Doug Talks Torah

Reflecting on all the ways Torah builds the world.

Month: August 2006 (page 1 of 4)

Not People-Centric!

Wow! This news from Captain’s Corner is a big disappointment in the “treating people like persons” department. Yesterday, ”  RadioShack Corp. notified about 400 workers by e-mail that they were being dismissed immediately as part of planned job cuts” (from Globe and Mail). This is certainly one way to use technology to dehumanize people.

Captain’s Quarter wonders, “If this is how they treat their employees, imagine what Radio Shack thinks of their customers.”

Virtual Business

For the last couple issues, Springwise has been talking about a trend to businesses building space in virtual worlds. SecondLife (a virtual community for 18-year-and above) has become a virtual home for Scion, Aloft Hotels, American Apparel, and

This is an interesting trend and business. Not sure how big it will be but it does open new questions about space, commerce and reality.

Social Networking and Auctions

Web 2.0 auctions with a twist (online personalities, social networking, and continuously dropping prices). Check it out: http://www.zeedive.com/

via Springwise.

Hollywood Monastery

“I’ve heard of Alex Presley, but I wouldn’t know any of his music.” Sister Mary Pia

A longtime resident of Hollywood, Sister Mary Pia lives completely separated from this “Babylon of the USA.” She spends her days cloistered away in prayer at the Monastery of the Angels. Having entered the novitiate in 1950, she completely missed the rock-and-roll revolution: not to mention other earth-shattering culture shifts.

This little piece on the Monastery of the Angels in today’s NY Times sheds light on a population that lives separated from the cultural overdrive that most of us experience on a minute-by-minute basis. I find it refreshing to encounter folks who choose to live intentionally as opposed to living driven. While I may not take to the cloistered life (although it can be deeply appealing), I can learn from their simplicity and willingness not to give into the “needs” of our current cultural fixations.

Free Audio Books

I love to listen to novels and poetry, but I hate to re-buy books I’ve bought in print. If a book is in the public domain, it may soon be available for free at one of the free audio books sites now emerging. NY Times recently featured several audio sites of interest.

LibriVox already has an interesting selection of books recorded by amateurs and professionals: all available as free downloads.

Telltale Weekly offers a variety books, dramas, poetry and more for a small fee with the goal of using the fee to build a large online library of free stuff available at Spoken Alexandria Project.

Literal Systems (strange technical name for a book service) has a smaller selection but they’re supposed to be professional recordings. They have a Dickens books, so I am already stoked!

Online Creative Interactivity

In one of Van Gogh’s most productive creative periods, he was exchanging letters with a friend. Apparently the interaction spurred his creativity. As I’ve studied creativity and community over the years, I’ve noticed that relationships can be helpful for spurring new ideas, encouraging

An online expression of this tendency is surfacing in some of the online communities. jeong-hyun-lim.jpg

Jeong-Hyn Lim (photo by Seokyong Lee for The New York Times)
The New York Times today tells the story of a young guitarist whose identity remained in shadows until now. He had uploaded a video of himself playing the guitar and soon it was a web world phenomenon. Not only was everyone talking about it, everyone was trying to duplicate it. In the process, musicians were exchanging ideas about technique, and helping one another improve their skills.

This type of trend shines positive light on the possibilities of online interaction.

Go to Google School

I discovered a helpful section on Lifehacker today. They’ve tagged a whole series of articles called “Google School.” These entries provide helpful tips on searching. I like it, so maybe you will to.

Creative Settles with Apple

Creative Labs beat Apple to the patent office by just months on the original MP3 players. When I bought my MP3, I chose Creative for the 40GB disc space and the dramatic price difference from i-tunes. Obviously iTunes rules the market. Creative and Apple have been fighting this patent battle in court, and they finally settled. Creative gets 100 million from Apple plus they can start creating accessories for i-Pod.

Looks like Apple is the real winner. iPod will continue to soar, and my poor Zen Nomad wander off into obscurity.

See story on Internet.com

A Handy Gmail Add-On for Getting Things Done

Thanks to Lifehacker for pointing me to this nifty add-on to Gmail/Firefox users. “Getting Things Done” is an organzing tool for your projects, to dos, etc. Great for keeping tasks and such organized and easily accessible. Check it out!

Going Home

In Andrei Tarkovsky’s beautiful film Nostalghia, a Russian poet is seeking inspiration in Italy. In the midst of his creative struggles, he longs, aches for the homeland. He is homesick. The question is, “Where is home?” He may be longing for something much deeper than a city, a street or an address.

Ronald Rolheiser offers a Chestertonian meditation on the question of home, that I found inspiring.

Home is a place in the heart, not a bloodline, building, city or ethnicity. Home is that deep, fragile place where we hold and guard what’s most precious to us. It’s that place where, in some dark way, we remember that once, before we came to awareness, we were caressed by hands far gentler than any we’ve met in this life and where we were once kissed by a truth and a beauty so perfect that they are now the unconscious standard by which we measure everything. Home is where things “ring true,” where what’s most precious to us is cherished, the place of tender conscience, of intimacy.

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