KEVIN

places

Jakarta Contrasts

(see  also Indonesia and a “million dollars of problems”) In 1997, Jakarta was in the throes of economic expansion. Our view from our apartment on the 16th floor of the Ascott presented a remarkable array of skyscrapers and shopping malls. The Japanese-funded malls were spectacular multi-level affairs, each of them rivaling Houston’s Galleria.  The skyscrapers […]

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lit

Happy Birthday, Walter Grinder!

I didn’t realize that Walter Grinder and I almost share a birthday! Today is his 75th birthday, and numerous students and professors are writing tributes to Walter, so here’s mine. Walter Grinder’s history is intertwined with history of the Institute for Humane Studies.  Coincidently, IHS was also born in the same year as myself. IHS was instrumental […]

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Opinion

America’s Foreign Policy Calculus

The United Nations is far from perfect, that I agree. But, it is our channel for international peace and diplomacy, and I am dismayed to see a U.S. President yet again bypass, ignore, and generally disregard this institution. Yes, I’m an idealist – I sincerely believe that War does not have to remain a permanent […]

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process

Robert’s Rules of Order, Diagrammed

In the distant past, I was a certified parliamentarian. On occasion, I still do chair meetings, or all called upon to provide some training on parliamentary procedure. Most recently, last weekend I was asked to prepare some training notes for a group of folks, so I started refreshing myself on Robert’s Rules of Order. That […]

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Opinion

Notes on Parking Ordinance Changes in Houston

The City of Houston Planning Committee is considering changes to our parking ordinances. Some notable changes include increasing the parking ratio for restaurants (from 8 to 10 spaces per 1000 square feet) and bars (from 10 to 14 spaces per 1000). These rules come on top of an already increasingly “suburbanized” parking and building rules. […]

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software

Cross-Platform CSS for Translucent DIVs

Had a need recently to make some translucent (semi-opaque) elements on a Web page. CSS3 supports an “alpha” channel, the “a” in rgba, to provide color opaqueness, but IE 7 and 8 do not support this attribute.  So, most web developers resort to using a translucent background-image.  However, there is a pure CSS way that […]

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Opinion

Texas Employment Statistics

As Rick Perry has joined the Republican Party presidential fray, there will be questions about his prowess at bringing jobs to Texas.  Of course, a governor can only directly “create” jobs by increasing payroll of government employment, but he does have a limited role in creating a more or less positive environment for businesses in […]

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software

Django

Egads, it’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog post. Yes, let’s blame Twitter for this!! Pithy, short, and easy, tweeting has become the easy way to share thoughts. Of course, not all can be written in just 140 characters, so I need to maintain a blog for deeper, yes, deeper thoughts. But […]

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Houston, Opinion

The 3 P’s of Social Media Marketing

Introduction Over the past year or so, I have been helping a small cafe in Houston, a tea house, enter into the world of social media marketing, mostly employing Twitter, and recently making use of Facebook. In fact, we were perhaps the first retail establishment in Houston to enter the brave new world of Twitter, […]

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software

nGram Dictionary

On a recent project, had to deal with searching of tens of thousands of product descriptions, with a need to find substring matches quickly.  The select: statement in Smalltalk works like a SQL table scan – okay for small collections, but becomes seconds+ response time with larger lists. An effective solution to this is an […]

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