Samara O'Shea

Archive for the ‘All Things Digital’ Category

Rise of the Post Office

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Here’s an interactive map I came across that shows the spread of post offices in the US between 1700-1900. I wonder if we’ll start charting the close of post offices now from 2011 – and beyond =(

“Using data from the USPS Postmaster Finder and the USGS Geographic Names Information System, geography graduate student Derek Watkins maps the opening of new post offices from 1700 to 1900. As you know, the mail must go through. No matter if it rains or snows. The mail must go through. So it’s also a great way to see expansion of the US.

Some interesting spots: In 1776, after the revolution, new offices open along the east coast; in 1848, during the gold rush, offices sprout up on the west coast; in the 1870s, offices along the railroad open up.”

Posted: Visualizing US expansion through post offices. from Derek Watkins on Vimeo.

The Comment Conundrum

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

In addition to what I wrote last Saturday, I have another apology. I’m just full of contrition these days! This time I’m sorry to any new visitors who’ve tried to leave comments since . . . oh . . . last March and haven’t been able to. Here’s the situation:

When I was in Italy earlier this year, I had very little access to the web. Don’t get me wrong, it was nice—makes for a better vacation. But I only did what I had to—e-mailing my parents and telling them I’d arrived safely etc. When I returned, I had 8,000 comments—99.7% of which were spam. I tried to go in and delete them, and I couldn’t. When you have that many comments, it’s all but impossible to load the page. I tried on both my MAC at home and my PC at work. Since then, the comments have been accumulating. As of right now, I have 30,565.
Every now and then I’ll try to get in touch with WordPress and ask them to delete my comments from the back end. Hasn’t happened, and they don’t have an 800 number.

Now, people who’ve commented before March 2011—such as Mike from VA, Matt G, Masa, Stephanie, etc.—you can still leave comments. If a comment is approved once, then the commentor can continue to write. (Please Note: I do have the power to delete if you get too rowdy =). In any case, I haven’t thought much about it until my friend Jennifer asked me if I didn’t approve her comments last week because they’re too personal. Knowing that’s an unlikely thing of me to do, I had to revisit the comment conundrum.

Again, I offer my apology if you’ve tried to comment and haven’t been able to. I’m not screening or deleting comments. I can’t even see them myself. I’ll try to be more assertive about fixing the problem. Carry on!

If you know how to fix such a problem, email me! It’s working again.


Saturday, July 16th, 2011

My sincere apologies to those of you who received an e-mail from me saying I’m in Malaysia. I’m safe and sound in my house. I’m a little embarrassed, but other than that I’m fine! I’ve reported the spam incident to G-mail and am waiting for it to be resolved.

I’ve heard from so many people in the past three hours with calls and texts saying “Are you okay?” Reader Stephanie left this comment on the blog entry below: “Samara, your email’s been hacked! I got a terrible email from your address (with your signature, even) asking for money. It didn’t even capitalize the I’s.”

“It didn’t even capitalize the I’s,” made me howl. Thanks Stephanie! It’s nice to know that if I did end up in Malaysia accidentally that so many people would send money for my safe return. You guys are the best. Enjoy your weekend!

Google Goggles

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Well this is nothing short of amazing.

All Around the Web

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

What I’ve been reading this week:

“Creating a work of art is one of those activities we reserve for humans and humans only. It’s an act of self-expression; you’re not supposed to be able to do it if you don’t have a self.”

This quote is from an interesting, albeit a little frightening, article about artificial intelligence being able to surpass human intelligence by the year 2045. The piece is called 2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal from Time magazine.

I read a fantastic article in the NY Times yesterday called Go Easy on Yourself, a New Wave of Research Urges. It discusses Self Compassion, which is so important. Our default setting is to be mean to ourselves—assume we’ve made the wrong decision or done the wrong thing and punish ourselves accordingly. This article sets the record straight:

“I found in my research that the biggest reason people aren’t more self-compassionate is that they are afraid they’ll become self-indulgent,” said Dr. Neff, an associate professor of human development at the University of Texas at Austin. “They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be.”

Finally, the royal wedding website has been launched. I’m thinking I should write some faux wedding vows for Will & Kate. Just for fun. Royal Weddings of this magnitude only happen every few decades.

Google Art Project

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

This is kind of amazing: Google has just launched the Art Project. A site where you can virtually walk through museums and marvel at the structures, columns, ceilings, and, of course, the art work. I just took a stroll through the Palace of Versailles. This might get us through the winter. Here’s a preview of the program:

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

“Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart and hand in hand.”

~ Dr. Seuss