Send a Birthday Card to Shane

Yesterday, my mother sent me a link that I want to share with as many people as possible: Shane’s Wish.

Shane Bernier is seven years old, and has had cancer for two years already. This year for his birthday on May 30 he wants as many birthday cards as possible. He’s trying to break a Guiness record.

Every card he receives gives Shane a small escape from his life in the hospital and his cancer, and according to his mother, since he’s been getting the cards Shane’s immune system has become stronger.

To send a card to Shane, simply send it to:
Shane Bernier
PO Box 484
Lancaster, Ontario
K0C 1N0

If you can write it in French he will be able to read it. If not don’t worry, his parents will read it to him.

On YouTube:

Now I have to go get a card & send it.

Update: My card is now sent!

No Internet Explorer 7 for FAA and DOT

Well at least not for now.

InformationWeek is reporting that the FAA in the U.S. has “placed a moratorium” on upgrades to Windows Vista, Office 2007, and Internet Explorer 7. This comes hot on the heels of InformationWeek reporting last week that the DOT placed a similar ban on Microsoft products.

The reason for the temporary ban is to examine the feasibility of using Linux-based systems with Google Apps, a big victory for Google, and I think a great idea. There would be some huge cost savings not having to buy Windows or MS MS Office. However, there are a few disadvantages as well: first, since the FAA deals with air travel one might assume that their employees fly a fair bit, (I’m not sure how true this is), and right now there is very little internet access on airplanes, and second, this is the FAA, they deal with pretty important information that should be kept safe. Can they trust Google to do that? Or, can they at least trust Google to keep the data as safe as it was before?

There is one thing I don’t agree with in this ban on Microsoft products. Why ban upgrading to IE7? It’s free and it’s way better than IE6. I know that there will be some issues with upgrades that will require some technicians’ time but really, I think it’s worth the effort. IE7 is being adopted very quickly and if the FAA forces all their 45,000 users to stick with IE6, just because in a 18 months, (or whenever), they’ll be using Linux those users will suffer. Really, everyone should be upgrading to IE7, or something else, as soon as possible. Forcing your workforce to stick with out-of-date software that can’t do its job properly is not the way to go about this.

That said, I think it is a good plan to go for Linux. Tax-paying Americans will benefit, as will the flying public in general.

Banning Online Interactivity

Last night the US House of Representatives passed Resolution 5319, or the Deleting Online Predators Act, (DOPA for short), by 410 to 15 votes. While intention behind this act is a good one, (protecting children from online predators), the implementation is horrendous.

The act proposes to “protect” children by cutting off federal funding for schools and libraries that do not block access of minors to a list of websites to be published by the FCC. The FCC is to come up with this list taking into consideration the extent to which each website:

`(i) is offered by a commercial entity;
`(ii) permits registered users to create an on-line profile that includes detailed personal information;
`(iii) permits registered users to create an on-line journal and share such a journal with other users;
`(iv) elicits highly-personalized information from users; and
`(v) enables communication among users.’.

In layman’s terms this means: Blogs, Wikis, Amazon, Yahoo!, Newsvine, Digg, the new, and many other valuable sites. Some sites may be spared because they’re not-for-profit, (Wikipedia perhaps), but you never know.

If this resolution is signed into law and withstands legal challenges, (I’m sure there will be some, and honestly I don’t know as it will stand up), it means that not only will children not be able to access useless time-wasting sites from school, but also an incredible number of very useful and valid resources.

For me it means that if I were to add interactivity to the Ballet it could be banned! Most of my users come from school. In fact the site is used as a reference for some courses.

Children do need some form of protection online the same as they do in the “real” world but this act is not the answer. What should be done is children need to be educated. After all, you don’t forbid your child from ever leaving the house, but you do teach him or her to never talk to strangers.

For an excellent resource, from a teacher who is very web-aware, check out Vicki A. Davis’ blog. She goes through the act and tears apart the good, bad, and the ugly of it.

If you want to do something act fast. This Resolution went from being introduced to passed in just over a month. There is an online petition at to try to stop this bill in the senate. If you feel, (as I do), that this bill is wrong, go and sign it and maybe something will happen.

For still more check out Techcrunch and CNN.