Goodbye Paul Harvey

As you may already know, American icon Paul Harvey died on Saturday. I’ve always said to people, “Why should I care about celebrities?” I never thought I’d care a great deal about the happenings to any of them. Well it turns out I was wrong. It came as a great surprise to me when I actually shed a tear (only one though) when I heard over the weekend that Paul Harvey passed away. It is an even greater surprise that I still feel a bit sad whenever I hear a new tribute or story about the man. As it turns out, I’m really going to miss listening to him on the radio.

I have disagreed with Paul Harvey a lot over the years (in my own thoughts anyway), mostly about the way he reported medical stories without questioning the validity of the data or his reports on the war in Iraq & against terrorism. But even with that, I have always liked his programs. When I used to drive to work I’d try and time my commute so I could catch “The Rest of the Story” (one of my favorite programs) on KGO. I still remember his story about the penny and the Chicago newspaper advertiser who started the 99 is less than 100 trend (because people feel that $9.99 is a lot less than $10) because he wanted to sell his paper for a penny instead of a nickle. I’d even occasionally take lunch around his noon program “News & Comment.”

Being on the radio for over 60 years, even after he turned 90, Paul Harvey became a radio legend. According to his Wikipedia entry, Paul Harvey’s programs were carried on over 1,200 radio stations, 400 Armed Forces Network stations and 300 newspapers. With that sort of exposure, his passing will have a profound impact and noticeable loss to a large and diverse group of people. I’m sure he will be sorely missed. An additional note of merit, Paul Harvey was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian award.

As you might also know, his son, Paul Harvey Jr, has been filling in for him over the last several years as he dealt illness and the loss of his wife. It is good to hear that Paul Harvey Jr will be continuing in his father’s footsteps and keeping the programs going.

Rest in peace Paul Harvey. I, as well as a nation, mourn your passing. In the words of Paul Harvey himself, “Good day.”

P.S. If you’d like to leave his family your condolence for his family you can do so at http://abcrn.com/harvey/contact/

Posted under News, opinion

This post was written by Michael Tougeron on March 3, 2009

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What I want to hear…

from my presidential candidates is a debate on the issues facing our country, not inuendo and attacks.  I want to hear how Candidate A believes their economic policies are better than Candidate B’s policy or how B has more experience than C because of x, y, and z.

The last few weeks I’ve been hearing a lot of what I’d consider attack ads by the McCain campaign.  I have to say I am *very* disappointed with him.  I’ve always had a lot of respect for John McCain even though I do not always agree with his political views.  He has always struck me as someone who stands up for what is right and as someone above the muck throwing.  Well, until now that is.

As I said above I want to know what you and your vp candidate stand for and why you are better than your opponents.  I understand and somewhat agree that who you associate with reflects on someone’s judgement.  But how far do you take it?  What matters is *McCain’s* policies and opinions, not the person he is associated with.  The same goes for Obama, Biden and Palin.

I could say McCain has bad judgement by associating himself with Bush.  But that doesn’t matter because he may not agree with him.  However, when McCain says he agrees with Bush, then it is McCain’s opinion we are discussing.  If Obama says he agrees with Ayers in regards to what Ayers allegedly did year ago then yes it would be fair game.  But he didn’t and I doubt he ever would.

As for you Obama… I don’t care who throws the last punch.  Don’t do it!  Stick to the issues.  It is working for you.  Yes, some people are influenced by the mud but not those who will swing the vote one way or another.

I WANT TO HEAR ABOUT THE ISSUES!!!  Please… both of you… get back on track and address the issues and concerns of myself and the American public.  That’s what’s important.  Deal with it.  If you can’t, you shouldn’t be president anyway.  That’s my 2-cents anyway.

Posted under opinion, Politics, Rant

This post was written by Michael Tougeron on October 6, 2008

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Okay, so I am the SF PHP Meetup Organizer

/sigh.  What a crazy week.  E3 and the meetup fubar really screwed up my mood.  E3 is now over and the meetup fubar has been resolved.  If I could hit reset I truely would.

So after my email earlier this week to Rana, he responded and said that he thought about it too and wanted to work out the transfer to me.  I’m glad he changed his mind.  Maybe he had a change of heart and realized the errors or his way.  Or maybe it had something to do with the 20+ people that emailed him and complained about what he was doing.   I guess whichever it was doesn’t really matter.  I’m now the official organizer and I’m really looking forward to where the group is going.  🙂

My email announcement to the group after everything was worked out:

Hi everyone.  I wanted give a quick update on the status of the group and its leadership.  There was quite a bit of confusion over the last week that should be clarified.

First, the resignation email over the weekend was not about me.  That was sent because the official organizer (used to be Julian Triber) stepped down.  He & I have been talking on several occasions about his stepping down because he did not have time to focus on the group due work related time constraints.

Second, after a bit of confusion for the first part of the week, the group has been transferred officially to me.  As you know I’ve been setting them up and hosting them for the last 9 months.  The group has come a long way over the last year and I’m proud to say that we now average well over 60 people for the last 5 months.  (According to meetup.com anyway; personally I believe it to be a lot more.  There is no way Terry’s OO talk only had 71 people.  The room was overflowing!)  I’m really excited about how the group is growing and how we are reaching more and more people every month.  We’re the largest PHP Meetup they have!

In addition to me becoming the organizer of the group, I’ve assigned Mariano Peterson to be the assistant organizer.  For the last several months Mariano has been a great help in planning recent speakers & topics.  Thank you Mariano for your great work.

Finally, I’ve made a few changes to the setup of the group on the meetup.com website.  A) I’ve expanded our group’s topics to include Software Developers (ranked 3rd), LAMP (1st), and Web Technology (20th).  We usually cover these topics each month in addition to our core PHP (1st).  This will expand the reach of our audience and hopefully bring in more members.  B) I’ve opened up the message boards so that we can now communicate there in addition to the mailing list.  I’ll be clearing out old job postings and antiquated topics over the weekend.  C) I’m updating some of the default group fields & pages like group description, about us, why someone should join, adding an optional new user introduction, and a few others.  If you have any suggestions let me know
and I’ll try to work them in.

Thank you all for your participation and support for this group.  I look forward to seeing you all at the August 7th meetup where Joe Stump from Digg will be talking about deploying code with a PEAR channel.

Thanks,

Mike (aka Touge)

P.S. If you have any requests for topics, please let me
know.

Posted under Events, opinion

This post was written by Michael Tougeron on July 18, 2008

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No longer the organizer of the SF PHP Meetup

Edit: This issue was resolved a few days later.

For the past nine months I have been organizing the San Francisco PHP Meetup group. During this time I was always under the impression that when the official organizer of the group resigned that the group would transfer to me so that I could continue running the group. Unfortunately this weekend the previous organizer resigned and did not transfer the group. Because he did not nominate a successor the organizer position became open for grabs for anyone. That’s right, for whatever reason, meetup.com feels that it is better to go to a first-come, first-served system rather than giving the assistant organizers a chance to run the meetup first. 🙁 I’m sure you can tell where this is headed…

So when the group became open on Saturday someone else, Rana Singh, was able to take ownership of the group before I could. Initially I thought it was just a misunderstanding. I thought that perhaps he thought it was I who resigned not Julian. I definitely couldn’t fault him for thinking that, could I? So for the next 24 hours I attempted to contact him and straighten the situation out. To my overwhelming surprise, it was not a misunderstanding. He purposefully and willingly took ownership of the group and did not think there was anything wrong with not setting things to how they should have been. I was absolutely shocked that someone who had no involvement with the group for the last year could take over the group. As I talked with Rana over the phone Sunday night i could not believe the things that he was telling me. First I had a problem with how he told me he would be able to take the group to a level that I could not. This from someone who’s other groups cannot manage to have more than 20 people attend. Second, he wanted me to continue to setup and run the groups for him! I think that is that point where I started to feel insulted and taken advantage of.

After the first 24 hours of frustration I decided to contact several of the meetup members in hope of soliciting their support in explaining the mistake in the situation. Rather than have an open discussion of the matter, Rana choose to disable group emailing and replied to people’s complaints/concerns in a way that implied he was in the right because other people misunderstood the situation too! This seemed like very week reasoning to me (as well as to a few others in the discussion).  After almost a full day of heated discussion, I decided that it just was not worth it. I did not want to continue down this negative path. My hopes of Rana realizing the bad form of what he did slowly dwindled. Rather than continue to create more frustration and divide, I decided to not pursue the disagreement any farther.

This was my response:

I did a lot of thinking about this on my way home tonight and I’ve come to a decision. It is not one that I’m happy with but it one I can live with. I appreciate everyone’s support in this matter but I’ve decided to not pursue this conversation any farther. This started by what I thought was a simple misunderstanding and has since escalated into something that I do not want. Rana, I thought that after hearing the thoughts and support of the various members of this meetup you would reconsider you decision on what to do about this meetup. At this point I believe if you were going to change your mind you would have done so by now. I don’t want to continue to beat a dead horse and continue down this path of frustration. This group has always been about making the PHP community better and I’ve supported that fully. I’ve realized that by continuing this disagreement I am going against that principal and I would be creating additional frustrations and divisions. I do not want that.

That being said, Rana, I wish you the best of luck with this meetup group. Unfortunately I will not be able to support you as an assistant-organizer. I feel cheated out of something I worked very hard on and cannot in good conscience support this type of behavior. I cannot support someone who would think there is nothing wrong with what has happened here, ignored the wishes of the community and who has placed restrictions on the open communication of the group.

Thank you very much to each of you who took time out of your busy schedules to participate in this discuss and express your support of me. I truly appreciate it and value your friendships. Chris, thank you for your help with mediating this disagreement. It could not have been easy for you and I appreciate your patience and willingness to work with all parties involved.

The last nine months have been a time of immense joy for me. I have enjoyed the group and the lively discussions and even the occasional rants. Yes Terry, I’m talking about you and your thoughts about Ruby on Rails. 🙂 With this group I’ve felt a sense of belonging and I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish together. I’m particularly pleased how with each of your support (especially you Terry) we were able to take a small group of people (<10) and turning it into something much larger. Having 75-100 techie/programmers meet monthly to discuss their passions and to learn new things has never ceased to amaze me. Programmers tend to not be the most extroverted people I know. I have learned a lot from the speakers and other group members as well as made some good friends. Don’t worry, I definitely plan on keeping in touch.

As I am not able to communicate to the group as a whole, if you could pass on my well wishes to the group and/or the individuals you know I would appreciate it.

Thank you again for all of your support,
Mike

Posted under Events, opinion

This post was written by Michael Tougeron on July 14, 2008

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The Daniel Pearl Standard

TodayYesterday I read in the WSJ a commentary by Judea Pearl titled “The Daniel Pearl Standard.” I thought it was a well-written article about how the news media has gone away from its traditional roots of unbiased journalism. I know the news business has never been fully non-biased (can anyone say Hearst?) but I agree with the article that today’s news media has gone too far. Reporting is no longer about the facts. Its now about the spin or the image that they want to portray.

To me an excellent example of this is CNN when they covered the Jan 8th 2008 back-to-back Democratic and Republican presidential debates. At the end of each debate instead of their own evaluation, CNN went to their reporters in the “Spin Room” to get what each of the candidates had to say about how well they did in the debate. They just had the press release from each candidate, which of course said they did a good job, and didn’t care one way or the other if the information released was accurate.

When is the news media going to go back to reporting the News and the Facts of an issue. I agree that there is two sides to every story, but if one side is factually wrong, they should not be given the same air time. It creates an impression to the viewer or reader that both sides have equal merit. If the issue is in contest, then of course present it impartially. But they should not let the presenter tell them the issue is debatable else we end up where we are now with global warming (should be about effects not whether its factual or not).

Posted under opinion, Politics, Rant

This post was written by Michael Tougeron on January 31, 2008

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