibility, I received the following response: "At this time, Magellan products do not support Apple or Macintosh. It may be possible to connect your GPS to a Macintosh computer by searching [...] for connectivity plugins under COM ports or serial ports."


The sensitivity of the Triton 2000 is said to be improved over some Magellan models, and this is attributed to their use of the SiRFstar III chipset. While overall sensitivity is improved, it's said to be not quite as good as that in some of the newer Garmin GPS units which uses the same chipset. The Magellan's smaller antenna may be the cause of this, but the difference probably won't be a nuisance for most.



The product specs simply call for 2x AA batteries, so I installed a fresh pair of AA alkaline batteries. The specs also list "Battery Life: 10 hours." I have an issue with that, as I've never gotten half of that, even without using the LED flashlight, the digital camera or the MP3 player. I was confused by this, until I read of quite a number of other users having the same problem, and more expensive high-capacity lithium batteries only gave me an extra hour over the alkaline cells. Surprisingly I got the best life out of a pair of Sony AA rechargeable NiMH batteries rated at 2500 mAh, but whichever you choose, be sure to carry some spares.


Most GPS units of this type come only with base maps, which are maps that only have major roads listed. In the case of the Triton 2000, it's only capable of displaying your location on the base map between interstate highways. These are really out of place for true navigation, especially in this case, as there are no street names. I really got this unit to use for cycling and casual walking, and found that if one wanted to really make use of it for such purposes, then it requires the extra purchase of map software such as those from National Geographic as noted above. And in truth, those are not as detailed as I might like, though some may be satisfied with them.


In truth I never looked at this unit for geocaching or geotagging, so it's not fair for me to comment on something I've never tried. Just being honest here, but there does seem to be a strong focus on this built within the unit. Others will offer more valid opinions on this topic that this reviewer is qualified to do.


The electronic compass is a nice feature, and is visually appealing in all of its ways of display. However if you change the batteries, you must recalibrate it by placing the unit "on a flat, horizontal surface away from any metal objects," then follow the instructions displayed on the screen. That's also true for finding the true north (or magnetic north) on the GPS. It's a nice feature, though it does take a few moments for the compass to find north, and if you use the compass many times, you'll drain the batteries even more quickly. The directions tell you to disable the compass if a GPS fix is available. Go figure.

Digital Camera:

The integrated camera is a pleasant addition, but it's not well implemented. It's a 2 megapixel camera, and the quality is reasonable for simple snapshots, but it is a bit difficult to take photos. You first have to locate the correct menu screen before you can take a picture, then you muse press the "enter" button, then pick the correct menu item to store it. It's a somewhat clunky process, and you can forget about taking quick snapshots.

MP3 Player:

The sound quality is decent, but to use the MP3 player, you'll have to navigate through several menu items first. Since the unit's battery life is so limited, you may not wish to add the extra load on the battery, but just take your favorite MP3 player along if you want music.


The embedded LED flashlight may help you find your way at night, though it's not as bright as one might hope. And that's probably not really a bad thing, as this reviewer suspects that the flashlight function contributes to the units excessive battery consumption.


The Magellan Triton 2000 is a seemingly capable GPS with a lot of nice features. The big 2.7 inch touch screen is a definite plus. It's easier to perform some functions than other GPS units that I played with, but the battery life is not good by any stretch of the imagination. The MP3 player and digital camera are good to have, but they're really not stand-ins for having a decent music player or camera with you. The basic functionality of the unit is OK, but the Triton's firmware could use a good bit of additional tweaking to make it operate reliably.

This reviewer is no GPS expert or geotagger, but just a casual GPS user. In fact, my BlackBerry Curve has a basic no-frills GPS package that responds faster for my basic needs than the Triton 2000, which really surprised me. This has made me consider the Garmin Mobile for BlackBerry package, which seems to have an excellent interface and good features, from what I saw in their trial version. The Magellan Triton 2000 with its rubberized housing is probably more rugged, but there are those of us who just don't need all that this unit seems to be capable of, if they would just get the firmware and software right. Further, the product did not come with a printed manual, only a condensed reference guide, and one that was woefully inadequate considering the price.

Have looked at a number of other GPS units over the past year, and some of these are excellent, highly rated products, as can be seen from some of the user reviews. But this GPS is not that usable right out of the box, and by that I mean that the software costs are steep to just get it to have major roads with street names as reference points.

I really wanted to like this product; in fact I held back on posting a review in order to try and use it with all of its features, but with its excessive battery usage and constant lockups and/or crashes, found it to be more frustrating than I might have ever imagined.

At this price point I have to imagine that you can do a lot better than this particular device, and in good conscience cannot recommend the Magellan Triton 2000 due to the price vs. the issues I have already encountered. All in all, it's a 3-star product, and that's the best that I can do.

Original Amazon Review at

Monday, February 01, 2010

American Adulterer Book Review By Jargontalk

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American Adulterer Book Review By Jargontalk

Starting on the very first paragraph, author Jed Mercurio quickly sets the stage for his new book, American Adulterer. The reader quickly sees that the primary character in the book is observed as a case study. The forensic style was to this reviewer at first almost irritating, but the flat tone of the narrative actually adding to the ensuing drama. To anyone who is even a basic follower of American history, it doesn't take long to figure out who the main character is, though it's not until page 23 that we read of the new President being sworn in:

"I, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

This is a gripping novel, a work of fiction that surrounds President John F. Kennedy's personality and life as US President. It focus is on JFK's tremendously high libido, catered to under often chancy circumstances, and all the while with the President suffering from a range of almost unbearable illnesses while managing to maintain a flawless public image. Kennedy's actions define the term womanizer. Marilyn Monroe heads the seemingly limitless list of his conquests and included Angie Dickinson, and Judith Campbell Exner, all while his elegant wife pursed her lips. The President bedded actresses, society beauties, a variety of call-girls, White House junior staffers with stars in their eyes, as well as the foreseeable intern or two.

This is Jed Mercurio's third novel, following Bodies and Ascent, and it's in a different style from his earlier writings. Author Mercurio portrays Kennedy's proclivities as 'sex addiction', and tells his story in the wording of a psychiatrist's private notes. JFK becomes ' the Subject', and we learn much about his anxieties and ailments, as well as his private rules regarding adultery. Like many great political leaders, Kennedy possessed a libido that matched his political ambition. He tells a bemused Harold Macmillan, "If I don't have a women for three days, I get terrible headaches."

Fictionalizing the lives and penchants of presidents and politicians is nothing new. Joe Klein did it quite well with his book Primary Colors: A Novel of Politics, in which he satirized Bill Clinton's successful first campaign. Curtis Sittenfeld's American Wife imagined a First Lady Laura Bush that might be hidden behind her unusually serene public mask. Robert Penn Warren won the Pulitzer Prize for his landmark book All the King's Men in 1947, a loosely fictionalized account of populist political demagogue Governor Huey Long of Louisiana, one of the nation's most astounding politicians. These are all fictionalized accounts of real people involved in real events of American politics, as is this one.

Author Mercurio's writing is good enough to create long episodes of prolonged dramatic tension, even when you're aware of the outcome, as happens with novels that fictionalize real events. The Cuban missile crisis in the early '60s is skillfully reconstructed with all of its end-of-the-world tension. There are also a few laughs here and there, though they usually tend towards immature humor. In one chapter that broaches the anxieties that underlie Kennedy's masculinity, a swaggering Frank Sinatra drops his swimming shorts before JFK and a pool full of females in Palm Beach to reveal his "brutal" male appendage. Before jumping into the pool, he wisecracks, "This makes me first man." How you react to that puerile quip may tell you how you might react to the book. Luckily these are far and few between.

The evidence for John F. Kennedy's libido and demonstrated adventurism has already been published in several biographies, and none have hurt his enduring charisma or his political reputation as a leader. The Clinton Era has come and gone, leaving the world with few false impressions as to the imperfections of those who hold the highest office. There is a rather lewd FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover telling JFK to knock off the affairs. There's also a tongue-in-cheek reference to Clinton and his well-known Monica moment when Kennedy is asked, "Have you had sexual relations with this woman?"

As a nation, we have a thing for Kennedy's Camelot and the pre-Vietnam era. The huge success of the acclaimed Mad Men television series bears witness to our ongoing fascination with those times.

For all its aura of a long-gone era, when the private lives of the politically powerful were protected from the public gaze, Mercurio's American Adulterer is a novel of our times. It's prurient, though detached; salacious, but unobjectionable. It has its flat spots, but if one can be objective about the topic and writing style, all in all it's a good read.

Gramps by Lannon MacGregor

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I knew an old man,
Wine bottle in hand,
Who told me just how to live.
Told me how he's been here so long,
And how I've lived my life all wrong,
Plus all the advice he could give.

And then through his slur,
Were a few words I heard,
As he dripped the last drops on his tongue;

He said, "Hold dear my advice,
On living your life,
Cuz i've done everything under the sun."

None by Lannon McGregor

She cuts her skin
With a razor so thin
And bleeds out all the pain
That hides inside
And won’t subside
‘Til she cuts herself again.

She demonstrates
Her discovered fate
Thru words scratched in her arm
Words carefully chose
Changed as often as her clothes
But always still spelled harm.

No one else felt
She deserved love for herself
So why should she even try?
They called her strange,
Passed it off as a stage,
Still blinded to the beauty that she hides.