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Tracking Santa… even on Twitter

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Yes, there are more serious things out there — I’ll get to them while enjoying some time away next week — but everybody is busy with last minute shopping and, so… NORAD Santa Tracker .

20081224-santa-tracker
The BBC reports:


Children wanting to track Santa Claus’s global journey on Christmas Eve have a number of options this year.

As always, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) will be keeping tabs on Santa and children can follow his progress on Google Earth.

In addition, they can send e-mails to the tracking team or even follow Santa on Twitter.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of a tradition that started by accident in Colorado, in the US.

Father Christmas’s journey will start at 1100 GMT and children worldwide can track his progress using Google Maps and Google Earth.

He will pass 24 “Santa cams” around the world, providing live video feeds of his progress, which will in turn be put onto Norad’s YouTube channel as they happen.

For even more up-to-the-minute progress reports, Santa can be followed on the Twitter microblogging service, on which he is known as @noradsanta.

And lastly, Norad volunteers can answer e-mails about Santa’s journey (the address is noradtrackssanta@gmail.com).

A very happy holiday. Please travel safely.


Written by cdorobek

December 24, 2008 at 8:12 AM

Posted in after hours, Off-topic

Doan sings the Army fight song — radio gold!

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Update: I got a correction from Doan. Read that below.
Lurita Doan

Lurita Doan

So some had tried to make it out as if Lurita Doan, for former GSA administrator, and I have some kind of tiff — for the record, we don’t. But I will say that she is always entertaining — she was gold for a magazine editor, and she has been radio gold for Federal News Radio.

Doan, who now does commentary on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Jane Norris, was on this morning… and apparently Lurita is a big Army fan, so…

She sang the Army fight song this morning. It is radio gold. You can hear it here.

Update: I got an e-mail from Doan correcting me on the song that I pointed to…

I got a call about your blog and your confusion about the lyrics to the Army Fight Song.

Just to set the record straight…the song I sang on FedNewsRadio (albeit WAY off key) was indeed the Army Fight Song and you will hear it being sung by West Point Cadets at every opportunity and especially after every Army score. Here’s a well sung version of the Army Fight Song off the West Point website.

You may want to update your blog because there is a “Long, Gray Line” of West Point grads who are pretty particular about their songs. Don’t mess with their mule either!

What you posted is the Official Army song, “The Army Goes Rolling Along,” which is another wonderful tune but something completely different. I am something of an authority on Army songs and ditties (grandfather was a Buffalo soldier, father was in Army for WWII and Korean War and husband is a West Point grad) and I could go into even greater length if you want to learn even more….You would love “Benny Havens , Oh” and maybe even my personal favorites “Slum and Gravy” and “Army Blue”.

In fact, I feel almost as strongly about Army songs as I do about procurement issues and will always help to set the record straight.

Read the rest of my original post after the break.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by cdorobek

December 2, 2008 at 1:27 PM

Posted in Federal News Radio, Off-topic

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Happy Halloween… by the numbers (Thanks Census)

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  First Family pets get in the Halloween spirit, Friday, Oct. 17, 2008, in a portrait on the Blue Room balcony on the south side of the White House. From left are Miss Beazley, Willie the cat, and Barney. The dogs are Scottish Terriers. White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

First Family pets get in the Halloween spirit, Friday, Oct. 17, 2008, in a portrait on the Blue Room balcony on the south side of the White House. From left are Miss Beazley, Willie the cat, and Barney. The dogs are Scottish Terriers. White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

Happy Halloween — by the numbers… thanks to the U.S. Census

The observance of Halloween, which dates back to Celtic rituals thousands of years ago, has long been associated with images of witches, ghosts, devils and hobgoblins. Over the years, Halloween customs and rituals have young and young at heart take a more light-spirited approach. They don scary disguises or ones that may bring on smiles when they go door to door for treats, or attend or host a Halloween party.

Trick or Treat!

36 million
The estimated number of potential trick-or-treaters in 2007 — children 5 to 13 — across the United States. This number is down about 38,000 from a year earlier. Of course, many other children — older than 13, and younger than 5 — also go trick-or-treating.
Source: Population estimates

110.3 million
Number of occupied housing units across the nation in 2007 — all potential stops for trick-or-treaters.
Source: Housing Vacancies and Homeownership

93%
Percentage of households with residents who consider their neighborhood safe. In addition, 78 percent said there was no place within a mile of their homes where they would be afraid to walk alone at night.
Source: Extended Measures of Well-Being: Living Conditions in the United States, 2003

Jack-o’-Lanterns and Pumpkin Pies

1.1 billion pounds
Total production of pumpkins by major pumpkin-producing states in 2007. Illinois led the country by producing 542 million pounds of the vined orange gourd. Pumpkin patches in California, New York and Ohio also provided lots of pumpkins: Each state produced at least 100 million pounds. The value of all pumpkins produced by major pumpkin-producing states was $117 million.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

Where to Spend Halloween?

Some places around the country that may put you in the Halloween mood are:
Transylvania County, N.C. (29,984 residents). Source: Population estimates 2007

Tombstone, Ariz. (population 1,562). Source: Population estimates 2007

Pumpkin Center, N.C. (population 2,228); and Pumpkin Bend, Ark. (population 307).
Source: Census 2000

Cape Fear in New Hanover County, N.C. (15,711); and Cape Fear in Chatham County, N.C. (1,170).
Source: Census 2000

Skull Creek, Neb. (population 274). Source: Population estimates 2007

Candy and Costume

1,170
Number of U.S. manufacturing establishments that produced chocolate and cocoa products in 2006, employing 39,457 people and shipping $13.9 billion worth of goods. California led the nation in the number of chocolate and cocoa manufacturing establishments, with 128, followed by Pennsylvania, with 116.
Source: 2006 County Business Patterns and 2006 Annual Survey of Manufactures, Value of Product Shipments

473
Number of U.S. establishments that manufactured nonchocolate confectionary products in 2006. These establishments employed 18,733 people and shipped $7.2 billion worth of goods that year. California led the nation in this category, with 72 establishments.
Source: 2006 County Business Patterns and 2006 Annual Survey of Manufactures, Value of Product Shipments

24.5 pounds
Per capita consumption of candy by Americans in 2007.
Source: Current Industrial Reports, Confectionery: 2007

2,077
Number of costume rental and formal wear establishments across the nation in 2006.
Source: 2006 County Business Patterns

Other government Halloween related sites…

Happy Halloween!

Written by cdorobek

October 31, 2008 at 12:05 AM

Posted in Off-topic

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DorobekInsider: ‘Enough about me… what do you think about me’

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One of my favorite quotes (undetermined who said it): “Enough about me. What do you think about me?”

In that vein, there is a interview with me in this week’s issue of PRWeek.

PRWeek’s Washington Bureau Chief Ted McKenna did a really good job.

Chris Dorobek recently left Federal Computer Week as editor-in-chief to anchor a DC-area afternoon drive-time radio program covering the government community in all its sometime innovative, and sometimes bureaucratic, glory. He spoke with PRWeek recently about his new venture and his fascination with that multi-tentacle beast, the federal government.

I’m not sure I’d describe the government as a “beast,” but…

Read the full interview here.

And, to get all the “me” stuff out of the way…

CJD's home fire reconstruction

CJD's home fire reconstructuion

Regular readers know that there was a fire in my DC row house earlier this year. But, now more than nine months later, we have reached agreement with the insurance company and… we’ve started reconstruction. ETA: Who knows. But… at least it feels good to be moving forward.

If you are so inclined, you can see the reconstruction photos here.

Written by cdorobek

October 1, 2008 at 10:23 PM

Posted in Circuit, Off-topic

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DorobekInsider: BlackBerry or spouse? Hmmmm

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Just a Friday pre-weekend item: So if you only could choose one — your BlackBerry/iPhone or your significant other, which would you choose?

Well, for one-third of the people in at least one survey, the answer was obvious: their smart phone!

The Economist’s Gullivar travel blog has this item:

A NEW survey conducted for Sheraton Hotels & Resorts finds that over a third of smart phone users would pick their BlackBerry over their significant other if they absolutely had to choose one to live without. Gulliver has covered PDA addiction before, noting that users show signs of addiction “similar to alcoholics“, but this survey result has to represent some sort of new low. The 35% number wasn’t the only depressing survey result, but if you’re a heavy CrackBerry user, you already know the rest:

The vast majority of people (84%) say they check their PDAs just before going to bed and as soon as they wake up, 85% say they sneak a peak at their PDA in the middle of the night, and 80% say they check their e mail before morning coffee. A whopping 87% of professionals bring their PDA into the bedroom.

(And yes — the photo is from BlackBerry events going on around DC right now. This one happened to be outside the Regan Building. The BlackBerry and its team of assistants were pointing people to BlackBerry’s government Web site, blackberrygov.com. The photo is taken with my iPhone… but I have both an iPhone and a BlackBerry.)

Written by cdorobek

September 26, 2008 at 9:12 AM

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DorobekInsider.com: CJD’s brush with greatness… e-book edition

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Amazon.com Kindle eBook

This past weekend, before starting the new gig on Federal News Radio, we traveled out to this very nice resort in Tuscon, AZ for a few days of R&R before jumping in to the new job.

As I was wallowing in the pool, I saw a gentleman reading a Kindle. The Kindle, for those of you who have not seen it, is Amazon.com’s e-book. As a gadget guy, of course, I was one of the first in line late last year when it was introduced… just before the holiday season, of course.

So, I saw this guy reading the Kindle. I asked him, ‘So, do you like your Kindle?’

‘Of course,’ he said. ‘Do you have one?’

‘Yes,’ I answered. ‘I love it.’ I then went on to give him my review of the Kindle. I do, after all, adore my Kindle. That being said, I do have some recommendations. (More on that in a moment.) I told this person my critiques and then told him that I understood that some of them might be in Kindle 2.0 because I had read that Amazon was preparing to come out with a next generation of Kindle — Kindle 2.0, if you will.

Minutes later, from the other side of the pool, I thought to myself… that person looks a lot like Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon.com. (Famous people like Bezos don’t have “Fortune” across their foreheads when you see them out in the ‘real’ world.) And, when I got back to my room, I Google’s Bezo’s wife, figuring that there may be many people who may look like Bezos, but the chance of seeing a man who looks like Bezos with a woman who looks like his wife is right there between slim and none.

And, as you may be able to predict by now, in fact, I did tell Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos my thoughts about the Amazon.com Kindle.

So… back to my own review of the Kindle. (I have pulled other reviews about the Kindle together here.) It is unclear about how successful the Kindle has been, there is no doubt that it is a significant step in how we will view ‘paper’ in the future.

As I said, I am a gadget guy. Yes, I have an iPhone, which I adore, despite the short battery life… and I will get the latest iPod when it comes out. What can I say — I love to be on the bleeding edge. And so when Amazon.com introduced the Kindle e-book late last year, as a regular and long-time Amazon.com user, I was in line.

Over the nine months that I have had my Kindle, I have a number of friends who immediately say, ‘Argh! It’s not a book! This official marks the end of civilization as we know it!’ (OK — they may not use that exact language, but… it’s not far from it.)

That is generally true — until they see it. People largely expect it to be like reading a computer screen. It is nowhere close. It is simply a pleasure to read. (Don’t you wish you could increase the point size of some books? Well, you can with a Kindle.)

I have to say that I have come to really adore my Kindle.

As a regular traveler and a regular reader, I can carry scores of books — and get my beloved newspapers — on my Kindle. Currently, I have some 45 books on theeBook. Each day, I also get the NYT, WSJ, WP and Slate.com — all delivered electronically.

There are some frustrations. As I told Jeff — yes, we’re THAT close now — I think the on-off switch, which is located on the back of the device, is poorly placed. The holder for the Kindle is also clumsy. And the Kindle isn’t as elegant as it should be. (We’ve all gotten used to Apple’s designs.) And I have grown frustrated with publications, such as the WP, that only provide headlines, requiring that you click through to stories to get more information. (TheNYT offers a paragraph that provides you with more information about the story.)

I also have friends who complain that there just aren’t enough books that are Kindle ready. (To be honest, I just have not found this to be a problem yet.)

So the Kindle isn’t perfect, but… it is simply remarkable. As somebody who loves to read and loves newspapers and magazine, I can carry loads of them with me all in a trim package. I no longer have to worry about where I’ll be able to find my morning papers. I know — I’ll get them delivered right on my Kindle. And it is imminently easy to read a Kindle “page.” The device uses something called electronic “ink,” which is as easy to read as a book.

You can also load your own documents on to your Kindle either by e-mailing them to a specific Web site or by using the connection that comes with your device. (Imagine being able to carry all that reading material right on your Kindle without having to carry around all that paper.)

So, over all, I give my Kindle a strong B+ rating… and I’m anxiously awaiting the Kindle 2.0. (I’m sure Jeff is sending me one!)
Update: I got a note Thursday morning from a friend who also has a Kindle. His critique:

As you know, I agree with you completely. Here are a few faults you didn’t mention: if you want to “flip back” or go forward to re-read or read a page you have to do it page by page; a real time-waster and a pain in the ass. The Next Page and Back “buttons” could be placed more sensibly, especially Back.

I find I’m reading more (and I’m a voracious reader) as I’m never without the Kindle and use it almost every spare moment.

Written by cdorobek

September 10, 2008 at 11:00 PM

DorobekInsider.com: What Deirdre Murray does for her weekends

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So if you wondered what Qwest’s Deirdre Murray does for the weekend, we now know… because we read it on the front page of the Washington Post’s Metro section this morning.

A Social Splash [WP, 09.02.2008]
Group Beach Houses for Over-50 Singles Do a Boomer Business
Mary Lou, Sue, Deirdre, Paull, Joe, Judith and Roy share a group beach house for singles on the Eastern Shore. But it’s not what you think.

This is how the world sees group beach houses: ratty shag carpets and drunken 20-somethings passed out under beer pong tables. Boozy pickups and one-night stands.

This is life at the Cottage, as Mary Lou and the others have dubbed their well-appointed house: tennis matches in the morning and cocktails on the beach in the late afternoon. Their first party this year was a black-tie affair, and a recent dinner featured grilled swordfish steaks and pinot grigio, accompanied by gazpacho served in chilled martini glasses.

And the singles? They’re all over 50. Some are way over 50, though they’d rather not be more specific. ” Nobody knows how old I am,” Cottage member Joe Herbert said.

The Cottage is one of about 10 singles beach houses in Rehoboth and Dewey Beach for the “mature” set. They have names like the Heartbreakers, the Bird House, Sunsations and Summer Dreams. The singles host progressive gourmet dinner parties and take turns throwing the weekly, invitation-only cocktail party.

Continue reading the story here

Written by cdorobek

September 2, 2008 at 9:06 PM

Posted in Circuit, Industry, Off-topic

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