Red Eye Mention of CTA Alerts, December 27, 2005

Here’s a mention of the CTA Alerts system in an end-of-the-year CTA roundup in the Red Eye:

The year 2005 marked some memorable moments for the CTA. With the new year upon us, “Going Public” takes a ride down memory lane. Along the route, we’ll vote these moves good, bad or just plain ugly.

*Wireless updates available … but not from CTA

August: Rider Daniel X. O’Neil steps up to the plate to offer peer-to-peer wireless updates for the “L” and bus. Riders can sign up on to get informal, but effective updates on CTA delays and problems. The CTA even subscribes and sends the occasional message.

CALL: Bad. The CTA should be ashamed that a rider beat them to the punch. This is a needed technology that improves the riding experience.

Y!Q Link Generator: An easy way to generate Y!Q links for your web pages.

Today I launched, with my colleague Ben Friedberg, the Y!Q Link Generator. It leverages Y!Q for Publishers, a way to embed Yahoo! search into you weblog or website. Here’s a snip from the launch blog post:

Y!Q for Publishers is a way to embed Yahoo! search into you weblog or website. Since it launched in February, it has not caught on. The only place I ever see it (besides here) is Yahoo! News, where it is used in a literal way for encyclopedia-style link queries for the names of countries, actors, former presidents, etc. Yahoo! even had a contest for people to see who could implement it in the most interesting way and most of the winners of that contest don’t use Y!Q any longer.

Small Business Internet Life Starter Package

Recently delivered a set of services for a registered investment advisor business that is just getting started. We executed on the design that another firm had come up with, but a static web site was just the start. Here’s the package:

  • TypePad weblog that mimicks the site design. This gives the client a platform to post general advice to clients and potential clients that he’s previously sent via email. This unlocks existing content to increase search engine rankings and serve as perma-marketing
  • Found an inexpensive web host for his site and his email. Also consulted on process for configuring various email accounts (Hotmail, day job, new business) into one MS Outlook interface on a number of computers at home and work
  • Custom training on how to use TypePad and also what makes for good weblog posts
  • General advice on how to use the built internet in his business– RSS feeds for finding good content, care & feeding of search engines, using free tools to expand internet presence, and so on

The days of “having a website” are over. It’s not about your website— it’s about developing a web life for your business that’s all over the place. This engagement is a great execution of that strategy.


Workshop: Finding Yourself in Stuff: Identity in Found Poetry and Collage

Here’s a workshop I conducted today at 826CHI.


1. Detailed explanation: see below
2. Syllabus: see below
3. Sessions: One session of 1.5 or 2 hours (see below for timing)
4. Dates/ times: I can do Monday or Wednesday weekday evening or any weekend afternoon
5. Age range: workshop can accommodate any of the ranges (Eight to ten, eleven to fourteen, and fourteen to eighteen.)
6. Ten to fifteen students with 2 or 3 TAs to help students in the individual found poem/ collage creation period.
7. Final product: one-sheet poem on stiff cardboard with a collage on the back showing the original materials from which the poem was constructed.
8. Catchy title: Finding You In Stuff: Identity in Found Poetry & Collage

Finding You In Stuff: Identity in Found Poetry & Collage

How do we define ourselves? This workshop will use the castoff words of life—receipts, notes from kids in school, snippets from our journals, random lines from textbooks, etc.—to show how identity can be drawn from the stuff around you as well as the thoughts inside you.

Lots of kids are familiar with the concept of pouring out their innermost thoughts onto paper to express themselves. This workshop approaches the concept of expression differently—from the outside in. We’ll see that the text that surrounds can be surprisingly useful in defining who we are in a literary way.

At the end of our class, we’ll have a one-sheet poem on stiff cardboard with a collage on the back showing the original materials from which the poem was constructed.


  • The kid’s backpacks, with all their stuff in it. Make sure they bring in scraps of paper that they would normally throw away.
  • Journals
  • Stiff cardboard-type paper or the backs of pads of paper
  • Glue, scissors, and tape
  • Whiteboard or easel with paper

Explain the concept of found art with Duchamps’ “Fountain” as the primary example. Discuss how the artist’s acts of isolating, elevating, and naming ordinary things are essential to new art creation. (10 minutes)

Talk about Andy Warhol and other modern art examples of collage and appropriation. (10 minutes)

Read “The Finger”, a found poem I wrote and talk about how found text works its way into liteerature. (10 minutes)

Explain the concept of identity and surroundings— how your clothes, your school, your neighborhood, your name, and other “facts” about us have a part in defining us. In short, who we are is inescapably expressed in the things around us. (5 minutes)

Show an example—a recent store receipt from the instructor pulled out of a pocket. Talk about how the items purchased (diapers, toys, diaper cream, etc.) can be put together to identify the owner of the receipt. You are what you eat, etc. (5 minutes)

Then do a found poem together with the group that defines them broadly. Take things from the books in the room, snippets from random journals, a part of the lesson plan, etc. (30 minutes)

Then work with the children to do their own found poems with the materials they brought—anything from their bags, books, pockets, etc. Fashion the poem on the front and tape/ glue/ staple a collage of the original materials on the back. (30-45 minutes)