Tara is attentive

Originally uploaded by ellythompson.

I’m going on a business trip tonight. As a result, this is about to happen — Tara (our new dog, who we’ve had for about 8 weeks now) is going to come with Elly to fetch me from work. She recognises my office building and will sit very attentively staring at the entrance until I come out.

When I do she’ll madly wag her tail and go “arooo!” as I come towards the car. There’s a little ritual then when I let her out and give her a treat for waiting so patiently. Then we all get in the car and go home. Same as every day.

Except this time I’ll get home, pack my stuff up and then disappear for the rest of the week. I’m a little worried at how both the ladies in my life will cope.

I imagine you out there will be fine though. Especially since I bestow upon you all these photos of Tara that Elly recently uploaded.

Enjoy! I’ll see ya in a few days.

Today on Maggie’s Mightygoods blog, I noticed a product called Terrapass. It’s essentially a little green licence you buy for your car — the money you give is proportional to the environmental damage your car causes and is spent on projects that neutralise that damage.

My first thought on this was it was a bit too first-world-get-out-of-jail-free. Rich people can’t live without the convenience of a car, so they’ll just pay their way out of their social responsibility. Then I realised that it is one of the cleverest concepts I’ve seen in a long while.

I’ve written before about how being green needs to be easy. People need a reason to do things and the warm cuddly feeling you get inside from saving forests in a distant land isn’t enough for some people. That’s why more people will campaign to stop a local green belt (really just a strip of grass) from being developed than will try to do something to save the Amazon.

That said, if the effort to do things is pretty similar, but one action carries that “feel good”, or a moral imperative, or whatever factor that makes it more desirable, then it is more likely to be taken. So, for your average person who drives their own car to work, they might consider public transport as an alternative. They might even try it for a week. But then after it takes twice as long, seems more expensive and doesn’t allow them to sing along loudly to Queen on their way to work, they’ll probably go back to the car.

Projects like Terrapass give people an easy way to be greener. Which is bound to be more successful than preaching or getting between your kids and their happy meals.

  • I was never really a dolls kinda gal, but now that there’s an Electra doll I might just change my mind! via GGA
  • In Japan they’re talking about introducing compulsory microchipping for dangerous animals. Personally I think microchipping is a good idea for ALL animals, but then if people don’t care they might not keep the details up-to-date, so it might not be much help.
  • It seems that dagga might make you smart! Since it’s an integral part of a variety of traditional cultures, I’m not exactly surprised by this
  • The idea of getting real-time traffic data by tracking cellphones seems a very clever way of turning data into information. There are of course privacy concerns, but if it didn’t get too big brother it might just be useful
  • I can’t believe that whether evidence obtained via torture should be used is even a QUESTION. Outsourcing torture should be abhorred, not supported

You know what bugs me? Having to keep track of comments manually. I’m a gregarious kinda gal, so if I read something that I have something to say about, I say it. If there are comments open, then that’ll be my medium of choice. But if I read a bunch of interesting things one day and as a result make a bunch of comments, keeping track of the conversation after that can be a bit difficult!

What I would love is something like Flickr‘s “Comments You’ve Made” page. This show’s you all the photos you’ve commented on, as well as pulling in responses since you last said something. The big advantage is that you can go to one place to follow all the conversations and you also only need to revisit the original page if you particularly want to say something else.

I’ve often wondered why blog comments weren’t anywhere near as “sticky” as forums, emails lists and so on always were. I think a massive part of it is because of the distributed content, it’s much more difficult to keep up with what’s being said. The net effect is less participation, which isn’t much good for anyone.

Yesterday I ended up with a Firefox window within which all the tabs were new or nearly new web apps. I figured I’d do a quick round-up of funky stuff that had appeared in the last year or so, that I think is particularly cool:

  • Gmail — this has seriously revolutionised my use of email. Massive storage, great features, nice UI, all add up to a great user experience. I absolutely hate going back to the desktop email software we use at work. Favourite feature: conversation grouping
  • Bloglines — web-based feed reader. Brings together all the website updates you want to know about in one place. Great way of keeping up with things, but can be difficult to manage the information overload if you oversubscribe. Favourite feature: ability to “keep new”
  • Writeboard — online document collaboration. Haven’t been able to use this extensively yet, but planning it!
  • 43 Everything: first 43 Things, then 43 Places and now 43 People. I think MJ said it best:

    “One login. One id. Multiple obsessive todo/tovisit/tomeet lists.
    Your OCD in me is pleased. “

  • Flickr! — this has changed not only the way I share photos, but how much I use my phone. Thanks to Nat for eventually convincing me!

Strictly Come Dancing is back and we are all set to get completely addicted to it again, as we did last year.

Highlight so far: Lilia appears to have turned Darren Gough into a dancing queen. Hilarious!!