You should approach buying a new website like you’d approach buying a new oven for your kitchen, or a new saw for your carpentry business. The tool is a means to an end, and you should use it, frequently, to make stuff.
- Paid off the mortgage on my $8,000 house
- Biked about 2,000 miles, mostly to and from work
- Skinny-dipped in a mountain stream in Northwest Spain on my 25th birthday
- Went to the Gay Pride parade/all-night party in Madrid
- Revisited Clermont-Ferrand and Lyon, France
- Did a police ride-along
- Toured the state capitol
a good year!
It is unfortunate that Chad Taylor has made the decision to quit prosecuting misdemeanors. It is also unfortunate that the DA’s budget was cut.
I wanted to share this story about a regional study about economic development – it shows that when local governments support retail development, they rarely see returns. Both the story and the study are compelling reads.
There may not be an immediate economic return expected from protecting public safety – but as soon as we fail to protect public safety, we put people at risk, and in this case – we make national news several times over.
Please reconsider your support of Menard’s (PDF, p. 84). When money is tight, we cannot afford to gamble on retail, and the gamble of retail vs. public safety is one we should never make. It’s not a simple solution, but I’m a Shawnee County resident who would rather see our county prosecute domestic battery than build another home improvement store or hardware chain.
Thank you for your consideration,
More on the retail development issue:
“A recent study, however, indicates that subsidizing retail development produces neither job gains nor new tax revenue. Earlier this year a consortium of local governments in the St. Louis metro area found that cities and counties in the region had diverted more than $5.8 billion in public tax dollars to finance private development. More than 80 percent of these funds supported the construction of new chain stores and shopping centers.
“Yet the region has seen virtually no economic growth. “The number of retail jobs has increased only slightly and, in real dollars, retail sales per capita have not increased in years,” the authors of the study wrote, noting that many of the region’s municipalities are now broke. According to the study, more than 600 small retailers have closed in the St. Louis metro area. The resulting job losses have offset the job gains from the new development.”
The St. Louis study referenced is available here:
I write to you today to share some information about an organization which provides great services for Kansans.
This organization uses its pool of money to distribute grants to smaller groups throughout the state. Last year, it provided financial assistance to 299 grantees in 59 Kansas counties. In some cases, the organization’s grants create jobs and projects where before, they were scarce. A few thousand dollars can go a long way in a county of a few thousand souls.
This organization has a unique financial situation. More than half its budget comes from matching grants from organizations outside the state. It is essentially a primary employer.
This is the Kansas Arts Commission.
If you must cut its budget, that’s one thing – but please do not cut this organization from the government roster. Because it is a state commission, the Kansas Arts Commission is eligible for matching grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Mid-America Arts Alliance. In these trying financial times, we cannot afford to refuse money coming into our state.
I jump-started and moderated a Twitter discussion today: #sandwichsecrets. I asked folks to share what tips they had for making good sandwiches. There were nearly 50 tweets from about 15 people.
Conversation was slow at first, but my @-replies and re-tweets kept things going. Sometimes an open prompt helped people get creative and share their preferred sandwich recipe. Even after a two-hour break from Twitter, I was able to evoke some more conversation with one or two tweets.
The first “volley” happened when my friend Andrew unknowingly tweeted about mustard on sandwiches just minutes after I started the hash-tag.
Then, our mutual friend Brandon jumped in, and added his thoughts about spicy mustard and Sriracha. I also saw some pretty creative suggestions.
Toward the end of the day, there were at least a few people following the discussion and helping to carry it on.
It would have been more effective had I brought two or three other people on board before the hash-tag ever went “live,” and I’m sure it would have been more effective to start earlier in the day. I didn’t even send out my first “sandwich secret” until after I had my 11:00 snack! I also could have brainstormed and blogged about it beforehand – but it was simply spontaneous.
If you’d like to see most of the discussion (protected tweets and tweets without the hash-tag not included), see below. I’d call it a successful Twitter experiment.
It is amazing how your priorities can change once you’re depending on a limited schedule and range for your primary transportation.
I’ve been riding the bus to and from work on and off for the last few weeks.
I have to get up on time. I have to memorize schedules and stop times. I have to check schedules if I want to deviate from either of my preferred routes to work. I have to plan ahead, big time.
If I’m commuting by bike, I can leave my house by 7:40 and get to work at 8. But if I want to get to work by 8 while riding the bus, I have to leave my house by 6:55.
Yesterday, I thought I might take a different bus and try to stop by a store on my way home to get some milk, a frisbee, and maybe some light bulbs. There’s a discount grocery store near my work, and another, smaller one near my house – but neither of these carry the specialty light bulbs I’d need or the frisbee I want, so I was going to have to take a bus out to Wanamaker (5 miles west, drastically out of my way) after work.
The system here only runs until about 6pm, unless you’ve scheduled a special ride a day ahead of time.
I left work 15 minutes early to catch the 4:53 bus, but missed it. I thought that was my only chance to catch a 4:56 bus out to Wanamaker. I quickly re-prioritized, and walked to get milk from the grocery store near my work. I caught the 5:23 bus home – but only after realizing there was another 5:20ish bus I could have taken out to Wanamaker. I saw it pass as I was waiting on my usual route. The light bulbs and frisbee would have to wait.
I’m not going to lie, it’s hard to get around on the bus when you’re used to traveling independently in a car or on a bicycle. All your transportation decisions are your own; you can take any route you want to go anywhere you want at any time.
But in snowy, icy weather, it’s harder to get around on a bike. Unless you have snow tires or studded tires, it’s pretty easy to slip and fall. I nearly broke my tailbone last year while trying to ride on an ice patch in the street right in front of my house.
Regardless of weather conditions, I’d rather not drive myself to work, though I still sometimes do. It’s wasteful and I try to avoid it.
I love the bus. I love that I can walk three or four blocks from my house and get a ride that takes me to an intersection a block away from my job. It’s like getting a ride to work every day. With a unlimited monthly pass, it’s significantly cheaper than driving. It’s also a lot less stressful. I don’t have to pay attention to traffic, or make decisions! I just get on when the bus shows up, and get off when it nears my work. I have the duration of the ride to daydream, plan my day, use my phone, meditate, space out, or whatever. It’s a luxury!
I encourage you to quit your car for a week, or even two days, and see if you can ride the bus to work. The fresh air and peace of mind will do you good.
I got a free T-shirt in the mail recently. It is a very nice, forest green, American Apparel shirt, with the line “Code is Poetry” on the front – and the WordPress logo on the back.
The shirt arrived because I responded to a Twitter message from Matt Mullenweg about a month ago, which said simply, “For people who want t-shirts: email me address, t-shirt size, and gender.” I love WordPress, use it exclusively to develop websites, and as such, have great respect for its founder (Matt Mullenweg). I had no idea what his Twitter message was about – but I wanted a WordPress shirt, so I went for it!
The shirt also came with two pencils, several stickers, and an official-looking certificate, proclaiming that I, Karl Fundenberger, am one of the Three Most Important People in WordPress, and that I am entitled to a lifetime of free WordPress, to be used at my discretion for life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the four freedoms of the GPL.
I had no idea what this was about! Surely I couldn’t be one of the most important people in WordPress. I have been using WP for about five years now and have set up dozens of blogs – but I have never written an official theme or plugin. I haven’t saved WordPress from demise or promoted it to millions of people. There must be something more to this, I thought.
Naturally, I went online. I first found this photo of a very similar assortment; green shirt, stickers, pencils, and certificate. Fortunately, the photographer linked to an interview with Matt Mullenweg and Chris Pearson.
First, a note on the GPL. WordPress is software released under the GPL (the GNU General Public License), which guarantees that it can be distributed and modified for free. It also requires that any theme or plugin developed for WordPress must carry the GPL. You can sell themes or plugins, or give them away – but you must guarantee your users the freedom to modify and distribute your themes and plugins.
Chris Pearson has a theme called Thesis, which is not a GPL theme. It violates the license of the software it is built upon.
Mullenweg called him out on this. He asked him to change the theme. Pearson refused.
Bad call, Chris Pearson. WordPress is wildly successful, largely due to the fact that it is GPL software. There is a huge community of people working to make WordPress better, all the time!
In the interview, Pearson says he could change the theme to GPL, and it might not even affect his business. But he just doesn’t like the GPL. At one point, he claims he is “one of the three most important people in WordPress,” despite the fact that Thesis accounts for only a tiny fraction of global WordPress downloads and traffic.
The certificate I received in the mail is a very clever jab at Chris Pearson. It’s not true, per se, but it’s still pretty empowering to see my name on a document with Matt Mullenweg’s signature on it. I may not be one of the most important developers or users of WordPress, but the community at large, respecting and taking advantage of its license, is what makes WordPress possible.
Mullenweg is letting users know that Thesis violates the GPL, and asking them to try out other premium themes; offering them suggestions, and even offering to buy them a copy of a theme if they promise to switch away from Thesis. For a free software that practically “sells” itself on features and usability, this is a fantastic marketing campaign. For one, I’m even prouder to be a die-hard WordPress user. I am proud to know that Matt Mullenweg will stand up for his software and for the GPL. And I am so glad I have never even considered using the Thesis theme.
Chris Pearson, you’re looking pretty foolish right now.
For more, read Mullenweg’s blog.