Category Archives: Blumbers

Weekly Commentary

Jul. 1, 2012 Blumbers

Pictures By Numbers

People wonder why I put my name on my pictures. It is part of a long tradition of artists signing their work. My pictures are all over the place and not always properly credited outside the photo. This way no matter where they wind up, people can contact me. Because of all the demand, I have had to put numbers on them so that people can tell me which picture they want. The prints are signed on the front and numbered on the back.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jun. 24, 2012 Blumbers

Among Friends

This week the US Supreme Court upheld Healthcare Reform Act. While the pundits argue about what it means, I know what it means to me. It means my friends might live.

I know their are people out on Facebook with a million friends, but mine are flesh and blood. Being carbon-based, they are vulnerable to health crises beyond their control. They need medical attention and until now they have been denied it. Without help they die.

If you have the power to help, you help. To turn your back on someone in dire need is unforgivable. To spend millions to keep from helping people is sociopathic. Those who worry about the cost of health care must know about the cost without it. We do. While they worried about the details of avoiding responsibility for their actions, we worried about the details of taking our friends to the doctor, making sure they had enough food, keeping them indoors, cleaning out their homes after they died and scattering their ashes.

Hopefully we will now join the ranks of other civilized nations and be among friends.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jun. 17, 2012 Blumbers

Goals Set Goals Met

When I started this website six years ago, I had several goals. The first was to create a more visible online presence. Social networking websites were still in their infancy but they all seemed to want to control or own my content. While it was more work, I was advised to create an independent website. No matter what social media came and went, this website would remain on the air.

The second goal was to reach a wider audience. The good news is that I am reaching the people I want to reach all over the world. The site acts as portfolio and calling card.

The third goal was to post everyday. There is always something to write about or show people. If you are keeping count, there are over nearly three thousand posts. There are hundreds of book, film and TV reviews. All of it is a fraction of what I deal with but I think you might find interesting.

What people really love is the event coverage. People who attended want a summary or pictures. Even more people who couldn’t attend want a good impression of what it was like to be there.

The fourth goal was to create an account of what I saw for future reference. Last week scientists in Europe said that cave paintings they found were ten thousand years older than previously thought. The people who created them are long gone but their art survives. The best histories are always personal accounts like Herodotus and Boswell. I learned from the Long Now Foundation how to make it widely available many years from now. The ultimate backup for the ultimate audience continues. They will be as curious about us as we are about them.

Learn from us, do better.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.


Jun. 10, 2012 Blumbers

Positively Negative People

This month marks the sixth anniversary of this site. As with any successful enterprise, it is the result of a team. Projects succeed when everyone is on board with a positive attitude. I found a funny way to handle negative people.

When I started this latest incarnation of a website, I sought advice from people in the public eye. They recommended I constantly look for ways to do a better job but said to ignore criticism unless it was communicated directly to my site. “Actors should not go looking for bad reviews.” They recommended experts to look for people they called trolls. These experts use software that mimics my machine to look for any material and if necessary bring it to the attention of lawyers or authorities, but not to me.

The good news is that for six years if a troll said or did something, I never heard about it. The experts took care of everything. I wanted to thank them as I just kept right on doing my thing.

As one famous writer told me, “Dude, look on the bright side, even people who don’t like you are reading your stuff, and you don’t have to read theirs.”

I suppose he was right, but then I’ll never know, will I? :-D

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

May 20, 2012 Blumbers

STC Fellow Thanks

I am grateful to STC and its members for the honor of Fellow. Over the years I have learned much from other members. A successful volunteer organization has no passengers, only crew. All the money in the world cannot replace dedicated volunteers. We owe our existence to others willing to help each other. I thank the people who helped me and hope to return the favor.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

May 13, 2012 Blumbers

Communication 101

We now have every sort of technology available and yet we still have trouble communicating. If you want to say something, say it. If you cannot say it directly or in writing, then maybe it should go unsaid. Without clear communication, how can we know what you are thinking?

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

May 6, 2012 Blumbers

Dost Thou Protest Too Much?

It is always a healthy sign when the First Amendment gets more exercise than I do. Times are hard and people are now protesting regularly. I am seeing an increasing number of protests at the events I cover. Outside the events are usually crowds shouting and waving signs. Inside, a protester usually stands up and shouts something or holds a sign before being removed by security. It is supposed to be disruptive but now it occurs like clockwork.

Perhaps we should formalize this process. Before an event begins, a protester arranges with the event organizer, they stand up, deliver their message, and then leave.

Another option is for protesters to hold their own event, invite the press, and of course arrange for other people protesting whatever they are doing.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Apr. 22, 2012 Blumbers


Let us make this National No Slides Week.

I recently gave a presentation on photography but I did not show a single picture. I decided not to do one of those horrible presentations I hear about. I did not want to make people sit in uncomfortable hotel chairs eating bad food and endure another Powerpoint presentation. There is nothing more boring than a presentation about change where nothing happens.

Instead there was a conversation with the audience. The result was one of the more interesting evenings I have ever had. We talked about change and how to survive and thrive. We learned from each other. It was communication in its simplest and best form. The food was great but the conversation was better.

If you are going to give a presentation soon, find the courage to try it without slides.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Apr. 15, 2012 Blumbers

Tax Text

Time to pay your fair share of taxes. Don’t you wish everybody did? Support the Buffett Rule of at least thirty percent income tax for the one percent. Another idea was put forth in the September 28, 2011 New York Times by French foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazey and promoted by David Brin. They support a small tax or fee on the billions of financial transactions or machine trades made by big corporations every year.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Apr. 1, 2012 Blumbers

April Fools Now Hiring

The economy is recovering but lots of companies are out of practice in hiring good people. Here is one story.

A friend was looking for work. They sent a new company a resume. Their HR person sees my friend’s resume and forwards the resume to a hiring manager. The manager asks the HR to set up a phone interview.

The friend has an old land line number with an answering machine. This is the number on the resume. It is used for messages, that way recruiters do not bother my friend at work. Clients get priority over recruiters.

When the HR person sets up the interview, my friend emails back that the hiring manager should contact them at their cell phone number and not the landline number on the resume. This is mentioned not only in the text but in the subject line of the email.

When the appointed time rolls around, the hiring manager calls the land line number and leaves three messages over ten minutes. He does not leave his phone number on any of them.

Meanwhile my friend is frantically checking these useless voicemail messages and sends a message to the HR person saying “Did you give the hiring manager my cell phone number?” The HR person then actually reads the email from yesterday and passes on the correct phone number. The phone interview got off on an awkward point and went downhill from there.

If your company is hiring, the first person you should hire is an experienced recruiter. Someone who actually reads email. They should be able to not only get a candidate’s contact information but make sure they have the hiring manager’s contact information in case there is a breakdown in communication.

My friend decided to go to a competitor. Their hiring manager called directly. They talked shop for an hour and then closed the deal right there and then. Talent attracts talent.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Mar. 25, 2012 Blumbers

Affiliation Alienation

Here is an odd story. A year ago, John Doe of Some Company spoke at an event. The sign in front of him said “John Doe of Some Company.” His name tag said the same. He gave me his business card that said “John Doe of Some Company.” I took his picture, wrote about the event and moved on.

A year later, he says he was not affiliated with that company, despite being identified on the web, placards and business cards. I should say the company has been in the news. They do creepy things with social networking data.

I’d love to know what happened, wouldn’t you? Guess I’ll have to find out.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.


Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Mar. 11, 2012 Blumbers

Half Time

I ran into someone last week who said they were fifty-nine and a half years old. He told me he was old enough to qualify for some tax benefit, but it made him sound like a seven year old, I mean, a seven and a half year old. I guess having a little extra seniority might give you an edge at both ends of your life. I wonder if the tax benefit is an extra cookie?

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Feb. 26, 2012 Blumbers

Flying Leap Year

Another Feb 29th is upon us. Adding a leap day at the end of February every fourth year seems particularly silly.

It makes you wonder if there is a better way to measure time than sixty seconds to a minute, sixty seconds to an hour, twenty four hours to a day, seven days to week, four weeks to month, twelve months to a year? It isn’t until we get to a century that we have anything that even remotely resembles the metric system.

If only there was time to come up with a better way to measure it.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.


Feb. 19, 2012 Blumbers

President’s Day

Tomorrow is President’s Day, created to combine George Washington’s and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays. I suspect it was also created to avoid separate but inevitable Millard Fillmore and Zachary Taylor Days. Of course, such people are excellent examples of why who is president is important. Elections matter.

Beyond who is president, it is important to have an organization around leaders to help carry out their responsibilities. This means leadership at every level of society, from real grassroots and precincts up to the federal level.

You can be part of that leadership. Get registered to vote and find your candidates at the local, state and federal level. Be the person who moves things forward.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Feb. 12, 2012 Blumbers

Most Happy Fellow

I want everyone who sent congratulations since STC announced my becoming Fellow last week to know that I am grateful. I’ve been named fellow at other organizations, but STC was more central to what I actually did. I cover technology and the people who create it. People want me to write a book about it. How I got here is quite a story.

I did want to honor the memories of two late great members who helped me, STC Fellow Dart Petersen and Associate Fellow Viki Maki. They helped build a future that they would never see. We all do.

Note: Despite their delightful conversations, tell Patti and Selma Bouvier it is time to go back inside and get away from the bugs.  Take nine steps right now. Watch your step. My friends will be eager to meet with you.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Feb. 5, 2012 Blumbers

Komen and Going

This week the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation announced it would stop funding breast cancer screening at Planned Parenthood clinics because it was under investigation from Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.). After the public outcry, they reversed their decision.

I have lost many friends to this disease. This brought up several points about helping people fighting catastrophic illness.

1. Rather than donate money to one non-profit to another with the loss of funds to administrative costs, why not donate directly to the organization that directly helps people?

2. Consider directly helping people you know suffering with catastrophic illness. Drive them to and from their medical treatment or grocery shopping. If at work, find a way that they can keep their jobs and health insurance.

3. Find out which politicians support ordinary people’s access to health care and vote for them. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and his supporters have great health care. We should too.

4. Get tested at Planned Parenthood. They care about you. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) clearly does not.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jan. 29, 2012 Blumbers

Finding Love And Losing Memories

A friend of mine has died from Alzheimer’s disease. She and her husband were from two different countries yet they found each other at an American university. Unable to get legally married back East in the 1950s, they moved to Silicon Valley and built a life together. They helped many people.

The disease progressed slowly and painfully. I saw it in the photographs. If memories are all we have at the end, what if these are taken too? It was hardest on her husband who took care of her right up to the end. He said this is what the marriage vows mean when they say “in sickness and health.” He said if people stopped taking care of each other society would fall apart.

He searched the world for her and lost her in his arms.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jan. 22, 2012 Blumbers

The Foxconn Price

I’ve just finished reading more bad news about Foxconn. How can you do business with a company that is driving people to suicide to make money? The lowest price turns out to be the highest price of all.

It makes you think twice about buying a smartphone. I have not bought one.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Jan. 8, 2012 Blumbers

The STC Ad You Will Not See

I belong to a lot of organizations. For an organization to  survive nowadays it should be flexible and inclusive. The key to success is to be open to different ideas, people and ways of doing things.

One of organizations I belong to is the Society For Technical Communication (STC). A few months ago I was invited to run for the Nominating Committee. When I saw who the other candidates were, I was happy. I knew these people and thought that any one of them would do a great job. No matter who won, the members would win too.

Three candidates gave testimonials that were used as banner ads on the STC website in a random rotation. Essentially these ads might appear as political ads for the candidates. The ads were temporarily pulled offline and all candidates were told that they could submit an ad.

I create banners all the time. I picked one of my aerial views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge with the tagline “Thanks to STC, I fly out of SFO.” I quickly submitted the ad.

It was rejected. The ad apparently must look the same as all the other ads. I had always thought that the way to get ads noticed was that they stand out.

I was told the ad must have your picture and your signature. I have an ugly mug, and I thought most people would prefer to see a my work versus my face. I also have to question the wisdom of putting your picture and your signature online. After all, what could possibly go wrong?

I asked if the ads could be pulled offline until after the election. They could not do that. Apparently there are only six testimonial ads and removing three ads would be too much.

I was saddened by the thought that out of six thousand STC members there were only six ads. Over the years I have known at least a thousand members who have gotten a job through STC. I know, I was often the employment manager who put up the ad. There should be thousands testimonials on the STC website and they should all be as different as our members.

So I am putting my testimonial ad on my own website. It does not conform to the rules, but it does to my heart… in San Francisco. :-)

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Dec. 18, 2011 Blumbers

Tis The Season Later And Later

It is a week before Christmas in California and I have just turned on the furnace for the first time. Last year it was turned on at Thanksgiving and before that it was Halloween. Either my place is really well insulated or the weather is getting warmer. Oh well, guess I’ll hit the pool.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Dec. 4, 2011 Blumbers

Cloud Picture

When I started this latest incarnation of Blumbers six years ago,  people asked me why I chose a picture of clouds. I said at the time that most computing would be in the cloud. That day has arrived. It is time to contemplate a new picture.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Nov. 27, 2011 Blumbers

Bigger Picture

There is  an old saying that you should never own something you can’t carry. If it is three o’clock in the morning and you are carrying a big screen television in a dark parking lot, maybe you are watching way too much television.

Of course that old saying doesn’t explain the people out there waiting for new cell phones. There is always the question of whether you own something or it owns you.

Copyright 2011 DJ Cline All rights reserved.