Monthly Archives: April 2008

New Balance 992s – Not good for lower back pain

Many folks who suffer from lower back pain are told – “buy New Balance sneakers”.

The mistake comes in where folks follow the hype and buy what is a terrific running sneaker – New Balance’s 992s.

I can understand why. I’ve seen Steve Jobs wearing them for goodness sakes.

And yeah, I actually bought a pair.

But here’s the thing, that particular sneaker does not help back pain sufferers. In fact, I believe can trigger low back pain when they are mis-worn. Which is wearing them for a purpose other than running. 992s are running sneakers with additional cushioning in the heal for the hammering they take during jogging or running. This additional cushioning elevates your heal, adding pressure to your legs and encouraging your back into a posture that isn’t helpful while walking.

And if you are suffering low back pain, like me, you’re not running all that much.

After following some advice found in this message forum I went out and bought some Clarks and Pumas. There is a notable difference when standing or walking. Richelle’s mom has sung the praises of Clarks for her knee pain for a while.

So it was great to read in New York Magazine that this approach made sense.

Related: Boing Boing thread on the previously mentioned article and subject.

High Self Esteem not the same as Good Self Esteem

These three articles explain a lot about folks who refuse to hear any feedback/advice/criticism given in good will.

It’s true it turns out – they are, most likely, dealing with a self esteem issue. But not the kind you think. In fact, they just may be looking down on you.

ScienceDaily: High Self-esteem Is Not Always What It’s Cracked Up To Be:

…Increasingly, psychologists are looking at such behavior and saying out loud what may go against the grain of how many people act: high self-esteem is not the same thing as healthy self-esteem. And new research by a psychology professor from the University of Georgia is adding another twist: those with “secure” high self-esteem are less likely to be verbally defensive than those who have “fragile” high self-esteem.

“There are many kinds of high self-esteem, and in this study we found that for those in which it is fragile and shallow it’s no better than having low self-esteem,” said Michael Kernis of University of Georgia. “People with fragile high self-esteem compensate for their self-doubts by engaging in exaggerated tendencies to defend, protect and enhance their feelings of self-worth.”

ScienceDaily: Studies Find Narcissists Most Aggressive When Criticized:

…researchers assert that people with high self-esteem are a heterogeneous group that may be more different than alike since high self-esteem can be an accurate appreciation of one’s good traits, or it may be a highly doubtful sense of personal superiority that is not reality-based. While some individuals with high self-esteem are largely unaffected by feedback, others may require frequent confirmation and validation of their favorable self-image by others. Thus the psychologists assert that differences in the validity of individuals’ self-esteem undermines its usefulness as a predictor of aggression.

The authors suggest that aggression by narcissists is an interpersonally meaningful and specific response to an ego threat. “Narcissists mainly want to punish or defeat someone who has threatened their highly favorable views of themselves,” the authors note. “People who are preoccupied with validating a grandiose self-image apparently find criticism highly upsetting and lash out against the source of it.”

New York Magazine: How Not to Talk to Your Kids:

Why does this child, who is measurably at the very top of the charts, lack confidence about his ability to tackle routine school challenges?

…For a few decades, it’s been noted that a large percentage of all gifted students (those who score in the top 10 percent on aptitude tests) severely underestimate their own abilities. Those afflicted with this lack of perceived competence adopt lower standards for success and expect less of themselves. They underrate the importance of effort, and they overrate how much help they need from a parent.

Transitions

It’s a sad day as Shelley Powers closes down her home on the web to concentrate on other projects. Her blog was host to some of the best online conversations I’ve ever participated in. The people who connected there were smart, passionate, and rarity of rarities in a single online community – diverse. You could get in a heated argument about any number of aspects about online media and respect would still be kept by those conversing. For me, the only place that came close to that experience were Salon’s Table Talk in its early days (before it went behind the pay wall).

I’m looking forward to what comes next Shelley, but I will miss Burningbird.

And congrats to Anil Dash who is celebrating five years at SixApart. The company has made tremendous changes these past six or so months, basically it’s been reborn, without loosing a step. And there is a lot to admire there.

Had the 2nd of 2 epidurals last night

So far so good. The last steroid injection, taken back April 2nd, was a tremendous success. Whereas the three I received last year had benefits that were tenuous and short lasting these seem to be helping me progress towards a place that is kinda back where I was before the injury happened. Monday and Tuesday I had taken walks of up to five blocks with leg pain that was barely noticeable. My lunch breaks were not wracked with leg pain. It was a joy. While my back pain doesn’t seem to be subsiding, it’s my leg pain that concerns me, what has been limiting my outdoors activities so much this past year and a half. The back pain is manageable with good body mechanics, getting up and about every hour, exercise, good diet, good ergonomics at work and at home (it is at home that I need to correct things – at work my workstation is simple, but gets the job done).

I’m keeping my fingers crossed, but I am looking forward to strapping my guitar back on and inviting my friends over to hang out. Not only that, but to socialize in the flesh again. Most important – just taking long walks with Emma and Richelle, going to the zoo, going down the shore, maybe even a few family trips that I have been avoiding because of pain and not wanting to be a drag.

Got my Mac Book Pro at work

Many of us at work are migrating to OS-X. It’s logical since our deployment environment is a Unix variant, Solaris, and most of us on Windows run Cygwin to create a developer environment that resembles a Unix-like environment.

Now I’m not a stranger to OS-X. I’ve been convincing my family to switch for the past four years and now they mostly run iBooks and Mac Books, decreasing the time I used to spend helping fix problems. Fact of the matter is, if you are using a PC mostly to send email, surf the web, manage photos and video, it is a great all round choice.

The irony is that within minutes of getting my laptop I froze it! Turns out it isn’t all that smart to run Parallels, out of the box, the way I did, and run, oh, 8 or so programs simultaneously outside of it!

Anyways, in less than an hour I had my favorite web browser, Firefox, my organizer, Wikidpad (which required me to run it from the Python source – but it worked!), my encryption software TrueCrypt, my IDE of choice Eclipse, my favorite OS-X free text editor, TextWrangler, all up and running. With Maven, SVN, Java and Python pre-installed made it easy to checkout my current work and get a build going. I won’t be needing Parallels all that much since so much of the work I do can be done in OS-X, but it will be convenient to be able to test websites in different browsers, on two of the three primary desktop OSes, with little effort.

I Upgraded to Movable Type 4.1 Open Source

I’m happy I finally got around to upgrading my personal blog to the latest and greatest Movable Type. It’s clear that open sourcing the software has been good for SixApart and that MT can again be considered a viable alternative to other blogging platforms like WordPress.

People at work like to ask me what blogging platform ‘is the best’. Honestly, after working with so many over the years, I have trouble identifying that. Feature for feature, you can make one do what the other does.

Someday I’ll put together a matrix that highlights the real differentiators as far as I am concerned, but I do have a shortlist I can share if I was doing a project as a consultant: Drupal, Movable Type, WordPress, and rolling something new with Django.

MT has a new beta release coming out with a few features I am looking forward to.

Interesting Programming Reads

Blog at trepca.si: Java, Python and defaults – Sure is true enough.

Code To Joy: Open-Source group announces jJavaM – It was an April fools, but a good one for the sarcasm.

Python-by-example – Will come in handy.

Better Programming With Java EE: A Conversation With Java Champion Adam Bien
– Dispels some myths.

An Army of Solipsists: Blog Archive: Using Spring MVC Controllers in Grails – Might come in handy if I ever get around to experimenting with Grails.

Anil Dash: Atom Wins: The Unified Cloud Database API: “I want every program that thinks of itself today as a “blogging client” to reimagine their market as being a front-end to a database in the cloud. I want all the apps built on smart database abstractions to think about this new unified cloud API as an option they must support. And most of all, I want geeks to make something cool with this that we couldn’t do before.”

Hosting Java Web Applications: Why Is It Still So Hard? | Javalobby

John Wilson: Groovy and XML | Groovy Zone