Overlooked

This site is all about branching out and reaching other people. Friends, family, strangers who just happen to share my name.

I got this e-mail Friday, but unfortunately, it was dumped into my junk mail. Damn filters! It was from my own namesake. If I can’t trust a guy named Jason Coleman, who the heck can I trust?

Hey, I am the Jason Coleman at Jason Coleman.info. I was sort of offended that there was no information explaining me on your blog. I have to be the most interesting out of them all :) . I was in the Peace Corps in Gabon for 2 1/2 years, lived in Central America for 4 months, lived in Namibia Southern Africa for 7 months and now work for Peace Corps HQ in Washington DC. I actually have a blog at www.jasoncoleman.info/blog check it out if ya want

To Jason:

That is so cool. I agree, you are in the running for the most interesting Jason Coleman. My wife says I still get her vote, though. However, I can say that since you are the only Jason Coleman who has taken the time to e-mail me about that page (including the ones Google turned up to include on there), you get moved to the top of the list! Just imagine all the hits your blog will be getting now. You’d better go ahead and start paying for the extra bandwidth, becuase you’re going to need it, my friend.

Jason Coleman.net (super_structure)

This site is all about branching out and reaching other people. Friends, family, strangers who just happen to share my name. I’m glad that some folks , in their spare time sitting at work are stumbling their way across here while autogoogling. It brings a warm, fuzzy feeling to my heart. JasonColeman.info, thanks for the e-mail. I’m just a couple hours south, if there’s anything you need. Like, say an I.D. with your name and a less flattering photo. I’m there for you, man.

Our First Apple

Actually, I grew up on Mac’s. That’s right, my family actually owned one of the original Macintosh computers. Angela just recently got an iBook and they’ve changes a bit since then.

Actually, I grew up on Mac’s. That’s right, my family actually owned one of the original Macintosh computers. Angela just recently got an iBook and they’ve changed a bit since then. They’re still loads of fun to use, although I’m learning some of the kinks. I know, everybody says they’re so easy, how can anyone be confused. Well, there’s still loads to learn. Angela sure is happy, though.

One order of business, and I’m petitioning help here, is to get a new printer than will play well with all our silicon friends. I am having a real pain of a time getting either our HP Deskjet or Canon inkjet (both on network print servers) to work.

I have to say that I’m very pleased with her little computer. Almost as much as she is. I know that I’ll be even happier the next time we get on an airplane and get our own in-flight movie on the iBook. Sure beats lugging her old Dell Laptop around, and I do mean lugging.

Note: I’d really like to say thanks to Jason J. for putting in some hours already, helping us setup the iBook and porting over some of Angela’s stuff. He’s had some really good tips and has been very patient. I’d also like to thank Chris W. in advance. He’s visting next weekend, and though he doesn’t know it yet, is going to be helping a whole lot…

MathML Sucks

I’ve been trying all damn day to get anything (anything!) to render in Mozilla that I’ve written in MathML. Nothing.

I’ve been trying all damn day to get anything (anything!) to render in Mozilla that I’ve written in MathML. Nothing. Even if I copy their stupid example page, it doesn’t render. WTF? Is is possible that I’m actually that lame of a writer? If I can’t figure this out, how is this supposed to be readily adopted by anyone?

And I read today that Microsoft is planning on having all of their Office suite save to XML file types for the next release. Good luck! If this is the wave of the future, I’m going to revert to tables and .gif spacer images. Suck a nut.

Memorial Day Vacation

Maggie Packing – It’s a long hike to TN, Maggie, but well worth the trip!

We (Angela, Maggie, Harry, and myself) had a great trip to Tennessee over the weekend. We drove down to Cookeville and Jamestown to visit with family and friends. I suppose that when you have so little time and a lot to accomplish, you make the most out of only four days. Of course, we were absolutely exhausted today, and I had to go back to work. There are a number of photos on Flickr of the trip, and many more on my hard drive now. Thanks to Angela’s and my family and all our friends for all putting up with our crazy schedule and making time for us. It means so much to get to see everyone, even if we only got to spend a few hours.

Lord of the Race

This weekend consists of Symphonies and Road Races.

Last night (Saturday), Angela and I went to see the Richmond Symphony perform the Lord of the Rings Symphony. It’s not that I wasn’t amazed at Howard Shore’s score already, but I was completely floored last night. Angela and I both decided that this score ranks up as one of our favorites (individually, and collectively). Further, with all due respect to John Williams, who is another favorite, this was all completely original scoring. Williams often uses famous pieces for direct inspiration in movie scores, which isn’t all that uncommon in film score composition as I understand it. Case in point: Carmina Burana is an obvious influence on the Darth Maul theme in Star Wars: Episode I. Of course, Williams has plenty of original compositions to his credit (not the least of which, the main theme to Star Wars). However, I think that Shore has raised the bar in how complex, both musically and emotionally, a film score can be. He weaves in traditional music, pop music, and symphony handily. All this, and it was very nice getting to see the home town symphony play it at the Landmark.

This morning, I ran the Carytown 10k. My goal: to run the race averaging an 8 minute-mile. For those of you who don’t feel like doing the math, that would have been at sub-50 minute race. I had even been running during lunch breaks the last couple of weeks to make sure the heat wouldn’t bother me too much and that I could keep a good pace going. Unfortunately, I can’t keep a steady pace for long enough. After running a nice 7:50 pace for three miles, I dropped off sharply for most of the next mile-and-a-half. I ended up at 51:26, which is whole minute slower than my last 10k. What was the difference? I’d say it was the fact that last month, the larger race had wave starts, so I started with a whole group of people to pace with. This race was a pack start, so I was just with whatever group happened to fall in about the middle of the crowd. The lesson here is that I’m going to have to use the pace alarm on my Forerunner if I hope to be able to train for a certain pace. Then, I think I can break the 50 minute wall and reach my next running goal. After that, I hope to work more on distance than speed. After all, I’m not likely to ever win any of these (which is a stretch of the term "not likely"). However, I can at least have some bragging rights for running farther some day.

Philadelphia

Angela and I took a trip this past weekend to see a couple of friends from graduate school who live near Philadelphia.

Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Angela and I took a trip this past weekend to see a couple of friends from graduate school who live near Philadelphia. It was a sort of surprise for Chris for his birthday, arranged by us and his wife Sally. We hauled the two pooches with, so they could visit their pal Ellie (actually, Maggie and she hadn’t met, but they got along okay). Chris was willing to spend his birthday taking us to do and see things Philly. The trip up there was pretty long, since we were caught up in D.C. traffic and then took a couple of wrong turns on some country roads in MD and PA (yes, there’s some very rural areas up there for you Southerners who don’t know).

We started the day off right at the Shady Maple Smorgasbord. Wow, this is got to be the world’s largest all-you-can-eat Amish smorgasbord. No seriously. Having made-to-order pancakes is my kind of breakfast. I’m not much of a breakfast person, but two chocolate chip pancakes made right in front of you would make anyone start drooling. We all did quite well at the breakfast bars, both breakfast afficianados and novices like myself.

We then proceed on through the rain up to Central City Philadelphia. We visited the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. We were quite lucky to get a very good tour guide. I’m sure that the tour lasted 30 minutes, but I could have listened to him for another hour. Next, we walked over to the new Constitution Center, but there in the spirit of democracy, we didn’t have the majority votes to take the tour. Since the Mint was closed (and heavily secured , anyway) we headed on over to Reading Terminal Market to get lunch and tool around the shops. There, we were able to get as official of a Philly Cheesesteak as one can eat. Angela & I split one with fries, and Sally & Chris did the same. We barely had room after all those pancakes that morning. We then walked on down to City Hall and the LO/VE sculpture (which is surprisingly small). Chris thought it a good idea to have us experience the Philly El while there, so we rode for a couple of stops back to the car park.

Chris drove us over to Drexel University to show us where he spent several years learning engineering and a love for the Mac. From there, we rode through West Philadelphia and onto the more tony suburbs beyond. We got back in time for Sally (with her lovely assistant, Angela) to make an awesome taco and burrito dinner. Chris’ brother, Mom and her friend Ed came over to all help us in the celebration of Chris getting one year older. A good time was had by all.

The next day we went out for brunch and then shopping around. Chris and Sally ended up buying a new patio set which eventually three structural engineers (with the help of our lovely assistant, Angela) were able to put together. Then, it was on back south to VA, although through much better traffic and no wrong turns. It was certainly good to see some close friend again and see some of the cool stuff up in Philly. We’re already looking forward to our next trip up there.

Statue of Liberty Replica

The Statue of Libery Replica in the Luxembourg Gardens of Paris.

Since my initial response to Stacie’s comment was getting a little long, I decided to post it here.

I think that it is a little odd, being an American, seeing the Statue of Liberty in a park in France. (There, of course, is an even larger one on the River just south of the Eiffel tower.) I suppose the French don’t think that, as they probably feel the connection to the statue. New Yorkers certainly think of it as a New York monument, not an American one. However, for both New Yorkers and Americans as a whole, the statue seems strange.

However, this particular statue seemed somehow in it’s place to me, as this whole garden contains statues from great French artists(and maybe other nationalities, I don’t know). It seemed to register immediately as to why I was looking at what would otherwise be a most out-of-place statue. On another note, I think seeing these keeps the differences between America, Americans, and the American government separate in the minds of Parisians. Maybe the statue reminds them why they liked us in the first place, just like all those streets named after America’s progressives and WWII leaders.

My Life In Brief

I’ve been so busy lately, I almost forgot I had a blog. You probably forgot I had a blog, too.

I’ve been so busy lately, I almost forgot I had a blog. You probably forgot I had a blog, too. Here’s just a quick PowerPoint-style list of what’s been going on:

  • I saw Frank Miller’s "Sin City" on the opening night and this is indeed the future of cinema. People keep trying to place this film somewhere in the spectrum of past films: noir, ultra-violence, action, etc. This movie is a whole new genre of film. Go see it.
  • I have been spending some really long hours at work, which is fortunately over for now. Too bad it has interrupted with…
  • I am taking the Professional Engineer’s exam this Friday. Normally, I wouldn’t even so much as sweat it, as I usually am well prepared for this sort of thing. However, I haven’t been putting in my study time like I should. Nobody’s fault but mine, but it still sucks. I’m keeping cool, though.
  • Angela and I ran the Monument Ave 10k this past Saturday. I set a personal best, at 50:45 and this was Angela’s first ever 10k. I’m proud of the both of us. It was a great day to be running (sunny and about 55°F) and we had a fun time.
  • That’s all I got for now. As of Friday, I’m going to be in the mood to write a lot on here, so do please keep checking your RSS feeds or logging on to the site.

Copyright Law

These may be dumb questions on copyright law, but with social software and photography sites being incredibly popular, I can only imagine they’ll come up more and more.

I learned shortly before our trip to Paris that the private company, SNTE, hired by the city of Paris to install flashing lights all over the Eiffel tower has copyrighted the pattern of lights. This effectively makes any photography taken of the Eiffel tower when then lights are flashing a copyright violation. The claim is that this is all to prevent using the likeness in unauthorized ways. Well, let’s pretend it isn’t completely moronic to try and control the likeness of a 100+ year old monument which is the very icon for an entire country.

Sparkling Tower

Copyright violation? Does the effect of the glass window change anything on the copyrighted subject matter?

When we were in Paris, I took lots and lots of photographs of the Eiffel tower. Frankly, it can be hard sometimes to not have the Eiffel tower in your Paris photos; it’s pretty damn tall. Many of my photos were at night, while the lights were dancing about the structure. It’s a pretty amazing effect, actually. The whole thing seems to be made of rare jewels. Anyway, one such photo I took was through the dirty glass window of a boat tour we took. I say that since the dirty glass effectively changes the light pattern, I’m not violating the copyright. Further, couldn’t one argue that air particles, moisture, camera lens, etc. all change the properties of light, therefore changing the image? What about camera motion blur or artsy effects? I mean can you ever expect to copyright a pattern of light? I suppose anything visual is nothing more than a pattern of light, and this argument could be made for music and other art. I’m not really trying to go down that path, but my point is this: isn’t that the way we are heading when copyrights such as this are granted, especially for such widely recognized monuments?

Another photo we have, is of the two of us standing in front of Notre Dame Cathedral. This photo was graciously taken by another tourist, for whom we returned the favor. So, I (an American) have a photo of us taken by an Italian tourist, in France, with my camera. Who holds the copyright? Which countries laws govern? I assume my Italian friend was granted the copyright the instant he pushed the button, at least according to U.S. law. I further assume that where ever the file (or a copy of the file) is located, is under which law governs the copyright. The file is now in America, but what if someone downloads a copy in a country where laws have opt-in style copyright law?

To say the least, I could really care less about copyright law. I’m sure that all these questions have answers, some of which may be conflicting. However, most people taking pictures on vacation don’t know the answers. I for one don’t even care, as I’m going to do whatever I please with my photos. If SNTE or the unnamed Italian tourist would like me to stop using images, they’ll have to just ask politely. Something tells me, I’d hear from the large company long before I’d ever hear from a fellow tourist.