Dysmey Post Archive > Pages for 2005 > Mid-June 2005 Edition

Mid-June 2005 Edition


Early June was miserable before a potent cold front and the remains of tropical storm Arlene blew by. It was miserable enough for the folks to buy a separate air conditioner for der Flur upstairs, which gets nothing from the central air conditioning.


The James Dean Fest was a bust. The organizers vastly overestimated the number of people who would show up, and charged too much for admission. Who in east central Indiana, which is economically depressed, was going to pay California-style prices? What James Dean fan was going to pay for what they would get for free every last weekend in September?

The prime mover of the Fest was Warner Brothers. They went with a festival in Marion, where James Dean was born and of which Dean would have had no conscious memory (he left as a tot) — rather than donate money for the reconstruction of the old Fairmount High School, which he would remember all too well.

I will not into the details why this was so. But, although WB was right to be angry, it was childish to take it out on the town itself. It's futile, too: Fairmount, the museum and the high school got a lot of the splashover tourists.


The State of Indiana wants to close the local licence branch. It wants to do that despite the business it gets: People from all over Grant County come to that branch, even from Marion, which has a branch of its own. I guess Marion's branch is nastier than Fairmount's, hence the visitors from there. We will of course fight to keep the branch despite the will of the decision-makers, who seem to live on another planet — like business executives or social scientists or editors of the Indianapolis Star.

my work

The Mobile Development Project at the University Libraries is winding down. I am writing documentation on the two applications that the project has spawned. Both apps are interfaces to library services for Pocket PCs, smartphones and some BlackBerries. Give them a try:

Since the start of the month I have been working 35-hour days. My department wanted to work off remaining funds, which were to have been spent on a wireless phone plan for testing purposes. That never came about. It is just as well, I suppose: The two apps above are unreachable from a cellphone, even though Mobile Journals does work on a cell-phone browser, for reasons beyond the scope of the project.

I am told that I may be kept on for a couple of more months, doing general projects for the University Libraries. There's nothing definite yet, though, and I am looking for other work, mostly on campus.

my employer

Speaking of the campus, the long-overdue reconstruction of McKinley Avenue, the central street of the Ball State campus, is underway. McKinley is heavily traveled by cars, trucks, buses and pedestrian traffic. It has been patched over and over. Yet reconstruction was put off year after year because the city has no money to rebuild the street. Also, the well-to-do residents west of campus fear the closure of McKinley, which would divert traffic into their neighborhood.

Well, money for the reconstruction is coming from the Feds, and building is going on during the summer, when traffic is lightest. The part in the middle of the "new" campus will be finished in mid-August. Eventually McKinley between Bethel Avenue (where it begins) and University Avenue (on the south of the campus) will be two lines separated by a long island with plants. There will be brick paths for pedestrians. They will even keep the scramble light at McKinley and Riverside: The west-side well-to-does wanted it gone, but the campus would be up in arms if the University tried to get rid of it.

There is also construction of a building between the Bell (math/computer science) and Arts Buildings. It will house the Center for Media Design (digital media production) and Indiana Public Radio. Right now the site is a hole in the ground, but the building will be done in mid-2007.

my car

I finally found an instrument panel for my car that works. I even installed it myself following the instructions in the Chilton manual. That stopped the Check Engine light for a while, but then it came back on. Evidently it's time for another visit to Sparks, the car electronics folks. I just spent some money on oil, lube and tire rotation; I will have to wait for the next payday to get around to this, as Sparks work is pricey.

Supplement (17 June 2005)

I paid a quick visit to the State of Indiana's official Web site (www.in.gov), and found what has to be the most incredible survey ever posted on the Internet. I immediately fired the following e-mail to my state senator:

I have just visited the main page of www.in.gov. Near the bottom is this radio-button survey:

Would you rather receive…

Notice that there is no "none of the above" choice to this.

Letting alone the affront to people's right to be left in peace (at least I find it incredible), are not all these counterproductive to the computer-related legislation you have worked on? Somebody needs to be taken to task for posting such a survey.

Thank you for you attention.

To me the survey is comparable to asking whether I want a slap in the face, a punch in the gut, a kick in the butt or a stomp on my toes. It is simply incredible: Spam clogs the Internet, junk mail clogs the postal service, and telemarketers annoy people day and night. And no, let us NOT bring back the door-to-door sales droid, whose presence is illegal in my village.

I am not surprised by this nonsense. Daniels was elected on a pro-business platform, and evidently his minions seem to think what is good enough for business is good for everyone else. He's already gotten the unions out for his blood. Now his hamfisted minions seem to be working hard to ensure everybody else in the State will kick him out of office in 2008, no matter what other good he has done.

Copyright © 2005 by Andy West. All rights reserved. Written on 17 June 2005.