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Allen “Prisoner” Firstenberg
Let me tell you a story...
...or tell me one of yours.

Our lives are made up of stories, and is a story in itself.  Stories are fact or fiction, can be told by a wandering minstrel or projected on the big screen, are written in books or woven into games, are heard through poetry or prose in many styles, let us experience the tale with sound or silence, and can stimulate any or every one of our senses and emotions.

It has been my goal in life to understand stories and storytellers, to help people tell stories, to explore new ways to tell those stories, and to enjoy and appreciate the stories swirling around us.

So come... sit by the fire.  Let us share a story for a little while.
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Other names
Prisoner, Allen Firstenberg, Allen "Prisoner" Firstenberg, Jean Valjean
Software Visioning and Development


"The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government…."
-- US Constitution, Article IV, Section 4

"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."
-- US Constitution, Amendment XV, Section 1

"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by The United States or by any State on account of sex."
-- US Constitution, Amendment XIX

"The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax."
-- US Constitution, Amendment XXIV, Section 1

"The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age."
-- US Constitution, Amendment XXVI, Section 1

It is your right, guaranteed by the United States Constitution and government, to vote. Make sure you register so you can exercise your right.
George Kozi's profile photoNoble's profile photoNinja On Rye's profile photoLinda Lawton's profile photo
You are a little late on this should have registered months ago if you want people voting for president. 
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This kinda sums it up.
Sounds like England wants to go, but Scotland and [Northern] Ireland want to stay. Wales will stick with England.
Eli Fennell's profile photoMeirav M.'s profile photoJean-Loup Rebours-Smith's profile photoAJ Schultz (aAmosche The IV)'s profile photo
Iron mixed with Clay?
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Pulse of a Nation

I've been pondering what to say about the shootings last Sunday morning... and honestly, words fail me. They failed me as the fragmented story emerged... they continue to fail me as we learn more details of what happened... as we hear tales of horror and of love and of unity.

They fail me now... and all I can think of are lives of every generation lost for the noble act of loving another.
Linda Lawton's profile photoPeter G McDermott's profile photo
I love this post.
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Memorial Day 2016

Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the nation's gratitude
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Doctor Number 4's Final Interview

Yes, Tom Baker is "my Doctor". And yes, this story made me tear up, but not because he essentially forecast his own death in the near future.

It is because of this line: "every issue he receives from Doctor Who Magazine, Tom signs his images inside and donates them to a hospice".

Think about that for a moment. Doctor Who Magazine has done a small gesture, and given this man a copy of hundreds of issues of their magazine. He has done a small gesture and signed pictures inside and given them to a charitable organization.

That organization now holds a treasure trove which it can use in the future. Fans will, someday, be able to purchase a bit of memorabilia for a good cause. This is a win for both of them... from a very simple gesture by one man.

That is what Doctor Who, as a whole, means to me. The small gestures, by one person and their companion, that change the universe. And that is what Tom Baker is so aptly illustrating by this move, and reminding us to do the same.
Ninja On Rye's profile photo
From the headline, I thought he died!
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Checking out +Firebase over the last couple of days has been really cool. The biggest problem is that web is currently a second class citizen behind Android and iOS. It doesn't get access to analytics, crash reporting, notifications (display and triggering APIs), and offline databases.

Hopefully those will come to web soon as the real power of Firebase is everything working together. Plus I want to build real progressive web apps!

2 comments on original post
Shane Conder's profile photoAllen “Prisoner” Firstenberg's profile photoJ Van Hamsterwheel's profile photo
Yeah, I watching the Firebase demos and was wondering why I can't have this for web? Then I realized that if I had Firebase for Web, it might be too tempting to make some type of API configuration change and blow up both my App APIs and Desktop Sites.
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14 weeks and Counting

Primary season is past… the conventions are over… and now we have just 98 days until the polls close on the 2016 US Presidential Election. I figured this might be a good time to look at my take on the candidates… and some thoughts about the election in general. The candidates, including the two major third-party candidates, in alphabetical order by first name:

Donald Trump

When I last wrote about Trump, I called him a bully and suggested that he was sound and fury signifying nothing. I stand by that. On the surface, many (tho far from all) of his ideas sound grand, and he has tapped into an underlying fear that people have today. But he doesn’t make any proposals that actually address those fears - just huge promises that he’ll do something. Anything. While at the same time taking actions that are exact contradictions of his own position. It is easy to make fun of him… it is easy to call him a clown and his campaign a joke… but there are harsh realities here that his bullying and divisiveness would cause domestic and foreign turmoil if he is elected. I can’t see him working effectively with Congress or with any foreign leader.

Gary Johnson

Truth be told, Libertarianism always sounds nice on paper… until you see actual policies and think of their implications. I think this is true with Johnson. Position on abortion? Sounds good… but… Foreign policy? Sounds good… but… Taxes? Sounds good… but… The environment and climate change? Sounds good… but... And he ignores all the problems that people seem to have with both the country and “the system” today. I can see him working well with Congress, but I’m not sure I really want to see the country on the other side of his term.

Hillary Clinton

A politician at heart, which is the biggest thing you can say against her this season. If nearly any other year or any other person had the qualifications she does, from either party, there would almost be no question that she’d be elected. But a party system that relies on divisiveness and political rewards instead of negotiation and working together is seriously overshadowing her campaign. The campaign’s focus on the bright points also seems like it tries to brush under the rug the real problems that people have today - fortunately, Bernie and other progressives have made these issues and she’s adopted them as her own, but there is a nagging fear that the politician in her will go back on those promises. As I said - she’s a politician. Clearly not a perfect person or candidate, but what we do see is that she has spent her life representing other people and working for the public as a whole.

Jill Stein

The Green Party in the US has also always seemed like a good idea on paper. What isn’t to like about the environment? But Stein has taken a science-based approach and turned it into a pseudo-scientific facade to fear mongering. She (as well as Trump) seem to have adopted the tactic of saying “People have questions” about some topic, and then using this as an excuse to sound wishy-washy. Presidents shouldn’t have questions - they should have answers. They should be leaders, and she hasn’t demonstrated that she has the skills to be a leader.

Some thoughts about the upcoming election

Are you registered to vote? Make sure you are.

Will you vote? Make sure you do.

Is that your only political engagement for the next four years? Make sure it isn’t. Get involved. Get involved in a campaign or in your local government. Don’t just sit on your couch, whine, and post memes - get out there and do something.

You want change? Don’t just vote for it… do it.
AJ Schultz (aAmosche The IV)'s profile photoGeorge Kozi's profile photoPam Adger's profile photo
Good analysis. I wish more people understood the actual electing of a President process. Hell, I wish I understood it better. 
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To EU or not to EU, that is UK's question

On Thursday, UK citizens are voting if they wish to remain part of the European Union. There is a lot of rhetoric from both the Remain camp and the Leave camp about the pros and cons of each side. There are some good arguments on both sides.

But while it doesn't impact me, and I can't vote, I have to go with the Remain side for one simple reason - leaving the EU would be an incredibly hypocritical action for the United Kingdom.

What do I mean by that? Well...

I'm purely an outsider, but it seems to me that the UK has spent quite a few years trying to convince parts of the Kingdom to remain, sometimes fighting a civil war in Northern Ireland to do so. Just a couple of years ago, most British (as in, the politicians in Britain) were trying to convince the Scottish (as in, the people in the northern part of the island) to not leave Great Britain. And now many of those same politicians are trying to leave Greater Europe. Is that supposed to make any sense?

I understand regional or national pride and I'm a pretty big supporter of home rule... but I also want people to represent me and think about the bigger picture. I take part in my local government (and you should, too!), but I want people who think about my state or region, my country, my continent, and the world as a whole. These higher layers are what are lost when we try to divorce ourselves from the greater whole. And I fear that if the UK leaves the EU, many other national "independence parties" will try to do the same thing and leave the whole poorer than each part.

I worry when the only driving force is nationalism. We see it in the rowdy thugs at football games and are beginning to see it creeping into the Olympics. We saw how it crippled the League of Nations and led to a second World War. We saw how it ravaged the country in the US Civil war leaving a legacy of regional hatred. Again and again we've seen the ugly side of it.

But we've seen national pride - in national space programs... in multi-national efforts such as the World Wide Web and CERN... in places where countries come together to help in the event of emergencies.

I don't have a problem with national pride when it is for the good of all humanity instead of our narrow perspective of it.

I hope the UK remains in the EU and continues to build towards the greater good of all.
Andrew Jones-McGuire's profile photoCarolyn Luce's profile photoAllen “Prisoner” Firstenberg's profile photoNinja On Rye's profile photo
Well, the people voted.
And the imbalance in the votes was also quite interesting - seeing that Scotland was all yay for staying in the EU, and likely to get dragged out because of the votes of the other countries. And now looking at whether they can avoid that fate.
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Dan Rather had a very insightful and necessary post on that other social media network about Trump. There are few journalists of his caliber left, and I hope those few will listen to this.


I felt a shudder down my spine yesterday watching Donald Trump's fusilade against the press. This is not a moment to be trifled with. It wasn't his first tirade and it won't be his last.

I was reminded of my college journalism professor, the late Hugh Cunningham, who would exhort his young charges in a thundering voice to "never let them scare you." It was his most important lesson. One of Edward R. Murrow's favorite words was "steady." That also bears repeating today.

This is a dirty, nasty election. And it is only going to get worse. The reporters in the trenches need no lecture from me. They are walking through daily minefields, bracing themselves against winds of discontent whose effects no one can predict.

I know what it is like to sit in those seats and feel the scorn and even wrath of politicians of all political persuasions. Attacking the press for unfair coverage has long been a bipartisan pursuit. Sometimes it works. I am happy to say that more often it doesn't. But Trump's brand of vituperation is particularly personal and vicious. It carries with it the drumbeats of threatening violence. It cannot be left unanswered.

This is not about politics or policy. It's about protecting our most cherished principles. The relationship between the press and the powerful they cover is by its very definition confrontational. That is how the Founding Fathers envisioned it, with noble clauses of protection enshrined in our Constitution.

Good journalism--the kind that matters--requires reporters who won't back up, back down, back away or turn around when faced with efforts to intimidate them. It also requires owners and other bosses with guts, who stand by and for their reporters when the heat is on.

I still believe the pen is mightier than the sword. And in these conflicted and troubled times, we should reward the bravery of the men and women not afraid to ask the hard questions of everyone in power. Our nation's future depends on it.

~Dan Rather

4 comments on original post
Scott A. Lavender's profile photoAllen “Prisoner” Firstenberg's profile photo
What bugs me is that when they do do their jobs, like airing or challenging Trump's stupid stuff... he outright threatens them with violence.
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Beyond Winnie Cooper

What happens if you're a famous child actress and you grow up and go to college? Do you major in film production or math?

Definitely math.

Just this short segment says a lot of powerful things about many of the stereotypes that we still hold... and that we really need to abandon. Danica originally didn't think she could do math... despite doing incredibly well in the subject in High School. She didn't think she could escape the image she had as a child actor... despite wanting to.
Allen “Prisoner” Firstenberg's profile photoGeorge Kozi's profile photo
I wish I had better math teachers in primary school. Something that originated there put me off math.
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test 9
If you see this and you are following me but not the collection, please let me know.
Vamsi Krishna V's profile photo
im not following ur collection but i see this
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Gerwin's take on I/O

My thoughts will be coming later this week after I catch up on work and some of the announcements I missed, but I spent a lot of time with +Gerwin Sturm during the conference festival, and his thoughts are a pretty good reflection of mine.

(And I love this picture he took of the I/O sculpture. I have a picture of him taking it, and its not nearly as good.)

I/O 2016 is over again already, so it's time to sum up my thoughts about what I/O brought for developers and what announcements/updates you should check out. The mostly disappointing Keynote While the keynote had seve...
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Allen's Collections
I was a kickstarter backer of this store, but actually trying their donuts exceeded my expectations. It is clear that the staff both care about the quality of their donuts, coffee, and other drinks, and want to make sure their customers enjoy themselves. From the quirky and interactive decor (wifi still isn't working on that typewriter?) to explaining every step of their pour-over coffee if you ask, the attention to detail is outstanding. Their Maple-Bacon donut is their signature item, but I have yet to find a flavor from their ever-changing menu that I have not thoroughly enjoyed. I'm not a coffee drinker, but they have plenty of other varieties of quality drinks to quench your thirst. Visit. Enjoy. Share.
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Public - 4 years ago
reviewed 4 years ago
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