Archive for December, 2007


December 28, 2007


The sun sets in a clear sky over the Green Zone.


Splashup Review: Not Quite There

December 23, 2007

Zeal and Activity now sports a new header image that reflects my new scenery. This was a very simple image to create: I took a snapshot, cropped it in Picasa, and used photo editing software to insert the floating text.

When I made the original header, I used Adobe’s popular Photoshop software ($649) at a university computer lab. This time, I used a pathbreaking online service called Splashup (formerly Fauxto). Like Google Docs and email sites like Hotmail and Yahoo Mail, Splashup aims to perform the same functions as desktop software within a browser window.

This could be useful to bloggers, travelers, and members of the military, so I thought I would write up my impressions. Splashup will be best for users who want more than cropping and rotation, but who don’t use the advanced features of Photoshop or edit images every day. I think this is a pretty big and completely unserved market.


MNF-I Report on the Surge

December 19, 2007

Multinational Forces Iraq (MNF-I) has released a report on the effects of the surge to date. The Long War Journal has highlights. But I can’t find a link to the original report – zealandactivity at if you see it. Thanks!


December 18, 2007


Iraqi TV

December 16, 2007

The other day, I was waiting for a meeting, and the antechamber had a new television tuned to Iraqi broadcast TV. The program was a sort of man-on-the-street travelogue. The Iraqi camera crew wandered through a busy commercial riverfront section of Baghdad, in and out of shops, popping a microphone in the face of anyone who would stop for a 10-second interview. The streets were crowded with colorfully-dressed pedestrians, almost elbow to elbow, and the shops were full of merchandise. An Iraqi explained that this is a wholesale apparel district. People are shopping for Eid. This station tries to show how security is improving, she said. The footage, which ran unedited, was a rerun; it first aired the day before our meeting.

Philip Reeker on Power Line

December 10, 2007

U.S. Embassy public affairs counselor Philip Reeker spoke with Scott Johnson of Power Line this weekend.

Mr. Reeker went into some detail about the success of the surge since General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker testified this past September, with attacks down by approximately 60 percent. He said that the security gains had allowed the Iraqi people to gain a sense of normalcy that had been lost after the sectarian violence that ensued from the bombing of the al-Askari mosque in 2006. Mr. Reeker nevertheless acknowledged remaining security challenges, as indicated by the two suicide bombings that had killed 26 in Diyala earlier Friday.

(A tiny nit: Amb. David Satterfield returned to Washington in 2006, where he is a special adviser to Secretary Rice.)  Read the whole thing.