May 13, 2010

A Dog Named Beau

Over at one of my daily reads “Neptunus Lex” the author, Lex, was kind enough to share his thoughts about a dying loved one in his family.  Their dog Lady.

Over the years I’ve read a number of tributes to our faithful companions most from bloggers I have the fortune to be personally acquainted with, as well as occasional reads, some quite touching.

Today’s post at Lex’s place touched many of his readers… that number none to few … as he is quite popular among us conservative military Neanderthals.  He has received many well wishes, empathy, and sympathy comments from many of his fans.  As noted, by a few of his commenters we could not read Lex’s regale and not well up a bit and promptly rise from our computers and go scratch our own furry family members, noting their importance to our daily lives.

As I sat back at my desk, a remembrance came to me, of a poem quoted a long time ago by one of my favorite actors on one of my favorite TV shows.  The actor none other than Jimmy Stewart on the Johnny Carson Show.  And for my younger followers you are in for a small treat assuming you even know who Jimmy Stewart is… or Carson for that matter.  For my more senior readers, I’m sure you, like me, actually remember watching this one…

Sniffle…

May 13, 2010 in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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January 30, 2009

Self Inflicted Gauntlet

One of my daily reads is Instapinch.  He’s a F-14 RIO who has a propensity for amateur photography. 

image Recently Pinch got himself a really nice Canon 50D DSLR camera and as Naval Flight Officers are wont to do… laid forth a challenge to himself… As if flying in the back seat of a high powered fighter aircraft while “Mongo the Wonder Monkey” upfront tries to land on a dutch roll’n sumbitch of a carrier isn’t challenge enough!  Now pinch is making a valiant effort to take and post a picture a day.  He is up to 29 (expect 30 by this evening).

His challenge (I believe) is really a self motivational tool to get better at his hobby, and what better way than to publicly state you are going to try to capture your year in pictures.  It is indeed a noble quest and I hope he succeeds.

I have been around this here blogosphere since ‘04 and have born witness to many ‘o similar attempts that have come up short by… oh hell…. April!  But my money is on Pinch.  Dude has two daughters and a new bride… he’s an achiever! (If not masochist… a quality common in NFO’s!)

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Many of his photos are of a self described “ordinary” nature.  Just the daily things around his world, but hell that is part of a Year in the Life, we can’t climb Everest every day!  But in his other photos you can see him trying to expand on his skills and challenge himself in the areas of technical prowess or lighting or composition.  It has become fun to watch the journey.

Recently I was humbled by a couple of his references to my photography, I too an amateur wannabe Ansel Adams!  He paid me a very nice compliment on my “Fly Me To the Moon” photo posted here not too long ago… and then too referenced my witness to the USS GHWB commissioning.  All nice tips of the chapeau to a fellow blogger, and NAVAIR aficionado. 

One of Pinch’s recent shots was of that very same USS GHW Bush from a very creative and conveyant angle… Bow on to a Parking Lot!

image

A very cool photo!  And in my mind a great subject! 

Well Pinch has got me to thinking… I haven’t really been challenging myself in my photography too much lately.  And I need to.  So I reached into the camera bag tonight and tried to take a few snaps of Moon hovering over Venus (Very clear here in Denver tonight) but alas… most all of my shots stunk tonight sometimes you have it, sometimes you don’t.  Which illustrates even more that I need to practice my chosen hobby, I didn’t become an “A” racquetball player by reading about it on the internet.  One has to get in the game to become more skillful and adept.  So I think I'll be taking a few more images and who knows maybe commit myself to Photo Pfriday here on CP (not to be confused with my past hobby at Newsgator of PhotoShop Pfriday where I challenged myself to be creative with my fellow employees while sharpening my Photoshop skills!… also good practice).

So, thanks Pinch for the motivation (and the compliments) and for reminding me that sometimes one has to lay one’s own gauntlet before himself. 

And here now is this Friday’s Photographic efforts.

Contrails and trees

sunset in jan

night flag

January 30, 2009 in Biographical, Photo, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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November 06, 2008

PUBLISHED!!!

Well sort of...

image

I've created and published my first book, "We Own the Airfield and the Airspace!" It is actually an experiment in using the popular book making organization "Blurb." 

I have to say I'm mostly happy with the experiment thus far.  The process of creating (layouts), editing, and writing were all fairly easy. 

I learned of Blurb through an announcement on my Smugmug account and, not too long ago, I had received a book published in a similar way from a good friend of mine.  So I wanted to see if I could assemble a compelling photo essay of something that most interests me... as Brad Wilson so noted in a recent comment to one of my more political posts... "Shiny Airplanes!"

"We Own the Airfield and the Airspace!" is a photo essay of the Grand Junction 2008 Airshow, emphasizing the US Navy Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron.  Other aircraft featured are the US Air Force F-15 Eagle and F-16 Viper, as well as warbirds like the P-51 Mustang and B-25 Mitchell and Civilian acts like Gene Soucy and his Showcat and Les Shockley in his rocket truck "Shockwave"!

The process involves signing up as a Blurb user, very standard. Then you will need to download the FREE formatting software, which is actually a great way to do this as you can assemble, write, format etc... entirely off line if need be.

Blurb is very well connected to a number of photo sites and blog sites making importing your content from your Blog or your online photo albums a breeze!  I grabbed my photos both from my smugmug account and my hard drive.

The software makes formatting super easy!  You can select from a large number of pre-built themes or create one entirely of your own.  The select the aspect ratio of the book you want (portrait, landscape, square, big coffee table size, etc...) and then soft cover, hardcover jacketed, or hardcover image wrap.  Once complete with the preliminaries, you are free to create!  the internal pages have a wealth of templates to choose from that render very professional outcomes.  All you have to do is simply drag and drop which of your image you want on the page into the gray area designated... and voila' it shows up there, where you then have the opportunity to resize and manipulate the image to you liking.  Editing text is a similar easy process.

Once you have what you like... you click "Publish" and your software connects to the Blurb servers (under your account) and begins to assemble your book, you'll be prompted to answer a few questions, then you will want to order your first copy.  It is HIGHLY recommended you order one for yourself to receive a "Proof" if you will... because unless you are a super dedicated photographer and have calibrated your screen exactly to match color, your exposures colors and image quality will be off slightly.  You can use the first copy as a guide to change your book's photo quality, color, brightness, etc... before you take the plunge and expose your work to others!  That's right you can sell your creations right from the site!  They even allow you to set a price (above their cost of course) so if you have a quality product, you might even make a small profit.

I received my first copy today (8 business days after I ordered it) delivered via FedEx ground.  And indeed the cover and binding are very professionally done and easily meet up to most professional publishing standards.  The internal pages are well binded and printed.  I ordered on premium paper, and I would recommend always doing so, I've seen the other and... well it lacks!  Even so, the internal page quality of premium paper could use an even higher boost, but in all honesty it is quite adequate for amateur publishing.  But again... if you choose to make a book, I would not waste time with anything less than the premium paper.

Also, one other slight (and I do mean minor) drawback was in the creation process of the cover, I wanted more flexibility in creating my title.  Blurb does provide a plethora of fonts, colors and scales to choose from, however the effects offered are extremely limited (not much much more complex than an e-mail editor... limited to bold, underline, italics...) I could not locate simple additions like shadowing, embossing etc...  Fortunately I have Photoshop at my disposal to create a title look I am happy with, but most of us do not ($600.00 for photo editing software is not in most people's budgets).

All in all I am quite happy with the results, certainly the service has been exemplary.  I would like to see slightly higher quality internal pages, but again it is probably a limit of the "On-demand" publishing agencies used.

If you would like to preview my book, click here:  "We Own The Airfield and the Airspace" you will be able to virtually thumb through the first 15 pages.  And hell, if you want to contribute to the Carmichael Enterprises (Guinness fund) bottom line please feel free to purchase a copy.  Especially if you like Shiny Airplanes! 

November 6, 2008 in Aviation, Biographical, Books, Current Affairs, Just Plain Cool, Navy, Photo, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

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October 18, 2008

Have to Say That's More than Just a Little Disturbing...

Saw this today over at Grouchy Old Cripple... 

I'll have to remember to stick to his blonde jokes... much less frightening.

October 18, 2008 in Idiots on Parade, Politics, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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August 25, 2008

Cartoonist Could Use Your Help

I have long been a fan of political cartoons, I love the ability of an artist to convey a poignant message in a minimal amount of space.  I've enjoyed both Conservative and Liberal cartoons if the imagery and message is delivered well.

I've long been a fan of the creative musings of Berke Breathed, Garry Trudeau, Cox & Forkum (John & Allen) and many more...  One of my recent favorites, I stumbled upon a couple of years ago in a blog post, is Chris Muir, the writer and artist for Day By Day.

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Chris blends a edgy even sexy artistic style, with mainstream political issues we face daily.  He weaves together thoughts and philosophies of both Left and Right through the lives of 4 main characters and often illustrates the simple naivete of a position taken by today's political headliners, PAC's, and fringe groups by pitting one against the other in his characters' actions and words.

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Chris obviously falls more on the Right side of the political spectrum, which I find refreshing (Duh...)  because as seems to be the case with everything artistic or media related, the majority of cartoonists come from a left leaning slant, understandable considering idealism and passion often drives great art.  Two traits the left has a PLETHORA of and two traits we conservatives often have to ask advice on how to.... um.... fake... learn!  Yeah... learn!

So I was a bit dismayed this morning when I read the following from Chris Muir:

Unfortunately, technology finally ended my main job ... , which left DBD my only income.

He is left to turn to his readership for donations in the form of a fundraiser to continue publishing Day By Day.  Which I actually respect a great deal.  It is never easy to ask for compensation... when was the last time you asked your boss for a raise?  But Chris has a bit more of a difficulty, we are his boss, all of us who enjoy his strip daily, intermittently... whenever. 

Chris is following capitalism in the truest form... he is asking for donations to the cause.  Personally I think it is more an issue of we consumers, pony-ing up and paying for the quality of writing and creativity we all enjoy.  Idealistically Chris obviously produces Day By Day because it is what he enjoys...  Pragmatically however he cannot continue to focus on creating these daily gems and pay the bills without some compensation.  He is truly an independent publisher.  And much like a server at your favorite restaurant... his livelyhood weighs heavily on... for lack of a better analogy... "TIPS!" from his patrons.  So if you like the service/product you've been consuming and want to consume into the future, he requests that you show your support in the most pragmatic way... with your wallet. 

Here's his deal... He is looking for donations to keep things going, in his words.

...according to 'The Long Tail' theory of Internet readers, there's usually a core 1% that come through for Internet publishers. All donations are critical, and I also ask again of that '1000'. Look what Leonidas did with the 300-except I don't have a 6-pack, I'm not a leader, and the thought of all of you in G-strings frankly worries me a bit.

But we share the same beliefs, I think.

The site's been redone, there's a forum coming up, there's an email subscription, searchable archives, new avatars, a new DBD banner that shows the strip in a popup (so you have more advertising space on your own blog),twitter, free Wowio DBD ebooks, and when you donate to DBD you receive pdfs of never released drawings of DBD's start back in 1998 (yes, 2 years before DBD went up), examples of just how different Jan, Damon, Sam, and Zed were before 2001.

Depending on which of the 4 Donation Levels you select, there is also a DBD Playing Card deck, Sam posters, plus Original DBD hand-written script sheets complete with hand-signed strips that derive from those scripts.

That was the carrot, now for the stick, and...I don't have a stick.

I'll still try & get DBD out.

I think you can tell from the strip that I'm something of a minimalist. I drive a Honda that was new when Arsenio was hot. My first vacation in 12 years, and I go to Iraq to research for the characters. This isn't for sympathy, but clarity. I love doing DBD. Every hard-earned dollar you send here is for one purpose-to make it possible for me to improve and continue DBD for you (and me!).

In a PC correct era, DBD's characters speak with you on issues you find important. PC still rules the MSM, whether newspapers, the networks, or well-funded 'pundits'. DBD connects with people directly, the only comic where the readers are the source and the feature. You might depend on DBD, but the reality is DBD depends on you.

Help keep our voice out there. In one day, all of you got DBD more than halfway through 2008. Again, whatever amount is donated, I'll give directly back in DBD strips.

And yes. This time I will leave the Fundraiser up for a month, not a day.

Chris Muir

If you too would like to contribute to Chris's work, I recommend you go here and throw a few bucks his way!  [Link]

August 25, 2008 in Business, Current Affairs, Just Plain Cool, Media, Military, Politics, The Press, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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June 20, 2008

You're Free to Go Now...

I am a bit saddened by the news I received yesterday.  I've learned though my extensive network of former coworkers, that my previous employer (A software company in Denver CO) in an effort to refocus the business to a degree, has had to take the difficult action of sending a few fine folks on their way. 

I am not privy to the behind closed door conversations leading up to yesterday's actions, but I am sure they were numerous, painful, and probably even cantankerous.   As they should be.  The action of terminating anyone's employment should never be taken lightly!  I know most all of the execs, I consider most of them friends even, and I know that despite the dictating business reasons, a decision to reduce the labor force was not an easy one for any of them.  I am sure many lost countless hours of sleep (and probably still are), knowing the grief, anguish, and shock they have likely created in the lives of the unfortunate few for whom the bell would toll.  I even know a few who would have traded places (good people they).

I also know most of those who received word that their services were no longer needed.  I've worked closely with them, shared good times and troublesome times.  Laughed with them, yelled at them, been yelled at by them... even Photoshoped a few for my infamous "Photoshop Pfridays" and... to the person... each is a dynamite performer in their respective vocations.  

My previous employer is well known for hiring "Rock Stars" and even these who are now "Free to Go" are still rock stars, far surpassing the capabilities and competencies of 95% of the work force.  This is a Windfall for all those businesses seeking quality people and make that well know claim of "You just can't find good help anymore." 

Not true!  I know a few who you might could use!

So, I offer this prediction to each of my friends now out of immediate work, I seriously doubt your acute condition will last for any length of time.

Now to the rest of my readers, I know a number of very high quality individuals who are now unencumbered with the daily grind of a job!  Who may be able to help you in your company's pursuits.  Here's a brief list of department types I can provide you immediate access to if so needed.

  • Software Technical Support
  • Graphic Designer
  • Software Developer
  • Web Developer
  • Technology Consultant
  • Network Systems
  • Marketing Assistant
  • Content researcher, Writer, Author, Musician, Taxonomist (NOT A DEAD ANIMAL STUFFER!  Look it up knucklehead!)

I know I have a national readership, and I do not know if any of these fine folks are interested in relocating, but do not hesitate to reach out.  And as for you hiring managers here in the Denver Colorado area in need of excellent employees... If you would like more details on any of these folks, please leave me a comment and I will put you in touch.  If you have a position you need filled, you're welcomed to leave a description of it here in the comments as well. 

Let's see if this Web 2.0 social networking really works.  Click comment below, and have at it! 

June 20, 2008 in Business, Current Affairs, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

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January 04, 2008

Touching...

Go here: http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2008/01/andy-olmsted.html

Read ALL of it! 

January 4, 2008 in Military, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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November 08, 2007

My Departure from NewsGator

As many of you now know tomorrow (11/9/07) marks my final day at NewsGator.  And it is with mixed emotion I greet this milestone.

image My tenure at NewsGator began three and a half years ago when, at my weekly pool league, Greg Reinacker innocently enough asked me if I would be willing to work with him as his new idea for bringing RSS Feeds directly into MS Outlook was beginning to catch on.

"What's RSS?" I asked... and after a Sears Tower sized elevator pitch on the concept of NewsGator I said, uh... "Let me think about it..." 

"And... What the hell is a NewsGator?"

Obviously I agreed at some point to take Greg up on his offer.  I reported to work in April of '04 at the lavish 2nd floor office/loft of Greg's house... 

"Hey John, maybe we ought to look into getting you a desk or something to work at huh?... don't worry I have a desk chair you can use..."  Famous words to numb your butt by!

Anyway, NewsGator had begun.  Initially we envisioned an entirely different path than what has resulted now some 3+ years later... "No plan ever survives first contact" and all...  and NEVER survives VC advice! Right, Wrong or Indifferent!  We initially focused on providing a delivery mechanism for Premium "High Quality" full article content from known (and not so well known) publishers and writers.  Yeah that panned out!  Looked good on paper, but having to explain the dynamics of RSS and Feed Subscribing to, well... EVERYONE!... really took some time and creativity.

But for those with vision, the structural part of NewsGator and concept of information organization and access within Outlook as well as a web-based interface was intriguing.  And it was in June of '04 Greg decided to accept VC funding from Brad Feld and the folks at Mobius VC.  Wow!  Funding!

"Hey Greg, can I get another chair?" 

- "Yeah, go ahead and take one from the dining room table"

We then set our sites on expanding our employee count!  Cuz Greg was now having to hob-knob more and program less... We brought Lane into the office/ dining room suite at Casa de Reinacker... Let me tell you, Lane is awesome!  I have met no one better at rapidly sizing up a situation, formulating his assessment, compiling a cogent sentence to describe it, then deliver with properly cadenced inflection, dripping with sarcasm resulting in all around him on the floor with laughter!  We needed it then (and still do today). 

Lane's view of Greg's kitchen, and the "Old Growth Forest that used to be pizza in the refrigerator" was not one to be envied!  I was glad to have the loft, and Greg was happy I had taken to nailing his various '80's posters to his wall, instead of lying on the floor.  I still bet to this day that loft is the only room in his house to have anything hanging from the walls!

"Hey Lane, by the way, would you like an Office Chair instead of the Dining Room chair your in?"  Lane opted against "Iron Butt."  Smart man that Lane!

Over the years we continued to grow and continued to try to identify what we wanted to be when we grew up!  We eventually focused our efforts on an Enterprise Platform utilizing a centralized database of feeds, content, and community relevance data.  And those efforts continue to this day, albeit in much better digs than Greg's house!  And with many more employees!  3 office spaces later and employees numbering close to 70, NewsGator has indeed grown to become an influential player in the "Web 2.0" sandbox! 

As would be expected as employee #1 at a start-up, I have transitioned in roles at NewsGator from, Premium Content Solicitor, to Marketing Evangelist, to Cold Calling Outlook Sales Ferrengi, to Inside Sales Lacky, to Enterprise Sales Exec (securing our first 4 enterprise sales), to Director Client Services taking care of our 70+ Enterprise Customers and 20+(at the time) Private Label Media companies in their pursuit of Web 2.0 (always hated that moniker- lacks panache) initiatives.

Much fun has been had over these years and I am proud to say I was part of this fine team of people.  There is a phenomenal brain trust here and it will be tough to leave these fine folks.  But alas, I must move on my ADD has once again reared its head. 

I bid farewell to "Uncle NewsGator" and set sail for seas unknown, at a new company with familiar faces, in a new industry with boundless opportunity... and I hope a comfortable office chair!

Thanks Greg... it was one hell of a ride!

By the way... I still feel the Logo should have been something like this...

Newsgator Orig Logo

November 8, 2007 in Biographical, Business, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

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August 06, 2007

Bloggers of the World Unite!... Are you kidding me?

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

Let's Unionize for the sake of Unionizing!  It appears that the bloggers on the left are so significantly insecure that they cannot view themselves as legitimate until they have a Union to join!  Seriously... coming out of the KOS Convention (a gathering of "Left Leaning" bloggers) is the following:

AP
Bloggers Consider Forming Labor Union
Monday August 6, 9:24 am ET
By Ashley M. Heher, AP Business Writer

Left-Leaning Bloggers Debate Forming Labor Union

"Left Leaning"... heheh, hell if this collection leaned any more left they'd be inverted! 

...a loosely formed coalition of left-leaning bloggers are trying to band together to form a labor union they hope will help them receive health insurance, conduct collective bargaining or even set professional standards.

Huh?...  Seriously folks... If you are a "Blogger" you are generally a Hobbyist, or maybe even one of the few "A" list bloggers that have managed to woo enough readers by providing entertaining or useful content to make some money at the venture.  Great!  But if you think for a moment that being a "Blogger" deserves "Representation" by a Guild or Union I think you are suffering delusions of Yosemite-like Grandeur!

But that's not how Kirsten Burgard sees it.

Sitting at a panel titled "A Union for Bloggers: It's Time to Organize" at this week's YearlyKos Convention for bloggers in Chicago, Burgard said she'd welcome a chance to join a unionized blogging community.

"I sure would like to have that union bug on my Web site," said Burgard, a blogger who uses the moniker Bendy Girl.

Madrak hopes that regardless the form, the labor movement ultimately will help bloggers pay for medical bills. It's important, she said, because some bloggers can spend hours a day tethered to computers as they update their Web sites.

"Blogging is very intense -- physically, mentally," she said. "You're constantly scanning for news. You're constantly trying to come up with information that you think will mobilize your readers. In the meantime, you're sitting at a computer and your ass is getting wider and your arm and neck and shoulder are wearing out because you're constantly using a mouse."

Ah... It's a perspective thing... notice the choice of "Loaded Language" in the previous.  Blogging is torturous!!!  God knows I certainly relate my Blogging necessities(?) to the sweatshop atmosphere found in the 30's!!!

"...some bloggers can spend hours a day tethered to computers as they update their Web sites."

Union "TETHERED!" Yep... that's me...  I'm a victim of the blogosphere!  There I was innocently minding my own business, cooking my freshly killed impala over an open fire in West Africa when, this TypePad Executive threw a net over me, slapped me in irons and dragged me off to a Sailing Ship--Transporting me to a foreign tragic land, where I was TETHERED like a... well...  Tether-ball... to a computer and forced to write mildly entertaining,  factually insignificant, blather on a semi-daily basis... oh the horror!

Uh... you ever heard of... "Choice?"  You get to "Choose" how you spend your time, nimrod! 

So in reality what we probably have is a mediocre writer who could not quite cut the mustard and land a Mainstream Media position writing for the "East Coon Rapids Intelligencer's" socialite section... but somehow feels that now that she has "Her own" outlet for her literary and journalistic excellence, she is owed... Medical Benefits and Press Passes!    

The blogosphere is truly the open market for content, if you write well and gain an audience, you can sell ad space on your site, if you are really entertaining and can gain a significant daily readership you get to charge more and maybe even pay for your own medical care. Else...

GET A REAL FRIGG'N DAY JOB!  WHINER!!!

August 6, 2007 in Idiots on Parade, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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July 08, 2007

Hmmm... What Will My Mom Think?

I'll be damned...  "Carmichael's Position" has been rated "R" . 

Online Dating

What I find extremely humorous is the "Why?"  Evidently it is because I have mentioned the following terms:

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

  • breast (12x)
  • stab (2x)
  • death (1x)

Heheheh! 

  • Breast?  I don't recall using this term at all, much less 12 times I probably have referenced BOOB!  But maybe the algorithm they use can figure out that I was referring to John F'n Kerry and thus the term was appropriate... just say'n. 
  • Stab -- As in HOROZONTAL STABILIZER an aircraft control surface... Morons!
  • Death -- Well hell!  What ever you do do not talk about death, this way no one will know its coming. We want happy idiots no need to scare folks by mentioning the word death.

July 8, 2007 in Idiots on Parade, Just Plain Cool, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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