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A Web LifeA Web Life

BLOG INFOJohn December's blog on Web publishing, voluntary simplicity, cities and urbanism, digital photography, life, and various observations

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22 Sep 2009 00:15 CDT Live Car Free: September 22 is World Carfree Day, a celebration of the freedom available to everyone who woud like to experience a life less centered around automobile use. With demonstrations during the 1970's oil crisis as precedents, the World Carfree Network organized a World Carfree Day by the last year of the 20th century. Today, a world carfree day offers you a chance to explore your options for car freedom or car dependency. By raising your awareness now, you may be able to be more flexible--and even carfree by choice--in the future.

10 Aug 2009 12:11 CDT Enhance Our Parks, Not Our Parking Lots: I'm concerned about increasing subsidies for automobile travel and use. With bailouts to automobile companies and giveaways designed to mire people in auto-dependence and debt for new car purchases, I'm worried that places for human beings may become even more scarce. So I wrote a letter to my local parks department about my concerns about their free giveaway policies. I urge you to lobby your own representatives at all levels on this issue and help make our parks places for people and nature--not parking lots. You have my permission to adapt this letter to your needs--certainly don't copy and paste it, but add your own points, and let your elected representatives know that it is time to end the dominance of free parking in parks now.

08 Jul 2009 16:43 CDT It is time to fund transit: My Wisconsin State legislative representative, Jon Richards, held a listening session today regarding transit funding. I wanted to share the letter I wrote here, because transit systems throughout the country are scrambling for funding at precisely the time of all-time highs in ridership. In brief, I identify two funding sources that have a proven track record of raising funds in a fair and reasonable manner and which leverage our national resources in a direction of supporting the type of communities that are emerging in the 21st century. I urge you to lobby your own representatives at all levels on this issue. You have my permission to adapt this letter to your needs--certainly don't copy and paste it, but add your own points, and let your elected representatives know that it is time to fully fund transit.

22 Apr 2009 12:01 CDT Live Like Earth Day is Every Day: The great Wisconsinite Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day in 1970 to recognize the need for environmental awareness, education, and action. In observing Earth Day, you might do one-time activities like picking up litter or attending an Earth Day gathering. For the longer term, you may have already started some simple habits that can help the environment. For example, you may have chosen to get a reusable grocery bag to carry your purchases from the store home. A reusable bag is a good start, but I challenge you to go beyond the bag--consider starting some longer-term habits that can reduce the amount of resources that you use. In this blog entry, I list some Web sites to help you celebrate the spirit of Earth Day for a lifetime and perhaps save yourself some money and time in the process.

28 Feb 2009 11:33 CST We need a mobility plan, not a transportation plan: The State of Wisconsin has prepared a long-range transportation plan ("Connections 2030") that misses the mark in terms of a vibrant vision for the future or a solid plan for the present. This plan mistakenly makes an assumption that the future will be like the past and fails to adequately envision smart urban design that puts people in touch with what matters. Indeed, the plan emphasizes resource-intensive transportation rather than mobility. Instead of deploying and managing resources intelligently, this plan supports bad decisions of the past. The result is that residents of Wisconsin may be doomed to suffer increased energy and transit costs, lower productivity, reduced economic activity, a sinking cultural environment, and increased debt required to prop up 20th-century modes of energy-intensive transportation. An alternative vision would place people first, foremost, and at the center of a network of alternate forms of urban (and suburban) design and unleash the creative economy that mobility fosters.

22 Jan 2009 13:58 CST The EEEPC travels well: In late 2008 and early 2009, I went on a trip from Wisconsin, to Illinois, back through Wisconsin, and into Michigan's Upper Peninsula with the EEEPC laptop computer. I took the EEEPC so as to have a way to check my email, browse the Web, and post some photos to flickr as I traveled. The trip was for about 20 days and consisted of travel by bus, train (Amtrak, Metra), car, and foot through urban areas (downtown Chicago) to rural areas and woods. I had to have all my stuff with me in a small backpack. With this challenge, the EEEPC worked out extremely well--so well that I would not want to take another trip anywhere without it.

26 Nov 2008 10:27 CST Great buildings engage people: In reading about great buildings in 1001 Buildings You Must See Before You Die: The World's Architectural Masterpieces edited by Mark Irving, I'm struck by how modern architecture had lost an ability to touch people's emotions on many levels. By focusing on rationalism and fads, architecture might speak to other architects, but the users of that architecture and the general public get left out and thus can't form an attachment to a building. Great buildings engage human emotions in ways beyond the rational, or even describable.

18 Nov 2008 18:08 CST I'm intrigued by how blog parts and networks fit together: Having considered the term web 2.0 as just so much hype years ago, I've now discovered many useful web applications that enable me to build a blog and share information online. In working to cobble together my blog content management system, I'm finding various Web services that competently serve different purposes (comments, bookmarks, tracking, feed subscription, and publicity). I'm also finding the RSS feed of my blog can be part of my profile on some social networking sites. The result is that I can see the pieces of web 2.0 applications adding up to results that are more than just the sum of the parts, but are supportive of useful and interesting streams of content and connections.

15 Nov 2008 11:26 CST Great blogs bring people together: I am impressed by Seth Godin's simple post on the secret of great blogs. In brief, a great blog leads a tribe. I don't want to lead a tribe, but I seek in my blog to bring information together.

12 Nov 2008 19:28 CST I examine blog layouts and design: I've been working to develop my simple blog software to set up preliminary features. I've studied more about RSS syntax and have set up an example feed and validated it.

11 Nov 2008 18:00 CST I start a blog: I'm glad to hear that the blogosphere is dead, and blogging is no longer considered trendy or cool. Now, I feel comfortable starting a blog!

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