Search This Blog

Monday, July 22, 2013

Businessweek puts gay marriage on page 69, OSU gay widow, also Wayne Dynes reflects on changing goals

PHOTO: (above left) the cover of a large-circulation business magazine ironically displayed an erect "up and to the right" graph on the July 15-21, 2013 issue, which convinced me that a clueless editor or a subversive gay art director is doing the magazine layout because in the previous printed issue (seen above right) Businessweek ran a gay marriage story on page 69 -- a common slang term for a homosexual act! (See the story by Jessica Grosse, "The Gay Wedding Gift is money. Here come the brides and grooms. Companies are hoping to profit from same-sex marriage," Businessweek magazine, July 8-14, 2013, p. 69 and published on line as "The $51 Billion Wedding Industry Toasts a Post-DOMA Bump," posted June 28, 2013)

Other loosely related notes on things I've recently read:

Saturday, July 13, 2013

OSU student newspaper on queer course development

PHOTO: front page headline of an Oregon State University student newspaper article by Megan Campbell, "Queer courses developing on, off campus, expanding to a minor program," Barometer, Jul. 10, 2013, p. 1-2. Also see the previous editorial by Staff, "Queer studies: great addition to OSU," Barometer, June 5, 2013 and an article by Irene Drage, "Rainbows, glitter, short-shorts in the pride parade," Barometer, posted June 4, 2013, which mentioned my Oregon State University Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund Agreement that I have created to fund research at OSU concerning humans or animals with a minority sexual orientation or gender identity.

Berlin university students carrying away the library from the home of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld on May 6, 1933 for a May 10-11 Nazi book burning. New York Herald Tribune, May 17, 1933

PHOTO: In honor of Magnus Hirschfeld, I created the Oregon State University Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund Agreement to fund research at OSU concerning humans or animals with a minority sexual orientation or gender identity. Shown above, Berlin university students carrying away the library from the home of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935) on May 6, 1933 for a May 10-11 Nazi book burning, (New York Herald Tribune, May 17, 1933). Magnus Hirschfeld was targeted by Nazis due to his pioneering research into homosexuality and gender. My grandmother clearly recalled being in Germany at this time, when my grandfather was giving lectures on his colloid chemistry research at a Berlin university. My grandmother also vividly described the boat they left on back to America that had to be escorted by German submarines because Germany had become so politically unstable.

See previous posts OSU School of Language, Culture and Society is perfect for OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund (2/19/12), Gay marriage boosts Pride turnout in Corvallis, Oregon (6/30/13) and New queer studies professor, OSU Magnus Hirschfeld Fund and OutHistory mentioned in student paper (7/7/13)

Some other interesting reading:

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Computer mouse inventor dies after inspiring Xerox PARC, Apple and HP

Picture from Professional Computing March/April 1985, p. 14 showing the sewing machine size HP Integral PC top opening to show the built-in inkjet printer followed by the keyboard and flat panel display folding outward.

HP Integral PC as shown being used in Professional Computing July/August 1985, p. 21 PHOTO: The Hewlett-Packard Integral PC was developed between 1982 and 1984 in Corvallis, Oregon, including a mouse. The IPC was a sewing machine size "transportable computer" that included a built-in flat panel electroluminescent display, letter size fan-fold paper inkjet printer and it ran the HP-UX UNIX operating system with a graphical windows interface. See previous posts HP Integral PC 1985 video demo (4/14/09) and HP Integral PC 1984 (8/26/06)

My local newspaper printed the AP news story by Michael Liedtke, Associated Press, "Inventor of computer mouse dies at 88," Gazette-Times, July 4, 2013, p. A3, I wrote the following letter to the editor:

Oregon State University alum Doug Engelbart was correctly credited in a July 4 headline written by the Gazette-Times for an Associated Press story, "Inventor of computer mouse dies at 88."

I witnessed firsthand how Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' Macintosh computer mouse was inspired by research, based on Engelbart's ideas, done at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and the Corvallis Hewlett-Packard Co. personal computer research lab in 1981.

HP half-heartedly introduced a mouse about the same time Apple did in 1984 because an HP corporate vice-president, unlike Jobs, demanded a touch-screen interface for the sexist reason that only "female secretaries" used typewriter keyboards. Ironically, touch-screen computer interfaces today are rapidly replacing mice for non-sexist reasons!

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Letter: Engelbart was the real genius behind computer innovations," Gazette-times, July 8, 2013, p. A7)

See previous post Patent laws being abused by Apple iPhone claims (8/28/12) that elaborates on my letter: Thomas Kraemer, "Patent laws don't protect inventors of technology goods," Gazette-Times, Aug. 28, 2012, p. A7)

VIDEO: See the Video of Doug Engelbart's 1968 computer conference demonstration of the future of computing, including the graphical interface and mouse controller:

See the book by Stephen Segaller, "Nerds 2.0.1: A brief history of the Internet," Oregon TV Books, Oregon Public Broadcasting, 1998 for more on the invention of the computer mouse (Google Books search).

Google Reader gone, low-vision alternatives still needed

Google Reader home page set up for low vision reader Thomas Kraemer in Microsoft Internet Explorer window

PHOTO: screen shot of Google Reader set up for a low vision reader to read the full text RSS feed from his local city newspaper. The newspaper's Web site is nearly impossible to read for a low vision person compared to the simple reformatted text that Google Reader optionally provides. The full text RSS feed consumes very few bytes and costs the newspaper almost nothing to provide compared the many megabytes that is downloaded just accessing the main newspaper Web site home page and Google Reader allowed the user to easily click on the headline to access the main site for photos and other ancillary information. See previous post Customer feedback on Google Reader shutdown - is Blogger next? (3/16/13)

"Google Reader has been discontinued. We want to thank all our loyal fans. We understand you may not agree with this decision, but we hope you'll come to love these alternatives as much as you loved Reader." quoted from page accessed July 2, 2013.

A blog post by Urs Holzle, SVP Technical Infrastructure and Google Fellow, "A second spring of cleaning," posted Wednesday, March 13, 2013 said, "We're living in a new kind of computing environment. Everyone has a device, sometimes multiple devices. It's been a long time since we have had this rate of change -- it probably hasn't happened since the birth of personal computing 40 years ago. To make the most of these opportunities, we need to focus -- otherwise we spread ourselves too thin and lack impact. So today we're announcing some more closures, bringing the total to 70 features or services closed since our spring cleaning began in 2011 . . ."

Google linked to the following page, which amazingly appears to be from a third party: "Google Reader alternatives for Windows" accessed Jul 2, 103.

Google also directed me to Digg Google reader alternative - Digg reader Google Search and "Digg Reader is Live," accessed July 2, 2013

Given the limitations of my low vision blindness, I have been unable to access and use a new Google Reader alternative because nearly every site I've gone to and very reader people have shown me override the accessibility features built-in most modern internet browsers. Apparently, accessibility is being thrown under the bus to provide a sexier experience for sighted users.

In the meantime, I have set up my own custom coded RSS reader, but I don't want to reinvent the wheel and so my reader is unfinished and requires much manual work, which the old Google Reader did for me automatically in the cloud.

I would love to know the real reason Google Reader was canned. Yes, I am sure the concept of RSS feeds is not well understood and probably the usage is limited to a few dedicated users as Google claims. However, I am suspicious that content creators and intellectual property copyright owners have pressured Google to eliminate the service because it bypasses much of their monetization. Google could have easily monetized Google Reader by providing a sidebar with ads relevant to what I was reading - they could even share the profits with the RSS feed content creators.

Content creators who think they will get more money and drive more traffic to their site by blocking full text RSS feeds are wrong in my opinion. In my experience using Google Reader, I more frequently accessed original Web sites to see ancillary information that was mentioned in RSS feeds, which in turn generated more traffic and revenue for the site. This happened more frequently only because I was able to skim read more text. The full text RSS feed costs sites almost nothing to provide because full text RSS feeds use very little computer network resources compared to the many megabytes commonly transferred by web sites' main pages. Yes, I am sure many webmasters have seen their feed abused by robots, etc., but these problems are better solved other ways than by making it hard to read your site.

In any case, I see an emerging opportunity for a new business that would provide better accessibility to the internet as Web sites become less and less accessible. My feedback to the Google founders, also as a Google stock holder and a champion of computer accessibility, is Google should fund a charitable group to implement better accessibility for people with disabilities. They probably could get a tax write off and also great publicity for doing this when nobody else seems to be interested.