Why is her spelling so bad?

I have been told more then once that I could use some improvement in my grammer and spelling on this blog and in other contexts.

I know that those of you who are sensitive to these two things when you read – writing with errors in it is like reading text with giant red underlines. This a very annoying experience. I apologize. When I am tired and stressed my tendency to make mistakes gets worse.

I have had a few conversations with people about this problem and the only answer seems to be is to have enough money to pay an editor to go over everything I write. This is not really doable at the current point in time.

Personally I think it is a miracle that I engage with the community I work with in written form as much as I do. I thought I would share with you a bit more about my story of ‘why’ I feel this way.

The first sign things were “wrong” was that I mixed up b’s and p’s and b’s and d’s and p’s and q’s when I wrote in grade 1. I was also a very slow reader.

I had difficulty writing my ideas down. I was not able to compose a ‘good sentence’ when I was in grade 4. I was tested for learning disabilities in grade 8 I was not able to compose a proper paragraph. Needless to say this was not good if I was to go to university and do well. My mom was very proactive in working with the public school system (in Vancouver, Canada) to get me the help that I needed.

For two years in grade 9 and 10 I had tutoring initially three times a week in one period (we had 7 classes that rotated through 5 days). Then the second year only once a week. Then I was going to get cut off the following year (grade 11). I was just really starting to hit a wall in English class getting C’s and D’s. I was very unhappy and really wanted to be at a different school where I could both learn and get the help I needed to succeed.

My parents made sacrifices and found the money to send me to a private school specifically for dyslexic kids for grade 11. I had tutoring every day one-on-one and very small classes (there were 9 people in my grade). After one year there I went back to public school and repeated grade 11 in part because math and science were not good enough at the private school for me to do well in Grade 12 science and because my challenges were in english so the thinking was “why not get more practice and re-take some of those classes”.

When I got to Grade 12 I managed to complete it in 3/4 of a year. I was in a semester high school (meaning that you could do a whole class from September to Jan and then another one from Jan to June). I did a semester my high school and then completed my remaining 2.5 classes in adult education – which was basically correspondence classes but with a live teacher you interacted with at ‘school’ while you got them done. I took my final exams in April and I headed off to train with the Junior National Water Polo Team in May preparing for World Championships in July.

I was asked in May by the Water Polo Coach at UC Berkeley to apply and by August I was heading off to school California. I managed to do quite well at UC Berkeley pulling of A’s and B’s pretty much on my own with some tutoring help here and there.

I often wonder what my mom would think of my work today and how I am doing. When she died in December the year I was in grade 12. AT the time we didn’t know where I was going to college or university or for that matter if I would ever make it in higher education. She never got to know that
* I made the Canadian National Water Polo Team;
* I graduated with B+ average from the best public school in the United States;
* I write almost every day (on average) to a public audience;
* I help facilitate an amazing community.

I often wonder how things would be different if I could spell perfectly or just like everyone else and then I think you know… I see the world differently and do the interesting things because of my perspectives and I don’t want to give these gifts and insights up for “prefect spelling.”

I hope you can forgive me for my failings in the spelling and grammar department. I work hard to do the best I can and will when resources permit get an editor.

COMMENT from J Mankowski:

Yea…people and their splelling issues…….My parents came to the US from eastern Europe after the last “necessary” war. They sent me off to public school with hopes that i could achieve the Americana dream. Somewhere around the 1st grade, a school administrator showed up at the door and complained that my use of Po-lingesh was causing fights at school. The school threatened to set me back a year unless my parents stopped speaking Polish language around the house. They (the school) hoped that this action might solve their problem and mine. Nice idea and maybe it worked. The trouble here is and was that my parents did not speak a lick of English. Communication between myself and parents came nearly to a stand-still. This went on for several lonely years…..

p.s. Well, i finally grew up- i became successful of sorts having acheived a graduate degree from UC berkeley .

j mankowski
portland, Oregon

2257 Laws, Sex Workers and Privacy

Sex on the Internet, The Realities of Porn, Sexual Privacy, and How Search Affects Them All. Google Tech Talk by Violet Blue, October 12, 2007

This is an hour long presentation by Violet Blue. It is quite interesting covering a range of issues about sex and privacy online. The most interesting one directly related to identity was 2257 laws. Go to 32:30 in the video to see her discussion of this topic.

It mandates producers of pornography document the ages of those who perform in their films and that this documentation regularly is a photo of the performer with their ‘government issued ID and Social Security Card’ thus revealing basically all the information you need to steal their identities.

The 2257 legal requirements have the potential to become a business opportunity for some enterprising identity company to meet these requirements in a privacy protecting manner.

Majority on partially divided three-judge Sixth Circuit panel strikes down as facially unconstitutional the recordkeeping requirements federal criminal law places on producers of images of “actual sexually explicit conduct” to verify the ages of those depicted in the images: Describing the federal statute at issue, the majority opinion explains, “The plain text, the purpose, and the legislative history of the statute make clear that Congress was concerned with all child pornography and considered recordkeeping important in battling all of it, without respect to the creator’s motivation.” The majority proceeds to hold the statute facially overbroad and then strikes down the law as unconstitutional.

Online Community Interview about Identity

Last week I did an interview with Forum One Communications about Identity and OpenID. For those of you who don’t know about Forum one they are doing a lot of good work connecting online community managers and online community platform providers and companies who have online communities related to their business. They have the Online Community Research Network and publish the Online Community Report I helped facilitate the Online Community Unconference and recently attended the Online Community Summit.

I thought it was going to be a recorded interview – like a podcast. It was instead a sort of group live chat interview. The questions were good and build upon each other. You can see it here. I hope that some of the people actively involved in online community will come and participate in some of our activity addressing identity issues online.

AT&T has programming language for surveillance

on the WIRED Blgo Network

From the company that brought you the C programming language comes Hancock, a C variant developed by AT&T researchers to mine gigabytes of the company’s telephone and internet records for surveillance purposes.

An AT&T research paper published in 2001 and unearthed today by Andrew Appel at Freedom to Tinker shows how the phone company uses Hancock-coded software to crunch through tens of millions of long distance phone records a night to draw up what AT&T calls “communities of interest” — i.e., calling circles that show who is talking to whom.

The system was built in the late 1990s to develop marketing leads, and as a security tool to see if new customers called the same numbers as previously cut-off fraudsters — something the paper refers to as “guilt by association.”