Friday, May 30, 2008

Conflict and Thought

My mother called two days ago. She chatted for a while and then asked me if I had heard that Glen Martinez had been killed in Iraq.

Beginning with this news, I have been thinking, or pondering really. I received the newspaper clippings and then went online to find the following story.

I can't claim that what I feel is sorrow. I do, feel sad, for a life taken so young, for a wife who had so little time with him, for a family who loved him very much. Mostly though I feel confusion. Glen is the first person I know that has been killed in Iraq. He's not the only person I know in the military, but none of my family had gone into service and I have never been much aquainted with that part of our culture, except through a few friends who are, as they would affectionately term themselves, 'military brats'.

I attended school with Glen from 5th grade through our sophomore year in high school. He was a jock, but I can say for him, he was the less obnoxious of them and not that I ever remember was he mean. As you may figure, we did not hang out. I was smart, not gorgeous, and certainly not athletic. I did take classes with Glen though and remember especially Algebra I in 8th grade. A new class, a few advanced students from our class were chosen to take it. There were about 15 of us. Glen may not have been entirely the model student the paper mentioned, I remember him asking for my homework a time or two. I also remember that our freshman year he re-took the class. He claimed he hadn't quite gotten the grasp of it and wanted to have a better understanding before moving on.

So, I was surprised twice. Glen went on to major in Mathematics. I guess that second year of algebra did set up a solid foundation for him. And that he did it at Ottawa University in Kansas. I moved to Kansas my Junior year and attended the University of Kansas after. To think that he was 1/2 an hour away the entire time. It just seems so odd that someone else from the Valley made it all the way to Eastern Kansas too.

So I guess I am sad. I may not have known Glen very well, but I did attend school with him for years. He was a good guy, a nice guy. And as everyone has pointed out he enjoyed himself. He did have lots of fun and I know that personally he got out of lots of trouble in Spanish class by flashing that grin of his. That grin kept him out of a lot of trouble I'm sure.

I want to send out my condolences to his wife Melissa. I'm sorry you had such a short time with him. The story of how you met and he then found you later is terribly romantic. I think I hurt more for you than anything else, because the mere imagining of losing my husband after so short of a time leaves me at a complete loss.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Rant Part II - Tech Support

Tech support. Bah! I am generally not a ranting type, but this is my second blog ranting. Which means that all of you who do not know me will have to take for granted that I'm telling you the truth. I am not what I would say calm, but I'm not known for my ranting like some of my husband's co-workers.(CJ I'm looking your infamous way)

My rant today is directed towards the technical support at Thomson Scientific. In discharging my duties as statistical collector of database usage at Greenblatt Library I have been attempting to obtain said usage statistics. Thomson Web of Knowledge database underwent an interface change in February of 2008. The webpage containing their statistics also changed at this time. I have been trying to obtain access to this new site or at least the site itself with no success. The WOK help page here takes you to a Thomson help page which directs you to email Thomson tech support.

Now, having friends in the biz, I know tech support is no joy most days. You get a lot of upset people, some serious inquires, and a lot of, excuse me but, dumb asses. These are the people whom have to direct users to turn on their monitor or plug in their computer or that no, their laptop is not water-proof. However, I felt my question on obtaining access to the new usage reports was simple enough. I was sent an email with instructions to sign up on two different accounts, that my access my takes weeks to get and starting with this line:

"Acess to UsageReports was changed in February 208. Instructions were sent for the registration process in October 2008."

I thought it was a bit condescending as well as badly written. However, I can give some room for having a bad day. I followed the directions which has me sign up for two accounts. One user account in WOK, and one for access to the actual reports. (why I need both I have no idea) This was on March 25th. I know because I have the email. I have yet to receive a reply from anyone.

I felt I have been patient enough. I usually am content to put in my request and wait. People are busy, sometimes they can't get around to something right away and bugging them every five minutes just slows them down right? Well no, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Be annoying and complain loudly and often and then your work will get done first. That's what I'm learning from these experiences. I'll wait if I have to, but I'm tired of being ignored entirely because I'm not currently the person making your life difficult at the time. Isn't that exactly why you should smile and deal with my request in a timely manner?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Mashups and Privacy plus annoyance

Mashups and Privacy

Ahh, I have just finished reading a post by the annoyed librarian. I have read this blog occasionally and found it to be an interesting read. Frequently, it speaks directly about ALA issues that I am no longer involved in, so I skip over. However, this week in class we were asked to look at Gabe's Rollyo list of librarians blogs. The Annoyed Librarian is one featured in the list. A search for privacy showed two items when were written by this individual and had privacy in the title.

The first I still am not sure why, but the second discusses the reason this blog is anonymous. While I could care less about someone wanting to remain unseen while complaining about ALA issues, I was annoyed when comparisons to Alexander Hamilton and whistle blowers started to pop up. Since when does avoiding personal responsibility for your comments equate to avoiding a possible mob and death from the redcoats?

Maybe I expect too much from my profession. I was raised in the newspaper world of small-town journalism. A place where you put your name to what you write, and you still write what you believe in, because it is the socially responsible thing to do. Newspaper editors get yelled at and I've heard more than a few empty threats, but I've also seen a lot of dialog.

If you want to be anonymous and air all that you feel is wrong with the world on your blog, I do feel that is your right to do so. It is free speech and you should feel safe speaking your mind. However, unpopular ideas about how the ALA runs it's business does not make you the next writer of the Federalist papers.