Words to Leave by

“As I’m sure you guys know by now, it is extremely difficult to stay alert and attentive, instead of getting hypnotized by the constant monologue inside your own head (may be happening right now). Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. Think of the old cliché about quote the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master.
This, like many clichés, so lame and unexciting on the surface, actually expresses a great and terrible truth. It is not the least bit coincidental that adults who commit suicide with firearms almost always shoot themselves in: the head. They shoot the terrible master. And the truth is that most of these suicides are actually dead long before they pull the trigger.
And I submit that this is what the real, no bullshit value of your liberal arts education is supposed to be about: how to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone day in and day out. That may sound like hyperbole, or abstract nonsense. Let’s get concrete. The plain fact is that you graduating seniors do not yet have any clue what “day in day out” really means. There happen to be whole, large parts of adult American life that nobody talks about in commencement speeches. One such part involves boredom, routine, and petty frustration. The parents and older folks here will know all too well what I’m talking about.”

Pointer from Doc Searls Weblog. As Doc says, “Its wise from front to back”

Full version of Dave Foster Wallace’s commencement speach to graduates at Kenyon University

Pocket Trackers/APRS in the Media

From legrandobserver.com

“Rule No. 1 of being a search and rescue volunteer — don’t get lost.

It sounds simple. But consider the challenges faced by the 50 or so volunteers who might respond when someone is reported missing in Union County’s backcountry.

There’s a good chance it might be late afternoon with the light fading, if it is not completely dark.

The weather is often difficult — snow, rain, slippery conditions.

The knowledge of the area on the part the person making the report has to be considered. Was the missing hunter or hiker planning to go down this ridge line, or that one?

Now, though, Union County’s search and rescue group has a new tool that it believes will make keeping track of the searchers a much safer, easier part of the process.

Called a Pocket Tracker, the new equipment is a carry-along unit consisting of a GPS and radio unit, set to a HAM radio frequency. The unit reports in every few minutes automatically….”

Its good to see this simple technology being used effectively. The PocketTrackers were supplied by Tony Barrett of byonics. The article is slightly incorrect in that they don’t come in anything like 90 pieces, more like about 50 components, and that includes short lenghts of wire to make up Coils with.


So do you think you are an efficient operator? Have a read of Chris Trans series of articles here. There is some great information in there, even if you are not a contester.

An extract:

“Good operator
GM7V : CQ Golf Mike Seven Victor ..
JA stns. : xxxxxxxxKPxxxxx .. (the JA stations are giving their full callsigns in the pile-up)
GM7V : Kilo Papa Five Nine One Four ..
JA0KPL : Japan Alpha Zero Kilo Papa Lima Five Nine Two Five ..
GM7V : Japan Alpha Zero Kilo Papa Lima Thanks QRZ ..

Poor operator
GM7V : CQ CQ CQ, CQ Contest, CQ Contest, Golf Mike Seven Victor, Golf Mike Seven Victor,
Golf Mike Seven Victor is calling CQ Contest and standing by ..
JA stns. : xxxxxxxxKPxxxxx
GM7V : Er.. Was there a station calling with Papa in the callsign ? Please go ahead the station with
Papa in the callsign ..
JA stns. : xxxxxxxxKPxxxxx
GM7V : Kilo Papa something, Kilo Papa something – please go ahead ..
JA0KPL : Japan Alpha Zero Kilo Papa Lima
GM7V : Er.. Japan Alpha Zero Kilo Papa Lima, Japan Alpha Zero Kilo Papa Lima – you’re Five
Nine One Four, Five Nine One Four, is that a roger ? over ..
JA0KPL : Thank-you, Five Nine Two Five ..
GM7V : Er ..Five Nine Two Five, Japan Alpha Zero Kilo Papa Lima – thank-you – CQ CQ CQ,
CQ Contest, CQ Contest, Golf Mike Seven Victor, Golf Mike Seven Victor, Golf Mike
Seven Victor is calling CQ Contest and standing by ..”

Everyone listening to the second guy would be fit to kill him. Not that I’m any great shakes myself mind. I have been at the wrong end of a pile-up more than once, and it can be quite overwhelming to hear the noise generated when several hundred stations call you at once.