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i'm currently on daily blogging sabbatical, but i'll be back very soon.

SMiShing Scam [UPDATE]
|| 12/17/2008 || 11:19 pm || Comments Off || ||

BFSFCU smishing screen grab SMiShing Scam [UPDATE]

A few moments ago I received the following text:

BFSFCU / This is an automated message from Bank-Fund Staff F.C.U. Your ATM card has been suspended. To reactivate call urgent at 202-729-8214

It’s too bad that I don’t bank with BFSFCU or might have fallen for this SMiShing scam. I called their phone number and told the service representative that the phone number I was told to call is a DC number, and not a 1-888 number which was currently on the website (above). Their customer service representative said that she’d notify their fraud department. I wonder who else got the text message?



UPDATEexactly 9:30pm – I was at a birthday party in the basement of Napoleon Bistro in Adams Morgan and received second text message from the SMiSher. The message was exactly the same, except that the the phone number had changed to “1-202-729-8214″


UPDATE – 11:00pm – I returned home from the birthday party and noticed quite a few people got hit by the SMisher. Below are screen grabs of those who were searching for more information about this fraud.


More Updates:

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A roundup of videos from yesterday’s shoe demonstration outside of the White House
|| 12/18/2008 || 4:07 pm || Comments Off || ||

This morning I scoured the intertubes for videos related to yesterday’s shoe demonstration outside of the White House. Below are the videos I’ve pulled from YouTube and other media outlets.


DC FOX 5: White House Protestors Throw Shoes at Bush Effigy

The rest of the videos:

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Commission: Yankee Stadium Quilt
|| 12/19/2008 || 1:51 pm || Comments Off || ||

: rendered at 9,000 X 6,000 :
yankeesstadiumquilt Commission: Yankee Stadium Quilt

At the beginning of the week I received an inquiry about making this map. It’s intended to be a gift for the client’s friend who’s a big Yankees fan. I was unsure if I’d be able to obtain the newest imagery featuring the new Yankee stadium, but since the client felt the friend had spent more time in the old stadium, the newest of the imagery was not an issue. I went with .5 meters per pixel imagery from April, 2006. There was a second set of imagery of the area at lower spatial resolution, but I liked the coloring on this imagery better and went with it. This is my first map of the Bronx borough of New York City and for 2009 I am planning on mapping the rest of the boroughs.

Like my previous commission I was able to modify the source aerial photography so that the nearby outdoor track has been converted into a heart. I debated on modifing the coloration so that the pinkness of the heart (below) would be more pronounced, but I opted to follow my current style of non-modification. Yet this inclusion of the heart motif is something that I find to be an unique addition to my current map design. I am adjusting the imagery to not only create a geometrically perfect design, but literally adding a bit of love to it. An aerial landscape design of love, so to speak.

There is also a sense of transition in this map. By the varying degree of translational symmetry placed upon the the actual stadium, there appears to be an architectural metamorphosis taking place. Where the old stadium is becoming a new stadium. And some day in the future, when it’s time that I make the next map of Yankee Stadium, with newer contemporary imagery, it will be a new stadium. But will the heart (track) still be there in the future? Will development change the love of the geography? I don’t think so. Yet in making this map for the client, I’ve captured the love between two people (and probably thousands of others) that will never change.

Unlike my previous commissioned map, which was printed at 32″x48″ on stretched canvas, this Hexagon Quilt Project map will be printed a bit smaller at 10″x16″ on Hahnemuhle Fine Art Pearl paper. If you are interested in obtaining a custom map, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

View the Google Map of Yankee Stadium in the Bronx

: detail :
yankeesstadiumquilt cut2 Commission: Yankee Stadium Quilt

View the rest of the details:

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YouTube Video of Saint Louis Buy Nothing Day 2002 by Aaron Michaels
|| 12/20/2008 || 2:55 pm || Comments Off || ||

Earlier this week I decided to add this archived video to the repository known as YouTube. I’ve had it for 6 years now and decided to finally upload the video because I could not find anywhere else on-line. I still feel the message that we were delivering then is the same as now: don’t go into debt buying presents for others during the holiday season and if you must give presents, try making them first.

The article that was published in the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch regarding this demonstration was the first time my name appeared in newspapers. The story behind this video goes like this….

On October 2nd, 2002 I created a Yahoo Group dedicated to the planning of Buy Nothing Day in Saint Louis. After a few planning meetings and e-mail discussions, the members of group decided to create giant credit cards that we’d drag around the malls in the Saint Louis area. We also produced & handed out fliers with suggestions on how to avoid going into debt during the holiday season.

This video by Aaron Michaels highlights the news coverage we generated and documents the message we were advocating. The first part is a music video featuring a modified Christmas carol sung by Sara Lucas spliced with footage from the news & us dragging the cards and handing out fliers. The second part of the video features news clips & interviews with participants highlighting why chose to demonstrate. I show up around 4:35 into the video.


I haven’t gone out of the way to purchase gifts for my family this year. Its nice that we’ve stopped doing the gifts for nearly 10 years now. I am going to Colorado next week to visit some of my family and I feel my presence will be the best gift I can give to rarely-seen family. Interestingly, I think yesterday’s commissioned map follows closely with this video’s messaging because the client was asking me to make her a gift. It wasn’t like client decided to hitup Walmart for the gift that millions of others might get, rather she went for something that’s truly one of kind.


Related Adbusters Entries:

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4 Issues with my upgrade to WordPress 2.7
|| 12/21/2008 || 11:35 pm || Comments Off || ||

Last week I upgrade to WordPress 2.7 and the week before that I upgraded to 2.6.5 from version 2.3. For this entry, I’ve isolated my four main issues that I’ve came across since upgrading.


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Adding my Shared Items from Google Reader as daily blog entries
|| 12/22/2008 || 5:25 pm || Comments Off || ||

boston financial rss Adding my Shared Items from Google Reader as daily blog entriesI’ve found that the number one reason why I don’t post more blog entries is that I’m busy reading other blogs. For the last moth I’ve been working on a means to add these blog entries here, and I’ve finally gone ahead & troubleshooted all the bells & whistles to begin doing this.

First I added a widget from Google that shows my 10 most recent shared items to the sidebar on the right side of the blog. These show up in realtime and link to the various blog entries that I’ve liked. Secondly, I’ve added the Postalicious plugin that subscribes to my Shared Items RSS feed and will aggregate the shared items each day. Then they will automatically be posted in the mornings at 8am under the title “DAILY LINKS.” I’m hoping they’ll become a nice feature for this website that will not require too much extra effort.

One issue that I’ve found to be slightly annoying with this route is that since I am reading the blogs through an RSS reader that is subscribed to blogs that use Feedburner, many of the links that I’ll be posting are not the direct links themselves, but forwarding links. This means that over time these links are likely to degrade more quickly than the actual blog URLs because Feedburner might upgrade their permalink structure rendering these links useless in a couple years. I guess I’ll just have to deal with this issue as times go on, but I’m aware of it and will try to figure out a means to share the direct URLs in the future.



Saint Louis Art Museum Quilt
|| 12/23/2008 || 12:12 am || Comments Off || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
saintlouisartmuseumquilt Saint Louis Art Museum Quilt

I recently read about the proposed expansion of the Saint Louis Art Museum and was reminded of all the hours I spent there when I was a kid. From school field trips to miscellaneous enrichment visits with friends & family friends, the museum was an integral part of my upbringing. My mom even has a VHS tape of me that was recorded there when I was 8 years old (1988). If my memory serves me right, I was enthusiastically talking about the notion of living in Egypt two thousand years ago, being a pharaoh, and the pyramids. Its been nearly 5 years since I set foot inside the museum and I wonder how much different it will look with the new wing? Probably not as awesome as it looked during the 1904 World’s Fair when it was the Palace of the Fine Arts, but I digress. Times do change and when I visit family during the holidays I’m going to inquire about the location of that VHS tape. I’m also going to look into my digital photo archives because I believe I took some nighttime time-lapse photos of the exterior of the museum in 2002. They’ll be a good follow-up entry.

View the Google Map of the Saint Louis Art Museum in Saint Louis, Missouri

: detail :
saintlouisartmuseumquilt cut2 Saint Louis Art Museum Quilt

View the rest of the details:

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Timelapse Photography of the Apotheosis of Saint Louis and the exterior of the Saint Louis Art Museum
|| || 6:00 pm || Comments Off || ||

apotheosis of saint louis4 Timelapse Photography of the Apotheosis of Saint Louis and the exterior of the Saint Louis Art Museum

After publishing the Saint Louis Art Museum Quilt earlier today, I was reminded of a series of photographs that I had taken when I had visited the museum last. It was New Years eve 2003 and Forest Park was open to highlight the start of the bicentennial anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase and the centennial anniversary of 1904 World’s Fair. While I didn’t know it at the time, the statue that I was taking photographs of was the Apotheosis of St. Louis.

According to the City of Saint Louis website:

Apotheosis of St. Louis,” the statue of Saint Louis, King Louis IX of France, was the original symbol of the City of St. Louis.

The original plaster model of this statue was cast in 1903 by Charles H.Niehaus and stood at the main entrance to the 1904 World’s Fair, where the History Museum now is located.

The Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company decided to have the sculpture cast in bronze and presented to the City of St. Louis as part of the restoration of Forest Park after the fair. They approached Niehaus, who offered to cast it in bronze for $90,000, a price so high that the project appeared to be over. A local firm, W. R. Hodges, proposed to complete the project for $37,500.

The commission accepted Hodge’s offer and the statue was replicated but Niehaus protested and sued for ownership rights. Seven months after the dedication of the gift, Niehaus was awarded $3,000 in payment and the stipulation that the pedestal be inscribed “designed by C. H. Niehaus.”

The statue was unveiled Oct. 4, 1906. It is inscribed on the north base, “Presented to the City of St. Louis by the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in commemoration of the Universal Exposition of 1904 held on this site.”



apotheosis of saint louis7 Timelapse Photography of the Apotheosis of Saint Louis and the exterior of the Saint Louis Art Museum

front of slam4 Timelapse Photography of the Apotheosis of Saint Louis and the exterior of the Saint Louis Art Museum

Below are the rest of the photographs I took on 12/31/03 using my old Canon S200 and a mini-tripod stand:

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The PointAbout 2009 Presidential Inauguration Mobile Application for iPhone & Blackberry
|| || 7:09 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

I’m still in awe at how much technology has advanced since the last presidential inauguration. I believe my Inaugural Map was one of the most advanced maps that was on-line at the time (Google Maps wasn’t released until February of 2005) and now you can get a mobile phone application which puts all of the features (and then some) into your pocket. While I don’t think I’ll be purchasing this, I’m curious as to what information it will ultimately feature on January 20th. Check the press release and video below:


2009 Inauguration Mobile App Launched by Patton Boggs and Qorvis

pointabout The PointAbout 2009 Presidential Inauguration Mobile Application for iPhone & Blackberry

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 – A new software application launched today gives guests attending the historic 2009 Presidential Inauguration the ability to navigate Washington with a glance at their smart phone.

The application, introduced by Qorvis Communications, a strategic communications firm, and the law firm Patton Boggs, provides location-aware (GPS) information about all inaugural galas and events and delivers details in real time about where to eat, what Metro line to take, and how to find museums and other places in Washington, DC. It even provides walking directions to the Inauguration.

“This first-of-its-kind application will help the nation’s first high-tech president usher in a new era of government – one that embraces technology and advanced communications,” said Stuart M. Pape, managing partner at Patton Boggs.

The first iteration of the Qorvis/Patton Boggs application is now available in the iTunes App Store. A Blackberry version will soon follow. Development of a version for the Google phone “Android” is slated for early January 2009.

“Everyone in Washington is throwing a party or hosting clients, family and friends for the inauguration,” said Michael Petruzzello, managing partner of Qorvis. “We wanted to offer the public a useful and speedy way to obtain information about this historic event.”

The mobile application was designed by Qorvis’ in-house interactive team and developed by PointAbout, which has enabled the application to be used on a variety of mobile platforms.

The application currently available features evolving content – which will include RSS feeds on inauguration events and services and other related information closer to the event date. Plans also include a polling component to gauge real-time user sentiment about the Inauguration. FortiusOne will be analyzing and visualizing the results through their GeoCommons platform.

Current services include:

    Zagat Restaurant Guide
    Walking directions to the Inauguration
    Metro train and bus schedules
    News and alerts
    Free Wi-Fi zone locations
    Local weather, traffic, and news
    Starbucks locations
    ATM-bank search

The 2009 Inauguration Guide is a reflection of the broader services Qorvis and Patton Boggs provide: helping organizations and companies navigate the complexities and nuances of Washington with regard to legal services, public affairs, issue advocacy, and media and public relations.

The app for iPhones can be found here: http://inauguration.pointabout.com/


I also found this video on the PointAbout website:



If you end up purchasing it, I am curious to hear about it in the comments.



[FOUND MAP] New York City: The 51st State
|| 12/24/2008 || 6:34 pm || Comments Off || ||

nyc 51st state [FOUND MAP] New York City: The 51st State

I have rallied for years about having DC become the 51st state in America. Even last week I redesigned the American flag to address my feelings toward this subject. However today I came across this map above that mentions the 51st state and predates the organization of the DC Statehood Movement.

In 1969 author Norman Mailer ran for mayor of New York City and one aspect of his campaign was New York City secession through urban statehood. This lovely map shows all the neighborhoods in each of the boroughs and subtly pokes fun at the current “state” of New York City.

I can’t help but wonder, what if this political option was pursued again? Would New York City residents be interested in having federal funds being directed to the city instead of the rest of the state? Political climate aside, would Americans be more receptive if DC statehood was concurrently offered so that the number states is not an odd number? Or is America just stuck at 50 because its a nice number?

When president-elect Barack Obama assumes office, he’ll be the first black president to live in the same federal district that has a majority black population who can never duplicate the steps in his American Dream. His path to presidency included a path no resident of the nation’s capital can follow- he was a United States senator. Without two senators like every other state, the residents of the nation’s capital, unlike the residents of New York City, are still second-class citizens denied the same equality every other American enjoys. Will Obama be a real leader and address this fundamental flaw in our government?

While the map above proposes the concept of urban statehood, there is also the notion of urban / island balancing worth mentioning. The boroughs themselves are drawn as distinct counties and in some respects their natural geographies create urban islands, like Manhattan & Staten, within the unified state of New York City. President-elect Barack Obama comes from a former island territory, now state, Hawaii, which was brought into the union at nearly the same time as Alaska for balancing purposes. Could urban statehood, like that of Washington, DC or New York City, be balanced with statehood for other American islands, like Guam, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands? Or with the islands having a majority population of non-white people, like their urban counterparts, be a lurking reminder that racism still present in America? Should congressional representation be denied to American citizens simply based upon how their geography happens to be located or politically aligned? Sadly, I think thats what we have today and, to me, its veiled racism defended as normal partisan politics.



Click here to read more about the map and view numerous close-up details.



View of the mountains from the tarmac at the Salt Lake City Airport
|| 12/25/2008 || 11:04 pm || Comments Off || ||

tarmac slc airport View of the mountains from the tarmac at the Salt Lake City Airport

Earlier today I left Washington, DC to go visit my mom & stepfather in the mountains of Colorado. My flight took me from Dulles International Airport to Salt Lake City Airport to Denver International Airport and I took the photograph above when I was boarding the tiny jet in Salt Lake City bound for Denver. Prior to my arrival in Salt Lake City there had been a large snowstorm and off in the distance you can see the freshly fallen snow on beautiful mountains that surround the city.



The 11 Mile Canyon Dam
|| 12/26/2008 || 10:17 pm || Comments Off || ||

11mile canyon dam The 11 Mile Canyon Dam

Today we drove up a snow-covered County Road 96 outside of Lake George, Colorado to the 11 Mile Canyon Dam. The photograph above was taken from the edge of the restricted area near the Spillway campground (see map below). It shows the face of the 153 foot tall 11 Mile Canyon Dam that was constructed in 1932. The water from this dam forms the South Platte River, which flows through the city of Denver and supplies a substantial amount of the city’s drinking water from reservoirs further downstream.

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Photos of Dorothy the neighborhood doe and her friendly herd
|| 12/27/2008 || 12:34 pm || Comments Off || ||

deer6 Photos of Dorothy the neighborhood doe and her friendly herd

This morning I was greeted by Dorothy the neighborhood doe and her friendly herd that live near my mom’s remote property in the mountains of Colorado. The leading deer named Dorothy apparently has grown up in the area and even comes when called by her name.

Below are 9 more photos that I took when she & her herd came by the house:

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Free beer at the New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado
|| || 11:44 pm || Comments Off || ||

free beer at the new belgium brewery Free beer at the New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado

Today we drove up to Fort Collins, Colorado and visited the New Belgium Brewery where their flagship beer Fat Tire is brewed. Although we arrived too late to get the guided tour, they offer four samples of the different beers that are also brewed there. I wish I could find these beers more easily in Washington, DC!

new belgium brewery Free beer at the New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado


Ice Fishing on Lake Loveland
|| 12/28/2008 || 1:08 pm || Comments Off || ||

ice fishing on lake loveland Ice Fishing on Lake Loveland

Today we drove to Rocky Mountain National Park (where I spent 24 hours over the summer) to see what the park looks like in the winter. Driving west on U.S. Route 34, we drove by Lake Loveland in Loveland, Colorado where I spotted numerous people ice fishing. While I never found out how thick the ice was, I thought it looked like they were walking on water from a distance.





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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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