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July 04, 2010

"What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? " by Frederick Douglass

What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? by Frederick Douglass
Mr. President, Friends and Fellow Citizens: He who could address this audience without a quailing sensation, has stronger nerves than I have. I do not remember ever to have appeared as a speaker before any assembly more shrinkingly, nor with greater distrust of my ability, than I do this day. A feeling has crept over me, quite unfavorable to the exercise of my limited powers of speech. The task before me is one which requires much previous thought and study for its proper performance. I know that apologies of this sort are generally considered flat and unmeaning. I trust, however, that mine will not be so considered. Should I seem at ease, my appearance would much misrepresent me. The little experience I have had in addressing public meetings, in country schoolhouses, avails me nothing on the present occasion. The papers and placards say, that I am to deliver a 4th [of] July oration. This certainly sounds large, and out of the common way, for it is true that I have often had the privilege to speak in this beautiful Hall, and to address many who now honor me with their presence. But neither their familiar faces, nor the perfect gage I think I have of Corinthian Hall, seems to free me from embarrassment. The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, the distance between this platform and the slave plantation, from which I escaped, is considerable�and the difficulties to be overcome in getting from the latter to the former, are by no means slight. That I am here to-day is, to me, a matter of astonishment as well as of gratitude. You will not, therefore, be surprised, if in what I have to say. I evince no elaborate preparation, nor grace my speech with any high sounding exordium. With little experience and with less learning, I have been able to throw my thoughts hastily and imperfectly together; and trusting to your patient and generous indulgence, I will proceed to lay them before you. . . .

July 01, 2010

Some hotels replacing their TVs with computers

Your Computer: Hotel Says Do Leave Home Without It | Epicenter| Wired.com
Computers and televisions may some day be one. In the meantime, the folks at The Citizen Hotel in Sacramento have decided to simply do away with TVs altogether and replace them with Mac Minis. All 198 computer-equipped rooms now allow guests to seamlessly watch television, scan their Facebook account, Tweet, stream video, Skype with friends, play World of War Craft, check email, or do anything else their Internet-addicted hearts desire. Each computer comes with a giant LCD screen, wireless keyboard and mouse. There is also the traditional remote, which allows you to switch between “Mac Mode,” video-on-demand, TV, and guest services. This is the first system of its kind to come to the United States. Other hotels, such as the upscale Fountainbleau in Miami, have iMacs, but they augment the television, rather than replace it. Michael Stano, Vice President of Technology for Joie de Vivre, the California-based company that owns The Citizen Hotel, says that the hotel’s test program earlier this year was a hit. “We’ve received extraordinary feedback,” he said. All rooms now have computers permanently installed, and while the hotel is still offering the VOD option, Stano believes VOD technology, which was cutting-edge in the 1990s, is becoming obsolete. “The trends are changing rapidly. With Hulu, Netflix, and Youtube, people are going to want more options,” he said.