Friday, July 14, 2006


Trust me, I'm not oblivious to the war that's breaking out in the Middle East. I've been actively following it for two days. CNN is on in the background as I write. But right now, I've got to butter my bread. Deadlines are weighing down on me, as I have to file a story about a congressional hearing on RFID.

I'll have to post commentary (not that anyone necessarily cares what I have to say) on the Middle East situation later, likely on Sunday. We're heading out of town this eve.

Just one thought though. When the fighting between Israel and the Hezbollah in Lebanon broke out, I felt angered at the idea that Israel would risk so much. Couldn't they take the higher ground? I'm not passing judgement on Isreal, but my knee-jerk reaction was "oh my god, this could escalate to all out war in that region; we have soldiers over there; Middle East instability is so dangerous for the U.S., blah blah). Then I thought how arrogant of me. Our country doesn't like it when others try and tell us what to do with regards to war. How dare we? Yeah, yeah, I'm aware of all the implications and our world role, etc. etc. But still....

Bottom line -- war sucks. for everybody.

This pretty much sums up how I feel about war:

Either war is obsolete or men are.
-R. Buckminster Fuller, July 12, 1895 – July 1, 1983, American visionary, designer, architect, and inventor.

Gotta go.

Slipping Two Steps Behind

Y'know, I just missed being in that hip new group called Gen-X by one year. I'm a baby boomer. Of course, so are my parents... and yet we are a generation apart. Anyway, I couldn't help but feel like I somehow got lumped with all the fuddy-duddies (sorry mom and dad). Now I've come to find out that my generation has been pushed down the ladder another rung. There's a new generation now, with its own hip name: The Net Generation. The N-Gen. N-Geners. And I'm several years out of that group... 13 years, to be exact. Bummer.

See, the N-Gen are those folk that can't remember a time when E-mail didn't exist. Or the Web. Or gaming. They have gadgets galore, and spend gobs of time online in various chat rooms, meeting places, communities and boards. They IM. Download music to iPods and MP3 players. They blog (hey, so do I!), and Vlog. They have screen names, become avatars. This N-Gen is a wired(less) engine. But cut me some slack. I may have had an electric typewriter and be able to remember a time when faxing was very avant garde. (At my first job, the fax machine was the high-tech way we exchanged information with business partners.) Yeah, and sometimes I called my bosses and verbally gave them stories I was filing from the road. But I'll tell you what, I can't imagine not being able to surf the Web, shop online or E-mail. So even though I'm two generations behind, I still feel closer to N-Geners than Baby Boomers.

Or maybe I'm just wanting to squeeze too tight on that slippery soap called youth.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


I'm a writer by profession. That'd explain why this is my first blog, and I've never really kept a diary, except for that tormented time in college when I spent so many nights cryin' over a boy named Allan. I still have that journal. It is as silly as it sounds.

So, I write all day. And it's nothing super-cool (well to me, anyway). I'd love to write about architecture, or skiing, or sailing, or wars and politics and third-world countries and solving world peace. But I'll settle for pretty cool.

Right now, I'm covering RFID (I often type it too fast and it ends up as FRID, hence this blog's name). Anyway, RFID is a technology. Couldn't you tell? All technology is written in acronyms. RFID stands for radio frequency identification. For privacy freaks, RFID means tiny little spychips that spooky governments are going to inject into the nooks of all of our backs while we sleep so they can collect nanosecond by nanosecond our every move. For corporate behemoths plotting to take over the world, like Wal-Mart, RFID represents innovative new technology that'll solve the problem of an empty shelf when the Wal-Mart shopper walks down the aisle looking for fried pork skins. For the middle of the road folks looking both ways, RFID will settle in as a useful tool to help track goods, improve food and drug safety, and even provide personal security, if you want it. There's quite a few other useful applications for RFID, which by the way are tiny chips the size of a grain of rice that communicate data via RF waves.

So I write about RFID. (Now you know why I have the RFID Journal link... a very good site owned and run by my friend and employer Mark Roberti, who offered me a part-time gig to write articles every week for the online publication.) I also cover other technologies, and have for the better part of 15 years. Let's see... I was writing about networking, IBM mainframes, and a strange thing called OSI (Open Systems Interconnect... I even wrote a 120-page book on this tech topic!) before e-mail was a common form of communication. Fax was where it was at back then. I wrote about network and system management before IP was hip. Then came the Internet, the World Wide Web, and E-commerce (yep, covered 'em all). I moved on to enterprise applications, service-oriented architectures, and more.

I'm freelancing now full time, spending half of my work week covering RFID and the other half covering various and sundry technologies for various clients. I'd like to go on to other stuff, but I must be mindful of what butters my bread. I got a little one and a decent lifestyle that at 41, I'm not willing to give up.

Of course, writing full time, whatever the topic, leaves me with little incentive to ramble in a blog or write some amazing short story or >gasp!< a novel. Maybe someday.

Anyhoo, I've got to get back to the butter. And RFID.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Explosions Everywhere

Since moving to Wilmington, N.C. about two months ago, I've not had the chance to watch CNN or other news junkets like I used to. Not that I don't want to. But my parents are staying with me and my son while their house is being built, and there always seems to be something going on. Don't get me wrong. I'm really enjoying my parents here. As a single mom it is nice to have adult company. And I really do like my parents. Also, they're a huge help with my son... I have to say I'm getting a tad (okay, a lot) spoiled. Three sets of eyes, ears and hands to go around, and they're all quite busy as Griffin is a talker and a mover -- non-stop.

So back to CNN and the rest of the news. Not only is the constant commotion that's ongoing here preventing me from sitting in the easy chair (after the Grifster goes to bed, mind you) and getting my fill of headlines, talking heads, in-depths, tops-of-the-hour, weather updates, and more... the freelance career I was forced to start up has kept me busy many a night. (Speaking of, I should be working right now on one story... don't worry Patty, it'll be in on time.)

So, instead of editing this eve I clicked the mouse to and saw the lead story about the train bombings in India. When I had checked first thing this morning, the lead was a second-day story on the building explosion in NYC. Explosions everywhere.

Granted, these two stories are vastly different: one a suspected suicide attempt and no loss of life; the other a suspected terrorist attack with more than 170 dead and many more injured. But both are fundamentally the same. Blasts that ripped quite unexpectedly through the ordinary process of living, both at the apparent hands of people who somehow lost their ability to imagine -- and live within -- that very first minute after their explosions went off.

After all, had the New York man compelled his mind to consider the passersby whose flesh would be shredded from the shrapnel flying from the building within seconds after he tried to take his life, he might have reconsidered. Or perhaps had he thought about the minutes after when firemen would risk their lives, and in the process get injured, as they fought their way into a burning building to check for survivors, he might have tried a less invasive form of suicide.

What if the Indian perpetrators had harnessed what little humaness their souls had left, perhaps they'd have accounted for the mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters or brothers who within a millisecond of the bomb's tick would cease to exist, leaving behind a trail of mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters and brothers forever weeping over their losses. Would they have, could they have, opted for a more peaceful protest?

The New York man didn't die. And now he has the rest of his life (however long that may be) to consider what he did, and what he might have done. Presumably the terrorists are dead. I am of the belief that they'll have black and grueling eternity to consider what they did.

I just wish they all could have put themselves in someone else's place before their bombs went off. I wish they could have put themselves in the passersby's, firemen's, mothers', fathers', sons', daughters', sisters' and brothers' shoes for just one minute... that one minute.

As we all should. As often as we can try.