Woo Themes

I installed this new theme from Woo Themes, and it appears that they leave off a lot of web elements I took for granted. In the SEO section an admin has to specify a lot of things like title, description, keywords, and what to index. They say they support two of the most commonly used SEO plugins – All-in-One SEO and Headspace 2, but those seem like even more work.

Just in case I change themes again and loose my keywords I listed them here. I used the following keywords for my home page:

Siems, Chris, teamsiems, team siems, web, website, development, developer, Economics, Education, Europe, Nature, Odd, OIT, Personal, Politics, Religion, Social Media, Technology

I used the WordPress default for the title and description. The indexing I left on categories.

Worf, the Tribble


Worf, the Tribble

Originally uploaded by teamsiems

And so it begins, HighEdWeb 2010, Cincinnati, October 10-13, 2010. This is Worf, the Tribble. He’s my travel buddy.

What’s Trending

Debra Goldentyer asked the following question on the HighEdWeb Ning site: “What’s the big buzz this year? mobile? apps? social media? CMS revisited?”

The quick answer is yes.

I think people going to the conference are doing all of these things – just check Twitter for the conference hashtag #heweb10: make a mobile site before the mobile app; WordPress 3 Basic; dotCMS; social media expanding into location applications like foursquare, facebook touch, Gowalla, Yelp, Google Latitude, etc.

Perhaps the latest buzz is location based applications for smartphones because no one has really come full circle on them yet. We don’t know the full extent or what’s possible.

Like the others said, location based applications are growing. They offer more precise control of information distribution – e.g. on the campus tour a visitor could get a building’s information, services housed there, etc. Location applications also offer local search (precise down to the building or room) – e.g. foursquare now offers university services…so a student searches foursquare for coffee at 11pm and finds all the spots on campus that are open that serve coffee and gets a map to each. Also, your services like campus bookstore could offer “specials” through foursquare. The marketing possibilities are virtually endless.

Contrary to location based applications, most universities (at HighEdWeb) have gotten their feet wet with a CMS or three. They’ve made (or are making) mobile sites and mobile apps. I think the term “social media” has become mainstream and benign. Some universities jumped in feet first are now they’re trying to figure out what to do in social media; evaluation after experimentation. I think “Social Media Policy” is trending.

P.S.
“Buzz” is so 2007. Now it is “trending.”

Windows Movie Maker for Windows XP SP3

I put this here for future reference. I had to dig the interwebs to find the filename of the movie maker after I couldn’t find it on my computer. It was not located in the Accessories group (from Start Menu) like it was supposed to be.

The file name (on my system) is C:\Program Files\Movie Maker\moviemk.exe

Go to Start, Run and type in moviemk and press Enter.

or

After you find/install it you can make a shortcut and drag-drop it to your Start Menu. I put my shortcut in Accessories, Entertainment, next to Sound Recorder.

Windows Movie Maker 2.1 also available at CNET for Windows XP.

UPS vs FedEx (again)

UPDATE 9/24/2010: See Hutchison’s reply letter.

In 1997, the Teamsters strike crippled UPS. This time FedEx is using the buzzword “brown bailout”, and they’ve launched a massive (viral) campaign aimed at stopping legislation that would affect them. UPS has a counterstrike called “FedEx drivers aren’t pilots.”

It appears that UPS wants Congress to amend the Railway Labor Act (RLA) which limits unions from striking and crippling interstate commerce. FedEx thinks this will severely affect their business thereby giving UPS an edge – the bailout.

In contrast, National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) allows unions to form more easily. The Teamsters have used the NLRA to unionize the majority of UPS workers.

FedEx along with UPS and the Post Office (USPS) probably control 90 – 95% of package delivery in America. Both FedEx and UPS utilize airplanes to transport packages, and both use trucks to transport packages. FedEx is about 80% airline while UPS is about 20% airline. The USPS uses both of them; they are FedEx’s biggest customer. Needless to say, neither FedEx nor UPS are hurting for business. Looks like an oligopoly to me.

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009 has already passed the House and is waiting for a vote in the Senate. A similar bill died in the Senate two years ago.

Like most things involving Congress there’s more to this bill and meets the eye. It was originally meant to improve the infrastructure of our aging air transportation and control systems, but then non-aviation groups (Teamsters) got involved.

It’s complicated for an outsider like me looking at this situation, but the yeas and nays will tell the story.

Supporters
United Postal Service
National Air Traffic Controllers Association
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
National Business Aviation Association
Air Line Pilots Association
Regional Airline Association
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Airports Council International
Air Transport Association of America
Transport Workers Union of America
General Aviation Manufacturers Association
Rockwell Collins

Opponents
FedEx

These two have been fighting for years. FedEx has always dominated the air – they are an airline – and UPS rules the ground. Every so often one will venture to closely to the other’s turf and a battle erupts. The fine line this time is airline personnel versus non-airline personnel. UPS (more so the Teamsters) wants non-airline personnel covered by the NLRA.

This time – if the bill passes – there will be a ripple effect in our (weak) economy. FedEx will probably lay people off (before they unionize and can’t be laid off ), and they will buy fewer airplanes. That equates to billions of dollars taken out of the US economy all because a union wants the right to strike.

Personally, I agree with the original RLA. I think if you are part of an oligopoly you should be subject to the RLA; neither UPS nor FedEx (nor the USPS) should have a union that can stop deliveries. On the other hand I don’t like unions because they hurt the many for the sake of the few. For example, the UAW, along with foreign competition and oil prises in the 1970’s, doomed auto makers and all of their ancillary businesses. American auto makers never really recovered, and America makes fewer quality cars today then any time since Ford rolled out the first Model-T.

Letters to Congress

What follows are letters that brownbailout.com will email on your behalf. It chose my representatives based on zip code.

Subject: Opposition to the “Brown Bailout”

Required text to House (Chet Edwards):

As one of your constituents, I’m writing to ask you to oppose legislation that could harm our nation’s express delivery system by increasing costs, lowering reliability and threatening jobs in the industry and all businesses that depend on overnight delivery.

Language inserted into the House version of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009, which passed in the House last May, will dramatically change how FedEx Express is regulated. The language favors only one company, UPS, and was designed to bail them out of a tough business situation.

Unlike the bailouts to shore up the nation’s financial system, paid for by tax dollars, this “Brown Bailout” will force us all to pay more in order to get less, while putting jobs at risk. This is not what our government should be doing to lower unemployment and put Americans back to work.

I also object to the secretive manner in which this bailout is being pushed through Congress without hearings or public debate on this particular issue. UPS, the only company that benefits, has been forcing its employees to write letters in support of the bailout, according to the Washington Post (“UPS Employees Say They Were Forced to Lobby against FedEx,” Aug. 7, 2009), and that just isn’t fair.

Businesses and individuals across America rely on an express delivery system that is dependable and affordable for medicines, equipment and other essential goods. Prices have never been lower, service has never been better, and access to global markets has never been greater. Congress should not put jobs at risk trying to fix something that isn’t broken.

The House of Representatives passed its version of the FAA Reauthorization bill last year. Please oppose the “Brown Bailout” if the FAA bill comes back to the House for a vote this year.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Required text to Senate (John Cornyn, Kay Bailey Hutchison):

As one of your constituents, I’m writing to ask you to oppose legislation that could harm our nation’s express delivery system by increasing costs, lowering reliability and threatening jobs in the industry and in all businesses that depend on overnight delivery.

While I support the FAA Reauthorization bill that will modernize our air traffic control system and bring much-needed funding for airport improvement projects across the country, it should not pass with an extraneous labor provision that puts one company’s interest ahead of public interest.

Language inserted into the House version of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009, which passed the House last May, would dramatically change how FedEx Express is regulated. The language favors only one company, UPS, at the expense of FedEx and its customers, and was designed to bail UPS out of a tough business situation. The Senate version of the bill, which passed 93-0, does not include this provision.

Unlike the bailouts to shore up the nation’s financial system, this “Brown Bailout” will force us all to pay more in order to get less, while putting jobs at risk. The government should be doing exactly the opposite to help lower unemployment and put Americans back to work.

Businesses and individuals across America rely on an express delivery system that is dependable and affordable for medicines, equipment and other essential goods. Prices have never been lower, service has never been better, and access to global markets has never been greater. Congress should not put jobs at risk trying to fix something that isn’t broken.

The current competitive environment is good for our economy. Please preserve our competitive shipping industry by rejecting the House version of the FAA bill when it comes up for a vote in the Senate. Instead, pass a final bill without this anti-competitive bailout.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Hutchison’s Reply

Dear Friend:

Thank you for contacting me regarding FedEx Corp.’s labor regulations. I welcome your thoughts and comments.

When the Railway Labor Act (RLA) was originally enacted in 1926, “express companies” such as the Federal Express airline were considered a vital part of the nation’s transportation system, and their employees were included in the bill’s coverage. The RLA was amended in 1936 to include all air carriers. Federal Express later expanded its operations to integrate a full service cargo operation, and is now known as FedEx Express. Only FedEx Express, the highly integrated air and ground operations that began as “Federal Express,” is subject to the RLA. The other ground-based FedEx Corp. subsidiaries, including FedEx Ground and FedEx Freight, are covered by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). A provision was included in the house-passed version of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill to require FedEx to be fully governed by the NLRA rather than the Railway Labor Act

The Railway Labor Act was designed to prevent strikes from disrupting transportation services. Unlike other industries where the right of employees to strike is guaranteed by statute, uninterrupted services provided by air and rail carriers are essential to the health and the economy of the nation. For that reason, the RLA includes a highly regulated collective bargaining process with numerous safeguards that must be exhausted before a strike can legally occur.

Collective bargaining agreements do not expire under the RLA, but instead become amendable and continue in effect while bargaining is underway. The parties must engage in direct negotiations, followed by mediation conducted by the National Mediation Board. If no agreement can be reached, the Board gives the parties the opportunity to resolve the dispute through arbitration, and, if arbitration is rejected, a 30-day cooling off period begins. At the conclusion of the 30-day cooling off period, the President is authorized, when an important interest is at stake, to create an Emergency Board to consider the dispute and recommend an appropriate resolution. Only if all of these procedures fail to produce an agreement are options such as strikes and lock-outs available to the parties.

Proponents of the House FAA Reauthorization language contend the NLRA would better serve FedEx Express employees by providing greater opportunity to organize, engage in collective bargaining, and take part in strikes and other forms of concerted activity in support of their demands. However, FedEx Express contends that if it were subject to the NLRA process, multiple unions would be able to represent different groups of workers by location and by function, even in the same cities. FedEx would be required to navigate multiple sets of rules trying to connect its local truck drivers to its aviation operation, potentially disrupting airline operations in the very way the RLA seeks to avoid.

As Conferencing of the House and Senate passed FAA Reauthorization bills moves forward, I will keep your views on this issue in mind. I appreciate hearing from you, and I hope that you will not hesitate to contact me on any issue that is important to you.

Sincerely,
Kay Bailey Hutchison
United States Senator

284 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
202-224-5922 (tel)
202-224-0776 (fax)
http://hutchison.senate.gov

PLEASE DO NOT REPLY to this message as this mailbox is only for the delivery of outbound messages, and is not monitored for replies. Due to the volume of mail Senator Hutchison receives, she requests that all email messages be sent through the contact form found on her website at http://hutchison.senate.gov/contact.cfm .

If you would like more information about issues pending before the Senate, please visit the Senator’s website at http://hutchison.senate.gov . You will find articles, floor statements, and press releases, along with her weekly column and monthly television show on current events. You can also sign up to receive Senator Hutchison’s weekly e-newsletter.

Thank you.