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Archive for October, 2007

The Democratization of Media & Tracking Visitors on ahelms.com

A couple of years ago I was listening to an acquaintance who works for CNN speak about how what “news” is reported by mainstream media is driven by advertising revenue. It does not matter how trivial or trite the content may be, if it generates revenue it will take precedence over meaningful stories. In the last two years I’ve read The Lexus and the Olive Tree and The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. Friedman astutely and clairvoyantly predicted the democratization of media, which is to say that individuals will determine what is meaningful and what becomes “news”. One such tool that democratizes media at least in terms of online media and blogs is digg, which is a social bookmarking tool. del.icio.us is a similar tool. The way these tools work is quite simple.

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Free music for itunes and facebook users

Join the ticketmaster live group on facebook and big, bad ticketmaster will gift you five itunes song downloads. The easy part is joining the group; the hard part is picking the songs.

http://www.networkworld.com/news/2007/020707-ticketmaster-itunes.html

Switzerland 0 USA 1, Friendly

Ugly Goal

The picture I found of the only goal of tonight’s match sums up the night well: players are slipping, off-balance and a bit unsure. Michael Bradley’s goal was not a thing of beauty, but it earned the US a gritty win in Europe against a respectable opponent that has recent wins over Argentina and Austria. After these types of games you often hear words like effort, grind, battle, and commitment. What made the US successful on this night is that those attributes could be used to describe all of the players in blue, front to back. The effort was never lacking. Tackles were firm and sure. There weren’t many moments that any creativity slipped in, but there were not any disasters either. Bocanegra ably captained the side, especially leading the backline to another shutout. He was a standout as was Cherundolo. Former Maryland Terp and current Toronto FC rookie Maurice Edu earned his first cap. He fit right into the team. I don’t see much that separates the other young, burgeoning crop of defensive midfielders that Bradley has run out in prior matches this year. I hope to see more of him during the Olympics.

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slickr page updated

MSUHi there – the slickr page is updated and now includes pictures from my trip to East Lansing for Michigan State’s homecoming. Enjoy

Note: in order for the slickr slideshow to properly display in Internet Explorer, click on the first photo twice to activate the control and then restart the show. 

Blog Action Day

Blog Action Day

Update: Google’s participation in Blog Action Day detailed here

Thanks to my dad, I learned that today is blog action day. The idea behind blog action day is to raise awareness about environmental issues. The idea was conceived by three bloggers. The tagline is:

What would happen if every blog published posts discussing the same issue, on the same day? One issue. One day. Thousands of voices.

I registered this site, ahelms.com, and committed to post something related to the environment today even though I had no clue what to write about. Environmental issues are very complex and to be honest, none are near or dear to my heart. Even so I try to be a good steward of this earth and benefit my own quality of life. I think that making environmental issues a part of the collective consciences is a big part of the battle.

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Escalators: stand, walk or apply economic theory?

My favorite comedian, the late Mitch Hedberg, had this to say about escalators. “An escalator can never break. It can only become stairs. You would never see an ‘Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order’ sign, just ‘Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience.'”

Now that MARTA (Metro Atlanta Transit Authority), Altanta’s Metro, is my main mode of transportation I’ve been spending more time on escalators; I’ve been intrigued and slightly irritated by people’s habits on said escalators. I must say I would not be surprised if I witnessed something like this at a MARTA station or my office.

Usually I am alone when I experience the phenomenon of people treating escalators like a lazy river. I sometimes picture escalators leading to the top of a cliff and wonder if people would willingly accept a fatal destiny because they seem so content to simply let the escalator dictate their pace and direction.

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Radiohead: In Rainbows

In RainbowsThe recent spate of music posts was undoubtedly inspired by this week’s release of Radiohead’s new album, In Rainbows. It’s funny how anticipation can creep into the fabric of your conscience and influence your being. Amidst a busy season at work and between a couple of midterms, I got excited about music and decided to start checking some new stuff out. Before making any decisions about an album I purchase I commit to listening to it three times through. After three times through In Rainbows, I can say that it is undeniably Radiohead. The oddly coherent mix of sounds and instruments coupled with Thom Yorke’s unmistakable vocals make for an enjoyable listen.

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Bradley Names Roster for Oct 17 Switzerland Friendly

Bob Bradley named a really interesting, young roster for next week’s friendly against Switzerland. No, Hope Solo was not called up. For the first time I can remember the roster includes players I have never heard of: Tally Hall and Steve Purdy. Apparently Hall played at San Diego State last year and spurned the superclub LA Galaxy to play in Denmark for Esbjerg fB. Good for him. Steve Purdy is such an unknown that he isn’t on wikipedia. How good can this guy be? A quick google search turned up some interesting stats: he is a 6’4″ 190 lb defender at 1860 Munich in Germany. Last year he played at Cal-Berkeley so he must be pretty smart. Put him next to Gooch and you’ve got to have the largest pair of center backs on any team in the world.

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Regina Spektor: Begin to Hope

Begin to HopeOne of the first comments this blog ever received was in response to my post about Corinne Bailey Rae’s self-titled album. Katie said “…my more recent love in a slightly more rock genre is Regina Spektor. she’s got a smoky tone like Corrine, but rocks with it more akin to Fiona Apple.” I had never heard of Spektor at the time. Then I saw she was listed as one of my brother’s favorite artists on his facebook profile. I didn’t act; anyone who knows anything knows it takes three things to force action. This week I heard a Dashboard Confessional cover album and one of the standout tracks on it is Better; after learning that it was a Regina Spektor song I became convinced that it was my destiny to check this lady out.

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Four Brothers and Mystic River

It was a violent weekend at the Helms’ house. Donna and I watched Four Brothers and Mystic River, two movies that had parallel storylines: wounded felons seeking revenge for the murder of a woman. In the case of Four Brothers, the murdered woman was a foster mother in Detroit who cared for four young men whom nobody else would take in while in Mystic River the daughter of an emerging neighborhood patriarch was the slain. Clint Eastwood directed Mystic River and John Singleton directed Four Brothers. For my money, both were effective at telling their stories and the actors (Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon in Mystic River: Mark Wahlberg, Andre Benjamin, Tyrese Gibson, Garrett Hedlund, Terrence Moore in Four Brothers) were excellent. Four Brothers was much more gruesomely graphic with gratuitous violence–the bone sticking out of the leg comes to mind.

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