(tuesday) was a good day

1930 census

I was going to bed Tuesday night after a really nice day of talking to a radio interviewer on the phone, solving a bunch of niggling IT problems at work, teaching one of my drop-in students how to look up folks in the US Census, getting hooked and finding my own relatives in the US Census — I was able to find five out of eight great-grandparents — playing Scrabble with my boyfriend and teaching him to find his relatives in the US Census (Russian immigrants, the lot of them) and going to bed thinking “Hey I solved a lot of problems today and I didn’t set foot in the library once” vowing to actually note down that I’d just had a nice no-illness, no-travel, no-library day in the morning.

And then my website was down for days. I was savvy enough to know that the problem wasn’t mine. Historically, this sort of thing used to happen only when I’d received some major media attention and the outage seemed to be a sort of karmic “don’t get too big for your britches” warning. This time it just seemed like the response of an old teetery webserver — I’m still with eskimo.com and have been since 1996 or so — until I did a little Googling. Looks like the owner of eskimo.com was in prison and major bills went unpaid leaving the site down for days while the family and the remaining employee[s] figured it all out. Eskimo.com refugees took shelter in an Ubuntu forum while they figured out what exactly was going on. I’m still reading the details which are spotty. Looks like a family member has taken over. The site is back up. There’s a Yahoo group that has been started.

Meanwhile my boss Matt — best boss of all time — had a bit of a medical emergency which most of us heard about on Twitter. He’s off to get surgery today. The public announcement of this scary fact resulted in a massive outpouring of sympathy and love from the thousands of people on the internet his life and work have touched. I’m crossing my fingers for a dull and uneventful procedure and a speedy recovery.

So I’m in a decent place, happy and healthy in my pineapple pajamas, but things are pretty bumpy in the larger world. One of the toughest things about this living-in-the-future internet world is that there’s always a larger world where everything’s not quite awesome someplace. Taking the crunchy with the smooth, I suppose.

the story thus far

I wrenched my shoulder overswimming and now have to take it easy and do exercises according to my physical therapist (a nice Libertarian sort who uses words like “wimpy” and “freaky” to describe my physiology but I have to believe he means it in the nicest way) so I’ve been annoyed and a bit under the weather lately. Add to this that two of my other female colleagues seem to have fluish symptoms of eerily similar description and I’ve shifted from my normal low-grade hypochondria to full-on chemical warfare conspiracy theories. My guess is that I am only right if they’ve been able to somehow lace the toxic agent into the local pollen because there’s certainly a lot of that around and I haven’t had any of my normal Spring sniffles….

In any case, I’ve been tired and achey and taking it easy. I got back from NH only to head back out to go to my Dad’s for Father’s Day and a MetaFilter meetup in Marlboro MA on my way back home. This weekend I’m going to a wedding in Brooklyn and then I swear I’m staying home.

I had some good successes at work today, more Ubuntu happiness as well as more old people with new computers who seem to think I am some sort of super wizard lady when I explain how to open a program, follow a hyperlink or send an email. It’s sort of low-hanging fruit I guess, but it’s fun for me to do I also got to talk to one library about a long range plan that might include an open source library catalog and a media creation center for people to learn how to interact with their web environments. I’d be happy if that happened, but I was happy just to get to say it out loud and have someone seriously listen to me.

When I got home from my friends’ house this evening, there was a phone message from JetBlue — the airline that lost/stole my stuff in Puerto Rico — saying they had forwarded the letter I had sent to their CEO to some central baggage specialist who would be calling me back in a few days. Apparently JetBlue may not want to go to small claims court over $70 worth of cables. I, on the other hand, would love to go to small claims court over $70 worth of cables. I have nothing but time and a burning distaste for getting jerked around over technicalities on stuff like this. I like JetBlue an awful lot most days, but I think they could have handled this with more class.

My only other recent event of note is that I bought a car, on Facebook, from a friend of mine. I need to go to Ithaca to get it, or get someone from Ithaca to drive it here. If you are Ithaca-linked in some way, please feel free to drop me an email.

it’s a good and bad week for….

It’s a good and bad week for birds. The grosbeaks have come back this week and I saw a Baltimore oriole way up high in the trees which never happens. My neighbor Chris was over so he was able to help me identify the bird and share in the little “yay orioles!” party. It was a bad week for the hermit thrush who flew into the window, first one of the season.

It was a good and bad week for Ubuntu+Jessamyn. I got briefly internet-famous which as you all know does not translate into beer or anything useful most of the time. Then I spent too much of yesterday trying to get Ubuntu to do all the great stuff it does on my own laptop. I installed what seemed like several hundred package upgrades. I got Flash working. I was online… and then something happened and I wasn’t anymore. Then I looked out the window and was like “what the HELL am I doing inside today?” and left.

It was a good and bad week for the lawn. I actually got off my ass and raked up last year’s leaves and gave everything the once over. The good news is that tulips and daffodils are up and looking great. The bad news is that I have no idea what the hell I am doing and that’s going to be clear in about four days as the lawn gets overgrown and I don’t even know how to start the lawnmower. I’d consider investing in seven cats just so it’s obvious that I plan to hole up here for the next 40 years (j/k, j/k) but my neighbor has those. Maybe he’ll let me borrow them.

My Summer travel plans include Burlington (VLA), Puerto Rico (ACURIL), Ann Arbor, New York (wedding), Portland (MeFi Anniversary) and Seattle (wedding). I think I am taking August off.

weird little radar blip

So I got back from the Massachusetts Library Association conference on Friday. Monday I went to one of the little libraries I work with and installed Ubuntu on their donated PCs. They have two Windows machines and the new machines asked for a Windows product code key when you turned them on. Pretty annoying. I had been messing around with Ubuntu — a user-friendly Linux distribution — and was pleasantly surprised how well it worked on my new laptop. Previously I had messed around with Linux on old PCs and it had been a nightmare of drivers and missing fonts and me not really understanding enough to make it work right. That has changed.

So I installed Ubuntu and made a little movie of it. I’m working on my little movie skills as I’m sure everyone who reads this knows. Each time I try to learn one more new technique. This time it was the freeze-frames and I actually put myself in this one doing a small voice over spot. It took an hour or two to put the thing together, cheezy graphics and all, then I went to bed. Tuesday I got up and went to work, sent the video around to my friends as usual. I’m always happy when 30-40 people see them. YouTube has a lot of little statistics so you can see what people rate your movie, or who links to it.

So by Tuesday afternoon, I checked my movie page and instead of a few hundred views I had a few thousand. That was weird. I clicked around somewhat and discovered that my movie had been linked as the 802 Online VT Video of the day and Cathy Resmer had sent the link over to Boing Boing who also linked it. I got email. I always get a fair amount of email from random people thanks to working for MetaFilter and having the job that I do, but this was a whole new crowd. I got install advice & tips and just a lot of nice “you go girl” messages. The video makes installing Ubuntu look fun which has always been the sticking point for a lot of non-super-genius geeks like me, the unfunness.

So then I got home after some burgers with Stan (amusing recounting of this whole thing on his blog) and Ubuntu called. Actually it was a guy who does support and systems whatnot over at Canonical and we had a long rambly phone conversation about tech geekery. He said he’d send me a bunch of pressed professional looking Ubuntu CDs so I could hand them out to librarians everyplace. I said that was great since I go to library conferences all the time, and that my local conference was next week. I told my friends “Ubuntu called!” and their first question was oftn “How did they get your phone number?” but of course, my phone number has been on the internet since 1996 or so.

I watched my little video creep up the stat-o-meters over on YouTube for a while, replied to more email and IM well-wishes, took out the garbage and went to bed. I sort of feel like the continuous partial attention that the networked world gives us results in not just continuous partial friendship [as my friend David Weinberger calls it] but also continuous partial fame. When Boing Boing linked to me — calling me an “Internet folk hero” which I find gigglingly amusing — they linked to an old post they’d made about me from 2003 and I had a hazy memory of this sort of thing happening before. Meanwhile I had eight people at drop-in time yesterday, a new high for 2007, and I signed people up for PayPal, showed them how to “make a link,” helped them make flyers for their Mary Kay spring sale, explained gmail and helped them with resume templates. To a person they were all like “Boing WHAT?” which is always a good keeping it real moment for me. Parlaying the Internet Folk Hero karma into Local Hero greenstamps is pretty high on my “to do” list. This all may help.