Important, Tools

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My readership varies in terms of tech savvyness. Some of you are computer junkies. Some of you aren’t. Some of you have blue-tooth and wi-fi devices coming out the ying-yang, while others have the misfortune of having to dial-in for internet access. And keeping this in mind, I occasionally try to introduce you to essential internet tools that will improve your life. Well here come two that you probably know about, but I simply must mention them for the many who still don’t use them.

The first one will one day be common knowledge, like your messenger program or your email, you’ll have a RSS reader, also called a newsreader. Specifically I strongly recommend that you use Such tools are free and in this case, web based so you can access them from any computer connected to the net.

The reason it will change your life, is that you won’t have to surf to individual websites anymore. No more typing in or my address to see the latest stuff, it will come directly into your reader when its ready, and you can read it when YOU are ready. Personally I read over 5 newspapers from different corners of the world, per day, using RSS feeds in my bloglines. I also get my blogs, TV listings, bittorent updates, weather reports, and read new comments using it. And like I said, in the future, EVERYONE will use RSS, but til this point, people have been to scared. Don’t be scared — start using it!

The other tool that has saved me piles of money, and improved my life by connecting me with loved ones around the world, not to mention new friends: SKYPE! Yes, this word should be common knowledge to you. Its a free messaging program that works primarily through voice. Thats right… like a telephone without the telephone and say goodbye to the bills! I talk to my momma all the time now and i suspect we miss each other a little less this way. Download it, start using it, don’t underestimate its usefulness for your life. I also just read a more academic and in-depth post related to what skype can do.

So there you have it.. go forth.. try them. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll thank me.

I miss Labor

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You there reading this post – you work don’t you? I mean, maybe you’ve got a job and a boss and that sort of thing? I wonder if you’re in a union? I doubt it. Seems like no one is in a union these days. I am sort of a member/ex-member of the UnitedAutoWorkers Local 1981. That’s right, I’m in the National Writers Union, because freedom of speech on the factory floor is just as important as freedom of speech in publishing. Or something like that.

I’ve been thinking about this as a read about a group of unions in the US who’ve decided to make their own conglomerate, outside of that friggin elephant the AFL-CIO. I hate the AFL-CIO most of the time, they have leadership who have grown fat and complacent. They’re surely in bed with politicians and parties, instead of with their people – the workers. So for me, and workers in general, this is an interesting sign. I mean, when was the last time there was a real alternative to the AFL? 1950’s or around there?

Oh speaking of which, I just checked, and amazingly, my most admired Union from the olden days of REAL action, the IWW, still exists and has a shiney new website. 1905 to 2005.. thats a long time. I wonder if there’s going to be a resugrency? maybe I should renew my writers union membership now. Maybe they’ll give me a tshirt.

Its in the people

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It’s 3am, and I’ve just walked in from the final night with the fish tank alumni, who are loving their nostalgic activities. I’ve mentioned this the last few days, but how can I NOT mention all the time I’ve spent speaking with amazing people working all over the world and sharing this common bond with me. I’ll give you some examples:

A hilarious Frenchman who works in Iraq has explained to me how the entire country is basically like a gold-rush these days. Giving out credit, starting businesses, EVERYTHING is for sale. Sounds like thunderdome to me. He tells me that despite the sound of morter shells exploding, it’s not that bad, people are actually living their lives quite normally.

A dynamic Turkish woman and I discussed Turkish families and society refuse to talk about homosexuality, despite that fact that one of their most popular musical icons is a hermaphrodite.

A kind-hearted Maltese man and I have discussed Malta and the way they treat refugees who shipwreck there en route to Italy (which is just north). I also learned that it’s one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, and the first place to adopt the concept of one bed per patient in hospitals.

Ahh… these are but three out of oooh so many. I’ve lost my voice after all the talking and shouting (joyfully). I do believe I’ve seen first-hand the formula for world peace.