Author: Joe Wilcox

Read More

The Christmas I Couldn’t Forget

When I was in fourth grade, my parents both had jobs—a novelty in Northern Maine during the late 1960s but start of a national trend.  Dad worked as a supervisor at the food processing plant and mom was night manager at a local hotel/motel. Financially, those were good years, when both my parents generated income. My mother would later lose her position, after the elegant facility burned down under mysterious circumstances. But that’s another story.

Christmas Eve, when my three younger sisters and I could open one present, I hardly could contain my want. Actually, I couldn’t contain it. My parents had gone out to food shop, preparation for feast as part of a spectacularly planned Christmas Day. They could afford to spend more on us that year than ever. Quite excited were they to give to their kids. 

Read More

Who Really Did Steal Christmas from Lonaconing?

I’ve got some advice for Idea Grove, make your weblog more usable. It’s unclear when posts are made, other than the month, and the only RSS feeds I can see are for services. Hello! Earth to Idea Grove, if your goal is through your Media Orchard weblog “to cultivate fresh thinking about the media, marketing and public relations”, a little easier communications would go along way. I did get the feed, but I should have been able to easily subscribe without signing up for a RSS service.

OK, griping aside, now is the real topic of this post. Media Orchard has a great take on Lonaconing, Md.’s lightless Christmas. Local power company and Verizon pulled the plug on the town’s Christmas lights, which, in the past, strung from the companies’ polls. Townspeople responded by putting a giant Grinch nearby the local Verizon office with sign, ”Who really did steal Christmas from Lonaconing?”

Read More

Where Did the Joy Go?

I still ponder exactly what to do with my blog. I am considering five choices: Blogger (mixed feelings); MSN Spaces (least likely); .Mac (I’ve got an account with 2GB of storage and could use software client to post, but so-so likelihood); Yahoo! hosting using MovableType or WordPress (highly likely); or TypePad (also highly likely, and what I’ve got now).

The latter two options could lead to lots of work, and I find myself resistant. What I want is to create an inviting blog with lots of photos, too, possibly using Flickr, Slide, or both. Actually, there’s quite a bit I’d like to do with my blog, with respect to personalization, beyond using canned templates. 

Read More

The Times Does Proud

Blogging is a fun, and it’s a great way for creating community across many different types of boundaries. Some bloggers have influence, too, as evidenced by the Sony rootkit DRM or Thomas Hawk’s PriceRightPhoto debacle. But for all the talk about bloggers changing information dissemination and even some bloggers deserving press credentials, the real influence, the credibility remains with real journalists.

And New York Times has done some great investigative journalism of late. Two big stories from the last week—the kind of stuff that requires real reporting and deep editorial soul searching: “Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers without Courts” and “Through His Webcam, a Boy Joins a Sordid Online World“. 

Read More

I Don't See the Justification

Yesterday’s SouthCoastToday.com story about a student’s investigation by the Department of Homeland Security is breath stopping. Apparently, the “senior at UMass Dartmouth was visited by federal agents two months ago, after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung’s tome on Communism called The Little Red Book“. I have to admit that Mao’s communist manifesto wouldn’t be on my reading list, but like this kid I probably would want it for research on a college paper about communism.

Cold War is over, right? The war on terror is against Muslim extremists. Right? Last I checked, Muslim extremism doesn’t have much in common with atheistic communism. So why is a kid filling out a university library book request on communism, “leaving his name, address, phone number, and Social Security number” getting “visited at his parents’ home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security?” And I have to ask: The Feds are monitoring library book requests now? 

Read More

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

Before movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” became a holiday mainstay in the United States, largely because the film’s copyright had expired, I first saw it in the middle of the night in June 1979. That’s right summer, not Christmas

I worked at a local factory, a summer job for me, doing third shift. I liked the late hours because of better pay and my tendency to rumble around late night like a spectre. This night I had off, but couldn’t sleep (it wasn’t my bedtime until dawn), so I caught the 2 a.m. Night Owl late show on one of the local TV stations. 

Read More

Steve Makes a Good Case

In today’s Washington Post, AOL founder Steve Case eloquently argues that Time Warner should split into four companies. He writes that in early 2002: “I proposed to the company’s board that it was time to ‘liberate’ and split the conglomerate into four freestanding companies—Time Warner Cable, Time Warner Entertainment, Time Inc. and AOL—each with its own strategy, stock, balance sheet, management team, and board.”

He contends that the four units would “benefit from the separation” and “that other parts of Time Warner would achieve similar results if set free from the conglomerate. Time Warner has proven to be too big, too complex, too conflicted and too slow-moving—in other words, too much like a classic conglomerate—to seize new opportunities”. He sees big potential from separation, and I can’t disagree.