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Jon Cole (joncole)
Works at Catholic Charities Jacksonville
Attended University of Central Florida
Lives in Jacksonville, FL
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Jon Cole (joncole)

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Trapped in its history, beautiful Havana recalls the faded grandeur of Argentina and a Dick Tracy movie of automobiles.  With the goal of promoting a free and open Internet, Jared Cohen and I and two others traveled to Havana on a business visa (more on that later.)  Landing at Havana airport, the first airplane you see is a jet from Angola Airlines.  The Cuban people, modern and very well educated define the experience with a warmth that only Latin cultures express: tremendous music, food and entertainment (most of which we were not able to sample, more about that visa in a minute.)  Under Fidel Castro’s younger brother, Raoul, difficult economic conditions have brought many small liberalizing steps in the last few years.  There are now 187 professions where private employment is allowed (otherwise private jobs are not permitted), and cars and apartments are beginning to be tradeable with restrictions.

The two most successful parts of the Revolution, as they call it, is the universal health care free for all citizens with very good doctors, and the clear majority of women in the executive and managerial ranks in the country.  Almost all the leaders we met with were female, and one joked with us that the Revolution promised equality, the macho men didn’t like it but “they got used to it”, with a broad smile.  The least successful part of the Revolution has been economic development (not surprisingly) and it appeared to us a drop off in tourism and recent farm issues have made things somewhat worse in Cuba.  The broad topic of conversation in the country is the constant speculation of what the government will do next and what the course and path of liberalization will be.  We were told that there is a fight between more liberal and conservative leaders under Castro, and someone said that the military was becoming more involved in economic development.  A number of people said the eventual model of Cuba would be more like China or Vietnam than of Venezuela or Mexico.

The embargo now codified in the 1996 Helms Burton act defines everything for the US and Cuba (Cubans call this a “blockade” and a billboard described it as genocide).  The US govermnent classifies Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism” in the same class as North Korea, Syria, Iran and North Sudan.  Travel to the country is controlled by an US office called OFAC and under our license we were not permitted to do anything except business meetings where our hotel room had to be less than $100 per night and total expenses per diem of $188.00.  Not surprisingly there are many $99 hotel rooms in Havana.  These policies defy reason:  there are dozens of countries we call our allies and we are free to travel to that present much worse threats and concerns to the US than Cuba does in this decade.  Cubans believe this is largely a Florida domestic political issue, and that the Cuban-American youth all support normalization of relations along with the US business community.

If Cuba is trapped in the 1950’s, the Internet of Cuba is trapped in the 1990s.  About 20-25% of Cubans have phone lines but mostly subsidized land lines, and the cell phone infrastructure is very thin.  Approximately 3-4% of Cubans have access to the Internet in internet cafes and in certain universities.  The Internet is heavily censored and the infrastructure, which we toured, is made out of Chinese components.   The “blockade” makes absolutely no sense to US interests:  if you wish the country to modernize the best way to do this is to empower the citizens with smart phones (there are almost none today) and encourage freedom of expression and put information tools into the hands of Cubans directly.  The result of the “blockade” is that Asian infrastructure will become much harder to displace.  The technical community uses unlicensed versions of Windows (the US does not allow licenses to be purchased) and GNU Debian Linux on Asian hardware and using Firefox.  A small technical community exists around free Android and expect it to eventually spread.  As US firms cannot operate in Cuba, their Internet is more shaped by Cuban narrow interests than by global and open platforms.

We heard that Cuban youth are assembling informal mesh networks of wifi-routers, and thousands connect to these networks for file sharing and private messaging.  USB sticks form a type of “sneakernet”, where people hand hard to get information to each other and keep everyone up to date without any real access to the Internet.

The information restrictions make even less sense when you find out that Cuba imports a great deal of food from the US as compassionate trade.  The food imports to Cuba are important but so is importation of tools to Cuba for the development of a knowledge economy.

When you walk around Old Havana, you see beautifully restored facades that evoke the central role of Havana and the 1940s and 1950s.  The bright colored American cars from the 1950’s, converted to diesel and repaired by Cuban mechanics, give a sense of what Cuba must have been like before the revolution.  Walking around its possible to imagine a new Cuba, perhaps a leader of Latin America education, culture, and business.  Cuba will have to open its political and business economy, and the US will have to overcome our history and open the embargo.  Both countries have to do something that is hard to do politically, but it will be worth it.
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I wonder how summer would have written this. 
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Jon Cole (joncole)

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Lately, it seems like my video game comfort food is Let's Plays. There's nothing that takes away the sting of consequence and stress from playing games than just watching someone else deal with those things while I reap the benefits of enjoying success secondhand and laughing at failure that isn't mine.

When it comes to actual games that are comfort food, Bethesda's fare provides the ultimate comfort. Of course, there are main quests and guilds with major quests that keep these games going, but exploring the countryside of Tamriel and poking around non-quest related aged buildings in irradiated Washington DC is 95% discovery, 5% stressful fighting stuff.

Jon Cole (joncole)

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Man, I wonder what "Man falling off ledge forever" looks like on Xbone/PS4. It looks and sounds pretty amazing on PS3 so I can't even imagine it being much better.
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I don't think I've ever noticed this guy on the Xbone version
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Jon Cole (joncole)

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First look at what the death of net neutrality looks like. Verizon (FiOS) throttling AWS traffic after 4pm to attack Netflix and likely affect any other service that uses cloud hosting- http://davesblog.com/blog/2014/02/05/verizon-using-recent-net-neutrality-victory-to-wage-war-against-netflix/
I usually don’t post articles about current affairs. However, a recent series of events has inspired me to write about this. Towards the end of …
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Whoa, this is terrible. 
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To add a little context, this Donald Trump and various Republican Congressmen said that the record cold temperatures in the US/CA disproves global warming.
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I'm acclimatized, yay!
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Have him in circles
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Jon Cole (joncole)

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So, pretty sure my video card is messed up. Anyone seen anything like this before? One screen flickering like crazy, it is actually semi-readable on the restarting screen but totally unreadable on the desktop. If I disconnect the flickering monitor, the second screen adopts the flickering. A restart fixes it. Generally begins while I'm watching some web video.
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#caturday  
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A great client story from Ellen. Good people interested in striving for success are what make my job worthwhile.
 
My refugee clients are some of the greatest folks I've ever known.

A few weeks ago, 4 Sudanese gentleman were waiting outside my office with no appointment. I told them I had to go to a meeting, so they either had to wait to talk to me or we could make an appointment for another time. They opted to wait, and when I came out of the meeting they were still there. I asked how I could help and they said they needed to learn English. I looked at their immigration documents and was surprised to see they had only been in the US for 1 week!!  They told me that their roommate is already enrolled at the school and they wanted to join, too.

Normally, I will not do an intake on the fly, but these guys were so enthusiastic and eager that I decided to do all the paperwork right then. I told them my name and one of them said “Yes we know! Ellen Kiser!” I said “How did you know that??” and he replied “We waited one hour outside your door and there is your name on it.” We all laughed. The next day they took the English test. They scored in various levels from 200 to 400. Each one decided to start the following Monday.

Here is the best part: as they were leaving, they all shook my hand and the last stopped to say “Now I will learn English. When I am finished, I will come back here and I will thank you for everything you did for me.”

I have every confidence that they will do well. :)
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Jon Cole (joncole)

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+Ellen Kiser and Arthur! He sure likes to be on her, whether she's sitting or not.
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Let's talk about the pros of global warming... CLOUD GUNS
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A friend of mine from the Idle Thumbs forums made this site as a kind of commentary on the weird demand in game review comment threads for "objective" reviews. He did an incredible job with the site and it's been tweeted by all kinds of industry people, including the Hotline Miami devs at Devolver who put a link to OGR on their Steam store page for the game.

Check it out, share it around.
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Jon Cole (joncole)

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Oh "Hung Trinh Oriental Supermarket", your "Jazzmen Rice" is so endearing.
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Have him in circles
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Education
  • University of Central Florida
    Incomplete, 2008 - 2011
  • Oviedo High School
    2004 - 2008
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Other names
Jon
Apps with Google+ Sign-in
  • Puzzle & Dragons
  • Hungry Cat Picross
  • Prune
Work
Occupation
Administrative Assistant
Skills
Nonprofits, file management, spreadsheets, equipment cataloging/purchasing, data entry, Microsoft Office
Employment
  • Catholic Charities Jacksonville
    Administrative Assistant, Refugee Resettlement, 2012 - present
    Provides program assistance to the Refugee Resettlement program of Catholic Charities in Jacksonville. Assists with case management and file management. Performs data entry and completes administrative paperwork for clients and caseworkers.
  • CastMedium
    Writer, 2009 - 2011
    Wrote recaps of podcasts about gaming, technology, and movies at castmedium.com
  • Game Thing Daily, Tech Thing Daily
    Writer, 2011 - 2012
    Wrote coverage of most prominent story of the day in gaming and technology at gamethingdaily.com and techthingdaily.com
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Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Jacksonville, FL
Previously
Orlando, FL
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Visited at about 1pm on a Monday and the place was not too busy, granted this was during the week of New Year's and thus I'm sure the student population of UCF nearby was mostly elsewhere. The food was absolutely great - I got a standard Burgerfi burger with pickles, as well as the fries + onion rings combo. Onion rings were huge and not too greasy, great stuff. Coke freestyle machines were welcome and always fun.
Public - 5 months ago
reviewed 5 months ago
First experience ever with a laundromat, just had a laundry emergency while doing the tourist thing in NOLA and ventured to Dirty Laundry late on a weeknight. The place was quite clean and all the machines looked up to date. There were a couple coin machines for snacks and drinks, as well as a change machine. Only reason I dock a star is because signs posted inside say that last load is 8:00 with a closing time of 9:00pm, yet we arrived at 7:45 with a decent amount of time to spare and I felt like we were given a hard time for coming that late. Nonetheless, the owner/operator relented, let us in, and was ultimately fairly friendly. Just make sure you don't push that last load time.
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Public - 5 months ago
reviewed 5 months ago
About the best little grocery store one could hope for in the French Quarter of NOLA. Try not to go in with terribly high expectations if you come from a suburb with a Walmart-sized local supermarket with 100 choices for everything you look for. Many purported groceries in NOLA are effectively deli's offering sandwiches and fresh food with a small selection of dry goods on the side. Matassa's has a full freezer section, a relatively well stocked meat and lunchmeat section, a fair amount of dairy and fresh veggies, as well as the dry goods that are the base level of offering. The shop is very close quarters and the shelves haphazardly placed/filled, which might make some uncomfortable. But packing everything in means that Matassa's had just about everything we were looking for. I was shopping for making food at an AirBNB condo I was staying in and was able to find green peppers, ground turkey, mushrooms, canned tomatoes, etc for spaghetti. On top of offering the proper products, the person at the register who I suspect was the owner was very friendly. I highly recommend this place.
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Public - 5 months ago
reviewed 5 months ago
Didn't get a chance to visit the actual museum, but spent a fair amount of time exploring the sculpture garden and sitting with family in the parks adjacent the museum. Such unique art and a beautiful setting to view them in, the sculpture garden was one of my family's highlights and most favorite destinations in our trip to New Orleans.
Public - 5 months ago
reviewed 5 months ago
10 reviews
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Very classy place with high quality (and somewhat high price, to match) food. Had a taste of seafood gumbo and Asparagus Two Ways from family members I was eating with, the food was very refined and tasty. I enjoyed a Tableau Burger with Gruyere cheese, caramelized onions and roasted mushrooms which was absolutely phenomenal. It was big enough that I had to eat with with a fork and knife, but upon cutting into it I could see the perfect fringe between the seared outside and the medium-rare pink inside. Perfect execution on the doneness I was asking for. Best burger I had in NOLA by far. In addition to the great food, the staff was on-point in offering drink refills, taking away dirty plates at breaks in conversation, and placing all our food on the table at the same time (literally, with 2-3 waiters teaming up to serve at the same moment). The Christmas spirit was also strong here, they offered every patron a cute blue ribboned Christmas bell to ring in celebration.
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Public - 5 months ago
reviewed 5 months ago
Not a bad little restaurant. Meal started with complementary chips and salsa, the salsa was lacking in volume as compared to more divey Spanish/Mexican restaurants but I still appreciated it. My meal was good, I got the beef enchilada which came with a nice bit of salsa, guacamole, and sour cream on the side rather than piled on top haphazardly. Portion size was average at best, even after chips and my meal I felt a little hungry. One person in my party ordered the shrimp fajitas and she found a huge couple of strands of hair in her food. The waiter was appropriately apologetic, offered a replacement, and ultimately ended up comping the order without being asked to. I'm satisfied with their resolution to this issue but it was still an issue nonetheless. All in all, not my favorite stop in NOLA but I did enjoy my food in what was ultimately an average eating experience.
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Public - 5 months ago
reviewed 5 months ago
First restaurant I visited on a trip to New Orleans and I couldn't be more impressed. My family visited at what was surely primetime for brunch, 10am or so. They told us that it'd be a ~45 minute wait and took our name and phone number. We received a text to download an app that would keep us appraised of our place in the queue then we were notified after about 25 minutes and seated as soon as we returned from shopping in the nearby Jackson Square. The staff was very timely and friendly, offering plenty of suggestions from the menu and later suggestions of other restaurants/stores to visit after we left. I enjoyed a great Stanley benedict, which had fried oysters and poached eggs with an absolutely sublime hollandaise. Also enjoyed a very slick bloody mary that had delicious pickled green beans in it. My only complaint could be with the prices at Stanley, but as compared to other places in the general area along with the upscale feel to the interior/menu/conduct of staff it felt reasonable.
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Public - 5 months ago
reviewed 5 months ago