Is being a ‘straight talker’ good, or bad?

I recognize that I’ve been posting exclusively about FrameAlbum here recently but the title of the blog is ‘Stream of Consciousness‘ so you can’t say I didn’t warn you. ūüėČ

I received a comment today where the person thanked me for being a ‘straight talker’. ¬†I took it as a complement.

I’m an engineer; in my world there is ‘the truth’ and then “that thing that isn’t the truth”. ¬†If something is ‘red’ then tell me it’s ‘red’; don’t tell me “it’s a very dark, complex shade of pink with overtones of blue but if you see it in just the right light it’s orange” because you think I don’t like red. ¬†Frankly, I can’t bring myself to say ‘something is x‘ when clearly the opposite is true, regardless of the audience.

Unfortunately in today’s political arena ‘straight talk‘ has come to mean ‘dumbing it down for consumption by the masses so that it appeals to their emotions rather than thoughtful reasoning‘.

Most every sound bite I’ve heard that was labeled as an example of ‘straight talk’ was such a brain-numbingly obvious platitude that I couldn’t help myself from throwing up in my mouth a little bit.

I’ll make¬†Government¬†more efficient!” – Really? ¬†Do you honestly believe that in ~235 years of having a go at this democracy thing that we haven’t reached some sort of efficiency equilibrium? ¬†No, really, I prefer¬†inefficiency and would vote against anyone who supports increased¬†efficiency

We will take Our Government back!” – Back from whom, exactly? ¬†Last time I read the Constitution it said that ours was a government of ‘We the People’. ¬†One must be a citizen, therefore an American, to vote. ¬†So we’re taking it back from the American People to give to… the American People? ¬†I’m confused…

I’ll make the tax code simple!” – I don’t even know where to begin on this one.

In every case the candidate is simply saying what the audience of the moment wants to hear. Have we, as a Nation, become so afraid of the truth that we’ll vote for no one that dare speak it? When a candidate does dare veer off message and a bit of truth leaks out it’s labelled¬†a gaff and the blathering Punditry¬†goes into high-gear claiming that the candidate just¬†committed¬†political suicide.

No, I fear that something even more distressing is true; that we are not willing to vote for someone who is not 100% in agreement with our views. I don’t think (most) politicians are stupid; in fact I believe most of them are quite intelligent. ¬†So intelligent in fact that they have figured out that to get/stay elected they can’t¬†possibly¬†take a solid position on anything as it would give some group a reason to vote for ‘anyone else’. ¬†Have you ever tried to get a Yes/No answer from a politician? ¬†I have — I believe that if you look in the dictionary under ‘futility’ the entry reads ‘that overwhelming urge you get to smack something when you ask a politician a Yes/No question.’

If you want to earn my vote give direct, clear, unequivocal¬†answers to questions. ¬†When someone asks you “Which part of an Oreo is you favorite?” ¬†You had better say “I love the rich creamy filling!” or “I love the crispy chocolate wafers!“. ¬†If you respond “I like them both equally and here are 4,000 words about why you are an idiot if you don’t agree with me.” you are dead to me.

Give me the straight facts about what you believe — I will not agree with you 100% of the time but at least I’ll respect you and I might even vote for you.

Open source licenses and code sharing

I’ve been swamped with a big development project of late. ¬†It has hampered my ability to spend any time extending FrameAlbum but it does have the small benefit of covering my Starbuck’s addiction. ūüėČ

The first item to be tackled is publishing some code! ¬†I have to first settle on an open-source license; I’m open to any comments/suggestions folks may have on this topic. ¬†My initial thoughts are to find a license that allows folks to use & modify it freely for their own use. ¬†If they choose to use it in a commercial service they should be¬†compelled¬†to contribute something back to the project/community.

I’ve already starting putting the code into a GIT repository. ¬†For you non-code-slingers out there GIT is a program for managing the source code (the stuff that programs are made of) of a program or website. ¬†I am not a code-slinger by day so my git-fu is not strong however it does have a strong following¬†among¬†the code- slingers I know and trust. ¬†If you are interested in contributing to FrameAlbum or just having a look at how the sausage is made then grab a copy of GIT and run it around the block a bit.

The next big feature to be added to the service is integration of Facebook photos. ¬†Lots of people have asked for them and I’m interested in diving into Facebook’s new developer’s platform.

Beyond that, I plan to expand the informational channel types (news, weather forecasts, news, etc.), expand Picasa support to include non-public albums and add ‘tag’ filtering to all photo feeds.

Stay Calm and Carry On.


New FrameAlbum feature: Shuffle Images

A new feature went live on the FrameAlbum site today; ‘shuffle images’.

The current system groups all the photos from a single source channel, such as Flickr, together and then orders them chronologically by posting date.  So if you have a Picasa channel and a Flickr channel on your frame you will see all the Picasa photos in order by date and then all the Flickr photos.  This will continue to be the default.

However, if you would like to see your photos ‘all mixed together’ you may choose to activate the ‘shuffle images’ feature on your frame. ¬†When shuffle images is active all of your photos will be sent to your frame in random order mixing all your channels together in no particular sequence. ¬†It also works if you have only a single channel on your frame.

If you prefer to keep seeing your photos the way they are now you do not need to do anything, the feed will be unchanged.

If you would like to activate this feature simply log into the FrameChannel website and edit the details of your frame. ¬†Click the button next to the green light on the ‘Shuffle Images’ option and save your changes. ¬†That’s it!

It may take awhile for the changes to appear on your frame so don’t be concerned if you don’t see the new sequence right away.

I hope you enjoy it!

In other news: I’ve fixed a long standing bug that caused issues for folks with large numbers of channels or frames. ¬†The display will now wrap around to a new row rather than continue off the right side of the screen.