A New Home?

So I'm not sure how you wandered across this site. Maybe you know me or maybe you're the IRS doing some preliminary audit research. No matter your path, you've stumbled on to the new website layout for the House of Carr.

For about eight years, I used Wordpress and rented server space from my friend Brian Coates; Brian has been a faithful friend and I could never repay all he's taught me about web development. But the exponential growth of website technology has brought costs down and provided easy-to-use content management systems. As a result, I pulled all my sites over to SquareSpace. Transferring over 11 years of content took some time, but it's all here and archived.

I'm devoted to keeping the content flowing so you'll have an excuse to check in from time to time. I hope you like the change.

And if you're with the IRS, I pay my taxes.

The Speed of Web: Lessons from Ocean Marketing

The week between Christmas and New Year's has become one of my favorite times of the year. I'm off work with nothing really to do but eat and read. I guess the only downside is that no one creates new content during this week, so I'm either watching movies on the T.V. (I think we've watched like ten in the past few days) or scouring the interwebs for interesting things to read. One of my go-to sources over the past couple of years has been the social news website reddit. I daily view the site to discover what's popular on the internet. While some of the content is inappropriate, it still provides the easiest means to gauge public perception (I used to frequent reddit's rival, but the owners sold out to advertisers and their readership summarily plummeted). Users on reddit submit articles, and then people post their comments. The articles range plain silly to political, but there's always something there I can use at a later date. Yesterday on reddit, however, I witnessed what I view to be a perfect summation on how technology has transformed our world.

I'll attempt to retell the story sans geekiness: A small company manufactures a special kind of video game controller that disabled kids can use. As few inventors have the business savvy to distribute their product, the guy who made this controller outsourced his marketing to a third party. They took preorders on the controllers before Christmas, but were having problems getting the manufactured product shipped in from China. One of the guys who ordered the controller emailed the marketing company about the shipping delay and the guy who responded was thoroughly unprofessional in his responses. The marketing guy tried bullying the customer, name-dropped some people and, when an actual gaming website became involved, escalated the insults which were eventually all published online (click here to track through the exchange).

Within hours, an internet witch hunt had commenced. And within 24 hours, the guy had become a pariah. He's sought out other major gaming websites to tell his side of the story but in all likely-hood, when a potential client or company Googles him, this incident will define him as long as he lives.

I find all of this fascinating. On Monday morning, this guy woke up without a care in the world. By Tuesday night, he was known by millions around the world for being a first-class jerk. And there's likely little he can do to change things. At the very least, we can learn something from this tale.

1. We leave a digital trail. I recently read the following remark online: "[On] Facebook I feel as if I have to reserve myself, I hate to think twice before I post something. But on tumblr I feel as if I can post whatever without thinking twice." I'm not sure if this person thinks there's multiple internets where some things are more private than others, but the reality is whatever you post is there forever. Since I've had this blog for seven years now, I've always been mindful of this. Even an email could come back to haunt you.

As a result, we need to be incredibly judicial about what we say digitally. Another of the things I accomplished on vacation was switching over to Facebook's new timeline feature. It makes it easier than ever to look at what I've posted online over the past five years. I can fully understand why some people find this scary; you might be embarrassed now by things posted in the days of your youth. But it's there regardless. So think before you hit "send" or "post." It could save your future.

By the way, one of this marketer's typos has now become an internet meme. So when you read, "I wwebsite as on the internet," it's in reference to this story. I guess another lesson is that proofreading never hurts.

2. How you treat the least of these is important. The marketer's rudness towards the customer In the email exchange is what started this avalanche. And he maintained this posture when talking to a major video game webmaster, treating him like crap. This marketer had internally designated people into two camps: those that matter and those that don't. Here he severely miscalculated because, in the era of the world wide web, the powerless can easily muster an army. Even bullies hate to see someone getting bullied (well, at least by someone else), so people rally to the cause of justice. Again, the way this blew up on the web has the potential to frighten people but I'm actually encouraged. You should always treat people with the dignity and respect, as if the world is watching; in today's culture, they very well could be.

3. Culture is moving faster than ever. This isn't directly related to this story but needs to be stated. I wrote this post after explaining this story to my wife. How hilarious is it that I spent a couple of minutes talking about an email argument between two men over a video game controller? This episode won't shape world events, but it's relevant now. And such is the quick pace of culture in today's world.

Attention spans will continue to shrink as we move on to the next big news item or band or trend. It will be impossible to have the universal relevance that helped shape popular culture in the 20th century. So if you're attempting to reach out to people with your idea or product, you have to continually reapproach what you're doing; what you tried fifteen minutes ago is already dated. This will make it even more difficult for those concretely linked to certain methodologies. The future belongs to the fluid.

In short, be nice to people. Your future may depend on it.

Dead Blog? Nope. It's Just Chuck Testa.

I'm on vacation between now and the end of the year so I'm not only having a blast (can't beat hanging with the family), but also knocking some things off the to-do list: read some books, change out some shower heads, and do some website work. Yep, if you're reading this through a feed, you can head on over to to see the new look. This past November marked the seventh year of this site and I'm still thankful it exists. I started it before Kaelyn was born, before we started Echo, and before I hit my thirties. I've written nearly 1,600 posts in that time, and appreciate the opportunity to look back and reflect on experiences through things I wrote. Going through some of my older posts today, I noticed that my writing has developed steadily in style and substance. I think I'm easier to read now. Thanks for your patience.

But I've severely ignored the blog for awhile. Even though I've probably written a dozen, "it's been a long time since I last posted" articles over the years, I feel like I have some legitimate excuses for this current drought. Among them:

  • I'm just plain busy. I have a day job, a night/weekend job, and a few other side jobs that soak up some time.
  • The advent of social media. Even though I used my blog to question the viability of both Facebook and Twitter, I've utilized them more over the past couple of years because of the immediacy of use. When I first started this blog, MySpace was barely a year old, so a blog was the main way to get your voice out into cyberspace. I don't have the patience to write an entire post on my iPhone, but I can spit out 140 characters on it.
  • I'm writing in other places. Since 2007, I've been steadily emerged in academic studies; a couple of weeks ago I finished the first chapter of my doctoral thesis. All that writing has affected the writing I do for leisure.

I don't want to wait until I wrap up my degree in order to devote more time to the blog, so I'm going to try to revive it. I'm hoping 2012 will be a House of Carr renaissance. We'll see if I'm all talk.

By the way, the blog title is a reference to my favorite YouTube video of 2011. Check it out here.


What started by a simple Facebook posting about good grammar turned into a virtual cyber-throwdown. I found an article on Slate stating that people should cease to hit the space bar twice after a period ending a sentence. The article asserts that people began to use two spaces because of old typewriters; it made it easier to distinguish between sentences when reading. Yet these typewriters were retired in the 1970's, meaning the need for two spaces evaporated with them. And yet, almost 40 years later, many people still hold to this antiquated practice. Interestingly enough, my brother informed me today that the American Psychological Association (protectors of the APA style of writing papers) still requires two spaces. A little investigation on my own revealed that this decision was a recent reversal, and was supposed to be limited to drafts.

Regardless of where you come down on the spacing issue, step back and look at this: the reason we started two spacing was a way of adapting to the current technology. But then the technology evolved, making two spaces unnecessary, and teachers everywhere still continued to enforce the statute. You have to wonder why, and the only explanation I have is the what that drives my perplexity about all of this:


Like most of you, I was taught many a thing throughout my youth. Even though mine was a public education, I feel that my school district did an above average job of giving me the tools with which to succeed. I had a wide range of teachers—some excellent, some pathetic—but, regardless, I was stuffed with knowledge. As a tribute, I still keep my (miniature) high school diploma on my desk at work.

But over the years, I came to discover that some of the things I was taught throughout my youth was incorrect.

I don't blame the teachers for purposely leading me astray; remember: these were the days before the worldwide web. Specific nuggets of wisdom were more difficult to verify and wives' tales and rumors were passed down through generations as if they were the law. Technology has now given all of us access to unfettered information and we can now fact check for ourselves things that sound fishy. SIDEBAR: this is why many of you still need to bookmark Snopes in your web browser. I'm tired of your emails telling me Facebook is shutting down on March 15th.

You see, as I grew older, I figured out how to distinguish between fact and fiction. I "traded in" incorrect knowledge for more accurate fare and continue to go about my life. I fully recognize that I'm not done with this process. I'm sure there are things I know to be true today that I will discard in the future when they're proved to be false. It's how life works.

Perhaps this speaks to the point of the recently released study of college grads. New York University sociologist Richard Arum spent the last half of last decade studying a group of college students. Almost half of the students made no improvement in their critical thinking, reasoning or writing skills after two years time. After four years, thirty-six percent of the students still hadn't developed. They went through higher education, but did not advance in their thinking. I hope they at least mastered Call of Duty.

We're approaching an era where merely possessing facts won't cut it; more and more people will use the interwebs as their factual cheat, similar to the way we use a calculator for mathematics. But it will be critical that people are able to discern fact from opinion and run with it. Those who cannot will be mired in the past and be viewed like someone . . . well . . . who still uses a typewriter.

You might have been taught to use two spaces but it's time to give it up. Live in the now, man. Live in the now.


I was one of the disappointed after yesterday's Apple presentation. As one who owns many a Steve Jobs product, I've come to expect a lot from the company. Personally, my disappointment stemmed from no announced upgrade in the MacBook Pro line (I'm in need of a new laptop) But that's not the point of this little rambling. Many of the disgruntled are angry the the new iPad isn't much more than a larger iPhone. It's a stripped down piece of equipment with little memory that's, basically, sealed off from additions. Techies were incredulous that there was no camera on the tablet, which would make online conference calls even cooler.

But if you've read about the iPad, everyone knows why the thing came with few bells and whistles: Apple will add them on in future releases. Sure, they have the technology to add them now but, as with most Apple products, they will become even better at a more affordable price in the near future. I'm willing to bet that by this Christmas, the iPad will have a camera, much more memory, and an attractional price.

This fact should cause the consumer to wonder: why did Apple even put this thing out if it's incomplete?

And the answer: early adopters.

These are the loyal Mac-geeks who will buy anything that "the Jobs" produces. They've probably already ordered their iPad and, on the day it hits their front door, they'll hurry over to Starbucks so someone will see them using it. Since Apple knows fan boys will buy this coolest new toy, why bother outfitting it fully? Ironically, it'll be these same people who will whine when the new version is released (with better accessories and at a better price), moaning that Apple is punishing them when they were committed to the technology from the get go.

They're not punishing them deliberately. They just know that earlier adopters are masochistic.

I'm not sure I have much use for an iPad (at least as is anyway). That's not to say that I'll never own one, but I'd never buy any new Apple toy until the second or third generation.

So feel free to hang on there. Save your money. It's bound to get better.

The Tweet and The Cross

Still not a Twitter fan, nor am I a follower.*

I came across this Time article about how many churches have begun incorporating Twitter into their worship services. It's not necessarily a unique concept, as churches have been doing the same thing with text messages for a couple of years now. But what I wonder is, why even invite this into church in the first place?

The person obsessed with contextualizing the old, old story to a fast paced world will insist it is critical that we acknowledge the way in which our world communicates. But as the article I linked to a couple of weeks ago displayed,** does Twitter actually promote the kind of communication that the church should truly want? And more than Twitter itself, I think this comes down to an understanding of church worship.

Despite the way that many media conglomerations and companies have recently taken advantage of Twitter, it is a platform the elevates the individual for the world to see. Juxtapose that with the church, a word that means "assembly" or "community," and worlds collide.

You might already be thinking that there is much in the church, especially in the worship service, that accentuates the individual. This might be true, but it should not be. The point of corporate (communal) worship should be: NO ME, MORE WE, ALL FOR HE. When Christians gather together to praise God, we do so with united voices, not with a singular voice. Music should be sung together, prayer should be offered together, communion should be taken together, and the exploration of God's word should done together. Even though the community is sometimes represented by singular voices in these instances, they should be mindful to be representative of the entire church.

At Echo, we've been studying through the book of 1 Corinthians and one of the primary issues that plagued that church is that they had a community full of people who wanted their voices to be heard. They brought a "me" mentality into worship where they would literally outshout other worshippers. As Paul tells them, not everyone's voice should be heard during worship; we all have different gifts, some more upfront than others. The worship service is not the place for inclusiveness and individual expression. This might not seem very postmodern, but it is biblical.***

The one quote from the article I found disturbing was the following direction from the pulpit: "if God leads you to continue [to Tweet] as a form of worship by all means do it." Call me cynical, but when I read that, I can't avoid hearing, "you do whatever makes you happy and it's good with God." And maybe it really is, but is it really what's good for the community.

Corporate worship should symphonically combine voices instead of distinguishing them. Rather than hiding in our hi-tech world, we need to deprogram ourselves in order to emerge from our technological burrows. Where else do we have such an opportunity to allow people to disconnect from their grid?

Text and tweet if you must, but turn off the cell phone in church.


*It might seem that I have declared war on Twitter. It's really not the case. Tweet yourself to death and have a great time.

**My favorite pull quote from that article: "The broadcasting of the spectacle of the self has become a full-time job."

***Aaron preached on this text at Echo last week. Unfortunately, we didn't get it recorded. If you want the text, you could always email him and ask him for it.

My Morning Reads [Part One]

I'll admit that I read fewer and fewer books. It's not that I'm not reading; currently, I read the books for my Xavier classes and for the CCU courses that I'm teaching. But I've started to much more from the internet. Over the past couple of years I've established a daily reading regimen that I've designed to get me the information I think I need to do my job. It's a little overdue, but I thought I'd devote a couple of posts to letting people know my daily informational intake.

First and foremost, do yourself a favor and download the Firefox web browser. It has the pluggins that make web browsing a pleasure and, if you're a fellow Mac user, there are plenty of shortcuts that make navigating your browser a snap [here's a quick example: hit "Apple+k" and your cursor immediately goes to the Google searchbar]. I have a toolbar bookmark labeled "morning" that opens up my list daily reading items in separate tabs. Here's what I check out, and the categories I assign to them:


1. Facebook. I like to start my morning with a warm up before diving head-first into things. I try to check Facebook out about two times daily. That way I can leave a smart-alec update and see who is[n't] dating whom.

2. Lance McAlister's Blog. Lance is a sports radio talkshow host here in Cincinnati. He does a good job of linking to different articles pertinent to Cincy Sports.


3. The Cincinnati Enquirer. I feel it's important to know what's going on in our city, so I have to hit up the local paper. The Enquirer's parent couple recently changed the websites for all of their papers. The new layout is excruciatingly horrible. As a result, I'll only scan the frontpage to see if there are articles of interest.

4. Cincy Nation. This is basically a local news aggregate with a liberal stance. They have a good amount of non-Enquirer local articles linked here, ones that I might not find otherwise.


5. The New York Times. Since they started putting all their content online, I've enjoyed reading the paper. I can stomach the rather one-sided reporting as almost every article is usually well-written.

6. The Wall Street Journal. The WSJ has some content available online, but requires you to pay for the really good stuff. Hence, I scan the front page for the freebies.

7. The Washington Post. This one is so I can figure out what's happening on the national political landscape.


8. Digg. Yes, it has its own culture that I refuse to get involved in [I've probably only dugg about a dozen articles on the site], but it has an eclectic mix of articles from all over the web.

9. Google Reader. This is the next step of my reading regimine, as I scan through my RSS subscriptions. I've written about RSS feeds before— it's an easy way to quickly read through numerous blogs— but in part two, I'll let you know the types of blogs to which I subscribe.

When Tech Fades

When I attended Bridgetown Junior High School* in 1990 [the days when Mark Wahlberg was a rapper, Arnold Schwarzenegger was an actor, and Will Smith . . . was both], I had no girlfriend which meant I had a little discretionary money to spend. I decided to go the Radio Shack in the shopping plaza at Glenway Avenue and Bridgetown Road [remember, this was also before the days of Best Buy or even internet purchasing so RS and KMart dominated the westside] in order to move to the cutting edge of technology: a handheld, two-inch color television. My main motivation was so I could watch those first two days of the NCAA basketball tournament during study hall.** I ended up using it during other classes without ever getting caught.

I've held onto to that little TV since then. It came in rather handy, especially for watching sporting events before the days you could check the scores out on your cellphone. If I knew I had to be out and about and wanted to see how a game was going, I'd slip the little TV in my pocket, carrying the piece of mind that I was still connected.

Sure, I don't use the TV much anymore; I keep it in a drawer upstairs. But I used it again during the windstorm. As I mentioned in an earlier post, our cable/internet was out on Sunday afternoon and I wanted to keep up with how bad the Bengals were getting killed. While watching that afternoon on my little 2" screen, one of those commercials about the HD switch in February 2009 came on. In the midst of my viewing I came to a sad realization:

In about five months, my little TV will be a plastic brick.

Even though it still works perfectly well almost twenty years after it was manufactured, it will be useless after the Super Bowl. I know this makes me seem old, but it's kinda depressing. That TV was a link to my teen years. And unlike some letterman jacket, I had a pragmatic reason for keeping it around.

So I guess I'll keep it until February and then see if there's any practical use for it then [like the government was just kidding about this whole switchover thing]. Otherwise it'll either be thrown into Kaelyn's old technology toy-pile or will end up in Mount Rumpke.

Someone reassure me that change is good.

* Bridgetown Junior High School is now known as Bridgetown Middle School. Still wondering what the big deal was about changing that name. I think that a school holding 6th through

** I was thinking about all that study hall I had from 7th through 12th grades. For the most part, it guarenteed that I would never take any books home with me because I could get my homework finished during that period. In retrospect, I suspect I would be much smarter today had not my school district given me government allotted education time so I could not have to think about school at night.

Nikon or Canon?

I'm ready to brave a new frontier:

It's finally time to buy a DSLR.

Since the advent of the digital camera I've started to really enjoy photography*. My first two [decent] digital cameras have been of the Canon point-and-click variety. They've done a rather good job. Our pictures from our Israel/Paris trip are excellent, making me glad for the new technology. My most reason camera has been awesome as well. But it still doesn't give me everything I need to take the best quality photos. I mean, Kaelyn has yet to have an "official sitting" at a studio, I think the step up is valid. So now, the search begins.

This isn't going to be an impulse buy. I'm trying to do some meticulous research. In the end, though, it basically comes down to two brands: Canon or Nikon**. Really, most of the articles I read are generous to both brands; they state that regardless of what camera you chose, the most important aspect to good photography is the photographer. But once you pick a brand, you're basically locked-in for life. They make the lenses so you can continue to use them with newer camera bodies, but they aren't compatible between brands. I know my father-in-law is a Nikon guy, and I'm sorta leaning that way right now.

So as I chew on this decision, I thought I'd open it up to y'all. Do you own a DSLR? What's your brand? Any advice on how to proceed?

*You can check out some of my photos here.

**I don't know about you, but I find it peculiar that both brand names seem like they should have a double consonant in the middle.

That Sucking Sound . . .

. . . is the sound of a superstar being wooshed away from the city. It looks like Ken Griffey Junior has approved a trade to the Chicago White Sox and the experiment is over.

We were moving into our second apartment in Bridgetown when his trade from Seattle was announced over eight years ago. This was following up an unbelievable 1999 season where the Reds [under Jack McKeon] made it to a one-game playoff to win the Wild Card. It seemed like the pieces were in place and, with a new stadium under construction, I honestly believed that a World Series was in our future.

But it wasn't.

Junior was often injured. His conspiring with Barry Larkin led to Jack Mack's ousting. The owner of the franchise went cheap, until he gave Larken a ridiculous contract extension that hand-cuffed this team.

It's been eight miseable years. I really didn't have too many problems with what Griffey did on the field. He was injured: not much you can do about that. But I would offer that in his time here in Cincinnati, he held back the franchise to the extent that his absence will be better for everyone.

While I appreciate the athletic brilliance of Griffey [mostly displayed before he arrived in Cincinnati], he was not worth the price. Griffey is an amazing ballplayer, but he is not a leader. In fact, in my opinion, he is a leadership vacuum. Barry Larken deferred in his leadership after Griffey showed-up, almost expecting the superstar to take the lead. But he didn't; that's not his style. Even though Sean Casey didn't produce enough on the field to warrant his [at the time] large salary, he should have been retained for his leadership abilities alone. Who's the leader on this team? Griffey's presence trumped everything: he can't lead and he really can't be a follower. But as a superstar, he was always the center of attention.

As the Reds continued to bring in young players who needed someone to guide them, management brought in managers that could not overcome the leadership vacuum created by Griffey. Jerry Narron benched Edwin Encarnacion for not running out a flyball last year. That's why Griffey wasn't too keen Griffey did the same thing on multiple occasions last year and nothing happened to him. McKeon demanded that out of Griffey and he was run out of town [to Florida . . . where he won a World Series]. When you have a system with two sets of rules, there can be no unity. And the ballclub has suffered.

Depending on what happens to Dunn, I think that Brandon Phillips is primed to emerge as the on-field leader of this team. No way this would've been possible with Junior here. And, perhaps, this will allow Dusty Baker to be a little more harsh with this club. It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out.

I have no ill-feelings for Griffey. In Chicago he'll have a more demanding manager who is the undisputed leader of that team. It'll probably be good for him.

It's the end of a Reds era. And I'm ready to move on.


With Adam Dunn traded to the Diamondbacks, this truly is the end of an era in Reds baseball. I would just suggest that this makes it even more important that Edinson Volquez pan out to be a perennial All-Star pitcher. Otherwise, the Josh Hamilton trade is even more of a disaster with the state of the Reds' outfield.

How To Skin[e] a Mole*

For the longest time I searched for the perfect system by which I could record my thoughts while out and about. As technology developed, I wanted to be in step so I leaned towards digital methods. I owned a Handspring [the knock-off of the original Palm Pilot], which I used fairly well. Then, yearning to see my calendar in color, I purchased a PDA [can't even remember the brand now] that ran the Windows friendly Pocket PC software. When we started the church and I went Mac-only, it was not worth it to make the handheld compatible [over $100 at the time for the software] so I was back at square one.

But over a year-and-a-half ago I found a new way to keep my thoughts: an old-fashioned notebook. I chose to use the Moleskine [pronounced "mol-a-skeen-a"] notebook and I love it. Sure, it doesn't sync up with my computer, but it's small enough that I can stick in my back pocket and it forces me to strive for good handwriting. I take the book with me practically everywhere. Names, ideas, to-do lists— it was all working.

After writing small and using both sides of the paper, I was within a few months of filling the notebook. I was beginning to anticipate the accomplishment that would come with filling up the book but, of course, just last week, I lost my notebook. I know I had it with me Sunday morning as I made the trek out to the church in New Richmond. After that, I have no idea. I searched the house and the church thoroughly and still found nothing. I'm thinking I dropped it out on the street and someone picked it up looking for an identity to swipe [fortunately, I don't write any of that kind of information in the book]. So twenty months of my scribbling is now gone. And I've tried not to think about it because it depresses me a little.

But, all in all, the Moleskine served me well. And I've been thinking of ways to better organize my chaotic thoughts. So even though I'm saddened to think of my loss, I'm a little excited about picking up a new notebook tomorrow and continue using this old/new system.

P.S. I use the gridded version of the Moleskine, in the reporter's style. Although I like the look of the book-style, the reporter's style allows me to write all the way to the edges.

*No actual moles were harmed in the publishing of this blog post.


Since I spend hours each day on my MacBook Pro, I'm pretty particular about my desktop wallpaper. Recently, when I was not satisfied with what I found around the interwebs, I went as far to create my own. But, hopefully, I've finally discovered the perfect solution to my wallpaper woes.

I subscribe to the blog feed of Smashing Magazine which specializes in various graphic design issues. In capitalizing on various clock desktop themes, they started a design competition for monthly desktop wallpapers. So it's practical [you can always glance up at the screen if you're unsure of a date] and you're only committed to it for a month.

So as the calendar is ready to flip again, you might want to check out Smashing for a nice new theme.

Wire Less

Not a lot of posting going on as of late. In addition to a busy schedule I've kept the past couple of weeks, I've been having some computer issues.

My wireless connection has been irregular the past few days. I scoured the internet for solutions and, despite numerous efforts, I got nothing. Finally took it to the geniuses over at the Apple Store and they were able to determine that my wireless Airport card needs to be replaced. Part plus service would cost about $200 bucks.

Hey, computers are expensive so I can even deal with that. My problem was that, since I have a first-generation MacBook Pro, they would only replace the current card I have, refusing to upgrade it to the card now found in all MacBook Pros. So basically, I'd be paying a hefty charge with no actual upgrade benefit.

I've explored a few other options to get a renegade install of an Airport card I need. There's one more local place I'm going check tomorrow morning who'll do the upgraded card [802.11n capable, for you geeks out there] and if they won't do it at a decent price I'm just going to order the part and do it myself. I still don't feel completely comfortable about doing it, but it seems I've been left no other choice.

So I'll get back to regular posting soon, once I get my issues figured out.


Received the new card in the mail tonight. The installation was flawless and the internet is operating faster than ever. I'm a happy camper.

I Don't Tweet

It's hard to distinguish between internet fads and applications that have staying power. More often than not, the latest/greatest thing will be forgotten shortly. Making it even more difficult is my interaction with ministers who, perhaps in an effort to stay relevant, seem to dive head-first into whatever new thing comes down the pipeline.

I usually prefer a wait-and-see approach to things. I entered the blogging world at a relatively early point [four years ago this fall] but I knew others who were doing it a year or two before I was. I waited on joining MySpace, mostly out of disdain, but finally gave in [before kicking the habit this past year]. Once Facebook opened to non-college students, I went in shortly thereafter; but now that people of all ages are signing on, I'd predict that its shelflife is decreasing. Still, I think it has more staying power than it gets credit for.

So now, I'm observing the current fervor surrounding Twitter. Surprisingly, I've done some market research among twenty-somethings I know, and few have ever even heard of it. For those who don't know, Twitter is a blogging-like application where you text message/email updates of less than 140 words to a platform that posts it online. Basically, it's like a Facebook update standing alone. Then, you can update throughout the day what you're doing/thinking at any given moment. It has taken off in popularity among certain segments of the population. A few weeks ago, I read an article where a guy proposed via Twitter.

FYI, newbies, when you use Twitter to send a message, it's called a "tweet." I believe the verb form is "twittering."

I've heard people who have declared that Twitter will spell the end of blogging. I just don't see it. Here are some reasons why I'm skeptical, and why I probably won't be "a twit" anytime soon.

1. People don't care about every aspect of my life. Sometimes I blog things that you guys don't care about. That's cool. I understand it. But can you imagine if I started posting everything I did throughout the day? "I'm eating a ham sandwich." "I'm at a stoplight." "I'm doing the deuce right now." It might be cute at first, but then you'd start to care even less about my life. Which leads me to . . .

2. Lack of good content. Whose life is truly so exciting that you want to know what they're doing throughout the day, anyway? It's difficult to continually spew forth content that's interesting in any format, especially so if you're in the practice of constantly texting updates. And no one can be funny all the time, so interest will eventually wane. Additionally, the tweets I do read are usually brutal because of overuse of abbreviations and misspellings. That is enough to keep me from reading.

3. No time filter. This is more of a pragmatic reason, but I think it's valid. Even though people occasionally blog out of anger, there's still a little bit of delay and the opportunity to rethink before publishing. But when you tweet, it's not usually a premeditated action but a visceral reaction to something going on in life. As a result, I'd say that Twitter is a program custom made to allow people to insert their feet into their mouths.

4. The MySpace Syndrome. MySpace didn't die [admit it, it's dead] because of a poor concept. Otherwise, why would Facebook still be so popular? The problem with MySpace was the absolute ugliness/annoyance of its format. Twitter follows in those same footsteps as it is steeped in poor web design. And, apparently, it is an inconsistent program, constantly prone to blackouts. Why would you keep on using an aesthetically revolting, unreliable program? You wouldn't.

In short, I think blogging will continue over the long run; it's evolving, not becoming extinct. Blogging is merely a web platform for journaling— something that people have been doing for centuries. Twitter, on the other hand, is a completely new concept. Of course, new ideas can work, but there has to be merit behind it for it to take off. And as people are inundated with information as is, so the influx of even more will eventually become madding. Something will have to give way. And I think that something will be Twitter. I saw it plugs on for another year or so but eventually goes the way of the wildebeest. I'm calling it a fad.

Someone show me where I'm wrong on this.

Messing With A Good Thing

Despite my desire to be different and carefree, I'm a creature of habit. One of my routines is my morning web reading schedule. I have a specific Firefox bookmark labeled "morning" which opens up all the sites with which I start my day. I check sports, my fantasy baseball stats, my RSS feeds, and finally the local paper— the Enquirer.

Although I've had my issues with it in the past, I've really started to enjoy reading that paper. As a minister in the city, I feel it's my responsibility to know what's going on here. The Enquirer is the best local source of finding this information out. So I make sure to read it daily [online, of course] to see what's happening.

Unfortunately, the parent company of the Enquirer decided to force redesigns of all their papers' websites. There's a brand new website up and it is absolutely horrible. And it's not just opinion— see for yourself. Now the old Enquirer page was not attractive at all, but it was highly functional; I could maneuver the pages within minutes to get the info I was looking for. The new site, however, is a mess, with actual articles mixed in with readers' blogs and forums. And this site is even uglier than the last. I tried last night to devise an organized way to get through the site, and was frustrated that I couldn't. I told myself I would try again one more time this morning. And all I got was frustration.

Some might say that the ease of which I could maneuver the site made it necessary for the redesign. As papers continue to lose money in daily circulation they are reliant on web advertising. And if a reader can get in and out without having to peruse the ads, then it defeats the purpose of posting the content online in the first place. I would counter that many other papers have succeeded in offering all of their content online, getting advertisers to commit, and keeping their websites easy to use. Check out papers like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post, who put all of their content online and yet have workable websites. Instead of keeping it clean, organized and simple, the Enquirer is now unreadable.

So now I'm considering options. Fortunately, I subscribe to quite a few local blogs that display local news stories, so I'm not left out in the cold. And there's a Google News option for local news that I might have to take advantage of. Regardless, unless the Enquirer can get things cleaned up and presentable, I might not read it that much anymore.

Why Aren't You Using It?

Yesterday, Mozilla released the 3.0 version of Firefox. Firefox is a web browser [like Internet Explorer, Safari, or Netscape] but is the best on the block. The best part is that it's freeware and it's taken the world by storm. This latest version not only fixed a few bugs that occasionally bothered me but added features I used to hack in. The url bar is now an "awesome bar" that knows where you want to go before you do.

I've loved Firefox so much that when I was on staff at the megachurch, where we were forbidden to use it, I smuggled it in and hid it in a folder. I would suggest you head on over and download it today. You'll love it.

Miggity Mac

No, I'm not getting a Mac Book Air anytime soon. This is one instance where Steve Jobs totally missed the market. The Air is the kind of laptop you get if your purchase only depends on aesthetics. Fortunately for Apple, that is a market and they'll sell a few of them. I predict that it won't have staying power. Spent last week upgrading the MacBook Pro and things are operating well. Thanks to the Dale for spotting a good price, I finally installed Leopard and am loving all it does. I've not explored all the new features yet, but I can already tell it operates much faster than Tiger. Before I upgraded, I did diagnostics and deleted unused apps, so it's like I'm using a brand new machine.

Additionally, I picked up some new apps at Mac Heist. For those Apple-using folk unfamiliar with it, I suggest heading over there and checking things out. Currently you can pick up 14 different applications which normally retail for $500 at the low, low price of fifty bucks. It's a special that only lasts a couple more days, so the time's a tickin'.


Multitasked while watching football the last couple of days to get some work done on the interwebs. First I gave Kelly's blog a face-lift. She likes it, and I think it works well too. Took me longer than it should have, but I got it done just after watching the ball drop last night [some New Year's, huh?].

And today I finally shut down my House of Carr website. I hadn't updated it in six months, so hardly anyone was checking it out anyway. I started it as our family website while I was still using Blogger and wanted the option of multiple pages. Since I switched my blog over to Wordpress, I get everything I need out of it, so maintaining two websites is meaningless. Now on the toolbar above I have a page for Kelly and Kaelyn, added links to my media, and will continue to add things as time permits. The URL now points to my blog. I'm going to hold onto the address and evaluate whether or not I want to renew it later.

So look around if you like.